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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

Cat grooming and other wellness tips for 2022

If 2021 was a hectic year, your cat probably felt it too. Now is the perfect time for you both to de-stress and focus on wellbeing. Our Head Vet, Richard Ryvar, has some proactive advice for helping your cat get their ‘mojo’ back and enjoy the year ahead.

Booking a visit with our fully qualified veterinary nurses in between your cat’s annual vaccination and vet health check, is a great way to assess how they are doing. Our Prestatyn and Rhyl nurses can advise you on ways to boost your cat’s health and mood.

Book a nurse visit for your cat

Cat grooming

Stroking and brushing your cat’s fur has health benefits for the both of you, thanks to its calming and soothing nature. Cats do love to groom themselves but most will enjoy a little extra help, and will appreciate dirt, debris, and matted hair being removed.

Plus, a cat grooming session is the ideal opportunity for the two of you to bond, and for you to check for lumps, bumps, and fleas. You will need a cat grooming brush and/or grooming glove, and a flea comb.

How often you groom your cat depends on the length of their coat – long-haired cats need grooming daily, whereas shorter coats will be fine with a weekly brush.

Remember, we’re always on the end of the phone should you spot anything concerning whilst grooming your cat. Call us on 01745 853 366.

Cat enrichment & exercise

Providing sources of mental stimulation and enrichment is important for your cat’s wellbeing too. Bored cats can become unhappy and start to develop behavioural issues.

Cat grooming is one form of enrichment, but you should also include some more energetic options. Our cat-loving nurses have pulled together six enrichment ideas that will get your cat moving more, as we all know exercise is good for the body and mind.

Try these ideas:

  1. Make mealtimes more interesting with cat puzzle feeders, or hide dry kibble around your home.
  2. Buy toys that help your cat use their natural predator instincts, like ‘prey’ on the end of string, or moving toys they can chase.
  3. Make DIY toys out of cardboard boxes, tubes, string, and other household items.
  4. Teach them tricks – this will take patience, perseverance, and treats!
  5. Scratching posts give cats something to do and help keep their nails trim.
  6. Try making an obstacle course or a cat home gym – just search YouTube for lots of ideas.

Cat nutrition

Another way to make your cat happy and healthy is to feed them a good quality, nutritious diet. With so many different foods out there, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Come and talk to our Vet Nurses in Prestatyn and Rhyl about the best types of cat food for age, lifestyle, dental care, and many other health needs.

Contact us to book a Nurse visit

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

Richard Ryvar talks overweight dog problems and eco-friendly treats

We’re all for new year resolutions that will help pets and planet. Head Vet Richard Ryvar and the rest of our dog-loving team in Prestatyn and Rhyl, 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 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 Richard 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 Prestatyn and Rhyl?
  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 Prestatyn and Rhyl nursing teams and let us help you make 2022 a healthier year for your dog.

Book a dog weight check

Christmas & New Year Opening Hours

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 01745 853 366

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 Prestatyn and Rhyl 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 01745 853 366 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 Prestatyn, Rhyl, and Bodelwyddan, 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 Prestatyn and Rhyl 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

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

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