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Autumn Pet Advice | Pet Health Advice | Vets4Pets

Autumn Health Advice

Keep your pets happy and healthy during the autumn and winter months.

Fleas, ticks and fireworks are just some of the 'usual suspects' that can cause considerable irritation and damage to the health of your pets this Autumn.

Also remember Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night are upon us. Remember this can be a particularly scary time for our pets. Read below for more information.

Firework Advice for Dogs

Remember, remember your pets this November! Although fireworks are fun for us, fear and sound sensitivities are very common in dogs. Make sure all windows and doors are closed during fireworks.

Worried about bonfire night and your dog? Whilst a certain degree of fear is normal, it is important to keep a look out for signs of distress. These include, ears back, excessive panting, drooling, vocalisation and even messing in the house.

If your dog is hiding away, barking excessively or messing in the house during fireworks, it may be distressed. We recommend creating a dark soundproofed hidey hole for them where they’ll feel comforted and safe.

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Firework Advice for Cats

There are a few simple things you can do to keep your pet happy this bonfire night; keep them indoors if possible and close the curtains, or cover their cage with a blanket. Drown out any noise by having the TV on and make sure they have plenty of toys to play with.

Loud noises during firework season can alarm cats and cause them distress, so try and create a sheltered, cosy spot for them inside the house and distract them with toys.

Be sure to look out for signs of your cat being distressed this bonfire night. Some of the signs include acting withdrawn, hiding away and a change of appetite.

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Firework Advice for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Rabbits and guinea pigs show even more subtle signs to cats when it comes to fear but this doesn’t mean bonfire night isn’t a distressing and frightening time for them as well. You can really help your furry friend by making a few simple changes to their environment which will help make them as calm and comfortable as possible.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Stamping their back legs  
  • Staying motionless 
  • Attempting to escape 
  • Grinding their teeth  
  • Refusal to eat - this can be very dangerous in rabbits!  

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Halloween is almost upon us and whilst the occasion is a time for fun and games for most families, it can pose certain threats and risks to our nation’s pets.

Pumpkins are a classic element of Halloween, and whilst they are non-toxic, they can cause stomach upsets if large amounts are eaten. If you are carving a pumpkin, make sure to move it well out of your pet’s reach and safely remove any excess.

Trick or treat? Popular Halloween treats like sweets and chocolate are toxic to pets, so should always be kept well out of reach. If your pet does manage to eat any treats you should contact your local vet immediately.

Taking your dog trick or treating with you? Make sure that they are microchipped (it’s now the law) just in case they become spooked and run away. Get in touch with your vet and they will be able to check your dog is microchipped and check that all their details are up-to-date.

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Spending time outdoors?

Dogs love to explore the great outdoors and often end up eating a variety of things that they find when out and about. Whilst this doesn’t normally cause any serious issues, it can be dangerous if they ingest slugs and snails carrying the parasite lungworm.

The signs of a lungworm infection include, coughing, breathlessness, weight loss, reduced appetite and diarrhoea. In more advanced cases it can cause fits and spontaneous bleeding. If you spot any of these signs contact your local vet immediately. 

To help prevent lungworm infection, owners should always be watchful of their dog when outdoors. Bringing dog toys indoors at night and avoiding letting your dog play with sticks, as these can both be covered in snail and slug slime, are two easy methods of prevention.

We always believe that prevention is better than cure. Our vets can prescribe a regular monthly treatment to keep your dog safe from the parasite. Pop in to your nearest surgery and we will be happy to help with any further information.



Adult fleas are tiny dark brown, wingless insects that can jump up to 165 times their own length and are easily spread by contact from one animal to another.

One of the reasons fleas thrive in autumn is that we spend more time indoors, shut our vents and windows and turn on our heating. These are ideal conditions for the development of flea larvae and hatching flea eggs.

The best way to check for fleas is to look for "flea dirt" which is dried specks of blood extracted by the flea. The best way to check for flea dirt is to comb through your pets coat onto a wet piece of kitchen roll or paper. If the specks turn red/brown, then you know your pet has fleas. Don’t wait for your pet to itch or scratch before thinking about flea treatments. Effective and regular flea control will help make sure your pet and your house stay flea free.

At Vets4Pets, our vets can prescribe effective spot-on treatments that, used regularly, will prevent flea infestation.

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Ticks are small biting insects with powerful jaws and a big round body compared to their head. Generally, ticks wait on grass and plants ready to bite your cat or dog as they go past. They attach firmly on to the skin and bury their head deep in the skin and feed on blood.

The main risk from the tick bites in the UK is Lyme disease, so it's important to remove a tick as soon as you identify it to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

It’s really important that the tick is removed correctly; if you disturb the feeding, it is possible that the tick will inject its gut contents in to your pet, further increasing the risk of disease transmission.

You should use a special tool called a tick hook in order to remove the ticks safely. Don’t try any of the old wives tales (burning, Vaseline, whisky) that you may hear of, they increase the danger of transmission.

As usual prevention is better than cure and your vet will have a range of tick preventatives to suit your pet. These come in the form of sprays, spot-on treatments, collars and tablets.