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Why guinea pig grooming isn’t just for long-haired breeds

Did you know that guinea pig grooming has many benefits for both short and long-haired breeds? It’s not just about detangling and de-matting those long locks! AllPets Vets’ Nurses have some advice on why you should, and how to groom your guinea pig.

Download our grooming guide

We always love hearing from our clients and the wider guinea pig owning community. Head over to our Facebook page and ask us any grooming and small furry pet questions and we’ll be happy to help. Ask us questions on Facebook.

Why do guinea pigs need to be groomed?

Guinea pigs usually do a great job of grooming themselves to get clean. However, there are many benefits that come with regular grooming by their favourite human, such as:

  • Keeping your guinea pig free from tangles and dirt
  • Checking for skin lumps and bumps, hair loss, dental problems, and pests
  • Bonding time with your tiny companion
  • Help staying clean if they are elderly or unwell

How to groom your guinea pig

If you are wondering how often you need to groom your guinea pig and what’s involved, our Prestatyn and Rhyl nursing team have some helpful advice for you below.

  • Short-haired guinea pig breeds like the American Cavy only need brushing once a week to minimise shedding and keep them clean. Any more could result in loss of hair density and quality.
  • Long-haired guinea pig breeds such as Peruvians and Abyssinians generally need brushing 2-3 times a week to prevent matting and dirt build-up, which can lead to infection and parasitic ‘invasion’.

Depending on your pet’s breed and hair type, you can use the palm of your hand (add water if your guinea pig is shedding) or a metal narrow-toothed pet-flea comb. Be gentle, and brush in the same direction as your pet’s hair grows.

Not all guinea pigs will enjoy being brushed, however, it is an essential part of keeping them healthy. Try altering the frequency to avoid stressing them out. You could also gently stroke them from head to toe whilst brushing and feeling for anything unusual.

There is a little more to guinea pig grooming than just brushing – they will also need:

  • Monthly or bi-monthly nail trims
  • An occasional ‘butt’ bath
  • Weekly dental check & ear clean
  • Regular grease gland ‘clean-up’

Learn more about each of these tasks in our handy downloadable guide.

Download our Guinea Pig Grooming Guide

10 dog nutrition & fitness tips you both need in your life

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when you are trying to lose weight or just live more healthily. At AllPets Vets 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 Prestatyn and Rhyl 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 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 01745 853 366.

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

Share your own dog tips on our Facebook page

Richard shares why a cat microchip gives the best start to the New Year

You may have heard the term ‘compulsory cat microchipping’ in the news last year. You may have even popped it on your long list of things to do. In this article, our head vet Richard, explains why making cat microchipping a top priority in 2022 will give you and your cat the best start to the new year.

Book a cat microchip appointment

Compulsory cat microchipping

In spring of last year, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced that cat microchipping would become compulsory in the UK as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move was aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.

It’s only a matter of time before this new law starts being enforced and like compulsory dog microchipping, non-compliance will carry a fine of up to £500 – which wouldn’t be a great start to the new year for pet owners in Prestatyn and Rhyl.

Important reasons to microchip your cat

Besides avoiding a potential fine, getting your cat microchipped can make all the difference if the unthinkable should happen. Cats go missing for several reasons including:

  • Wandering off and getting lost
  • ‘Helpful’ passers-by thinking the cat looks lost and taking them to a vet or rescue centre
  • Pet theft – which has increased dramatically since the first lockdown
  • Road traffic accidents – sadly, not enough drivers stop to report the accident or help the cat.

Richard explains that a microchip can’t prevent your cat from going missing or getting injured; it will however, significantly increase the chances of you being reunited with them. If your cat is found and taken to a vet practice, a rescue centre, or picked up by the local animal warden, these organisations will use a cat microchip scanner to obtain ownership details.

According to a news article in the Hereford Times last year, 60 cats or dogs go missing every hour in the UK. Every year, tens of thousands of cats are reported lost and 25% of those are never reunited with their owners – two large factors in this are:

  1. Many cats still aren’t microchipped
  2. For those cats with microchips, some owners forget to update their details if they move house or change phone numbers

At what age should cats be microchipped?

A good time to have your kitten microchipped is during their neutering procedure at around 4 months old, before they venture outdoors. Older cats can be microchipped at any age and it is a quick and harmless procedure. Our experienced vets and nurses can give you more advice on this so please do get in touch.

How much does it cost to microchip a cat? About the same as it would cost you to buy a posh hot chocolate each week for a month.

So, are you ready to get your cat’s new year off to the best start?

Book a cat microchip appointment

Read AllPets Vets’ advice on why your guinea could be overweight

The New Year is typically a time for change, making now the perfect time to change your pet’s life for the better if they are overweight. The team at AllPets Vets love helping owners and have this advice about overweight guinea pigs.

Contact us to book a weight check

Reasons for an overweight guinea pig

When it comes to guinea pigs and other small furry pets, weight gain is usually (and we hate to say this but…) because as owners, we haven’t provided them with the right type or amount of food, exercise and mental stimulation.

There are other reasons guinea pigs can gain and lose weight so it’s always wise to get your pet checked out by a vet as soon as you notice a change.

  1. Weight gain (or loss) over a few days or weeks could be a sign of a medical condition, most commonly a tumour or pregnancy.
  2. Weight gain over a few hours could be an emergency condition called ‘bloat’, which is a distension of the abdomen – contact us immediately if this is the case.

Head Vet, Richard Ryvar, at our practices in Prestatyn and Rhyl explains why carrying excess weight is a BIG problem for small pets.

Overweight guinea pigs are:

  • less able to reach their rear-end to clean it, which amplifies the risk of flystrike (often fatal)
  • putting more strain on joints leading to painful movement
  • less mobile and agile, affecting their everyday quality of life and ability to exercise
  • candidates for diabetes, typically if fed a high-carb diet with lots of fruit & sugary treats
  • at increased risk of complications if pregnant

Assuming all is well, right now is the ideal time to help your small pet shift excess fat.

Helping your guinea pig lose weight

First, we recommend booking a weight check at our Prestatyn and Rhyl practices. Our nurses will assess your guinea pig’s weight, and tell you how much they need to lose.

Our team can then also give you advice on how to:

  • review your guinea pig’s diet – provide the essentials and give healthier treats.
  • experiment with different ways of feeding – bowl vs scatter feeding and foraging trays.
  • provide sufficient mental stimulation & physical exercise through pet companionship, suitable housing, stimulating activities & items, and time outside their enclosure.

Let our nurses help you get your guinea pig on the right track and book a weight check at our Prestatyn and Rhyl veterinary practices – see our location and book.

Book a weight check

Bored guinea pigs and hamsters – how to avoid this at Christmas time

We’re sure many small furry pet owners in Rhyl and Prestatyn can relate to this; how do you avoid having a bored guinea pig or a bored hamster?

This can be especially tricky when you’re burning the Christmas candle at both ends and struggling to dedicate as much time as usual to your little pal. Our head Vet Richard Ryvar, and their team have scoured the internet and come up with some interesting looking, highly rated toys for your small pets to try. We’d love to know what you think so share a photo or video on our Facebook page.

Share your pet’s fun times on Facebook

Most small pets (excluding Syrian hamsters) prefer to live in pairs, so it’s important to give them a companion to avoid loneliness. When they get bored, they can become depressed and some will even self-mutilate so mental stimulation is important too.

If you notice anything unusual about your pet, book a small pet Vet check.

To avoid boredom, small pets need toys and activities that allow them to mimic their natural wild behaviours like exploring, foraging, and gnawing. We hope you like the look of these too:

Eight boredom busting toys for small pets

Wooden Exercise Wheel – This might end up with some teeth marks in, but your pet will have enjoyed themselves.

Play Tunnel Giant Tube – Depending on where you hang it from, your pet can have lots of fun jumping in and out of it.

Natural Grass Hammock – Chewable, swingable… what’s not to love?

Boredom Breaking Chew ToysGet 11 toys designed for hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, gerbils, rabbits, and Syrian hamsters – so much choice!

Floral Hanging Basket – This is ready to be chewed and delightfully destroyed.

Carrot Cottage – A cute cottage covered in hay with a real carrot roof? Yes, this is perfect for climbing on, sleeping under, and gnawing.

Peanut Gnawing Chew – These hamster chew toys will be good for boredom and filing down their teeth, plus they’ll work with most small pets.

Fruit Flavoured Nibble Cage Chew – Another tasty treat that’s ideal for oral health and preventing boredom.

If you’re on a tight budget this Christmas or just enjoy making things yourself, check out these videos on how to make DIY toys for guinea pigs, hamsters, and other small pets:

How to make a foraging box for guinea pigs

Make boredom busting toys for hamsters and other small pets

10 DIY toys for rabbits and other small pets

We’d love to see how your small pets get on with any of these toys, or if you have your own. Visit our Facebook page and share your photos and experiences!

Share the joy on Facebook

Christmas and cats – what could possibly go wrong?

You’ve seen the memes with cats stuck in Christmas trees, but what else can go wrong during the festive season when you have cats? Head Vet Richard Ryvar, shares common causes of Christmas cat injuries and advises how to avoid them.

Given how curious cats are, it makes sense to keep our number in your phone just in case your cat gets into any bother.

Call 01745 853 366 for cat advice

Six common cat concerns at Christmas in Prestatyn:

Road traffic accidents

With all the noise and commotion that comes with Christmas, including extra guests at your home, cats often roam outdoors to escape the mayhem. As it gets darker earlier during winter, your cat is more at risk of being hit by a car. Richard recommends fitting your cat with a reflective collar and providing ‘safe spaces’ indoors for your cat to take solace in when it gets too much.

Consuming harmful food & drink

Christmas can be a fun time of year for cats, with tasty morsels of food and leftover drinks all over the place to try. Some items such as pigs in blankets could give your cat an upset stomach, whereas toxic treats like chocolate or mince pies (containing dried fruit) could cause them severe harm. It’s wise to keep food, alcohol, and paracetamol (for the Boxing Day hangover) behind a closed cupboard, pantry, or fridge door and away from curious cats.

Plant poisoning

Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are festive favourites for many households. Unfortunately for cats, they can cause a variety of health problems ranging from nausea and vomiting, to collapse and seizures. Richard recommends keeping harmful Christmas plants out of reach, or not keeping them at all.

ANTIFREEZE ALERT

– This substance is highly toxic to cats but tastes sweet (so we hear). Clean up any spills and keep the container somewhere your cat can’t get to it – remember cats can climb!

Christmas tree injuries

Saying cats and Christmas trees don’t mix well is an understatement in some households. Cats love to play with delicate baubles and wires, climb the tree, eat the needles, and rub themselves against the branches – all of which can end badly. Richard has this advice for cat owners:

  • Consider choosing an artificial tree – real fir trees produce toxic oils that can harm cats when eaten or absorbed through the skin and eating pine needles can cause a lot of pain.
  • Smaller Christmas trees should cause less damage to your cat if they fall over – secure your tree to a wall or ceiling or use a heavy base to steady it.
  • Choose shatterproof or soft hanging tree decorations and nothing edible if you have pets.
  • Keep wires contained so they don’t look like string to play with to your cat.
  • Decorate your tree without your cat in the room and avoid leaving your cat alone with it.

Burns & scalds

Cats can easily get burned or scalded accidentally at Christmas time, with knocked over candles and cooking pans being the common causes. Avoid injuries by keeping candles out of reach, or your cat out of the room, especially the kitchen when you’re cooking.

We hope you found Richard’s advice useful. As always, if you have any concerns about your cat, get in touch with us here at AllPets Vets in Prestatyn and Rhyl.

See our contacts, location and opening hours

Seven essential health checks for your rabbit this Autumn

Rabbits are experts at hiding illness, so daily and weekly checks at home should be backed up with regular visits to your local AllPets surgery. Whilst the exact frequency of your furry friend’s vet visits will depend on a number of factors, we normally remind owners in spring and autumn. Ideally, we’ll get to see your rabbit at least once a year and just before winter is an ideal time to make sure they’re prepared for the colder months ahead.

Book a pre-winter rabbit check-up

Typical vet visits for your rabbit may involve annual vaccinations and dental check-ups, and we may recommend other types of treatments. Richard Ryvar, our head vet, thinks it’s useful to remind owners what they should be looking for in between vet visits.

Below is a list of the essential areas we check when you bring your pet rabbit to our Prestatyn and Rhyl surgery. We’re sharing this because rabbits are generally pretty good at keeping themselves clean, so if you spot anything mentioned in this list, it really is worth bringing them in.

Seven essential things for your rabbit health check list

  1. EyesYour rabbit’s eyes should be clear, bright, and free of discharge. Pull up the eyelid and the eye tissue should be pink. If it’s red or pale, or there is discharge from the eyes, call us.
  2. EarsThe inside of your rabbit’s ears should be clean and clear of wax/dirt. Check inside the ear with a penlight. Ask us to show you how to clean your rabbit’s ears on your next visit.
  3. NoseThis is really simple; your rabbit’s nose should be free of any discharge whatsoever. If you do see discharge from the nose, call us on 01745 853 366.
  4. TeethThese are really important. Check your rabbit’s teeth by carefully pulling the upper and lower lips back. You should see the upper front teeth aligning with the lowers and a slight overbite. If the teeth are too long or the bite isn’t good, we may need to trim them, and we’ll probably need to talk to you about their diet.
  5. FeetThe most common problem with a rabbit’s feet is sore hocks or heels. If you see foot sores, especially open sores, call us.
  6. NailsNails shouldn’t be too long. If they are, then it’s a simple job to clip them at home. Ask us to show you how to safely clip your rabbit’s nails on your next visit.
  7. Fur & SkinYour rabbit’s coat should be soft, shiny, and free of matted hair. If you back-brush the coat with your hand, the skin should be clear of dust and flakes.

 

As well as the essential list above, if you bring your rabbit in for a pre-winter health check-up we’ll be looking at areas such as their glands, their mobility, and talking to you about their eating and toileting behaviours. If you’re not sure when they were last seen, or, if you know it was over a year ago due to the disruption in 2020/21, then please do book an appointment.

Book a health check for your bunny this autumn

Four things your cat should be checked for this autumn at AllPets Vets

When the days and nights start getting colder, our veterinary team recommend bringing your cat to see us for a pre-winter health check, to make sure they’re in tip-top condition.

Autumn is a good time to make sure vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date and nip any emerging problems in the bud, to avoid them worsening during the colder months. After all, it’s a time when we’re all at our most vulnerable.

Book a pre-winter health check

So, what will we look out for at your cat’s pre-winter health check?

1) Vaccinations and parasite prevention

The first thing we’ll do when you attend a pre-winter health check is to review the basics by weighing your cat and checking their vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date.

2) Weight and body condition

If it’s appropriate, we may have a chat with you about making sure you don’t end up with an overweight cat. As temperatures fall, it’s tempting (and natural) for us all to eat more food (back in the day because we needed more energy in winter but now…) for comfort and warmth. Also, nowadays, treats typically become more frequent in the approach to Christmas. Your cat might eat up to 25% more food during this time than they would in other seasons.

3) Common cat health conditions

If you have an older cat, arthritis can strike during cold weather. Poor vision can also be an issue, especially as the nights draw in. But at any age, we can give your cat a thorough examination to spot signs of anything that may require treatment or extra care.

4) Teeth

Like vaccinations, a seasonal check-up is a great opportunity to make sure your pet has no dental concerns. Extra treats and other rich food over winter might pose a greater threat than usual so it’s a good idea to get ahead of any issues.

If there’s anything else that worries you about your cat during autumn and winter in Prestatyn, please don’t hesitate to speak to Louise, our head nurse, or any of our team; we’ll refer you to one of our friendly Vets if we feel that more attention is required.

See if you cat is fit for winter

Richard Ryvar answers your questions on your puppy’s chewing phase

A lot of families in the Prestatyn and Rhyl 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 Richard 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 Louise, 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?

AllPets Vets gets honest about cats

The natural behaviour of cats can be hilarious, mischievous, loving and annoying in equal measure, as any owner will testify. You only have to look at YouTube or Instagram to see how they amuse and frustrate with their antics.

Whilst we sit back and enjoy the entertainment, every cat lover should ensure their pet stays in peak condition with a regular check-up. If your cat has not seen a vet for a while then why not contact us on 01745 853 366 to book an appointment now?

Book a cat check-up

In the meantime, we’d love to see the fun your cat gets up to. So, we’re inviting you to check-out our list of Ten Truths every cat owner will know below, and share a pic of them living one of these truths on our Facebook page.

Post your ‘Cat Truth’ picture to Facebook

  1. You can have a cat, or houseplants. Not both.
  2. You just have to accept that your sofa is now a scratching post. That’s never going to change.
  3. The one day you walk downstairs barefoot will be the day the cat has left a furball for you to tread on.
  4. If the cat falls asleep on you, you can’t move until it wakes. However long that takes.
  5. When you’re sound asleep, your feet are fair game.
  6. Cats will always prefer the box to the toy.
  7. They won’t often have a mad five minutes, but when they do it’ll be loud. And at 3am when the whole house is asleep!
  8. You no longer have your own food, just what the cat lets you eat.
  9. When they need to vomit, they’ll do it on your most prized possession.
  10. It doesn’t matter how naughty or destructive they’ve been, you’ll always forgive them – and never stop loving them.

Obviously, the above also applies to kittens, only with extra helpings of cuteness.

If you have a new addition to the household, you can make an appointment to register it with AllPets Vets on 01745 853 366. Let’s get a check-up booked in to make sure those endearing moments don’t get interrupted by an unexpected health issue.

Make an appointment for a cat check-up

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