Once all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and you’ve had time to decompress, you will be able to consider whether adding a new small furry pet to your family is a wise decision. Our team at Avenues Vets want to make your decision a little bit easier by providing potential new pet owners in Lanarkshire information on each small furry pet!
What to know about owning a small furry pet
Don’t let their physical size fool you – small furry pets require a lot of time but in return, they will provide you with loving companionship and hours of fun every day.
Before you decide on which small furry pet could join your family, make sure you have discussed their care regime and responsibilities. As well as daily fresh food and water, your pet will also need regular enclosure cleaning, enrichment, and exercise – all of which must be tailored to the individual pet and their needs. You must invest into a safe and secure enclosure for them and keep on top of preventative care to ensure your small furry pet will stay happy and healthy.
Families with small children will also have to take extra care when it comes to handling and exercising their small furry pet – as pure as their intentions may be, sometimes younger children are rougher when it comes to handling and they could easily injure your pet.
The veterinary team at Avenues Vets urge those who are considering a small furry pet to do plenty of research on the care needs of that pet before purchasing. This way, you can set up the perfect environment for them before they even arrive at your home!
Popular small furry pets
Here are some of the most popular small furry pets we treat at our Glasgow clinic. For more information on any of these pets, contact us on 0141 643 0404 and we can arrange a discussion with one of our knowledgeable and experienced veterinary nurses.
Rabbits are popular pets and can be kept both indoors and outdoors. They need ample space, social interaction, and proper care to thrive. While rabbits can be great family pets, they often have delicate spines and can become stressed by improper handling, which can lead to injuries. They require careful and gentle interaction.
Guinea pigs are sociable and vocal animals that enjoy interaction. The Avenues Vets’ veterinary nurses advise that they require spacious enclosures and should ideally be kept in pairs or groups. They will definitely keep you entertained with their range of noises!
Different species of hamsters, such as Syrian hamsters and Dwarf hamsters, are popular choices. They are relatively low-maintenance and can be kept in cages. Some dwarf hamster species, such as Roborovski hamsters, are incredibly small and quick, making them difficult for young children to handle safely without accidentally injuring or losing them.
According to our pet-loving team at Avenues Vets, gerbils are active and social animals that thrive in pairs or small groups. They require a larger cage with plenty of space for burrowing and digging.
Pet mice are known for their playful and curious nature. They require a secure enclosure and social interaction.
Domestic rats are intelligent and friendly pets that can form strong bonds with their owners. They need socialisation, mental stimulation, and a larger cage. Did you know that pet rats are called ‘fancy rats’?
Share photos of your ‘fancy rats’ on our Facebook page and make our day!
Ferrets are energetic and inquisitive pets that require mental and physical stimulation. They need a specialised diet and regular playtime, but their energy levels might be overwhelming for young children.
Chinchillas are known for their soft fur and playful personalities. They require specialised care, including dust baths and proper nutrition. Chinchillas have delicate bones and are easily stressed by loud noises or rough handling, which may not be suitable for young children.
Degus are social and active animals that require companionship and a larger cage with opportunities for climbing and exploration. They can be sensitive to handling and may not be suitable for young children who might not understand their needs.
Please note: many of these small furry pets are social animals, which means you will have to think about pet neutering or only keeping pets of the same sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Our vets can advise on neutering and other care for small furry pets. Contact our team on 0141 643 0404 for more information.
Keeping our feline friends happy this winter can seem a little tricky. Our experienced cat loving vet Nicola Armstrong and the team at Avenues Vets have pulled together the best advice on all the things your cat needs to be happy in the colder months – keep reading below.
Nicola also has a bonus ‘Festive Happy Cat Guide’ for you to download! As well as winter weather related issues that can affect your cat’s mood, Christmas can be a time of hazards and stress for them too. Take a look at The Avenues Vets’ guide on:
Top tips for keeping your cat happy this winter
Vet Nicola Armstrong wants owners to know that their cat’s behaviour may be affected once the weather starts to get colder. This often comes hand-in-hand with changes in routine which can leave your cat feeling a little down in the dumps. The 3 main aspects to provide are warmth, stimulation, and comfort. Nicola has sat down with the clinical team at Avenues Vets and collated their advice below – contact us on 0141 643 0404 if you would like to discuss your cat’s health and behaviour with us.
Keep your house at a comfortable temperature and use a safe method of heating if leaving your cat unattended. Open fires and gas fires can be very dangerous for pets home alone.
Letting in sunlight through the windows will improve your cat’s mood! Nicola often hears stories of how the windowsills of your home are your cat’s favourite napping spots!
Avoid cold draughts
If your cat has a resting spot, make sure they’re away from draughty areas. If there is a cold draught, try investing in a draught excluder or seal for your door/window to keep the heat in.
Invest in some toys for your cat that mimic prey movement to keep their brain active. Nicola emphasises the importance of making sure you put aside time to play with your cat this winter.
Engage their senses
Puzzle toys, scratching posts, and interactive feeders will help to keep your cat entertained.
Making time to groom your cat over winter can help them feel pampered and act as a distraction to spending more time indoors. It also allows you to remove excess fur and debris to prevent matting and keep them happy.
Provide climbing spaces
Cats often defy gravity when it comes to climbing, so indoors it shouldn’t be any different! Nicola recommends installing high-up shelves near windows so they can watch the world go by from above!
Rotating their toys will help to prevent boredom this winter.
Cosy sleeping spots
In your cat’s usual sleeping spot, when temperatures drop think about adding in a soft blanket and maybe a heat pad. This will keep them toasty and happy.
Maintain litter box hygiene
You may need to increase your litter box cleaning routine if your cat is spending more time indoors. Make it clean and comfortable for them to help keep them healthy.
Along with the above, Vet Nicola Armstrong recommends ensuring your feline friend always has access to fresh water and monitoring their food intake over winter – you can ask our team about seasonal changes to nutrition needs for cats.
Plus, regular vet check-ups throughout the year will help to make sure they are not developing any underlying health conditions that could be more prevalent in the colder months. To book a winter health check with Avenues Vets, contact us on 0141 643 0404 or book online.
Share these top tips with other cat owners in Lanarkshire and don’t forget to download our Festive Happy Cat Guide too!
Our veterinary team at Avenues Vets will often see recurring cases of a handful of winter dog health conditions, once the temperature starts to drop in Lanarkshire. To educate owners and help them spot the symptoms of these winter health conditions in their dog, our Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong has listed the five most common ailments we treat and how best to avoid them.
Share this article with other dog owners and download our Winter Warmer Guide for Dogs – a useful reference to keep on your phone this winter.
Five common health conditions we treat in winter
1. Respiratory infections
Over winter, many dogs in Lanarkshire will be spending more time in indoor locations due to the uncertain weather. This increase of indoor time and proximity to other dogs can lead to a spread of respiratory infections. Typical symptoms to look out for include sneezing, coughing and laboured breathing. Vet Nicola Armstrong wants owners to know that respiratory infections will often require a course of antibiotic treatment and other supportive management to resolve the infection.
Kennel Cough (Canine infectious respiratory disease) is one of the most common types of respiratory infections that affects all breeds and all ages, but can be particularly nasty for young, old, and unwell dogs. Kennel cough can be picked up anywhere that is frequented by other dogs, not just in kennels, and the best form of protection is an annual kennel cough vaccination.
2. Salt and chemical exposure
When the temperature drops enough for it to become icy, it is important owners understand that exposure to the salt or antifreeze used to melt both ice and snow can be toxic to dogs.
At Avenues Vets we often see cases where a dog has walked on a path which has been thawed using salt. They will then lick their paws, ingesting the salt and can become very sick. Look out for vomiting, diarrhoea and skin irritation and get into the habit of washing your dog’s paws and tummy with warm water following a walk. Also, maybe try to stick with the old-fashioned ice scraping method when it comes to defrosting your car as antifreeze is extremely poisonous for dogs (and cats).
Many dog breeds have adapted to winter weather. For example, winter in Lanarkshire is usually child’s play for huskies and Alaskan malamutes. But the finer breeds, and those bred typically for hotter climates, will struggle in the colder temperatures. Nicola advises that hypothermia often occurs in dogs when their fur becomes wet, or they are exposed to cold temperatures for a long period of time. Symptoms of hypothermia in dogs include shivering, lethargy, and difficulty walking.
Hypothermia is extremely dangerous for dogs; if it isn’t treated promptly, it can cause the whole body to shut down, which is life-threatening.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, bring your dog inside and wrap them in a blanket – dry them first if they are wet. Contact us on 0141 643 0404 and then start to warm your dog up slowly, perhaps near a fire or using a heating pad. Our experienced team of Glasgow dog vets will be able to triage whilst a plan is put in place.
Nicola explains that frostbite occurs on dogs when they are exposed to cold temperatures for too long and the skin and tissue layers underneath can freeze. This is particularly common during winter in dogs with thin fur and exposed skin; symptoms include swelling and discolouration of the skin. Areas to monitor are the tips of the ears, tip of the tail and their paws. Avenues Vets will treat frostbite by slowly warming the affected area but care must be taken to not further damage the tissue.
If you suspect your dog may have frostbite, contact us straight away on 0141 643 0404.
5. Foreign body ingestion and toxicity
With winter comes the Christmas and New Year festivities. Vet Nicola knows this is a common time for alcohol and chocolate to be readily available in homes but urges owners to keep this out of reach of dogs (and other pets). Both chocolate and alcohol are toxic to dogs and cause severe poisoning. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, panting, restlessness, excessive urination, and a very high heart rate. Contact us immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic substance.
Christmas decorations can also be tempting for dogs to play with, often accidentally swallowing them. This may lead to emergency surgery so take extra care to only use appropriate decorations and monitor your dog to keep them safe.
Pre-winter health check
We recommend booking your dog in with our team for a thorough health check ahead of the colder weather so we can rule out any new underlying health conditions that could become painful for your pet.
The cold can often exacerbate a dog’s suffering caused by arthritis and joint pain. This will make exercising uncomfortable for your dog. Icy paths and muddy/snowy walks can be difficult for any dog to navigate, especially if they are struggling with a joint condition, and can result in injuries. The temperature can also increase viral infections so it’s worth ensuring your dog is up to date with their booster vaccinations – book now.
This pre-winter health check can help to ensure your pet is going into the cold festive season fighting fit and may help to identify health conditions that need treatment sooner rather than later. Contact us on 0141 643 0404 to book a health check for your dog, or book online, and don’t forget to download our helpful guide below.
2023 is nearly over and now is the perfect time to celebrate the bond you have with your pet rabbit. The nurses at Avenues Vets have a few recommendations to help you both enjoy the festive season and prepare for 2024! What better way to start the New Year than to book for a rabbit health check with us at Avenues Vets – call us on 0141 643 0404 or use our online booking system.
Treating your rabbit this Christmas
Spending quality time that you wouldn’t usually get, due to work or family commitments, would be a real treat for your bunny. Why not have a 5-minute cuddle or work on some Christmas-themed playtime for them. This helps them feel loved but also helps to keep them active and healthy.
You could also gift your bunny a present. A soft blanket or a new toy could provide them with comfort or stimulation and it’s a heart-warming moment watching them try to unwrap the wrapping paper!
Make Christmas treats for your bunny
Your rabbit would love trying some seasonal rabbit-safe treat recipes and our team at Avenues Vets would love to see pictures of your bunny’s tucking into their treats! Share a photo on our Facebook page.
Bunny friendly Christmas crackers
You will need:
- An old kitchen roll tube
- Spinach and kale
- Handfuls of fresh hay
- A handful of rolled oats
- Brussel sprout tops
All you need to do is stuff the cardboard tube with all of the ingredients above, allowing the hay and leafy greens to poke out of the end. Your bunny will have fun playing and nibbling at the treats – their very own version of a Christmas cracker!
Banana and carrot Christmas biscuits
You will need:
- Half a banana – mashed up
- One carrot – pureed
- 4 tablespoons of porridge oats
- 4 tablespoons of rabbit pellets
Blend the rabbit pellets and porridge oats together before adding in the mashed banana and pureed carrot. This will form a dough. Roll it out onto a surface and cut into biscuit shapes – maybe a Christmas themes cookie cutter would help here!
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then offer one to your bunny.
Reflect on 2023 together
As your rabbit’s primary caregiver, Christmas and New Year are the perfect time to think about what you achieved over the last year. Whether it was helping your bunny stay fit and healthy, or encouraging them to explore a new space, recognising these achievements will help you and your partnership with your rabbit feel all the more special. We always encourage rabbit owners in Lanarkshire to remember their achievements – why not write them down and put them somewhere near your bunny’s living environment so you can see them every day. You can also add to this list in 2024.
As well as the positive milestones you reached, what about the challenges you both faced? Could it be a health condition that was treated at Avenues Vets or a behavioural problem that you had to tackle together?
Setting a goal for the New Year will help to enhance your relationship. Such as teaching them new tricks or renovating their living space – what will you aim to achieve with your rabbit in 2024?
This time of reflection will really help to set you and your rabbit up for a good start to 2024. Our team at Avenues Vets wish you and your rabbit a Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you both in the New Year. Contact us on 0141 643 0404 if your rabbit needs veterinary treatment and don’t forget to book their New Year health check.
Here at Avenues Vets, we highly recommend booking your cat a pre-winter health check. To learn why, have a read of the article below from our Vet Nicola Armstrong.
How will a pre-winter health check benefit my cat?
With the dark nights, cold temperatures and seasonal festivities, winter can prove to be a stressful season for your cat. Cats with health issues and senior felines will feel the winter season more than their younger counterparts, however, identifying health issues ahead of the cold will help ensure your pet is prepared for the months ahead. Nicola advises that a pre-winter health check in autumn at Avenues Vets may cover the following:
Discuss your cat’s dietary changes
Spending more time indoors during the colder months will mean your cat needs to eat fewer calories to avoid gaining too much weight. As their activity levels have decreased, our experienced cat-loving nurses can help determine your cat’s winter feed dosages and our team will also recommend any changes they believe could benefit them.
Health review & annual vaccinations
Winter is the season when your cat will be more susceptible to viral infections. Nicola recommends that your cat is kept up-to-date with their cat flu immunisations – a health check appointment will allow your vet to discuss the benefits, check your cat’s clinical record and current health condition, and, if necessary, administer the vaccine.
Underlying health issues
Your cat could be suffering with an underlying health issue that may cause them pain once the temperatures drop. For example, arthritic cats will struggle more in colder weather so it’s a condition you may not notice in the runup to winter. If identified early, it will allow pain relief treatments to start ready for the cold weather to hit, so your cat’s symptoms can be managed effectively.
Dental health is essential all-year round, but your cat’s winter health check makes for the perfect opportunity for a dental exam. This will allow for prompt treatment ahead of the colder months and ensure your pet’s mouth is comfortable.
As owners, you want to make sure your cat is protected against fleas, ticks and internal parasites. Once it gets colder, they will undoubtedly be spending more time indoors with you, so if they’re not up to date with their parasite prevention you may find yourself with a flea infestation! Chat to our experienced team about what parasite prevention products we recommend at Avenues Vets.
To book your cat a pre-winter health check, contact us on 0141 643 0404.
As firework season gets underway, it’s important we help our small furry pets to get through as stress-free as possible. If you have a small furry pet that normally lives outside, then read on to understand what The Avenues Vets’ nursing team advise owners to organise ahead of firework displays in Lanarkshire.
If you have any questions then do not hesitate to ask us on our Facebook page, and please share this article to help other small furry pet owners in Lanarkshire.
Why does my small furry pet need to come inside during firework season?
There are a number of reasons why our Glasgow veterinary nurses recommend bringing your outdoor kept small furry pets inside when you know there will be firework displays. Once indoors, remember it is advised that you keep the curtains closed to shut out the bright lights and play soft background music or white noise to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
1. Noise sensitivity
Small furry pets have highly sensitive hearing which helps them to avoid predators in the wild. Due to the loud, sudden noises produced by fireworks, it can be extremely distressing. Our vet nurses want Lanarkshire pet owners to understand that exposure to loud noises can lead to anxiety and panic in small pets, which in turn then increases the risk of many life-threatening health conditions.
2. Your pet’s flight response
Your pet could be at risk of injury due to their natural ‘flight’ response. If your pet feels threatened or stressed, they could try to escape their cage/enclosure. Not only may they hurt themselves, but they could also become lost, becoming prey for other household pets or external animals, or potentially become involved in a road traffic accident.
3. Potential for injury
Fireworks can also cause physical harm to small animals. According our Glasgow veterinary nurses, if they are near the launch area or somewhere where debris could potentially land in their enclosure, so it is essential you move them indoors. With the risk of fire, injury, smoke inhalation and more, it is safer to bring your pets inside and reduce the risk of firework related injuries.
4. Risk of predators
Large firework displays often involve food, which can attract predators to the area. With scraps of food, bright lights and noises drawing them closer, this poses a threat to small furry pets living outdoors in close proximity to Lanarkshire firework displays.
5. Reduced comfort and security
Small pets rely on their own familiar environment for comfort and security – fireworks change this environment and disrupt their sense of safety. Making them safe and comfortable in an indoor cage would help keep them happy. If their current cage is too big to bring indoors, use familiar bedding, toys, and blankets so their indoor enclosure is like a home from home.
To discuss your own small furry pet with our team this firework season, contact Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404.
Why not share this article to help other small furry pets in Lanarkshire?
With firework season well underway, this often-stressful time may be useful in working out if your dog could have a noise phobia. Our team of dog loving vets at Avenues Vets want owners to be aware that there is a fine line between a normal fear response and a noise phobia, that can vary between animals. Read Veterinary Surgeon Nicola’s advice and talk to us about your dog’s reaction to fireworks.
How do I know if my dog has a noise phobia?
Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong wants Lanarkshire dog owners to know that it is perfectly natural, if unsettling, for your dog to be scared of fireworks due to the sudden loud noises they create. However, your dog may have an actual phobia of noise if their fear response becomes excessive. Some signs to look for are:
- Physical signs of stress, such as pacing, trembling or drooling
- Attempting to hide or seek out a safe space during the event
- Changes in habits – such as a change in appetite or going to the toilet in the house
- Persistent fear and anxiety long after the event has ended
- Destructive behaviour
- Attempting to escape – this could lead to injury
- Extreme fear and panic during firework displays, even if they are barely audible and distant
Help your pet cope with their noise phobia
Whilst firework displays are usually limited to certain times of year, if your dog’s noise phobia starts to affect them in their everyday life it is essential you contact Avenues Vets for help. If household noises or television noises starts to worry them, it can impact their quality of life. Early intervention and appropriate management strategies can help to keep them happy and feeling safe so book an appointment at our Glasgow surgery for your dog.
The needs of a senior cat are much different to those of their younger counterparts. Not only does their diet and exercise regime need to reflect their age, but their veterinary treatments and their daily care must also adapt to ensure they are kept comfortable and healthy during their twilight years.
For Pet Pain Awareness Month, Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong at Avenues Vets has highlighted below the main health concerns that start to affect older felines, along with ways that owners can help them to age well. To ensure your cat is in good condition, book an appointment with our experienced veterinary team. This will help to establish a baseline to work from as your cat ages.
Senior cats – how to know when they need extra help
As a general rule, our team at Avenues Vets recognise cats as geriatric/senior when they reach 7 years of age. Depending on their breed and lifestyle, this number can fluctuate but it is usual that at this stage in a cat’s life, we start to see a number of physical and behavioural changes day-to-day:
- Muscle loss – If your senior cat loses muscle mass, it may make them weak and less agile.
- Weight gain – Your cat’s metabolism slows down the older they get. Pair this with a less active lifestyle and your cat’s weight will start to increase.
- Joint pain – Cats suffering from joint pain will be reluctant to move around, meaning they will also experience muscle loss and weight gain as a direct result of this.
- Sensory changes – Vision and hearing loss become more common the older your cat becomes. This makes it difficult to assess their surroundings and continue their usual daily activities.
- Cognitive decline – Your senior cat may start to become confused or restless, both signs of feline cognitive dysfunction. This feline dementia can then add to the behavioural changes.
- Changes in habits – As an owner, it is important you recognise the changes your cat requires as they age. They may need more sleep than they used to and more/less food depending on their lifestyle. As well as becoming less active, they may also become less sociable, becoming withdrawn in situations their younger selves would have been inquisitive in.
The above changes can often be signs that your senior cat may be starting to develop underlying health conditions. Booking them in for a senior cat consultation allows us to examine them for things like dental disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems.
A vet health check will also help you tailor your cat’s daily routine, nutrition, and lifestyle for a healthy but slower lifestyle.
Updating your cat’s environment
Nicola recommends that as your cat becomes stiffer and less agile, you should adjust their living environment to increase their comfort levels. Depending on what your cat is used to, as they’re all different, you may need to consider:
- Litter trays with lower sides will allow your cat to comfortably get in and out.
- Putting food & water bowls on a slightly raised platform means less strain on their neck.
- Beds and hidey places at lower levels reduces the need for climbing & jumping.
- Radiator beds and beds by a fire (away from draughts) will be kinder on your cat’s joints.
- Baby gates may deter your cat from going up and down flights of stairs.
- Keeping windows closed or locked open slightly reduce the risk of your cat falling out.
- Replace any hard/sharp grooming tools with a soft brush for a gentler experience.
Book your senior cat an appointment with Nicola or any of our experienced cat vets today and we can get your ageing cat the specific care they need.
Although most common in senior dogs, did you know that canine arthritis can affect dogs of all ages?
The Avenues Vets’ team of experienced veterinary surgeons treat pets with arthritis every week and have put together this guide to help pet owners understand when they should intervene with veterinary attention.
Take our canine health assessment to see if your dog may be suffering from arthritis.
We’re also highlighting that September is Pet Pain Awareness Month and the ideal time to start monitoring your pet’s comfort levels.
What is canine arthritis?
Our Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong explains that canine osteoarthritis, commonly known as arthritis, is a degenerative condition that unfortunately has no cure. It causes the cartilage within your dog’s joints to deteriorate – this cartilage acts as cushioning between their bones so, when this cushioning becomes worn, it causes them pain as their joints move.
Canine arthritis is known to affect mostly older dogs; however, some younger dogs can suffer too. It is worth noting that most dog breeds become senior between the ages of 5 and 9 years old so you may start to notice signs of arthritis earlier than you may expect.
Spotting signs of arthritis in your dog
Some of the common signs of arthritis you may notice in your dog include limping, stiffness, and changes in mobility, demeanour and behaviour.
Download our health assessment quiz to work out if your dog may be showing signs of arthritis.
If it appears so, book an appointment with Nicola or any of The Avenues Vets’ experienced vets as soon as possible. Your vet will perform a physical examination, discuss what symptoms you have seen your dog exhibit, review their medical history and then possibly organise further diagnostic testing to ascertain how advanced the arthritis has become.
How will the vet treat your dog’s arthritis?
- Physical therapy – your vet may prescribe complementary therapies to help alleviate your dog’s pain. Hydrotherapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, gentle massage and different range-of-motion exercises can all help to improve your pet’s mobility and comfort levels.
- Medications – these will help to control your dog’s pain. Our vets may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Weight management – a balanced diet and regular exercise tailored to your dog’s needs will help to maintain a healthy weight, in turn reducing the stress on their joints. Low-impact exercises can help maintain muscle strength and joint flexibility.
- Supplements – your vet may recommend certain supplements to help support your pet’s joint health. Book an appointment to chat to them about what to look for in a supplement and how it could benefit your dog.
- Home management – ensuring your dog has a supportive bed and ramps to access rooms with stairs can help to relieve their joint pressure. Non-slip rugs and flooring can also help, as can mobility aids. Talk to our vets for more advice.
Booking your dog in at Avenues Vets regularly as they get older will help to keep on top of their healthcare and provide the support they need for their twilight years. With just a few changes, you could help your arthritic dog maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain comfortable.
Download our health assessment quiz today and help your dog battle arthritis.
Did you know that September is Pet Pain Awareness Month? Our team at Avenues Vets truly understand how distressing it can be to see your pet in pain. With cats and dogs, pain signs can be more obvious such as a lower posture or limping. However, small animals, such as guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, are much more obscure when it comes to showing signs of pain.
Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong has put together the following advice on how owners can closely monitor their small furry pet for indications they may not be feeling themselves.
Why do small furry pets hide their pain?
Hiding pain is a natural survival instinct for many small furry pets as, in the wild, they are prey animals. Showing signs of illness or injury could be very dangerous to a small animal, making them experts in hiding pain to make them less likely to be hunted. This adaptive instinct has been passed on to their domesticated counterparts, so your own pet will also try to hide when they feel under the weather.
What signs to look for
Loss of appetite
The team at Avenues Vets know that a loss of appetite can be an indicator for an undiagnosed medical condition that could need veterinary treatment. Chronic and acute pain can affect your pet’s ability to eat a nutritious meal and some of the conditions we diagnose from this symptom could be dental disease, diabetes and cancer amongst others.
Reduction/increase in water consumption
Monitoring the water consumption of your pet is a useful tool to work out whether they could be dehydrated or suffering from a condition that increases their thirst.
- Rabbits should consume approximately 50-150ml per kilogram of their body weight daily
- Guinea pigs should consume roughly 80-100ml of water per day
- Hamsters should drink 10-30ml of water per day
Note that this figure increases if your small furry pet is pregnant or lactating.
Aggression & behavioural changes
Becoming more aggressive is a sign of pain. Monitor your pet to see if they are scratching or biting more than usual and take precautions if so – an animal in pain will sometimes not distinguish between their kind human carer and something they can use as an outlet for pain control.
Being excessively jumpy or appearing nervous are both signs of behavioural changes that affect small furry pets. These can indicate pain but sometimes also appear when your pet is feeling stressed or unhappy. Book an appointment with The Avenues Vets’ veterinary team so we can help distinguish between pain or stress and start any necessary treatments.
If your small furry pet is crying, whimpering or screaming, contact us immediately. This is a sign your pet is distressed and could be in a large amount of pain.
Posture and movement changes
If your pet is hunched over, looks stiff or is exhibiting a different gait to usual, Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong wants owners to know that this is because of pain. Even just avoiding activities they usually love, such as running on their wheel or exploring the house, could be a sign that something may be affecting your small furry pet, such as arthritis or muscle/tendon strains. Contact our team on 0141 643 0404 to book an appointment with a vet.
Hiding in their environment
Hiding is another one of those evolutionary tactics that small animals have developed to disguise that they may be feeling pain. Hamsters instinctively burrow to protect themselves and other pets will also hide in their houses. Knowing your pet’s usual movements is essential in understanding whether they are acting differently to normal. Closely monitor your small furry pet and if they do seem to be hiding away, contact our team for more advice.
If you notice any of the signs above, it could mean your pet is in pain. Contact our team of experienced vets who will be able to assess your pet and make a diagnosis and treatment plan – ensuring they are back to their normal self in no time.