How to avoid needing to see vet for your pet during the lockdown

As the UK continues to battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, is particularly important to avoid pets needing to see a vet during this period. Many vets are able to offer consultations and prescribe urgent medications and treatments remotely, each vet practice can advise how supplies can be collected as procedures vary between practices. 

If your pet is due to have their boosters or first inoculations consult your vet to see if this can be postponed. If your pet is unvaccinated, has had an incomplete primary course or is out of date for their booster they may not be fully protected so should be kept away from public areas. 

Avoid accidents on the road 

Even if your dog has excellent recall (coming back to you when called) roads are dangerous places for off-lead dogs. Government measures mean owners must keep their dogs two metres away from other dogs and people. In busy areas where you are likely to come across other people and dogs, keeping them on a lead will help you to follow social distancing. Order a long length lead if needed, but only use in open spaces to avoid traffic, lampposts, cyclists, other people etc.

Avoid upset tummies and blockages 

Be vigilant when on walks and make sure your dog does not eat any thrown away takeaway food – especially bones, including knuckles and ribs which can cause obstructions.

Avoid cut paw pads

Look out for any broken glass when walking your dog to avoid nasty cuts to their pads. 

Avoid fights 

While out and about, keep your dog away from other dogs and if your cat tends to fight with other cats try to keep other cats in the neighbourhood away from your own cat. Keep cat flaps closed if need be and consider supervising your cat whilst in the garden to keep them away from other cats who might visit to avoid any potential fights.

It is a good idea to keep cats indoors overnight to avoid them getting into a fight with another cat or injured in a road traffic accident. 

Avoid poisoning

At this time when many of us are at home we are likely to want to tidy and clean but it is important to remember that many cleaning products are highly toxic to pets and cats in particular will lick their paws and fur almost immediately if they feel unclean. 

Therefore, it is essential you do not let pets walk across floors that have been disinfected until dry, and prevent them going near cleaning buckets and products. Likewise, hand sanitiser should be treated like any other product and not be transferred on to a pet’s fur. 

When pets wash any kind of toxic substance off their fur they can potentially burn their mouth, tongue or throat. It’s always better to exercise caution and keep all cleaning and sanitation products safely away. 

Many foods are also dangerous to our pets. There may be more chocolate around after Easter time so keep it all well away from dogs who can soon become very poorly if they eat it.  Other common foods which can be toxic to pets include garlic, onion, raisins and grapes.

 Other household dangers you need to avoid, or keep pets away from, include lilies – highly toxic to cats who can easily brush pollen onto their fur and absorb while cleaning themselves. Make sure there are none in a vase, as a houseplant or in the garden. Likewise daffodils are dangerous to dogs – visit the Blue Cross website to find out more about poisonous plants and other household dangers to pets. 

When outside of the home do not let dogs jump into water which may contain dangerous blue-green algae.

Keep up parasite prevention

Make sure you have enough supply of flea and worm prevention treatment and keep up to date to avoid your pet picking up any nasty unwanted visitors. Springtime can be a particularly bad time of year for dogs to pick up lungworm – an often fatal illness caused when they eat, lick or absorb slugs or snails which carry the disease. 

Sometimes slugs are very tiny so regularly wash their toys, especially if left in the garden or taken on walks. Make sure you have enough medication for the next month too, to avoid making several trips to the shops.

Avoid cats falling from open windows and balconies

For cat owners living on floors above ground level it is important to keep windows closed or fix secure barriers along the window so that cats aren’t tempted to rest on windowsills or balconies. It is a common misconception that cats won’t fall from an open window and they will right themselves and land uninjured if they were to fall. 

Blue Cross animal hospitals in London have taken in many, many injured cats who have fallen from an open window and broken their legs or worse. This is especially important as the weather starts to warm up and most of us are spending much of our time indoors – especially those without a garden.

 While your vet may be currently closed to all but emergencies, if your pet appears unwell it is still worth seeking their advice. Never give medicines meant for humans to pets some can be very dangerous – paracetamol, for example, is highly toxic to cats. 

Keeping pets entertained if they aren’t going out as much is a good idea. If playing a game of fetch, use a soft toy to avoid harming your pet – and your furniture. Avoid playing games on slippery floors too to prevent accidents.

For indoor activity ideas for pets and further safety advice during the Coronavirus lockdown visit www.bluecross.org.uk/coronavirus.

By Louise Lee, senior media officer at Blue Cross

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