Vet nurse recommendations – Pet essentials you should have at home
As a registered vet nurse, I’ve naturally accumulated a plethora of pets over the last two decades! It’s just one of the many perks of the job.
I've mostly took in strays from various vet clinics I’ve worked in and rescues found in our village since moving to Greece.
I think it’s safe to say my husband is getting used to this now! And one thing we know for sure is that you need many different supplies to keep pets healthy and happy.
In my video consultations, I routinely recommend items that I wholeheartedly believe every pet parent should stock their cupboards with.
I always makes sure I have a select few of these at hand for rainy days and I frequently use various other products.
Whilst some items are simply vanity products, there’s lots of must-have items out there that can improve your pet's wellbeing.
Read on to see some preventative health and care essentials for cats and dogs that I personally keep, and why.
Pheromone for Dogs and Cats (Feliway and Adaptil)
I have to say, I was sceptical about the use of pheromones for dogs and cats at first.
Even though I’d done the training with the companies that offer them, I didn’t really believe that they could fully work.
I thought that they were a nice idea, but truthfully, I never really used to use or promote them.
However, the beauty of my job now is that I can follow up with pet parents to see if my recommendations have made any difference.
Also, having a multi-cat household myself, including Prince, our beautiful blind cat, I was faced with a sudden urinating issue.
One of the cats was urinating in random places (on the bed, on pet beds, on my work chair!). It turned out to be Prince, who on the whole seems to be a super chilled cat.
He has his little daily routine. Spends most of his day sleeping on the terrace or in his bed near me while I’m working.
So, I gave a Feliway diffuser a go and I slowly noticed that the piddles of pee were no more! And the random little bickers Prince had with Duncan (our other ginger cat) had completely stopped.
Now all three of the cats get on great and I have no behaviour issues whatsoever!
We’ve even had to close the bathroom window at night to stop random strays sneaking in overnight for food whilst we sleep!
I do joke that they can sense the Feliway plugged in and are drawn to it!
I now always have a Feliway plugged in and if it runs out, I notice the little changes in the dynamics of our fur family again.
Now speaking of those cool cats! This is obviously not a wellbeing product, but I absolutely recommend this for any households with cats that go outdoors.
Yes, we’re talking about Dreamies, and whilst they aren’t particularly healthy, most cats cannot resist the temptation of them!
Now I have no idea what they put in them to make cats so obsessed with this particular treat!
I’m sure they added catnip onto one of the ranges to give it that addictive quality and little extra kick! But you can use this to your advantage.
Get one of the Dreamies tubs and teach your cats the sound of shaking the tub. They will come running from wherever they are in the house for precious Dreamies.
Once they get used to this you can use it when they go outdoors too.
All three of our cats come a running from wherever they are if they can hear the Dreamies tub rattle! They are great for calling them back to the house, even with our blind boy Prince.
Remember, any treats including Dreamies should absolutely be given in moderation! Be sure not to overfeed and always take into consideration your cats daily calorie intake.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s been a lot of rescue pets in my home. Whether we’ve adopted them or fostered them.
So, I’ve had a lot of experience with anxiety and calming supplements. There are so many on the market in various different forms.
Like plug in diffusers, sprays, ambient diffusers, such as Feliway and Adaptil that I mentioned earlier, which work on the natural pheromone basis to promote calm.
There are also ones such as Pet Remedy which is again natural, and uses Valerian and other essential oils to create a sense of calm.
It does this by mimicking GABA (gamma amino butryic acid) which in plain English is a natural calming agent present in mammals.
At the moment I am using this in the spray form every day before going out for walks. Ivy my reactive rescue gets very excited when seeing sheep and goats of which there are many where we live! She also loves a good bark at passing people.
By mixing Pet Remedy with some positive reinforcement training, we’re slowly getting there. There’s no more barking at passing people, but we expect with the goats this will take a little more time!
Then there’s our Wingnut my dachshund, who is, as plainly as I can put it - a big wuss. Even though he was well socialised from the moment we brought him home, he is still a wuss!
Applying Pet Remedy before a walk has made such a huge difference! He’s gone from being wary of everything and anything, to a cool, calm and cocky little sausage on his walks!
I have combined this with Buddycares' own behavioural supplement. Calm Care relieves stress induced behaviour in dogs and cats.
It's a natural supplement with a specific mixture of ingredients developed to address any stress-induced behaviour and anxious feelings in dogs and cats.
It works well for calming for a variety of stressful situations. Whether that be building work taking place at home, strangers popping by, vet visits, grooming appointments or any other new experience.
If we can help reduce stress and calm anxiety then we’re all winning!
Now these are an absolute must for any pet owner. I recommend pet parents to keep them in stock for unfortunate diarrhoea moments.
Especially if you have a puppy under one year that’s prone to picking up and eating all sorts!
Keeping some form of pro/prebiotic at home can honestly make a world of difference.
Let's take Wingnut the dachshund last weekend.
Currently we are training him not to eat sheep poo on his morning walk because it’s full of nasties. But he’s Wingnut and it’s clearly just too tempting a treat!
So, after noticing a little diarrhoea, I ransacked my probiotic supplies and started him on them straight away.
They really can help with getting some great gut flora back into that digestive tract and help calm down the irritation and diarrhoea.
If you notice your pet has diarrhoea it’s always great to seek veterinary advice, whether that’s during an online video consult like we do at Buddy, or with your local vet practice.
However, if you have a supply of probiotics at home ready, you can start them straight away!
I’ve done so many consultations where pets have eaten something they shouldn’t have and I jump for joy when I discover clients have probiotics from a previous vet visit or previous bout of diarrhoea.
It takes so much stress away. There’s no worrying about your dog, panicking wondering where you can get probiotics from at the weekend, or waiting for an online delivery.
That’s why you should always keep some in stock!
Our Digestive Healthcare range is definitely worth keeping in the pet cupboard in case of diarrhoea and tummy upsets!
Digestive Care is an oral paste which contains prebiotics, probiotics and bentonite clay. Bentonite clay can help calm digestive upset by acting as a binder.
These probiotics are important in restoring beneficial flora in the gut while prebiotics provide nourishment for the growth of these bacteria.
This is quite a vague description, isn’t it?
However, stay with me, there are a few products I’d keep to hand for your pet's skin.
Whether that be a minor first aid situation, or a major stinky dog scenario. I always recommend that you have a good quality pet shampoo at all times.
Depending on your dog (we’ll address cats in a minute) it depends what kind of shampoo you would like.
There’s a great range of shampoos called Douxo for various different skin needs or general use, and the beauty of them is the fragrance they have. They smell like holidays!
They’re not only delicious and wonderful for stinky pooches, but these shampoos are also great for the skin and have a lasting smell.
My Dexter is a very stinky dog in general and even though It's not guaranteed, sometimes when it’s time for his next bath, I can still vaguely smell Douxo from the last time, when I damp him down! It’s an absolute godsend.
Cats as we know can be a little trickier but, in all fairness, usually they’re not as smelly as dogs! However, Douxo do a range of Mousses too which are so easy to use for cats and for dogs, without the stress of trying to bath!
From a first aid point of view, make sure you keep some kind of topical gel or cream to hand in case of small sores or wounds.
These are perfect for those veterinary video consultations where you’re asked if you have anything at home and it makes life so much easier.
Our Omega 3 Supplement can help support good skin health for your pet's whole life! It contains high levels of EPA and DHA for dogs and cats.
These play an essential role in the healthy functioning of the heart, brain, joints, skin and coat!
Your pets' needs will change over the years and this is something you should take into account.
As dachshunds are prone to IVDD due to their long backs, we have steps for Wingnut so he can get on the bed.
If you have an older dog who is a little arthritic, alongside medications and supplements, consider memory foam mattresses for comfort and ramps to get in the car for larger dogs.
Cats love to have little hideaways. How many times do you find your cat in a random high place or a cupboard? Help create those hideaways under beds or in higher places.
Get a small roll of Vetbed and cut it up into smaller pieces and create little comfy nooks. Vetbed is also great for older pets or on top of existing pet beds for some extra warmth and comfort.
These products can be so useful to have ready for action in your pet home. However, this list will not suit everyone and all pet households.
It’s so important to keep in regular contact with a veterinary professional (vet or nurse) to discuss your pet's needs.
Will some of these products save you some money in the long term? Yes, they will in many different ways. Could there be some different products that would suit your family better? Absolutely I’m sure there will be!
All pets are individuals and there isn’t one solution so consult with your vet or vet nurse for their expertise. Similarly, you can book a free vet nurse consult here to ask me any and all questions about your pet.
Vet professionals like myself can advise you on the best and most safe items for your pet's health and wellbeing. After all, we’ve built careers out of this and most of us have a small zoo ourselves!