Holiday options for cat owners in Notting Hill

While one of the many joys of summer is the advent of holidays, it can be difficult to decide how best to care for your cat while you’re away.

There are some excellent catteries in West London, but not everyone feels comfortable about leaving their pet in a non-domestic setting. And you may prefer to maintain their everyday routine.

Home boarding or stay-at-home care is an increasingly popular option – so it’s important to choose the right arrangement to suit your cat’s needs. With this in mind, the team at Notting Hill & Barons Court Vets has put together a few handy tips that you may find useful.

No matter which option you think you might choose for your pet, feel welcome to pop in and chat to our vet nurses if you have concerns.

Ask our vet nurses for advice

Types of holiday care for cats

Daily visits can be carried out by a friend, neighbour or professional pet sitter, making sure that your cat has enough food, water and other necessary care.

Live-in care is like an advanced version of daily visits, as your feline friend has constant attention and company; it can live almost as usual.

In both cases, it can also be reassuring to know that someone is at your home each day in your absence, checking everything is secure and that your pet is healthy.

Whatever you choose, you need to check with your selected cat sitter to make sure they’ll provide the following:

  • Regular visits: cats should be visited at least twice daily, so if you’re a cat owner in Notting Hill, consider whether your sitter lives near enough to do this
  • Meals: the volume and routine should ideally be the same as if you were at home
  • Water: fresh water must always be available
  • Litter: cat litter trays should be cleaned twice daily, especially during warm weather

Choosing a responsible cat sitter

As your pet is one of the most important parts of your life, you’ll feel better while you’re away if you know that someone trustworthy and knowledgeable is responsible.

Our vet nurse, Georgie, recommends checking:

  1. References: if it isn’t someone you know personally, are they able to provide contact details for other clients?
  2. Knowledge: the sitter should be able to spot signs of ill health and be aware of any specific issues. And if your pet needs regular medication, they should be capable of administering it.
  3. Quality time: the person should be willing to offer adequate companionship.
  4. Insurance: if your pet sitter is a professional, they should be insured – so check their documents.

Feel free to call us on 020 7229 9797 if you’d like any further advice.

Understanding your guinea pig

Guinea pigs originate from South America and there are eight species of the sociable rodent, with the ‘cavy’ species commonly kept as a domestic pet.

And, as every Notting Hill guinea pig owner knows, there’s no one perfect way to keep them happy – they’re individuals, after all. Nonetheless, Notting Hill & Barons Court Vets has put together a handy checklist to help you meet your guinea pig’s needs.

Further questions, Contact us

1. Be gentle and consistent

Guinea pigs can be easily stressed if there are sudden changes to their environment or routine. Be careful when handling them and always pull them close to your chest or lap so that they feel safe.

They can also feel anxious if there’re sudden changes to their water, food or bedding, so try to keep their environment consistent.

Guinea pig stress manifests itself in similar ways to other mammals: they can become irritable, aggressive or depressed and less active.

2. Keep their friends close

Guinea pigs are always happiest when living with their friends; if you’re a guinea pig owner it’s worth having at least two. If you just want one, you’ll need to give it extra love and attention to prevent loneliness.

3. Give them routine

Keeping a routine is important with regards to the type of food you select, the time you feed them and time spent handling them. If you plan on making any changes to their routine, introduce them gradually.

4. Feed them greens

These herbivores require plenty of vitamin C, so nourish them with nutrient-rich veg like kale and cabbage. You could also treat them to fruits like melon slices and apples – just be sure to remove the seeds, which are toxic.

5. Pick the right toy

Guinea pigs are not particularly agile and don’t climb well. They love chewing though and do so to file their sharp teeth. Bear this in mind when buying toys for your beloved rodent. Try treating them to seesaws, ramps, run-about balls and pipes.

Further questions? Call us on 020 7229 9797 and speak to one of our team for more guidance.

Lifesaving dental advice for rabbits and other small pets

Many of the health problems we see in little furry creatures at Notting Hill Vets originate from dental problems, which is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your pet’s teeth.

To help you out, this month we’re offering all our clients a nurse dental check, so we can give your pet an oral once-over.

Book your nurse dental check

Key facts about dental problems in petite pets

A small pet with dental problems may seem dull, hunched and generally disinterested. Most dental problems in little furry animals are linked to a lack of normal wear of the teeth. This is because their foods are often too low in fibre, causing uneven tooth wear and sharp enamel points, known as spurs.

This can often be corrected simply by changing your pet’s diet to a more natural, high-fibre one, such as grass and hay. If your furry companion does have significantly elongated teeth, then they will need trimming. But you should never be tempted to clip teeth or trim them yourself.

Signs of dental disease in small animals include:

  • Not eating
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling of the jaw, particularly noticeable along the lower edge of the mandible
  • Excessive salivation and drooling
  • An inability to fully close the mouth
  • Watery eye with matting of the hair in the corner
  • Swollen appearance of the eye caused by infections behind the eyeball

Notting Hill Vet’s dietary suggestions for little pets

Don’t try muesli-style diets as these will cause long-term problems; a high-fibre diet is essential. You should not allow your hamster (or similar) to be a selective feeder. And only buy the highest quality products, if possible.

If you live in Notting Hill and need some help, please don’t hesitate to call us. Emma and the team are always happy to help.

Book your nurse dental appointment now

Doggy dental care: find out what’s normal for your pet

It’s important to keep on top of your dog’s dental health to avoid gum disease, which can lead to bad breath, pain and loose teeth.

Infections can even spread to the heart, liver, kidney or lungs – so it’s worth knowing what to look out for to catch it early. Book a dental check-up and, while you’re there, you can find out about the other services we offer to help you keep your dog in tip-top condition.

Book a dental check-up

Brush up on your dog’s dental regime

The vets at Notting Hill Vets in Notting Hill will examine your dog’s mouth and teeth during the annual check-up and vaccination appointment, but you should check them every few weeks too – a year is a long time with toothache.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Bad breath – never assume this is normal
  • Gums that are painful, red, swollen or bleed easily
  • Plaque – this appears as a build-up of yellow material on the teeth
  • Tartar – a hard, brown build-up on the teeth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Mouth pain may not be obvious but may show as:
    • Decreased appetite
    • Difficulty eating
    • Bleeding when eating
    • Irritability
    • Reluctance to be handled around the mouth
    • Depression or being quieter than normal

If you’re in any doubt, just give us a call or pop into Notting Hill Vets and make an appointment – one of our nurses will be happy to show you what you are looking for, and how to examine your dog’s teeth without risking being bitten.

Fast track to fresh breath

Prevent problems with your dog’s teeth and avoid bad breath by:

  1. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly with pet-safe toothpaste (give the nurses at Notting Hill Vets if you need advice about this)
  2. Giving your dog chew toys
  3. Feeding your pet with dry dog food or a specialised dental diet
  4. Visiting your vet for regular dental check ups

Book a dental check-up

Spotting dental problems in cats

Cats are famous for hiding illness, so it can be hard to tell if they have a dental problem. But, given that we know some 80% of cats have gum disease by the age of three, it is likely this will affect your cat at some point.

To stay on top of your cat’s dental hygiene, why not book a dental check-up with one of our veterinary nurses at Notting Hill Vets? This will set your mind at rest that your cat isn’t suffering, and you can stock up on lots of dental advice at the same time.

Book a dental check-up

Our head vet Emma has put together a checklist of the symptoms to spot if you suspect your cat has poor dental health:

  • Bad breath
  • Reduced appetite
  • Discomfort when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced grooming (poor coat condition)
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Gums that are painful, red, swollen or bleed easily
  • Gums that have receded
  • Lumps on the gums
  • Yellow material on the teeth (plaque)
  • Hard, brown material on the teeth (tartar)
  • Loose, broken or missing teeth

Keeping your cat’s mouth healthy

It is important to catch dental problems early because advanced disease is unpleasant for your cat and can lead to other health issues. Plus, it can be expensive to treat.

With a few simple steps, you can prevent problems from arising in the first place:

  1. Brush your cat’s teeth. Acceptance may be a problem, though, so be sure to take advice before starting.
  2. Special dental diets, dental treats and chews may also be helpful.

If you need any help or advice, or would like us to check your cat’s teeth, book a dental check-up or give us a call on 020 7229 9797.

Book a dental check-up

Are you looking for a new career challenge?

We are a small, family-owned independent vets in the London boroughs of Notting Hill and Barons Court. Our friendly staff, professional approach, and comprehensive range of services and facilities attract clients from Notting Hill and Barons Court, West Kensington, Fulham, Earls Court and Hammersmith who are looking for a local vet they can trust.

We are now looking to add a new Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) to our team to ensure we continue to offer our customers the highest standards of patient care. So, if you are a RVN, are looking for a new challenge and would love to be part of a highly motivated, passionate and hard working team,  please send an email with your cv and covering letter to emma.nicholas@nottinghillvet.co.uk. The role is sociable hours and highly paid, working with excellent facilities and protocols.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Our experienced team of vet nurses at Notting Hill Vets have plenty to offer you and your pet. Whether you’re worried about your cat or you have a practical question about how best to care for it, our head nurse Georgie and the team are here to help.

Book a vet nurse appointment

Five things our vet nurses can help with

  1. Weight checks and dietary advice

    Obesity increases the risk of your pet developing other diseases. If you’re worried about the size of your cat, our nurses can show you how to monitor its weight, as well as explain how to manage body condition to keep it healthy and happy throughout its life.

  2. Dental checks

    Keeping your cat’s teeth healthy can prevent more serious diseases. Our nurses can show you how to properly clean your pet’s teeth and check for tell-tale signs of impending dental problems. Any suspected dental problems can then be referred to a vet for treatment.

  3. Parasite checks

    All cats come into contact with fleas and worms at some point during their life. If you have any concerns or queries about routine flea or worm control, just bring your cat along to Notting Hill Vets for an examination from one of our nurses and we’ll discuss which parasite control product is best for your pet, your family and your lifestyle.

  4. Senior health checks

    As your cat enters its senior years, it’s advisable for it to have health checks more often. As animals age, they can develop a range of health problems, so it’s a good idea to book regular check-ups with the nurse. The sooner we can identify any abnormalities, the sooner we can treat them.

  5. Microchipping

    We recommend that all cats are microchipped in case they stray, become lost or are stolen. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our nurses about microchipping. They work with our vets to administer the microchips and will be able to offer you plenty of advice.

It’s easy to book an appointment – you can give our team a call on 020 7229 9797 or contact us online. We’ve got a wealth of experience with cats, and we’d love to see you and your pet.

Book a vet nurse appointment

Rabbits make great pets for all ages, along with other small mammals like guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters and gerbils. But while they might seem less demanding than bigger pets like cats or dogs, they still require the same basic care when it comes to things like diet, habitat and companionship.

If you already have any concerns, help is at hand from the team at Notting Hill Vets. We offer check-ups to make sure your rabbit or other small pet is healthy, so just get in touch to arrange one.

Book a check-up

Your rabbit or other small furry pet needs:

  • A balanced diet
    Just like us, animals need a varied diet to stay healthy. Certain ingredients will stop rodents’ teeth overgrowing and causing painful or life-threatening conditions.
  • To express natural behaviours
    Animals need to behave as naturally as possible to avoid stress and boredom. Your rabbit will feel much more at home with a tub of soil to dig and a fruit-tree branch to gnaw on.
  • Companionship
    Rabbits and guinea pigs are naturally sociable, and therefore MUST be kept in pairs or groups of their own species. However, you should consider neutering if you don’t want them to breed.
  • Exercise and play
    Make sure your rabbit has an interesting environment with plenty of room for running and jumping and items they can climb or chew. We recommend putting treats inside a play ball to give them a mental and physical workout.
  • Monitoring for illness
    Small furries can go downhill very quickly if they fall ill, so handle and check them twice a day. Symptoms to look out for include runny eyes, a runny nose, weight loss, drooling, wet fur around the mouth or rear, fur loss, soft droppings stuck to fur or small amounts of droppings.

If you spot any of these symptoms, please give us a call on 020 7229 9797 to book an appointment. We’ve got a wealth of experience with rabbits and other small pets, so can set your mind at rest or recommend treatment.

Book a check-up for your pet

Plus, if you haven’t yet bought a small pet, please consider these issues:

  • Space – Proper accommodation for your animal(s) and their housing
  • Initial costs – For essential equipment and clinical treatments
  • Time – For handling and cleaning
  • Ongoing costs – Like food, bedding, toys and vet treatments
  • Life span – It could be more or less time than you expect
  • Care in your absence – Consider who will look after them while you’re away
  • Other pets – Other animals might prey on smaller mammals

Your puppy’s emotional and behavioural development is just as important as its physical health. Dogs are sociable creatures, so it comes as no surprise that providing contact with other dogs is a very important part of your pup’s development process.

Our head vet Emma has a few simple training tips that you and your puppy can practice at home. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to register your new puppy with us here at Notting Hill Vets.

Register your puppy with us

Our top five puppy training tactics

  1. Start socialising early

    The first 12 weeks are the most vital in the development of a happy, healthy young dog, so as soon as your puppy has been fully vaccinated, pop it on a lead and take it for short walks so it can meet and greet other dogs safely.

  2. Supervise meetings with children

    Children can’t resist puppies, and while it might enjoy the attention at first, too much at once can overwhelm your pup. Introduce children one at a time so it can gradually get used to being handled by different people.

  3. Introduce new noises slowly

    Your puppy’s going to have to get used to a lot of household noises, but it’s best to start slowly. Once it begins to feel comfortable with everyday sounds like the TV, you can play special CDs to familiarise your puppy with scarier noises like fireworks and sirens.

  4. Don’t rush into car travel

    Car travel can be stressful for puppies, so before you head out on any journeys, let it play in a stationary car a few times. Then, start with short trips before gradually building up journey lengths to get them used to traffic and noise.

  5. Use treats to reward relaxed behaviour

    If your puppy responds calmly to a new situation, show it what a good job its doing by rewarding it with a treat. This is known as positive reinforcement and is a proven way to encourage good behaviour.

We’re here to help you with puppy socialising

The world can be a scary place for puppies, so don’t force them into situations they’re not comfortable with. Instead, it’s important to move at their pace and make training as enjoyable as possible – it’s well worth the hard work.

If you fancy a chat, our experienced nurses at Notting Hill Vets will be happy to answer your questions about this important stage in your dog’s life. There’s no need to make an appointment, but it’s a good idea to call us on 020 7229 9797 so we can make sure someone is about when you pop in.

Register your puppy with us

How to persuade your cat into its carrier

Getting a cat into its carrier is probably the one of the most taxing experiences a pet owner from Notting Hill will endure. Cats are creatures of habits, and most develop fear or anxiety associated with a carrier from a young age. Add a dislike of being taken away from its natural environment and you have a classic case of ‘won’t budge.’

Download our cat travel guide

Did you know: a cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times more sensitive than ours? Make your carrier smell more familiar by cleaning it thoroughly. Rinse it well with hot water and don’t use cleaning products – cats aren’t fans.

Cat carrier tips from head nurse Georgie

  1. Get the box out in advance so your cat can explore it within a comfortable and familiar environment
  2. Place items such as towels and clothing inside to give it a familiar smell
  3. Pop a few treats in to give it a positive association
  4. Manoeuvre your cat in backwards
  5. Cover the carrier so your kitty doesn’t get motion sickness
  6. Avoid placing it on the ground when there are dogs about
  7. Avoid feeding your cat for at least an hour before travel to reduce sickness

Next steps

If your cat suffers from a great deal of anxiety, it might be worth getting a pheromone diffuser; you can place this in the house before attempting to get your cat in its carrier. This will reduce your cat’s anxiety and create a calming environment, making your job a lot easier.

Have questions about travelling with your cat or pheromones? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise.

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