Professional advice for pet owners in Llangefni
Whether you're a first time dog owner, or you have already owned dogs, getting a new puppy is an incredibly exciting time. You only have to see how much attention puppies get at the practice to know how much people love them.The first few weeks are a great opportunity for you to give your puppy the very best start in life. This is the time when you can lay the foundations for a happy and healthy dog by making sure that both their physical health and behaviour get off to the best possible start. It isn't difficult and the benefits are clear.
Choose a great name - understandably a high priority for most of us, but did you know that because most commands are single syllable words like 'Sit' and 'Stay', names with only one syllable are harder for your dog to tell apart from commands, e.g. 'Sam' could be confused with 'Sit'. Names with two or more syllables will make life easier for your dog.
Find a place to sleep - your puppy will need a cosy bed where they will feel safe and comfortable. Their sleeping area should be away from extremes of heat or cold and your puppy should be able to see and hear normal family life so that they can get used to their new home.
Choose collar and lead - by law, all dogs must wear a collar with a dog identification tag inscribed with the owner's details, and from April 2016 they will need to be microchipped.
Buy feeding bowls - separate bowls for food and water, located somewhere your puppy can eat comfortably.
Organise vaccinations - puppies can be vaccinated from 8 weeks of age and need two injections to get full protection. For more information on vaccines, please click here.
Sign up for our Pet Health Club - we recommend our interest-free monthly plan as an easy way to take care of all your puppy's routine preventative healthcare, saving you money at the same time. The plan includes:
Organise insurance - while our Pet Health Club takes care of routine preventative healthcare, a good insurance policy with a reputable provider will provide peace of mind that you are covered against unexpected health problems. We can usually offer a free 4-week comprehensive cover note at the time of your puppy's vaccinations.
Choose a good food - it is important to feed your dog a high quality diet. Puppies benefit from a diet designed for their rapid growth and high energy levels, and can then be moved onto an adult diet once they reach maturity. Make sure your puppy always has a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water and the correct amount of food.
Socialise your puppy - puppies have a special sensitive period at the start of their lives when they learn to accept things around them so that they are not afraid of them in later life. You may also want to consider crate training as this can be a great way to train an obedient, relaxed dog. Ask us for advice or click here to find out more about our puppy healthy starter pack offer.
Consider neutering - bitch spay and dog castration are recommended for health reasons. For more information plaese click here.
Make an appointment for microchipping - if your puppy gets lost, with a microchip you can be sure it has the best chance of coming home. Microchipping has been compulsory in Wales from April 2016.
Whether you're a first time cat owner, or you have already owned cats, getting a new kitten is a lovely rewarding time. We love to see kittens at the practice in Llangefni, and you can be sure that we'll make a lot of fuss of your new baby! Did you know that the most-watched videos on YouTube are those showing cats? Moving to a new home can be quite daunting for your kitten, whether they are shy or more confident, and they will rely on you for their every need.
Here's what you need to do to help them settle in:
Decide on a great name - what will you choose?
Find a place to sleep - your kitten will need cosy bedding where they will feel safe and comfortable. This can be put in a cardboard box or in a cat bed to help them feel at home. Their sleeping area should be away from extremes of heat or cold and for the first few days it is a good idea to choose a room where you can put everything your kitten needs until they have settled in.
Organise vaccinations - kittens can be vaccinated from 9 weeks of age and need two injections to get full protection. For more information on cat and kitten vaccinations, click here.
Buy feeding bowls - separate bowls for food and water, located somewhere your kitten can eat comfortably.
Set up a litter tray - initially this will need to be in the same room as their bed so that it is easy to find, but positioned on the other side of the room away from your kitten's food and bed.
Choose some toys - kittens love to play, and playing with them is great fun for you too.
Sign up for our Pet Health Club - we recommend our interest-free monthly plan as an easy way to take care of all your kitten's routine preventative healthcare, saving you money at the same time. The plan includes:
Organise insurance - while our Pet Health Club takes care of routine preventative healthcare, a good insurance policy with a reputable provider will provide peace of mind that you are covered against unexpected health problems. We can usually offer a free 4-week comprehensive cover note at the time of your kitten's vaccinations.
Choose a good food - it is important to feed your kitten high quality diet. Kittens benefit from a diet designed for their rapid growth and high energy levels, and can then be moved onto an adult diet once they reach maturity. When they are very young and have a tiny tummy, they will need four small meals in a day. Make sure your kitten always has a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water and the correct amount of food.
Consider neutering - cat spay and castration are recommended for health reasons.
Make an appointment for microchipping - if your kitten gets lost, with a microchip you can be sure it has the best chance of coming home.
Ask us for advice or find out more about our kitten healthy starter pack offer.
The Aran Vet Clinic is a member practice of the International Society for Feline Medicine and you can find more great advice on cat ownership on their International Cat Care website.
We recommend that you insure your pet, to cover the unexpected and make sure that your pet gets the best possible treatment available. We can usually offer you 4 weeks’ immediate cover for your puppy or kitten, free of charge at the time of vaccination.
Advances in veterinary medicine and surgery allow us to help your pet more than ever before, both here by our team of nurses and vets in Llangefni or by referral to specialist centres who can perform advanced diagnostics including CT and MRI scans, as well as advanced treatments.
Many insurers offer a choice of 'Annual' or 'Lifetime' policies. For annual policies the terms of the insurance only stand for 12 months. This means that if your pet is insured on an annual policy and develops a condition for which you need to claim, that condition will be specifically excluded when you come to renew the policy for the next year. This can be a problem for chronic illnesses. Lifetime policies are a little more expensive than annual policies but give you the peace of mind that any illness is covered for life.
There are many different companies offering pet insurance. Please note that no insurer will cover your pet for routine procedures such as neutering or vaccination, nor do they cover preventative treatments.
No matter how clean your home or your pet, at some stage you will face the problem of fleas!
Fleas are small, brown insects that feed on your pet and also on humans. They only spend about 5% of the time on an animal, and the rest of the time they live in the carpets, bedding and any other cosy corner they can find. Each flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, and each of these eggs can develop into an adult flea in as little as 3 weeks so it's easy to see how an infestation can take hold. As well as causing a number of skin problems for your pet, including severe discomfort and allergic skin disease, fleas can also cause anaemia (iron deficiency) and transmit tapeworm.
Treat your pet with an effective flea product - make sure you do not use products intended for dogs on your cat as some are toxic to cats. The flea products we stock are prescription medicines - this means that they have been proven to be both effective and safe. These products need to be used at regular intervals - once you purchase them from us, we will send you text or email reminders to help you remember when it is time for the next dose.
Treat your house with a suitable environmental insecticide. This will eradicate fleas and their eggs from soft furnishings and bedding to prevent your pets from being re-infested.
Unless you treat both your pets and your house, the flea life cycle will not be broken and you will continue to have a problem with fleas.
Almost all puppies and kittens are born with roundworms, transmitted from their mother. This means that puppies and kittens must first be treated for the worms passed from their mother, and then treated for the worms they pick up in the environment. It is particularly important that your dog is regularly wormed if it comes into contact with children, as one of the roundworms can be transmitted to people.
Tapeworm are flat tape-like worms that live in the intestine. Sometimes segments that look like small grains of rice break off the worm and pass out of your pet and may be visible in the fur or bedding. Tapeworm can be caught from fleas or from the environment, e.g. rodents.
Roundworm look like thin white earthworms and can grow up to 10cm in length.
Lungworm is a parasite that can cause serious illness in dogs. Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae, and dogs can become infected when they accidentally (or purposefully) eat these common garden pests whilst rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys. The adult lungworms move through the dog's body to live in the heart and blood vessels.
We all know that exercise is good for us, and owning a pet can provide a great opportunity for shared exercise. Walking your dog is a great way to keep healthy yourself, and has been shown to benefit us both physically and mentally.
Although not many people take their cat for a walk, there is still plenty you can do to exercise them at home. We are happy to advise you how so, please get in touch!
You've probably heard the expression "You are what you eat", well that's just as true for our pets as it is for ourselves. There are three main factors contributing to your pet's health: genetics, environment and nutrition. You can't do anything about their genes, but the environment you create and the food you choose for them could have a direct effect on their future health.
Not all pet foods are the same, and it is important that the food you choose includes the correct balance of all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need. Many manufacturers now offer diets tailored to the natural changes in nutritional requirements that take place as your pet ages, e.g. puppy/kitten, adult, senior. We are always happy to advise on the most appropriate food for your pet.
When introducing a new food we recommend that it is introduced gradually, by mixing gradually increasing amounts mixing in with the previous food. You should also monitor your pet's weight regularly, and adjust the amount of food you give them to keep them at a healthy weight. Take care with treats too! It's easy to give a few small treats here and there and this can result in weight gain.
Providing easy access to clean, fresh drinking water is just as important as providing the right food.
Remember there are certain human foods that can be harmful or even fatal to your pets. Although it can be tempting to share, you must avoid giving your pets foods such as:
Chocolate - contains Theobromine, which is toxic and causes vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures. As a general rule chocolate with a high cocoa content is more toxic.
Onions, Garlic, Chives - cause stomach irritation and red blood cell damage and anaemia (particularly onions).
Caffeine - although a couple of laps of tea or coffee will not do any harm, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds or tea bags can lead to serious problems. Signs are similar to chocolate toxicity.
Alcohol - is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. When consumed, alcoholic beverages and food products can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
Avocado - the fruit and seeds contain a substance called Persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
Macademia nuts - can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia (increased body temperature).
Corn on the cob - unlike most vegetables, corn does not digest well in a dog’s stomach. If your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even whole, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to it's size and shape.
Grapes and Raisins - can cause kidney failure. Be particularly careful with foods such as fruit cake where a single mouthful can contain a large number of raisins.
Bones - dogs can choke on bones, or sustain injury as the splinters can become lodged in or puncture your dog's digestive tract. If you choose to give your dog bones be sure to keep an eye on them, and avoid giving cooked bones (which splinter easily) or giving bones that are small enough to get stuck in their bowels.
Xylitol - an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum, and many reduced-sugar products. It causes a dramatic lowering of blood sugar levels and even very small amounts can be fatal.
Lilies - many varieties of Lily are extremely toxic to cats, and all parts of the plant are poisonous. Cats can be poisoned if they eat part of the plant, or even when they groom themselves after picking up pollen when they brush against the flower. Lily toxicity causes kidney damage.
Antifreeze - poisoning by antifreeze containing ethylene glycol is unfortunately quite common in cats. Ethylene glycol smells and tastes sweet so cats will drink from spills on the ground and lick it off their paws. Even a few drops in a puddle can cause serious kidney damage and may be fatal.
Just occasionally, your pet may show unwanted behaviours. These could include inappropriate fear, aggression or soiling the house. Jill, one of our nurses, has a special interest in behaviour and has completed an advanced qualification. If you have any concerns or questions about behaviour, Jill would love to hear from you.
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