Your pets’ health

There's a lot that goes into making sure your pet is fit and healthy, but despite your best efforts, they can sometimes get sick. We've compiled useful tips to help you deal with these common ailments should they unexpectedly arise.

    Published:30 November 2023

    Common ailments


      There are a lot of reasons why your cat or dog might be suffering from diarrhoea – often it's not an indicator of serious illness, and is most likely caused by eating the wrong food, or food that has gone off. If your pet is suffering from diarrhoea (without vomiting), but otherwise seems to be in good health, then it can most likely be treated at home without the need of a vet. To get your pet feeling better, feed them small, regular meals that are easy to digest – for a cat, boiled chicken or white fish, and for a dog, boiled chicken, white fish, cottage cheese or plain scrambled egg with rice or white pasta – and be sure to provide them with plenty of fresh drinking water throughout. Stick to the diet for two to three days, slowly reintroducing them to their normal diet over three to five days after that. If your dog or cat appears otherwise unwell, or if they're not improving, then take them to the vet.


        There are several reasons why your cat or dog might be feeling nauseated – ranging from having simply eaten the wrong food to more severe illnesses. Signs that your dog is feeling unwell can include lots of drooling, swallowing and licking of the lips. If your cat or dog is showing signs of sickness, then their stomach needs time to rest and recover. They must be given no food at all for 24 hours (no matter how much they ask for it!), and be offered small amounts of water every hour. Be sure that they only take a few sips at a time, though, as a large volume of water at once could cause them to start vomiting again. After 24 hours, if they are no longer vomiting, then, as when recovering from diarrhoea, they can slowly be introduced to a bland diet, fed in small meals at least four times a day. If they show no signs of improvement, or if their condition worsens, take them to a vet. It's important to note that you should never starve a puppy under six months old, or a dog weighing less than 5kg. For cats, never starve a kitten or young cat for more than six hours. In these cases, it may be necessary to contact the vet much sooner.


          Whatever your dog or cat's lifestyle, there is always the risk of cuts, scrapes, bruises or other injuries. These can happen through fighting – a common problem if your pet hasn't been neutered – during walks or when your pet is playing. Accidents happen, so it's important to know how to deal with any injuries.

          In the event of a minor injury, if the wound is bleeding, use a clean, dry cloth (such as a tea towel) to apply pressure until it stops – this should take around 10 or 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn't stop, or if the injury appears more severe, take your pet to the vet immediately. Once the bleeding has stopped, examine the wound – if there are any objects in the wound, such as glass or large splinters, then they will need to be removed by a vet. If the wound is clear, wash with a saline solution (one teaspoon of salt in a pint of cooled boiled water). Gently blot the wound dry – if it's a small injury, it's best to leave it uncovered; if the wound is large, contact your veterinary surgeon immediately. It's also important to ensure your pet doesn't lick the injury as this can cause irritation or infection, so it may be a good idea to invest in a wound collar.

            Injury aftercare

            Clean the wound once or twice a day with a saline solution until it starts to heal. If the injury shows any signs of infection, such as swelling, heat or pain, take your cat or dog to the vet immediately.

              Other useful pages

                Looking after cats

                Just got a new pet? Our guide offers some tips on basic care such as grooming, feeding and vaccinations to make sure your cat is happy and healthy.

                  Looking after dogs

                  From vet check-ups to toilet training, feeding and more, here's some information about making sure your dog is happy and well cared for.

                    Exercising your pet

                    Exercise is an important part of your pet's life – whether that's to prevent obesity or boredom. Here's what you need to know about keeping your cat or dog fit.

                      Vaccinations and worming

                      Prevention is better than cure – make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date and your pet is well protected from parasites.

                        Improving your pets' wellbeing

                        Your pets' health and happiness depends on a lot of different factors, including how much attention you and your family give them. Find out more about how to keep pets happy, and how they benefit your wellbeing in turn.

                          Looking for some more information?

                          Expert advice available 24/7

                          vetfone™ provides 24/7 unlimited access to free telephone and video calls for expert advice from vet nurses qualified with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help. vetfone™ is provided at no additional cost with all Tesco Bank Pet Insurance policies.

                          Tesco Bank Pet Insurance policy holders can call the vetfone™ freephone* number on 0800 197 4949.

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                              Important information

                              Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd.

                              vetfone™ is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

                              The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at the time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

                                Conditions that apply to your policy:

                                • You must have your dog vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus; your cat vaccinated against infectious enteritis, cat flu and feline leukaemia.
                                • If your pet isn’t vaccinated, we won’t pay any claims that result from any of the above illnesses, unless the vaccination has failed.
                                • We don't pay for home visits or visits to your vet outside of normal surgery hours for treatment unless your vet considers your pet can't be moved or couldn't wait until normal surgery hours to be seen.

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