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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.

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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


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Nutrition

There are many reasons why feeding your fur baby a high-quality diet is preferable… not just when it comes to what comes out the back end! Whilst we acknowledge the obvious price discrepancy, the cost of the higher quality food over the life of the pet will be offset by lower veterinarian bills with a reduced risk of health issues that are a result of improper nutrition.

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And it’s not just about maintaining a healthy weight — a balanced diet provides your pet with the right combination of nutrients. Protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water all play an important part in keeping your pet happy and healthy...

Protein: Your pet relies on the essential and non-essential amino acids found in protein as they help maintain muscles, repair cells and produce hormones and antibodies.

Fat: Fat provides much energy for your pet — more than twice the amount found in proteins and carbs! Fat also keeps skin and hair healthy, insulates the body and is necessary for absorbing some vitamins.

Carbohydrates: Carbs can get a bad rap from humans but they’re essential for healthy nutrition in your pets. These nutrients fuel your pet’s cells and provide energy. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is particularly helpful in promoting good digestion.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins A, D, E, and K and minerals like calcium and potassium help maintain the nervous system, boost immunity, strengthen teeth and bones, and maintain muscle health. A well-balanced diet should contain all of these.

Water: Up to 70% of an adult pet’s body weight is made up of water so it’s important your pet stays hydrated. Water plays an important role in digestion, eliminating waste, and regulating body temperature. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water.

DOGS

Tips on feeding your dog

  • Dogs need a complete and balanced diet
  • Freshwater should be available to your pets at all times, inside and out
  • Adult pets can be fed one or two meals a day
  • Puppies often need three or four small meals a day
  • Any food that is left out for long periods can grow bad bacteria, so it is recommended uneaten food be thrown away after one hour

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Home-cooked diets

There can be advantages to home-cooked meals, but they do not outweigh the disadvantages unless the diet has been put together specifically for your pet by a qualified veterinary nutritionist.

Advantages:

  • Increased palatability
  • High digestibility
  • Ability to control ingredients

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Poorly balanced i.e. lack the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals
  • Bacterial contamination of raw ingredients can affect both pets and humans
  • Bones can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, break teeth and tear the intestines

Unless you have specific recipes that have been formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, commercial diets should be considered.

Treats

Treats are a great way to help with positive reinforcement for good behaviour, but it is important to choose the right treats and to give them in moderation as each treat adds towards daily calories for your dog. Treats should not represent more than 10% of your pets’ total diet and don’t forget that affection is just as effective and appreciated as an alternative to food treats!

Good treats:

  • Dried liver treats
  • Dog-approved biscuits for dogs
  • Dog dry food
  • Natural popped popcorn
  • Puffed rice

Overweight pooches can still enjoy the occasional treat:

  • Green beans are low calorie and high in fibre
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Chickpeas
  • Carrot

CATS

Tips on feeding your cat

  • Cats need a complete and balanced diet
  • Freshwater should be available to your pets at all times, inside and out
  • Adult pets can be fed one or two meals a day
  • Kittens often need three or four small meals a day
  • Any food that is left out for long periods can grow bad bacteria, so it is recommended uneaten food be thrown away after one hour

Feeding tips to help reduce boredom and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Feed smaller meals throughout the day
  • Maintain a feeding schedule
  • Hide dry food around the house
  • Use food contraptions
  • Encourage the cat to chase after dry food

Tips to help feed a picky eater:

  • Picky eaters can develop if a cat is fed a single food item over a long period of time with little variety. To avoid this, it is important to expose a cat to a variety of flavours, textures and sizes of food.
  • When modifying a diet, always make a gradual change and if your cat refuses to eat for over 24 hours, seek veterinary attention.
  • Cats only have around 400 taste buds - compared to dogs at 1,700 and people at 9,000. Because of this, cats rely on their sense of smell to determine the taste of food. If the cat’s diet lacks smell or if the cat has the flu, try warming the meal to enhance the smell.

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Treats

It is important to choose the right treats and to give them in moderation as each treat adds toward daily calories for your cat. Treats should not represent more than 10% of your pets’ total diet and don’t forget that affection is just as effective and appreciated as an alternative to food treats!

Good Treats:

  • Dried liver treats
  • Cat-approved biscuits
  • Cat dry food
  • Natural popped popcorn
  • Puffed rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Feeding bones

Raw meaty bones such as chicken necks and wings can help in keeping teeth and gums healthy however it is important to make sure the bone is long enough so it cannot be accidentally swallowed whole. Ingestion of raw bones can lead to constipation so always discard the bone after a time and never feed cooked bones as they can splinter and cause intestinal obstruction.

Tinned sardines, tuna, or salmon can be offered as an occasional treat but should not be given as a regular food source and always removing any bones.

If you need further support around this issue, 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 or cat has a health condition or special dietary needs.

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


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Grooming your pet

Grooming your pet at home can be something that is enjoyable for both you and your fur baby, especially if you start from a young age allowing them the time to become familiar with the process and sensations!

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Bathing and brushing

Bathing is an important aspect of pet care as it not only helps to remove unpleasant odours, excess hair and dirt, but also maintain healthy skin and coat. It can be performed on an as needs basis, however, avoid bathing more frequently than every 2 weeks as excessive bathing can remove important natural oils within the coat.

Types of shampoo and conditioner

Always choose a natural, hypoallergenic pet-approved product. Human shampoos are not acceptable as animals have more sensitive skin and different skin pH than us.

Common shampoo types:

  • General-purpose
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Medicated
  • Oatmeal
  • Flea

If your pet has a skin condition, always ask your veterinarian about the most suitable product.

Tools you will need

  • Bathtub, laundry sink, or large bucket
  • Pet-approved shampoo and conditioner
  • Towel
  • Water source e.g. hose or another bucket of warm water
  • Waterproof brush
  • Treats

How to bathe your pet

Always start bathing your pet from a young age and use treats to help make the experience a positive one. Walking your pet or giving them a play beforehand will help reduce excess energy for bath time!

Washing:

  • Fill the bath with warm water
  • Gently wet the dog’s coat
  • Gently lather in the shampoo
  • Rinse
  • Apply conditioner
  • Rinse again

Drying:

  • Allow your pet to shake off any excess water (most dogs will instinctively do this anyway!)
  • Use a large absorbent towel to pat dry your pet
  • Where a pet cannot comfortably air-dry, using a hairdryer is an option - always have it on a low setting and use it at least 30 cm away from their coat

Brushing your pet

Brushing your pet on a regular basis, between baths, will help keep your pet’s coat healthy and prevent matting. Guidelines as to frequency are as follows:

Coat Type Brushing Frequency
Smooth, short-coats every 3 weeks
Short, dense coats every 1-2 weeks
Long- or double-coats weekly
Puppies weekly

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Trimming hair

Depending on the breed of your faithful friend, seeing a professional groomer may or may not be on your care list! Some of these pets also require regular hair trims between professional grooming sessions to help maintain hygiene and prevent irritation.

Areas commonly affected:

  • Eyes
  • Anus
  • Chin
  • Toes
  • Other areas that mat

Tips:

  • Only attempt this at home if your pet is calm
  • Never use pointy scissors, only blunt or round-ended
  • Use food treats to help associate trimming with positive rewards

Shop at Your PetPA Online Store for all your grooming needs. Thriving Pets+ members receive 10% discount on all purchases.

~ Dr Clementine Barton


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Parasites… Fleas, Ticks and Worms  

They are unwanted visitors, causing issues your fur babies ranging from discomfort to death…. Parasites are bugs that feed off our pets with the most common being fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, heartworm, mites and lice. Some parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, can also be transferred from pets to people so as well as preventative treatment, practicing good hygiene is imperative for both you and your pets’ health.

Fleas

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Flea

While infestations peak in summer and autumn, fleas themselves can persist throughout the year in warm winter houses causing skin irritations for both our pets and us. Unfortunately, the fleas you see on your pet are only about 5% of the whole population in your environment i.e. the other 95% are somewhere in your house and garden!

It can take months to clear a home infestation, so there’s no question that prevention is the best treatment. Depending on your preference, flea prevention can be administered as a topical formula that is applied to the skin, as a collar or an oral formula.

Ticks

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Tick

Ticks are nasty parasites that attach themselves to your pet’s skin causing local skin irritation and, in some cases, paralysis and death. Preventative products and environmental control (like cutting back overgrown garden areas) are essential to keeping our pets safe. Depending on your preference, flea prevention can be administered as a topical formula that is applied to the skin, as a collar, or an oral formula.

Heartworm

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Mosquitoes transmit heartworm

Heartworm is a deadly parasite transmitted by mosquitoes so good heartworm prevention not only includes regular preventative medication, but also mosquito control.

Depending on your preference, heartworm prevention can be administered as a tablet or chewable, topical treatment, or injectable formula.
Heartworm is not found in Tasmania or central desert areas in Australia however is prevalent throughout other geographical locations across the country. Incidence of heartworm has also not been recorded in New Zealand.

Worming

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Worms

Dogs and cats should be wormed on a regular basis from a young age as most infections are acquired from the garden, local park, or other places that dogs and cats visit.

Depending on your preference, worming can be administered in a paste, granule, tablet, or chewable formula and the frequency of administration can vary from 1-3 months.

When choosing the most appropriate preventative plan for your fur baby, considerations your veterinarian or nurse will raise are your pets:

  • Species
  • Age
  • Tolerance to tablets, chewable and topical treatments

As well as considerations around:

  • Other household pets e.g. some products should not be used in the presence of household cats due to potential toxicity issues
  • Specific parasites you should protect against i.e. Is there paralysis ticks in your area? Do you live in a geographical area with incidence of heartworm?

Here at Your PetPA, with our Thriving Pets and Thriving Pets+ wellness plans, we offer Annual Preventatives Package delivery services for flea, tick and heartworm preventative medications - plus reminders to ensure they are not forgotten. Curated to your pets breed and weight and delivered straight to your front door, take the stress out of owning a pet and enjoy peace of mind knowing veterinary care is available for you anywhere you need it!

~ Dr Lachlan Campbell


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Preventative care for your pets

Preventative health care is just as important for our fur babies as it is for us humans… It is far easier to prevent illness than to treat it. Not only does
preventing illness afford your loving pet a longer and happier life, but it also saves on significant medical bills down the track.

pet_preventative_care_checklistPreventative Care Checklist for Cats and Dogs

Here at Your PetPA, we don’t just leave you as pet parents with this checklist in the hope of avoiding medical crises in future… We offer Pet Wellness Plans to ensure that vaccines, flea and tick medication and worming preventatives are not forgotten, as well as tangible support for affordable preventative health care assessment and services.

~ Dr Clementine Barton


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Pet parenting checklist and how an annual plan can help

Between family, work, friends and everything in between… life is busy. There’s almost a sense of gratitude our loyal companions simply take up their loving position at home, not adding to the chaos of ‘who has to be where and when.

But as a pet owner, there are yearly housekeeping reminders that must be remembered to maintain the basic health, safety and wellbeing of your fur baby.

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Parenting checklist

1. Yearly Vaccination

Annual vaccination is a must for pets to ensure they remain healthy and protected from deadly viruses in the environment. If not carried out on time, your pet is at risk of contracting the diseases from other unprotected or contagious animals and potentially becoming very unwell.

2. Yearly preventative care

Preventative care, just like vaccinations, is an ongoing requirement for your pet to maintain health and wellbeing. As a minimum, your pet will need regular doses of flea and tick treatment, intestinal worming tablets and in some geographical locations, heartworm prevention too.

3. Microchipping details

Have you moved houses recently or changed mobile numbers? If you have then it is likely you have forgotten that there is a chip inside your pet that contains all of your old information. It is important that if ownership of the animal or contact details has recently
changed, that this information is updated through the state microchipping platform as soon as possible.

4. Yearly pet registration

If you choose to own a pet, then you must abide by local council laws and registration for animals. If registration is not performed yearly, you risk a hefty fine by the Animal Management Council. Registration also helps reunite lost pets with their owners.

5. ID Tags

ID tags are the best way to prevent your pet from ending up at the veterinary clinic or local pound. Sometimes tags can get scratched, fade or break off and your pet can no longer be identified. To ensure you can be contacted if required, ensure your pet's tag is still easy to read and updated with any changes.

There’s nothing worse than reoccurring guilt when you can’t recall the last time you gave your fur baby their flea treatment or worming tablet, and was it September or December that they needed their yearly vaccine? Even more, confronting though is when you suddenly notice that your once active puppy or kitten, has now reached its’ senior years.

Your PetPA allows you to keep on top of these things year after year! Our goal is to ensure that every pet is living its best and healthiest life for its life stage and to provide you with all your pet care needs at the tip of your fingers.

We offer Vet Care Plans designed by our qualified and experienced veterinary staff and individually tailored to your pet's age, breed and lifestyle.

Vet Care Plan

At Your PetPA, we understand that even if animals are of the same species, breed and age, each pet is unique and to maintain their optimum health, requires a customized vet care plan suitable for its health care needs and life stage. Our annual vet care plan provides you with yearly wellness advice tailored specifically to your pet.

By arranging an annual vet care plan, our experienced staff can remind you of all the recommended veterinary advice for your pet including preventative care, life stage recommendations and diet suitability. With a detailed individualised vet care plan sent to you directly, you will always be conscious of your pet's needs to maintain a long healthy life.

Thriving Pets+

We take pride in knowing that our Pet Wellness Plan – Thriving Pets+ offer all the necessary care in one simple plan, taking the stress out of owning a pet and providing peace of mind knowing veterinary care is available for you anywhere you need it!

What's included?

  • Unlimited consultations - Wherever you go no matter where you are, your consultation fee is covered and guarantees you unlimited consults for when your pet needs them.
  • Unlimited Vet Chats – Available from your phone or computer, you can speak to a member of our veterinary team anytime. Simply book online.
  • Annual Vaccination – The cost of your pets’ annual vaccination is included!
  • Dental Allowance – Dental prophylaxis is one of the most important preventative procedures you can provide your pet. We offer discounts on the procedure to help cover the costs.
  • Wellness Screen Allowance – Annual blood tests are the only way to fully understand just how healthy your pet is. Some illnesses are only determined with blood results and so performing annual blood tests is beneficial for all pets no matter the age.
  • Option for Add-On Annual Preventatives Package – Posted directly to you, we deliver your pet's preventive care straight to your front door.

~ Dr Lachlan Campbell


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Kennels Vs Pet Sitters

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 that your pet join... Thankfully there are many amazing carers and facilities that provide your pet comfort and affection allowing you piece of mind to enjoy this time.

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Dedicated ‘luxury’ Pet Hotels, with your pet as the esteemed guest, are an on-trend option but there are barriers with respect to location (given they seem to be metro only) and budget so we are going to review the two most widely available and accessible options – boarding kennels and pet sitters.

Benefits of a pet sitter

  • Your pet gets to stay in the comfort of their own home
  • You don’t have to stress about them escaping as the environment is familiar
  • Your pet will receive love and one on one attention like they would if you were there
  • No worry about your pet being with other animals or in a stark environment (comparatively)

Benefits of a kennel

  • Reputable kennels have lots of space and playtime plus loving staff
  • Other animals to play with (if your pet enjoys socialising)
  • Don’t have the stress about someone being in your home with your belongings

Dogs can’t be left alone overnight however cats may be fine to be left with fresh food and water so in weighing up the right option for your fur baby, this will firstly depend on what type of pet you have and how long you will be going away for.

Research suggests that dogs miss their hoomans when staying in kennels however, they no doubt miss their hoomans in the usual environment with a pet sitter too given the routine is different. That being said, it is not realistic to think that you can’t and won’t ever leave your dog to go away so it’s nothing to feel guilty about!

What is important, is that before you make a final decision as to what care to choose for your cat or dog, you do your research. Word of mouth can be the most powerful tool here to ensure that the sitter or kennel is trusted. However, if you haven’t been provided any recommendations, with respect to looking at suitable kennels, location aside, look in to:

  • Whether they offer a free 'Meet & Greet'
  • Their insurance policy
  • Reviews
  • Their vaccination policy (you want to know that all the animals are up to date just as yours is!)

pet_sittingWhen it comes to a sitter; it is best to:

  • Ring their referees (if local perhaps even arrange to meet them at the dog park)
  • Have them over for an interview/meet your pet to observe interactions
  • Ensure that you are on the same page as to whether it will be house/pet sitting or visiting the house to feed/spend time with your pet only.

Regardless of what you decided to do when you go away, dogs don’t have the same concept to time as humans – whether you are gone for an hour or a few days, your dog will greet you enthusiastically on your return! Your cat however, may be a little more stand off-ish, but that is only because they are more sensitive to change. They will be purring on your lap again before you know it!

~ Dr Lachlan Campbell


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Managing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

We all know our fur babies have unique personalities ranging from Miss Independent to A Grade clinger types. However, what we are finding off the back of recent prolonged periods at home with their hoomans, many pets whom previously had not exhibited separation anxiety, are struggling to adapt to being home alone again. Not to mention the ‘covid-pups’ who know no different than being with their family 24/7…

Whether your loved companion is currently experiencing separation anxiety, or you are preparing for its’ likelihood with a return to the workplace, we’ve put together some useful tips to assist the transition period and ease your pooch into their new routine. The ultimate goal is for your fur baby to tolerate being left alone.

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Introduce your dog to gradual departure

It is important that the process of leaving your dog alone is done so gradually, starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety. This can be as simple as the ‘stay’ command with your pooch in another room for a few seconds, then progressing to you being behind a door and out of sight. Over time, gradually increase the duration of the separations which gently accustoms your dog to being alone. This is referred to as desensitizing.

Leave them a special treat each time you leave

A treat not only offers a distraction as you physically leave, but provides a means for your pooch to calm their nerves. Treats that entertain dogs for a longer amount of time (food-filled toys or durable chew toys) can then act as something that your dog looks forward to while you’re away. This is referred to as counterconditioning.

Create a safe space

Create a safe space where your dog can retreat and settle whilst they are transitioning to being left home alone. This will depend entirely on your dog – for some, it may be their bed, under their main hoomans desk, or even allowing a bedroom door to be left ajar so they can sneak on their main hooman bed (where they had become accustomed to spending their days).

Crate training may be considered if the anxiety has to lead to destructive behaviour in the house or garden when left alone. While you are still home, have your dog become familiar with the crate.

Start with short periods and increase the time spent in it slowly. You can feed in the crate and leave a bone to be used as a stress reliever while in there.

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Another option to consider whilst transitioning, especially if you are back to long days away from the house, is to have a friend or dog sitter come past to spend some time with your pooch. Or if you are lucky enough to work in a non-traditional workplace, check to see if there are any arrangements regarding ‘bring your dog to work days.

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.

~ Dr Lachlan Campbell


The benefits of online veterinary consultation?

It has never been easier to access virtual veterinary care via the Your PetPA App or website. However when and why would you consider this option as opposed to face-to-face care for your loyal and loving pet?

What are the benefits of online veterinary consultation?

benefits of online veterinary consultation?

  • Access from home if no physical exam, testing or treatment is needed – no transportation considerations
  • Convenient hours (including out-of-hours)
  • Faster response time
  • Free or low-cost feedback from a licensed veterinarian
  • Often less stressful for your pet than an in-person visit
  • Can offer an understanding of what to expect if an in-person visit is needed

What can I use online veterinary consultation for?

  • Upset tummies, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Itchy skin - why they are scratching and what you can do
  • Toxin advise - if your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have
  • Skin and ear problems
  • Parasite prevention - fleas, ticks and worming
  • Coughing & sneezing
  • Eye problems
  • First aid and wound care
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Limping and lameness
  • Behaviour & training
  • Product Information

Please note that online veterinarians can’t legally diagnose or prescribe medications because a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) has not been established.

Additionally, vet nurses can provide advice on:

  • Dental: how to take care of teeth and gums
  • Grooming: how to care for your pet's skin health
  • The right pet for you and your family
  • New puppy and kitten support
  • Diet advice: giving your pet the right nutrients
  • Preventative Care
  • First Aid
  • Puppy and Kitten proofing your home

How to get the most from your online consultation?

  1. Be prepared to offer more detail than you necessarily would during an in-person appointment. As there is no hands-on exam and the patients can’t tell us what hurts, the onus is on you to provide insight into what has changed. This means the more thorough you can be, including providing pictures or videos, the more helpful your online vet can be!
  2. Be ready to answer symptom-based questions. The online veterinarian will likely ask similar questions as your regular veterinarian and will tailor the questions as needed depending on the individual case. You might be asked to describe your concern, whether your pet is acting normally, eating and drinking well, if they are on any medications or has any known medical conditions.
  3. Make sure you are in an area that has strong WIFI/connection coverage!

When should you take your pet to a face-to-face consultation?

Online veterinarians can do a good job helping ease worry and stress for pet parents who are concerned that something may be wrong. However, there are still many cases when it’s important to seek out in-person veterinarian care, including emergencies.

How does a Your PetPA online veterinary consultation work?

Our online veterinary consultations are available through both our Website and App. Here you can choose to speak with a registered veterinarian via a video call, selecting the time that best suits you.

Appointments cost significantly less than traditional face-to-face appointments - or are FREE as part of our Pet Wellness Plans – Thriving Pets or Thriving Pets+.


pet-obesity

Maintaining a healthy weight for my cat or dog

Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet isn’t always as straightforward as ‘just don’t feed it too much’. Some pet owners can be in the opposite position with their pet struggling to gain weight. Regardless of what end of the spectrum your fur baby is on, maintaining a healthy weight can be the difference between your pet living a long and healthy life or being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.

Why is maintaining a healthy weight so important?

maintaining a healthy weight of your pets

Pets are considered overweight when they become 10%–20% heavier than their ideal weight. Overweight and underweight pets are predisposed to various diseases and disorders that can ultimately shorten their lifespan.

Pet obesity increases the risk and prevalence of metabolic disorders, endocrine disease, reproductive disorders, cardiopulmonary disease, urinary disorders, dermatological disease, arthritis, and neoplasia. Whilst nutrition deficiency can lead to chronic gastrointestinal problems, depression, skin and coat issues, brain development, vision impairment and poor immune system.

Both are major health concerns, and both are treated differently over a long period of time and in some cases for life.

How can I know if my pet is at a healthy weight?

Determining the ideal weight for your pet is subjective with many ideal breed weight references and pet body scoring systems available. Within clinics, veterinarians may refer to a body score chart to visually demonstrate where your pet sits on this scale and where the aim would be to have them.

The Body Condition System uses visual inspection and sense of touch to help specify if your pet is considered too thin, at an ideal weight or too heavy. Within these categories, your vet will determine the severity by providing a specific Body Chart Score (BCS) from generally 1 to 9.

The ribs, waistline and tummy will be visually assessed and lightly examined to determine if your pet is over or underweight.

Canine Body Scoring

Starting with the ribs, you should be able to easily palpate these with only minimal amounts of fat covering the area. By viewing the waste line from above, an inward curve behind the ribs should be seen. From the side of your dog, a slight ‘abdominal tuck’ should be seen behind the ribs. If your dog is overweight, it will have excess fat covering the ribs and the waistline or abdominal tuck will not be seen.

Body Condition Score of a Medium Dog

Feline Body Scoring

Similarly, to performing a canine BCS you will not be able to easily palpate the ribs or backbone of an overweight cat. Overweight cats will not have that subtle abdominal tuck that meet their hips but rather a tummy that drags all the way down and may swing when they walk. Feline Body Scoring

 

How can I help manage my pet’s weight?

Come up with a plan

There are many factors as to why your loving companion may be overweight or underweight, and therefore veterinary advice should be sort out before developing a weight management plan.

Although diet plays a large part in the cause of weight problems for our pets, some breeds are predisposed, and some medications are known to cause weight gain. If a medical condition is causing your pet to gain weight, you need to work with your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan that will manage the condition and help your pet lose those extra kilos.

Determine a daily feeding requirement

Depending on your pets age, life stage and current weight situation, this will determine what food is suitable for your pet and the amount it will need to maintain a healthy weight.

Premium diets are designed to make your pet feel fuller for longer by using ingredients rich with nutrients and amino acids. Investing in a veterinary-approved diet is going to ensure your pet is receiving the correct amount of food for its body weight goals, support the immune system and help with signs of aging.

Your veterinary clinic can help offer advice on suitable food and the recommended amount noting the daily recommended amount and food type can be subject to change as your pet starts to lose or gain weight.

Exercise

Daily activity and exercise can be more of a challenge to implement depending on the breed of your pet. Some breeds are more active than others so encouraging or increasing exercise may not be easy or in some cases, even possible so it’s important to always start slow and increase slightly to prevent injury or an aversion towards it. Incorporating some fun games or playing with other animals can be an easy way to encourage some movement and increase activity levels.

Weight checks

Once you have determined how much weight your pet needs to lose or gain, monitoring and measuring the weight of your pet regularly is the simplest way to know if you’re on track and if any updates are needed to the weight management plan.