FAQ's for Dogs

My dog was due her booster vaccination two months ago but I forgot. Will she need to start the course again?

Most vaccinations against canine diseases require an annual booster to ensure immunity levels are maintained at a safe level. Some dogs will be immune for longer but we don't know which dogs. So if you don't revaccinate, you are running a risk that the vaccination will fail as immunity to disease fades. For some diseases boosters may only be needed every three to four years others annually. An annual visit to your vet will allow for a general health check and any necessary boosters to be given. Your dog should be fine if only lapsed by two months, so a simple booster will probably suffice, but it is a risk, ask your vet about the risk. For more information, see the vaccination factsheet.

My bitch is pregnant. How long are dogs pregnant for and when labour starts, will I need to do anything?

Bitches give birth after approximately nine weeks. Most whelping’s tend to be straightforward although breeding should be very carefully considered and researched some breeds are predisposed to complications which may need surgical intervention. Seek advice from your vet.

What happens if my pet gets sick during the night?

All vets must offer a 24 hour emergency service for their own clients either themselves or through a neighbouring practice with which they have an agreement, or through a dedicated emergency service locally with which they have an agreement. So if you need veterinary advice at any time, ring your own practice and they will answer the phone or have a message on whom else to contact in an emergency.

I have just bought a new puppy. Do I need to register with a vet straight away or wait until I need to see a vet?

It is advisable to enrol your new pet soon after you obtain it, and we would recommend that you get it examined even though it may seem perfectly OK to you. This gives you the opportunity to discuss vaccinations, worming, diet, neutering, parasite control, behaviour, puppy parties and socialisation of your new pet. Legally, to dispense any medicines including flea treatments and most wormers, the pet has to be registered and usually clinically examined beforehand. You also get the opportunity to meet your local veterinary health care team, and find out where to go and whom to ring if you have an emergency. Don't delay, get registered today.

My dog eats his faeces. Does it mean he isn't getting the right vitamins in his food?

Eating faeces is virtually always just a bad habit and not related to diet. However a habit it may be difficult to break, so prevention is better than cure. Take advice when your dog is just a puppy since this is when it usually starts.

My dog is overweight. Can this cause the same problems in dogs as it can in people?

Obesity is the most common canine 'disease' and is becoming more prevalent. It may predispose dogs to certain diseases like diabetes and pancreatitis, and ultimately decrease quality of life and reduce lifespan. This is a definite no-no! Overweight dogs are 68% more affected by Arthritis, 48% more affected by Diabetes and 51% are more affected by Cancer. However, obesity can be the result of a medical problem, so take advice.

My little two year old Yorkshire Terrier will only eat chicken. Is this OK?

A pure meat diet will lead to a calcium deficiency and a disease causing soft bone in both cats and dogs, so you must feed a balanced diet. This is best achieved by feeding a good quality complete pet food, which are very palatable. You may need to be firm with your pet initially as it is set in its ways. Consult one of the veterinary nurses, pet health counsellors or nutritional advisors at your local vets.

My dog keeps mounting cushions. What can I do to stop this embarrassing behaviour?

The simple answer may be to castrate a male dog, but mounting can be part of a complex behavioural disorder rather than simply 'being over sexed'. What is important is to nip this in the bud, so get advice quickly.

My dog has started to snap at me. Will he grow out of it? He's 9 months old.

If your dog has started to snap at you, then you must get advice at the earliest opportunity before the problem gets worse.

Can I cut my dog's nails?

The best way to keep dog's nails the right length is to give them plenty of exercise (health permitting). Exercise in fields makes them quite sharp and road work smoothes them off. It is normal to hear nails clicking on the road or otherwise they wouldn't wear down. This means that most dogs' nails are not too long and don't need clipping. Take advice before clipping nails as it can be very painful and will bleed if you get near the quick.

My new puppy keeps scratching his ears. Should I worry?

New puppies and kittens often are infected with ear mites, which can cause your pet to scratch its ears. It can be treated quite easily by your vet so ask about this at your first vaccination.

How often should I worm my pets?

Some canine worm eggs can infect people, but the eggs need to mature so it isn't the dog itself which is dangerous but where it has been to the toilet if this has not been cleaned up. Worming dogs is for public health reasons and poop scooping is essential in your own garden and in public places. Worms can also affect puppies and kittens as well as adult cats and dogs, and as a general rule, all dogs and cats should be wormed every three months. Puppies and kittens will need worming more often and make sure you use an effective and safe wormer that protects against lung worm found in slugs, snails and grass as if left undetected can be fatal (cannot be passed on to humans) lives in the major blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs and heart.

Ask your vet about that.