How to tell if your pet is in pain

If you’ve ever had a pet in pain then you know that they seem to suffer in silence.  Unlike us, your pets can’t tell you when they’re in pain and oftentimes show few observable symptoms. We’ve put together a few things to keep an eye out for that may indicate that your furry family member is feeling discomfort.

Sometimes when a pet is in pain, you may see subtle changes in their behaviour. Cats may sleep more and resist jumping, dogs may be hesitant to go on a walk. Any changes in behaviour can be a sign of pain or other health issues and we recommend taking your furry family to see one of our veterinary team.

Signs of pain in dogs can include:

  • Anxious or submissive behaviour
  • Whimpering and howling
  • Aggressive behaviour such as growling or biting
  • Refusal to move or guarding behaviour
  • Loss of appetite

Sign of pain in cats can include:

  • Changes in defecation and urinary habits
  • Quietness or lack of agility
  • Excessive grooming seen as patches of hair loss
  • Guarding behaviour
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

If you notice any of the above changes in your furry family member, book in a visit to see one of our veterinarians to ensure your pet is happy and heal


Parasites and your pet

The veterinarian at your local Best for Pet clinic will tailor a parasite control program for your pet depending on his or her lifestyle. They will recommend a range of products, and will select the most appropriate treatment to suit your pet. The following paragraphs provide general guidelines on parasite control.

Worms (Intestinal - Tummy)

Kittens are commonly born with worms which have been transferred from their mothers. It is important to clean up droppings regularly and maintain general hygiene. They should also receive regular doses of intestinal worming treatment, especially while they are young.

Gastrointestinal worms can affect dogs, cats and humans. Unlike fleas they are not easily seen on a pet. Worms can infect your dog in many ways, including uncooked pet meats, rodents, through the skin or by ingesting eggs via grooming or eating the wrong things. By worming your dog on a regular basis you can prevent infection of worms for the whole family. Worming preparations are calculated on weight, so feel free to use your clinic’s scales to check your pet’s weight.

Tapeworm treatment may be required more frequently for dogs going to regional areas or eating raw pet meat and offal.

Fleas

Somehow, fleas always seem to find their bothersome way onto our pet’s coats and are a major source of skin problems. They come from any environment where dogs and cats have previously been. Flea eggs are deposited and hatch over a period of time and jump onto the next passing ‘meal ticket' (dog, cat, or even us). Fortunately, there are now some excellent flea control products available which are safe and effective and easy to use. Your Best for Pet clinic can recommend the best product for your pet.

 

Remember, as a Best for Pet member you are eligible to receive 10% off parasite control for your furry friend.


Winter Blues - Keeping your pet safe and healthy

Winter is definitely coming! Are your pets a bit more reluctant to go outside? Having a bit more difficulty rising out of bed in the morning?

With the change in weather and temperatures dropping we have to ensure we are looking after our four legged family members. We need to pay particular attention to those pets who have entered their senior years and those who live outside.

 

Do I have to go outside?

If your pet spends the majority of their time outside then proper outdoor housing is a must. There are fantastic ranges of kennels for dogs and enclosures for cats that offer water, rain, frost and wind protection. Make sure the housing is placed away from the seasonal elements in a position where they feel secure and cozy.

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Whether inside or outside make sure your pets bedding is raised off the floor and away from cold drafts including the door ways of kennels. Fill an outside kennel with warm dry blankets that are washed regularly.

 

 

Feed me, Feed me!

You'll probably notice your pet's appetite will increase during winter. This is especially true in outside pets that will require more energy to keep warm. Keep a close eye on your pet's weight ensuring they are nourished, but not overfed from too many winter snacks.

 

Keep me warm

Particularly cold winters days can be uncomfortable for slim, younger or older dogs. Try placing a hot water bottle (with warm not hot water) into your pet's kennel. This will soon make a comfortable place to rest. A caution for pets who love to chew, only use warm water and if you have any doubts there are other options such as heating discs and pads. Ask us for more information.

 

pexels-photo (1)Get my lead!

There's nothing like a walk in the park and some aerobic exercise to get rid of the winter blues. Rug up and head out for your pet's favourite activity. Not only will your dog love you for it, you'll be feeling fantastic in no time too.

 

Older Pets

If your pet is struggling to get out of bed then it could be a sign of arthritis or an age related disease. The cold weather often makes these problems worse. We recommend 6 monthly senior check-ups particularly if your pet is showing signs of ageing. Typically, most of these symptoms can be controlled through simple diet changes and/or medications.

 

Tips for Senior Pets:
  • Create a warm haven where your older pet can curl up and avoid draughty areas.
  • Elevate their bed up off the cold floor. Particularly concrete and hard surfaces.
  • Provide thick warm bedding and use heating products where possible.
  • Maintain your pet's joint mobility by providing regular exercise

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If you believe your pet is in pain please seek veterinary advice. Advancements in veterinary medicine make treatment for the ailments of age related disease possible.

 

Click to find your nearest Best for Pet clinic 

 


Melbourne Dog Lovers Show

We had such a wonderful time at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show this past weekend.

Dr Tania

 

We were very proud to sponsor the Ask-A-Vet stand.

Visitors were able to come up and ask our vets any questions they had about their dogs or other pets. We had wonderful veterinarians from our Brunswick Central, Reservoir, Essendon, Carlton and Blackburn clinics on hand. We also had some of our very knowledgeable veterinary nurses there happy to help out.

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One lucky attendee won a membership to our Best for Pet program.  In addition to this they will receive a years supply of food and parasite control from our friends at Hills Science Diet and Advocate.

 

Best of all we had some very well behaved pooches that couldn’t wait to meet people and get a scratch or a cuddle.

 

Thank you to everyone who came out and made it such a great weekend!

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A special thank you to our furry friends, Kenya, Bruno, Spencer, Harper, Doctor and Ice, for putting a smile on everyone's faces!

 


The Importance Of Good Dental Hygiene For Cats and Dogs

Over 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years old have some form of periodontal (dental) disease. Dental disease causes bad breath (halitosis) and pain, it is also a source of infection and can make your pet seriously ill.

Dental disease is preventable in the vast majority of cases and in most cases, easy to achieve at home. There are many different methods to keep your pet's teeth "pearly white" and these should be started while they are puppies and kittens. While dental disease may seem like a relatively minor issue, you would be surprised at the damaging effects advanced dental disease can have on our favourite furry friends.

For adult cats and dogs with existing dental disease, a dental treatment with a scale and polish under general anaesthetic is often necessary to get their mouth back into top condition. This will allow us to start prevention with a clean mouth and hoping to prevent, or slow down dental disease developing again in the future.

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What is Dental disease?

A fairly common disease, dental disease is categorized over 4 different stages with a fairly common strand called Gum Disease. Stage 1 is very early and very mild build of tartar, which is caused by a build up of bacteria, saliva and food particles, and can progress into more severe tartar build up, signs of plaque and also the beginnings of gingivitis (inflammation of the gum line) at stage 2. The first 2 stages of dental disease are in most cases, manageable and even reversible through the introduction of appropriate dental supplements, dental related foods and a scale and polish under anaesthetic as required. As we move in to stage 3 and 4, the build up of tartar to be cleared is more severe and can cause multiple physical and behaviour issues and may require an anaesthetic to clean the teeth using an ultrasonic-scaler, by hand and most likely extractions of some of their teeth.

If you’re worried that your pet may have dental disease, some common signs include:

  • Bad breath
  • Behavioural changes (e.g. lethargy, increased aggression)
  • Discoloured teeth
  • Favouring one side of the mouth while eating
  • Loose teeth/receding gums
  • Excessive drooling, sometimes red tinged
  • Dropping of food from the mouth when eating, or reluctant to chew
  •  Inappetence
  • Sensitivity when touching the mouth/face

In order to prevent your animal from getting dental disease, early prevention is the key.

 

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Some great tips include:

Brushing your pet's teeth

Yes you read it correctly, brushing their teeth! This is the gold standard of preventative dental care for your pet. Think about how yucky your own teeth feel after a day without brushing, so imagine the effect it has on your pet’s teeth after weeks/months/years without brushing. When brushing, it’s important to use a soft toothbrush and make sure that animal specific toothpaste is used. Slow circles on the teeth and soft brushing along the gum line are the correct ways. If you are starting on a middle aged or elderly dog or cat they will not be used to this activity, so take it slow and make sure the experience is always a positive one (reward with treats!). We suggest you consult with the team at your local clinic about how best to introduce brushing into your pet's routine.

 

Dental diets

A wide range of dental specific diets are available to you at your nearest Veterinary clinic. These specific food products available with essential nutrients while including the required dental benefits to keep your animal’s teeth healthy.

Hills t/d is one option of prescription dental dry food available for both cats and dogs. It is designed to keep pets teeth clean, while still providing them with a complete balanced diet. Each piece of kibble is larger than usual, specifically designed to encourage and stimulate chewing. It also has a special fibre matrix within each biscuit which aids in the breakdown of plaque.

Treats and chews

Including everything from Greenies, Prozym sticks, hard rubber, nylon chews and raw hide, treat your pets to treats and chews that will help to naturally get rid of any unwanted plaque. The chewing action aids in the removal of plaque via physical rubbing and the spread of protective saliva. These should not be relied on solely for dental prevention. Talk to the team at your local Best for Pet clinic about the best option for your pet.

Dental toys

There are some toys available which are again great at encouraging your dog to chew. Some of these toys include the Kong and Gumabone. Toys are a useful addition to a dental hygiene program, however they should not be relied on solely.

 

Veterinary Dental Treatment

In the majority of pet's lives, there comes a time when their teeth may require veterinary treatment over and above their regular examinations. A dental treatment involves a general anaesthetic and a full dental examination, including charting and scaling, both ultrasonically and by hand, and then finishing with a polish. A very similar procedure used by your own dentist.

If you have any questions about preventative tips or queries on your animal’s dental health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly Best for Pet Veterinary teams today.

 


Caring for your Senior Pet

For many pet lovers, watching our companions grow older is a comforting, rewarding experience. Hard to believe the same bundle of energy tearing around the yard so many years ago is now the calm and kind old friend curled at our feet.

Old age itself is not a disease but we are aware that certain diseases can be age related. Older pets need more extensive examinations, more often. This is why we recommend having senior check-ups for your older pets.

A properly formulated diet will have a significant impact on the health of a senior pet and our health care teams are trained to advise you on the best nutrition for your companion.

The approach to your senior pet is that of a pet care partnership combining your observations at home with an examination. Typically most of the diseases we are keeping an eye out for in senior pets are controllable with simple diet changes and/or medications.

 

What to look out for

As your pet's owner, you are in the best position to look out for the early warning signs of aging and age related diseases. Here are some of the signs that can indicate change and require action:

  • Change in appetite
  • Discomfort on rising or after exercise
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Loss of housetraining6737182_s
  • Excessive drinking and/or urination
  • Bad breath, plaque, or bleeding gums
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Persistent cough
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Appearance of lumps and bumps

 

What we can do for your pet

At the senior check-up vets are identifying subtle changes in body function. If there are abnormalities detected in initial testing, further investigation or more frequent testing may be recommended.

What should your Senior Check Include?

  • Wellness overview - a chance for you to tell your veterinarian any changes of behaviour or physical appearance you have noticed. Use our checklist as a reminder of the changes you should be looking out for.
  • Hands on physical examination - your veterinarian will palpate or feel your pet's musculoskeletal system, abdomen, and head and neck areas for abnormalities. A stethoscope will be used to listen to your pet's heart and lungs. Your pet's eyes, ears, and mouth will also be checked for age-related problems, such as cataracts, dental problems, and ear canal disorders.
  • Diagnostic tests - such as blood work, urinalysis and possibly x-rays (based on your veterinarian's recommendations).

 

Ongoing monitoring allows your veterinarian to ensure they have the correct combination of treatment in place for your pet. As well as assisting you to provide the best lifestyle and home environment possible.

The aim of the Senior Program is to make the life of your furry companion long and healthy. We take pleasure in helping you to achieve this.

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For additional questions or to book your Senior Pet in for a health check please contact your local Best for Pet veterinarian.

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The benefits of obedience training

A necessity for all of our favourite animals, dogs especially benefit from obedience training, which teaches our furry friends to be social, safe and easily managed animal companions.

From going to the park without having to worry about your animal getting angry at other pets, to stress-free meal times and carefree cuddles without ruining your furniture, there are countless reasons why your animal needs obedience training, no matter what their age.

Although it’s best to start when young, dogs of any ages can learn a lot from obedience training, (a service which is available at most Veterinary practices) and it is a fun and beneficial way to not only train your animal but to have some quality time and bond with them as well. You’ll be surprised at how simple techniques, food or toy incentives can encourage your dog to behave in certain ways that make both your home life and social life much easier.

If you’re still not convinced, here are a few reasons why you should take your animal to obedience training:

Easy Management

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of taking your dog to obedience training is that you can easily manage your animal throughout everyday tasks. Your animal will learn everything from basic commandments like sit, drop and stay, to walking comfortably and safely on a leash and greeting other animals and people in a calm and controllable way.

Social and friendly animals

When your animals learn basic commandments they become less anxious and stressed, making them much more social and friendly. Taking your animals to parties, family events and social functions no longer needs to be feared, as obedience training will condition your animal to enjoy the company of others without getting too overwhelmed or excited and they will learn to listen to you when they do.

Safety

After attending training, your animals are much more likely to be safer around other animals, people and outside environmental factors. Simple things like returning to you when called, or sitting calmly next to you when a bigger or more anxious dog walks past is an undeniable benefit, making play time a whole lot less stressful for both you and your pet!

Bonding

With countless behavioral benefits, obedience training is also a great time for you to bond with your pet through a series of fun and relaxed exercises.  Research shows that animals that have had discipline training are more responsive to their owners, making you less stressed and more loving towards your pet without any unwanted frustration!

Community Involvement

Although it may be time consuming for some, the overall benefits of taking your animal to obedience training is huge and are not just for your favourite furry friend! Obedience training is a great chance to develop and grow your animal’s skills and behaviour as well as a chance for you to meet new likeminded pet owners. Get social one night a week, with a great group of Vet nurses and pet owners while spending quality time with your favourite animal companion – what more could you want?

Despite the age-old saying, even if your dog is no longer a puppy, it can still learn new tricks! While the younger they are, the more likely they are to learn the required training faster and easier, there are still plenty of ways to teach older dogs discipline with similar food and toy incentives and disciplinary techniques.

Get in touch with your local vet to discuss your pet’s obedience training needs and for more information on classes and available services.


Settling your dog into a new home

So you are about to move house and concerned about settling your dogs into their new environment? Here's some handy tips on making the transition stress free and as safe as possible for your pet.

Dogs can sometimes be more difficult to settle into new routines, particularly those that have the run of the house or are used to more space. Taking your dog for walks around your new area, will give him/her both the mental and physical stimulation they need as well as familiarise them with their new surrounds. Walk your dog at least once daily, especially in the mornings before they are left alone. This will help reduce any excess energy that they have.

Avoid making a fuss of your dog when you arrive home and leave home. Your dog may interpret the fuss incorrectly, and begin to worry unnecessarily. You do not want him/ her to wait all day for an exciting event (ie. your arrival). If you get home and nothing exciting happens, your dog will start to think it is not the best part of his day and will stop pining for that moment.

Owners are often tempted to replace the dog or cat's bed when they move into a new home. If you can resist the temptation, provide them with a bed, toys, food and water bowl they are familiar with.

Barking, digging and more

Most dogs only bark, dig or develop destructive behaviours when they are bored so keeping your dog busy is the main priority.

Make sure your new home is safe

Before you let your pet into a new environment, do a simple check for the following:-

  • Poisons - check your shed, garden and shelves for anything left at 'nose' level. Also check the garden beds for any rat or snail poison left in the yard by previous owners.
  • Fencing - do a backyard check to make sure you have no escape holes.
  • Remove chewable objects - to prevent obstruction injuries (injuries that could choke or damage your pet's gastrointestinal system) remove suspect items from your yard. Disgard any old bones, small balls and anything your pet maybe attracted to.
  • Identification - Ensure your pet is wearing a collar, and has an identification tag with your new phone number. If your pet is microchipped, contact the relevant microchip registry to change your contact details. Finally contact your local council to update your pet's registration details.

If your dog is having trouble, or you know he or she may have trouble settling in, a calming pheromone dispenser may help considerably, please call your local vet to discuss this.

And just remember, patience, patience, patience... and you will enjoy your new home together in no time.


The perfect pets for retirees

Retired and looking for a furry companion? An extra special sidekick to spend your days with?

It’s the time you’ve waited for when bumper-to-bumper in peak hour traffic, packed like a sardine on your daily train commute or when hurriedly eating lunch at your desk or taking minutes in meetings. We’re talking retirement. And it’s finally here. Only there’s just one thing …

When you’re home alone drinking your umpteenth cuppa, you miss mid-morning banter around the water cooler. When you’re out pumping the pavement on an afternoon walk, you miss knocking off on Fridays and after work drinks. You miss the contact, you miss the company and above all, maybe feeling a little lonely…

Problem solved. Insert a furry friend!

There’s no better time than retirement to introduce a four-legged friend into your home, your heart and your spanking new lifestyle. With more time up your sleeve to care for a pet, welcoming one into your home will not only give you a sense of purpose in what can be a daunting new chapter, welcoming a pet into your home ensures you’ll always have a trusty sidekick to share in the newfound memories you’re making.

Choosing a pet for retirement

When choosing a pet for retirement, as with choosing a pet in general, there are a few things to consider so that your pet doesn’t turn into a full-time job you can’t resign from!

  1. Consider how you wish to enjoy your time and find a pet that’s suited to the life you wish to lead. If you’re outdoorsy and active, perhaps a feisty pup that loves to run? If you enjoy reading and afternoon naps, perhaps a lop-eared rabbit who loves to cuddle?
  1. If travelling is an important part of your retirement plan, ensure you introduce a pet into your life that is capable of caring for itself in your absence, such as an aquarium of fish, or is able to easily be cared for by family, friends or local pet boarders, such as a calm breed of cat.
  1. Consider the costs involved in being a pet parent, including vet visits checkups when assessing if the pet you have in mind will meet your budget.
  1. With retirement come relaxation, and to ensure it stays that way, ensure you choose an animal whose upkeep you’re happy to meet. While budgies and birds are manageable for most, it takes a passionate person to take on the maintenance of a merino sheepdog’s mane!

Sharing your new life as a retiree with a pet will be the most pleasurable and rewarding if you take some time to consider your lifestyle, your financial situation and level of commitment prior to bringing them home. As with any relationship, if the one you build with your pet is based on a solid foundation, it will last the test of time and bring a lifetime of happiness.


10 facts about dogs that you didn't know about

A man’s best friend and a common companion for many families and households, is the energetic and lovable dog. While you may think you know your dog pretty well, you’d be surprised to find out there are many little known facts about dogs that may explain part of their behaviour, habits or appearance.

Want to know more? Here are 10 little known facts about dogs:

  1. Dogs have been around for over 40,000 years

Your favourite pooch has had a long history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that dogs might have come from the wolf family up to 40,000 years ago. This is most noticeable for specific dog breeds like the German Shepherd who still seem to have a noticeable wolf like appearance.

  1. Not all dogs have pink tongues.

Nearly all but two breeds of dogs have pink tongues. The Chow Chow and the Shar-Pei are exceptions as they both have black tongues. How cool is that?

  1. There are more than 150 dog breeds, divided into 8 classes.

These include: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, herding, and miscellaneous dogs.

Determining dog types isn’t as simple as you thought! While we commonly distinguish dogs by their size, general appearance or hair length, it seems there is a lot more to it than that. There are approximately over 150 dog breeds, all with distinct physical, behavioral and mental characteristics.

  1. Dogs can hear amazingly well.

All dogs have amazing hearing that allows them to locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second. That means they can tell instantly when you are opening their dog food (or any other kind of food!) and will come chasing in no time!

  1. Dogs curl up to protect themselves (not to just look cute).

We love the look of our favourite pooch curled in a ball on the bed, couch or pretty much anywhere else, however it isn’t just to look cute! Dogs curl up as a natural instinct to keep themselves warm and to protect their vital organs when they sleep.

  1. Dalmatian puppies are actually born completely white!

They certainly didn’t teach us this one in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians! The gorgeous Dalmatian puppies are born completely white and they develop their black spots over time.

  1. Puppies can’t hold on over night.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot teach your brand new puppy to hold off from going to the toliet throughout the night, never fear it’s not your fault! Puppies actually have an inability to hold on until they are about four months old.  Although this may cause a little stress and havoc during the beginning, it is a lot less time than it takes to toilet train a newborn human baby!

  1. They can smell a lot better than you think.

We know our dogs love to sniff pretty much anything, especially when you take them somewhere new, but did you know that their sense of smell can be between 1,000 - 100,000 times stronger than the average human? That means there’s no fooling them when you have their bone or are hiding food, chances are they are smell it from a mile away!

  1. The Norwegian Lundehund is the only breed that has six toes on each feet.

The small breed is different from its furry friends as it has not five but six toes on each foot. How cute is that?

  1. Dogs have an amazing internal clock.

If you keep to a fairly regular schedule, dogs learn to know exactly when it’s walk time, eat and sleep time and when you’re due to get back from work.