Dog Services

The New Forest is a heaven for dogs, and dogs are a key part of most of our lives here, from shooting, guarding, hunting, searching to long runs and pub walks or simply snuggling on the sofa. The team at Pilgrims vets aim for your dog to be as comfortable with us as they are with you. We have a wealth of experience to help you with most conditions and guide you to the right place when you need more. From puppy classes through to end-of-life care, we are with you all the way as a dog owner.

  • Dental Care
  • Dog & Puppy Vaccinations
  • Emergency Pet Care
  • End of Life Care
  • Home Visits
  • Neutering Dogs
  • Nurse Clinics
  • Parasite Prevention
  • Puppy Socialisation & Training
  • Relaxed Consultation
  • Surgery

Dental Care

Just like in humans, dog dental care is highly important too.

Poor dental health in dogs is not only painful, but can affect the immune system and increase the risk of diseases that affect the heart, liver, kidneys and brain.

Prevention is key and while the right diet can help, many breeds need regular tooth brushing to prevent dog dental disease progressing and requiring a more in-depth visit to the ‘dog dentist’.

Here’s how our friendly team can help:

Free nurse dental clinics – the nurse will assess your dog’s teeth and make recommendations based on their diet and lifestyle to improve dental health. They will also show you how to brush your dog’s teeth effectively, and talk you through the range of dog dental care products available.

Dog descale and polish under general anaesthesia – this is the only way to completely remove all plaque that has accumulated including under the gum line. Once completely removed you can more effectively implement a preventative dental care routine.

Tooth extractions under general anaesthesia – for dogs with badly damaged teeth, or those associated with severe infections.

At Pilgrims Vets in the New Forest, we have state-of-the-art dental equipment and clinical facilities that enable us to provide first-class dental treatment for dogs.

Dog & Puppy Vaccinations

Vaccinations give puppies and adult dogs immunity against fatal diseases:

1. Parvovirus – this virus attacks the bone marrow and gut lining, weakening the immune system and causing bloody vomiting and diarrhoea. Puppies die from dehydration and sepsis.

2. Distemper Virus – this virus attacks the brain, lungs and intestines.

3. Canine Hepatitis – this virus causes severe liver disease, including jaundice, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The above viruses remain in the environment for months and can be spread between apparently healthy dogs. It’s true that in the UK we see these diseases far less commonly, however, this is certainly due to abundant dog vaccination uptake, creating a ‘herd immunity’. If this is reduced we will start to see these fatal dog diseases more and more, just like in less developed countries around the world, or even in highly dog populated and poorer areas of the UK.

4. Leptospirosis – transmitted by rat’s urine and picked up from farms, puddles or watercourses, this bacteria is really hard to diagnose and causes liver and kidney failure.

5. Kennel Cough – or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, can be picked up from anywhere your dog comes into contact with other infected dogs, not just ‘in kennels’. It’s not a serious condition most of the time, but will be uncomfortable for your dog and is highly contagious.

How often should I vaccinate my puppy or dog?

When it comes to how often you should vaccinate your dog, here’s our puppy & dog vaccination protocol:

Puppy Vaccinations

  • Initial course of vaccines
  • Followed by 1 year booster

Adult Dog Vaccinations:

  • Bacterial vaccine against Leptospirosis (4) and Kennel Cough (5), immunity will only last 12 months. We therefore recommend having this vaccine every year at your dog’s annual health check.
  • Viral vaccines (1-3 above) every 3-4 years. Research has shown that immunity to these vaccines can last this duration of time. Our team will keep a record of when your dog is due this vaccination.

Some people ask, why do dogs needs vaccinations every year? The simple answer is, annual dog vaccinations give the highest level of protection against devastating diseases not only for your dog, but for many other dogs too.

What is titre testing?

If you would rather not vaccinate your dog, you may have a titre test which will measure the antibody level against the three viruses, to ensure they have full protective immunity. The frequency that this test should be done will depend on your dog’s age, lifestyle and health.

Are there any side effects of dog vaccinations?

Your dog may develop a lump at the site of injection. This is a normal reaction of the body to the vaccine and should disappear in 2-14 days. Your dog may be quiet for 24 hours. As with humans, a very small percentage of dogs may experience some side effects, however, this is extremely rare and the immunisation benefits far outweigh this. If you are concerned post-vaccine at all, please get in touch with our expert team.

There is increasing internet lobbying against vaccinations and their effects on overstimulating the immune system. It’s true that we are diagnosing conditions more often which involve the immune system attacking the body unnecessarily, however, there is no evidence YET that vaccination is responsible for this.

All-round preventative care for your puppy or dog

As well as annual vaccinations, your dog’s preventative healthcare routine should include all-year-round parasite protection, microchipping and regular health checks with a vet.

You can get all of this when you sign up for our Dog Wellness Plan – find out more.


Emergency Pet Care

If you have an emergency at any time of day or night, please call 01425 657700 and follow the instructions to be directed to the correct service. 

Small animal emergency care

Between the hours of 08:30hrs and 19:00hrs, 7 days a week this will be covered by our own vets. 

Between the hours of 19:00hrs and 08:30hrs, 7 days a week, this will be covered by the Vets Now teams at: 

Vets Now Salisbury - 01722 238 079

c/o Endell Veterinary Group, 49 Endless Street, Salisbury, SP1 3UH 

Vets Now Wimborne - 01202 859933 

c/o Lynwood Veterinary Group, Station Road, Wimborne, BH21 1RQ

Vets Now are the largest and longest standing veterinary emergency care service in the UK with a dedicated night team to cover your needs.  

Why have we teamed up with Vets Now? 

The veterinary profession has seen big changes over the past few years with the effects of Brexit and Covid-19 causing a simultaneous demand for and sink of vets across the UK. Collaboration is essential for us to continue to provide you with a quality of care and service we both believe in and can sustain. 

Inpatient hospital care

Once your animal is seen and admitted by our vets, they can stay with us until discharge, cared for by our own vets and nurses 24/7. All care is based on the assessed clinical need and staff will not be in the building overnight unless deemed necessary (the larger site is attended). The minimum number of checks carried out would be every 4 hours during the day and 6-8 hours overnight.  

If you would prefer to transport your pet to one of the Vets Now clinics for overnight only care, this can be arranged.  

End of Life Care

We're here to support you and your pet with our compassionate end of life care service. 

Seeing the decline of your long-standing companion is always difficult. Being pet owners ourselves, our team understands how special pets are to the whole family.

Sometimes, pet loss can be completely unexpected, usually through accident or illness, but most of the time, the decline is an inevitable process with age. It can be so hard to know what the right thing to do is, but Pilgrims Vets are here to help you safeguard your pet’s health and welfare until the very end:

Our end of life services:

  • We can help you understand the disease process and what your pet is feeling.
  • We can help your pet by managing their symptoms through palliative care.
  • We can help you make the decision about when the right time is to say goodbye.
  • We can talk you through the options available to you, such as pet cremation or a home burial.
  • We can put your pet peacefully to sleep, in the place you choose.

If you have any concerns about your ageing companion or a sudden change in your pet’s health, call us to book a home visit or consultation at the practice.

Home Visits

Home visits ensure your dog always has access to expert veterinary treatment.

We believe that all pets should have access to expert and compassionate care from qualified veterinary surgeons and sometimes, a home visit may be better suited to your dog:

  • If your dog has been diagnosed with a chronic condition that affects their lifestyle, it’s often better to assess their quality of life and how they are managing in their home environment, eg arthritis, cognitive dysfunction or during palliative care.
  • If your dog needs an annual health check but gets very nervous at the vets.
  • If you have difficulty driving or lifting your dog into the car.
  • If the time has come to say goodbye, we would far rather you and your dog were comfortable in your home.
  • The ideal place to treat your pet will always be at one of our veterinary practices in the New Forest where we have state-of-the-art diagnostic aids and facilities, however, we understand that sometimes for the benefit of your dog’s wellbeing, a home visit may be more appropriate.

Vet home visits for your dog

We can offer vet home visits between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday, costing £76 on top of the normal consultation and treatment fees.

Simply contact our team who will be happy to arrange a home visit for your pet. Please be aware that we may not be able to come out to you immediately, however, we will endeavour to provide you with a time later that day.

We prefer not to carry out home visits at night – in the emergency setting it is always preferable to come to the practice where we have the equipment & facilities we need to provide the best emergency pet care.

Neutering Dogs

Neutering dogs prevents unwanted pregnancies, reduces the risk of some diseases and can stop undesirable behaviours.

As vets, we see many issues associated with male and female dogs being left entire. Neutering dogs is also known as spaying a female dog and castrating a male dog. Just ask our friendly team for advice.

Advantages of dog neutering

No unwanted pregnancies

  • Missing/wandering dogs – male and female dogs will go to great lengths to escape from houses and gardens to find a mate.
  • Mis-mating – a female dog that has escaped for a period of time may have mated without you knowing, requiring a trip to the vets for the expensive hormone injection to avoid a surprise pregnancy. Multiple puppies to deal with and possible birthing complications/caesarian can be costly.
  • Dog aggression – neutered male dogs can be less aggressive towards other males and less sexually aggressive to female dogs. We often get asked, “Will spaying calm a female dog?” – spaying female dogs can make them less aggressive towards other dogs and humans as they don’t need to compete for attention to mate.
  • Undesirable behaviours – as well as aggression, un-neutered male dogs can display undesirable behaviours such as humping and cocking their leg indoors.
  • Mammary cancers – very common in un-spayed bitches, 50% are malignant. The earlier your female dog is spayed, the lower the chance of these cancers occurring.
  • Pyometras – very common in un-spayed older bitches. The uterus lining becomes more cystic with age, causing an environment that’s ripe for bacterial infection. When the season comes, bacteria are introduced and the uterus fills up with a toxic infection fluid, causing a very sick dog which will then need to be spayed.
  • Prostate disease, gland tumours, hernias – all more common in older male un-castrated dogs.

Disadvantages of Neutering

  • Female incontinence – seen in some breeds more than others. Medium/large breed female dogs spayed before their first season are particularly prone. The bladder seal muscles are stronger when oestrogen is around, medication can easily treat this, however, allowing your female dog to have a season before neutering will help prevent this from occurring.
  • Male nervousness – it’s thought that very nervous male dogs can be made worse by being castrated too young, as their hormones are thought to give them a degree of confidence.
  • Weight gain in both sexes – reproductive hormones reduce a dog’s energy requirements so removing these can cause weight gain. This is easily overcome by reducing food portions.
  • Coat changes – this is occasionally seen in breeds like springer spaniels or Irish setters.

When is the best age to neuter a dog?

Bearing in mind all of the above, here are our recommendations for the best age to neuter your dog:

Best age to spay female dogs: Small breed female dogs can be spayed any time from 6 months of age after their first season; medium/large breed bitches should be spayed between their first and second seasons. 2-3 months after the season has finished is the best time.

Best age to neuter a male dog: As early as 6 months of age for those dogs showing undesirable male behaviours (aggression, humping, cocking leg). In these cases the sooner the better or there is a chance of these becoming learned behaviours. For those dogs not showing these behaviours, any time before they become a higher anaesthetic risk (ie before 8 years old) is advised.

What happens when my dog is neutered?

Neutering is a routine procedure performed under general anaesthesia and your dog should only need to stay with us for part of the day. They will be looked after by our experienced veterinary team and state-of-the-art facilities.

Your dog will need:

  • to be dropped off in the morning, having had no breakfast/water; they can go home between 3-6pm.
  • complete rest from exercise for 3 days, then lead-only exercise for the following 7 days.
  • to come back so we can check wound healing at around 3 days and 10 days post-operation.

Nurse Clinics

Our experienced qualified veterinary nurses are always on hand to give you free advice and help with your dog’s health care.

Specialised nurse clinics for dogs at Pilgrim Vets in the New Forest

  • Weight Clinic for Dogs – receive advice on exercise and feeding management, and track changes in body condition to get your dog to a healthy weight.
  • Dental Care Clinic for Dogs – advice on dental care options, and training in tooth brushing for dogs.
  • Senior Dog Health Clinic – our older pets need a bit of extra care, this clinic gives advice on how you can make changes in routine, diet and exercise to better manage the ageing process for your senior dog.
  • Dog Diabetes Clinic – there is a lot of new information to take in when your dog is diagnosed with diabetes. These nurse clinics give you time to take on board all that information, and learn about insulin and practice injection technique with our friendly nursing team.
  • Parasite Control Clinic – the options for controlling all the worms, fleas and ticks can be overwhelming. What to treat, when and which products to use will change according to the lifestyle of your pet and your priorities. Our nurses can advise you on the best parasite prevention for your dog.

Our nurses also provide the following charged services for your dog:

  • Claw clipping
  • Anal gland emptying
  • Dressing changes
  • Blood sampling

Parasite Prevention

Parasites like fleas, worms & ticks cause havoc for your dog if not controlled.

Talk to our veterinary team about the best parasite prevention for dogs to keep those harmful critters away. Some parasites not only affect your pets, but also your human family and home too, and can affect other pets in the New Forest and beyond.

Roundworms (toxocara) in dogs

Roundworms are picked up by puppies through the placenta during pregnancy and through the milk when nursing. This high exposure combined with an immature immune system means that roundworm treatment for puppies is recommended every 2 weeks from 2 until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age. Severe roundworms in puppies can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, poor growth and a condition where the gut telescopes over itself (intussusception) which requires surgery to correct and could be fatal if not detected and treated.

Roundworms in adult dogs live inside the intestines and rarely show symptoms, however, it is still important to treat your dog for roundworm every 3 months for public health reasons. The eggs released in dog poo can cause disease in immunocompromised humans and children, most commonly blindness as children pick up the eggs from the ground and then rub their eyes. The eggs are incredibly resistant, staying in the ground for up to 8 years.

Tapeworms in dogs

Picked up from scavenging sheep/cattle carcasses or ingesting fleas when grooming, tapeworms in dogs can grow up to 28 inches long inside the gut. Segments are then released in stools and cause itching around the bottom. Tapeworms in dogs can be prevented by giving your dog worming tablets every 6 months as part of their preventative healthcare routine.  Contact us for advice on how to get rid of tapeworms in dogs and other parasites.

Dog fleas

Picked up from anywhere other animals exist, flea bites cause itching and dermatitis on you and your dog. If your dog is allergic to the flea’s saliva, symptoms are more severe. Each flea can lay over 1000 eggs per day, meaning that 95% of a flea problem is actually within the home environment rather than in your dog’s coat. It can be difficult to treat the flea population in your home so prevention is always better than cure, but if monthly flea prevention treatments have lapsed, it can take a few months to completely rid the home. Pet shop products do nothing to treat the home, so house sprays combined with hoovering and prescription dog flea treatments are essential for success. Spot-ons, tablets and collars are all available to make treatment easy, so please get in touch to discuss the best flea prevention treatment for your dog and home.

Ticks on dogs

The New Forest area is a hotspot for ticks on dogs, which they mostly pick up in long grass. The main season is March to October, although increasingly we are seeing ticks in the winter too. As well as causing a reaction at the site of attachment, ticks can transmit Lyme’s disease if attached for more than 24 hours. This difficult to diagnose disease causes various intermittent symptoms, including lameness in your dog.  European ticks will transmit other diseases such as Ehrlichia and Babesia which affect blood cells, causing anaemia. Although rare in the UK, increasing pet travel and global warming will mean this may be seen more frequently. The best tick prevention for dogs includes topical treatments, sprays and collars. A tick vaccine is also available. Ask our team at Pilgrims Vets in the New Forest for tick prevention advice and how to remove a tick safely.

Lungworm in dogs

Lungworm in dogs is picked up when your dog licks a snail, slug or its slime infected with the parasite. A dog ingests lungworm larvae, which spreads to the lungs and grows into adult lungworms. Not only does their presence cause coughing and lung damage, but the anticoagulant the worms release leads to spontaneous bleeding, which means lungworm in dogs can be fatal. Monthly worming to protect your dog against lungworm is essential to avoid them becoming affected by this devastating disease.

All-round preventative care for your dog

As well as parasite prevention, your dog’s preventative healthcare routine should include annual vaccinations, microchipping and regular health checks with a vet. You can get all of this when you sign up for our Dog Wellness Plan – find out more.


Puppy Socialisation & Training

Please note: Saturday Morning Puppy Socialisation Club is currently unavailable due to Covid-19.

Every Saturday morning from 9-9.45am, the waiting room at our Fordingbridge veterinary practice is open for you and your 8-12 week old puppy to join in with our free puppy socialisation group. Only for those puppies who are not yet allowed out in public, this group gives the chance to meet other canine friends in a calm and positive environment.

The “social window”, when your puppy is most receptive to learning about the world in which they live, starts from 8 weeks of age and a hugely important part of that world is getting on well with dogs they encounter everyday. By meeting similar aged pups, they learn to understand how to interact and speak “dog” which hugely reduces behavioural issues later in life.

Not just a great way to get socialising early before moving on to our puppy training classes this session also gets your puppy used to visiting the vets. Our Fordingbridge vet practice is ideally located for pet owners in Dorset or the New Forest.

Call or email Pilgrims Vets to book your Puppy Socialisation Club place! All puppies must have had their first puppy vaccine.

Please note: Puppy Training Classes are currently unavailable due to Covid-19

Run by local ABTC registered trainer, Lisa Tonks of Paws4Reward, these 6-week puppy training classes run every Tuesday evening at the Blissford practice and provide you and your puppy with all the necessary training tools to embark on a happy life together. For more information, please visit:

Relaxed Consultation

We offer relaxed, 15-minute veterinary consultations at Pilgrims Vets for you and your pet.

When it comes to pet healthcare, giving the best customer service possible is extremely important to us, that’s why we don’t want to rush you.

Veterinary Consultations at Pilgrims Vets in the New Forest are for the benefit of you and your pet and in our experience, a 15-minute consultation gives us the time to get to know your pet, time to listen to your concerns and time to perform extra basic tests beyond our clinical exam.

More time in consults means we more often get the problem sorted without another visit and you get peace of mind sooner. It also means that our appointments are more likely to run to time, so you and your dog spend less time waiting.

Same-vet consultations for continuity of care

We do our best to offer you follow-up consultations with the same vet for continuity of care, and so that both you and your pet are given the time to forge a strong bond with our veterinary team.

Booking a consultation with our veterinary team

All consultations are by appointment at both our Fordingbridge and Cranborne branches 9-11am and 3-6pm.

We also offer Nurse appointments for many of your pet’s routine healthcare treatments and post op care. Ask our team about booking your pet an appointment with one of our vets or nurses.


Booking surgery for your dog can seem daunting, but they're in the best hands at Pilgrims Vets.

We use modern anaesthetic techniques tailored to the health status of your dog to minimise negative circulatory effects and maximise pain control and recovery.

Our experienced vets perform soft tissue surgeries ranging from dog neutering and lump removals to more complex procedures such as intestinal resection, spleen removal, perineal hernia repair or diaphragmatic rupture repair.

Dog orthopaedic surgeries performed include basic fracture repair, lateral suture cruciate repair and salvage procedures such as femoral head and neck excision. At Pilgrims Vets we also have a visiting orthopaedic surgeon for more complex orthopaedic procedures.

On the day of your dog’s surgery:

  • You will have to ensure your dog has no breakfast (feed as normal the day before)
  • You will have to ensure they are clean
  • You will be given an admit appointment, usually with the nurse if you have recently seen a vet, where your dog will be checked over and any last minute questions or concerns can be raised. Cost, possible complications and pre-anaesthetic blood testing  will be discussed before the consent form is filled out.
  • Once admitted, your dog will receive a pre-medicant which helps keep them calm before surgery, aids in a smooth anaesthetic induction and loads the body with pain relief.
  • Your dog will then have a cannula placed in their leg vein to give the anaesthetic and this stays in place until full recovery so that we can provide fluid blood pressure support or in the event of an emergency, we can give medication intravenously.
  • Your dog will usually be maintained under general anaesthesia via a tube placed down the airway delivering 100% oxygen and anaesthetic gas.
  • The area for surgery is widely clipped of hair and the skin prepared in a sterile manner before your dog is moved into our theatre.
  • In recovery, your dog will be monitored until they have a normal body temperature and we will phone you to let you know how they are and how the procedure went. They are usually fed within a couple of hours as this aids recovery.
  • If your dog is not staying in overnight, they can go home between 3pm and 6pm depending on their recovery. The nurse will explain all post operative care to you, including feeding, rest, how to monitor the wound and when we need to see your dog again.
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