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Dog Advice

Helping you to take care of your dog

Thinking About Getting a New Puppy?

Contact us to arrange your free pre-puppy consultation!

Our nurses are here to guide you through the process and help with any questions that you may have.

These consultations cover:

  • Various breeds better suited to your specific lifestyle
  • Training tips and tricks
  • Preparing your house for the newest arrival
  • Discussing reputable breeders or rescue centres
  • Choosing from the litter or rescue centre
  • Spotting signs of illnesses or injuries
  • General healthcare - diet, neutering, vaccinations, insurance etc.
  • Pet Health Club
  • Socialisation
  • and more…

We also have ready-made puppy crates available for purchase which include the basic items required to train your new puppy.

Contact us on 0113 2369030 for more information or to book your free pre-puppy consultation.

Puppy Classes

These fun and interactive classes are led by our Dog Behaviourist, Hazel and are suitable for puppies aged between 12 weeks and 6 months. 

Each course runs for 6 consecutive weeks on Sunday mornings (various start times) at our Moor Allerton Clinic (LS17 5NY).

Course Content

  • Understanding basic principles of positive dog training
  • Training through play and games to make it fun and keep your dog motivated
  • Socialisation and confidence activities
  • Handling, health checks and familiarisation to practice equipment
  • Attention and response to his / her name
  • Positions and Stays
  • Loose lead walking
  • Recall
  • Settling and being relaxed
  • Opportunity to take the Kennel Club Good Citizens Puppy Foundation Award

What to Bring

  • Maximum of 2 people per puppy
  • Toys and treats for your puppy
  • A mat / blanket for your puppy to lie on
  • Collar, harness or head-collar and lead - preferably a 6ft training lead (no extendable leads, slip leads or choke chains)
  • Sensible footwear

Cost and Booking

Contact us on 0113 2369030 to book your place in advance.

Cost - £60 for the full course (10% discount for Pet Health Club members) payable at the time of booking.

For further information about our puppy classes, please contact our instructor Hazel Shimmin KCAI(CD), MSc on

Puppy Socialisation

Puppies need to learn how to interact with others around them, this is called socialisation. The socialisation process will teach your puppy to recognise whether or not they are being threatened and how to recognise and respond to the intention of others. You should keep repeating exposure to potentially frightening noises and situations, especially during the first 16 weeks of your puppies life. Here is a checklist of items you should introduce your puppy to - try and check them all off at least once:

Places to Go

Veterinary practice, the kennels, the groomers, other people's houses, a pub, parties, school, recreation ground, fetes, the roadside, on public transport, parks, a rural environment, a town/city environment, a lift, stairs, a market, slippery shiny lino and wooden floors.

Things to Encounter

Hoovers, washing machines, tumble dryers, hair dryers, vehicles, children's toys, pushchairs, being alone, bicycles, power tools and fireworks.

People and Animals to Meet

Women, children, babies, elderly people, disabled and infirm people (walking sticks, frames etc), confident/ loud people, shy/ quiet people, the milkman, the post man, the dustman, people with glasses, people with beards, people in wheelchairs, skateboards, roller-blades, people of different ethnic origin, people in baseball caps, other dogs/ puppies, cats, other domestic pets, and livestock.

Activities to Accept

Walking on lead/harness, grooming, bathing, medical examinations, taking tablets and medications, tooth brushing.

Common problems with adult dogs which are stemmed from improper socialisation as a pup include nervousness around new people, fear of traveling in the car, separation anxiety and firework phobia.

Here are a few simple pointers to avoid some problems later in life!

New People

When strangers come to your home ensure they briefly say hello and play with pup only when it is behaving appropriately. Ignore barking and jumping up so it is not encouraged and continued as an adult dog. Supervise pup when meeting children and other animals. Let the puppy approach them as it may be nervous. If puppy becomes anxious take it somewhere quiet to recover. Don't let the puppy clamber on the child. Keep children and older dogs calm (excitable child/dog = over excited or frightened pup). Give treats ONLY when pup is calm and behaving well. Don't let pup do anything that they shouldn't do as an adult i.e nipping, chasing and jumping up.


Many loud noises can be startling for dogs including fireworks, alarms, power tools, thunderstorms, gunfire, hoovers and washing machines. Play with the puppy to distract them while these noises may be present, or do some training. Don't reassure, fuss or discipline them if scared, as this will reinforce the feeling of being scared.


There are CDs available with a variety of these noises on them designed to aid 'desensitisation'. This is the very slow but worthwhile process of playing the CD very quietly at first, each day for a few days/weeks, then gradually increasing the volume so the dog does not associate the noise with anything bad, and does not feel threatened. The 'sounds scary' and 'sounds sociable' CDs are available through the surgery for around £20 each, and are well worth starting use of early in the year so the dog is prepared for the celebrations and fireworks later in the year.

The Car

Create a pleasant association with the car whilst it is stationary, i.e play games, give treats and cuddles etc. Place pup on a non slip, absorbent cosy bed. Carry on playing games with the car engine on. Do not acknowledge that anything is any different and he/she also won't notice! Allow pup to get settled in the car before driving away. Do short journeys initially, literally to the end of the road and back. Always close the doors without slamming and do not start the engine until the puppy is in the car. Drive carefully, taking care on bumps and corners! Very importantly, make sure pup is secure in a crate and unable to get into the rest of the car if leaving alone, even if only for 2 minutes. If the puppy is to ride in the car it must have a secure harness attached to a seatbelt.

If you have any problems or queries, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Our Puppy Pre-School is a perfect way to start social training with your new puppy. Please ask if you are interested in attending.

Training Your New Puppy

Dogs are naturally sociable animals who thrive on interactions with their owners and other dogs.

If you are to enjoy a long and happy relationship with your dog it is important that you get off to the right start and that your puppy receives the correct early socialisation and training.

Think about getting a good book early in the care of your puppy.


Before about 12 weeks of age puppies are curious about new experiences and tend to take them in their stride. This period is called the primary socialisation period and it is extremely important to introduce puppies to as many of the things they are going to come across throughout their life during this period. After 12 weeks dogs are much more likely to be afraid of new things and if this includes children, cars or the washing machine it can lead to serious behavioural problems in later life. If you are acquiring a puppy from an environment where he has had little socialisation (e.g. a collie born on a farm may have no experience of traffic or even the inside of a house) this can be an important consideration, particularly if the dog is over 12 weeks old when you take him home.

During your puppies primary socialisation period he will not be covered by his vaccinations so you cannot take him every where but you can take him out in the car, let all your friends come round and meet him, and let him play with dogs you know are healthy and vaccinated. It is important that your puppy interacts with both men and women and that he meets children.

House Training

This is obviously one of the first things you need to teach your puppy and it is important that you get it right from the start. Inappropriate punishment and confusing training methods are often the start of long-term behavioural problems that could have easily been avoided.

Urination and defaecation (elimination) quickly become associated in the puppy’s mind with a particular place and floor covering. The idea is to ensure that he makes the correct association e.g. with grass and not your kitchen floor.

Take your puppy outside as often as possible particularly just after he has eaten and when he first wakes up.

Praise him as soon as he urinates or defaecates in the correct place and reward him with a game of a treat.

Do not punish him if he eliminates inside. Unless you catch him at it he will not understand what he is being punished for and dogs soon learn that if you wee behind the settee or when everyone is in bed you don’t get into trouble.

Do not teach your puppy to eliminate on newspaper. This is not what you want him to do when he grows up.

Clean up any accidents using biological washing powder plus an odour eliminator to prevent your puppy being encouraged to go back to the same place. Do not use bleach as the ammonia in it can small like urine to a dog.

Basic obedience training can start at any age. Patient reward based training methods usually get the best results. A 10 week old puppy can quickly be taught to sit, lie down and walk at heel. The trick is to have the treat in your hand and hold it where you want the puppy’s nose to be. To teach sit hold the treat in front of his nose and slowly move it to over the top of his head, as the puppy follows the food with his nose his bottom will lower to the floor. The instant that he sits give the command ‘sit’ and give him the treat. Similarly, for heel hold the treat at puppy nose level next to your leg and walk giving the command ‘heel’. You should not physically push the puppy around, as this can be frightening and confusing.

Puppy Parties

At Holly House we run Puppy Parties every month. These are an excellent opportunity for vaccinated puppies to socialise and our staff will be happy to discuss any problems you may be having. Ask at reception to find out when your puppy can attend.

Lead Training

Lead training can be helped by the use of “Haltis” or “Leaders”. Please ask our staff about these!

Sharing your life with a dog is a fascinating, exciting and privileged experience. To get the most from your relationship with your dog you need to understand how they see the world, after all we spend so much time trying to get our dogs to understand us, it's only fair we spend some time to understand them. They need guidance and gentle training for them to understand what we want from them, so we can live a full, happy and problem free life together. Training dogs requires patience, consistency and kind motivational techniques. What most owners want is a well mannered dog, that 'sits' when told to, doesn't jump up and walks nicely on the lead. So lets look at how we can achieve this!

Starting Early

As with any type of learning or training it's better to start young. The social development of a young dog depends upon the input and experiences provided at an early age. Sights, sounds, smells and exciting new experiences provide valuable information that influence your dog's later life. Puppies that have restricted or reduced experiences during their formative few months may find they adjust a little slower to new challenges. Socialisation and learning do however continue throughout life and help develop your pet into a confident, sociable and friendly dog!

Teaching your Dog to 'SIT'

It is probably the easiest position to begin to teach your dog and is the most widely used obedience response. Many dogs are of course motivated by food and treats, which can become a valuable training tool when teaching a new trick. Hold a treat between your fingers and hold in front of your dog's nose, by then moving the treat back over their head you will find that as your dog lifts its head, it will lower its hind quarters. The command 'sit' should be given clearly once the dog's bottom touches the ground, then give them the treat and lots of fuss! If your dog should leap up for the tit-bit, you're probably holding the reward a little too far away, or if the dog walks backwards then you may be moving the treat too quickly. Teaching your dog to sit should be repeated regularly during training sessions which should be kept short and sweet to be successful. This will keep your dog interested in training and prepare your dog to learn even more. Once your dog begins to demonstrate an understanding of the word 'sit' you can gradually reduce the amount of times you use the food, allowing your dog to follow your hand signal and command. Occasional rewards should still be used to maintain your dog's enthusiasm and motivation during training. Try training your dog when there's a little more going on around you, or when visitors arrive so you end up with a well-trained and well mannered young dog.

Teaching your Dog 'DOWN'

Once you've taught a good sit response you can begin to move on to teaching 'Down'. Again, a titbit held close to the dog's nose will help lure the dog into the lying down position. Imagine there's an invisible line between the nose and the middle of the dog's front feet. Slowly take the reward from the nose to a point on the floor between your dog's feet and then slowly along the floor towards you. As the dog follows the food and lies on the floor, give the command 'Down' and release the reward. If your dog keeps getting up, repeat your training but try it a little slower this time.

Once you're getting the response you need, gradually withdraw the treat from the hand and teach your dog to follow the hand signal and command. Again, occasional rewards will keep your dog wanting to please. Use short words and avoid speaking in sentences. Dogs understand how you say something rather than what you say, so keep commands short. Teach this in different rooms, times and when people visit because there's nothing better than a well behaved dog.

Teaching your Dog to 'COME' when Called

One of the many pleasures of dog ownership is being able to let your dog run free, enjoying their freedom to explore the parks and countryside. There are a number of ways to teach and improve your dogs recall and using a whistle with food at meal times can be a very effective training tool. At every feed time introduce the dog to the whistle by giving three short blasts as they begin feeding. This process is known as conditioning which teaches the dog to associate the whistle with mealtimes. After a few weeks of using the whistle the dog learns that this new sound means food and can be introduced when recalling your dog.

Have your dog in the garden and then blow the whistle while calling their name in an encouraging way and the using the command 'Come'. When your dog comes towards you, adopt a welcoming crouched position and always reward your dog with a treat, toy or praise when they come to you. Teach your dog to come when called outside in the safety of the garden or on a retractable extending lead in an enclosed park area. Never tell your dog off for a slow return as this could teach them that coming back to you may not always result in a reward. Whilst on a walk recall your dog regularly and attach the lead each time so your dog doesn't learn to predict going home with the appearance of the lead. Don't forget that as with all training exercises it's important to train in progressively more demanding areas with a few distractions. This helps teach your dog to come when called when there maybe other dogs or people around.

Teach your Dog to 'HEEL'

Have your dog attached to a suitable strong lead, which is comfortable for you to hold. Decide whether you want your dog to walk on your left or right side and stick to it! Position your dog by your side attracting their attention with their favourite toy or treat, whilst keeping your lead as relaxed as possible. As you move forward continue to focus their attention upon you, the treat or toy using their name; and the command 'heel'. As the lead tightens and your dog gets too far ahead, suddenly stand still and use the word 'No' in a confident manner without shouting. Encourage your dog back to the original position and begin the training process again. Repetition and a consistent approach is key to success with this training method, which requires patience, but will pay dividends long term. Changing the speed at which you walk from slow to fast, keeps the exercise interesting and your dog's attention on the training. By introducing a change of direction and by turning towards the side which your dog is being walked will encourage them to stay by your side. For older or stronger dogs, a half check collar or head-collar such as a Haiti may help control dogs with a history of pulling.

Teach your Dog to 'Stop Jumping Up'

This behaviour is usually learnt as a small puppy but the consequences aren't usually appreciated until the dog has grown into an adult dog, therefore beginning to teach at a young age is very sensible. Dogs jump up in excitement to greet us and seek attention from both physical contact and reassuring eye contact. Jumping up is generally experienced after having been left for a short while. Therefore, the training needs to begin when people enter the home. It is important not to reward the dog for jumping and therefore when the dog jumps immediately turn around and ignore their advances. Looking upwards and folding your arms gives him very clear signals you are not interested. Crouching to your dog's level to greet them reduces the likelihood of jumping and prevents them learning a bad habit.

With persistent jumpers arrange doorbell parties, when a few friends can be invited to help teach your dog how to greet people correctly. Have your dog on a lead before the visitors arrive, asking them to enter individually. Your visitor arrives with a small treat and whilst holding the dog on a relaxed lead, have the visitor command your dog to sit followed by the treat reward. Repeat this process with all the visitors until you can eventually remove the lead and the dog has learnt the new response without being told.

How to Find a Suitable Training Class

Puppies can begin training after they have received their full course of vaccinations by attending a puppy socialisation class, which should allow time for controlled interaction with other puppies of a similar age both on and off the lead. For older dogs, classes should be well supervised and have appropriate numbers of dogs and owners to instructor ratio, with dogs of a similar stage of training to your own. Before you begin training, make an appointment to attend a class without your dog to assess the suitability for your own dog's particular needs.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers encourages the use of Kind, Fair and Effective training and have approved dog trainers holding classes in your area. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers can provide you with a list of approved training classes in your area, by contacting APDT.

Puppy Nutrition

How Big is my Puppy Likely to Grow?

It is important to have an idea of how big your puppy will become so that your puppy gets fed the correct diet for his/her breed size. Each size of dog grows at a different rate and therefore will have different nutritional requirements.

Small Breedsproud dog

Require plenty of proteins, carbohydrates & fats. They will stop growing at about 8 months old, so this diet will encourage a quick, healthy growth rate.

Medium Breeds

Require a high intake of energy & nutrients, as well as balanced amounts of calcium & phosphorus for steady bone mineralization. They will stop growing at around 12 months old.

Large & Giant Breeds

Stop growing at 15 - 18 months, and 18 - 24 months respectively. They will need a controlled energy intake food with moderate fat, to ensure correct formation of the skeleton without excessive weight gain. This is particularly important in giant breeds, as joint development is critical because as adults they will be put under a lot of pressure.

Bear in mind that the biscuits in diets designed for different sized breeds come in appropriate sizes and textures to prevent damage to teeth and jaws.

Nutrient Groups

As with a human nutrition, a puppies body needs nutrients like protein, fat and fibre to function. Ingredients are simply vehicles that deliver this mixture of nutrients to the body.

When choosing the ingredients for pet food, it's the total nutrient balance of ingredients that's important. A nutrient is any food constituent that helps support life. Each of the six nutrient groups plays an important role in your pet's health:

  • Proteins: Main element of body tissues like muscles, blood, skin, organs, hair and nails
  • Carbohydrates: Provide energy for the body's tissues
  • Fats: Fats absorb, store and transport vitamins, moisturise skin and coat, make food taste great and supply energy
  • Water: The most critical nutrient for survival
  • Vitamins: Assist in maintaining an animal's metabolism
  • Minerals: Necessary to develop healthy skin & hair, skeletal support and development

Avoiding Nutrient Excesses

Remember that more nutrients are NOT always better in pet nutrition - many nutrients are actually toxic in excessive amounts! Every dog has unique nutritional needs based on age, health, size and activity level.

Too much protein in a dog’s diet will cause an increased growth rate, which in return can cause skeletal and muscular defects.

It is important that your puppy’s diet only contains a moderate amount of salt. It is required in the diet to control their electrolyte balance. However excessive amounts can put a strain on their heart and kidneys. It is ideal for your puppy to have no sugar in their diet, as this can contribute to obesity and can cause damage to their teeth.

Feeding Routines

It is wise to give your puppy has a regular feeding routine.

  • Ideally a puppy aged 8-12 weeks will be fed 4 times daily
  • Once aged 12-16 weeks will be fed 3 times daily
  • Once your puppy is 16 weeks old, their diet can be reduced to twice daily

The recommended daily allowance of food should be split equally into the number of meals they need.

Should I Use Wet or Dry Food?

Wet and dry foods both have advantages and disadvantages. Generally most vets and vet nurses advise a modern dry food, but there is no right or wrong, just choice!

The main advantage of dry food is that it is more economical – with wet foods, you will be paying for a product that is usually around 75% water, whereas dry food only contains 10% water. Why pay for water when you can get it for free out of your tap? Obviously, a small disadvantage of dry food will then be that your pet will be more thirsty and therefore drink more water, which makes the water content of wet food an advantage.

Dry food lasts a lot longer once the bag is opened – you’ll be able to safely use it right up until the whole bag is finished. Wet food is only usually safe to keep for 24 - 48 hours once opened. It is a myth that dry food is “good for teeth” as the kibble is not abrasive enough to clean teeth, unless specifically designed for this. Other precautions need to be taken to contribute towards dental health; these are explained within another leaflet.

Foods for a Puppy to Avoid!

Foods to avoid giving to your puppy include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onion and garlic.

These are extremely toxic to dogs, and can cause illness. In extreme cases, they can even cause a fatality. It is advisable to only feed your dog food which is designed for dogs, to be certain that they don’t consume anything which may be toxic to them.

Treats can be given in moderation. Too many treats may cause an upset stomach, as they tend to be quite rich – so it is recommended that they are only given as a reward for good behaviour.

If you have any problems or queries, please don't hesitate to call us and we'll be happy to help.

Good luck with your new family member and we look forward to seeing you again!

Identity Tags and Microchipping

Identity Tags

Dogs and cats should wear identity tags with your details on so that you can easily be contacted if your pet gets lost or is in an accident. It is a legal requirement for your dog to wear a tag with your address on it. The obvious problem with tags is that they can easily be lost. It is not wise to put your dogs name on a tag as they may come when called to a stranger.


On 6th April 2016, it became compulsory for every dog owner in England to have to have his or her dog microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. It is also a legal requirement that contact information help on the microchip database is kept up to date.

According to the government, owners who do not comply with the new law risk face fines of up to £500.

  • Microchips are a permanent way of identifying your pet
  • A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected under the skin on the back of the neck
  • A chip can be implanted during a routine appointment, or while your pet is under anaesthetic for another reason
  • Each chip carries a unique number that can be read using a special scanner, so if your pet is lost or stolen they can be traced back to you
  • Vets, dog wardens and animal rescue organisations scan all stray animals. If a chip is found, they can then contact a central database to obtain the owner’s details. You just need to ensure that you update the details they hold, should you change telephone number or move house. Being able to contact you quickly in an emergency can sometimes be life saving for your pet
  • It is hoped that compulsory microchipping will act as a deterrent to dog theft and will mean that more lost dogs will be reunited with their owners rather than ending up in rehoming shelters
  • Microchips are essential if you wish to get your dog a Pet Passport

Join our Pet Health Club to get your dog microchipped for free!

Why Vaccinate?

Vaccination plays a vital role in reducing the prevalence and severity of several diseases – including some that are associated with a high degree of mortality.

Due to dogs being walked outdoors and likely in areas where there have been other dogs and possibly foxes, vaccination is very important to protect your pet. Dogs do not need to come in to contact with each other to pass on diseases.

Which Diseases do we Vaccinate Against?

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. Clinical signs include those of an upper respiratory infection – conjunctivitis and even pneumonia with a high fever. The dog may also have neurological signs when the virus reaches the brain, causing fits. Bloody diarrhoea is also frequently present. This disease is nearly always fatal.


This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever. Affected animals will eventually die of a progressing kidney failure. We have upgraded our vaccination against leptospirosis and the new vaccine protects against 4 different strains for optimal protection (L4). Puppies need two vaccinations 4 weeks apart (8 weeks and 12 weeks). Adult dogs that have been vaccinated previously will need a second L4 vaccination 4 weeks after their booster vaccination to boost their immunity against the two additional strains. Please note: this only applies the first time that they receive the L4 vaccine and they will only require one vaccination the following year.

Canine Parvo Virus

This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Parvovirus is highly contagious. Dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals’ stools. Without treatment dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common, and puppies that are not properly vaccinated are often affected. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk for parvovirus. There is also a cardiac form - this form is less common and affects puppies infected in the uterus or shortly after birth until about 8 weeks of age, hence the importance of vaccinating breeding animals. We recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age following the primary course of injections at 8 weeks and 10 weeks. This is to ensure adequate protection against a potentially fatal disease.

Canine Adenovirus

Canine adenovirus causes infectious canine hepatitis, a potentially fatal disease involving vasculitis and hepatitis. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhoea. Infection can also cause respiratory and eye infections. The infection is passed in the urine and faeces of affected animals.

Kennel Cough (Bordetella Bronchiseptica)

This vaccination is given intra-nasally (up a nostril). This disease is transferred between dogs due to secretions from the upper respiratory tract. Dogs most at risk of contracting kennel cough include dogs that go into kennels, go out with a dog walker, go to puppy classes or take part in agility, or dogs that meet lots of other dogs in the park. The clinical signs include a dry retching cough as though they are trying to be sick, and occasionally vomiting is also a feature. Kennel cough is caused by a complex of different viruses and bacterial infections. Therefore the vaccination is not considered to be 100% effective. However we strongly recommend this vaccination as it reduces the severity of the symptoms and the likelihood of your dog contracting this infection.

How to get Started

A primary vaccination course is required and this can be done in your puppy from 6 weeks old. The first injection is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a second and third injection are required at 10 weeks and 12 weeks of age to ensure full protection.  We also recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age.  After this primary course, a once yearly booster vaccination will provide full cover for these conditions.

Your dog also receives a full health check before receiving its vaccination, which can be an excellent way of your vet picking up on any subtle changes, which may be signs of other early disease.

Kennels are now also increasingly demanding full vaccination of your pet before allowing them to stay, so why not prepare now for your much-needed holiday.

In these modern times we should not see so many deaths from preventable disease.

Don't let your pet be a victim!



Fleas are an all year round problem for our pets. If your pet has fleas then only approximately 5% of the fleas are resident in your pet’s coat at any one time. The rest of the fleas, along with their eggs and larvae, are living and breeding in your house enjoying your central heating!

Unless there is a heavy infestation adult fleas are not often seen. The first indication that your dog has fleas will be the presence of specks of dark flea dirt in his or her coat. This is easily detected by combing your pet and putting the debris from the comb onto a piece of wet white paper, any flea dirt will produce a red blood like mark on the paper.

Fleas can bite both people and pets and their bites can cause painful allergic reactions.

There are many different types of very effective flea treatments available on prescription. Our staff at Holly House will be happy to advise you as to which is the most suitable for your pet. We recommend the use of flea control products all year round.

Many flea control products available from pet shops and supermarkets are not suitable for use on young animals and are often not very effective.

If you have seen fleas on your pet or are being bitten yourself, it is essential that you treat your house, car and furnishings. We recommend a spray, which contains no organophosphates and is effective for 1 year.

All of the flea treatments we use are available on prescription only. If we have an accurate weight for your pet and have examined them during the last 12 months we will be happy to prescribe flea treatment for your dog without you having to bring them to the surgery. Please telephone us and we can have your prescription ready for you to collect the following afternoon.

Find out more about the Pet Health Club and how you can make great savings on your dog's flea treatments.


Most puppies have round worms. They are transmitted from their mothers via the placenta and through the milk. Eggs are then passed out in the faeces and contaminate the environment where they can persist for up to two years.

Older dogs can pick up roundworms by ingesting the eggs passed in infected dogs faeces.

Young children can also pick up roundworm eggs and the infection can in rare circumstances result in blindness or epilepsy as a result of the damage the worms do migrating through the body. This means that effective worming is essential if your dog has contact with young children or is exercised where they play.

Roundworms can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and weight loss. 

Tapeworms can be picked up either from fleas or from eating raw meat. They are not human health hazard but are unsightly and cause irritation to your pet as the segments crawl around his bottom.

At Holly House we recommend that you worm your dog regularly throughout their life.

If we have an accurate weight for your dog and have examined him during the past 12 months we are happy to prescribe wormers for your dog without you having to bring him to the surgery. Please telephone us or use our online prescription request page and we can prepare your prescription for you to collect the following afternoon.

Find out more about the Pet Health Club and how you can make great savings on your dog's worming treatments.

Routine Neuter Operations

The information here covers:

  • Pre-operative procedures
  • Admission procedures
  • Contacting the in patient nurse to check progress and arrange collection
  • All about Dog Neutering

Pre-operative Arrangements

Making your Appointment

For routine neutering, please try to ring at least a week in advance to organise your pet's operation.

Pre-anaesthetic Preparation

  • Dogs should be starved from at least midnight on the night prior to an anaesthetic
  • They should be allowed access to drinking water up to morning
  • Dogs should be walked or given the opportunity to pass urine and faeces prior to coming to the surgery, but shouldn’t be allowed to get excessively wet or dirty

On the day

A vet or qualified nurse will admit your pet. They will need to ask a few of the following questions:

  • Is your in good health and a suitable age?
  • Is it the sex that has been booked in?
  • Have they been starved?
  • Are they fully vaccinated?
  • Are they microchipped yet? (if not would you like this doing whilst your pet is asleep?

There will also be:

  • A health and weight check
  • You will be offered a pre-anaesthetic blood test for your pet
  • You will be asked to complete a consent form giving us a number we can contact you on if necessary during the day
  • You will be given a direct telephone number for our inpatient nurses, enabling you to contact them easily later in the day to check progress and arrange collection of your pet

Bitch Spay

Your dog should generally be aged 6 months or older.


It is not necessary for your dog to have had a season before being spayed. Equally it is not ‘a good idea’ to have a litter of pups unless you are experienced with breeding dogs. It is an easier and quicker operation for your dog if spayed at 6-months of age, before the first season.

  • Please let the vet/nurse know if your dog has had a season and when the last one was seen
  • Ideally we will wait 3 months following a season to spay a dog as there are increased surgical and hormonal risks if spayed too soon after a season

Why spay a bitch?

Spaying significantly reduces the risk of mammary tumours if performed before the first or second season. 1:2000 develop mammary tumours if spayed before first season compared to 1:4 if spayed after the second.
Prevention of future uterine problems such as life threatening infections of the uterus.
Prevents unwanted pregnancy, false pregnancies and the hassle of seasons.

Potential side effects/complications of spaying

  • Anaesthetic/surgical risks (very low in healthy animals)
  • Spayed dogs have a lower metabolism so need to be fed 10-15% less to prevent obesity - also saving you money on dog food
  • No proven link but may be a factor in urinary incontinence in old age. However if this were to occur it can be easily controlled by medication
  • Transient false pregnancy can occur in some bitches shortly after spaying, especially in older bitches. This is more likely if spayed within 3 months of a season. It is easily treated

Post-operation Care

  • On the night you get home, offer her water and bland food such as chicken or one of our special canned diets. Dogs are sometimes sick with more complex food after an operation
  • Keep her on the lead for 7 days following the operation, lifting her into the car and preventing her from climbing steps
  • Check the wound daily for any signs of discomfort or infection

Dog Castration

We routinely castrate from 5 - 6 months of age.

Why Castrate a dog?


  • Castrated dogs are less likely to develop signs of hypersexuality, such as mounting other dogs, people's legs etc
  • Less chance of inter-male aggression
  • Less chance of dominance related behavioural problems
  • Less chance of wandering and escape in the hunt for bitches
  • Reduced desire to urine mark

N.B. In dogs castrated over 2 years of age, there is less chance of improving hormonally driven bevavioural problems by the procedure.

Health Benefits

Precludes the development of testicular tumours.
Reduces development of prostatic disease, perineal hernias and certain peri-anal growths.

Possible side effects/disadvantages of castrating dogs

  • Anaesthetic/surgical risks (these are very low in healthy animals)
  • Castrated dogs have a lower metabolism so need to be fed 10-15% less to prevent obesity - also saving you money on dog food
  • Not all male dogs develop hypersexuality behavioural problems and can lead normal happy lives if left entire. Generally there is no disadvantage to waiting until the dog is a little older to decide whether to castrate i.e. doesn’t have to be done at 6 months

Join our Pet Health Club to save 20% on the cost of neutering.

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests

All patients admitted for an operation or procedure requiring a general anaesthetic are offered a pre-anaesthetic blood test.

This test is done to give the vet more information about how your pet’s organs are working. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests are highly recommended in older patients. They are also beneficial in younger patients to confirm all organs have developed correctly and are functioning well.

There are three main benefits to carrying out pre-anaesthetic blood tests

  • Detecting hidden illnesses that may put your pet at risk during anaesthesia and surgery
  • Reducing risk by adjusting the approach to anaesthesia and surgery
  • Peace of mind for you

The blood sample is taken prior to your pet receiving any medication for their anaesthetic as the results can affect which drugs are given. The sample is taken from the jugular vein which is located on their neck. This means that your pet will come home with a small clipped patch of fur in this area.

There are two parts to a pre-anaesthetic blood test

Packed Cell Volume (PCV)

This test measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. If the percentage of red blood cells is higher than the normal ranges then this may be an indication of your pet being dehydrated and therefore, the vet may decide to put your pet on fluids.

If the PCV is lower than the normal ranges this may indicate that there is an underlying health issue and the surgery may be postponed.


This blood test monitors organ function, in particular the kidneys and liver.

The liver is checked by measuring two enzymes in the blood, which are normally at very low levels.  If there is any damage to the liver cells they release these enzymes into the blood and cause the levels to rise. The liver has vital roles to play in the body, including metabolising the anaesthetic drugs and producing the factors needed for blood clotting to occur. 

To monitor kidney function we look at the blood urea and creatinine levels. Urea and creatinine are usually filtered out of the blood and into urine by the kidneys, keeping their levels in the blood low. When the kidney filter is not working efficiently the levels in the blood build up. Kidney function is important during and after an anaesthetic because if there is a problem it may mean that your pet can not effectively filter the anaesthetic drugs out of their system and therefore, it has the potential to complicate their recovery. If a problem is detected on the blood test, the vet may choose to alter the drugs used in the anaesthetic protocol or put your pet onto a drip.

Biochemistry also measures blood glucose levels. If the glucose is abnormally high this could be an indication of your pet being diabetic or too low can mean that they are hypoglycaemic. Either one can impact your pets surgery.

By opting to have a pre-anaesthetic blood test we can tailor your pet's anaesthetic, pain management and recovery protocols if needed. The cost of this test is £52.94.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the pre-anaesthetic blood tests further, please do not hesitate to ask the vet/nurse during your admit appointment.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common behavioural problem in dogs. It is a distress response to being separated from a person to whom the dog has become attached. If you think about it this is a normal dog response! Dogs are pack animals and it is not normal for them to become isolated and separate from their pack. They do not like being on their own and become distressed if they feel this is going to happen!

Destruction of household items, chewing, digging, howling, barking and house soiling can all result from separation anxiety. They will often occur within 30 minutes of the owner’s departure. Separation anxiety is very common in adopted/re-homed dogs and can be precipitated by a change in the owner’s lifestyle, such as a return to work after a period of time spent at home or a change in shifts.

In many cases separation anxiety can be managed successfully, but it requires patience and commitment on the part of the owner, as long-term behavioural therapy is required.

Medical therapy is available for severely affected dogs but will only work in conjunction with behavioural training. If you are having problems and need our help, please make an appointment and come along and see us.

Independence Training

  • Discourage your dog from following you around the house. There is no point in expecting the dog to accept being alone in the house until he is happy being left in one room while you are in another. Shut doors or use child safety gates to exclude him from the room you are in. Before you leave the room, make him sit or lie down
  • Ignore your dog completely for 20 minutes before your departure and again on your return. Do not greet your dog as you walk in the door and always discourage excitable behaviour and greetings by not petting the dog until it is calm
  • Improve obedience training - Practice sit/lie down and stay and slowly increase the length of the stay until you are able to move out of sight before calling him
  • Ask other people to feed and exercise your dog to reduce his dependence on you
  • Change your leaving routine – wear different clothes, change the time, leave through a window!
  • Do not pay your dog much attention when you are at home with him
  • De-sensitise your dog to departures
  • It is vital that you keep arrivals and departures low key
  • Do not allow the dog to sleep in your bedroom

Taking Your Dog Abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme’s regulations changed on the 1st of January 2012. These changes had implications for those with dogs, cats or ferrets that already had pet passports, and also for those who may now be thinking about taking these species abroad and bringing them back to the U.K.

Previously, dogs, cats and ferrets returning to the U.K. from the E.U. or other certain listed countries could avoid quarantine provided they had met certain conditions. They had to have been microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. Cats and dogs (not ferrets) then had to have a blood test (usually 3 months after the rabies vaccination) to make sure they had responded to the vaccine. Provided a certain antibody level was reached, they could travel abroad 3 weeks after the rabies vaccine but could not return until 6 months after the blood test was taken (the ‘6-month rule’). 24-48 hours before re-entering the U.K. the pet also had to be treated for ticks and for tapeworms by a vet, and this was then signed off in the passport.

Since the changes at the beginning of 2012, if your dog, cat or ferret is travelling to the E.U. or certain listed countries, they must still be microchipped and given a rabies vaccine, but the pet passport can then be issued. There is now no requirement for a rabies blood test and no ‘6-month rule’. Animals can travel 21 days after the vaccine and then return to the U.K. at any point after this, provided the rabies vaccine is kept up-to-date. The requirement for tick treatment prior to re-entry to the U.K. has been dropped. Tapeworm treatment prior to U.K. re-entry is now required only for dogs – the treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1 - 5 days) before the dog’s scheduled arrival time in the U.K.. Pets will still have to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

If your dog, cat or ferret is entering the U.K. from an unlisted, non-E.U. country, it must be microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. These pets will require a blood test at least 30 days after vaccination to check antibody levels, and there will be a 3-month wait prior to re-entry to the UK. There is no requirement for tick treatment prior to UK entry, but tapeworm treatment will be required for dogs only. Again, the pet has to travel with an approved company on an authorised route. . The rules for pets coming from unlisted countries and for species other than dogs, cats and ferrets will vary.

It does seem that the new regulations make it simpler for people to take their pets abroad, and to bring them back to the U.K., however, we would still advise that it is vital to think about the welfare implications of travelling with pets, such as stress, and also the importance of being aware of possible exotic diseases and parasitic infections which pets can be exposed to outside the U.K. The vets here can discuss possible prevention treatments dependent on the likely risk of coming across certain parasites e.g. ticks or tapeworms, or parasite vectors e.g. sandflies or mosquitoes in certain regions.

If you have any queries regarding the Pet Travel Scheme, please go to the GOV.UK website or contact the Pet Travel Scheme Helpline on 0370 241 1710. We have five L.V.I. vets (Local Veterinary Inspectors) at Holly House who can issue passports or export paperwork; Sarah Brown, Sara Ramsey, Holly McKinley, Charlotte Tuplin and Heather Chappell.

Further information:

BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Leaflet - Taking your pets abroad: Your guide to diseases encountered abroad.

Join our Pet Health Club to save 10% on the cost of your dog's pet passport.

Canine Blood Donation

Could your dog be a lifesaver?

As with people, critically ill and injured animals can sometimes require blood transfusions in order to survive. We are always looking for new donors to join our blood donor register, so if your dog matches the criteria and you would be interested in volunteering your dog to give blood, we would love to hear from you. Currently, we only call on our registered donors in the event of a patient needing an emergency blood transfusion, however in future (with enough volunteers) we hope to host a blood donor session at the hospital.

Criteria for a canine blood donor

Your dog must:

  • be deemed fit and healthy by physical examination
  • be a young, lean adult, aged between 1 and 8 years
  • have a good temperament
  • weigh 25kg or over
  • be fully up to date with vaccinations (however your pet will not be able to give blood within 14 days of having had a vaccination)
  • not be receiving any medication other than preventative flea and worm treatment
  • not have travelled abroad
  • not have received a blood transfusion before
  • have normal results if they have had routine blood biochemistry and haematology tests

Canine Hydrotherapy

The importance of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy is increasingly recognised in veterinary medicine. Hydrotherapy (controlled swimming) is especially valuable for the veterinary patient, promoting excellent limb function in a non-weight bearing and thus minimally painful and a-traumatic environment.

Many surgical and medical disorders benefit from hydrotherapy and some examples are given below.

Joint Surgery

Hydrotherapy is applicable to almost all joint injuries of dogs and can occasionally be of use in other species. Its most popular and perhaps most productive use is in aiding the rehabilitation and repair following cruciate ligament ruptures.

These patients may be managed with surgery or conservative techniques; in either case limb disuse due to pain, habit or sensory changes can lead to reduced range of movement at the knee joint and wasted or even scarred muscles. Such changes may lead to permanent and irreversible limb dysfunction despite healing of the original injury and this can be restricted through appropriate hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy helps to maintain range of joint movement and muscle mass by encouraging effective non-traumatic limb use. It manages to do this in a non-weight bearing environment.

Hydrotherapy reduces exercise related discomfort and protects any surgical repair from excessive strain during the healing period.


Limb disuse can be a problem after surgical repair of fractures, especially smaller dogs that can easily carry an affected limb. Controlled use of a fractured bone encourages healing, but too much can jeopardise a surgical repair. Hydrotherapy helps to strike the right balance.


Dogs with arthritis are often sore after rest following exercise, as excessive joint use causes inflammation in the affected joint and subsequent pain.

Lameness progressing to longer-term limb disuse, muscle wastage and poor joint range of movement is the result. Hydrotherapy allows joint range of movement to be maintained and muscle function to continue with minimal trauma and inflammation to the joints.

Always ask your vet first whether hydrotherapy is appropriate for your pet.

We have several local hydrotherapy pools all of whom may be able to offer professional services to you and your pet. One local hydrotherapy pool is registered as a veterinary treatment site and we have had excellent results from animals attending it.


Carlton Kennels and Hydrotherapy Pool, Yeadon. Tel: 0113 250 5113

Practice information

Holly House Veterinary Hospital

  • Mon
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tue
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wed
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thu
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Fri
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sun
    10:00am - 4:00pm

Emergency Details

Please call:

0113 2369030

Find us here:

468 Street Lane Moortown Leeds LS17 6HA
get directions with Google Maps

Please call this number for emergencies:

0113 2369030

Holly House Veterinary Clinic

  • Mon
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tue
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wed
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thu
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Fri
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sun
    12:00pm - 2:00pm

Emergency Details

Please call:

0113 2369030

Find us here:

Unit C, Moor Allerton Centre King Lane Leeds LS17 5NY
get directions with Google Maps

Please call this number for emergencies:

0113 2369030

Holly House Veterinary Clinic, Ilkley

  • Mon
    8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 1:00pm
  • Sun

Emergency Details

Please call:

01943 609285

Find us here:

6 Regent Rd Ilkley Leeds LS29 9EA
get directions with Google Maps

Please call this number for emergencies:

01943 609285