Foods poisonous to cats

  • By Joanna Crawford
  • 02 Aug, 2016
While cats are usually pretty sensible when it comes to choosing which foods to eat,  there are a few things we, as owners, need to know.

Any food which isn't specifically designed with cats in mind can upset their digestive system and cause illness.
Below are some foods which cause serious health problems:

Alcohol -  Just a tablespoon of an alcoholic drink can cause severe liver and brain damage in a cat .
Chocolate -  Containing caffeine and Theobromine, all forms of chocolate are poisonous. However, dark chocolate and unsweetened cooking chocolate are most toxic. Ingesting chocolate can cause heart palpitations, muscle tremors or seizures. 
Coffee, tea & energy drinks -  These also contain caffeine which will cause your cat to become restless, have rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. 
Dairy products -  Like humans, some cats are lactose intolerant so eating dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Raw fish, raw meat, raw eggs -  As well as causing vomiting and diarrhea, raw meat, fish and eggs can cause a painful condition known as pancreatitis. These is also a risk of salmonella and E-coli in these foods.
Grapes and raisins -  Its unusual for a cat to eat these but it has been known. As in dogs, cats who eat grapes or raisins may suffer with acute kidney failure so although it's unlikely, best to keep them well out of the way.
Onions and garlic -  A little onion or garlic cooked in a sauce are not likely to cause any real problem, but any member of the onion family, if eaten in sufficient amounts can cause digestive upsets and even anemia if eaten in large enough quantities.

Care for your cat
If you think your cat has eaten any of the above, try to establish how much they have consumed and contact your vet as soon as possible. 

By Joanna Crawford 22 Sep, 2016

Finding the right person to trust with your dog isn’t an easy task. Nowadays there are plenty of people who will happily walk your dog for you, whether they’re a student looking for some extra cash or a semi-retired neighbour up the road who fancies the exercise. But are they necessarily going to take the best care of your beloved pooch? Do they have the dogs’ best interests at heart?

 

To follow are a few tips to make sure you’re hiring the right dog walker for your dog.


1.       Are they insured? A responsible dog walker will have public liability insurance in place. This will cover them should the dog stray whilst in their care. bite or cause damage or an accident or if they become ill or injured, or get stolen. It also covers against key loss. Any reputable dog walker will be insured and while some insurance companies don't specify a dog must be kept on a lead, it must be under control at all times.It isn't always possible to ensure this so you may be asked to sign a disclaimer if you specifically wish for your dog to be walked off lead.

2.       Does your dog like the walker? A dog and its’ walker may not hit it off instantly but there needs to be warmth and compassion towards the animal. During their first meeting the dog needs to at least warm to the walker a little and essentially, affection must be shown towards your dog. If there is no sign of a genuine care for the dog, don’t hire them.

3.       A dog walker isn’t necessarily a trainer. Being a dog walker brings you into contact with many different breeds of dogs, many with quirky personalities but sometimes behavioural problems too. Experiencing and observing these behaviours can give a small insight into the psychology of a dog but certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to class themselves an expert. If your dog walker says they are a trainer, ask to see their certificates and qualifications.

4.       Find a walker who listens to you. You know your dog better than anyone so if they are prone to eating stones, or gets scared around other dogs or people, the dog walker must take this on board and walk the dog in appropriate areas. No dog walker should replace your judgement with theirs. Thinking they know best and walking your dog near a group of noisy children when you have specifically pointed out that your dog doesn’t like being around kids is not on.

5.       Is pack walking right for your dog? Some dogs thrive around other dogs when they’re on their walk. They need this social part of the day. Some dogs however, simply find pack walking stressful. You can tell the ones who are unhappy as they try and keep as far away as possible from the other dogs, tail down and avoiding eye contact at all times. Also, if you have booked an hours’ dog walk, how much of that time is spent collecting and dropping off other dogs’ enroute?

Check whether your dog walker does individual walks. You may pay a little more, but your dog will be far happier and enjoy their walks.

6.       What happens in an emergency?  Does your walker have an animal first aid qualification? Have they asked for your vet’s details? Have they asked for more than one contact phone number for you or a friend should they need to contact you in a hurry?

7.       Have a trial walk. If you find someone you like, ask them for a test walk. You would pay them for this but go along as well to see how they behave with your dog. A person who yanks at the lead and snaps commands at your dog is a definite no-no but someone who lets your dog explore the outdoors, lets them sniff around and actively engages with your dog is ideal.

Your Pet Care Services are fully insured for dog walking and dog boarding services. If you would like to know more, please contact us

By Joanna Crawford 21 Sep, 2016

Pet cremation may not be an option you’ve considered before. Growing up, many of us buried our pets in the garden at home. But these days, we all move around more. We rent properties and move on after a few years, potentially leaving our beloved pet in the garden of that property.

This is why pet cremation is becoming a popular choice for many grieving pet owners. If you find the right crematorium, they will cremate your pet individually, ensuring the ashes you get back are only your pets’.  

Your Pet Care Services has teamed up with just such a crematorium. Your pet will be returned to you beautifully presented in a box with an engraved plaque or a scatter pouch. Something you can keep forever. A lovely way to end the time you and your pet had together and offering you a permanent memorial to remember your pet by.

By Joanna Crawford 28 Aug, 2016
Cats tend to be fussy eaters, so we trust them to only eat food which agrees with them. Most cats love tuna and being high in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, is good for your cat.

However, tuna lacks many of the other essential nutrients a cat needs every day, to keep them healthy. Such as Vitamin E or calcium.  It also contains levels of mercury which, if consumed regularly can be very harmful to your cat. Even as much as one can a week can be harmful to a small animal like a cat. Mercury poisoning can cause muscle weakness, mental disturbance, memory loss and visual impairment. 

In short, tuna should only be given as a treat and only if it comes in spring water, not oil or brine.
By Joanna Crawford 02 Aug, 2016
While cats are usually pretty sensible when it comes to choosing which foods to eat,  there are a few things we, as owners, need to know.

Any food which isn't specifically designed with cats in mind can upset their digestive system and cause illness.
Below are some foods which cause serious health problems:

Alcohol -  Just a tablespoon of an alcoholic drink can cause severe liver and brain damage in a cat .
Chocolate -  Containing caffeine and Theobromine, all forms of chocolate are poisonous. However, dark chocolate and unsweetened cooking chocolate are most toxic. Ingesting chocolate can cause heart palpitations, muscle tremors or seizures. 
Coffee, tea & energy drinks -  These also contain caffeine which will cause your cat to become restless, have rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. 
Dairy products -  Like humans, some cats are lactose intolerant so eating dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Raw fish, raw meat, raw eggs -  As well as causing vomiting and diarrhea, raw meat, fish and eggs can cause a painful condition known as pancreatitis. These is also a risk of salmonella and E-coli in these foods.
Grapes and raisins -  Its unusual for a cat to eat these but it has been known. As in dogs, cats who eat grapes or raisins may suffer with acute kidney failure so although it's unlikely, best to keep them well out of the way.
Onions and garlic -  A little onion or garlic cooked in a sauce are not likely to cause any real problem, but any member of the onion family, if eaten in sufficient amounts can cause digestive upsets and even anemia if eaten in large enough quantities.

Care for your cat
If you think your cat has eaten any of the above, try to establish how much they have consumed and contact your vet as soon as possible. 

By Joanna Crawford 28 Jul, 2016
We may love the fact the weather has finally improved and the days are long, hot and sunny. Cats however, can't handle the heat like we can and although they usually love lying in a sunny spot somewhere for hours on end, heat exhaustion or heatstroke can quickly become an issue. In the hotter months, cats must be able to access lots of shade and plenty of water to drink.

Below are 5 signs that your cat may be suffering.

  1. Panting -  Breathing with their mouths open isn't normal for a cat and should always be checked out by a vet.
  2. Sweating and excessive grooming - Both are ways for a cat to cool down.
  3. Redness of the tongue and mouth.
  4. Restless behaviour - as they try to find somewhere cool to lie down.
  5. High temperature - A cats body temperature should be between 100-103 Fahrenheit. Anything over 103 is considered life threatening.
If you find your cat unconscious in a hot environment, whether its in a closed up room, a car or in a garden which has no shade, soak him with cool (not cold) water being careful to avoid the nose and mouth. Place a bag of ice or frozen veg between their legs and get them to a vet immediately.

If you cat is still conscious but showing any of the above signs, take them to a shady area and let them drink as much water as they want. Then take them to a vet.

If you cat is beginning to show signs of heat stroke, take them to a cool, shady area and provide them with lots of water.

Cats with short faces (ie Persians) or overweight cats are less tolerant of heat and are more prone to heat stroke.

Always be sure your cat has access to plenty of shade and water. Never leave them confined in a car, or anywhere else where they can't escape the sun or heat. 




By Joanna Crawford 30 Jun, 2016
There are around 1.2 millions rabbits registered as pets in the UK but vets are becoming increasingly concerned that many rabbit owners aren't caring for their pet correctly. 

Some of the incorrect information owners have given to vets are:
Rabbits need custard creams for a shiny coat
Rabbits shouldn't eat grass before they're six months old
They shouldn't be transported at speeds over 30mph

The British Small Animal Veterinary Congress (BSAVA) which took place in Birmingham this year asked vets and veterinary nurses for other misconceptions they had heard. One of the most popular was that people didn't realise rabbits require their own body size in fresh hay everyday. Also that rabbits are social animals and so need company (other rabbits, not guinea pigs). And although Bugs Bunny may be very keen on carrots, they should only be fed to rabbits as a rare treat. The same applies to apples.
As well as this:
Fruit juice should NOT be added to a rabbits water
Six years of age isn't old, the average life expectancy of a rabbit is 8-12 years (the oldest recorded rabbit in the UK was 17 years old).

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (UK) states that as a pet owner, you are legally obliged to provide the following for your rabbit:

  1. Environment -  In the wild, a rabbits territory is the equivalent to 30 tennis courts. Many pet rabbits spend their entire lives confined to a hutch 24 hours a day. They also need a large grassy area to run and jump around in to provide them with their much needed exercise and giving you a far happier bunny. 
  2. Diet -  Fibre is essential to a rabbits dental and digestive health. Good quality grass or hay should make up the majority of a rabbits diet and must be available at all times. 5% of their diet should consist of dry pellets.
  3. Behaviour -  Rabbits have plenty to keep them occupied in the wild. From foraging, territorial fighting, reproducing and just general exploration. Pet rabbits often lack any form of stimulation which can lead to behavioural problems and poor health. Like us, they need to be kept physically and mentally active.
  4. Company -  Rabbits are incredible sociable animals and if left alone and without nothing to do, will suffer. Keeping a single rabbit alone in a hutch is a very miserable life for a rabbit. With complex social needs and are happier if kept with another friendly rabbit or in a group of rabbits. However, putting the wrong rabbits together can lead to unwanted kittens (baby rabbits) or fighting so neutering is always recommended.
  5. Health -  For a long, happy and fulfilling life, its vital to keep your rabbit fit and healthy. They can be prone to some nasty illnesses which can be tricky to treat but can be easily prevented if you know how. Good care, appropriate feeding and vaccinations are the key to a healthy, happy bunny.

Last week saw Rabbit Awareness Week in the UK.  A campaign now in its 10th year, which offers free help and advice through vets. Hundreds of retailers and rescue centres run fun and educational events to spread the word about how to care for and get the best from your pet rabbit.








By Joanna Crawford 27 Jun, 2016
We all know most cats love a toy with catnip in. Seeing your cat getting excited and extra playful, totally oblivious to anything else that's going on. They can't resist the stuff.

What is catnip and is it actually safe for our cats?  

Catnip is a herb belonging to the mint family. The oils in the leaves and stem mimic a feline pheromone which causes instant arousal and excitement in the cat smelling it. Kittens don't usually show much interest in catnip, but by the age of one, both male and female cats start becoming aware of its aroma, although approximately 30% cats will never respond to it. Being affected by catnip is apparently an inherited trait. But if a cat is affected, it only needs a tiny amount  to feel its affect and just inhaling the herb can be enough to set them off.

In general, catnip is safe for cats but you should still observe your own cats behaviour around it. Some cats (usually males) become so excited around it they can become aggressive. It is fun and safe for a cat,  but should be used in moderation.

Does catnip have any benefits?

Cats seem to love the effect of catnip and so it can be used to reinforce behaviour, if you're trying to train your cat. It can also be used as reward after grooming or nail trimming. If your cat is a little lazy or overweight, exposure to the herb will encourage them to run around, playing and being more active.

The effects of catnip last approximately 10-15 minutes and although cats enjoy it, it should only be given to them about once a week to avoid over-indulgence.
By Joanna Crawford 23 Jun, 2016
All pets have a tendency to smell a little, from time to time. Whether you have a large, wet dog or a couple of gerbils in a cage. Here are a few tips to get your home smelling as fresh as a daisy again.

Baking soda
As a natural odour absorber, baking soda is great for removing general pet odours, but before you apply it to furniture or rugs, remember to test it on a small inconspicuous area to avoid ruining fabric.
On animal urine - Soak up as much urine as possible with a towel first. Sprinkle baking soda over the wet area and allow to dry. Vacuum the area once it is completely dry.
Smelly cat litter trays - Sprinkle a layer of baking soda in a litter tray then add a layer of cat litter on top. 
Smaller, caged pets -Caged hamsters and gerbils can begin to make a room smell, even if they're cleaned out regularly. Leave a tray of baking soda next to the cage. Ensure the baking soda never comes in to contact with the pet or gets into the cage itself.

Bedding and toys
These should be washed regularly to avoid developing nasty niffs . Put bedding in the washing machine and place a fresh smelling dryer sheet inside the bedding afterwards to keep it smelling cleaner for longer.

Cat smells
Cats leave their scent around a home by rubbing their faces against furniture or walls. If this is beginning to cause a smell in the home, wipe the areas with a mixture of white vinegar and water.

 Regular vacuuming
 Dogs shed their fur all the time which can then get down the backs of sofas and in between hard wood floor boards etc adding to the odour in your home. Vacuuming regularly removes the hairs keeping your home whiff free for longer.

Note: Dogs and cats don't like strong scents the way we do. Dogs in particular don't like floral scents so whenever possible, go for light or unscented cleaning solutions for your home.






By Joanna Crawford 16 Jun, 2016
Guinea pigs are friendly and easily tamed if handled regularly but require more time and attention than many other small caged pets. Long haired guinea pigs are particularly difficult to look after so before you go out and get a guinea pig, make sure you will be able to care for it and provide everything it needs.

What does a guinea pig need?

  • Company - In the wild, guinea pigs live in large social groups so it would be unkind to keep one on its own.
  • A gnawing block - guinea pigs are rodents and  their front teeth grow constantly throughout their lives. Gnawing blocks keep their teeth at a manageable length and stops them gnawing on items which may cause them harm.
  • Vaccinations to prevent illness or disease.
  • Grooming - long haired guinea pigs need to be combed every day to avoid matting.
  • Fresh, clean water daily, from a drip-feed bottle with a metal spout.
  • Guinea pigs should be fed twice daily with a mix of pellets, hay and fresh fruit and vegetables (washed).
  • A large weatherproof hutch which is kept off the ground and out of direct sunlight and strong wind. 
  • Each guinea pig needs its own sleeping area in the hutch.
  • Clean hay or shredded paper should be provided each day.
  • A large, secure grassy area for exercising. Ensuring they are safe from foxes, cats or other predators.
  • Guinea pigs, like larger pets, always require veterinary attention if they become ill or injured.
  • Do you have someone to look after them while you go on holiday? Contact Your Pet Care Services if you would like us to come and care for them.
Guinea pigs live longer than a lot of other rodents, up to 10 years. So owning a guinea pig can be a long term commitment. If you want to give a guinea pig a home, make sure it has company, ideally the same sex and from the same litter. Male guinea pigs that don't know each other may fight. It is not advisable to house guinea pigs with rabbits.

How do I hold a guinea pig?
Approach the guinea pig from the front using two hands - one around is hind quarters and one around its shoulders if the guinea pig is young, and around the chest if the guinea pig is older. Guinea pigs may become distressed if they're handled too often.

How do I check it's healthy?
Guinea pigs often suffer with overgrown claws and teeth. While claw clippers can be bought from pet shops, it's advisable to take your guinea pig to the vet to get their teeth or claws trimmed. Too much scratching can result in skin problems often caused by mites or lice. Your vet will be able to provide a suitable skin treatment. 

Long haired guinea pigs are particularly prone to a disease called Flystrike. This can be potentially fatal to guinea pigs. It is caused by flies laying eggs in dirty fur. By ensuring your guinea pigs home is cleaned daily and bedding changed regularly, this may be avoided. Check their fur daily and comb them. Pay extra attention to under the tail. Guinea pigs can also develop ringworm, a fungal disease which can be passed to humans. If caught early enough, this is treatable.

Can I breed my guinea pig?
The RSPCA strongly advises against breeding as it can be very difficult to find homes for the young.

Your Pet Care Services can take care of all smaller caged pets when owners have to go away. 


Share by: