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February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month (NPDHM). We should be looking after our pet’s dental health as well as we do our own all the time but February is a time to take stock and make sure we are doing the best we can. It is estimated that up to 80% of cats and dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease. This is due to many factors, lack of tooth cleaning, diet, treats and shape of the mouth are some of them.

We can scale and polish teeth, removing any diseased ones.

We can scale and polish teeth, removing any diseased ones.

Pets mouths suffer from the same problems as our own, and regular cleaning is essential to keep the gums and teeth healthy. This will avoid pain, smelly breath and eating problems but also poor mouth hygiene can allow bacteria to get into the blood stream and these can settle out in other organs and cause problems, some of which can be quite serious. For instance, bacteria from dental disease can cause heart and lung problems as well as kidney infection.

Tooth brushing is the best way to keep on top of your pet’s teeth, but it isn’t always easy and if your pet resents it a lot it can cause stress to both you and your cat or dog. There are many other clever ways of helping, most are not as good as brushing but they all help. So there are tooth cleaning biscuits such as Hills T/D, chews and mouth washes, also a solution you add to your pet’s water and various gels which act as a mouth disinfectant. The important thing is to find a combination that you and your pet find easy to do and which is also effective.

Don’t forget rabbits, guinea pigs and other species can also get dental problem.

Free Dental Health Check Up!

Here at Withy Grove we have always offered a FREE dental check up where we can examine your pet’s mouth and talk about ways to keep it clean. You can take advantage of this complimentary service at any time but February is a good time to assess what you are doing. If you would like to make an appointment you can do so here, or give us a ring on 01772 330103. We also have a page on our website discussing Dental care in more detail, you can access it here.

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Poisons Put Preston Pets in Peril, As 95% of Vets Report Cases

It is important for pet owners to guard against poisoning perils.

The British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey (a biannual survey of vets and vet students) showed 95% of North West companion animal vets had seen cases of ingestion of poisons or other toxic incidents over the last year.

Across the UK, vets saw on average one case of poisoning every month, with chocolate (89%), rat poison (78%) and grapes (60%) the most common poisons that vets had treated.

Other poisons involved in the cases vets had seen included:

  • Human non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as high-dose aspirin (57%)
  • Antifreeze (47%)
  • Lilies (43%)
  • Slug pellets (41%)
  • Accidental overdose of prescribed veterinary medicines (34%)
  • Inappropriate application of permethrin (flea treatment) (30%)
  • Paracetamol (26%)
  • Adder bites (21%)
  • Mouldy food (10%)
  • Detergent (10%)
  • Blue green algae (8%)
  • Other medicines, such as antidepressants or nicotine products (9%)
  • Recreational drugs (4%)

Sleeping Dog

Other less common cases involved xylitol poisoning from chewing gum, poisoning from wild mushrooms and fungi, as well as horse worming products ingested by dogs.

Veterinary practices are joining forces with BVA and the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) to alert owners to the risks of poisons to pets and offer advice about how to protect pets and what to do if they suspect their animal has been poisoned. AWF’s ‘Pets and Poisons’ leaflet is available to download at http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet-care-advice/pets-and-poisons .

Vets know that sometimes owners can take every precaution and accidents still happen.

BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said:

“These findings from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show how common

incidents of pet poisoning are and underline that owners must be vigilant especially with

prying pets. The top five poisoning cases seen by vets include foods that are not toxic to

humans but which pose a significant risk to pets such as dogs, like chocolate and grapes,

alongside other toxic substances such as rat poison and antifreeze. Owners can take steps

to avoid both perils – keep human food away from and out of reach of pets and make sure

other toxic substances and medicines are kept securely locked away in pet-proof containers

and cupboards.”

Withy Grove Veterinary Clinic has access to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) which provides 24-hour advice for veterinary professionals on the diagnosis and management of poisoned animals.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested or come into contact with any harmful substance you should contact us immediately on 01772 330103 for advice.

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Other things which may be poisonous to pets include;

  • Chocolate and liquorice (common Christmas gifts)
  • Raisins and sultanas (used in Christmas cake recipes)
  • Certain nuts (especially peanuts and Macadamia nuts)
  • Xylitol-sweetened foods
  • Onions, avocados and grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Plants including lilies (and daffodils)
  • Cleaning and DIY products such as white spirit and lubricating oils
  • Car anti-freeze
  • Human medicines

Substances with low toxicity that could cause drooling, vomiting or diarrhoea include:

  • Blu-tack or other similar adhesives (used to put up decorations)
  • Charcoal and coal
  • Cut-flower and houseplant food
  • Expanded polystyrene foam (used for present packing)
  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia (common Christmas plants/decorations)
  • Matches
  • Wax candles and crayons
  • Silica gel (found in packaging)
christmas pet risks

Christmas risks for pets

Keep that yule log far away from your dog!

Christmas truly is a wonderful time of the year. Families come together, to feast and laugh, and continue traditions through generations with our furry friends by our side. We often have a huge array of delicious yuletide treats that have been a part of Christmases for generations in our family, and would be sorely missed if omitted from the table.

Whilst it’s a struggle to refrain from ‘just one more’ Christmas treat ourselves, it’s even harder to resist our pet’s puppy dog eyes, but we all must. Many ingredients commonly used in Christmas cooking can be really dangerous for animals, and can lead to severe illnesses and on the most unfortunate occasions, fatalities. Alarmingly, the RSPCA has reported in previous years that roughly 25% of pet owners intended to “treat” their pet to a full Christmas dinner!

Christmas Dinner

A regular feature on a Christmas table is turkey, which frequently causes animals stomach upsets if consumed. Turkey is a very rich meat, and even in small amounts can lead to stomach cramping and diarrhoea, but more importantly watch out for turkey bones and carcass. Turkey bones are brittle, and often splinter and shatter as opposed to crumbling into edible pieces. This makes them a real danger to pets, as shards of bone can get caught in animals’ mouths or digestive tracts and can require surgery for removal.

Another common Christmas food to keep well away from your animal is stuffing. Stuffing almost always contains garlic and onion, both of which are poisonous to cats and dogs and cause severe stomach upsets. They also contain toxins that attack your animal’s red blood cells which can lead to anaemia, so make sure you keep this out of their bowl as well.

Lots of people ask us about chocolate. Chocolate being poisonous to dogs is not a myth – it is certainly poisonous, and can have some really nasty effects on your dog. It can lead to tremors, seizures, and fatalities. Whilst Christmas is often a time for us to indulge in choccy treats, you need to be really careful to keep chocolate out of your pet’s reach.

Alcohol

Alcohol also needs to be added onto the list. The negative effect of alcohol on our animal’s body is not known about enough. Animals aren’t able to metabolise alcohol in the same way as humans, making it potentially deadly. Pets, especially cats, are often drawn to milky alcoholic drinks such as Baileys or egg nog which are often seen at Christmas time, so due care needs to be taken to make sure that they are only enjoyed by humans.

At Withy Grove, we offer a huge range of animal friendly treats, which can be given in place of dangerous Christmas foods. With these treats and following the above guidelines on Christmas snacks, you can make sure you have a jolly Christmas and keep your furry friends happy and healthy.

If you’d like any more information on food safety for your animals, don’t hesitate to pop into the Withy Grove practice, or call our friendly team on 01772 330103. It could be a question that saves your pet’s life.