We might seem like the ‘fun police’ when we say this, but did you know there are many summer dangers lurking in the great outdoors when you have dogs? The nursing team at Rouken Glen Vets have created this guide on heatstroke, burns, lungworm, poisons, accidents, bloat, and stings to help East Renfrewshire dog owners enjoy a safe summer with their pets.
You can help other pet owners by emailing our article to your friends and family or by sharing it on social media – just copy the URL and share away!
If you notice any unusual behaviours or signs of illness in your dog, contact our Rouken Glen Road team.
Summer Dog Dangers Guide
Heatstroke is extremely common and can become life-threatening very quickly. Causes of heatstroke in dogs include spending too much time in the sun, exercising too much in the heat (includes walking), being stuck in a parked car or another sun trap, left without access to shade and water, and a cooling coat that has dried out. You can avoid heatstroke in dogs by avoiding these situations. A summer trim could help some dogs too.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include: laboured panting, dull gums (not bright pink if they are usually), drooling, lethargy, and seizures.
If your dog displays any of the above symptoms, call us on 0141 620 2580 right away. In the meantime, remove your dog from the heat source and cool them down very fast using water on their coat and a cool air fan, and give them a drink.
2. Burnt paws
Dogs can easily burn their paws by walking on surfaces that are too hot – tarmac, paving stones, and concrete especially can get hot enough to burn in the summer sun. The nursing team at Rouken Glen Vets have a quick & easy way for you to tell if it’s too hot. Put your hand on the surface for 5 seconds and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat is a life-threatening condition that can occur when dogs do rigorous exercise too close to a large meal – it can happen to any dog but is more common in larger and taller breeds with big chest cavities. Bloat can also happen any time of the year but is one to be aware of if you are planning some extra fun and games this season. Reduce the risk by leaving 1 hour before and 2 hours after exercise for big meals.
Left untreated, a lungworm infection can be fatal. Lungworm is spread through the slime of infected slugs and snails. Dogs typically become infected by eating these creatures or by coming into contact with contaminated dog bowls, toys, and beds that have usually been left outside. Thankfully, lungworm can be prevented through regular worming treatments – ask us about these.
5. Poisons & harmful items
Besides fun & rain, a British Summer can mean gardens awash with poisonous plants & pesticides, vegetable patches growing onions & garlic, fallen fruit with pips & stones, harmful leftovers from BBQs & picnics, rotting food in compost heaps, and access to poisons through open sheds & garages.
Our Giffnock team of Vet Nurses recommend that pet owners should be extra vigilant this summer when it comes to poisons and harmful items, and either remove them or prevent access. If you have any suspicions that your dog has dabbled, don’t delay – call us on 0141 620 2580 for emergency advice.
Can you avoid accidents? Some, yes, by thinking ahead. Our Veterinary Nurses suggest walking around your garden to try and spot as many potential accidents ‘waiting to happen’, and create a to-do-list – e.g. “remove broken glass from behind shed” and “block up hole in hedge”.
You can think ahead when you are out with your dog too; look at roads, parked cars, potential escape routes, bodies of water, and the activities of people nearby. Just by being consciously aware of your surroundings you can avoid many problems.
7. Insect stings & animal bites
With the great outdoors comes many biting & stinging insects, and the odd snake. Keep an eye on your dog as they investigate nose-first and have a pet first aid kit and your Vet’s number at the ready – ours is 0141 620 2580.
You can also help your dog have a safe and happy summer by:
1. Always having water and a bowl with you
2. Considering your dog’s wellbeing in each situation and surroundings
3. Using preventative measures to help avoid many summer dangers
Before you go, remember to share our safety guide by email and on social media to help other dog owners like you. if you have any concerns about your dog, we are here to help.
Bringing a new pet into the family is an exciting time but there is much to consider before bringing that pet home. Get our Vet Richard’s advice on getting a new pet below.
Richard recommends that one of the first things to do as a family is to sit down and have a discussion. Set out what the responsibilities of owning a dog are and how each member of the family needs to contribute. Having this initial discussion can ensure everyone understands the work that is needed for a new dog and what they would like to get out of having a dog. It will also enable everyone to discuss what type of dog they’d like and if they’d prefer a rescue (puppy or adult) or a puppy from a breeder.
Things to think about may include:
- Breed of dog
- Puppy breeder or rescue animal
- Amount of exercise needed for that breed
- Training required
- Financials such as food costs, routine veterinary care, and insurance
- How will a dog fit into your lifestyle
One of the hardest questions may be whether to go for a puppy from a breeder or a rescue dog. There are advantages and disadvantages to both but Richard advises that you should make the decision based on what is important as a family.
Choosing a rescue dog
There are many rescue centres in East Renfrewshire and further afield, full of loving dogs desperate to find the right home. Rescue centre staff can help you by discussing what your family wants in a dog and identifying those that meet your requirements. Puppies and adult dogs in rescue centres will come from all kinds of different backgrounds. These might include dogs involved in abuse or neglect cases, or dogs whose previous owner could not care for them any longer for many different reasons. With most rescues you will go through a process of bonding with that dog to ensure they are a suitable fit for your family before fully committing. Adopting a rescue animal can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but one that may require a lot of patience and some behavioural support.
Choosing a puppy from a breeder
Richard advises that whilst puppies are very cute, they take an incredible amount of work initially. Much of this involves different types of training, such as toilet training, walking on a lead, recall, and general behaviour. This can be a very long and challenging process so it is important to have a full understanding of what is required to look after a puppy before buying one. You will also need to research the breeder’s advertising to ensure you are purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder and avoiding any puppy farms where welfare is compromised.
Which dog breed is right for you?
Consider the breed of dog you would like; different breeds have different requirements such as exercise, food, healthcare, and enrichment. According to Richard, some breeds have typical character traits and temperaments, so not all will be suitable for your family. A working dog will need a lot more exercise than other breeds so if you are a very active family, having an active dog would be a suitable fit. If you are not very active then looking at breeds that do not have the high working drive would be a better option.
How much does owning a dog cost?
You also need to consider that everything your new dog needs comes with a cost, so be sure you are comfortable with those figures before committing to any pet. Typical costs include routine health care, pet insurance, food, bedding…and that’s just for starters.
Get a more comprehensive list of what new puppies and adult dogs need when you download our New Pet Checklist – download now.
So, there you have Richard’s advice on choosing a new pet to suit your family. If you have more questions about owning a dog, why not ask us on our Facebook page? Visit us on Facebook
Now the sun has joined us, it is time to think about what we need to do to prepare our pets for summer. Rouken Glen Vets’ nursing team have come up with a helpful list for dog owners in East Renfrewshire.
There are many ways in which you can prepare dogs for the upcoming warmer months. According to our Giffnock Registered Veterinary Nurses, these include:
- Parasite control
- Preparing for upcoming holidays
- Reminders on keeping pets cool
- Exercise guidance
Let’s look at each one in more detail so you can get your companion ready and raring to go for the summer fun ahead!
The first action is to ensure your dog’s coat is ready for the warmer weather. Some breeds need to be groomed regularly to keep their fur under control. Breeds like cocker spaniels, poodles, and many others will also need a trip to the groomers for a fur clip to keep them cool in the heat. The groomer may be able to trim your dog’s nails too, or you can ask our nurses to take care of this for you. Nail clips are helpful as dogs are more likely to do lots of walking across softer surfaces like grass and sand and whilst these have many benefits, they do not help to keep nail length under control.
Next, it is essential to be on top of your dog’s routine parasite control. Again, because of the warmer weather, you are more likely to walk your dog across areas where other species may carry parasites such as ticks. Fleas also start to become more active with the warmer weather so make sure your pets are regularly treated to avoid any infestations. Daily vacuuming and the occasional home flea treatment can help even if your dog doesn’t have fleas, as they can arrive via other pets and on your clothes and shoes.
Vaccinations for dogs
Annually vaccinated dogs will have optimal protection against contagious, harmful diseases. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, sometimes booster jabs can become overdue. Without sufficient protection, your dog is at greater risk of exposure to infections whilst they are enjoying their summer adventures. Get in touch with our Giffnock team by calling 0141 620 2580 to make sure your dog is fully vaccinated.
You may be starting to think about your holiday plans for the year, here are our nurses top tips:
- If you are leaving your dog with someone, be sure that they are a registered, licenced, and insured business with good animal welfare regulations.
- If you are unsure how your dog will cope in kennels, do a practice run where they just stay for one night at a time to get used to it. You will need to make sure all vaccinations are up to date and you have the signed certificate ready for when you drop them off.
- If you are taking your dog on holiday with you, be sure to check that your accommodation is happy to have pets on-site, and you have an Animal Health Certificate and any other relevant documents if travelling abroad (you will need to organise these several weeks in advance).
How to keep dogs cool and safe in summer
Keeping dogs cool in summer can be challenging but vital to ensure they do not become unwell. Our Rouken Glen Road Vet Nurses recommend considering things like hydration, shade, changing when your dog exercises, and ways to cool them down and deal with emergencies. To help you, we have a handy guide on the subject – download it here:
Make sure to pop our contact number in your phone to get emergency care and advice, if you don’t have it already: 0141 620 2580
Did you know May is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month? Why not share why your pets love our Vet Nurses on our Facebook page? If you include the hashtag #VNAM on your post, you can help to spread the word about our fantastic nursing team!
Dog bite prevention week is recognised in many countries between April & May each year to bring attention to the risk of dog bites and share preventative advice. In this article, the team from Rouken Glen Vets are sharing important tips and resources to help East Renfrewshire residents prevent dog bites in children and adults.
April 1st – May 2nd is also National Pet Month, in which responsible pet ownership is the theme and a perfect backdrop for this article’s topic.
13 tips for preventing dog bites
Most dog bites don’t come from dogs who are deemed ‘aggressive’, they occur in the home with family dogs or dogs who are well known. Pets who are described by their owners as placid, loving, and “wouldn’t hurt a fly” can all snap and bite if they feel agitated, threatened, frightened, vulnerable, unwell, or in pain.
As well as the obvious physical injury, a dog bite can cause complex psychological issues. If a dog bites a child (or lunges at them) especially, they can develop a long-term fear of all dogs. Dogs can ‘learn’ that this behaviour is needed to stop the action that is bothering them. This is a real shame as children and dogs can both benefit from forming a close bond together.
Therefore, it is advisable to practice these 13 do’s & don’ts of dog interactions:
- Do choose the right dog breed for your family and home setup – remember, all cute puppies grow into adult dogs with big teeth
- Do ensure your puppy’s (or older dog’s if you missed this stage) socialisation experiences include being around children
- Do train your pet from a puppy into adulthood on how to be well-mannered in the home and out & about
- Don’t use fear to train a dog as this is harmful and can lead to unwanted reactions in everyday situations
- Don’t assume your dog won’t bite just because you perceive it not to be in their nature
- Don’t leave children alone with dogs
- Do teach children from a young age how to behave around dogs, including not playing aggressive games with them, pulling their ears or tail, or anything else that may agitate them
- Do act calm around dogs, especially if they are unfamiliar to you
- Do supervise children feeding or walking a dog
- Don’t let your child discipline a dog
- Don’t invade a dog’s space without their permission – let them come to you (avoid letting young children hug & kiss dogs)
- Do teach children to always ask the owner’s permission to stroke their dog and where the dog likes to be stroked
- Don’t allow your child to approach a dog in someone else’s garden or car
Socialisation & training
Socialisation should ideally be started around 8 – 16 weeks of age, when a puppy’s brain is like a sponge absorbing all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences, and opportunities to learn that they can. Most older dogs can be socialised too with a little more time and patience.
Socialisation and training (into adulthood) are not about obedience. They are about building confidence and developing clear communication with your dog. If your dog understands your request and how to respond to it and has self-confidence, they are less likely to get fearful or frustrated, which are both common causes of dog bites.
Ask our Giffnock nurses for puppy socialisation advice on our Facebook page here
Learn how to be safe around dogs
The team from Rouken Glen Vets recommend these helpful resources below to help your whole family become smarter and safer around dogs.
First, take our Dog Safety Quiz to test how much your family members currently know.
Then, work through these Dogs Trust resources and get everyone to re-take our Quiz.
Remember, don’t give the answers away until after retaking the quiz!
Let us know how you got on by sharing your results on our Facebook page.
Approximately 21% of dogs suffer from a skin condition at some point in their lives, so it is important to know what clinical signs to look for. There are many different skin problems a dog can develop, so the symptoms may vary. However, here are some common diseases and manifestations our Head Vet Richard Black advises you to look out for.
Skin conditions can be painful and uncomfortable and some can also be symptoms of a more serious health condition. Richard advises that the first step towards treating your dog’s skin complaint is to get them checked over by one of our experienced Vets – they can diagnose the problem and begin treatment.
Common skin problems in dogs include:
Fleas are very common and can cause itchy/sore skin and bald patches from excessive scratching. Mites and lice can cause irritation, red skin, and severe itching – mites can also burrow into the skin to lay eggs, causing mange. Mange and Fleas are treated with medication and vet-recommended shampoo. Ticks must be removed straight away as on top of causing sore skin, they can transmit Lyme disease.
Allergies are often from the environment or food, causing itchiness, scratching and sometimes inflammation, coughing, or sneezing. Atopy (or allergic hypersensitivity) occurs when the dog’s immune system overreacts to something that would otherwise not bother them – such as dust, pollen, grass, or flaky skin. Food allergies usually occur if the dog is allergic to certain proteins that will trigger an immune response if eaten. Mild allergies can be treated using anti-inflammatory drugs, but more severe allergies may need to be monitored more closely alongside alternative treatments or a change in diet.
Severe allergic reactions to insect stings, some poisonous plants, or toxic substances, can cause hives, rashes, or swellings anywhere on your dog’s body. A severe allergic reaction is an emergency so get in touch with our Vets asap on 0141 620 2580.
3. SKIN INFECTIONS
It is quite normal for bacteria and yeasts to live on a dog’s skin without causing problems. An infection can take hold if the skin is damaged, usually from scratching. A bacterial infection can cause circular red patches on the skin that often smell pungent. To diagnose the disease, a bacterial culture will be made so the corresponding antibiotic can be administered.
Yeast infections are frequently caused by allergies or overproduction of oil leading to the increase of yeast on the skin. This leads to skin thickening and crusting, a greasy coat, and a sour smell which is very unpleasant. Yeast infections are treated with prolonged medication prescribed by a Vet.
Moist dermatitis, or ‘hot spots’, can appear very quickly – they are red skin patches of infected skin that look wet and may weep. Ringworm in dogs is a fungal infection that is thankfully quite rare – it causes circular patches of red, raised, hairless, itchy skin. Skin wounds can easily become infected, besides being painful and uncomfortable.
4. HORMONAL ISSUES
The most common are Hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease, both causing hair loss, flaky skin, and sometimes rashes. Treatments include medication, therapy, and sometimes surgery.
Our Vets can advise you on how to treat and prevent many of the above skin complaints during a dog check-up appointment at our Giffnock veterinary practice.
At Rouken Glen Vets we know only too well that prevention is better than cure when it comes to harmful dog diseases and health conditions. We see these ailments every year at our Giffnock vet practice, many of which could have been prevented.
In this article, our experienced veterinary surgeons have collated their top preventative healthcare ‘must-haves’ for all dogs in East Renfrewshire.
Before we dig in, if you are ready to get your dog’s preventative healthcare routine on the right track, get in touch and our team can talk you through the best combination of treatments.
Four important preventative healthcare needs
Annual dog vaccinations not only protect your dog, but also help stop the spread of extremely harmful yet preventable canine diseases. It is important to keep up to date with the dog vaccination schedule recommended by your Vet to give your pet optimum protection against:
- parvovirus, distemper, and hepatitis – all highly contagious and often deadly
- leptospirosis – a bacterial infection from contaminated water and soil
- kennel cough – highly contagious, can be picked up anywhere, not just in boarding kennels
Not sure if your dog’s vaccinations are up to date? Get in touch with our team.
It is true that some parasites are more prevalent during warmer months however worms, fleas, and ticks pose a threat all year round – therefore an ongoing preventative plan is essential. As well as being irritating, parasites can carry nasty diseases and cause harm to your dog, your human family, and other pets too. Lungworm is particularly concerning as it can be fatal in dogs. Contact our team to get your dog’s next parasite treatment ordered.
The obvious reason to neuter your dog is to stop unwanted pregnancies. However, there are many more benefits of dog neutering including:
- prevention of testicular cancer and pyometra (uterine infection)
- reduced risk of mammary and prostate cancers
- can stop/reduce some hormone-related behaviours (wandering to find a mate, territorial marking, sexual aggression and boisterousness)
- prevents phantom pregnancies and seasons, which can be stressful
- can make pets easier to live with
Dental & Health Checks
Getting your dog’s dental and general health checked every 6 – 12 months is key to helping them stay in tip top condition for longer. With 7 years to every human year, a lot can happen in a short time for your dog. Check-ups allow our Vets to spot any issues and begin the necessary treatment as soon as possible. Book a check-up.
When talking to East Renfrewshire dog owners about preventative care, our Vets and Nurses also advise a few more measures such as behaviour training, nutrition, nail clips, and anal gland expressions. Every dog is different so a consultation with one of our team will ensure you get the best advice for your pet.
If you would like any more advice on the above or wish to book an appointment for your dog, just give us a call.
Many owners simply accept that their dogs have stinky ‘dog breath’, it’s just part of owning a dog, right? As February is Pet Dental Health Month, Head Vet Richard Black, is here to tell you why bad breath is the most common sign that things aren’t as they should be inside your dog’s mouth.
Caring for your dog’s teeth
You should ideally care for your dog’s teeth daily, as you would your own, to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. We recommend checking your dog’s teeth regularly for any issues too, as with any health problem it is always better to start treatment early.
Pet Dental Health Month in February shines a spotlight on oral healthcare. At Rouken Glen Vets, we strongly believe that the key to good oral health is owner education, as most of a dog’s dental needs will be taken care of at home. That’s why Richard is sharing the seven signs that your dog needs to see a Vet Dentist so you know what to look out for:
- Bad smelling dog breath
- Red gums that may be swollen or bleeding
- Build-up of plaque around the gum line (clear/yellow soft substance)
- Tartar deposits (hard yellow/brown coating on teeth)
- Discoloured, misaligned, or broken teeth
- Your dog shows reluctance or aggression when you go near their mouth
- Reduced appetite and possible weight loss – this could be related to many other conditions so it is always important to get your dog checked by one of our Vets.
Poor dental health can be painful for your dog and can make it difficult for them to eat and drink. It can also affect their general wellbeing so it is best not to wait if you notice a problem. Contact us about your dog’s teeth.
Why dogs get dental problems
The most common root cause of many dental issues is a build-up of plaque and tartar deposits. Left untreated, they can lead to painful periodontal disease (the name given to any disease of the teeth and surrounding supports i.e. gums, ligaments, and bone.)
Some dogs are predisposed to dental problems. Tooth misalignment is a major issue, as it causes food, dirt, and bacteria to get trapped, making it hard to remove through natural means and home care. Factors for this include short-nosed dog breeds, congenital abnormalities (such as overbite/underbite), trauma, and adult teeth at odd angles due to baby teeth not falling out. Another predisposing factor to dental issues in dogs is an unsuitable diet. Good quality dry food will help to remove plaque. You can also buy specific dental-care dog foods.
Can you improve dog breath smells at home?
Cleaning your dog’s teeth daily is the best action you can take towards achieving good oral health. Combine this with regular dental check-ups, the right food, and dental aids for even better care. However, when there is an underlying problem causing your dog’s bad breath, veterinary intervention is important to help your dog feel and smell better.
Richard suggests these 5 dental aids:
- Pet-specific oral gel – to be used with a finger brush or pet toothbrush
- Dental products that can be mixed into water or sprinkled over food
- Dental chews can help, but be wary of the calories
- Carrots make good dental chews in moderation
- Toys designed to give your dog’s teeth a dental workout
When you book an appointment with one of our Vet Dentists, they can check for any issues and help you put together the best home-care routine for your dog’s dental needs.
“New year get fit” and “live more sustainably” – if these are your new year resolutions, our team at Rouken Glen Vets in Giffnock have just the thing for you. Keep reading to discover some exercise ideas you can do with your dog, ways to stay motivated, and tips on being more sustainable at the same time.
Before you start, booking a check-up is wise to ensure your dog is in the right physical condition for your chosen activity. Doga should be fine though!
New year fitness motivation tips
Sticking with a new year fitness challenge is much easier if you don’t do it alone. Who better to motivate you than your dog? Dogs are almost always up for exercising with their humans!
Finding an activity that you enjoy together will also help with motivation. Why stick at just one? You will both benefit from a varied exercise routine as it gives overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover. It will also make your fitness journey more interesting and more likely to continue past the end of January for longer term benefits.
Six ways to get fit with your dog
- Upgrade your daily walk – A one-hour walk can burn up to 200 calories and can be very rewarding for you both. Warm up in winter months by exploring new routes that you and your dog can enjoy together. Don’t have an hour? You can also upgrade shorter walks by changing the speed, adding hills, using obstacles, and incorporating some play time.
- Doggy jogging – It might take a bit of training to get the pacing right and make sure you don’t trip over each other, but dog jogs are a great bonding activity and exercise.
- Dog agility classes – Agility training is fun, energetic, and stimulating for both you and your dog. You can buy (or make) equipment for your garden, or start visiting a dog club or training centre with all the right gear. Search dog agility classes near Giffnock or in East Renfrewshire.
- CaniX (Canicross) – If you’ve not heard of this, CaniX involves running with your dog attached to a harness around your waist. There are running events countrywide, starting at 2K. Find out more about this activity and find a CaniX weekend event near you.
- Bikejoring – Also new to you? Bikejoring means you get on your bike and cycle while your dog runs ahead, pulling you in a harness. It is typically geared towards medium to large dogs, and is a high-intensity workout. Discover more about bikejoring.
- Doga – Doing yoga with your dog can benefit body and mind, for you both. Dogs pick up on human emotions and can suffer the same stress. Doga lets you spend quality bonding time being calm and reassuring your dog. Plus, yoga has been proven to be good for heart health in humans, so why not dogs too? Learn more about the practice of doga.
Six ways to make your dog activities more sustainable
- Can you walk to your activity location? Save on carbon emissions and get a warm-up.
- Use eco-friendly dog poop bags – biodegradable poop bags will help reduce plastic pollution, as will compostable ones (just don’t put these on compost used for food crops!)
- Did you know you can get eco-friendly dog collars, leads, and harnesses?
- Take a re-usable water bottle with you. Here are some eco-friendly options our Giffnock team found at Ocean Bottle and wearthlondon.com
- Need new gear? Search for ‘sustainable sportswear UK’ and find a range of active brands.
- Don’t throw away your old sportswear and dog leads, try donating them instead.
Why not invite friends and local dog owners to join you on your 2022 fitness journey? Just hit the share button in this article or copy the link to your Facebook page.
Don’t forget to book your dog’s new year check-up before you get started.
The run-up to Christmas is usually a busy time spent out and about shopping for gifts & decorations and seeing friends & family. But does this mean your dog has to spend more time home alone? Dogs thrive on attention and time with their favourite human companions. A bored and lonely dog can develop behavioural issues like destroying your belongings, excessive barking, and soiling indoors.
The solution? Dog friendly days out!
This way, you can spend time with your dog AND tick off your pre-Christmas to-do-list at the same time. Our Rouken Glen Road team have listed some ideas for dog friendly places below; it’s a good idea to check the website and reviews to ensure they are dog friendly before setting off.
You can help other dog owners in and around Barrhead, Newton Mearns, and Pollokshaws, by sharing your favourite dog friendly days out on our Facebook page.
Rouken Glen Vets’ top ideas for places you can take your dog:
- Cafés, restaurants & pubs – With so many dog-friendly options in East Renfrewshire, why not persuade your friends to meet you at one of them so your dog can hang out too? Remember though, six hours sat under a table in a rowdy pub while you drink and talk with your friends isn’t ideal either. We suggest reading some reviews first to see if the establishment is a good fit for you all.
- Pet shops – Pottering around your local pet shop is a great way to make both you and your dog happy. While you’re buying pet products for your dog and as presents for your pet-loving friends, your dog can be basking in the heavenly smells a pet shop has to offer.
- Garden centres – Many garden centres these days are dog friendly and of course free to visit. You can often get some lovely Christmas gifts there and enjoy some tea & cake. Your dog will enjoy wandering around, taking in the interesting sights and smells.
- Markets & shops – Some fantastic Christmas gifts can be purchased at outdoor markets. Dogs are normally welcome but be careful if they are wary of large crowds. Plus, we bet there are more dog-friendly shops in East Renfrewshire than you might think, where you can take your pal for a walk while you shop.
- Dog parks & countryside walks – Catch up with friends and family by going for a dog walk. Everyone gets some fresh air and exercise, and your dog gets to be by your side.
- Dog friendly attractions – You may be surprised how many places you can find to take your dog by searching for ‘dog friendly days out near me’. Perfect for that festive fix!
- Dog friendly holidays – If you’re planning a Christmas break, check out the wide variety of dog friendly accommodation on websites like Airbnb and dogfriendlycottages.co.uk research local dog friendly attractions before you visit too.
To ensure you are welcomed back to these places time and time again, our team recommends:
- Cleaning up and disposing of your dog’s poops.
- Keeping your dog on a lead (unless you see a sign saying otherwise) and under control.
- Being courteous to business owners and other visitors by not letting your dog eat or urinate on any goods, furniture, or decorations.
We hope you enjoy some fun times with your canine companion this Christmas. Don’t forget to share your favourite dog friendly places on our Facebook page.
If your dog has been spending more time home alone lately and you notice any unusual behaviours, book a Vet appointment with our team.
Fireworks are now a common feature at birthdays and weddings, as well as a key part of many seasonal celebrations like Bonfire Night. Add that to the fact that an estimated 3.2 million households got a pet during lockdown, and the coming weeks could be problematic. As November approaches, there will be many pet owners in Giffnock and across the Barrhead, Newton Mearns, and Pollokshaws areas, who will be soon dealing with dogs scared by loud noises for the first time this year.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to help most stressed dogs (and other pets) is to think about using pheromone sprays and diffusers.
However, as the ‘Firework Season’ approaches, responsible dog owners should, at the very least, be creating a ‘den’ (a safe place) for their dog with familiar smelling blankets and toys (adding your own unwashed clothing can be comforting). Making sure all windows and doors are shut when it gets noisy outside is a good idea too.
That said, if you’re looking for a long-term solution to help your dog deal with sudden noises like fireworks, it might be worth looking at desensitisation training for dogs. Here’s a quick guide to how that works.
Before you start, you will need these four things…
- A quiet space – You’ll need to introduce your dog to this calm place a few weeks before you begin the training.
- Example noises – Audio recordings of fireworks and other loud noises. You can get these in many places online.
- Treats – A selection of your pet’s favourite treats and toys.
- Time – This process takes two or three half hour (approx.) sessions over several weeks.
And this is the five-step process you should follow…
- Play the noise quietly – In their calm place, play the noises you are using at a low level so that your pet either doesn’t respond at all, or just turns towards the source. Do this for periods of up to 30 seconds.
- Reward good behaviour – After each reaction, give them a tiny piece of their favourite food, about the size of a pea.
- Slowly increase the noise – Once they stop reacting to the loud sounds and do other things while the sounds are playing, slowly (session by session) increase the volume. With each increase in volume give your dog up to 30 seconds to get used to the new level and continue to offer the treats after each noise.
- Vary the volume – After two or three sessions (assuming your dog is reacting well), start to vary the volume. There should be a general increasing trend, but make the volume lower as well as higher, as this will give you a longer lasting and generally more effective response.
- Take your time – Take it easy and don’t rush the process. Like all of the most effective training, it takes time and regular practice to get the response you want to loud noises. Repeating the training every now and then will help too.
So, there you have it, some excellent advice for dog owners new and old, to get your pets used to sudden loud noises and condition them to deal with ‘Bangs’ over time. As ever, if you need any help, you can always contact our Rouken Glen Road practice on 0141 620 2580 to discuss your dog’s particular needs.