Pet Advice

Advice on how to best care for your pet

  • New Pet
  • Nutrition
  • Lungworm
  • Insurance
  • Buying a Dog
  • Pre-Operative Care
  • Useful Information

New Pet


Puppies should be vaccinated against:

  • Canine Distemper
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis

An initial course of vaccinations for puppies comprises of two injections two to four weeks apart. The first of these is usually given when the pup is 8 weeks old and the last after 10 weeks old. Vaccinations thereafter are required annually, and will include a through health check.

Parasite control
Ticks, fleas, worms, skinlice and mites can be a particular problem for pups and there are some infections that pups can pass on to the people at home, so we strongly encourage regular and thorough parasite control. Parasite control may be formulated according to specific needs and circumstances but in broad terms our advice would be to treat all pups with a monthly dose of Advocate to eradicate and prevent fleas, lice, mites, hookworm, roundworm, threadworm and especially lungworm. In addition to monthly Advocate treatments, we would also advise administering a dose of tapeworm treatment every six months.

Of particular concern at the moment is lungworm. Please see our section on this for more information.

Every year, many dogs are euthanased or rehomed because of behavioural problems which may have been avoided if the puppy had been given the opportunity to develop social skills while still very young. The experiences the puppy has in the first 16 to 20 weeks of their life will lay the foundations for their personalities for the rest of their lives.

Social skills in dogs, just as in human beings, must be learned and if they are not learned in these crucial first weeks of life (this is called the imprinting period), the puppy may never be able to acquire these essential skills. We strongly advise socializing puppies as soon as they join your family. How and when you can socilize them depends on where they are in the process of their primary vaccinations. Please discuss this important aspect of caring for your puppy with any of our vets or nurses.

To optimize the development of social skills in puppies, we strongly advise taking your puppy to training classes. This will allow them to meet other families and puppies of all shapes, ages, and sizes in a fun and rewarding environment for both you and your puppy. These classes will be structured around basic obedience training but the main reason they are there is to learn how to get along with people and other dogs. Training with your puppy will also help build a very close and strong relationship with them. Please contact us if you have any concerns about your puppy.

What we feed puppies and how fast they grow is incredibly important for puppies, especially the large and giant breeds. Our vets and nurses are always ready to discuss what to feed puppies and how much to feed them.

As your puppy grows, we will arrange regular puppy checks, just like regular health checks for children, to monitor their growth, social development and to answer any questions you may have.

A further benefit of regular puppy checks is that they soon associate visits to the vets with lots of fun, cuddles and treats. This sets their attitude towards visiting the vets for the rest of their lives. A puppy who enjoys visiting their vet will grow into an adult who sees visits to us as a great day out. This means that neither you nor your dog will find future visits to our practice stressful and allows our staff to forge strong relationships of trust with all our patients. We also offer a steady stream of tasty treats for visiting puppies and dogs to appeal to all the canine foodies out there to win their hearts and minds.


The full course of vaccinations for your kitten can start at 9 weeks of age and will protect them from:

  • Feline Enteritis
  • Cat Flu
  • Feline Leukaemia

The full course of vaccinations consisis of two injections with a gap of 3-4 weeks in-between each one. We then recommend a booster vaccination once a year for the rest of their life.

Parasite control
Unfortunately, your kitten may bring a few unwanted additions into your home and treatment for fleas and worms is very important. We recommend treatment for fleas and worm treatment every three months. There are also monthly treatments now for ear mite cure and prevention.

Both male and female cats can be neutered from the age of 4 months. Please see our section on Neutering under Services to read more about the benefits of neutering your cat.

Kittens should be fed several meals a day of a small quantity. In the wild, they would catch and eat up to 20 mice, so they are designed to eat little and often.

We recommend a mixture of wet and dried food. As cats don’t drink as frequently, much of their fluid intake can come in the form of wet food.

It is important to have a water source in a separate area to their feeding area, and a large dog sized bowel to encourage them to drink and reduce the incidence of cystitis.


Diets, food and feeding

You are what you eat. It has long been an established fact that what we eat significantly impacts our health, quality of life and lifespan. This is equally ture for your pets, so we here at Blackberry Vets, we invest a lot of time and energy into discussing this aspect of care with pet owners.

As a practice, we use and recommend Royal Canin diets, though we are able to order in any others if you so require. We have an offer running with Royal Canin, if you buy 8 bags of food, you get the 9th one free.

For several illnesses, we will advise special prescription diets to help manage the condition. This is especially important in long-term management of conditions like recurrent cystitis, bladder stones, kidney failure, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis and allergy related problems.

Feeding the appropriate diet can transform the quality of your pets life and significantly reduce the symptoms of common long term conditions so please ask any of your vets or nurses about any aspect of feeding your pets.

For more information on other Royal Canin ranges, please visit



This life-threatening lungworm “Angiostrongylus Vasorum” is carried by slugs and snails. If your dog comes into contact with an infected slug/snail or even picks up an object a slug/snail has touched or potentially even just sniffs the ground where an infected slug/snail has been, they are then at risk of becoming infected with this potentially fatal condition. Foxes can also become infected and play a role in the spread of infection.

Lungworm is a life-threatening disease and with cases being more widely reported it is a problem that appears to be on the increase, with the lungworm becoming more widespread in the UK. The reason for this is unknown but could possibly be due to climate change.

There are two main problems caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm. Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Dogs infected with lungworm spread the arasite into the enviroment, as larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.

What are the signs of Lungworm?
Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should be concidered high risk. Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult us immediately.

  • Breathing problems
  • Coughing or tiring easily
  • Poor blood clotting
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Depression
  • Tiring easily
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Excessive bleeding from even minor wounds/cuts
  • Nose bleed, bleeding into the eye, anaemia (paleness around the eyes and gums)

There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. We can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite if you are concerned.

Prevention and treatment
It is important to recognise that lungworm is not prevented or treated by the conventional use of worming tablets when given every three months, or even every month.

Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.

If you are concerned that your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to us without delay. We can prescribe Advocate, a specific spot-on solution to treat this parasite, which is applied to the back of the neck. Applied monthly, this product can also prevent the establishment of infection with Angiostrongylus Vasorum. Speak to us for further advice or go to

What else can I do?
We can recommend a parasite control programme that takes into account the risk of your dog becoming infected with lungworm.

If your dog eats slugs or snails, but is not showing any symptoms, arrange a check-up with us as a precaution. If your dog has lungworm, we may recommend regular check ups to allow early detection if your dog becomes re-infected.

In line with preventing worm infestation in your pets and family (Angiostrongylus Vasorum does not infect humans), keep your garden and surrounding areas as free as possible from dog mess.



We aim to keep our fees realistic and at a similar or lower level to competing practices in the area. Having pet insurance means you can concentrate on what is best for your pet rather than worring about the veterinary bills.

Routine procedures such as neutering are standard fixed prices and other surgery is priced according to the time taken to complete the operation or procedure. All of our surgeons and nurses are well trained, experienced and highly attentive to not just the surgery but also the post-operative care of patients. Please request a printed estimate if you would like a breakdown of anticipated costs prior to surgery to be undertaken.

Did you know 1 in 3 pets may require unexpected veterinary treatment each year? We strongly recommend pet insurance as a way of guarding against that unexpected expence which could arise at any moment. Various insurance schemes are available for dogs, cats and now even rabbits!

Whilst advances in veterinary medicine means we can do more for your pet, treatment coasts can soon mount up. You may be suprised to hear that you are more likely to claim on your pet insurance than your car or household policies (Allianz Insurance plc). In fact, in our experience, if you are one of the few people who don’t need to claim on your pet insurance you are very lucky indeed.

It’s important to be aware that not all pet insurance is the same. Some policies limit the amount of time or money that you can claim for. Don’t just shop around on price alone. We can provide a range of leaflets from pet insurance companies so you can make an informed choice and get the best cover for your needs and your budget. Please ask at reception if you require more information.

Buying a Dog

Buying a dog

Before deciding to get a dog, there are several issues which must be considered.

Why do you want a dog?

  • Is it your first dog or do you already have a dog?
  • Are there children in the home?
  • Will it be left alone in the house for any length of time?
  • Can you cope with training a puppy or would you prefer an adult?
  • Would you prefer a dog or a bitch?
  • Is your home better suited to a large or a small breed?
  • Would you prefer a pure breed (pedigree) or a cross breed?

Finally and most importantly, can you afford the money to look after a dog properly? Food and veterinary fees can amount to hundreds of pounds yearly.

Where to get your dog

Puppies: Pedigree
Please make enquiries about the breed you are buying, as many breeds come with genetic ot inherited conditions, some of which can be screened for by reputable a breeder.

Just because a dog has family placed at Cruffs, it does not mean it will be a healthy dog necessarily as show dogs are bred for looks not health.

Please always see the mother and her pups together, do not accept stories as to why she isn’t around!

Do not, under any circumstance, arrange to meet the breeder in a car park somewhere between your home and their kennels and hand over your money in exchange for a puppy.

Many websites are selling puppies from puppy farms. Ask if you can have the pup checked by your veterinary surgeon with a money-back guarantee if returned within, say, 72 hours.

Adult dogs and puppies: Crossbreeds
There are many people who breed first-cross puppies now, but the above still applies. If the place feels “wrong” it usually is!

There are many homing centres across the country, but please research you dog before taking it home, as it is unfair for it to be repeateably rehomed.

When you have finally made your choice and bought your new pet, make an appointment with us in order to discuss vaccinations, feeding and any other matters where you may need help.

More information on breeds can be obtained on the Kennel Club website.

Pre-Operative Care

Pre-Operative Care

We understand that your pet needing a general anaesthetic can be a worrying time for the family and there is a lot of information to take in.

We try to work with you and always do what is best for your pet. We admit our patients when we are ready for them on the day of their procedure, unless we feel it necessary to admit sooner. This means your pet can stay in the comfort of their home with you, rather than sit on a bed in a kennel with us. If you would rather we admit your pet around 9:00am due to work commitments, we are happy to do so.

Before we admit your pet, please let us know if there has been any change in your pets condition or if you feel your pet is unwell in anyway that we are unaware of.

It is important that your pet has been starved from 9:00pm the night before their procedure is due. This goes for both dogs and cats.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small mammals do not need to be starved before an anaesthetic, so please ensure they have food and water available. We would also ask for you to bring with you some of their food upon admittance.

Water can be left down overnight before your pet’s general anaesthetic and then remove the waterbowl and remember not to feed breakfast when you wake up on the morning of the anaesthetic.

It would be helpful to us if your dog has been allowed to go out to the toilet before being admitted, unless you have been specifically asked that they do not by the vet. Please keep tham on a very short walk and on the lead at all times.

Please ensure your dog is clean and not covered in mud or soaking wet. A dirty dog will have a much longer anaesthetic while we clean them and prepare the surgical site. A wet dog will loose presious bodyheat, therefore we would need to spend time drying them before anaethatising them.

Please keep your cat indoors the night before their procedure, so you can ensure they don’t stay out all night finding another source of food, plus you’ll know where they are in the morning. Please ensure they have a litter tray available.

Additional information
If your pet has a small blanket that they usually sleep on or a small toy, you may like to bring this with them so it smells of home.

We will contact you as soon as your pet has recovered from their anaesthetic, giving you peace of mind that they are fine and in safe hands.

Your pet will have a discharge appointment with either your vet or a nurse and they will discuss the procedure that your pet has undergone and talk to you about post operative instructions.

Useful Information

Useful Links

Kennels and Catteries
This is a list of local kennels and catteries that our clients have used in the past. We would always recommend that you visit a prospective kennel or cattery and have a look yourself, because there are subtle difference between them and different things appeal to different people.

Blackberry Cattery
Blackberry Road
01342 870413

Little Orchard Dog and Cat Hotel
Haxted Road
01342 832294

Hare Lane
01342 832161

Barn Owl
Dwelly Lane
01732 444599

Haxted Kennels
Dwelly Lane
01732 863166

Freer Farm
Godstone Hill
01883 743733

Alpine Hotel for Cats
East Grinstead
01342 323833

Woodside Cattery
Dean Lane
01737 553744

Taxis and ambulance

Animal Ambulance: 08701 126613
Pet Taxi: 07788 951037

Local taxis that will on request take our clients and pets

Tony's Taxi: 07817 630845
Kings of the Road Cars: 01342 311211
Meridian Carz: 01342 326595

Dog Training and Behaviour
We have not attended the following classes so cannot personally recommend them. These are local training classes that our clients have attended and enjoyed.

DFD (DforDogs) UK - East Grinstead - contact Buzz or Dave Kennard
07879411448 or 07769677578

Impeccable Behaviour
Penny Ashby

Training and behaviour
Leslie Smart - Hammerwood Village Hall
01342 327320
Puppy classes: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings
11-18 weeks of age, 8 puppies per class

East Grinstead & District Dog Training Club - Victoria Club, Lingfield
01342 324883 or 01342 324517 (no calls after 8:30pm please)
Puppy classes: Monday evenings
Puppies up to 12 weeks of age

Lingfield Community Hall - Carrie-Ann Bush
07956 375609
Puppy classes: Thursday 7:00pm
Fun obedience/basic agility: Thursday 8:00pm

St Johns Church Hall, Blindley Heath - Jane Pottle
01342 893974 or 07913 896867
Puppy classes: Tuesday and Wednesday 7:00pm
One-to-one consultations available

Training and Behaviour
Lisa Childs - Lloyd Hall, Outwood
01342 841725 or 0794 1184793
Puppy classes: Tuesday evenings
6 puppies per class
One-to-one consultations available