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.
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.
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.
September is a busy time for many parents as they get their kids ready for another term of school homework and tests. But what about pet parents? Do you regularly ‘school’ your canine companions and test their intelligence?
Here at Avenues Vets, we understand just how smart dogs can be and not only that, most dogs are eager to learn and enjoy a challenge!
Our team have created the ultimate tests to really see just how clever your dogs are. Download our dog tests below:
Why not let us know how your dog gets on? Share some photos or a video on our Facebook page – our favourites will be shared with other pet owners in Lanarkshire!
Learning is fun!
Teaching your dog new tricks isn’t just good for boosting their cognitive skills, it’s also good for enrichment and fun. Dogs enjoy new challenges and pleasing their owners, especially for treats!
As well as our ‘not to be missed’ downloadable Clever Dog Tests, you might also like to spend quality time with your dog seeing how they get on with these skills:
- Basic obedience: Test your dog’s ability to follow commands such as sit, stay, come, and roll over. Dogs that are quick to learn and execute these basic commands are often more intelligent and trainable.
- Puzzle toys: Provide your dog with interactive puzzle toys that require problem-solving skills to access the treats or toys inside. Dogs that are able to figure out these toys quickly demonstrate good spatial awareness and cognitive flexibility.
- Social intelligence: Observe how your dog interacts with other dogs, animals and humans. Dogs that are able to communicate effectively and appropriately with others demonstrate strong social intelligence.
- Novelty response: Introduce your dog to new objects, sounds, or situations and observe how they react. Dogs that are curious and confident in new situations demonstrate strong cognitive flexibility and adaptability.
Remember that every dog is different. Some may excel with these tests whilst some may struggle – your dog’s uniqueness means that their intelligence can show in many different ways.
Use these tests as a fun way to play with your dog – don’t forget to download the PDF to share with other dog owners!
The veterinary team here at Avenues Vets regularly sees similar cases, year after year, once the summer months roll around. Our Vet Nicola Armstrong discusses below some of the most common conditions that can affect your pet with advice on how to avoid these and keep your pet healthy.
When exercising your pet, the outside temperature isn’t the only thing you should think about; your dog’s breed, coat type, anatomy, health, and activity levels should all be considered.
As a general rule of thumb, all dogs should avoid exercising during the hottest part so of the day when it’s reaches upwards of 20 degrees Celsius. However, our Vet Nicola Armstrong asks owners of large breeds, overweight dogs, older dogs, overly active dogs, thick coated or brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds to be aware that these dogs may suffer more and in lower temperatures too.
Heatstroke is not just limited to the summer months; however, it is much more likely to affect your pet when it’s warm.
Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body cannot cope with the rise of their internal temperature, this in turn starts to damage their soft tissues and organs. In fatal cases, these damaged organs will fail, causing death. Be vigilant with your pet’s summer management and keep a close eye on them for the following symptoms: vomiting, panting, lethargy and your pet collapsing.
Your dog may suffer from dehydration if they do not consume enough water. Whether this is because they are overactive, they are not big drinkers, or they could be suffering from an undiagnosed, underlying health condition, if your dog becomes dehydrated, they will need veterinary attention. Treatment usually involves fluids being given intravenously to quickly replace any they have lost and a course of antibiotics, anti-pain medication and anti-sickness medication may also be prescribed.
In general, dogs should consume daily approximately 50-60ml of clean water per kilogram of their body weight. For example, a 10kg dog should be consuming 500 – 600ml of water a day.
Keeping an eye on your pet’s drinking habits in the summer is a good way to reduce the risk of dehydration. Symptoms to look out for are a dry nose, loss of appetite, dry gums, loss of skin elasticity and in more severe cases, sunken eyes and your dog may collapse.
Top tip from our team: Add some water to your dog’s meals to encourage them to take in more fluids.
Many owners who are registered with Avenues Vets always seem shocked that their dog can suffer from sunburn. The most commonly affected areas are noses, ears and other exposed areas not protected by fur.
If your dog’s ear tips are dry, cracked or misshapen, or you spot ulcers, wounds or rashes on your pet, they could be suffering from sunburn. If your dog becomes severely sunburnt, they may seem generally unwell or may have a slight fever.
We often have to treat pets for infections that have developed at the sunburn site. Head Vet Nicola Armstrong warns all dog owners to look out for skin blistering or/and pus oozing from the site – if this is the case, your dog will need emergency veterinary intervention to help get on top of the infection promptly.
The easiest way to avoid sunburn is to keep your pet out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and invest in a pet-safe sunscreen.
4. Summer parasites
During the warmer months, pet parasites are often more active, resulting in a higher risk of disease for your dog. The concentration of ticks usually increases due to the natural increase in dog footfall at common areas, such as the park or local woodland. These carry a number of diseases, but the most common disease affecting both dogs and humans, is Lyme Disease. Fleas also love to thrive in warm, yet damp conditions – so the warmer months when your dog is hot, and the weather is humid, is when you should be on high alert for potential flea infestations.
Keeping your dog up to date with their parasitic treatments throughout the year will help to keep them safe and reduce the need for veterinary treatment this summer. Contact us about parasite prevention.
Other seasonal parasites, such as horse flies and mosquitos are seen during the summer and autumn months and can bite both dogs and humans alike. This can sometimes cause dangerous allergic reactions which may need to be treated by a vet. Always keep an eye on your pet for any new lumps and bumps they may have and contact us if you notice anything unusual.
5. Poisonous plants
Nicola Armstrong warns that as beautiful as some garden plants become in the summer, many of them are toxic to dogs when ingested. For example, foxgloves and lilies contain cardiac glycoside toxins, which will interfere with the electrolyte balance in your dog’s heart muscles which can be fatal. Symptoms include, tremors, seizures, nausea, drooling, dilated pupils, and your vet will be able to detect abnormalities when listening to your pet’s heart.
Always monitor your dog whilst they are outside and contact us immediately if you suspect your dog could have ingested something poisonous.
6. Open water
If your dog loves open water, Avenues Vets understands that they will definitely want to go swimming once summer is here. However, as an owner, it is important to consider the safety of your pet before they even begin paddling. Hidden hazards underneath the water could cause your pet injury, and open water may be subject to currents and undercurrents. Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) is usually found in lakes, ponds and streams around the UK and is toxic to dogs. It’s not always visible so can be a big risk even if the water looks safe.
Ingesting either sea water or water containing cyanobacteria is a big contributor to dehydration – after ingesting the water, dogs will often experience vomiting or diarrhoea. Always ensure you have fresh drinking water to hand for your dog.
Ear infections and skin irritations from sand are also two other conditions we tend to treat in the summer. Always make sure you thoroughly hose your dog with fresh water after any type of swimming and invest in a veterinary approved ear rinse solution.
7. Barbeques and fireworks
Even with our unpredictable British weather, most people in the UK will attend a barbeque over summer. However, taking your pet could put them at risk.
As well as the risk of burning, many BBQ dishes contain sauces high in levels of salt/sugar, garlic or onion, both of which are toxic to dogs. Foods high in salt/sugar are contributors to kidney failure and salt can also cause dehydration. Furthermore, the different cooking method may upset your dog’s stomach whilst large pieces of meat could lead to obstruction or choking – both needing veterinary help.
Fireworks, festivals and other outdoor celebrations near to where you live could frighten your dog. Chat to our team here at Avenues Vets to discuss what options are available to help your pet cope with their fear of loud noises.
Book a consultation with one of our vets to discuss any of the risks listed above. If you believe your pet is suffering from one of these conditions, call Avenues Vets immediately on 0141 643 0404.
Share this advice with other dog owners using the share buttons in this article.
When it’s hot outside in Lanarkshire, it’s essential to take extra precautions to ensure your dog’s safety and wellbeing. Below are some fun and safe activities, as advised by The Avenues Vets’ dog-loving nursing team, you can do with your dog to keep them active and engaged while staying cool.
How hot is too hot for dogs we hear you ask?
Vet Nicola Armstrong advises,
- Above 19 degrees Celsius can cause your dog to overheat and become dehydrated
- Above 25 degrees Celsius is too hot for dog walks
- 22 degrees Celsius in a car could reach 47 within the hour
However, some dogs, perhaps if they are overweight, have lots of fur or have health issues, may struggle in lower temperatures.
We also have a helpful guide on what not to do with your dog in the heat – download our infographic and remember to share it with your friends and family.
7 Dog Activities for Hot Weather
- Swimming: If your dog loves the water, swimming is an excellent activity to keep them cool and active. You can take your dog to a dog-friendly beach or pool or set up a (supervised) paddling pool in your garden. We’d love to see photos of your dog enjoying a splash about – go ahead and share them on our Facebook page!
- Indoor Playtime: When it’s too hot to play outside in Lanarkshire, bring the fun indoors. You can set up an obstacle course or play hide and seek with your dog.
- Frozen Treats: Make some homemade frozen treats for your dog to enjoy. You can freeze some of their favorite treats or dog-safe fruit in ice cubes or create a DIY dog-friendly ice cream.
- Morning/Evening Walks: When planning your dog’s daily walks, Vet Nicola Armstrong recommends opting for early morning and/or evening walks when it’s cooler outside. Dogs won’t die from missing a few walks, but they could easily die from heatstroke…
- Interactive Toys: Interactive toys, such as treat-dispensing puzzles, can keep your dog mentally stimulated and engaged while they stay cool inside.
- Shade and Rest: Make sure your dog has plenty of shade and access to cool water when they’re outside. Encourage them to rest and take breaks when they need it.
- Grooming: Keep your dog’s coat well-groomed to prevent heat retention. Regular brushing can help remove excess fur and keep your dog’s skin healthy. With most dogs loving a good brushing and extra attention from their favourite humans, Nicola suggests that grooming will be a bit hit with your pet!
Remember to always keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour and look out for signs of heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy. By taking these precautions and engaging in fun and safe activities, you and your dog can enjoy the summer while staying cool and comfortable.
Also, remember to check out The Avenues Vets’ guide on,
Getting a new puppy is one of the most exciting experiences life has to offer and it is an amazing feeling when you become a pet parent. However, it is common for new owners to underestimate their newfound responsibilities when taking good care of a puppy.
Vet nurses at our Glasgow practice are here to help you through your journey, giving advice on socialisation, diet, training, exercise, and visits to the vet.
Check out their list of essential needs below and download our handy Puppy Socialisation Checklist:
Everything your new puppy needs
In the first three months of a puppy’s life, they go through what is known as their ‘socialisation period’. This is an important stage because they begin to learn about the environment around them as well as learn what correct behaviour looks like. This will set them in good stead for socialising, having a good temperament around people and other animals, and can even make dog walking more pleasant.
Our nursing team recommend that to begin with, friendly, vaccinated adult dogs are the best companions for your new puppy when they come home with you as they can let off some steam, learn canine social cues, and build confidence around other dogs. If you have a cat in your home, when introducing your puppy, keep them on a lead and allow the cat to have an escape route; it is often very stressful for a cat to have a new, hyperactive puppy in their home.
Our team have put together a handy Puppy Socialisation checklist that covers lots of experiences for your new pet; download it here:
Nutrition is of the upmost importance when you are looking after a new puppy to ensure optimal growth, development of their physical systems, and overall welfare as they get older.
When buying pet food from the supermarket or a company online, make sure to look at the information label. Here you will find what age group the food is designed for, dry matter percentage, and how many calories are in the serving, amongst more detail about protein and other nutrients. If you have any queries involving diet, do get in touch with our team at Glasgow by calling 0141 643 0404.
Training and exercise
Training and exercise should be worked into your furry friend’s day-to-day routine, so they get into a habit of exhibiting good behaviour. Training should encourage and support sustainable toileting, sleeping arrangements, them getting used to being alone in the house, and conduct around food, people and other animals.
As for exercise, our Head Nurse Linsey advises it is important that puppies go for a walk every day, but there are different lengths of time for different ages and breeds. Not only will this let them expel some energy whilst developing a healthy respiratory and musculoskeletal system, it will also allow them to explore new scents and environments.
Contact us to ask advice on how much exercise your age and breed of puppy requires.
When you bring your puppy home, you need to know if they are vaccinated, have any gastrointestinal parasites, or if they have a runny nose or cough. If they are vaccinated and free from illness, then they can socialise with other animals.
Puppies will usually be vaccinated and microchipped at 8 weeks old and then vaccinated again at 12 weeks to boost their immunity, but other protocols may be followed depending on the breed. You should also bring your puppy to our Glasgow vet practice to get an overall health check and set up a plan for booster vaccinations, parasite control, get advice on nutrition, and to ask any questions about puppy rearing.
Overall, the first few months you have with your puppy are crucial for creating a suitable routine and for developing a precious bond to ensure both you and your pet live happy lives together.
Spring is in the air and with the warmer and wetter weather parasites, like worms, become much more prevalent. With that in mind, we’re encouraging The Avenues Vets’ clients to make sure their dogs are up to date with worming tablets and if their cover has lapsed, to make an appointment at our Woodside Avenue surgery. When you come in our nurses can advise you on the best products to keep worms at bay.
Follow our simple worm prevention checklist
Our head nurse Linsey has highlighted a simple three-step process to help you help your dog avoid worms. They have also put together a reminder, in the form of a simple PDF poster, for you to download, print, share & keep. Follow our simple advice and you’ll stand a very good chance of saving your dog a lot of worm-based hassle.
1. Prevent – Make sure you worm your dog regularly
This is the most effective way to protect your pet, but you must use medication that is appropriate for your dog. Never share wormers between dogs as they are pet specific.
2. Check – Know the signs of worms and check your dog regularly
Download our PDF to get all the details. Linsey has also added a few pointers at the end of this article.
3. Avoid – Avoid common ways that worms are contracted
Things like dog faeces, fleas, slugs & snails, and dead host animals can all carry parasitic worms. Help your dog avoid these and you’ll minimise the chances of them contracting a worm infestation.
Download our detailed checklist
Now download the infographic, it’s got all the detail you need in an easy-to-understand format. Please feel free to either share it with other dog owners, we’re very happy for you to post this on your preferred social media channel. Or just print it out and pin it up somewhere until spring is over.
Know the signs of worms and act early
We’d encourage any dog owner to make themselves familiar with the signs of worm infestations. Below, we have listed the main types of worms we tend to see at Avenues Vets along with the symptoms one might expect to see with each.
- Tapeworms: You may notice individual segments of these flat worms that look like grains of rice in your dog’s faeces or on their anus, ‘scooting’ their bottom on the ground, and weight loss.
- Hookworms: Pale gums, anaemia, weight loss, weakness, bloody diarrhoea, itchy paws, poor growth – can be fatal.
- Roundworms: Rice or spaghetti-like worms in faeces, vomiting, diarrhoea, swollen and painful belly, weakness, dull coat, and weight loss.
- Whipworms: Diarrhoea, bloody stools, anaemia, and weight loss.
- Lungworm: Weight loss, difficulty breathing, coughing (with blood), lethargy, unexplained bruising and bleeding, seizures, collapse, shock, blindness – can be fatal.
If you see or suspect your pet has any of these, we suggest you call us for advice and to book an appointment.
It’s pet dental health month so the team at Avenues Vets in Lanarkshire have devised six simple checks that every dog owner should be doing between vet visits.
We’ve also created a Dog Dental Health Checklist for you to download and keep. Use this to brush-up on your dog’s dental routine now and if you spot anything that concerns you, book a dental check up immediately.
All dog owners in Lanarkshire need to know how important it is to keep on top of their dog’s oral health. Infections caused by gum disease and loose teeth can lead to pain and bad breath at the very least. However, in some circumstances, oral infections can spread to the heart, liver, kidney, or lungs with much more serious consequences.
Six simple checks to maintain your dog’s oral health
Here’s what our head vet Nicola says you should be looking out for:
- Bad breath
- Painful, red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Plaque – this will appear as a build-up of yellow material on the teeth
- Tartar – this will appear as a hard, brown build-up on the teeth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Mouth pain – you’re going to need to look out for the three main symptoms:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty eating
- Reluctance to be handled around the mouth
Regular dental checks must be backed up with a weekly once-over at home.
Now you know what to look out for, you should check your dog’s mouth every week or so. Catching dental issues early is important. Just like in humans, a month is a long time for a dog to suffer from toothache. If you need any help, just give us a call or pop into Avenues Vets and one of our nurses will show you how to examine and clean your dog’s teeth.
Preventing plaque and bad breath in dogs
We all know that prevention is better than cure. Taking one or more of these simple actions will help maintain your dog’s teeth and gums between visits to our practice.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with pet-safe toothpaste
- Give your dog chew toys
- Feed dry dog food or a specialised dental diet
- Download, print, and use the extra advice in our ‘doggy dental checklist’
It’s not just people who suffer from the post-Christmas blues. After all the fuss and excitement of the festive season, dogs can struggle to get back into their usual routine, get bored more easily, and start to display unwanted behaviours.
To help you help them, our head vet Nicola Armstrong has some ideas for perking up your pooch below.
Plus, don’t forget that you can always contact us for advice if you’re worried about your dog’s behaviour.
If, after reading Nicola’s tips you have some of your own you’d like to share, pop over to Facebook and share them on our page.
Signs your dog is bored
If your dog is acting differently, they might not be getting the stimulation they need. Keep an eye out for these behaviours, which are all signs of boredom:
- Constant pining for your attention
- Destructive behaviour
- Following you around with a toy when you are home
- Excessive barking
- Chasing their tail
- Licking paws
- Excessive grooming
Some of the above behaviours could also be related to ill health too, so it would be wise to book your dog in for a check-up at Avenues Vets to be on the safe side. Call us on 0141 643 0404 or visit our website to book an appointment online.
Six ways to combat boredom
According to Nicola, the good news is that it’s relatively easy to bust that boredom. While we often assume physical activity such as walking is the key to correcting behaviour, the benefits of mental stimulation are plenty and just as important as physical exercise.
Nicola has put together some ideas for combatting dog boredom both physically and mentally below – check them out:
- Mind-stimulating games, such as playing hide-and-seek with their favourite toys or treats or teaching them new tricks.
- Puzzles – you can pick up brain stimulation and puzzle games in most pet stores in Glasgow and online. These are designed to keep a dog’s mind really active and engaged so have a look for interactive puzzles. Remember to start simple and move your dog up in difficulty level as they progress.
- Plenty of exercise is vital at any time of year, but it’s easy to get lazy when it’s cold outside. Nicola suggests adding new routes to your normal routine or varying the length or frequency of walks to mix it up a bit. January is Walk Your Dog Month so be sure to get out there and let your dog run off that excess energy – you’ll both feel healthier and happier for it! You could also do activities on walks such as going around posts, under or over benches (if your dog is able) or try practising tricks or commands for rewards. Remember, stay safe, have fun and wrap the both of you up warm!
- Playtime not only entertains your dog (and you), but also helps them to positively focus any predatory behaviour. Playtime stimulates their mind and provides exercise too, whether indoor or outdoor.
- Puppy preschool and similar structured classes are a safe environment to teach obedience, communication, and socialisation. They are great for owner ‘training’ too!
- Companionship is as important for dogs as it is for people. If you’re a one-dog household, take them to play with a friend. Not only will it give your dog essential social skills, but it’s also lots of fun.
Remember, you can always ask our vets or nurses here at Avenues Vets for dog game ideas or for advice about improving your dog’s behaviour. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year with your dog!
Got any ideas of your own you’d like to share with other dog owners?