IT’S A VET’S LIFE: How to make fun times with pets hazard free

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Spring is just around the corner and no doubt we’ll all soon be enjoying some fun times in the garden with our pets.

The great outdoors can be a dangerous place for our ever ­inquisitive furry companions.

You may have the occupants of your house well-trained, however remind friends, family and other visitors to keep external doors and gates shut.

Check for holes in or under fences - they might look like they aren’t big enough to get through, but to a curious puppy or kitten this can be an irresistible challenge, which all too often results in escape or injury.

Always read the instructions on garden chemicals, ensuring pets are kept inside after the application of lawn feed etc.

Try to keep shed doors shut and check for stowaways before closing them up.

There are far too many plants that are toxic to domestic pets for us to list here. However, check online for ‘plants that are poisonous to pets’ for a comprehensive list.

If you’re lucky enough to have fruit trees in your garden, try to ensure fallen produce is collected by someone other than the family dog. Soft fruit stones can get stuck in the intestinal tracked causing vomiting, diarrhoea and blockages that can require surgery.

Collecting fallen fruit will also reduce the chances of wasp and bee stings, but if your pet does get stung take them to your vets to ensure stingers are removed, reduce swelling and treat an allergic reactions.

If you have a bird feeder, be selective in what you put on it. Even if your dog can’t reach the platform, food is easily knocked or blown off.

Avoid putting large amounts of bread on at any one time. Deep chested dogs especially are prone to stomach twists and fermenting bread in the stomach won’t help with this.

Fat balls are also something that wouldn’t do us much good for obvious reasons and so if possible should be hung well out of reach.

­ Garden twine, rakes and other sharp implements should be stored safely out of reach, preferably in a locked shed to prevent cuts or punctures to paws.

This week’s question comes from Mrs Hamlet, who breeds miniature dogs.

Q: Is any such thing a smaller microchip available on the market?

A: Yes, there is now a mini microchip and we do stock them. They very rarely cause the animal discomfort and with the law changing as all dogs in the UK must be ID chipped next year, we urge all readers to get their pets chipped – big or small.