Pet obesity still the biggest UK welfare problem

For the second year running, vets say that obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for the UK’s pets.

Almost two thirds of those polled for an annual British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey cited obesity as the issue they were most worried about. It’s an issue that the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association has been tackling for seven years.

“As with humans, obesity is a very series health issue for pets and can lead to lifelong and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes and arthritis,” said a (BVA) spokesman. “Not following or understanding guidelines, providing too many treats and snacks, and a lack of exercise are all contributing issues. Many owners also give their pets human food as a treat; one biscuit can aquate to a whole packet when fed to an animal.”

A key finding in this survey points to a lack of understanding around what constitutes a healthy size.

Some vets and pet charity organisations have created a range of tools, including Pet Size-O-Meters, to help owners maximise the well-being and life expectancy of their pets. Treating with unsuitable ‘human’ foods and guesstimating portion sizes are also key factors.

The research also shows, that although there is a greater awareness of obesity and its consequences among owners, this isn’t really translating in to action and we believe a collaborative response from the pet care sector is important to address this.

Obesity is common in dogs. Gudrun Ravetz, president of the BVA, said it is vital that the correct body weight and feeding habits are established from puppyhood and that owners understand dogs must be given the right food for their age, breed and size alongside getting enough exercise.

“Using body condition, scoring allows vets and owners to assess and monitor a dog’s weight and can be applied to any breed”.



ABS – Anti Lock Braking Systems

Some vehicles are fitted with anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Wheel-speed sensors in these systems detect the moment during braking when a wheel is about to lock. Just before this happens the system reduces the braking effort and then rapidly re-applies it.

This action may happen many times a second to maintain brake performance.

Preventing the wheels from locking means that the vehicle’s steering and stability is also maintained, leading to safer stopping. But remember, ABS is only a driver aid. It doesn’t remove the need for good driving practices, such as anticipating events and assessing road and weather conditions.

Anti-lock braking systems are commonly used on large vehicles and are required by law on some. It’s important to ensure that an ABS is functioning before setting off on a journey. Driving with a defective ABS may constitute an offence.

The satisfactory operation of the ABS can be checked from a warning signal on the dashboard. The way the warning light operates varies the light comes on with the ignition. It should go out no later than when the vehicle has reached a road speed, set to the requirements of the vehicle speed limiter.


Vehicle Cruise Control

Vehicle Cruise Control has been around a long time, there have been several advances in the last few years increasing driver comfort and convenience. The primary purpose of cruise control is to enable you to maintain a minimum speed or greater without holding down the accelerator.


When to NOT use your cruise control:

Cruise control can be dangerous, when you can’t drive safely at a steady speed. Also, don’t use your cruise control on winding roads or in heavy traffic. Cruise control is also very dangerous on slippery/wet roads. On such roads, fast changes in the traction may cause excessive wheel slip, and you could lose control.



The driver must bring the vehicle up to speed manually and use a button to set the cruise control to the current speed.

The cruise control takes its speed signal from a rotating driveshaft, speedometer cable, wheel speed sensor from the engine’s RPM, or from internal speed pulses produced electronically by the vehicle. Most systems do not allow the use of the cruise control below a certain speed. The vehicle will maintain the desired speed by pulling the throttle cable with a solenoid, a vacuum driven servomechanism, or by using the electronic systems built into the vehicle (fully electronic) if it uses a ‘drive-by-wire’ system.

All cruise control systems must be capable of being turned off both explicitly and automatically when the driver depresses the brake, and often also the clutch. Cruise control often includes a memory feature to resume the set speed after braking, and a coast feature to reduce the set speed without braking. When the cruise control is engaged, the throttle can still be used to accelerate the vehicle, but once the pedal is released the vehicle will then slow down until it reaches the previously set speed.

On the latest vehicles fitted with electronic throttle control, cruise control can be easily integrated into the vehicle’s engine management system. Modern ‘adaptive’ systems include the ability to automatically reduce speed when the distance to a vehicle in front, or the speed limit, decreases. This is an advantage for those driving in unfamiliar areas.

What at the advantages of cruise control?

  • It’s usefulness for long drivers (reducing driver fatigue, improving comfort by allowing positioning changes more safely) across motorways and sparsely populated roads.
  • Some drivers use it to avoid subconsciously violating speed limits. A driver who otherwise tends to subconsciously increase speed over the course of a highway journey may avoid speeding.
  • Help to optimise fuel economy and reduce engine wear.
  • Cruise control and also help to keep your speed within the speed limit.
What are the disadvantages of cruise control?
* Speeding around curves that require slowing down
* rough or loose terrain that could negatively effect the cruise controls
* rainy or wet weather could lose traction.
* Lack of concentration, where you might not exercise proper control of your vehicle.

Dog – Skin Conditions

Your dog’s skin is an indication of her overall health. When a skin problem occurs, your dog may respond with excessive scratching, chewing and/or licking. A wide range of causes—including external parasites, infections, allergies, metabolic problems and stress, or a combination of these—may be affecting your dog’s skin.

What Are Some Symptoms of Skin Problems in Dogs?

  • Scratching, licking or chewing at skin
  • Scabs
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Hot spots (one particular area where itching is intense)
  • Round, scaly patches on the face and paws
  • Dry, flaky or otherwise irritated skin
  • Hair loss, bald patches
  • Rashes
  • Lesions
  • Drainage of blood or pus
  • Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration
  • Rubbing face against furniture or carpeting

What Might Cause My Dog to Have Skin Problems?

One of the following may be causing an abnormality with your dog’s skin and should be investigated:

  • Fleas: Bites and droppings from these pesky insects can irritate your dog’s skin, and some pets can have an allergic response to the saliva following a bite. Some dogs may also be sensitive to flea-treatment products; certain flea collars, for example, may cause redness and irritation around the neck.
  • Ringworm: This highly contagious fungal infection can result in inflammation, scaly patches and hair loss. You’ll want to treat it immediately to avoid other pets and people in the household from becoming infected.
  • Parasites, such as ear mites and lice
  • Seasonal allergies: Your dog’s scratching may be due to her sensitivity to allergens from common substances like pollen, weeds, dust, mites, trees, mold or grasses.
  • Food allergies: Many dogs develop allergies to common ingredients in dog foods, such as beef, chicken, wheat, corn or soy. Even fillers and colorings can be seen as foreign by your dog’s immune system and lead to itching and rashes.
  • Skin infections: Dogs can develop irritating bacterial or yeast infections when the skin is damaged due to the presence of another skin disorder.
  • Sarcoptic mange: This skin disease caused by infection from the Sarcoptes scabei mite results in extreme itching and skin inflammation similar to an allergic response.
  • Grooming products: Certain shampoos and grooming products can irritate your dog’s skin. Be sure to only use grooming products that are meant for use on dogs.
  • Stress or boredom: A dog may lick her skin (especially her legs) excessively for many reasons. Some lick when not given adequate opportunity for activity or mental stimulation.
  • Metabolic or hormonal problems: Several common hormonal problems can cause change in skin color, coat consistency, thickness and distribution.
  • Seasonal changes: Many dogs, like people, get dry, flaky skin in the winter.

When Is it Time to See the Vet?

There are many causes of skin abnormalities in dogs, and identifying the underlying cause is not always simple. Therefore, you should visit your vet for an exam as soon as you notice any abnormality in your pet’s skin or hair, or if your pet begins to excessively scratch, lick and/or bite areas on his fur.

How Are Skin Problems Diagnosed?

After obtaining a history and performing a thorough physical exam, your vet may perform diagnostic tests in order to find the cause of your dog’s symptoms. These include:

  • Skin biopsy
  • Testing for ringworm
  • Microscopic examination of the hair and skin for presence of parasites or infection
  • Allergy testing, which may include a diet change
  • Blood tests to assess your dog’s overall health

Which Dogs Are Prone to Skin Problems?

Because of the wide ranges of causes, dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible to issues involving skin. Dogs who are young, elderly, immunocompromised or living in crowded, stressful environments may be more susceptible to skin problems than others.

How Can Skin Problems Be Prevented?

  • Use natural, hypoallergenic soaps and shampoos recommended for use in dogs.
  • Brush your dog regularly to prevent matting of hair.
  • Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet without fillers or artificial ingredients.
  • Implement a parasite-prevention or flea-treatment program as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum your home (and remember to always throw away the bag).
  • Provide calm living conditions for your dog.
  • Your vet may prescribe certain shampoos or oral supplements to prevent skin problems.

How Can Skin Problems Be Treated?

Ask your vet about the following treatments:

  • Topical products including shampoos, dips or spot-on products to prevent and treat parasites
  • A balanced diet to help maintain healthy skin and coat
  • A dietary supplement containing essential fatty acids
  • Antibiotic, antifungal or anti-itching medications
  • Corticosteroids and antihistamines may be prescribed to control itching.
  • Hypoallergenic diet for food allergies
  • Injections to decrease dog’s reaction to allergens

Pet poison of the week – Grapes

Poisonous to: Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe
Common signs to watch for:
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Abnormal drinking or urination
• Lethargy
• Inappetance
• Halitosis
• Dehydration

Grapes, raisins, and even currants (some currants are actually small, black grapes) are toxic to your dog! In fact, there have been anecdotal reports of cats and ferrets being affected by these also. Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, or currants can result in severe, acute kidney failure. All types of grape- or raisin-containing products (including grape juice, trail mix, bagels, etc.) can result in this. Even organic, pesticide-free, grapes grown in home gardens can result in toxicity. Although the mechanism of action is not clearly understood on how grapes, raisins and currants are poisonous at this time, this common fruit can result in anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially severe acute renal failure (which develops several days later). The toxicity is not necessarily dose-dependent, and symptoms can occur with even small ingestions. Decontamination (e.g., inducing vomiting, decontaminating with activated charcoal, etc.), aggressive supportive care, aggressive IV fluid therapy, and kidney function (e.g., BUN/creatinine) monitoring is recommended.
If you suspect your pet ingested grapes, raisins, or currants, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment recommendations.
Poison type: Foods
Alternate names: Vitis, raisins, currants, sultanas


Your Pets Teeth

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your vet for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Signs of pets teeth problems

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behaviour should prompt a visit to your vet.


What can cause pet dental problems?

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion
  • broken jaw

Will my pet require anesthesia for their dental treatment?

In most cases the vet may use anesthesia, as pets does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and they may react by moving, trying to escape or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If x-rays are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

What can I do to help my pets dental health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consist of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pets teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to help keep their teeth healthy.

Speak to your vet and learn what are techniques that can be used to help your pets dental health to remain in top condition.

Pet poison of the week – Decongestants

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe
Common signs to watch for:
• Vomiting
• Dilated pupils
• Severe blood pressure changes
• Elevated or really slow heart rate
• Tremors
• Seizures
• Acute death
Decongestants, which are designed to prevent post-nasal drip, work by constricting (or tightening) the blood vessels in the nose (and the rest of the body). The most common types of decongestants are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. These drugs are commonly found in cold, flu and allergy medications. When accidentally ingested by dogs and cats, decongestants can be deadly as they can result in vomiting, dilated pupils, severe blood pressure changes (hypertension), abnormal heart rhythms and rates, tremors, and seizures. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent potentially life-threatening signs. Decontamination, blood pressure monitoring, medications to lower the blood pressure, and aggressive symptomatic supportive care may be necessary.
Poison type: Medications
Alternate names: phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, cold medication, cough medication, Claritin-D, Mucinex-D, asthma medication, diet pills, nasal decongestants, sympathomimetics



What do you feed your pet?

Yes, but they love it, they will do anything for it, it doesn’t have any side effects? Lots of human food are very dangerous and could even be fatal to your pet, do you really want to slowly poison your pet to death?

Remember you pets are great at seeking out, even opening cupboards, climbing, keep the dangers out of sight of your pet.


  • Onions, garlic, leeks (raw, cooked and dried), forget the garlic to control ticks, it really doesn’t, speak to your pet and get the right treatment to control ticks.
  • Slug pellets
  • Chocolate, it’s really bad for dogs, don’t even tempt your pets with pet friendly chocolate, train your pets not to touch anything that looks and smells like chocolate
  • All medicines, yes even pain killers, only your vet can give your pet painkillers, and no they aren’t the same as human ones.
  • Raisins, currents and sultanas, keep the cakes out of reach
  • Vitamin D, this vitamin doesn’t work the same in our pets, avoid using supplements in their foods
  • Rodent poison, tasty for pets also, watch out around farms, countryside, and even regular dog walks, there have been many cases where rodent poison has been found mixed into raw meats and dog toys
  • Silica gel packs
  • Grapes


Toxic products include house hold cleaners, alcohols and other corrosive items

Foreign bodies are inert objects that pets swallow, often after chewing or at play. Chicken bones, bottle tops, balls, smelly socks, even raw hide bones.

Did you know that vets in the UK recently recorded that:

43% of pets have consumed Human Medication

16% Human Food

7.5% Insecticide

6.5% Rodenticide

5.5% Dietary Supplements

When pet owners were asked what potential poisons, could be dangerous to pets, on average most pet owners could only name 3 potential poisons.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something, they shouldn’t telephone your vet asap.

Remember prevention is better than the cure!!


Driver Fatigue

Often drivers fall asleep without warning, and drivers who do fall asleep at the wheel have often tried to fight of drowsiness by opening a window, or by turning up the radio. This doesn’t work for long.

Here are some facts:

  • Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related.
  • Sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury.
  • Peak times for accidents are in the early hours and after lunch.

How can I avoid this:

  • Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours.
  • Don’t start a long trip if you’re already tired.
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive.
  • Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6 am when you’re likely to feel sleepy anyway.
  • If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop – not the hard shoulder of a motorway. Drink two cups of coffee, or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.
  • Remember, the only real cure of sleepiness is proper sleep.
  • 2017-82

Continue reading “Driver Fatigue”

Pet poison of the week – Chives

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate
Common signs to watch for:
• Drooling
• Nausea
• Oral irritation
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Lethargy
• Abdominal pain
• Elevated heart rate and respiratory rate
• Weakness
• Exercise intolerance
• Collapse
• Pale gums
Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are of the Allium family, and are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Garlic is considered to be about 5X as potent as onions. Certain breeds and species seem to be more sensitive: Japanese breeds of dogs (e.g., Akita, Shiba Inu) and cats. Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) and gastroenteritis (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Onion and garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset, and clinical signs may not be apparent for several days.
If you suspect your dog or cat have onion poisoning or garlic poisoning, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment recommendations.
Poison type: Plants
Scientific name: Allium schoenoprasum
Alternate names: Allium, Alliaceae, leeks, disulfides, thiosulfates, anemia, onions, garlic