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Summer: the Pest is Yet to Come

Matt Young's picture
a flea

 

Warmer Weather and Man’s Best Friend’s: most Intimate Associates

Somehow, about six months ago, I got caught up in a whirlwind of events involving a sob story, a broken leg, a puppy, and some rather steep financial limitations, and wound up with a dog.

Fleas are socially unacceptable and there’s nothing like desperately trying to eradicate them from a house you don’t own, to really hammer home quite how tenaciously fleas cling to life.

Cliff Notes: The Whole Tooth

Matt Young's picture
Golden Retriever having his teeth brushed.

 

What you need to know about your dog and home dental care

Sniff your dog’s breath.  Go on, I dare you.

Odds on, the odor is hardly enticing.

And that’s okay, within reason. Your average, healthy, happy dog, as a rule, get their jollies chowing down on a veritable shopping list of things too unspeakably revolting to contemplate printing, including, but not limited to: refuse, dead things, cat poop, horse poop and their own poop.  Or maybe that’s just mine. 

Any way you slice it, most dog’s breath is less than minty fresh.  But there is a definite line between a regular, doggy smell, and a distinctly unpleasant bouquet that tends to go hand in hand with tooth issues.

Dental disease is far and away the most common affliction of dogs, cats and people.  But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, or should, do about it.

Unhealthy teeth and infected gums are constantly, chronically painful, and sap the joy from chewing, eating, scrapping, playing, fetching, tugging, and hanging off things with you teeth, which is roughly 80% of what gives a canine life savor.

The other 20% would probably be cuddles and pillow hogging, both of which take a serious back seat in the day-to-day dealings of even the most beloved pooch when a certain stink threshold is reached.

So we owe it to them to help them make the most of life with a blissful abandon that would be the envy of the most hardened hedonist.

ALL dogs can get dental disease, but some are more predisposed than others.  So if you’re the proud parent of anything small and fluffy with a short face and a crowded jaw, I AM TALKING TO YOU.

The shorter the face, the more jumbled together the teeth, and the higher the likelihood of scraps getting stuck and encouraging bacteria.  The more squished the nose and airways, the more chance there will be of some degree of mouth breathing, which dries up bacteria fighting saliva.

Pugs, spaniels, malteses, poodles, shih tzus, yorkies,  Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, papillions, dachshunds, and, perversely, greyhounds, are massively at risk of developing crippling dental disease.  So part of sharing your life and your heart with one is budgeting your time and your finances to keep it from getting out of hand.

So what can we do?

Cliff Notes: What not to feed your dog

Matt Young's picture
hamburger with grapes

Okay, so let’s say I have a dog.  Let’s say that, through no fault of either party, she came to me a lot earlier that would be ideal.  Like, a lot.

The first lesson this has taught me is never, never adopt a puppy younger than eight weeks old.  (You try crawling out of bed every two hours to soak kibble in lukewarm puppy milk, and begging a tiny but impassive canine to eat, eat, because some of us have to go to work tomorrow.  The powers that be only know what fall out her crippling curtailed socialisation with her mother and litter will have on her development, but I digress.  No use crying over spilt formula.)

The second is never, ever to parent from guilt.  Once, when Cliff was very small (five and a half weeks, and 1.7 kilos, if anyone is asking), she took it into her head that premium junior biscuits were boring.  Like any new parent, I panicked.  She would eat them soaked in puppy milk, but she was really starting to outgrow that so… I switched to regular.  Um, most dogs are lactose intolerant.  Mine sure is.

The diarrhoea was spectacular.  No one at the clinic is going to let me live that down in a hurry, but no permanent damage was done, except to the odd couch and carpet.  And curtain.  Like I said, spectacular.

But it got me thinking…  what if it had been worse?  I’m not talking about what to feed your puppy, because that’s easy.  Greater than 80% of the diet should be a premium, high quality diet; Royal Canin, Eukanuba or Hills, tailored to their size, and measured out to age, especially important for the first year, and really, really important for large breed pups.  But the tricky thing is what not to feed.

It’s that pesky 20%.

We all feed treats.  If you want to hear some embarrassing stories, ask anyone else at the practice when I’m out of ear shot what my dog is guilty of scrounging.  But what is right out?  To the point of being definitely non-negotiable?

 

Living with Arthritis: your Vet, your Pet and You.

Matt Young's picture
Old dog on bed

 

It’s winter, and that’s the worst time for aches, pains and twinges.

Think of arthritis as an incurable, chronic disease.   But, rather than accepting nothing can be done, it means that it’s up to you to make your friend as healthy, happy, and comfortable as possible with the joints that nature, nurture and time have dealt them.

It basically breaks down to a three pronged attack:

  1. how you can make your pet better equipped to live with arthritis
  2. what you, directly, can do to make the disease easier, and
  3. how we, the vets, can help support you both in making life better.

Snake Bites in Dogs and Cats

Matt Young's picture
red belly black snake

Red Bellied Black SnakeAs the weather warms up, so do reptiles. Snakes are now on the move and slithering into our backyards. In our area the most common snake seen is the red-bellied black snake. There are also smaller numbers of brown snakes and tiger snakes. 

If your dog or cat does encounter a snake and are bitten it is very important to seek assistance straight away, even if your pet is not showing any signs of envenomation. If they have been bitten on a limb a compression bandage can be applied to reduce the absorption and circulation of the venom. Do not try and remove the venom or apply a tornique. 

The signs of snake bite vary according to the type of snake and the amount of venom injected. Brown Snakes and Tiger Snakes have a very potent neurotoxin in their venom which causes a rapid paralysis which will quickly lead to paralysis or the respiratory muscles and death. It is really important to get immediate veterinary help. 

Grey Paws Club

"Keeping Them Young at Heart"

Looking After Your Aging Pet

An Old Cat

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Free Pet Dental Month Checkups

Why get a dental check?

By the time dogs and cats show signs of dental disease such as bad breath or having trouble eating they generally will have advanced dental disease, and quite often will end up needing to have teeth removed. Having a dental check can allow us to detect problems in the mouth and discuss preventative measures that can taken to stop or slow-down plaque formation before it results in periodontal disease.

If your dog or cat has smelly breath, or is having difficulty eating, or is drooling, they may have periodontal disease and need to have their mouths checked. During August we are offering free dental checks on your pet. Book an appointment and have your pet's mouth examined to find out if there are any issues with their teeth that need to be dealt with.

Rabbits need dental care too!

It's not just dogs and cats that have problems with their teeth. Rabbits get dental disease as well. Rabbits teeth grow continuously and are vital to ensuring that food gets broken down for digestion. If the teeth are not properly aligned they will not wear properly and this can lead to difficulty eating. Rabbits also qualify for a free dental check.

Dental Disease Treatment

If your pet does need dental treatment we can perform scaling, polishing and dental extractions at our hospital.

Without proper dental care 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will show signs of oral disease by age 3

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