Dog with bowl

The 4 best dog food brands, according to veterinarians

As pet parents, we understand the importance of feeding our dogs a high-quality diet. Although buying high-quality food can be expensive it pays off in the long run of your dog’s life with a reduced risk of health issues that are a result of improper nutrition. 

However, with a myriad of dog foods on the market these days, how are we to know which are the best? What brand of dog food to choose to ensure your fur baby receives the benefit of the right nutritional combination?  

The veterinarian team here at Your PetPA understand your dogs’ nutritional needs at each stage of their life, so to help you navigate the options, we’ve listed our Top 4 Dog Food Brands with respect to premium ingredients for health and happiness (all of which can be found on our online Shop!) 

dog_food_brands

1. Black Hawk

Black Hawk uses real meat and real veggies with all their products manufactured in rural NSW, with ingredients sourced in Australia. They support local farmers and regional communities through the ingredients that they buy and local community programs. 

The original Black Hawk recipe was developed when a passionate breeder applied this thinking to their dogs’ diet. They relentlessly searched for ingredients that had nutritional benefits. 

Black Hawk’s team of pet nutritionists and veterinarians has developed a range of recipes designed to support your dog’s health and vitality at every stage of their life.   

2. Delicate Care

The Delicate Care range is scientifically formulated to bring out their best, no matter what your dog’s life stage, allergies or condition. They have a range specifically formulated for Dental Care, Skin or Stomach, Mobility Support, and Weight Management. These formulations provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs while at the same time promoting well-being for different concerns regarding your dog.  

3. Hill's

Hill's is focused on combining nutrient-rich ingredients with smart science to develop the tastes, aromas, and textures your dog loves.  Hills offers a wide range of products focused on different life stages and health concerns your dog may experience. Hills combine exceptional health benefits with excellent value and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee that your pet will love the taste.  

4. Royal Canin

Royal Canin focuses their efforts on understanding the unique needs of domestic cats and dogs. Everything Royal Canin does is designed to create precise nutritional formulas to help dogs and cats have a long and healthy life. Royal Canin’s products are researched and developed not by trends in human nutrition or preferences of the pet owner, but through innovative nutritional science and observation.  

Royal Canin have studied the unique health needs of cats and dogs since 1968. Over that time, we have learned that the smallest nutritional difference can make a huge change to your pet’s life and health. 

The individual health of every cat and dog is unique which is why there are not only many different brands but different types of food for your pets' individual requirements.  

Vet Care Plans 

If you need further support around what to feed your dog or changing their diet, book an appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App. Personalised nutrition advice is especially recommended if your dog has a health condition or special dietary needs. 

Shop at Your PetPA online store for these vets' recommended pet food brands and treats. Thriving Pets+ members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. 

 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more information about pet care from our expert veterinary team. 

 


dog_pet_sitter

What to look for in a pet sitter

No one looks after your pet quite like you do, however there are occasions when you need (or choose) to go away and it’s not feasible for your pet to join… You’ve decided to use a pet sitter so your pet can stay in the comfort of their own home. Next step… Choosing a sitter that will provide your pet comfort and affection, allowing you piece of mind to enjoy this time away!

A great pet sitter does not have to have formal qualifications however, recommendations or references and a genuine caring nature towards your pet on their first meeting is a must. We’ve put together a quick checklist of the top qualities to look for when it comes to choosing your pet sitter.

dog_pet_sitterReliable

This is critical – if your pet sitter doesn’t show, your whole trip could be off. Or you could come home to a pet that has been left alone for extended periods. Reliability also extends to knowing that if there is an emergency, your sitter can be counted on to follow your instructions.

Trustworthy

This person will be looking after your most important assets – your fur baby, your home and belongings – so you want to know you can trust them. References and recommendations come in to play but don’t underestimate trusting your initial instincts upon meeting someone either.

Great with animals

You want your pet sitter to have a genuine love of animals; not someone simply wanting a house-sitting gig. Listen to how they speak about their own animals, other pets they’ve cared for and how they speak to your fur baby.

cat_pet_sitterExperienced

If you have a high maintenance or pet in need of special care, it might be worth considering a sitter who has experience with similar scenarios. Knowing your hyperactive dog is being walked safely or your cat is getting the right food to medicine ratio, is something that is often best managed by a pet sitter who has had similar experience.

Caring

You may have a pet who initially sits by the front door pining for you, but knowing you have a sitter who will be dishing out attention, providing companionship and care whilst maintaining your pets’ routine, means you don’t have to worry about that happening for long!

Once you find a great pet sitter, they are worth their weight in gold. Just put in the time needed now to ensure you have the right person and you and your fur baby can both reap the benefits of this relationship for years to come.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more information about pet care from our expert veterinary team.


Pawsitive_Pet_Parenting

How To Be A Pawsitive Pet Parent… Tips for First Time Dog Parents!

Being a pooch parent is a privilege and brings immense joy but like any parenting journey, it can be an adjustment and as the proverb goes… It takes a village! Researching a trusted breeder or shelter, finding a veterinarian with expert knowledge and warmth, arming yourself with information from reliable resources, these are all critical components in ensuring you have the right ‘village’ allowing you and your puppy a pawsitive experience.

Here are our top tips if you are considering becoming a first time dog parent.

research_dog_breedsResearch the breed

Many dogs make wonderful family pets, however with hundreds of breeds to choose from, finding and picking the perfect one to fit your lifestyle and household can often feel overwhelming. Considerations need to be made with respect to temperament, exercise and grooming requirements, and of course size. Matching a dog’s natural predisposition to your lifestyle is the best way to ensure that you find the perfect match!

Create a safe space

When you bring your fur baby home for the first time, it’s important that you have already set up a safe space. Whether you have decided to crate train or not, your dog will need a calming comfortable place that it is able to retreat to as well as defined areas for eating and toilet time.

Get to know your local vets

Chances are you will have options, but it’s recommended to visit each Veterinarian Clinic to see exactly what services they offer. That first year is when you will really establish a relationship with your vet given considerations around vaccines, preventatives and desexing. Plus there will be evolving questions regarding nutrition, dental health and behaviours over a dog's lifetime. Some clinics also offer puppy training and socialisation.

Here at Your PetPA we want to take the stress out of pet parenting! If joining an interactive community, all experiencing the same joys and challenges in welcoming a dog in to your life, whilst being guided and supported by an expert team of veterinarians sounds like it could be the village you need… check out our Pawsitive Pet Parenting course.

More than just another online course, the Pawsitive Pet Parenting course and membership is designed to give puppy and dog parents everything they need to be a happy fur family.


wet_or_dry_cat_food

Wet vs dry cat food

Should I feed my cat wet or dry food?

Cats are notoriously fussy eaters so finding the right food can be made even more challenging by the fact that cats don’t get to choose their diet – it is us as pet parents that make the all-important decision as to what to feed them.

The first decision is whether your cat is going to have a wet, dry or mixed diet and this will be guided by your cats’ age, health and general behavioural needs.

It all comes down to assessing the options and deciding what is right for your cat!

wet_cat_foodWhy wet cat food?

Wet food is easily digestible which is of great relief for cats who have trouble chewing. Whether it be from a loss of teeth or gum issues, some cats can have a hard time chewing kibble regardless of age.

Wet food has a greater water content than dry cat food which is beneficial if you are worried about dehydration for your fur baby.

Convenience! Wet cat food is often packaged in pre-portioned serving sizes.

Wet food smells! This might read as a negative however cats are renown for being fussy eaters so the aroma of wet food can be more appealing and makes it more palatable. Pre-portioned serving sizes can eliminate the need to store uneaten food and deal with this aroma in your fridge.

dry_cat_foodWhy dry cat food?

Convenience! Dry food doesn’t require refrigeration so it can be left out for cat to eat in their own time without fear of spoiling.

The hard texture of dry food aids in cleaning teeth and maintaining good dental hygiene. Specially formulated kibble is also available; designed to reduce plaque, stain and tartar by scraping away these build ups on your cat's teeth.

Dry food is economical, especially when purchased in bulk.

Can I offer both?

Again, it all comes down to deciding what is right for your fur baby but aside from making sure you don’t increase caloric intake when mixing these foods, there is no reason you can’t offer both options if this fits with your cats’ preferences. However, we do recommend following one of the following routines:

  • Offer wet and dry food in same bowl
  • Alternate meals – dry food in the morning which can be left out for grazing across the day and wet in the evening

Regardless of whether you decide to feed your cat wet or dry food, what is critical is that it is a high-quality diet. Whilst we acknowledge the obvious price discrepancy, the cost of higher quality food over the life of your cat will be offset by lower veterinarian bills with a reduced risk of health issues that are a result of improper nutrition.

If you need further support around what to feed your cat or changing their diet, book an appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App. Personalised nutrition advice is especially recommended if your cat has a health condition or special dietary needs.

Shop at Your PetPA online store for our Vet Recommended pet food and treats. Thriving Pets+ members receive 10% discount on all purchases.


dog_food_dry_wet_kibbles

Wet vs dry dog food

Should I feed my dog wet or dry food?

We understand the role food plays in good health and maintaining energy levels, but mealtimes also form a significant part of our daily rituals and the same can be said for our beloved pooches! Whether eating once or twice a day, your dog understands the cues of mealtimes and for many, this is a highlight of the day.

However, unlike humans, dogs don’t get to choose their diet – it is us as pet parents that make the all-important decision as to what to feed them.

The first decision is whether your dog is going to have a wet, dry or mixed diet and this will be guided by your dogs’ age, health and general behavioural needs.

You may have heard comments about dry diets being “so boring”, but it is acceptable to feed your dog a pure kibble diet, especially if they are prone to gut issues. It all comes down to assessing the options and deciding what is right for your dog!

wet_dog_foodWhy wet dog food?

Let’s start by saying, wet food does not only mean ‘canned’ - there are many options on the market for quality refrigerated fresh ‘wet’ food.

Wet food is easily digestible which is of great relief for dogs who have trouble chewing. Whether it be from a loss of teeth, jaw issues or simply having small mouth because of breed, some dogs can have a hard time chewing kibble regardless of age.

Wet food has a greater water content than dry dog food which is beneficial if you are worried about dehydration for your fur baby.

This higher water content can also help you dog feel full so if you are having to consider weight management, wet dog food can be beneficial.

Wet food smells! This might read as a negative however for older dogs who have lost some sense of smell or those doggies who are less interested at mealtimes, the aroma of wet food is can be more appealing and makes it more palatable.

Why dry dog food?

dry_dog_food_kibbles

Convenience! Dry food doesn’t require refrigeration so it can be left out for dogs to eat in their own time without fear of spoiling.

This in turn also makes dry food ideal for enriching play via food puzzle toys – it can be left to be discovered whilst you are at work providing fun and stimulation for your companion.

The hard texture of dry food aids in cleaning teeth and maintaining good dental hygiene. Specially formulated kibble is also available; designed to reduce plaque, stain and tartar by scraping away these build ups on your dog's teeth.

Dry dog food is energy dense packed with nutrients, protein and carbs.

Dry food is economical, especially when purchased in bulk.

Can I offer both?

Again, it all comes down to deciding what is right for your dog but aside from making sure you don’t increase caloric intake when mixing these foods, there is no reason you can’t offer both options if this fits with your dogs’ preferences. However, we do recommend following one of the following routines:

  • Offer wet and dry food in same bowl
  • Alternate meals between wet and dry

Regardless of whether you decide to feed your dog wet or dry food, what is critical is that it is a high-quality diet. Whilst we acknowledge the obvious price discrepancy, the cost of higher quality food over the life of your dog will be offset by lower veterinarian bills with a reduced risk of health issues that are a result of improper nutrition.

If you need further support around what to feed your dog or changing their diet, book an appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App. Personalised nutrition advice is especially recommended if your dog has a health condition or special dietary needs.

Shop at Your PetPA online store for our Vet Recommended pet food and treats. Thriving Pets+ members receive 10% discount on all purchases.


snakes_and_pets

Pets, Summer and Snakes

Australia is home to 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world. In fact, Australia is home to the entire list of the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world! So, as much as we are the envy of the rest of the world with our lazy hot summer days, the next few months are the time of year when our fur babies are most vulnerable as it’s the warmer months of the year when the majority of snakes are most active in your cat and dogs’ environment.

During the warmer months, the majority of snakes come out of their equivalent of hibernation – referred to as brumation. If your pet is bitten, depending on the type of snake and the amount of venom injected, if left untreated the outcome can be fatal. To ensure the safety of your much-loved companion, it’s important whilst at home, and out and about in snake prone areas, that you remain vigilant and in the event of a snake bite, seek emergency veterinary assistance.

snakes and dogsSnakes generally bite dogs and cats around their mouths, ankles and legs. Indicators of snake bites and symptoms of venom poisoning can occur very fast and depending on the amount of venom released, will determine the seriousness of the bite. Most pets will display similar signs when bitten by a venomous snake:

  • Pain and swelling around the site of the bite
  • Bleeding from the bite
  • Panting and/or difficulty breathing
  • Sluggish behaviour
  • Dilated pupils
  • Salivation and/or vomiting
  • Trembling and/or whimpering
  • Pacing around anxiously
  • Limping
  • Sluggish behaviour
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, immediately take them to a vet for emergency care.

How to protect your pet from snakes

With Australia being home to such a high number of venomous snakes, as well as having one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, these two elements alone can create the perfect storm... Add in our pets’ inquisitive natures and there being no method to teach them not chase or be defensive around a snake, the best form of protection is to keep your animals away from them!

curious cats and snakesSome basic precautions you can take are:

  • Clear back garden undergrowth and regularly mow the lawn, keeping your property clear of rubbish and other objects where snakes may be able to hide (e.g. wood piles).
  • Ensure no spilled food (including pet food and bird seed) which can attract rodents and therefore snakes.
  • Store any firewood away from the house.
  • Walk your dog on a lead and don’t let them explore holes or dig under rocks in snake prone areas
  • Don’t let your pet examine dead snakes as they could still be venomous – or playing dead
  • If snakes are common in your area, keep your cat indoors as much as possible over the summer months

As much as this advice is related to the warmer months, it is important to always remain vigilant as some venomous snakes thrive in colder climates. If you need further support around this issue, Your PetPA offers vet care and advice via our website and App – you can book a vet chat, speak with a nurse online or access our education resources, all from the comfort of your own home. However, if you believe your pet may have been bitten by a snake, then you will need to take them to a clinic to be seen in person urgently.


Taking Care of Anxious Pets on New Year's Eve

Anxious Pets and New Year's Eve

Bubbles, music, the countdown, fireworks…New Year's Eve is synonymous with fun, but this isn’t necessarily the case for our fur babies.

Whether your loved companion is currently experiencing some anxiety, or you are simply being mindful in preparation for the new and potentially triggering experience of fireworks, we’ve put together some useful tips to ensure both you and your pet happily bring in the New Year.

Put a dog muffle for the sound of fireworks
Put a dog muffle for the sound of fireworks

ID Tag

Many pets are spooked by fireworks and if they are not in a secure setting, escape in an effort to flee the frightening noises. Dogs have been known to dig under fences or even jump through glass windows… Often disorientated and found far from home, it is critical that your pet has its’ collar on and an up-to-date identification tag.

Carry on as normal

If you are home for New Year's Eve, let you pet be around you, however, do not fuss over them as this may fuel their anxious behaviour. Maintain behavioural boundaries whilst you calm them – if your fur baby is normally allowed on your lap on the couch, great! If they are normally only allowed on their bed on the floor, then that’s where you offer some reassuring pats.

Providing a safe space for your cat.
Provide a safe space for your pets

Exercise

Before heading out, it is always a good idea to exercise your pooch. However, it is even more important if you are leaving your dog alone on New Year's Eve as a solid exercise session will wear them out and combined with a full tummy, hopefully, allow them to sleep though the majority of the evening.

Provide a safe space

If your pet is likely to be anxious and you are not going to be home, make sure your fur baby is left in a safe space where there is no chance they can escape or cause themselves harm in trying to escape. Draw curtains or blinds to block out flashing lights, leave the TV or radio for some background noise and make sure they have their favourite toy as both a comfort and a distraction.

Desensitize

If your pet has exhibited signs of anxiety with thunderstorms, in the lead-up to New Year's Eve, you can slowly introduce the sounds of fireworks videos on YouTube – this is known as desensitization or counter conditioning. It is recommended that you speak with a veterinarian professional for advice around executing this method specifically to your pet's needs.

If you need further support around this issue, Your PetPA offers vet care and advice via our website and App – you can book a vet chat, speak with a nurse online or access our education resources, all from the comfort of your own home.

slowly desensitize the sound of fireworks.
slowly desensitize the sound of fireworks.

Dangers of Christmas Ham

The Dangers of Christmas Ham

Christmas ham dangers for pets

Christmas ham is the absolute highlight of the festive season menu, but as a vet, I can not stress the following more… Be careful with giving your dog or cat any of your Christmas ham!

Even though most cats and dogs will happily eat this tasty Christmas treat, the fat and salt content of Christmas ham harms their gastrointestinal system. They are initially at risk of vomiting, and diarrhoea however on occasions, consuming Christmas ham can also lead to a more serious condition called pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed.

The pancreas is a gland inside the abdomen. When working normally, the pancreas aids the digestion of food as well as the release of insulin. When your pet has pancreatitis, digestive enzymes spill into the abdominal cavity causing organ damage. It is very painful for your pet and unfortunately in severe cases can lead to death.

If you suspect that your pet has stolen any Christmas ham, be it off the table, or fatty scraps from the bin, monitor them closely and if they appear ill seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Along with Christmas ham, raisins and sultanas (including in Christmas pudding or mince pies) and chocolate are toxic to dogs.

Christmas ham dangers

Other items on the Christmas menu that your pet needs to avoid include:

  • Mincemeat
  • Currants
  • Nuts
  • Any food or drink containing alcohol

As tempting as it may be, it is best to avoid cooked bones for your pooch over Christmas. Bones can splinter and cause damage to a dog’s oesophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract – especially ham bones as they are particularly brittle.

If you need further support around this issue, Your PetPA offers vet care and advice via our website and App – you can book a vet chat, speak with a nurse online or access our education resources, all from the comfort of your own home. However, if you believe your pet may have pancreatitis, then you will need to take them to a clinic to be seen in person urgently.

 


dogs digging sand on beach

Top Beach Dangers for Dogs

It’s summer, and summer in Australia means going to the beach and enjoying the water and sun. Here is a list of some top beach dangers for dogs. More than 85% of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast, and we love it. Soaking up the sun, building sandcastles, surfing the waves and, in many cases, hanging out with our dogs. But before planning a trip to the beach with your pup it is important to understand what dangers lay ahead.

Top Beach Dangers for Dogs

Heatstroke

Hot sun, hot sand, little shade, a fur coat, and an excited dog is a recipe for heat stroke. Dogs don’t sweat – at least not for the purpose of cooling down like we humans do – and can overheat very quickly. Nor can they tell us when they’re hot. Heat stroke can be serious and if not treated quickly and intensively which can lead to organ failure and may be life threatening.

To help your pup avoid heat stroke don’t visit the beach during the hottest part of the day. Make sure you provide them with enough shade, plenty of cool drinking water and limit excessive exercise.

If your dog is showing any of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from heat stroke, and you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

  • Excessive panting
  • Red (rather than pink) gums
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy (after or during a day at the beach)

Sunburn

Just like us, dogs can get sunburnt, and the most likely places for them to get burnt is their nose, ears, and belly. Dogs with thin coats or short white fur are also more likely at risk from the suns UV rays.

To prevent your pooch from getting sunburnt apply a good quality sunscreen that is safe for animals (not all sunscreens are suitable for pets, especially those with zinc oxide) to any exposed pink skin and provide them with a shaded area to cool off under. You can also consider UV- and UPF-protective clothing if your pooch will tolerate it. These are becoming very popular for dogs and can be a safe and practical way to protect high-risk dogs when outdoors.

dog nose sunburn
Severe sunburn injury on a dog’s nose.

The first and most obvious sign of sunburn on a dog is redness directly on a dog’s skin. Other signs of dog sunburn include:

 

  • Dry, cracked, or curled edges of a dog’s ears
  • Hair loss
  • Sores/scabbing
  • Skin ulcers
  • Skin infections
  • Skin cancer (eg squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma) which can present itself as abnormal tumours

If your dog displays any of these symptoms and you’re not confident it is sunburn related, seek veterinary attention as there are other more serious diseases which can cause these signs.

Salt Water

When dogs are hot and thirsty, they can be inclined to drink almost anything, and this includes sea water. Drinking a large amount of salt water can cause your pup to become more dehydrated (when a dog ingests excessive amounts of salt, their body will try and correct the imbalance) and this can lead to salt toxicity. This occurs when there is too much sodium in the blood and is also known as hypernatremia.

The common symptoms of hypernatremia include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Odd behaviour
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Death (in extreme cases)

To avoid your dog from ingesting too much salt water ensure you take a break away from the ocean after every 15 minutes of play and offer fresh water throughout this time.

Sand ingestion

Believe it or not, eating, and swallowing sand can become easy for dogs to do after a day of digging, rolling around and chewing on sandy, wet toys. This unfortunately can cause stomach problems for your pup if too much sand has been ingested, as the sand can compact in their stomach and cause a blockage.

We recommend taking toys that are suitable for the beach and discouraging your pet from eating or chewing the sand whilst they play.

dog intestines sand ingestion xray
Xray of a dog with sand impaction (arrows)

Common symptoms of sand impaction can include

  • Vomiting
  • Seeming constipated
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Signs can develop anywhere from just a few hours after exposure to a few days later. If you think your dog may be showing any of these signs, then please seek veterinary attention.

Hot sand

As a rule of thumb, if the sand is too hot for your feet, then it is too hot for dogs’ paws. Hot sand can cause your pets paws to burn and become very painful. Consider carrying your dog on the soft sand or purchasing dog booties or socks to put on to protect them. We encourage you to play with them on the wet sand and avoid the hot sand especially during the hottest time of the day.

Fishhooks

We already know that dogs love to sniff out all the wonderful new scents of a new location! Unfortunately, due to the strong smell of fish and fish bait, fishhook injuries are not an uncommon beach danger for dogs with fishhooks commonly getting stuck in their mouth, food pipe (oesophagus), stomach or embedded in skin.

If you find that the hook and barb is embedded in an area of the body, immediately cover it to prevent further damage or your pet from chewing, licking, or swallowing it. Even if you were able to successfully remove the hook, we would still recommend taking your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

To prevent this injury from occurring always watch your dog closely when roaming the beach and remove any items that are not his toys from his mouth and discard.

dog fish hook nose
This chocolate Labrador was unfortunately got a bit too close to this fishing lure!
dog fish hook stomach gut x-ray
This is an xray of a fishing hook (circled) lodged in a dog’s oesophagus. Fishing hooks may require endoscopic or surgical removal if swallowed.

 

Jellyfish

While exploring the beach you may come across some washed up sea life. Some will of course be non-threating and others a bit more dangerous. Although the fur on most dogs offers a nice layer of protection, they can be exposed to stings on lightly furred areas such as the snout, face, paw pads, and abdomen. The stingers on the jellyfish can continue reacting for weeks after the jellyfish itself dies (in other words, can still sting even when dead). As always, you must keep a close eye on your dog to prevent him from rolling in or eating anything that could cause him harm.

dog jellyfish beach

If you recognise any of the following symptoms after your dog has had contact with a jellyfish, you should take your pet directly to the veterinary clinic.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Several stings
  • Swollen oral area
  • Swollen tongue
  • Vomiting

Pufferfish

Although Pufferfish toxicity is one of the rarer dangers seen occur from a trip to the beach, this is also one of the more serious ones. Pufferfish contain a potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin and when eaten affects the nerves in animals (and humans) which can lead to paralysis. As your dog may not be seen eating the fish at the time, it is important to be know the signs of toxicity any time your pet has visited the beach.

Pufferfish washed up beach

Dogs will often appear unwell after ingestion and begin constantly licking their lips and panting. Other symptoms may then start to appear.

  • Nausea (drooling)
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness (usually starting in the legs and continuing towards the head)
  • Inability to control
  • Breathing issues

Treatment for this poisoning is possible, but success is more likely in pets receiving prompt and aggressive treatment by their veterinarian.

Dog Fights

One of the less talked about dangers but also one of the most common seen in vet clinics after a trip to the beach is dogs’ fight wounds. This can occur in the blink of an eye and before you know it you have a severely injured dog or dogs and an expensive veterinary bill (always happens on a weekend!).

Being a dog in an exciting new environment can sometimes cause them to become nervous. If your dog is excited enough to go up to another dog that feels threated this can lead to unprovoked attack.

dogs fighting on beach

Although your dog is well socialised, friendly, submissive towards other dogs and ‘would never bite’ this cannot guarantee their safety or the safety of other dogs. Having your dog on a lead or playing at an area of the beach that is a bit more quiet and less crowded will help ensure your day at the beach remains a fun and enjoyable day!

If your pet does become ill has injured themselves after a day at the beach, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

 


brushing_pets_teeth

The Importance of Dental Awareness

From a young age, we learn that looking after our teeth and yearly dental check-ups are extremely important for maintaining optimal dental health. However, we aren’t always told that it’s just as important for our beloved pets to have similar care and treatment! Periodontal disease is preventable in pets, and with proper dental care you can prevent your pet from developing a wide variety of dental health issues (and pain) related to the condition.

cat_dental_care

What is dental disease?

Just like in humans, dental disease in animals is caused by the build-up of dental plaque and tartar on the teeth, which triggers inflammation and can negatively affect the health of the teeth, gums and surrounding bone structures. The mouth begins to smell, and it is often incredibly painful for our companions with some pets stopping eating to minimise pain they feel when chewing. In turn, weight loss can be the first obvious health issue however, without veterinary treatment, dental disease can also lead to gum infections, bone loss, loss of teeth and over time, other serious health problems.

What are the causes of dental disease?

The main cause of dental disease is a lack of mechanical action on the teeth, however certain breeds are predisposed to the disease due to a maligned bite, genetics, and/or the shape of the mouth.

Canine breeds include the following:

  • Pug
  • Collie
  • Yorkie
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Boxer

Feline breeds include:

  • Balinese
  • Burmese
  • Exotic short/long hair
  • Himalayan
  • Oriental short/long hair
  • Persian
  • Siamese
  • Tonkinese

Generally, these are small, toy, or brachycephalic breeds with a shortened snout (brachycephalic).

dental_disease_pets

How do you know if your pet has dental disease?

The main indication of periodontal disease in pets is halitosis, or bad breath. Unfortunately, it can often take years for us to realise that the smell is in fact bacteria and infection coming from inside the mouth, as we pass this off as normal “dog or cat breath”.

Other clinical signs to look out for include:

  • Not eating
  • Broken or missing teeth
  • Excessive saliva / drool (possibly blood tinged)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Change in behaviour
  • Abnormal discharge from the mouth
  • Favouring one side of the mouth for chewing
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Inability to open or close the mouth
  • A mass or growth inside the mouth or under the eye

If any of these signs are present, you should consult your vet immediately.

How is dental disease treated?

Depending on what stage the periodontal disease is at when first diagnosed, will determine treatment. Halitosis can be treatable and is considered curable with regular (2-3 times per week) brushing and good oral health care such as a premium dental diet. If the dental grade has reached stage two or higher, the damage from the periodontal disease is irreversible and requires more intensive maintenance to prevent further deterioration.

Stage 1: Early periodontitis can be treated with professional dental cleaning to remove any plaque accumulation. You can also try veterinary recommended dental diets or brushing your pets’ teeth with an animal safe toothpaste and brush.

Stages 2 & 3: The teeth require a deep scaling and polishing, both above and below the gumline, to remove the build-up of plaque and tartar. Polishing will create a smooth tooth surface that makes it more difficult for plaque and bacteria to stick to the tooth.  Stages 2 and 3 of periodontal disease don’t necessary look visibly different from a conscious assessment, but an x-ray will show a greater loss of bone at Stage 3.

Stage 4: If the disease has reached this point, it is likely the pet requires several extractions as a result of damage to the structures that support them.

To find out what stage your pets’ dental disease is and what treatment is recommended, contact your veterinarian for a dental check.

How can you prevent dental disease in pets?

Some dental hygiene tools work better on some species and breeds than others and therefore regular dental checks with your veterinarian are important to monitor for signs of onset periodontal disease or progression.

As much as dental disease can be managed if caught in the early stages, there are things at home you can do to support your much-loved family members dental health…

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Brushing teeth

The gold standard care that you can do for your pet is performing daily teeth brushing (just like for us humans). Despite this being the best dental hygiene care we can offer our pets, it is also the least performed strategy. Training your pet to handle teeth brushing when they are young is key and can be what saves them from needing regular dental prophylaxes throughout their lifetime.

Premium dental diets

Premium dental diets are designed to be fed every day and see plaque and tartar formation reduced by more than 60% compared with regular diets thanks to specially shaped kibble. The texture and shape of the kibble produce a gentle abrasive effect on the teeth during chewing to help reduce dental plaque and tartar.

Our dental diet recommendations that have been clinically proven to reduce gingivitis and the build-up of tartar, plaque, and help fight bad breath include:

  • Hills T/D Canine/Feline
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Clinical Dental

Dental Chews

Similarly to dental diets, dental chews and treats are designed to mechanically remove dental plaque and tartar by encouraging your pet to chew.

Oral Rinses

The mind may initially boggle at the thought, but dog mouthwashes can be as simple as additives to your dog's drinking water or oral rinses like Hexarinse which are easily be applied with the spray applicator. These specially designed formulas are harmless if swallowed but provide an antiseptic that kills the bacteria that causes plaque and can aid in decreasing bad breath.

A combination of all the prevention methods is in most cases the best choice however, regular professional dental scale & polish may be still required for many pets regardless of homecare.

To find out more around their dental hygiene and the best solutions for your pet, we recommended booking an online appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App.

Find all your pet's dental care needs on Your PetPA online store. Thriving Pets+ members receive 10% discount on all purchases.