Going to the beach with your dog this summer?

With restrictions on holidays abroad, and ongoing updates to the quarantine list, many people are opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK this year. If your summer plans involve a trip to one of our beautiful beaches and your dog is lucky enough to be joining you, here are some things to be mindful of:


Remember that dogs are prone to feeling the effects of the sun too, with dehydration being a danger to them. When you’re at the coast the sea breeze may make it feel cooler than it is, so do be aware of any changes in your dog’s behaviour and try to create some shade for them to rest in. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water for them to drink and avoid taking them out in the heat of the day – remember that dry sun-baked sand can get very hot and burn your dog’s feet.

For more information about protecting your pet from the sun click here >>


When ingested, sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, which may need surgery to remove. If your dog has never been to the beach before they may be curious about this new material and try to eat it. They may also inadvertently ingest sand when fetching a wet sand-coated ball. Keep your dog in view and be mindful of what’s in their mouths.

Swimming in the sea

We love to see a happy dog bounding through the waves but be sure to check the depth of the water and make sure there are no sudden drops that could cause your dog to get into difficulties. Small dogs are especially at risk due to their shorter legs, and a strong current could be more dangerous for them due to their lighter body weight.


Drinking salty seawater will also add to the risk of dehydration and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. Too much seawater can cause dangerously high levels of sodium which can be fatal. Once again be mindful of what your dog is doing at all times and be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.

Remember, if you’re travelling by car, ensure your dog is safely harnessed for the journey. Find out more here >>

And finally, have fun!

Posted in General News |

Top 10 summer pet-hazards

Here are a few ways to help make sure you and your pets have a super, safe time together this summer.

Heatstroke and dehydration
Animals develop heatstroke if their core body-temperature rises above normal levels (hyperthermia) and they lose their ability to cool down. Animals can’t get rid of excess heat through sweating and their fur coats (which are great for insulation in the winter) make it difficult for them to lose heat through their skin.

The symptoms of heatstroke and dehydration are:

  • Dry pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Excessive panting
  • Agitated (restless)behaviour
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

To reduce the risk of your pet developing heatstroke, allow free access to clean, fresh drinking water. Exercise your dog during the coolest part of the day; try and get out early in the morning or late evening. Carry water and a small bowl on longer walks.

Be extra cautious if your dog is: brachycephalic (has a short-nose), elderly, overweight or has dark fur. These factors increase your dog’s risk of developing heatstroke.

If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, or is dehydrated, move into the shade and offer small amounts of water to drink. Use cool water to dampen your dog’s coat- avoid very cold water as this can cause shock. Use a cool, damp towel to cover your dog. Call us, or your nearest vet, immediately and ask for your dog to be checked as a matter of urgency.

Ticks are commonly found in woodland and grassland which is used to graze livestock. These small parasites are blood feeders; they attach to an animal’s skin to feed. As they feed their egg-shaped bodies expand and turn a dark browny-red colour.

If you find a tick, and are confident to do so, remove it immediately with a tick-removal hook. These handy tools are available from your local practice. Avoid squeezing the tick’s body or leaving the head behind as this can cause an infection. Please call us if you’d like help removing a tick from your pet. We can also advise you about the most suitable tick-repellent product to use on your pet.

Bee or wasp stings
Pets are often keen to ‘investigate’ bees and wasps which often results in a sting. The sting site might become swollen and itchy but it’s very rare for animals to develop a severe allergic (anaphylactic) reaction. Common symptoms of stings include:

  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Swelling
  • Pawing at the face, or mouth
  • Biting at the site of the sting
  • Holding up their stung paw
  • Hives (small bumps along the skin near to the sting)

Uncommonly, stings near the nose or mouth can affect an animal’s breathing; call us for advice if you’re concerned about your pet.

Keep your pet’s fur short and well-groomed to help prevent heatstroke. Remove any matted fur, especially around their bottom, to eliminate the risk of flystrike. Flies can lay eggs in the fur which then hatch; these maggots eat into surrounding skin causing painful, open wounds.

Fur acts as a great sunblock but less hairy areas of your pet’s body can still become sunburnt. Dogs and cats with paler fur are more prone to sunburn.

Barbecues and alfresco dining
There’s nothing more enjoyable than cooking up a barbecue feast and enjoying your favourite tipple outdoors, just be careful your pet doesn’t join in! Be mindful of hazards including toxic food and drink, hot surfaces and sharp kebab skewers.

Some food and drink that should be kept out of reach of your pet include:

  • Food containing bones
  • Food containing seeds
  • Grapes
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw onion
  • Raisins
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coffee/coffee beans
  • Teas/tea bags

Swimming pools, sea, rivers, and lakes
Not all dogs are good swimmers so be cautious near open water, especially deep water with strong currents. If your dog gets into difficulty, don’t put yourself at risk attempting a rescue. Sadly, people drown each year trying to rescue their pet.

If you’re introducing your dog to water, consider using a dog-flotation device. You could let them get their paws wet in a paddling pool before moving onto deeper water. Rinse your dog’s fur after a dip to remove salt, chlorine or bacteria.

Keep a look out for blue-green algae as this is toxic to dogs. Don’t let your dog swim in, or drink water, which you suspect is contaminated. Contact us straight away if your dog has been in contact with algae.

Hot pavements and artificial grass
Hot pavements can burn your pet’s paws. If it’s too hot for you to stand on with bare feet, it’s too hot for your pet. Try the seven-second rule; if you can place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds or more, then it’s safe for your pet to walk on. If your hand gets too hot, it’s too hot for your pet.

To prevent your pet from burning his/ her paws, try the following:

  • Walk in the cooler hours of the day – early morning or late evening
  • If you’re out in the midday heat, try and walk on the grass where possible
  • Clean and check your dog’s paws regularly

Fertiliser and pesticides
Many fertilisers cause gastric (stomach) irritation if your pet eats them. It’s usually dogs who are affected because of their scavenging nature. The symptoms of fertiliser toxicity include: diarrhoea, vomiting, salivating (drooling) and a painful abdomen.

Pesticides can cause muscle tremors (shaking) and even seizures (fits). If you notice a farmer spraying his/her fields then consider an alternative route for a few days and rinse your dog’s paws well when you get home.

Flowers and Plants
Many plants and flowers are toxic if eaten by our pets. Depending on the plant, your pet might develop a range of symptoms from an upset stomach to more serious conditions such as kidney failure.

The most common harmful plants are:

  • Elder:The whole plant, including the elderberries, are poisonous for both cats and dogs.
  • Lilies:Contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, collapsing, fits, heart problems and renal failure (cats).
  • Foxglove: Both the seeds and the leaves of a foxglove plant contain a toxin which can cause heart problems, sickness, diarrhoea, fits and collapse.
  • Geranium: The whole geranium plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Hydrangea: Parts of a hydrangea plant contain cyanide which is toxic to both dogs and cats.

Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day, even for a few minutes. Heatstroke develops quickly and can be fatal.  Passers-by are encouraged to dial 999 if they notice a dog trapped inside a car. The police will act to release the dog – even if that means damaging the vehicle.

If you’re concerned about your pet and would like further advice, please contact us. We’re always here to help, however warm it gets!

Posted in General News |

The importance of microchipping your pet

Microchips play an important part in helping us to keep our pets safe. It’s a worrying time if pets go missing, but if they have a microchip, they can be reunited with us much quicker.

A microchip identifies that your pet belongs to you. It contains a number that corresponds to your details which are stored on a central database. Vets, dog wardens and animal charities have scanners to check whether any animal brought into them has a microchip.

The microchip itself is only the size of a grain of rice. It takes a few seconds to insert under the skin at the back of your pet’s neck.  Once in place, you and your pet won’t know it’s there!

Hopefully you’ll never need to use the microchip but it’s reassuring to know your pet has one if they do go missing. If you move house, or change your phone number, remember to inform the microchip database company so they can update your records.

Lost pets
Pets go missing for all sorts of reasons; dogs may bolt out of the front door when you take a delivery, escape-artist rabbits can break out of their hutch or cats can hitch rides in cars and vans. When your pet is found, it will most likely be taken to a local vet practice or a charity rescue home. One quick scan of the microchip and a phone call later, and your pet is back where they belong – with you!

Stolen pets
It’s an unfortunate reality that some pets are stolen to order and resold. If your pet is microchipped it can act as a deterrent to thieves.

Injured pets are always scanned as soon as they arrive at a veterinary practice for emergency treatment. We can access the database quickly and reunite you with your pet in no time.

Microchips and the law

  • It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Wales and Scotland.
  • It’s illegal for breeders to sell puppies over eight weeks old that are not microchipped and registered on a database.
  • There is no legal requirement to microchip other pets, but animal charities, and us here at Avonvale, strongly advise it.

If you want to know more about getting your pet microchipped, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.  There’s also some information available on the Government website which you may find useful

Posted in General News |

Keeping your dog safe during car travel

It’s hard not to smile when you see a dog sticking its head out of the window of a travelling car. They look so happy and carefree! But travelling with an unrestrained dog is risky for them, you, and other drivers.

If you’re going to be out and about on the road with your dog this summer, here are some things to consider to help keep everyone safe.

What does the law say?

Whilst it isn’t illegal to travel with an unrestrained dog, it’s not advisable:

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

UK Highway Code, rule 57.

We recommend restraining your dog when travelling as it keeps them safe and secure in the unfortunate event of an accident. It also stops them distracting the driver by moving around the vehicle and blocking the view.

Select the right type of restraint for your dog

Acceptable vehicle restraints include a travel cage or carrier (good for small dogs and short journeys), or a specially designed harness or seat belt. If you choose a travel cage, this should be placed in the footwell of the front seat or secured with the seatbelt on the rear seat. Never put animals on the front seat of a car.

If using a harness, it should be properly fitted in the rear of the vehicle and secured with a seat belt. There should be sufficient room for your dog to comfortably move, but not so they can escape.

Large dogs may be more comfortable travelling in the boot of a hatchback car; a dog guard prevents them jumping over the headrests. Ensure your dog has plenty of space.

Make sure your dog is comfortable

Give your dog some home comforts for their travels; put blankets and their favourite toy in carriers or cages. If you’re going on a long journey, plan regular stops for water, snacks, toilet breaks and exercise. Be sure to keep your dog on a lead as they leave the vehicle; if they’re in an unfamiliar, busy place, they might panic and run away.

Regulate the temperature inside the car; don’t open windows too much or direct air conditioning onto your dog. Never leave your dog in a warm car. The temperature inside cars rises quickly, even on cooler days, which can lead to heatstroke, dehydration, and sometimes death. If your dog becomes distressed in a hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999. The police will act to release your dog even if that means damaging your vehicle.

If your pet isn’t properly restrained in your car, it could invalidate both your car and pet insurance.

Happy travelling with your four-legged passengers!

Posted in General News |

Tortoise parasite prevention

Do you have a tortoise? If so, it is recommended to have a worm count carried out on your tortoise twice a year.

A worm count can be carried out by obtaining a faecal sample, which can be tested in practice. It is common for tortoises to have a low-level worm burden; however, when this increases, it can cause issues such as diarrhoea, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients, and subsequently, weight loss. It is particularly important to control before hibernation, after moving to a new enclosure, before meeting a new tortoise, or if they stop eating or have diarrhoea.

If a positive test is returned, we would recommend booking in for worming treatment. Many wormers will only kill the live worms and not the eggs and, for this reason, we may advise on repeat doses and another faecal count at the end of the treatment.

Whilst your tortoise is undergoing worming treatment it is important to remove all substrate and replace it with newspaper. Throughout this time, you should feed your tortoise with high fibre, high water content food. It would help if you did not feed them fruit, as sugar can lead to worms reproducing more rapidly.

For more information, please contact us.

Posted in General News |

Pet Skin Conditions

Skin disease is quite common amongst pets, as up to 25% of small animal consultations relate to skin issues. Part of the reason why skin conditions are so common is that skin only reacts in certain ways despite many different causes, and don’t forget that ears are lined with skin as well. Skin conditions cause irritation and pain, therefore understanding the cause means a quicker resolution.

Common signs of dermatological issues in pets

Pets suffering from skin problems show a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Rubbing excessively against carpet or other surfaces
  • Chewing at the skin
  • Red, irritated skin, rashes, or sores
  • Weeping sores or spots
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the legs, feet, or body
  • Repeated rubbing of the face or ears
  • Flaky and dry skin
  • Loss of fur
  • Lumps and bumps

If you notice any of these symptoms, we advise you to book an appointment to see us.

Causes of dermatological issues

Pets can develop skin issues for many reasons. Some factors include allergies (environmental, food, or parasite), bacterial infections, acne, hair loss, or parasites such as fleas, ringworms, or ear mites.

The resulting skin irritation can vary from mild or temporary to severe infections or other health concerns.

Testing and treatment for dermatological issues

There are a variety of ways to test for dermatology issues. In many cases, one of our vets or nurses collects a small sample of material such as a fur pluck, skin scrapes, or skin swabs and examines them under a microscope. They will be looking for mites, yeast, bacteria, and other explanations for why your pet could be in discomfort. Allergy testing is commonly performed by a blood test or skin prick test.

The most common treatments available for dermatological issues are:

  • Flea and mite treatments
  • Oral or injectable anti-itch medication
  • Allergy desensitisation
  • Topical medications (creams or ear drops)
  • Medicated shampoos and conditioners
  • Skin supplements
  • Hypoallergenic diet

In many cases, we will ask you questions about what you have observed regarding your pet’s behaviour. This critical information, paired with their physical examination findings, will allow us to determine the best action plan to correct your pet’s skin condition.

Posted in General News |

Flea, tick and worm prevention for dogs

Your beloved dog is at risk of contracting parasites as they are ever-present in our environment, but you can keep your pet safe by regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment.


Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. There are several different ticks species, and they vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. They are common in grasslands and woodlands but can also be found in domestic gardens. They are in all areas of the United Kingdom.

You are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, but they are active throughout the year. Unlike many other parasites, ticks do not fly or jump but climb or drop onto your dog’s coat when you enter their habitat, especially in long grass. Once on your dog, they screw themselves into the skin and feed on blood.

Ticks can irritate your dog and spread microbes that cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis. As a dog owner, it is good to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or neutralise them. Tablets, spot-on treatments, and collars are available to help fight ticks, and it is best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.


Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are prevalent across the United Kingdom. Fleas on dogs are more than just a summer problem as they can survive and bother your pet all year-round.

Dogs typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or fleas in their environment. This insect’s robust back legs enable it to jump from a host or the surrounding environment onto your dog.

Fleas will make your pet uncomfortable and itchy; they can also pose a profoundly serious health risk. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by the parasites, and it can be fatal to puppies or immunocompromised dogs. Don’t forget fleas feed on people too, and a flea infestation can easily get into your home.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to consult your vet to find the safest, most effective, and most sustainable product for your dog. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting flea development – and some newer products on the market do both!


The thought of worms in our beloved dog can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in dogs is an integral part of responsible dog ownership.

Every dog is at risk for worms, no matter where they live or how much time they spend outside. There are three types of worms we worry about – Roundworms, Tapeworms, and Lungworms. Worms are usually transmitted through the faecal-oral method. That means that your pet may have come across microscopic parasitic eggs that are present in faecal material. Some worms, such as tapeworms, are transmitted via fleas. The parasite lives inside the flea, so when a dog accidentally eats fleas, they become infected. Some tapeworms can be transmitted when a dog eats raw meat. Lungworm is spread via foxes, slugs, and snails and is a potentially fatal parasite for dogs.

For most dogs, it is recommended to take some type of worm prevention year-round. Your vet will let you know what the best product is, based on the worms found in your part of the United Kingdom, and your dog’s lifestyle.

Join our Healthy Pet Club

If you join our Healthy Pet Club, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your dog free from ticks, fleas, and worms alongside routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!

Posted in General News |

Flea, tick and worm prevention for cats

Your feline friend can always be at risk of contracting parasites with them being ever-present in our environment. However, regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment is the best way to protect them, your home, and yourselves from infestation.


Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are found year-round across the United Kingdom and are the most prevalent skin parasite found in cats.

Cats typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or from their environment. A house with central heating and fitted carpets creates a warm and humid condition that is perfect for fleas to flourish. Fleas feed on blood and then lay eggs. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day which fall off wherever your cat goes. The eggs hatch into larvae which live in dark recesses of your home. Eventually, the larvae spin a cocoon that can be present in the environment for as long as two years, waiting for the right signals to hatch into an adult flea when the whole cycle starts again.

Fleas are likely to make your cat uncomfortable and itchy, and you may notice they have inflamed skin or small scabs at the base of their tails or around their necks. Flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by parasites, which can be especially dangerous in kittens. Fleas also don’t mind who they bite and will commonly feed on you and your family.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to contact us to find out what we can offer and recommend. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting fleas’ development – and some newer products on the market do both! Products intended for treating fleas in cats must not be used on cats as they can be toxic.

Treating your cat will only go part way to controlling any flea infestation – it is also crucial to ensure that they are killed and removed from the environment to prevent reinfestation.


Ticks are 8 legged creatures related to spiders and are most commonly found in long grass and woodlands. Ticks can be harmful to cats as they can transmit disease and can be locally irritating. Although you are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, they are active throughout the year.

Ticks will attach themselves to your cat as they pass by, jumping from the foliage and climbing up their legs. Once attached, they remain there for five days, drinking your cat’s blood. Ticks are visible with the naked eye but can be hard to spot amongst the fur. They prefer to attach around the head and ears.

As the well-known saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, and there are various products available to help treat your cat to prevent them from becoming infested by ticks. We can recommend the best product for your pet. If your cat has a tick, then contact us to arrange an appointment to remove it, as if they are not removed correctly the mouthparts of the tick can remain in the skin leading to infection.


The thought of worms in your beloved cat can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in cats is an integral part of responsible pet ownership.

There are two types of internal parasites that are commonly found in the gut of cats – tapeworms and roundworms.

Tapeworms are flat, tape-like worms that attach to the wall of the gut. Your cat may become infected with tapeworm if they were to ingest something that was a host for the tapeworm eggs, such as a flea or rodent.  As fleas can transmit tapeworm, if your cat shows signs of having fleas, then there is a good chance they have tapeworm too.

Roundworms live in the intestine of your cat and are more resembling of an earthworm. Like tapeworms, their eggs are passed in the faeces, and although not infectious straight away after being passed, they will be after only a couple of days and remain infectious for years! It is also common for roundworms to be passed on from a mother to her kittens through the milk.

Although not fatal, the presence of worms in cats can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, irritation, and diarrhoea.

For most cats, it is recommended to take year-round worm prevention. We can advise you on the best product based on the type of worm found and your cat’s lifestyle.

By becoming a member of our Pet Health Club, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your cat free from ticks, fleas, and worms, as well as routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!


Posted in General News |

Easter Bank Holiday hours

With Easter just around the corner, our opening hours will vary from our usual times. Please see below for our opening times over the Bank Holiday weekend:

Friday 2nd April                      Closed (emergencies only)
Saturday 3rd April                  08.30 – 17.00
Sunday 4th April                     Closed (emergencies only)
Monday 5th April                    Closed (emergencies only)

Wellesbourne, Southam, Kenilworth, Cubbington
Friday 2nd April                      Closed
Saturday 3rd April                  08.30 – 12.30
Sunday 4th April                     Closed
Monday 5th April                    Closed

Friday 2nd April                      Closed
Saturday 3rd April                  08.30 – 17.00
Sunday 4th April                     Closed
Monday 5th April                    Closed

Friday 2nd April                      Closed
Saturday 3rd April                  08.30 – 13.00
Sunday 4th April                     Closed
Monday 5th April                    Closed

Out of Hours service will be provided by our Warwick hospital as usual.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Posted in General News |

How to choose a scratching post for your cat

Scratching posts are useful items for many cats. They provide a dedicated place for your cat to scratch and ensure that your walls and soft furnishings avoid unnecessary damage.

Why do cats scratch?

Cats need to scratch for three main reasons:

  1. To remove the outer layers from their claws (a DIY cat manicure!)
  2. To leave their signature scent around the house marking all that is yours as theirs!
  3. To stretch their back muscles and flex their paws.

Cats with outdoor access may prefer to scratch on fences, trees, and fallen logs. But for indoor cats, a scratching post is a must-have.

Which post?

There are many different types of scratching posts available suitable for all budgets. Bear in mind that some cats prefer a horizontal scratching surface to vertical; spy on your cat to learn their preference!

  • Check the post is rigid and stable. We recommend fixing taller posts to the wall with a bracket for extra safety
  • Make sure the post is big enough for your cat and allows enough space for their daily gymnastic routine.
  • Many cat scratching posts are covered in carpet. Choose a post with a very different surface to your home’s fabrics. This avoids confusion and helps your cat understand that other surfaces (like your expensive sofa) are a claw-free zone.
  • The number of scratching posts you may need depends on the number of cats you have. Some cats aren’t keen to share so, to maintain feline harmony, you may need multiple posts.

Where to place your post:

Consider placing the post near your cat’s bed so they can scratch first thing in the morning. Some cats enjoy looking out of the window whereas others enjoy cosying up to a radiator.

If your cat loves to hang out with you, a post near your home-work-space, or in your main living area, might work well.

Getting your cat used to the post:

When you first introduce the post to your cat, they may be suspicious and avoid it. You can encourage them to engage with the post by playing games nearby or hiding treats on the different levels.

We hope that your cat enjoys its new safe space.

Posted in General News |