Must-have exercise and nutrition tips for dogs in Middlesex

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when you are trying to lose weight or just live more healthily. At Travel Vet in Staines-upon-Thames, we love dogs, and we love helping owners improve their dog’s health and happiness. Our team have put together some proactive dog nutrition and exercise tips to help you make a plan.

You can help other dog owners in Middlesex by sharing your dog wellness tips on our Facebook page:

Share your dog tips

10 top tips for creating a dog nutrition & fitness plan

  1. Choose a good quality, nutritionally complete, dry dog food that will support your dog’s health, life-stage, activity levels, and dental health.
  2. Some owners like to add wet food, look for one with good quality ingredients.
  3. Measure/weigh your dog’s food portions to ensure they are getting the right amount for their daily needs. Remember that more exercise may need more food. Ask us if you are unsure.
  4. Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water, you can always put some in with their food.
  5. Reduce treats and switch to healthier options like carrots and cooked green beans.
  6. Write down the exercises you want your dog to do and when, so you have a clear guide to keep you bothon track.
  7. Even if weight loss isn’t the focus, it is a good idea to write down weight goals (lose/gain/maintain) and measure changes every 2 – 4 weeks. This way, you can adjust the exercises or nutrition quickly if any issues arise. Pop into our Spout Lane North practice to get your dog’s starting weight. We can also do a body condition score to understand where your dog is at on the scale – just request a Nurse appointment.
  8. Increase the time, speed, and/or incline of your dog’s daily walk to burn more calories, give muscles more of a workout, and mix-up their regular routine.
  9. Try something new like dog agility if your dog is up to the challenge – be careful with older dogs and take it slow to start with.
  10. Consider a dog fitness app that lets you track routes, activities, and achievements.

Now you are ready to create your dog’s ‘healthier in 2022’ plan.

Don’t forget to make time for rest and recovery in your plan to avoid injury, burnout, or loss of interest for you both. Dogs do need daily exercise, so it is a good idea to do standard walks on some days (or all days if you have a very energetic dog) and try something more up-tempo on others. We hope you enjoy your new plan as much as your dog will!

Call us if you would like more advice or to book a body condition score appointment with our Vet Nurses on 01753 316081.

Help your friends and family, and other Middlesex dog owners by either sharing our article on your social media profiles or,

Share your own dog tips on our Facebook page

Eco-friendly treats for overweight dogs

We’re all for new year resolutions that will help pets and planet. Head Vet Emma Fisher and the rest of our dog-loving team in Staines-upon-Thames, have some thought-challenging ideas to share with you on the topic of dog treats.

Before we dig in, if you think your dog could be overweight, our Spout Lane North nursing team can help. Book a weight check and get a body condition score, advice, and support for your dog’s weight-loss journey ahead.

Book a weight check

What are overweight dog problems

Carrying excess weight will affect your dog’s health and quality of life. Overweight dogs can struggle with mobility, sore joints, and injuries. They are also at risk of developing diabetes and other serious health complications. A large contributing factor to weight gain is treats – to be more accurate, people giving dogs treats.

As January is a common time for new year weight-loss resolutions, we thought we’d encourage pet owners to focus on their dog’s weight too… whilst trying to live more sustainably of course. Read Emma and our team’s top tips below for better treat options.

Seven dog treat ideas for 2022

  1. Dogs don’t ‘need’ treats; there’s an interesting thought! Here’s another – your dog won’t love you any less if you don’t give them a treat. Be more purposeful with them i.e., use treats in training and to reward positive behaviour, such as recall on walks. Keep an eye on how many you’re giving as they quickly add up when you’re having fun.
  2. Your dog will still enjoy a treat if it’s not of the high-calorie, artificially coloured variety. Choose a low-fat dry kibble to use as treats, or, switch to carrots, cucumber, apple (not the core), and other healthy fruit and vegetables that aren’t toxic to dogs. Here’s a guide on fruit & veg your dog can eat from the PDSA.
  3. When buying dog food and treats from a shop check for eco-friendly packaging. Is it recyclable? Is there a better option? Also ask yourself, “does my overweight dog need it?”
  4. Avoid the pick & mix stand in your local pet shop as you can’t always check the ingredients and fat/sugar content and it’s easy to get carried away. If you do use it, take your own tubs.
  5. If you’re switching to carrots and other healthy veg & fruit treats, buy loose items without plastic packaging. Alternatively, why not buy some seeds and grow your own in Middlesex?
  6. Can you walk to the shop for treats? Lower your carbon footprint and give your overweight dog some exercise. You could also take a backpack to avoid plastic shopping bags.
  7. Have you thought about making dog treats at home? You’d be in control of the ingredients and baking goods often come in recyclable packaging (flour, eggs, etc.). Search for ‘healthy dog treat recipes’ and grab your apron.

If you have any more tips for switching to healthier and more sustainable dog treats, we’d love you to share them on our Facebook page to help other dog owners. Share on Facebook.

Not sure if your dog is overweight? Book a weight check with our Staines-upon-Thames nursing team and let us help you make 2022 a healthier year for your dog.

Book a dog weight check

Dog friendly days out in Middlesex this December

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 Spout Lane North 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.

Share dog friendly places on Facebook

You can help other dog owners in and around Stanwell, Longford, and Colnbrook, by sharing your favourite dog friendly days out on our Facebook page.

Travel Vet’s top ideas for places you can take your dog:

  • Cafés, restaurants & pubs – With so many dog-friendly options in Middlesex, 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 Middlesex 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:

  1. Cleaning up and disposing of your dog’s poops.
  2. Keeping your dog on a lead (unless you see a sign saying otherwise) and under control.
  3. 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.

Share your favourites on Facebook

If your dog has been spending more time home alone lately and you notice any unusual behaviours, book a Vet appointment with our team.

Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs – a Vet’s guide

Should you give your dog human foods like roast dinner, mince pies, Christmas pudding, and trifle? No, is the short answer, as our team of Vets will tell you.

If you think your dog may have eaten something concerning, call us for advice or to arrange emergency care straight away.

Call us on 01753 316081

Many foods and drinks we consume over Christmas are toxic to dogs. Depending on the item, amount consumed and how long ago, combined with the size and health of your dog, the situation could be life-threatening. To put it into context, a single raisin could potentially kill a dog – they are that toxic.

To help you avoid harmful foods and find treats your dog can have this holiday season, our Staines-upon-Thames Vets have created these lists to help you.

Christmas foods your dog SHOULD NOT eat:

  • Christmas roast dinner – Skinless, plain turkey is fine in small quantities. However, most festive dinners are laden with fat and can include onion (gravy), chives, garlic, pepper, and lots of salt – none of which will do your dog any good. Likewise, your dog shouldn’t chew on cooked bones as these can splinter and damage your pet’s mouth and gut.
  • Pigs in blankets – The sausage meat may contain onion and spices, and along with the bacon will be very fatty. Eating foods high in fat can lead to a painful condition called pancreatitis.
  • Mince pies and Christmas pudding – These usually contain dried fruits like raisins and sultanas, which are highly toxic to dogs and consumption can be fatal.
  • Chocolate – All chocolate is toxic to dogs. However, dark and cooking chocolate are the most toxic as they contain the most theobromine per gram. Call 01753 316081 immediately and keep the wrapper if they didn’t eat that too.
  • Trifle and other sweet treats – Many dogs are lactose intolerant, and an overdose of dairy cream can cause an upset stomach. Fatty and sugary foods can cause weight, dental, and other health issues so it’s best to just avoid these types of human foods as dog treats.
  • Other harmful Christmas goodies include macadamias and other nuts, bread dough (yeast), cookie dough, grapes, corn-on-the-cob, alcohol, and anything containing Xylitol – an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs.

Treats your dog CAN have:

  • Dog treats! It might sound simple, but dog treats are typically made to be nutritionally balanced, tasty, and safe for dogs. You can usually buy festive-themed treats at most pet shops in and around Stanwell, Longford, and Colnbrook, or make your own!
  • Safe human foods like raw carrots, cucumber, banana, and blueberries, and cooked butternut squash, green beans, and plain pasta in small amounts can make excellent dog snacks. They can also be heathier alternatives to some manufactured dog treats.

Try to remember that your dog won’t love you any less if you don’t give them some of your food, or if you swap cream cakes for carrots. And most importantly, dogs are cunning enough to help themselves if you leave them and food unattended…

Some final tips from our Staines-upon-Thames Vets – Always research new foods online to check they are safe for dogs – if in doubt, leave it out. Give new foods in small amounts first to check they agree with your dog.

If you have any dog food health scares over the festive season, contact us straight away.

See our contact information

Five cold weather walking tips for your dog

As the leaves fall from the trees and you dig out your big coat, scarf and gloves, it’s important to spare a thought for your dog’s welfare during the colder months. Some breeds (and ages) of dog find low temperatures tougher than others, but any dog can struggle in freezing and snowy conditions, so it’s good to be prepared.

If you have specific concerns about how your dog is coping with the cold, please remember you can always ask the team at our Staines-upon-Thames vet practice for advice. In the meantime, remember it can be a good idea to take the colder days & nights as a reminder to book a pre-winter health check, to make sure any niggles or conditions are picked up at an early stage.

Book a pre-winter health check

Advice for cold dog walks

Here’s a reminder of what to consider when you walk your dog on colder days…

  • Visibility – As the nights get darker earlier, does your dog’s collar need a light or reflective material?
  • Recall – If your dog is unreliable at returning to you on walks, consider keeping them on the lead to avoid them getting lost in fog or snow. And, of course, check their microchip details are up to date.
  • Water safety – Keep well away from stretches of frozen water, in case your dog runs onto a fragile surface.

Post-walk care

After a wet, chilly walk, make sure that your dog is:

  • Warm and dry – Use a towel to soak water out of your dog’s coat and make sure they have a warm, dry bed to snuggle up in, away from cold draughts.
  • Free of snow or grit in their paws – Residual snow can get stuck between your dog’s toes and cause painful problems. There may also be salt or grit on the roads which can irritate their skin, so check and clean if necessary.

Plus…

Don’t forget:

  • EVEN in autumn & winter, NEVER leave your dog in your car – Just like in summer, extreme temperatures can develop quickly and your dog could get dangerously cold, or overheat if the sun is beating down on your car. In an emergency, call us without delay on 01753 316081.
  • Adjust food and indoor activity – If you’re going on fewer or shorter walks due to the weather, keep your dog active indoors and adjust their food to avoid weight gain.

 

Ask us for winter health advice

Emma Fisher answers your questions on your puppy’s chewing phase

A lot of families in the Staines-Upon-Thames area got themselves a puppy over the recent lockdown. Typically, in the run-up to Christmas, even more will join that happy group. However, shortly after that cute furball has arrived you’ll get your first nip from those pin-sharp teeth and next thing you know … the cute furball has destroyed your sofa and your slippers.

Your pup has just entered what we call the ‘Chewing Phase’ and shortly you’ll want the answers to a few common questions. Our head vet Emma has anticipated your puppy chewing questions and answers the common ones below. Let us know how our tips work out for you and share your own puppy chewing hints & hacks on our Facebook page.

Share your chewing stories

WHY DOES MY PUPPY CHEW?

There are four main reasons your puppy will chew. Understand the cause of their chewing and you can quickly plan ways to help them (and you) out.

  1. They are teething. Just like human babies, when your puppy has a new tooth coming in their gums will feel sore, so they chew to ease the pain.
  2. Puppies chew, nip and ‘mouth’ to strengthen their jaw. This is a basic dog behaviour that lasts through to adulthood to keep their jaw muscle strong.
  3. They chew as they learn acceptable social behaviours. They learn from relationships between their actions and the reactions of other dogs (and of course you).
  4. They chew because they are bored.

HOW LONG DOES THE PUPPY CHEWING PHASE LAST?

Longer than you think! Actually, until they are 1 to 2 years old (depending on the breed and personality of your dog). At around 2-3 weeks your pup’s ‘puppy teeth’ emerge. At around 4 months old, adult teeth begin to come through. Then, from 7-12 months, adolescent chewing kicks in as the new teeth settle down and your pub begins to explore the world.

What you can do about puppy chewing

Now you know the causes, here are a few hints and tips to help you manage puppy chewing at home:

1. Puppy proof your home

Prepare for success by putting the chewable things you can out of reach; Slippers, electrical flexes and children’s toys need to be moved if they are to be saved

2. Train them at home

If they chew something they shouldn’t, immediately replace it with something they can. When they have their own object in their mouth, give lots of positive attention. If they nip or mouth you or your clothing, tell them ‘No’, then disengage. A minute later, put their toy in their mouth and start engaging and playing again

3. Learn how to confine them

When you need to go out or be away from your puppy, putting them in a crate or a confined area is important for their safety and development. It also gets them used to being in an area where they can get some downtime.

4. Give them more stimulation

Confinement is not a substitute for your lack of attention. Positive stimulation a socialisation is one of the most important factors in your new pup’s development. When your puppy starts destructive chewing, they’re probably just attention-seeking so lengthen the daily walk (or go out multiple times) and introduce more stimulating activities.

5. Get a few chew toys

Invest in high-quality dog specific chew toys that are built to last. No sticks please and no toys they can destroy and eat (you may need to persevere here). We often have good ones in the surgery, so speak to Helen, or one of the other nurses for their advice on the best ones for your pup.

6. Consider puppy classes

These will teach you and your puppy how to give and react to basic commands. Classes will teach you how to handle and socialise your dog and better still, these sessions will tire them out. One thing you’ll come to learn is that a tired puppy is much less likely to chew your belongings.

Puppy chewing will end

Before you know it, the chewing phase is over and all you’ve got to remember it is half a dozen destroyed slippers. Remember, manage their environment, teach them what’s acceptable and provide lots of the right stimulation. After all, that’s the joy of having a puppy! Right?

How to make your dog’s day at Travel Vet

Dogs have been loving their visits to Travel vet in Staines for many years. We know this because of all the wagging tails, loving licks, and return visits. We’re pretty sure we know why… See if you and your dog agree with our list below.

Bring your dog to visit us

Eight reasons why we think dogs love coming to visit us:

  1. A warm doggy welcome – To help dogs feel at ease as soon as they walk through our door, our doggy welcoming team are ready with warm smiles and lots of fuss.
  2. Dog treats, obviously! – What vet visit would be complete, or satisfying, without a tasty dog treat, or two? We’ve always got plenty of dog treats on tap.
  3. Other doggy & human friends – We find most dogs love to mingle. A trip to our [Staines-upon-Thames] practice is a much-loved social experience with lots of dogs & people to meet.
  4. Vets & nurses who speak ‘Dog’ – Our experienced team is always happy to get down to a dog’s level (dachshunds included) on the floor to bond, play, reassure, and just because they know it makes dogs feel special.
  5. Dog friendly advice – We love sharing our canine knowledge and experience with owners. We’re pretty sure many dogs in [Middlesex] will be loving the new food our vet recommended, or the fun exercise ideas our nurse talked about.
  6. Massages…sorry, we mean health checks! – A thorough nose-to-tail health check can feel as good as a doggy massage (maybe until the thermometer up the…) Plus, being checked for health issues can only be a good thing.
  7. Comfortable kennels – When dogs spend the day with us, or need to stay overnight, they get their own kennel with comfortable bedding to relax in. They also get lots of love and attention from our team.
  8. Professional nail clips – Some dogs love a mani-pedi… when it’s done by a professional. Our experienced nurses are a dab-hand at trimming even the most nervous dogs’ nails.

Make your dog’s day with a visit to Travel Vet. If for nothing else, a weigh-in with doggy fuss and treats will get that tail wagging!

We’d love to see a photo of your dog enjoying their visit – why not share one on our Facebook page?

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