Is your pet overweight?

When it comes to your pet, you might think that carrying a few extra kilos isn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, even slightly overweight pets are at an increased risk of developing a host of diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes.

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no ideal weight for every breed. The key is to know what to look out for so you can identify when your pet is getting a bit portly.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos:

  • Look at your pet from above – an overweight pet will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they may resemble a barrel on legs.  
  • Have a feel of your pet’s ribs – if you can’t feel their ribs easily when you run your hands over their sides, they are hidden under a layer of fat. In some cases, you may be able to feel rolls of fat over the ribs.
  • Can you see their neck? A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

Thankfully, getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think.

Physical exercise is a must, and it will be crucial to monitor the amount, as well as what type of food you are feeding your pet. Get your family involved in the process too, get them measuring the correct scoops of food per feeding, and stop them sneaking scraps from the dinner table to the pampered pet!

It’s also easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet’s weight. Keep these calorie translator facts in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes:

For the average 5kg cat: a glass of milk is equivalent to a human eating 3 hamburgers! (not to mention the fact that cats can’t digest the lactose in cow’s milk)

For a 10kg dog: a 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers!

The best news is, we have diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate. We are happy to say that many of our patients have had great success with these so you should ask us for more information.

Helping your pet lose weight is easier than you think and we will help support you and your pet through the process.

Everything You Need To Know About Registering Your Pet

Registering your cat or dog helps in ensuring they can be located quickly if they ever go missing. When your pet reaches 12 weeks old, they must be registered. This process involves a microchip being implanted into your pet, as well as a tag that is sent to you after registration, to be put onto your pet – making it easier for him or her to be returned home in case they do go missing. In this blog, our vet in Templestowe has put together some things you should know about registering your pet.

 

Discounts you may be entitled to

 

If your pet is desexed you’re entitled to a discount. However, if your pet is under the age of six months, then they may be registered for the same price as a desexed puppy or kitten. You’ll just need to prove they were desexed later when it comes time to renew your pet’s registration.

 

You’re also able to receive a registration discount if you’re a pensioner, as well as discounts for being a member of an approved organisation, or discounts if your pet has completed obedience training from approved training organisations. The full list of these organisations can be found here.

 

Don’t forget to renew the registration

 

10thof April is the due date for pet registration renewal every year. This can be done online and all you need is a valid Visa or MasterCard and your pet’s Animal ID number. You can renew your pet’s registration here. Also, if your pet’s ID tag is lost or breaks then contact your council to arrange the delivery of a replacement.

 

Keeping your information updated

 

If your contact details change at all then let your local city council know. Keeping the database up-to-date is essential in case your pet does go missing. If you move into a new council zone you will also have to contact your new council to arrange the transfer of information.

 

Simply bring a copy of your registration certificate when moving to your new council. It is also important to contact your old council to tell them of the move, as well as the old microchip registration body under which your pet’s microchip is registered. If you need help seeing what microchip database your pet is registered under, you can check online here.

 

Get in touch with a vet today

 

Vets on Parker is a friendly Templestowe vet that is dedicated to helping the pet community with helpful veterinary advice and services. Please feel free to book an appointment at our clinic today.

 

If you any further questions regarding pet registration you can also give us a call on (03) 9850 1355.

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.

Our Seasonal Allergy Guide

Spring season is allergy season for pets so keep an eye out for skin irritations and inflammation, excessive scratching and respiratory issues. In particular, we want to highlight three types of allergies which land pets in our clinic around this time of year:

Grass allergies

The pollen from grass can cause an allergic reaction in both cats and dogs. Some animals have the condition for life, some develop it over time. The allergy most commonly shows up as dermatitis- an itchy rash on the skin which your pet will scratch excessively. Scratching often leads to hair loss and wounds, which can then lead to infection. If you notice your pet displaying these symptoms, your first stop should be the vet to rule out parasites and other allergies. If your pet does have a grass allergy, your vet will be able to provide medication to treat inflammation when it appears. Limiting the amount of contact your dog has with grass pollen is also important. Keep your grass mowed down, and wash and dry your dog’s feet when they come in from playing outside.

Purple heart (Wandering Jew)

 This common weed causes allergic dermatitis in dogs when they come into contact with it. Simply walking through the plants can cause redness and irritation as well as loss of fur and potentially even a secondary infection if your pet scratches and damages the skin. If your pet comes into contact with the weed, bring them to the clinic and your vet will be able to soothe the irritation to make your pet more comfortable and stop them scratching so they heal quickly.

Bee stings

 Dogs can have a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to bee stings. Symptoms begin to show up almost immediately and include itching and swelling around the sting area, redness, hives, diarrhoea, and possibly vomiting. If you notice these symptoms, call your vet immediately as time is key when it comes to treating allergic reactions. Some dogs go into anaphylactic shock when stung by bees which is characterised by symptoms including trouble breathing, wheezing, a blue tint to the skin and collapse. If your dog is displaying these symptoms, it is an emergency situation and you should call the team at Vets on Parker as soon as possible.

 

The team at Vets on Parker have all the skills and resources necessary to help you manage your pet’s seasonal allergies. Book your pet in for an allergy consultation today by calling

(03) 9850 1355 or booking online.

Is My Dog Too Old for Teeth Cleaning?

Good dental health is important for dogs at every age. Unfortunately, around 80% of dogs over the age of three years old suffer from tooth and gum disease. If your dog has untreated tartar build-up from such a young age, by the time they reach their senior years (dogs aged 7 and over are considered seniors), they can have significant dental problems which in turn can have a big impact on their general health. Senior dogs can benefit significantly from teeth cleaning; however, many owners have concerns that given their pet’s age, they may be doing more harm than good by putting their dog under anaesthesia to have their teeth cleaned. In this blog, we’ll break down the factors that go into determining whether or not your dog is too old to have its teeth cleaned.

Old age is not a disease

Whilst senior dogs are more susceptible to certain health conditions and their bodies have certainly seen more wear and tear than the average puppy, age is not a disease and technically speaking, no dog is ‘too old’ to go under anaesthesia and have their teeth cleaned. What really matters is your dog’s state of health.

Periodontal disease could be the reason your pet is ‘slowing down’

Many pet owners underestimate the impact that poor dental health can have on their senior dog’s health and quality of life. Tartar build-up can lead to periodontal disease which not only causes sore gums, swelling, tooth pain, and tooth loss, but the bacteria can move into the dog’s bloodstream and cause problems with the heart, kidneys and liver. Stressing the organs in this way can lead to a number of functional problems and can take a toll on your dog’s immune system, ultimately shortening their lifespan. When you look at it like this, teeth cleaning is not an ‘elective procedure’ but a crucial element of senior pet healthcare.

Veterinarians are more than capable of managing the risks of anaesthesia in older dogs

There are genuine risks associated with administering an anaesthesia to a senior dog, but veterinarians have become adept at mitigating these risks.

Potential risk Management solution
Low blood pressure IV fluids are administered during the procedure support blog pressure and circulation.

 

Low heart rate Pre-anaesthetic blood testing assesses organ function to ensure any issues are flagged and planned for before the procedure begins.

 

Low blood oxygen & body temperature  

A veterinarian will monitor your dog’s vital signs throughout the procedure and can administer medication if issues arise.

 

Prolonged recovery Antibiotics may be used to manage infection in dogs with a compromised immune system.

 

What’s the best course of action?

As always, the best person to consult regarding whether your senior dog is a suitable candidate for teeth cleaning is your veterinarian. They will have a good idea of your pet’s general health and will be able to perform a thorough dental exam to assess the state of your pet’s teeth. Your vet will then take these factors into consideration and discuss treatment options with you.

Vets on Parker offer free dental assessments to our patients as part of their regular check-up. Book your senior dog in for their 6-month check-up online or give us a call on (03) 9850 1355.

 

 

Animal and Child Safety

Many children love animals and can develop close bonds with their pets. This, in turn, can help the child learn important social skills such as empathy, respect for others and patience. However, if an animal feels trapped, frightened or threatened, even the most docile pets will do everything they can to make a perceived threat go away. As a parent, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your family pet and your child develop a harmonious and safe relationship. In this blog, we look at the four basic steps of animal and child safety.

  1. Teach your child how to be safe around pets

Safe behaviour around animals as well as the knowing the signs of an upset animal are both valuable skills which can be taught very early on.

Dogs

Children should be taught:

  • To leave sleeping and eating dogs alone
  • To recognise the signs of an aggressive or upset dog (lifted lips, growling, staring, raised hair)
  • To ask pet owners for permission before interacting with a new dog
  • When approached by an unfamiliar dog, to stand completely still ‘like a tree’ with arms by their sides, hands in a fist, and not to make eye contact
  • To pat a dog gently along the back and sides
  • To avoid roughhousing
  • To never get between two fighting dogs

Cats

Children should be taught

  • To recognise the signs of an upset cat (swishing tail, raised hair, hissing, swiping)
  • To leave sleeping and eating cats alone
  • To pat rather than pick up the cat

Birds

Children should be taught:

  • To never tap the cage or stick objects in it

Rabbits/mice/guinea pigs

Children should be taught:

  • To hold the pet securely but gently
  • Not to pull hair or drop the animal from a height
  • Not to rattle or stick things into the cage
  1. Reinforce basic hygiene around animals

Good hygiene should be practised around pets at every age. Teach your children to wash their hands with soap every time they touch a pet, it’s food or it’s bedding. Children should be discouraged from going near the litter box or dog poo and parents should regularly clean cages or toileting areas to prevent the spread of bacteria.

  1. Supervise children under the age of five 

In Australia, children five years old and younger are the group most likely to sustain injuries from pets (particularly dogs) so during these first five years, children should always be supervised when around a dog or separated from them if supervision is not possible. Other supervision tips to keep in mind are:

  • With birds, it’s best if you hold the bird and have your young child pat it
  • Try to handle rabbits/mice and guinea pigs at least 15 minutes a day so the animal gets used to being held and is less likely to scratch or bite
  • Keep cages in a common area so you can supervise all interactions
  1. Take precautions to ensure your pet is healthy and well trained

Make sure your family pet is up to date with all of their vaccinations and parasite treatments as some parasites are transferable to humans. In addition to this, dogs who regularly interact with children should have basic obedience training and be able to follow simple commands.

 

Vets on Parker is a family-focused veterinary clinic in Templestowe dedicated to ensuring your pet has the best possible quality of life. Book an appointment online or call us 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.