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Caring for Your Dog Just Got Easier!

Posted by VetBox, Monday 19 October 2015

TV Vet announces brand new range of health boxes for dogs that help charities too

Our pets are part of the family and so it’s vital to do everything we can to keep them happy and healthy throughout their lives. It’s this need that has inspired an exciting new partnership between TV’s Marc the Vet and online pet health start-up, VetBox. Together they have launched a new range of monthly subscription boxes that make caring for your four-legged friend as easy as possible.
There are 8 boxes in the ‘VetBox by Marc the Vet’ range, covering everything from common ailments such as arthritis, sensitive skin, teeth or digestion, to the specially formulated life-stage boxes for puppies, seniors and adults. There is even a special box to help alleviate anxiety - handy for fireworks or rehomed rescue dogs. This ensures that whatever the age or condition of your dog, he or she is always well cared for.
Marc the Vet is a well-known TV vet and author who regularly appears on our screens giving pet advice on programmes including ITV’s This Morning, Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, and My Pet Shame. Marc was also winner of Vet of the Year at the CEVA Animal Welfare Awards and is the founder of PupAid, the puppy farm awareness campaign that promotes rescue pets and fights the UK’s cruel puppy farming industry.
As a vet Marc treats many dogs suffering from common long term (chronic) illnesses that could easily be aided by special dietary supplements available without a prescription. Many of these conditions bring painful symptoms that can be delayed or even prevented with the right products. Marc’s partnership with VetBox makes it easier and cheaper for owners to access these products and so better care for their dogs. For example dogs suffering uncomfortable arthritis often benefit from regular glucosamine and those susceptible to bad teeth and gums will be helped by regular brushing.
Marc says, “When seeing patients it’s often clear that dogs will often benefit from dietary supplements and products designed to complement treatment from your vet. Often these are long-term, so I thought it would be really handy for owners to receive them in the post - paying a reduced amount for them as well. Each box comes with a helpful symptom checker and for a bit of fun owners are encouraged to tweet pictures of their pooches opening their VetBoxes too!”
Vet and founder of VetBox, Will Woodley says, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Marc the Vet and this fantastic new range of dog health boxes. Marc's reputation as a champion of animal welfare fits perfectly with our mission to simplify pet healthcare. From day one it was clear that we share a mutual belief that pet care could and should be simpler."
The ‘VetBox by Marc the Vet’ range was launched last weekend at the Kennel Club's Discover Dogs event at London’s Excel - see below for a photo from the launch.

Furthermore with each box sold a donation will be given to a canine charity and Marc will be selecting a new charity each month.The first charity chosen to benefit is therefore the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, who look after the health and welfare of all dogs by funding a wide variety of work, including supporting research into canine diseases.
To subscribe to or for more info about VetBox by Marc the Vet please visit

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July is Healthy Skin Month

Posted by VetBox, Tuesday 28 July 2015
Other than vaccinations, skin problems are the number one reason for taking your pet to see the vet. Dogs and cats are susceptible to a huge number of skin problems; ranging from mild itchiness to chronic ear infections that require drastic surgeries.

To celebrate Healthy Skin Month, we have put together a handy guide to help you diagnose, treat and also prevent skin problems in your pets.

Look out for the following four signs of skin problems in your pet:

  1. Red, sore and irritated skin
  2. Red and/or smelly ears
  3. Constant licking of paws
  4. Constant itching 

If you spot one of these symptoms, there are three main causes that could be the explanation. Read on for an overview of each and the treatment recommended by vets:


1. Parasites

e.g. Fleas, mites (mange) or lice

The most common cause of itchiness is parasites. The answer to this particular problem is simple – protection through regular preventative treatment.
VetBox subscribers receive powerful veterinary treatments at the recommended dosing schedule, so you have nothing to worry about! Discover your pet's tailored plan here.


2. Infection

Infected skin or ears are extremely itchy and in order to properly treat a skin or ear infection it will require a visit to your vet.

Treatment will require antibiotics in some form and these normally come in the form of shampoos, ointments, gels, injections or tablets.
It’s also worth noting that a skin infection is often secondary to an underlying health problem, but your vet will check for this.


3. Allergies

The unfortunate fact is that 1 in 5 pets have allergic skin disease. 

Allergic skin disease in pets is surprisingly common and the main allergens are fleas, house dust mites, pollen and food types.
If the itchiness is all year round it points towards food or house dust mites whereas a seasonal pattern may indicate a pollen allergy.

Allergies can be treated in a number of ways:
  • Food allergy - change their food. Ideally pick an obscure protein and carbohydrate source such as venison and sweet potato (something your pet has never had before). Alternatively purchase a hypoallergenic food. 
  • Steroids – these are still the main way vets manage allergic skin disease.  They are very effective but have lots of side effects and aren’t good for your pet if used long term. 
  • Antihistamines - these aren’t licensed for use in animals and there isn't any data to prove their effectiveness. However they are safe to use and some people find they help.
  • New drugs – drugs such as Atopica & Apoquel are very effective, like steroids without the side effects, but are expensive and often hard to get hold of.

Save and share our 5 Top Tips!

Click here to discover a tailored VetBox plan for your dog or cat.

Will Woodley, BVetMed MRCVS


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VetBox at the Great Hampstead Bark Off

Posted by VetBox, Wednesday 13 May 2015
Last Sunday the VetBox team and I were very proud to be involved in The Great Hampstead Bark Off, an annual charity event hosted by All Dogs Matter.

Rachel Riley, Sir Peter Egan and Marc Abraham pose with one of the winners in the Dog Show

I currently split my time between running VetBox and practising as a vet at the Arc Vet Centre in Muswell Hill, North London. At the practice we provide the veterinary care for most of the dogs that are rescued and cared for by All Dogs Matter. This work includes routine consultations, vaccinations and neutering, as well as more advanced treatments when necessary. It is extremely rewarding work and we try to help out the team at All Dogs Matter wherever possible!

It was because of this connection that I was asked to judge the Bark Off dog show alongside a number of celebrity supporters of the charity. I was joined by Countdown's Rachel Riley, former Eastender, Michelle Collins, Sir Peter Egan and also TV Vet Marc Abraham.

Will had the tough job of judging Cutest Dog

We were very lucky with the weather as it was a beautiful sunny day on Hampstead Heath, which always helps with attendance numbers!

The first competition was The Bake Off and this year there were some superb cake entries, that not only looked great but tasted great too! There were entries both from professional bakers (see the pug below) but also from keen amateurs, and after the judging the cakes were all auctioned off for the charity.

Michelle Collins poses with two dogs (Clue: one is a cake)

Next up was the main dog show with categories starting with 'Cutest Puppy' and followed by 'Golden Oldies', 'Best Rescue', 'Mr Heath' and 'Miss Heath'. Up for grabs were some fantastic prizes including free VetBox subscriptions to the winner of the 'Golden Bone' prize each category. There were some lovely dogs on show so judging wasn't easy. Coming to a unanimous decision between the judges was particularly difficult job!

The winners of the Golden Bone prize in each category received a 3 month VetBox subscription

It was especially nice to see so many dogs in attendance who'd been rescued and then re-homed by All Dogs Matter.  All the money raised on the day goes towards supporting their continued efforts to help out dogs in need. We had a fantastic day and it was especially nice to speak to lots of pet owners who were enthusiastic about VetBox. We are looking forward to next year already!

To celebrate our involvement with the Bark Off and support for All Dogs Matter, you can get your first VetBox half price. Simply enter the code ALLDOGS at checkout.

Click here to discover a tailored VetBox plan for your dog or cat.

Will Woodley, BVetMed MRCVS


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There is no NHS for pets

Posted by VetBox, Friday 17 April 2015
1 comment
With the general election looming in the UK, stories about the NHS are all over the newspapers. Here at VetBox it got us thinking about the question of veterinary fees and how pet insurance is more important than ever before.


Expensive in comparison

The reality is that a vet practice has to run like any other business with staff, equipment, medicines and and VAT making up the fee you pay. Part of the reason that vets are seen as expensive is because in the UK us humans are fortunate enough to have a free healthcare system — the massive cost of which is covered by the tax-payer.

The range of treatments, surgeries and diagnostic tests available to animals these days has meant a huge improvement in the health and life span of the nations’ pets. However increasingly the newest and best treatments are prohibitively expensive and so usually only available to the very wealthy or those with adequate insurance.



These days vets have developed some amazingly advanced treatments that can help pets live long and happy lives. These include joint replacements, MRI scans, chemotherapy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, brain surgery and blood transfusions.

The brilliant Channel 4 program The Supervet has brought advanced pet healthcare to the forefront of peoples’ minds, but none of the procedures would take place without adequate insurance cover.


Prevention is better than a cure

Sadly even more standard treatments can easily run into thousands of pounds — road traffic accidents, allergic skin diseases, tumour removal, broken bones and intestinal surgery would easily cost over £1,000.

Pet insurance provides owners with peace of mind but also allows vets to practice the “Gold-standard and modern” veterinary care without having to compromise on diagnostic decisions and treatments.

We would always recommend that your pet has adequate insurance cover but it’s also true that prevention is better than a cure. Regular preventative health treatments are essential to ensure your pet stays healthy and away from the vets.

Click here to discover a tailored VetBox plan for your dog or cat.

Will Woodley, BVetMed MRCVS


1 comment:

Dr Will

3:04am, 17.04.15
I'd love to hear people's experiences (good and bad) with pet insurance companies. I deal with various companies every day in my practice and the variations in insurance costs (premiums and excesses) can be staggering - even for similar policies.
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10 pet health pitfalls to avoid this Christmas

Posted by VetBox, Tuesday 17 March 2015

Christmas is traditionally the season for fun, celebration and gift giving, but it can be a dangerous time for the four legged members of the family and one that can lead to an expensive visit to the vet. 

In order to equip you with the knowledge for an amazing pet-filled Christmas, we have put together a list with tips to help you avoid the common pitfalls. Please add any extra advice and experiences in the comments at the bottom.

1. Food risks

Many of the things we humans love at Christmas can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate, onions, nuts, blue cheese, fruit cakes, puddings and mince pies are all potentially poisonous. You should also watch out for turkey bones as these can cause choking, constipation or cause damage to your dog’s intestines. Click here for a recent example that shows that cats are also at risk!

VetBox tip: Make sure all food, scraps and trimmings are disposed of safely and are out of the reach of greedy pets.


2. Antifreeze poisoning

As the cold weather draws in we often need to use antifreeze in our cars. But if left lying around it is a major risks to cats, who unfortunately love the sweet taste of one of its major ingredients, ethylene glycol. This chemical causes acute kidney failure if ingested. In Will’s experience this is a very difficult condition to treat and is almost always fatal. Treatment includes aggressive fluid therapy and the oral administration of alcohol (often Vodka).

VetBox tip: Store antifreeze well away from pets and never leave it lying around.

3. Tinsel 

Many of us love to decorate our homes and Christmas trees with tinsel. However if swallowed by a pet it can become what vets call a “linear foreign body”. This is a particular type of stomach blockage caused by string-like objects that can be extremely serious. Symptoms include vomiting and retching and the only treatment is surgery. 

VetBox tip: Make sure tinsel is well secured and out of reach of both dogs and cats. Never leave it lying on the floor.


4. Freezing conditions 

In extreme cases wintery conditions can leave dogs with frostbite or hypothermia, so take care when walking them. Sadly every year there are many cases of pets falling into icy ponds. Attempting to rescue a pet from icy water is extremely dangerous and can put your own life at risk. 

VetBox tip: Be extremely wary of frozen ponds and rivers and do not let dogs near them. 

5. Hot engines 

In cold weather the hot engine of a recently parked car can be a tempting refuge to cat. Will has seen cases of cats badly burnt after crawling under the bonnet or wheel arches of a car. 

VetBox tip: It’s obviously hard to keep an eye on cats at all times, but be aware that hot car engines can be a danger.

6. Fairy lights

To curious dogs and especially to teething puppies, fairy lights can seem like fair game. But as with anything connected to mains electricity, they pose a genuine risk of electrocution.

VetBox tip: Make sure to keep fairy lights out of reach of pets.

7. Festive plants 

Popular Christmas plants such as mistletoe and holly can be poisonous to pets. Other plants such as lilies, poinsettia and yew are also a risk. When accidentally eaten by pets, mistletoe and holly can result in mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation (e.g. drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain).

VetBox tip: To be on the safe side, keep Christmas plants out of reach of your dogs and cats.

8. Party poppers

Crackers, party poppers and Champagne corks can scare pets much like fireworks. As well as the obvious distress that loud noises can cause, there have been cases of panicked animals escaping and getting lost. 

VetBox tip: Be aware that loud noises can cause distress to pets. To be safe it is always best to microchip your pet. Click this link to see where you can microchip your pet for free.

9. Christmas tree needles 

Pine needles are relatively non-toxic but can stick in pets’ paws causing irritation, excessive licking, chewing or in rare cases, lameness. This is a particular problem toward the end of the Christmas period when trees drop their needles. If eaten the oils in pine needles can also occasionally cause irritation to your pet’s mouth and stomach.

VetBox tip: If you have a real Christmas tree make sure you hoover up the needles regularly.

10. Batteries 

Batteries are in abundance around the home at Christmas and are often in easy reach of pets. Most common household batteries are extremely alkaline or acidic and are corrosive when punctured. If chewed they can result in nasty chemical burns to your pet’s mouth.

VetBox tip: Be extra vigilant at Christmas and keep loose batteries away from pets.

Finally, continuing the Christmas theme  -  are you looking for a last minute Christmas present for a pet owner in your life?

You are in luck as we have recently created VetBox gift cards so that you can give the gift of pet health this Christmas!

Click here to spread the love.

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10 signs that your pet might be unwell

Posted by VetBox, Monday 16 March 2015

No one likes a trip to the vet. It is stressful for both owners and pets, and can end in expensive bills. However when something is wrong, it's important that you do not delay getting your pet to your vet.  

VetBox founder and veterinary surgeon, Will Woodley, lists the 10 main symptoms to watch out for below:

1. Their appetite has changed

If you have recently changed your pet’s food, this can be a simple explanation of a loss of appetite. However changes in appetite can be caused by various serious medical conditions ranging from dental disease (reduced) to diabetes (increased).

2. Their weight has changed

Weight increase can be caused by hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism, however usually a result of too much food or too little exercise. A sudden drop in weight is usually a clear sign that something isn’t right. If your pet has lost weight but has been eating normally, contact your vet immediately.

3. They are drinking more

The technical term for this is polydypsia and it is usually accompanied by polyuria (lots of urinating). Vets refer to this as PU/PD. It can be a sign of various hormonal problems as well as kidney disease. In cats it can be a sign of chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

4. They are sleeping a lot more

The most common thing I hear from owners when they think their pet is unwell is that “they’re not themselves”. Often what they mean is they are lethargic or sleeping lots. A common cause for this is infection and the fever that comes with it. Get your vet to check your pet’s temperature.

5. Their behaviour has changed

In my experience the most common cause of behavioural change is due to the pet being in pain. Chronic pain can affect cats and dogs in various ways and they can be very good at hiding it. Other causes of changes in behaviour are neurological disease and endocrinological (hormonal) issues.

6. They are itching and scratching a lot

An occasional scratch is quite normal, but when it becomes more frequent a cause must be identified. By far the most common cause of scratching in pets is parasites and the most common of these is the flea. You can’t always see them on your pet but your vet will be able to identify the flea dirt that they leave behind. For every flea that you see on your pet there will be another 99 living in your house, mostly in the carpets ready to hatch. The best way to protect against fleas is regular preventative treatment.

7. They are losing hair or have rashes

Again the most common cause is fleas, but if you treat your pet regularly it’s possible they may have a different parasite such as mites or an infection (pyoderma) that requires specific treatment. A very common cause of skin problems in pets can be Allergic Skin Disease. Interestingly the most common allergy in cats is flea saliva — another reason to treat against them.

8. Vomiting

Vomiting can be a symptom of numerous conditions. What your vet will want to know is how long it has been happening for, how soon the vomiting is happening after your pet has eaten, what does it look like (whole food/frothy saliva/bile) and is the pet actively retching (contracting abdominal muscles).

9. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is a very common symptom but not a disease itself and can be a primary intestinal problem or secondary to a large number of illnesses. Your vet will want to know — how long it’s been going on for, how frequent is it, has there been any vomiting, is your pet treated for worms, what does it look like and has your pet eaten something it shouldn’t have?

10. Limping

More accurately called lameness, limping includes any abnormality in the way that your pet moves. Lameness is most commonly due to pain; the causes of which may be a sprain, strain, muscle tear, fracture, trauma or arthritis. Most of these can be treated with rest and anti-inflammatories but always get them checked out by your vet.

Will Woodley, BVetMed MRCVS


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10 signs that you are a responsible pet owner

Posted by VetBox, Tuesday 16 December 2014

We are really excited to have officially launched our new service, VetBox. Our subscribers receive a monthly delivery of worm, flea and other health treatments chosen by vets specifically for their pet. Our mission is to take the hassle out of pet care.

For our first post on Medium our Head Vet, Will, has listed the 10 things that he believes make a responsible pet owner.

1. Your pet is microchipped
Chips can easily be injected under your pet’s skin without sedation. Micro-chipping mean that your pet can be returned to you quickly if it ever gets lost. Most vets charge between £10 and £20 per pet. When compared to the anguish of a missing pet, this is nothing! At the moment you can even get your dog chipped for free thanks to the Dog's Trust - Click here to find out more.

2. You buy them good quality pet food
The importance of a good diet for your pet cannot be overstated. In general dry food is better for your pet’s teeth than wet food; and raw food diets have their pros and cons. We are planning a future blog post all about food so stay tuned!


3. Your pet is fully vaccinated every year

Dogs should be vaccinated annually against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo and Leptospirosis. Ideally they also be vaccinated for Parainfluenza and Kennel Cough. Cats should be vaccinated against Herpes, Calicivirus, Parvo and ideally the Leukaemia virus. These diseases sound rare, but are an all-to-common occurrence in UK pets due to a lack of vaccination.


4. You don’t delay going to the vet

If you suspect that something isn’t right with your pet then don’t just wait and see. Early detection can drastically improve the prognosis in many common diseases. Vet treatment can be expensive, but regular treatment against common ailments can help prevent this (see 6 and 7 below).


5. Your pet is insured

Advances in pet healthcare mean that human-level treatment is now available for domestic animals. There is no NHS for pets, so it is definitely worth having a decent life-time policy in place. Prepare for the worst and your pet will always receive the best care.


6. You treat them for fleas regularly

Fleas lay hundreds of tiny eggs which fall from your pet into carpets, bedding and sofas where they lay dormant for around 3 weeks. If you wait until you see fleas on your pet before taking action, there may already be an infestation in your home. The best way to prevent fleas entering your home is to treat your pet for fleas on a regular schedule.


7. You treat them for worms regularly

Parasitic worms such as tapeworm, roundworm and hookworm are easily picked up via soil, other animals or even fleas. They survive by feeding on the contents of your pet’s stomach or by sucking on their blood. They often show no symptoms, but can be a serious health risk if left untreated. Worms can also easily be transmitted to humans, especially children so it is vital to treat your pet for worms on a regular 3 month schedule.


8. They get excercise every day

In order to stay healthy, pets require both mental stimulation and physical exercise each day. Walking your dog or playing with your cat is also great exercise for you and your family so plan it into your daily routine! We will be writing a future post all about fun ways to exercise your pet, so follow us to stay tuned.


9. You monitor their weight

Much like us humans, unfortunately pets in the UK are getting fatter. Weight gain can often happen slowly without owners realising, so you should weigh your pet regularly. Friends, family or your vet can offer an objective opinion as they will likely spot changes more easily. Weight also determines the dose of flea and worm treatments and so it should be monitored closely.

​10. You treat them as one of the family

In the UK we are a nation of animal lovers with many treating their pets like any other member of the family. We wholly support this but it’s also important to remember that pets a have different dietary and health needs to humans — definitely no chocolate!

Are there any other points that you would include on this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any questions about the above please contact us on

The VetBox team



9:49am, 1.02.15
I'm often asked by owners whether the microchip allows them to track their pet. It doesn't! All it does is contain a unique number that can be read by a scanner. It's not a pet GPS tracker although these are becoming reality and are available in the shape of a GPS collar.

Vet Will

9:49am, 1.02.15
Micro chipping your dog will soon become compulsory under UK law. The chip is the size of a grain of rice and I often place them in small puppies and kittens without them even noticing. The unique number it contains will be registered to your home address, should your pet ever go missing a vet or warden will be able to scan the chip and contact you through the pet microchip database.
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