Naturally, you only want the best for your pet. That is why we have provided you with a list of frequently asked questions, to ensure you are equipped to provide them with the best possible care from day one.
How long should I feed my pet on puppy or kitten food?
When your puppy or kitten is growing, they should be weighed every week and the food intake adjusted to match their growth and development. We can help you with this calculation. Generally speaking, puppies and kittens should be fed a growth diet until they are 12 months of age. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, when dealing with certain diseases.
What bones can I feed my dog and cat?
Bone etiquette is best trained when your pet is young. Kittens can be encouraged to chew on a raw chicken wing tip. The bones suitable for puppies, however, will depend on the puppy size. Small dogs under 10 kilos can have a raw chicken neck, with the owner holding one end, to ensure the puppy does not gobble it whole. Bigger puppies can have a raw lamb shank bone, with the kneecap removed, or a chopped square brisket bone, which is soft. Cooked bones are never to be fed to any animal. All bone training should be carried out under direct and close supervision.
How often should I bath my pet?
Generally speaking, small house dogs can be bathed once every fortnight. More frequent bathing will cause dryness and scaling of the skin and is unnecessary. Through the summer months, larger dogs can be bathed once every month. Human shampoos should never be used, as they are the wrong pH balance for pet skin. Some cats can be trained to tolerate a bath, however it is usually unnecessary, as cats are fastidious groomers. All pets should be taught at a young age to tolerate brushing, which removes knots and dead fur, as well as stimulates the skin to produce oils and a new coat. We can help you select the correct grooming tool for your pet’s coat.
My dog does not go into a kennel, so why give the canine cough vaccine?
Kennel cough is a misnomer, as it implies that it is a disease found only in boarding kennel situations. This is not the case. Kennel cough is actually a syndrome, with a number of symptoms. Its correct name is Tracheitis. The virus and bacteria associated with kennel cough causes a severe inflammation, reddening and soreness, in the main windpipe and airways, as well as at the back of the throat. It is extremely debilitating for the dog and distressing for the owner.
The virus is extremely contagious and can be carried on shoes from visiting the park, spread in water bowls or picked up in the street. A coughing dog can aerosol the virus for metres into the neighbourhood. A stay in a boarding kennel is not needed to catch kennel cough.
What is heartworm and does my cat need treating?
Heartworm is a disease, which is spread by mosquitoes. It is more common where there are large areas of waterways and mosquitoes in the suburb. Put simply, the mosquito bites a carrier, such as a dog, fox or sometimes a cat, and then bites another pet, transferring the larvae (microfillariae) into their blood stream. The larvae go through several maturing stages, moving through the lungs to the heart, and grow inside the heart. It is a killer disease. Treatment is difficult, painful and very expensive. That is why prevention is key. The drugs in the three-monthly wormer simply don’t work to kill heartworms. There are several easy options available for managing heartworm prevention, including a once-a-year slow release injection. We can help you find the best type of prevention to suit your pet and environment. Even dogs that don’t go outside can come into contact with mosquitoes. Cats can be bitten and infected too. Sadly, heartworm in cats is most often a post mortem diagnosis, as sudden death occurs. For that reason, monthly prevention is best for cats.
How do I know when my pet is in pain?
Animals feel pain in the same way humans do. Pain in pets is difficult to assess, particularly in cats. There are a number of warning signs to look out for, which may indicate your pet is in pain. For example, not using a limb, repetitively licking at a part of the body, not interacting normally with the family, whimpering, crying or meowing in an unusual manner, unwillingness to go for a walk, circling over and over before getting comfortable, stops jumping, hesitates at stairs, cries when picked up and off food or water. If your pet is displaying any of these types of behaviours, then it is more than likely in pain and should be assessed and treated by a Veterinarian. There are various medications and protocols used to manage pain in pets. Your pet’s pain and suffering should not be left to mother nature.
I am thinking of buying a puppy or kitten. What do I need to know and consider?
You need to remember that your new family member will live for 12-16 years. To give you some context, equate that back to a human being! That is why there are a number of things you need to consider before buying a puppy or kitten. For example, the amount of exercise and time you can set aside for training and one-on-one attention, the cost of feeding (we can help you with that), insurance costs, council registration, veterinary bills and boarding stays. As a new pet owner, you will also need to look at your environment. For example, do you have slippery floors or steeply terraced gardens? Is your yard escape proof? If you are looking at buying a kitten, is a cat run needed? You will also need to consider if you are going to purchase a pedigree breed, a cross-bred designer, or a Heinz variety. Also, would you like to see the parents and assess their temperaments or is a pet shop purchase acceptable for you? Remember, it is the law in Victoria that any companion animal sold by private person or business must be microchipped prior to sale. Therefore, ensure the microchip papers are provided.