3 Dog Weight Management Tips For The New Year

What is your New Year’s resolution? For many of us, it’s weight loss. While our personal health is incredibly important, it is not every day that we take our dog’s weight into consideration too. In fact, approximately 40% of dogs in Australia are overweight or obese, and many pet owners don’t even know it! Therefore, today the vets at our Templestowe veterinary clinic are sharing some key tips for keeping your dog at a healthy weight in the coming year.

 

3 ways to check if your pet is overweight

It is common to check whether your dog is overweight in the following ways:

  • Checking from above: If your dog is at a healthy weight, his or her body shape should represent an hourglass.
  • Checking your pet’s ribs: You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs quite easily at a healthy weight. To correctly feel for ribs, place your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread your hands across the ribcage.
  • Checking from the side at eye level: Healthy dogs will have their abdomens tucked behind their ribcages.

 

3 tips for pet weight management

The first thing you should do if you notice your dog is overweight is book a visit to our Templestowe veterinary clinic. Upon assessing your pet, our vets will be able to create a weight management plan that is perfectly suited to the needs of your dog. We will also be able to monitor your dog’s health and track his or her weight loss progress.

After you visit a vet, there are some things you can do at home to help manage your dog’s weight, including:

  1. Feeding your dog more vegetables (typically we recommend that you replace a third of your dog’s regular kibble with healthy veggies).
  2. Exercising your dog more frequently (aim for around 30 minutes per day). Remember: this will help you achieve your New Year’s resolution, too!
  3. Reducing your dog’s calorie intake by reducing portion size. Your vet will be able to advise you on the optimal portion size for your dog. As a pet owner, you can ensure this portion is enforced by carefully measuring your dog’s food before serving.

 

Book an appointment at our Templestowe veterinary clinic

At Vets on Parker, we are passionate about your pet’s health. Our Templestowe veterinary clinic offers a range of veterinary services that benefit the local community of pets and pet owners, including weight management planning.

To find out more about our weight management services for pets, get in touch with us at (03) 9850 1355 or book an appointment at our Templestowe veterinary clinic today.

The Christmas Treats That Aren’t Pet-Friendly

In December, our Bulleen vet sees a lot of patients with tummy upsets which can often be traced back to too many rich festive foods. Ideally, pets should not ever be fed processed foods as their stomachs have not evolved to digest them and so eating them often leads to diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

 

However, there are some festive ingredients (and inedible) which can cause more serious health issues including:

  • Candy wrappers/toothpicks/skewers: If something smells good, your pet will eat it, even if it’s not edible. These are just some of the things that can get swallowed and stuck in your pet’s oesophagus or intestines.
  • Poinsettias: These traditional flowers are toxic to dogs and cats, so keep them out of reach or out of the house altogether if your pet likes to nibble on plants.
  • Raw or undercooked meats: The bacteria in raw or undercooked meat makes pets sick too! If you do give your pet some meat over the festive season, it should be boneless and without seasoning- lean cuts like chicken breast are ideal.
  • Dough: Once ingested, the raw dough will continue to rise in your pet’s stomach and it can cause life-threatening bloat or alcohol poisoning (from the yeast).
  • Alcohol, tea and coffee: Whilst tea leaves and coffee are only likely to cause a stomach upset, alcohol is toxic to pets and can be lethal even in small amounts.
  • Sage: Toxic to cats, this herb can cause central nervous problems.

Has your pet consumed any of the above? We recommend you book an appointment with our Bulleen vet clinic immediately.

Protecting Your Pets From The Sun

During summer, most of our pet patients visit our Templestowe veterinary clinic because they have been overexposed to the harsh sun. In this blog, we are explaining the different health consequences that this exposure can have on your pet. We’ve also put together a quick 5-step grooming guide for owners to care for their pets during summer.

Sunburn

Pets can get sunburnt too! Whilst any breed of animal can get sunburnt, pets with white or lightly pigmented hair are particularly susceptible. Sun damage usually occurs where your pet’s hair coat is at its thinnest. For cats and rabbits, sunburn is most common on the tips of the ears, eyelids and noses; for dogs, sunburn is most common on muzzles, armpits, abdomens and groins.

Like humans, sunburnt pets will have skin that looks red and flaky. Longer term sun damage shows up as thickened or scarred skin with ulceration and crusting. This skin is also susceptible to secondary bacterial infections and sun cancers may also develop.

 

How to protect your pet from the sun – slip, slop, shade

  • If you have an all-white or light coloured dog, or they have a thin coat, invest in sun-protective clothing. (Yes, they make sun shirts for pets!) Just make sure they don’t overheat in them.
  • Use a pet-specific sunscreen (available in our East Kew veterinary clinic) to ward off sunburn. Apply as directed to vulnerable areas twice a day.
  • Try to keep your pets out of the sun between 10am and 4pm. UV rays are at their strongest between these times so keep them in a well-shaded area of your yard or inside under the air con.

 

Pad burn

Did you know: When the air temperature is 25°C, the temperature of asphalt in the sun is 51°C. You can fry an egg at 55°C so imagine what that feels like on your dog’s feet!

The pads of your dog’s feet are as thick as the skin on the soles of your own feet, so walking your dog on surfaces like asphalt, concrete and brick during the summer months can burn the skin in as little as 60 seconds.

The best way to test if the pavement is too hot for walking your dog is to press your own hand onto the surface for 7-8 seconds. If it’s uncomfortable for you, then it will be uncomfortable for your dog.

Other summer walking tips to keep in mind:

  • Walk your dog in the morning rather than the evening, as asphalt retains heat.
  • Walk on dirt or grass paths which don’t soak up the heat at the same rate.
  • Consider investing in protective booties for your dog.

 

Our summer grooming guide

  1. Get your dog a summer cut but make sure they are not shaved all the way down to the skin as this makes them susceptible to sunburn.
  2. Cats typically do not need to be shaved unless they are unable to groom themselves.
  3. Bathe your dog once every few weeks using pet-friendly shampoo. Bathing more often or with products meant for humans can cause irritation.
  4. Check in between your dog’s paw pads after they have been playing outdoors – burrs and grass seeds can work their way into the skin and cause irritation or infection.
  5. Summer is flea and tick season! Make sure your pet is up to date with their parasite control and chat with your vet if you’re planning on taking your pet to the beach (other parts of Victoria and Australia are home to different kinds of parasites).

Vets on Parker is a Templestowe veterinary clinic that is dedicated to supporting our community with helpful veterinary advice and services. Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at our clinic today!

Pet First Aid 101: Heatstroke

As we head into summer, it’s important to know the risks that the hot weather will present to your cat, dog or pocket pet. The main risk is heatstroke – a life-threatening condition that can escalate in a matter of minutes. In today’s blog, our trusted vet in Templestowe has put together a guide for everything you need to know about heatstroke so you can help your pet avoid the deadly consequences.

 

Know why heatstroke occurs

At our vet clinic in Templestowe, the number one heatstroke-related question we get asked is, “Why does it happen?”

Heatstroke occurs because our cats, dogs and pocket pets cannot cool down their bodies in the same way that we can, as they do not have as many sweat glands as we do. In order to compensate, they can often start to pant, but this only works to a certain extent before they begin to overheat. Once they start overheating, they can experience the symptoms of heatstroke, which is a condition that can be fatal.

 

Know how to help prevent heatstroke

The best way to help your pet with heatstroke is to prevent it altogether. You can help prevent heatstroke in the following ways:

  • Avoid exercising your pet or allowing them to walk on heat-retentive surfaces (such as sand or asphalt) in the hot weather
  • Put a wet towel inside your pocket pet’s cage for them to lie on, and hang another wet cloth on the side of the cage so that the passing breeze will be cooler
  • Never ever leave your pet in the car – in just 20 minutes on a 21°C day, your dog can overheat.

 

Know the symptoms of heatstroke

The main symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Rapid panting and salivation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Agitation
  • Collapsing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Muscle tremors and/or seizures.

 

Know a vet in Templestowe that you can contact

The first thing you should do if you notice that your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms is call a vet in Templestowe and let them know your pet is experiencing a medical emergency.

The next few things you do are crucial to helping your pet cool down in the meantime:

  • Immediately remove your pet from the hot environment
  • Spray or apply cool (not cold) water on your pet and then use a fan to cool down your pet quickly
  • Use a wet cloth to wet the area around your pet.

Vets on Parker is a vet in Templestowe that has been trusted by pet owners for over 30 years. If you have noticed that your pet is displaying any signs of heatstroke, we urge you to get in touch with us immediately on (03) 9850 1355.

Can My Dog Drink Water Before Surgery? (And Other Pet Surgery FAQs)

Pet surgery can understandably be a stressful time for owners. If your pet is due for surgery, you might be feeling nervous or worried, but don’t stress: at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital, we often get surgery-related questions from nervous pet-owners. In this blog, we are taking you through some of the most commonly asked pet surgery questions, and hopefully, the answers will help put your mind at ease.

 

Can my pet drink water before surgery?

Yes, you are welcome to give your dog or cat some water right up until you leave home for surgery. However, you need to avoid feeding your pet after 10pm the night before surgery. This can help reduce the risk of vomiting whilst under anaesthesia or during the wake-up period which could block their airway when not completely conscious.

 

Will my pet have stitches?

It ultimately depends on the kind of surgery being performed, but in most cases where a skin incision needs to be made, your pet will have one of two kinds of stitches:

  • Dissolvable sutures under the skin that disappear naturally
  • Skin stitches that need to be removed by your vet around two weeks after the surgery.

The vets at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital will send your pet home with an e-collar to prevent them from disturbing the stitches by licking or chewing them. You will also be given advice on keeping the wound clean and dry at home to help minimise the chance of post-operative infections.

 

How should I care for my pet after surgery?

Generally speaking, you should keep an eye on your pet and monitor the wound for any changes. Cats should be kept indoors and dogs kept confined and only let out for toilet breaks. Report changes to your vet immediately if they involve:

  • Repeated vomiting, diarrhoea or reluctance to eat
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Any bleeding or discharge from the wound
  • Restlessness or signs of pain
  • Anything else that is not normal for your pet and concerning you

After your pet’s surgery at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital, you will also be given detailed care instructions relative to your pet. These instructions might be to do with additional medication, keeping the wound clean, or even a new diet. Post-operative checks will also be scheduled.

Looking for experienced, friendly vets? Vets in Endeavour Hills is a veterinary hospital that offers everything from general checkups to surgery. Our Narre Warren veterinary hospital is fully equipped with everything that is needed to diagnose, treat and care for your pet. Schedule an appointment with us online or by calling (03) 9700 2264.

Our Guide To Senior Dog Diets

As your dog gets older, its body will begin to change. In particular, your dog will become more susceptible to a range of health problems. This is why senior dogs require attentive care, extending all the way to their diets, which we are exploring today in this blog.

 

When is a dog considered ‘senior’?

Whether or not your dog is considered senior depends on a number of factors:

  • Breed. Generally, smaller dogs tend to have a longer lifespan than bigger dogs.
  • Lifestyle. A dog that is unhealthy and overweight will also age faster than one that gets plenty of exercise and good food.

Generally speaking, depending on the breed and size of your dog, dogs can start to be considered senior from anywhere between 5-9 years old. However, the only surefire way to know whether your dog is senior and needs senior care is by regularly visiting your local vet for checkups.

 

Dogs with gastrointestinal problems

If your dog is suffering from gastrointestinal issues – such as constipation or diarrhoea – then you should:

  • Ensure you aren’t feeding your dog fatty foods or bones, as these items are generally not digested well
  • Try and avoid treats
  • Invest in fibre-rich food/additives (this helps both constipation and diarrhoea).

 

Dogs with dental issues

Steer clear of buying canned food for your senior dog, as it is sticky. The stickiness of the food means it can become lodged on or in between your dog’s teeth, which encourages the growth of plaque and tartar. Instead, purchase dry kibble that is suitable for senior dogs. The kibble scrapes against tartar and plaque and helps to remove it.

 

Dogs with kidney or heart disease

Does your dog have a form of kidney or heart disease? If so, you should avoid buying foods with excess salt and protein. Although there is no proof to suggest that doing so will prevent the disease altogether, avoiding these things will help ease the painful effects of the disease. Ensure your dog is also getting plenty of water.

 

Overweight dogs

As dogs age, their metabolism slows – not unlike humans. Slower metabolism means that it is easier for your dog to put on weight, and obesity can lead to a range of other health issues for your dog. The main things you should not be buying for your dog are treats and bones.

To combat your senior dog’s obesity, you should consult your local Bulleen vet, Vets on Parker. We offer a range of pet services, including weight management plans, dental care and surgery. Get in touch with a friendly Bulleen vet today on (03) 9850 1355.

Why You Should Feed Your Pet Dry Food Instead Of Canned Food

When it comes to deciding between wet or canned food for your pet, there are a number of pros and cons on each side. However, the vets at our Bulleen veterinary clinic usually recommend dry food over wet food for both cats and dogs. Today we are explaining exactly why dry food is better for your pet than wet food.

Wet food

Dogs

The main benefit of wet food is that it can be recommended for dogs with health conditions such as kidney stones or struvite crystals.

There are, however, more downsides to wet food:

  • Wet food has a shorter shelf life, meaning you’ll need to buy it more often and in smaller quantities, which can be inconvenient
  • It is more expensive
  • Wet food can be messy and stick in between teeth, which can be bad news for dental health
  • Wet food can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea

Cats

Like canned food for dogs, wet cat food is hydrating and is sometimes recommended to cats that have the following:

  • Kidney problems
  • Lower urinary tract disease (as the diluted urine lessens the pain and/or frequency of symptoms)

The downsides to wet cat food are similar to that of canned dog food (listed above).

 

Dry food

Dogs

Dry dog food holds many more benefits than wet dog food. There are a number of benefits to dry kibble for dogs:

  • It’s much easier to store, lasts longer and is more cost efficient
  • Kibble helps to remove built-up tartar and plaque, which is better for your pet’s dental health

The only main downside to dry food (for both cats and dogs) is that it is not as hydrating as wet food. However, providing your pet with clean water does the trick just fine.

Cats

While dry food does not substitute for proper dental care, dry cat food is also commonly agreed to be better for your cat’s teeth than canned food. It is also more affordable and convenient than canned food, which is another plus point. Therefore, dry food is also better for your cat than canned food.

Got any more questions about dry and canned pet food? Vets on Parker can help with any concerns you might have, from feeding plans to dental care. Book an appointment at our Bulleen veterinary clinic today on (03) 9850 1355.

A Basic Guide To Dog Park Etiquette

Taking your dog to the dog park can be rewarding for both of you. Interaction with other dogs is necessary for your pet’s social skills, while meeting other owners can be fun for you, too. But for the safety of your dog and others, there are some dog park etiquette tips you should keep in mind before going. Today, we are running through some basic tips that will help keep the dog park a fun place for everyone.

 

Always exercise your dog before going to the park

After being inside all day, there’s nothing better than going outside – right? Unsurprisingly, your dog definitely agrees. The park is filled with excitement in the form of other dogs, people and activities to finally interact with.

However, if your dog is little too excited, he or she can actually instigate a fight with another dog. To avoid this, allow your dog to let off some steam before hitting the park by exercising at home beforehand.

 

Always bring plastic bags

Keeping the area clean and hygienic is not only basic decency as an owner – it’s safer for the dogs in that environment. Other dogs can contract a number of diseases if they come into contact with your dog’s waste. Therefore, it is pertinent to keep plastic bags with you at the dog park, even if the park offers bags to visitors.

 

Make sure your dog is suitable for the park

The dog park is meant to be a safe place for dogs to play nicely with each other. For the health and safety of your dog and others, you should ensure your pet would be suitable to bring to a dog park so that it remains a safe place for everyone.

Avoid bringing your dog to the park if he or she is:

  • A puppy
  • Pregnant/on the heat
  • Unvaccinated, or not up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Unregistered
  • Not desexed
  • Aggressive or possessive

 

Always pay attention to your dog

You know your dog best. At the dog park, it’s important to pay attention to your pet and notice when abnormal behaviour is occurring (particularly anti-social, shy or aggressive cues). Looking out for signs that your dog needs to be taken out of the park can even prevent a fight.

 

Searching for a vet in Bulleen? Vets on Parker are happy to help with any concerns you might have for your pet. Call us on (03) 9850 1355 to talk to our friendly staff today.