header image

All posts in May, 2012

Many people spot an unaccompanied dog on the side of, or even on, the road and worry it’s going to get run over. It’s only natural to want to rescue an animal in this situation but please make sure you don’t put yourself in danger while doing so.  If you are driving, make sure you park your car sensibly before trying to catch the stray, and take care crossing any necessary roads.

Don’t go racing up to a strange dog and grab its collar. If you are a dog owner, you may have a spare lead in your car. If so, and the dog seems friendly, try and slip the lead on as calmly and carefully as possible. In the absence of a lead, use rope, string, a belt or item of clothing can be used to restrain the dog. You may need to lasso the dog with your ‘lead’ rather than attach it to the dog’s collar if it looks like it might object to being touched around its neck.

This is a good time to see if the dog is wearing an identification tag; by law every dog should wear a tag bearing their owners details but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t have one. If there is a phone number and the owner picks up, you are in luck. If not, then you’ll need to decide what you are going to do with your stray dog.

Any unaccompanied dog can be handed over to your local Dog Warden. If you can’t wait for them, or the dog appears injured or ill, you should take it to your local Vet clinic. They will check it over, scan it for a microchip and contact the Dog Warden who will come and pick it up.

Please don’t take it to the police station; the police no longer look after lost dogs. However, if the dog is aggressive or is running around in traffic then you should ring the police with a description of the dog, how it’s behaving and its whereabouts.

If the dog is merely resisting capture, don’t follow in hot pursuit. If you have the time, you can follow it at a distance,  and it may be worthwhile ringing the local dog warden and describing the dog and the direction it is heading in. Ring any local veterinary clinics and give them the same information.

If you manage to catch the dog and are an experienced dog owner, and feel you can care for it yourself, you are allowed to take the dog home, as long as you give its details to the council’s Dog Warden service. They will want to know;

  • Your contact details. This includes your name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • A description of the dog including the type or breed of dog, its colour and size, approximate age and any features that might help to identify it. They will also want to know if it has a collar.
  • The time and date when the dog was found
  • Where the dog was found
  • Where the dog currently is and where it can be collected from
  • Other important information such as whether the dog is injured or ill.

It’s also worthwhile informing your local vet clinics that you have found a dog and giving them the above information as well.

In fact, it may be a good idea to take the dog up to the vets and get it scanned, as it may have a microchip inserted in its neck and the staff may recognise the dog. It’s worth remembering that if you choose to look after the dog yourself, and it gets ill, then you may be liable for any veterinary costs incurred.




Because I’m a home visiting vet, I obviously believe that having your pet examined at home is a good idea.

But sometimes it’s not possible, or practical. In the UK, there are not yet enough mobile vets, so in some areas a home visit is just not an option. And sometimes it’s obvious that surgery or intensive medical care is going to be required; there are lot of things that are better dealt with in a purpose built surgery. They have the equipment and the trained staff  available who can give your pet the care he or she needs.

If your pet is really sick, they are not usually a problem to get into a clinic. If you are stuck for transport, it’s worth while asking the clinic you are trying to get to, if they know of any animal transportation or pet taxis in your area. It can be tricky getting people to agree to let you take your dog in their car, but if you are desperate and try all friends and neighbours, you will often find someone.

Cats are easier, as a lot of minicab companies have one or two drivers who will allow a caged cat, or other small pet in their vehicle. It’s always wise to ask at the point of booking though, so you don’t get a driver who turns up and then refuses to transport you and your poorly pet.

Don’t forget pets are allowed on public transport, although if they are really poorly you are probably not going to want to take them on the tube or bus. But it’s there as a last resort.

If you have a dog that is not keen on visiting your vet, it’s worth checking their collar isn’t too lose before you get to the front door, so they don’t escape. Once you are inside, let the receptionist know your pet isn’t  keen, so they can alert the vet to utilise their best bedside manner.

The biggest complaint cat owners have, is that they can’t get their cats into the cat carriers. Even a quite poorly kitty is capable of putting up a good fight; cats are sharp at all 4 corners and will bite without a second thought when they feel threatened.

Firstly, if you have a choice, buy a top loading instead of a front loading cat carrier. It’s much easier to lower your pet in through the roof than try and shove them through the front door. And once you are at the vets, it’s up to them to get the cat out, plus they will load them up for you once they have been examined. So, all you need to do is get them in their carrier once.

If all else fails, get a big towel, drop it over the protesting feline, wrap it well and place the whole bundle in the cat carrier. Your cat may be a little cross but they won’t suffocate. Just make sure all the carrier doors are locked firmly and don’t open them again until you get into the consult room.

Oh, and before you put your cat in any kind of carrier, it’s a good idea to put a good, thick layer of newspaper down on the floor…

This cat carrier advice works well for any small, furry animal really.

Please don’t take dogs without leads, or cats or any other small, furry animal  not in a cage into a waiting room. It’s important to have your pet under control in such stressful surroundings.

If you don’t, you could make an already ill animal even sicker.