Village Vets Centre Liverpool 0151 428 8600 0151 428 8600
Village Vets  Centre Liverpool   0151 428 8600   0151 428 8600

Whatever the Weather.....

It is important to know that pets, like us, can suffer negative effects from the weather.  Sometimes even seemingly mild weather conditions can have an impact on our pet's comfort.


Heat Stress


This is particularly a problem in dogs, especially after exercise or when left inside a car on a warm day. Overheating CAN KILL your pet, but this can easily be avoided by following the advice below:


Dogs with heat stress may:

  • Seem lethargic and pant excessively
  • Drool or have red/purple gums
  • Have an increased heart rate (feel the left side of their chest)
  • Vomit or have diarrhoea
  • Seizure or become unresponsive


First aid: 

  • Keep your pet quiet and calm
  • Move them to a shaded, cooler area
  • Place cold, wet towels over your pet to gradually lower their temperature, use a fan if possible
  • DO NOT hose your pet or cover them in ice, this can make the situation worse
  • Contact a vet as soon as possible as serious health complications can result



  • Always have fresh, cool water available when you travel away from home (ice cubes in the bottle will help to keep it cool on hot days)
  • Provide shade, even if this is just under a tree
  • Paddling pools work well!
  • Exercise your dog at the coolest parts of the day (early morning or late evening)
  • Clip long-haired breeds
  • Use fans where your pet sleeps
  • Pay special attention to very young or old, overweight or longhaired animals. Some breeds are more prone to heat including short-nosed breeds such as boxers and pugs.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a parked car - even on overcast days the temperature can increase dramatically. Leaving windows open is not enough!!



The warmer weather provides optimal breeding conditions for parasites, especially fleas. It is even more important to keep flea and worming treatment up to date at these high risk times, otherwise your pet's health may suffer.


Autumn is an exciting time for us humans with multiple celebrations happening over the next few months, however, our pets may not feel as happy as we do.



This is an extremely common fear in cats and dogs (as well as other pets) as they are frightened by the loud noises and bright colours. Events such as bonfire night, new year's eve and Chinese new year can all cause upset for your pet. Otherwise confident animals can seem suddenly distressed and it is a very anxious time for us as owners. Signs include:


  • shaking, salivating or messing in the house
  • howling, hissing or barking
  • destructive behaviour
  • hiding or trying to escape


Dog owners can use this questionnaire to assess if their dog has a fear of fireworks.


There are several things you can do to make this less stressful for your pet:

  • In the weeks leading up to bonfire night, consider desensitizing your pet to the noise of fireworks using specially produced CD's of firework noises played at low levels.
  • In the days before, book an appointment at the practice to speak to our vets and nurses about non-prescription medications such as Zylkene, or pheromones such as Adaptil or Feliway to calm your pet and increase their coping mechanisms.
  • On the night take dogs out for a walk before dark and keep cats indoors. Consider bringing hutches or other outside-housed pets indoors. If not, turn their housing towards fences or a wall to stop light getting through and cover it over with a blanket.
  • Give dogs a carbohydrate rich meal such as mashed potato to make them feel sleepy.
  • Close the windows and curtains, turn on the TV or radio to drown out the sound.
  • Allow your pets to hide if they wish e.g. under the table or bed. Do not try and force them sit with you. Give other pets extra bedding so they can hide.
  • If your pets show signs of fear, ignore them, no matter how hard it feels. Cuddling and talking can them can reinforce this behaviour and make it worse!


In extreme cases:

  • Book a consultation with our vets as sedatives may be necessary, they will need a full health check before these drugs can be given so do this weeks in advance.
  • If your pet seems abnormally distressed or behaves oddly for several days after the event it is possible that they may be suffering from a more severe condition know as 'firework phobia' and may require referral to a veterinary behavioural specialist.


Harvest mites (Trombicula autumnalis)

These small parasites can be found in large numbers in long grass or wooded areas in the early autumn. They attach to the legs and face of dogs, cats and sometimes humans and appear as little orange bumps. While they don't cause serious problems, they do causing itching. It is very important to keep up with routine parasite treatments, however, spot-ons do not tend to stop these mites and you may require frontline spray.


Christmas Foods & Fun

Many of the tasty treats we like to enjoy around this festival are not so much a treat for our furry friends and in many cases they can cause fatal illnesses. Even seemingly harmless decorations and presents can pose a problem for pets. Things to watch out for include:



It contains theobromine (a compound similar to caffeine) and is in much higher levels in dark chocolate than white chocolate. Its toxicity depends on the type of chocolate ingested, the amount and the size of your dog. One little square of a standard sized chocolate bar can kill a Yorkshire Terrier. Affected dogs will vomit, have diarrhoea and become dehydrated. They may have a fever, increased heart rates and be hyperactive.

• Grapes, Raisins, Currants and Sultanas

These cause renal failure in dogs and possibly cats. Affected pets vomit and have diarrhoea and then progress to renal failure in 24-72 hours. Be wary of your pet eating cake, pudding or mince pies.

• Nuts

Peanuts can make some pets ill causing vomiting, diarrhoea, spasms, agitation and convulsions. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs and vomiting, depression, lameness, stiffness and occasional tremors. Pistachios and almonds are bad as well.

• Onions

And related plants such as garlic, leeks and chives are toxic when cooked or raw. They cause vomiting and diarrhoea and then within a week destroy red blood cells causing severe anaemia. These can be hidden in lots of foods, so be careful.

• Xylitol

This is found in chewing gum and causes low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

• Plants

Holly and Ivy are irritating and cause drooling, retching or vomiting. Poinsettia is reported to be very toxic to cats, though ingestion most commonly causes gastric irritation.

  • Fatty foods & bones
Not only are pets prone to weight gain like the rest of us, very rich foods can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis. Bones are a choking hazard and can cause damage to the intestines.
  • Ribbon, string and packaging
All are a choking hazard and can get stuck in the intestines needing surgical removal.
  • Decorations
Pets can swallow tinsel and need surgical removal! Chewing christmas lights puts them a risk of electric shock (for owners as well!). Holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and lillies are toxic to pets so do not let them have access to rooms containing these. Real christmas trees contain phenols which are toxic to pets, especially cats, and ingestion of needles, any other part of the tree or water run-off can be fatal.


In all cases, contact a vet as soon as possible.



This tends to be a problem around Christmas and New Year's Eve. See our section on fireworks above.


Adverse Weather


Even pets who spend the maority of their time indoors may feel the effects of the cold weather. If you think your pet is suffering from hypothermia bring them indoors to a warm place (not hot as heating them up too quickly can make them ill), dry them with a towel if they are wet and call us for advice.

  • If your cat is allowed outside but does not have a catflap to get back in then it is better to keep them indoors at all times and give them extra toys.
  • Smaller dogs are more prone to heat loss so give them a coat on walks. Dry dogs with a towel when they come back as being wet will make them feel colder.


Outdoor housed pets are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather and there are several steps you can take to avoid problems.

  • Ensure that your pet has access to a shelter that can protect them from the wind and rain. Place it in a secure, sheltered area of your garden and make sure that it provides them with enough space.
  • Provide sufficient bedding, this can be hay, straw or blankets depending upon the type of pet. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund has some tips on keeping rabbits warm and happy.
  • In very severe weather such as frost or snow consider bringing your pet indoors or placing their shelter inside a shed for more protection. Sick or old pets must be brought indoors as they are not able to keep themselves warm.
  • Provide extra food as your pet will burn more calories to keep warm.
  • Check your pets at least four times a day and make sure that their water source is okay. Bowls and bottles are prone to freezing and you must account for this.




Ingestion of even small amounts can cause kidney failure and death with cats being particularly prone. Unfortunately it tastes sweet so animals will happily drink it if it is available, especially if other sources of water are frozen. It is important to clean up any spillages quickly but we as owners cannot guarantee that our pets will not access antifreeze elsewhere. Seek veterinary advice if you see any of the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Appearing drunk


Salt and Grit


Ingestion can cause salt poisoning which is a life-threatening situation. It can also cause irritation and damage to your pet's feet. When coming back from walks wipe your dog's feet so they cannot lick it off. Consider keeping pet cats indoors if the local area has been gritted recently. Signs to look out for include:

  • Tiredness
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Appearing drunk
  • Excessive thirst or urination


Opening Hours

Monday        09.00 - 18.00

Tuesday       09.00 - 18.00

Wednesday   09.00 - 18.00

Thursday      09.00 - 18.00

Friday           09.00 - 18.00

Saturday       Closed 

Village Vets Centre Ltd

65 Quarry St  


L25 6EZ

Tel.: 0151 428 8600


In case of emergency, please call:

Tel.: 0151 428 8600

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