Going to the beach with your dog this summer?

With restrictions on holidays abroad, and ongoing updates to the quarantine list, many people are opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK this year. If your summer plans involve a trip to one of our beautiful beaches and your dog is lucky enough to be joining you, here are some things to be mindful of:

Heatstroke

Remember that dogs are prone to feeling the effects of the sun too, with dehydration being a danger to them. When you’re at the coast the sea breeze may make it feel cooler than it is, so do be aware of any changes in your dog’s behaviour and try to create some shade for them to rest in. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water for them to drink and avoid taking them out in the heat of the day – remember that dry sun-baked sand can get very hot and burn your dog’s feet.

For more information about protecting your pet from the sun click here.

Sand

When ingested, sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, which may need surgery to remove. If your dog has never been to the beach before they may be curious about this new material and try to eat it. They may also inadvertently ingest sand when fetching a wet sand-coated ball. Keep your dog in view and be mindful of what’s in their mouths.

Swimming in the sea

We love to see a happy dog bounding through the waves but be sure to check the depth of the water and make sure there are no sudden drops that could cause your dog to get into difficulties. Small dogs are especially at risk due to their shorter legs, and a strong current could be more dangerous for them due to their lighter body weight.

Seawater

Drinking salty seawater will also add to the risk of dehydration and can cause diarrhoea. Too much seawater can cause toxic sodium levels which can be fatal. Once again be mindful of what your dog is doing at all times and be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.

Remember, if you’re travelling by car, ensure your dog is safely harnessed for the journey. Find out more here. And do check whether the beach you’re heading to allows dogs during the summer months.

And finally, have fun!

Taking your dog out in public

The daily walk forms an important part of our dog’s routine; a chance for them to stretch their legs (and ours!). As it’s something we do every day, we may not always be aware of some of the rules and restrictions in place when we wander through the park or woodland.

It’s always best to research your local authority’s website to understand the laws in place for your area, but below are a few general points to keep in mind when out in public with your dog:

1.  Cleaning up after your dog

It might seem like it goes without saying, but at some point, we’ve all been unfortunate enough to tread in another dog’s mess. As well as the unpleasantness it brings, it can also pose a health issue, with the parasites contained in dog faeces being harmful to both humans and livestock if ingested. Although certain public areas might not legally require you to clean up after your dog fouls (such as woodland or heathland), it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of doing so every time. This way, you do your bit to protect the environment while also avoiding any unwanted fixed penalty fines.

2. Being mindful of livestock

When out walking your dog through woodland and countryside, there’s a good chance that you will come across a range of livestock, such as sheep and cattle, out in fields. It’s important to ensure that your dog is kept on a short lead if you can see, or suspect, that livestock may be close by – even if they have never tended to chase before. As well as the obvious harm your dog biting livestock could cause, even chasing and barking can cause them distress, making them react irrationally and potentially putting yourself and your dog in danger. Did you know, it’s also an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep as they can become very poorly if stressed?

3. Walking with your dog on a lead

There are other local areas, in addition to the above, where you may have to ensure that your dog is kept on a lead. These include certain park areas as well as sports pitches and children’s playgrounds, and there is usually signage on display that provides information on any orders or restrictions. It’s always a good idea to check your local authority website if in any doubt though, as there are strong criminal punishments if your dog was to injure another person or make them fear injury.

4. Maintaining a safe distance

Not something you would have had to consciously consider before, but with recent events and current guidelines, maintaining social distancing has become a requirement within the daily dog walk routine. With the better weather over the summer months and no restrictions on our movements, local parks can be busy with families and fellow dog-walkers, which may mean having to be mindful of the route you take and how close your dog is to others.

You can find more advice about UK dog laws, including when out in a public place at https://www.gov.scot/publications/code-practice-welfare-dogs/pages/9/

Camping with your dog

Have your holiday plans this summer taken on a different look and feel? Are you swapping sunbeds and sand for…well, a field? Camping and caravanning is the holiday trend for summer 2020. Many campsites are fully prepared to safely cater for families over the coming months and the great news is, many are happy to welcome our dogs too!

If this is the first time you’ve camped with your dog, this checklist might be a useful reminder about what to pack.

Food

Keep things simple and take your dog’s usual food with you. Avoid feeding your dog barbecue or picnic scraps as they could cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhoea.

Bedding

Both tents and caravans can get chilly at night so it’s a good idea to pack extra layers for your dog. An insulated camping mat covered with a couple of blankets makes an ideal dog bed. The ground can feel hard and uncomfortable, especially if your dog has arthritis, so the more padding the better. Cushions from deckchairs could double up as your dog’s bed.

Shade

The temperature inside a tent can change rapidly; it can be freezing during the night and stiflingly hot during the day. Make a dog shade by attaching an awning or a porch to the outside of your tent or caravan. Some dogs love to lie on a cooling mat; these provide an easily transportable cool surface for your dog.

Water

Just as you would at home, take plenty of water and a small bowl with you when you head out for the day with your dog.

Stake-out

Campsites usually ask you to keep your dog on a lead and be considerate of other campers. Metal stakes are widely available specifically for this purpose. They anchor into the ground and provide a secure place to tether your dog safely away from cars, bikes and children.

Dog identification tags can tarnish over time; check your dog’s tag is easy to read and your phone number is up to date.

Vaccinations and parasite control

Give us a call if your dog’s vaccinations aren’t up to date; we can advise you whether it’s OK to wait or get you booked in before you go. Make sure your dog has been wormed recently too as there are often many dogs sharing the same toileting facilities (usually a designated field).

Medication

If your dog has long term medication, make sure you have enough for your trip. Let us know if you need to order more and we’ll check you have everything you need.

Vets

If you’re travelling out of the area, it’s useful to find the phone number of a local vet. Hopefully you won’t need them but if your dog does become unwell, it’s one less thing to worry about. If you do need to see a vet while you’re away, we can email them with any clinical information they need to help them treat your dog.

Insurance

Take the details of your dog’s policy with you; this will save time and give you peace of mind if you do need a vet while you’re away.

 

Camping with your dog might be the start of a whole new way of holidaying for your family?! It could also convince you to start booking next year’s beach holiday ASAP- either way it’s likely to be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

If you need any advice about holidaying with your dog, please give us a call.

Grass seed dangers to cats and dogs

Grass seeds are a common problem during the spring and summer months and can easily brush off the tops of long grass stems onto your pet’s body whilst they explore the outdoors. The seeds have pointed ends and are exceptionally sharp. They become trapped in your pet’s fur and, due to their shape, they can only travel in one direction, meaning they can often penetrate skin or move into ears.

If left untreated, grass seeds can cause a variety of problems from minor irritation to conditions that require surgery. They carry bacteria which can cause an infection if the skin of your pet is affected.

An untreated infection may spread, or the seed can cause severe internal damage as it travels through the body. Unfortunately, if the seed breaches the skin, surgery is often required to find the grass seed, along with the use of antibiotics and antifungals for treatment.

Symptoms

Your pet could experience different symptoms depending on what part of the body is affected. Look out for swelling, hair matting and irritation, however additional signs can include scratching, head shaking or discharge from the eyes or nose. The table below provides more detail on the main symptoms and potential damage caused by grass seeds:

Prevention is the best cure

Try to keep your pet away from long grassy areas since the seeds can catch onto their coat, skin or toes very easily. When you take your pet outdoors for a walk, check their fur for any grass seeds when you get home. The typical areas to check are eyes, ears, nose, armpits and their toes – as this is where the seeds often get lodged. Keep long-haired dogs clipped and well-groomed, especially around their feet and ears.

If you are concerned that your pet may have picked up a grass seed please get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity so that we can advise you on what to do.

Greenside Vets COVID-19 Update – 1st July Update

Please note, as of 1st July, we are able to offer additional services for our patients, while still adhering to COVID-19 social distancing rules. Any additional services we can offer will depend on a risk assessment which considers the safety of our clients and teams along with the welfare of your pet.

As a practice, we have been preparing for how we will work in the ‘new normal’. We will be providing the same high-quality services, with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a slightly different way.

We are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and therefore lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.


Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe, we are currently not allowing clients into the building as part of routine visits. When you book an appointment, we will confirm the arrangement for when you arrive and will advise on how we’re maintaining social distancing.

We are taking payment via remote payment links in addition to the usual methods.

 

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.