Steve Leonard is a veterinary surgeon and television presenter. Over the last 18 years he has travelled the globe filming some of the world’s most enigmatic wildlife. During the same period he has continued to work as a veterinary surgeon. He currently works at Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre in Cheshire and Shropshire, with his brother Tom. Steve has a keen interest in dog & cat internal medicine and is studying for a post-graduate certificate in this subject. Steve lives in Cheshire with his wife Cathy, their baby daughter Severn and their pet cat Bruce.
Over to Steve….
Well, another Christmas has passed full of food and good company. New Year has started with the usual promises to ourselves to become fitter, healthier and spend more quality time with those we love. Thankfully, all those things can be completed together when you own a dog. Now the winter solstice has passed, we’re over the hump and looking forward to the return of the sun. The winter period can seem dark and miserable but it still offers moments of brilliance with clear blue skies and frost on the floor. Great days for crunching over mud rather than wading through it and soaking up the miles to work off the Christmas calories!
At this time of year it’s also an opportunity to think about calories going in as well. The festive period tends to result in lots of ‘naughty’ treats finding their way into doggie diets, sometimes slipped off a plate by a guilty visitor or sniffed out and unwrapped prematurely by the dog themselves. Raisins were the big issue for us at the practice this year with lots of tasty mince pies and puddings being snaffled by hungry four legged burglars. Grapes, raisins, sultanas and their kin are relatively newly discovered toxins to dogs. We are not sure which dogs will be affected so there isn’t a safe dose we can ignore. All dogs exposed have to be made to vomit (we have an injection for this) as soon after ingestion and then they are given intravenous fluids to protect their kidneys. If treated promptly the prognosis is good and all of our patients have been thankfully totally fine.
Having healthy, safe treats as part of a well balanced, calorie controlled diet is an important part of training and rewarding a pet. It’s also good to be able to give that relative who insists on giving in to those big brown eyes a little something to pass on to ensure ongoing devotion.
Adjust the rest of the diet accordingly and get out in that winter sunshine – just like the photos I took just after Christmas on a walk with friends in the Shropshire hills, which should get you motivated!