dog_food_brands

The 5 best dog food brands, according to veterinarians

As pet parents we understand the importance of feeding our dogs a high-quality diet. Although buying a 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 5 Dog Food Brands with respect to premium ingredients for health and happiness (all which can be found on our online Shop!)

dog_food_brandsBlack 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 have developed a range of recipes designed to support your dog’s health and vitality at every stage of their life.

Shop Black Hawk dog range

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 wellbeing for different concerns regarding your dog.

Shop Delicate Care dog range

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.

Shop Hill's dog range


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.


dog_chew_toys

5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re At Work

While some pups can sleep away the day waiting for their hoomans to return, off the back of recent prolonged periods at home, there are the many dogs who are struggling to adapt to being home alone again. If you are worried that your fur baby may be bored - or know for sure thanks to some ruined shoes or chair legs - then we have some tips on keeping your pooch entertained whilst you’re at work.

dogs-watching-tv

TV

Yes screen time for dogs is a thing! Pop on the nature channel and allow your dog to be stimulated by the sights and sounds of other animals.

Chew or puzzle toys

There are many amazing toys on the market now ranging from for food dispensing puzzles to chew toys that you can fill with treats such as peanut butter. Leave them hidden in various locations around the house or garden to make it more fun for your companion!

Engage in high energy activity before you leave

If you’re short on time, some quick fun play will engage the senses however if you can fit a walk, run or park activity, your pooch will be more relaxed and prone to enjoy the downtime alone.

Introduce new toys

Whether it be a new toy or some tried and tested goodies on rotation, make sure to leave out a toy for some playtime and stimulation through the day.

Consider a friend

Not a consideration to be taken lightly and also not to be used as a solution to manage separation anxiety, however if you do think your dog would enjoy a furry friend and it would work in your family scenario, then what better form of entertainment than a play mate!


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.


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.

anxious_dogID 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.

scared_cat_anxietyExercise

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 Years 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 Years Eve, you can slowly introduce the sounds of fireworks videos on You Tube – 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 pets 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.


The Dangers of Christmas Ham

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.

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.

 


Labradoodle

Top 10 Dogs for Families

Many dogs make wonderful family pets, however with hundreds of breeds to choose from, finding and picking the perfect one to fit your family, 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 family’s lifestyle is the best way to ensure that you find the perfect match for all family members to bond with, so to support you in doing so, the team at Your PetPA have put together their Top Ten recommended dog breeds for families.

1. Golden Retriever

Golden_retriever

Golden Retrievers are friendly, loyal, smart and tolerant dogs and in turn a wonderful family pet. Their intelligence and eagerness to please the ones they love, make them easy to train and obedient. Most importantly, they’re great with kids of all ages.

Dog group Gundogs
Country of origin UK
Life Span 12 - 13 years
Coat type Long, silky coat
Weight range 25 - 34kg
Recommended exercise 40 - 60 minutes a day

Golden Retrievers do shed profusely, especially in the warmer months. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent shedding all over your clothes and house, however if that is not an issue and you’re looking for a smart, affectionate, and extra cute companion to join the family - Golden Retrievers are our No. 1 choice!

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier_King_Charles_Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are outgoing, sporty, fearless, and eager to please dogs making for a wonderful choice for a family pet. Known for their ever-wagging tails, the Cavalier King Charles are happiest with their people or outdoors. Although a sporty dog that loves to join in on hikes, they get just as much enjoyment cosying up to family members on the couch.

Dog group Companion dogs
Country of origin UK
Life Span Over 12 years
Coat type Long, silky coat
Weight range 5 - 8kgs
Recommended exercise 40 - 60 minutes a day

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel do shed profusely, especially in the warmer months. Regular combing and brushing are recommended to prevent major shedding and mats. Although not the best watch dog, some Cavaliers will inform you of every event in your neighbourhood and bark ferociously when strangers approach.

3. Beagle

Beagle_working_dogs

Beagles are one of the most popular scent hounds seen in family households. This active, happy-go-lucky and amiable breed is a popular choice for families who have access to a secure yard and spend a lot of time outdoors. Beagles are a friendly, outgoing, and loving dogs and inquisitive, determined, and highly motivated by food.

Dog group Scent dogs
Country of origin UK
Life Span 11 - 13 years
Coat type Short dense, tri colour coat
Weight range 9 - 11kgs
Recommended exercise 60 minutes a day

The most important thing to know about the Beagle is that being a scent hound, his nose is the most important part of his anatomy. His head is always going to be down to the ground, searching for an interesting trail to follow. Beagles will wander off if they catch an enticing smell in the air making them slightly more difficult to train.

4. Samoyed

Samoyed

Originally used for herding and guarding reindeer and for sled-hauling, this strikingly attractive breed is now recognized for its loving traits and loyal companionship. Also well-known for its devotion, easy-going, friendly, and playful personality, it’s no surprise that the Samoyed is being seen more and more in family homes.

Dog group Spitz-type dogs
Country of origin Russia
Life Span Over 12 years
Coat type Thick and soft coat
Weight range 16 - 30kgs
Recommended exercise 30 - 45 minutes a day

The Samoyed's white, thick, and fluffy coat is beautiful, but to keep it in good condition requires rigorous grooming to brush out loose hair. Due to the Samoyed falling into the working dog group, a home with a large, securely fenced is necessary so he has room to romp and play.

5. Labrador Retriever

labradors

Labrador Retrievers are the perfect mix between sporty and playful and affectionate and loyal. Similarly, to the Golden Retriever, Labradors are incredibly friendly, trustworthy, intelligent, and easy-going dogs making for a wonderful family pet. Due to their enthusiastic and energetic personality, obedience training and enrichment need to be implemented to prevent destructive behaviour.

Dog group Gundogs
Country of origin Canada
Life Span 10 - 12 years
Coat type Short, soft coat
Weight range 25 - 37kgs
Recommended exercise 30 - 45 minutes a day

Labradors tend to eat and eat (and then continue to look for more food!). This can lead to obesity if strict diets suitable for age and size aren’t adhered to. Labrador coats require next to no maintenance with only light brushing recommend helping remove any lose hair.

6. Labradoodle

Labradoodle

Originally bred in 1989 to be hypoallergenic guide dogs, this Poodle and Labrador Retriever cross has become a very popular family dog breed due to his friendly, affectionate, and sociable nature.  Labradoodles are happiest surrounded by people and will shower their family with love and devotion.

Dog group Crossbreed
Country of origin Australia
Life Span 10 - 12 years
Coat type Curly, thick hypoallergenic coat
Weight range Miniature 7 - 11kgs
Medium 14 - 20kgs
Standard 23 - 29kgs
Recommended exercise 30 - 45 minutes a day

Due to their thick curly coat, brushing is required at least twice a week and regular grooming to prevent knots and mats. Labradoodles are hyperactive, energetic dogs and are best suited for family homes that have access to a backyard.

7. Border Terrier

Border_terrier

Known for their energetic and cheerful terrier traits but with an overarching relaxed personality, the Border Terrier is a small breed perfect for the family home. Originally bred for hunting foxes and rats, the Border Terriers still excels in trials but is also considered a highly popular pet with a soft and cooperative temperament.

Dog group Terriers
Country of origin UK
Life Span 13 - 14 years
Coat type Dense and short wiry coat
Weight range 5 - 7kgs
Recommended exercise 30 - 45 minutes a day

Border Terriers still have a strong drive to hunt, chase and dig. They can adapt easily to apartment living if daily exercise is provided. As long as you can offer this breed the attention it needs, it makes for a loyal and loving companion that is also great with kids. The coat requires weekly brushing and periodic stripping to remove the dead hair. This can be done by hand or using a striping tool, but clippers should never be used.

8. Australian Shepherd

Australian_Shepherd

Intelligent, hardworking, and versatile, the Australian Shepherd (also knows as the “Aussie”) is an even-tempered, no-nonsense dog who thrives in a family home where his brains and energy are put to good use. Although large backyards would be suitable for this breed, the Aussie can adapt to apartment living if adequate stimulation and daily exercise is provided.

Dog group Working dogs
Country of origin USA
Life Span 10 years
Coat type Thick wavy, medium length coat
Weight range 18 - 29kgs
Recommended exercise 45 - 60 minutes a day

Without enough exercise and mental stimulation, Australian Shepherds can be very destructive and bark for long periods. To prevent matting, their coat requires regular maintenance including brushing and possibly trimming to keep it looking tidy.

9. Bulldog

Bulldog

Adorable, wrinkly and full of character, the Bulldog is a symbol of courage, determination, and tenacity. Once used for bull-baiting, this breed is actually mellow, well-natured and loving. Although at times stubborn and protective, they rarely develop aggression tendencies making them the ideal household family pet. Although a low maintenance dog, the Bulldog requires daily exercise to prevent weight gain.

Dog group Working dogs
Country of origin UK
Life Span 8 - 12 years
Coat type Short, smooth coat
Weight range 23 - 25kgs
Recommended exercise 20 - 30 minutes a day

Bulldogs are sensitive to cold weather and do wheeze, snort and snore making them prone to sleep apnoea. As Bulldogs get older, they can become lazy and less enthusiastic towards exercise. Regular physical activity is important to help keep them fit and at an ideal weight. Bulldogs can be prone to skin issues and therefore cleaning daily between the wrinkle folds is sometimes necessary to maintain skin hygiene.

10. Cockapoo

Cockapoo

The Cockapoo is an intelligent, gregarious, and relaxed dog making it an easy city or suburbia companion. Crossed between the Toy or Miniature Poodle and most commonly the English Cocker Spaniel, the Cockapoo has all the wonderful traits of both intelligent, well-mannered breeds. Being particularly affectionate, the Cockapoo loves to be close to its hoomans and is gentle with kids. They are highly food motivated making them enthusiastic and easy to train.

Dog group Crossbreed
Country of origin USA
Life Span 14 - 15 years
Coat type Single, smooth, hypoallergenic long coat
Weight range Toy Up to 5kg
Miniature 6 - 9kgs
Standard Over 10kgs
Recommended exercise 30 - 45 minutes a day

This happy go lucky breed can suffer from separation anxiety so training as a puppy is important. They are a non-shedding breed that require regular brushing (to prevent mats and knots) plus occasional professional grooming.

Overall, there are hundreds of dog breeds that can make the perfect family companion and research should be conducted on all your favourite breeds before deciding which one is suitable. Some breeds are more prone to health concerns or genetic issues and having awareness before choosing is your responsibility as a dog owner. If you would like further support around selecting the right breed for your family, book an appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App.

Don't forget to check out Your PetPA online store for dog food, dental and grooming supplies, and more.


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…

brushing_pets_teeth

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.


dog_park_exercising_leash

Exercising your dog

If you have a dog or puppy, or plan to get one, it’s important they get exercise on a regular basis. Exercise is not only good for their physical and mental health, but also helps them to socialise with other dogs and puppies, a crucial element of their behavioural development. And as a bonus, exercising and being active together is a great way to strengthen bonds! However, there are some safety considerations you should take into account when deciding on what exercise is best for your dog…

  • Assess the individual needs and fitness level of your dog as each will have different exercise requirements. In general, dogs need a walk or visit to the dog park once or twice a day.
  • Dogs with shorter snouts find it harder to breathe and exercise can often exacerbate their breathing difficulties.
  • Older dogs may have joint problems that can slow them down or make it uncomfortable to exercise.
  • Check the temperature outside as it is not uncommon for dogs to overheat if exercising in high temperatures. A dog only sweats through their pads and they lose body heat through panting, during the warmer months it is best to exercise in the morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler. Also remember that hot pavement or sand can burn your pet’s feet.
  • Don’t exercise your pet immediately before or after they’ve eaten as this can cause bloating, especially in deep-chested dogs.
  • Speak to your vet and get a physical assessment of you have any concerns at all.

exercising_your_dog

Exercising on lead

One of the ways you can let your dog or puppy exercise is while on the lead:

  • Walk your pet at a normal walking pace.
  • Walk your pet based on how long they should be exercising for e.g. take a puppy for short walks only.
  • Stop to rest if your pet sits or lies down during the walk, and then continue walking when they are ready to get up again.
  • Stop walking and return home if your pet seems too tired to continue.
  • Avoid over-exercising your puppy. Over-exercising puppies can negatively impact on their musculoskeletal development and this is of particular concern in large and giant breed puppies (some of the large and giant dog breeds can continue to grow up until 18–24 months of age).

Exercising off lead

Another way to let your dog or puppy get the exercise they need is while they’re off the lead running freely in a safe environment, such as your backyard or a designated dog park. This way they can regulate their own pace and the amount of exercise they get. However, don’t over exercise your pet by doing too much throwing and catching, especially if they’re still young and growing. Sometimes the temptation to chase is too strong!

General tips

  • Watch out for signs of fatigue, such as your pet panting, slowing their pace, or lagging behind you or stopping. If you notice this, allow them to rest.
  • Watch for overheating, such as your pet panting excessively, drooling, showing signs of agitation/confusion or vomiting. If this happens, move them to a cooler place and shade immediately. Apply tepid/cool water to their fur/skin, belly and under legs followed by fanning, to cool them down quickly then take them to the nearest veterinarian immediately as heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency.
  • If you’re walking in the snow, avoid roads that have been treated with salt as they can sting your pet’s feet. If they lick their paws this can also upset their stomach as well.
  • Keep your pet hydrated by offering them water to drink at regular intervals during exercise and importantly, have water available for them when you get home.

Forced exercise such as the following should be avoided:

  • Jogging or running with a puppy or dog.
  • Excessive ball or frisbee throwing and catching.
  • Running your pet alongside your bike. This is against road rules in some states. In NSW, for example, the RTA states that a bicycle rider mustn’t lead an animal while the bike is moving, including by tethering.
  • Take fast paced or very long walks with your puppy.

With these tips in hand you can ensure your pet’s safety when it comes to exercise, as well as keep them healthy and happy for years to come!

~ Dr Peter Elliott

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Produced by RSPCA Pet Insurance

Ref: How To Safely Exercise Your Dog | RSPCA Pet Insurance