Dog biscuits.

Homemade Applesauce cookies for dog

Homemade dog apple cookies and a chunky apple sauce

Ingredients (makes approx. 10 cookies)
3 large apples – peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons of water
1 cup wholemeal flour (or plain if you don’t have wholemeal)
Half cup of rolled oats
1 egg – beaten



Chunky apple sauce
1. Place the apple slices into a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water
2. Put a lid on the saucepan and bring to the boil
3. Turn down to a low heat and simmer for 5 mins
4. Allow to cool then mash with a fork – aim for a chunky mash

1. Add the flour, oats and egg to the apple sauce and mix thoroughly
into a dough
2. Add extra flour if too wet; water if too dry
3. Roll out on a floured surface to approx. 1.5 cm thick
4. Get creative and cut out some fun shapes such as love hearts or bones
5. Place on a lined baking tray
6. Bake at 150°C/300°F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
7. Allow to cool on a wire rack before treating your dog!
8. Store in a sealed container in the fridge, discard if no longer fresh


Remember these are treats – so only one per day!
Some human food can be dangerous for our canine friends – did you know that chocolate, onions, grapes, sultanas and raisins are toxic to dogs?
These harmful foods should all be kept away from dogs and not included in anything you make for them. If your dog ingests any of these foods,
please contact your veterinary surgeon immediately.
Older Golden Retriever Dog being petted.

My dog is getting older

Caring for older dogs
On average dogs live for around 12 years, although many live for much longer. Over the years you can expect your dog to change, not just physically but mentally also. What once interested, may no longer do so. How do you cope with the changes?

Keeping your older dog comfortable
Older dogs may need more rest. Somewhere quiet where they won¿t be disturbed in a soft, cosy bed away from draughts. They may need to go to the toilet more frequently. Incontinence or changes in how often they go to the toilet should be discussed with your vet.

Make sure everything your dog needs is easily accessible so they don’t have to go too far to find their water, food, toys and bed. Smooth, slippery floors can be difficult for older dogs to walk on, so put a rug or carpet down to give them something to grip.

Feeding a senior dog

As they get older a dog’s dietary requirements change. It varies with breed and size, but at around seven your dog might benefit from gradually moving onto a diet designed for senior dogs. A vet can advise what’s best.

Monitor how much your pet is eating and drinking – mention any changes in their eating habits or weight to your vet as there could be an underlying medical reason.

If you have other, younger dogs in the house, make sure your senior dog can access their food without having to compete.

Changing needs of older dogs
Although they may be slowing down, senior dogs still need regular exercise and mental stimulation – walking them little and often will help keep their weight down and toys and puzzle feeders can keep them entertained. Wearing a coat when out and about can help keep them warm and dry.

Gentle grooming can help you spend quality time with your dog which also gives you the chance to check for lumps and bumps, aches and pains.

If your dog seems stiff or has trouble with things like getting out of bed and going upstairs, your vet may advise some treatments that can help.

Health and welfare
Older dogs may have poor hearing and/or sight, so ask the family to avoid sudden loud noises so that they don’t get startled. If your dog appears to be ignoring you it could be because their hearing has deteriorated. Ask your vet to check them over.

Senior dogs may need their nails trimming more often if they’re exercising less. This is something your local vet can do for you.

If you have any concerns about your older dog, always check with a vet. Changes in behaviour may be signs of underlying issues, not just down to `old-age’ – so make sure to take them for a regular health check.

Awards winners.

Paws For Thought – Spring Petcare Roundup

White dog sat in a fieldSpring is here at last! 

At least, it’s close enough around the corner for us to get excited by the prospect of brighter weather and longer walks in the woods with our four-legged friends.

As the days get longer, the sap rises and the leaves get greener, we reckon it’s the perfect time for a roundup blog with exciting news on seasonal pet health issues, surgery services and special events and campaigns which will make March 2020 a month to remember.

Let’s get cracking! 

Pet Theft Awareness Week (14 – 21 March)

Each year, Pet Theft Awareness Week aims to spread the word on the budgie burglars, rabbit raiders, canine crooks and feline fraudsters that spread misery by pilfering pets from their happy homes.

Held between 14-21 March, this year’s campaign materials make for miserable reading, but they’re worth taking note of if you don’t want to see your beloved animal swiped, stuffed in a swag bag and sold on to someone who doesn’t know how to love or care for them appropriately. 

Pet theft is more common than you might think – figures from the police reveal 5-6 dogs are stolen every day in England and Wales. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because figures for ‘Theft by Finding’ are never included in official statistics and this could compound the problem even further. 

Remember that pet theft is a martini crime – it can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere and dogs and other animals are stolen from gardens, houses, parks, kennels, outside shops and cars 24/7. Nowhere is safe and thieves are shameless. 

Furthermore, any breed can be targeted, but designer toy breeds and gun dogs are particularly attractive to sticky-fingered criminals. Incredibly, thieves even steal entire litters of puppies – causing untold heartbreak to the mother and her human carers.

Reward or ransom for return can be demanded, but most dogs are sold on to unsuspecting new owners, with some being used for breeding and worse, dog fighting. 

And although compulsory microchips mean dog owners can be traced, these devices aren’t in dogs GPS trackers. You can buy specific collars with integrated GPS which reveals your pet’s activity, but the following tips could stop your pet falling into the wrong hands in the first place – when it comes to pet theft, prevention is better than cure.

  • Don’t leave your dog outside a shop or supermarket
  • Don’t let your dog out of sight when it’s exercising
  • Never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle
  • Make sure your garden, house and outside kennels are secure.
  • Regularly check gates and security lighting
  • Be careful who can see your pet’s photos on social media – make your account settings as private as possible.
  • Change your routine regularly – unpredictability makes you and your pet tougher for crooks to track.

Follow these tips and you can look forward to keeping your pet at the heart of your family for years to come – forewarned is forearmed!

National puppy dayVet is hugging a puppy

Wet noses, fab furry coats and cheeky personalities combine to possibly make puppies the most adorable denizens of the domestic animal kingdom.

So National Puppy Day on March 23rd is the perfect excuse (as if you need one) to celebrate everything that’s amazing about the junior canine in your family.

But did you know that we offer FREE puppy health checks? They’re always conducted by one of our vets and you’ll also be offered 4 weeks free pet insurance with Pet Plan. 

We’re also always happy to enrol you in our Well Pet Club, which spreads the cost of your pet’s booster vaccination, preventative health care and nurse clinics (nail clips, anal glands), as well as exclusive member benefits.

Did you know?

Did you know that we can check your pet’s microchip details for you? 

We offer this super service completely free and it only takes 5 minutes. 

Here’s how it works:

  • We scan your pet, enter their details into the national identibase and confirm that

 your details are correct. This ensures that our internal records match with those held by authorities.

  • Call us, email or pop in while you’re passing and ask if we can squeeze in a pet scan there and then or arrange one ASAP. If your pet was to go missing and your details were wrong, it is significantly more difficult to find you – this is a stitch in time that prevents untold heartache.

Having the following info on your mobile can fast-track finding your missing pet:

  • A clear photo of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings.
  • Your pet’s microchip number (If you don’t know this, just ask! As we’ve explained, scanning is swift and simple).
  • Local Animal Warden’s phone number.
  • Your vet’s phone number
  • Your dog’s microchip database phone number.

We’re not in the scaremongering business at Orchard House Vets – we’re sharing this advice with our customers because it’s our business to care about animals as much as you do. 

And if there’s anything we’ve missed, please let us know – we encourage all of our client community to share ideas and tips and we’ll publish the best in our blog.

Flea and Ticks

April isn’t just about Easter eggs and cute bunnies – unfortunately it’s also when we see a spike in flea and tick activity. Dog with a tick.

But luckily for you and your pet, we provide the very best flea and tick treatment – and with our Well Pet Club, you can spread the cost over 12 months.

Fleas can lay up to 1,500 eggs in their short lifetime (which ranges from 14 days to 12 months), they enter your house various ways and don’t even have to directly attach to your pet – they can simply be attached to your clothes!

Ticks are also rife at this time of year and we have already seen a number of pets presenting with them.

If you’re a member of our Well Pet Club and see a tick on your pet, pop into the surgery and a nurse will remove this for you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail – yet another great membership perk.

Ticks can cause serious health problems – it’s well documented by organisations like RSPCA that they can cause Lyme disease and that’s why it’s so important to keep up to date with preventative treatments.

National veterinary awards.

National Veterinary Awards

You may remember last year that our Student Vet Nurse Zoe Pickering and our Assistant Practice Manager Graham Skelton were both finalists in the prestigious national veterinary awards.

We’ll soon hear if we have any finalists for 2020 but regardless, we are overwhelmed at the number of nominations we have received this year – 20 in all, which beats our previous practice record of 19.

Thank you so much for your nominations and fingers, toes and paws crossed that we can report more finalists for 2020 soon!

Final thought

Remember that you can book a pet care appointment online – if you’re on the move, it’s often more convenient than calling and takes a few seconds to complete.

Whew! That’s all the news from the pet health frontline here at the moment, but we can’t wait to catch up with you all again soon.

Need to chat about any pet health issues? Contact Us today!

Dog covering it's nose with it's paw.

Coronavirus in dogs

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!

This is just a brief message to reassure you that the alarmist headlines in some of the newspapers this weekend are just that, alarmist. There is no evidence that dogs transmit the Covid-19 virus.
A dog in Hong Kong belonging to an owner with the infection had the virus in its nose and mouth. It had no symptoms. It probably licked up or sniffed its owner’s sneeze – you know what dogs are like!
For proper, informed information on Covid-19 and your pets, go to the WHO website or WSAVA. 
Be informed. Feel free to telephone the practice if you have any concerns. And wash those hands!
Tim Pearson, MRCVS
Veterinary lab test machine.

Alabama Rot

Whilst very rare, cases of Alabama Rot have appeared in the UK. 12 cases have been confirmed so far this year and it is worth knowing the symptoms

Our vets have lots of advice on how to spot the early signs of the illness and the steps you can take to protect your dog if the disease has been reported in your area.

If you think your dog is showing signs of Alabama Rot, speak to your vet immediately

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot is a potentially deadly disease which damages dogs’ blood vessels. This can cause skin sores and sometimes kidney failure (when the kidneys stop working and can’t clean the blood properly).

The disease only affects dogs. Nearly all cases occur during winter and spring (between November and May) and is often reported in dogs that have been walked in muddy or woodland area.

Signs and Symptoms:

Alabama Rot causes tiny clots to form in blood vessels that damage the skin and kidneys. Symptoms often include:

  • ulcers and sores on paws, legs, face or mouth
  • being sick
  • not wanting to eat
  • lethargy (sleepiness and having much less energy than usual).

If your dog seems under the weather and has any of these symptoms, speak to your vet right away.

Not all dogs who have skin sores go on to have kidney problems but early treatment by a vet is important. If you notice any sores on your dog, speak to your vet immediately to rule out Alabama Rot.

How can I stop my Dog getting Alabama Rot?

Vets still aren’t sure what causes the disease or how to prevent it. However, there are some simple things you can do to that may protect your dog or help you spot the symptoms early:

  • If Alabama Rot has been reported near you, avoid walking your dog in muddy woodland areas.
  • Washing any mud off your dog after a walk might help, although this hasn’t been proven. It won’t harm your dog and might help keep your mind at ease if you’re worried about the disease.
  • Check your dog regularly for signs of redness or sores, especially on their paws, legs and face.

If you notice any health problems with your dog or a change in their behaviour, speak to your vet.

Old dog wearing glasses.

Senior Dog Week

4th November to the 11th November

During this week, we are offering FREE senior dog consultations with our Veterinary Nurses. During this consultation you will answer a series of questions to assess your senior dogs health. Furthermore, we are offering £5 off a basic blood profile, £10 off a comprehensive blood profile and £5 off a urine check!!

Simply give us a call to book an appointment with a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Health problems in older dogs

Health problems in older dogs can often be picked up on in the early stages with regular health checks at the Vets.

Generally, at the age of seven, dogs tend to have reached senior age. However, in small dog breeds, they are not senior for another couple of years.

In this article, we will show you some of the issues older dogs tend to suffer from and give you some guidance on signs to look out for in your dog’s senior years.

Health problems older dogs are more prone to:

  • Dental disease
  • Canine cognitive dysfunction (dementia)
  • Incontinence
  • Vestibular disease (strokes)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

Changes to watch out for as your dog gets older

Firstly, as mentioned earlier it is important to ensure your dog gets regular health checks. Often a vet can pick up on issues in the early stages, which is always much better.

Here are a few of the symptoms to look out for as your dog ages. If you do spot any of these, please ensure you get them checked out by a vet asap.

  • Drinking excessively or urinating inappropriately for more than a few days
  • Persistent diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Weight loss which is unexplained
  • Persistent coughing
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Collapsing or wobbliness

In addition, to watching out for these changes, you should ensure that your dog is regularly wormed and has regular flea/tick treatments, along with their yearly booster vaccinations.  In some cases, your vet may recommend a senior diet for your pet too.

Managing your dog’s weight

As dogs get older they can end up putting on weight. Therefore your vet may advise you on a special diet with reduced calories, to help prevent them gaining more weight. Specially formulated diets can also help manage age-related medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. Here at Orchard House Vets, we offer FREE weight checks, it is important to take advantage of these as weight gain/weight loss can also indicate the early signs of illness.

Looking after your dog’s teeth

As dog’s get older they can start to suffer from bad teeth and infected gums. Not only can this be uncomfortable for your pet, it can also put them at risk of serious sources of blood-borne infection, which can potentially affect internal organs such as the heart or liver. Again prevention can be better than the cure, therefore its regular health checks with your vet can help spot these issues early.


Golden Labrador.

New tick-borne disease in dogs – canine babesiosis

In the last few weeks there have been confirmed cases of canine babesiosis in dogs living in Essex, which have never travelled to Europe. Thankfully in the North East there have been no confirmed cases, however we would urge all dog owners to ensure their dog is up to date with all parasite control, especially tick prevention.

What are the symptoms of canine babesiosis?

Symptoms of babesiosis can range from mild to severe and can include lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, anaemia and pale gums. If your dog has any symptoms and has ticks we would advise you to contact us to make an appointment.

Detecting ticks

You should check your pet’s skin on its head first; around the mouth ears, behind the ears and neck, and then work your way down its forelegs and the rest of its body searching for any lumps on the skin surface.

Removing ticks

When attempting to remove ticks it is essential you remove the whole tick, ticks should be removed using a proper tick remover such as the ‘O’Tom Tick Twister’.  If you are unsure of how to do this, please call the surgery to organise an appointment with one of our Veterinary Nurses.

How to protect your dog from Ticks and tick-borne disease

To reduce the risk associated with ticks on dogs, we have innovative and convenient treatments that are only available on prescription. The options include oral tablets, spot-on treatment, sprays and collars; these modern techniques are much more effective than traditional over-the-counter tick treatment.

For best advice on how to protect your dog from ticks, please call us today on 01434 607677 for Hexham or 01661 843259 for Stocksfield.