Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spring Grooming – How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

Nail trimming is an important task that keeps your dog’s nails short and healthy, and also keeps your floors and furniture safe from snags and scratches. 

Long nails can break and bleed, or even grow back into the paw and cause pain. So it’s really important as a pet owner to ensure your dog’s nails are maintained. 

Often people seek veterinary help to trim their pet’s nails, however wouldn’t it be nice to save a trip to the vet and do them yourself at home?

Discover Dr Mark’s simple method, along with a few handy tips on trimming your dog’s nails. 

how to trim your dogs nails

So first and foremost, to help make the experience positive, grab some treats and don’t feel like you need to trim all the nails at once. 

Start with one, reward, and come back later. Particularly if you or your pet is nervous. 

Also, try pick a time when your dog is relaxing. If they’re in the mood to play, wait until they’re lounging before approaching them.

Secondly, there are many different types of nail trimmers. It is recommended buying a good quality pair that are sharp and designed for the correct size of dog. 

A product such as the Medium GripSoft Deluxe Dog Nail Clipper is suitable for small and medium dogs, and is also available in a larger size that is suitable for medium and large dogs. 

This tool is great for beginners – it has a soft grip handle and cutting guard that makes nail trimming safe and easy. 

GripSoft Nail Clippers

So a good way to start is by gently touching your dog’s paw, also known as paw handling. If they don’t pull away or resist, start massaging the paw and gently pressing on their nails. 

Depending on your dog’s age and temperament, it may take a few sessions before they’re used to paw handling.

Now, onto how to trim the nails. Starting with the back legs, one technique that helps is to hold the handle of the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut across the nail, so that the nail will sit just above the ground. 

This technique is good if you are worried about cutting the nails too short.

Trimming Dog's Nails

And if you want to get a shorter cut than the previous method, aim to cut at a 45° angle, after visualising the quick.

The quick is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our nails.

canine-quick


You also don’t want to forget the dewclaws. Not all dogs have them but if they do they will be located on the inside of the leg, just above the ‘wrist’.

canine dew claw

So with a lot of praise, a few treats and the right tool, trimming your dog’s nails can be a quick and simple process for you and your pet. 

We hope this advice has been helpful for you, if you’d like to learn more pet health information visit VetShopAustralia.com.au or let us know on our Facebook Page what you’d like to know more about. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dr Mark's Top 10 Things Your Dog Should NOT Eat

Over the years I practised veterinary medicine, I noticed that there was a repeated trend in the type of foreign bodies that I had to remove from the bowels of our canine friends.  

It may be useful for pet owners to know what the ten worst offenders are. Some of the items are often fed to dogs in the common belief that they are harmless, others the dogs themselves tend to find and ingest without their owner’s knowledge.

 Here are my Ten Worst Offenders:
  1. Cooked bones (chop bones, ham bones, etc) 
  2. Stones and rocks (gravel)
  3. Corn Cobs
  4. Fish hooks
  5. Mango Seeds & Avocado seeds
  6. Super Balls
  7. Macadamia Nuts
  8. Rubber bits – sink plugs, caps of shock absorbers etc
  9. Plastic bags
  10. String (baling twine, wool & fishing line etc) 
Things that I have not removed out of animals but which many of my associates have had to remove are:
  • Hardware such as screws and nails
  • Cloth – One of my colleges removed a shirt out of the stomach of a dog.
  • Corks
Take care with all of the above items and help prevent major abdominal surgery for your beloved pets!


Interested in a more detailed version of what foods are safe and unsafe for your dog, click here for more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

7 Things You Might Not Know But Should Be Doing to Care for an Old Dog

How do you know when to consider your dog as a senior?

Is it when they turn a certain age? Or is it when their hair starts going a little grey?

To answer the question, it really just depends.


In general, bigger dog breeds will age and show signs of ageing faster than smaller breed dogs. 

For example, a Great Dane is considered to be a senior by roughly 5-6 years old, a Golden Retriever could be considered senior by 8-10 years, and small dogs like a Chihuahua are considered a senior around the age of 10-11.

Aside from age, dogs can also show a number of signs that they are ageing. These may include:
  • Decrease in energy levels
  • Arthritis and stiffening of joints
  • Not jumping up or down surfaces like they use to e.g. the couch, stairs etc.
  • Rougher and thinner coat with bald patches and white hairs
  • Deafness, revealed by failure to respond to commands
  • Tooth and gum conditions
  • Warts, fatty lumps and even tumours may appear (ensure to check these with your vet)
  • Excessive thirst and frequent and uncontrolled urination
  • Confusion or failure to recognise surroundings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression, disobedience and occasional destructive behaviour
  • A hazy, bluish cast over the eyes (should not affect eyesight unless cataracts are formed)
  • A tendency to sleep more during the day but sleep less at night. Some dogs may pace around the house at night due to sore joints, senility or even loneliness
  • Weight gain

Although you don’t want it to, the day will come when you start spotting the signs of your dog ageing. However this does not mean you have to wrap your fur-friend in cotton wool and start to worry.

You may just need to make a few small adjustments to your usual routine, and take a few extra precautions. To help you out, we’ve gathered the top 7 most important things you should be doing to care for an old dog.

1. Proper Medical Care


Regular check-ups are very important for older dogs. 

Keep note of any new or unusual symptoms your dog may be showing and report them to your vet.

It's also crucial that you maintain your dog’s regular flea & tick, heartworm and worm protection, as older dogs can be more susceptible to disease.

And if your dog has been diagnosed with a certain medical condition, for example Arthritis, you really want to stay on top of their medication schedule, to ensure your fur-friend is happy and comfortable as can be.

If your pet requires prescription medication, visit PetScripts.com.au, and shop for over 700 high quality and discount products. 



2. Steady Exercise


Obesity and arthritis are the top two most common problems experienced by older dogs, so regular exercise is very important.

Even a brisk walk around the block, or play time in the backyard is great for keeping their joints moving.

Please note, if your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, consult your vet before beginning an exercise routine. 



3. Daily Routine


A consistent and daily routine is something everyone can benefit from, and will help your dog’s physical, mental and emotional health.

Even if it’s as simple as feeding at the same time, regular afternoon walks, grooming at night etc.

Things for them to look forward to in a sense.



4. Healthy Skin & Coat


Ensuring a regular skin and coat routine for your older dog is not only going to help their external appearance, but it’s going to make them feel great on the inside too.

Try bathing your older dog every 2-3 weeks with a soothing shampoo such as Aloveen Oatmeal Shampoo, as this will be gentle on their skin and leave their fur smelling great and feeling silky smooth. 

And for a little extra support, a supplement such as PAW Coat, Skin & Nail Chews that contains the essential nutrients silica and zinc, along with chia and flaxseeds, will really help improve and maintain your dog’s appearance. 



5. Healthy Teeth & Gums


Older dogs are more prone to gum disease and tartar build-up, so a regular dental routine is very important. 

Dental treats are a simple and low-cost solution to keep your dog’s pearly whites shinning bright.

A product such as Greenies Dental Treats will provide your dog with complete oral care when fed daily. Plus, the treats will help discourage tartar build up and plaque, and are also a great solution for freshening your dog’s breath. 



6. Emotional Support


As your dog ages, it’s important to be sensitive to what they are going through, and understand that a lot of psychological changes are taking place. 

Daily care for your older pet may require a little more patience on your part. 

Your loving care and commitment will really help and make for a positive quality of life for your senior fur-friend.



7. Specific Nutrition


Understanding the changing nutritional needs of your senior dogs is one of the most important things for you to consider. 

Generally, dogs of seven years and older will start to take life a little easier, and as a result, their nutritional needs and requirements will need to adjust to this new way of life.

Senior dogs are less active and have a slower metabolism, so fewer calories are required.

This does not mean lesser quality, as easy-to-digest protein and nutrients now become more important than ever. 

The simplest way to ensure you are providing your dog with everything they need to thrive, is to feed them with specifically formulated senior diet dog food. Hill’s Science Diet, Advance or Royal Canin would be a great option. 



Overall, caring for your older dog is just like caring for any aged dog. Snuggle up, spend quality time together, and appreciate every moment you pup has to give. 

Do you have any tips for providing extra care for your older dog? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Does Your Dog Stare at You While They Poop?

To all the dog owners out there, have you ever caught your dog staring at you while they poop?

Or perhaps they shuffle around mid-deed, leaving a trail?

Or maybe they turn in circles for what seems like forever?

Whatever your fur-friend does, there’s actually a very good reason for it.

As you’re probably already aware, dogs are fascinating beings, and full of complex emotions and psychology.

Have a read of the reasons behind you dog’s strange toilet habits, and discover how these rituals came about. 

The Stare


For us humans, doing our business is generally not a time when we want to lock eyes with someone.

But dogs don’t worry about things like that.

In fact, they’re not staring at you to ask for privacy, their actually doing quite the opposite.

In the wild, a defecating animal is seen as vulnerable.

So by staring at you, a member of their pack, your dog is making sure that you’re keeping watch for any potential threats.

And even more interestingly, they are watching your body movements for any signs of approaching danger. 

So if your dog is staring at you, don’t feel awkward. It means they trust you!

And for those owners whose dogs sit with you while you’re in the bathroom. They’re simply returning the favour.



The Stroll


If your dog decides mid-poop that it’s time for a stroll, it’s actually for a very good reason.

Dogs will sometimes take a few steps as motion aids with the passage of stool.

And other times, it’s just because there’s a reallllly interesting smell a few inches away.

If you notice your dog scooting after their business, they may be trying to clean off any excess.

However, it could also mean that they have worms, or the glands in that region need to be expressed.

If you noticed this happening, talk to your vet immediately.



The Kick


Some dogs after finishing up their business, like to kick up their back feet, along with dirt, grass, poo and anything else in the way.

This is generally for two reasons.

The first being them marking their territory by scraping their feet along the ground.

And secondly, surprisingly, this is actually their attempt at cleaning up.

Kicking away their waste like this is similar to how cats kick litter over their poo at home.

However, both species attempts really aren’t that helpful in the cleaning up region…



The Decision


The decision, or the indecision?

We’re sure you’ve all seen your dog sniff, spin and do laps of the area before they decide exactly where to go.

Well, dogs don’t just poop out of need, but also to mark their territory.

It’s sort of like the canine equivalent of humans leaving notes or graffiti to show others where they’ve been. 

So if your dog does this, it’s simply because they’re staking out the perfect place where their ‘information’ is sure to be noticed. 



The Compass


You may or may not have heard of this one before.

Many dogs while doing their business, will align their bodies along the north-south axis, with a preference of facing north.

This shows that dogs might be magneto-sensitive, or sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field.

However, will only do so when the magnetic field is calm.

So if you’re even in need of a compass, just wait for pooch to relieve themselves, and you’re good to go.



Overall, whatever way your dog chooses to do their business, just know it’s part of them being who they are. 

Does your dog have any funny habits? Let us know in the comments below.

And, be sure to share this with your friends, who also might have a pooch with a strange toilet time habit!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Tips for Pet Owners Who Rent

A large stepping stone many people are faced with when it comes to being a pet owner and renting a property, is that the two are not always compatible.

Renting pet owners are often faced with the challenge of not only finding a landlord who will allow pets, but also a home that is suitable for their fur-friends. 

So how does a pet owner find and negotiate a suitable property?

To help you out, we’ve gathered our top 5 tips to securing the perfect home for your pet-family.

1. Enquire


Often when people search a property listing that does not mention pets, they conclude that pets are not allowed. 

However, this may not always be the case. 

Make a move and enquire about the possibility of adding your fur-friend in the contract.

The answer may turn out to be a no, but it could also be a yes – so it’s better to just ask!


ask-about-renting-with-pets


2. Sweeten The Deal


If you’re eager to get the ball rolling, offering to pay extra rent to cover your pet, might just seal the deal.

Even if it’s just an additional $5 a week.

Landlords and property manager who see tenants that are willing to make an extra effort, may be more open to compromising. 

Once again, you will never know unless you just ask.

offer-to-pay-more-rent


3. Keep Thorough Records


More often than not, landlords will avoid circumstances that may result in their property being damaged, particularly in new homes.

This is why the few that do allow pets to live with their tenants, ask for various information, references and pet records.

To make things easier and more efficient if this question does arise, prepare a little documentation file.

In your file include documents such as vaccination certificates, health and vet records and any other relevant information.

You could even write a reference for your pet that contains information such as age, breed, temperament, type of coat etc.  

keep-vet-records-when-renting


4. Consider Your Pet’s-Eye View


An important factor that should not be overlooked, is to ensure that the home you pick is appropriate for the entire family.

For instance, dogs should have plenty of room to move around, preferably somewhere with grass, and areas to laze with good airflow and ventilation.

So a one-bedroom apartment with no yard, probably isn’t the best option.

Take your time, and don’t feel like you have to say yes if you get approved somewhere that isn’t quite right. 

Remember, your family’s well-being is what matters most.

consider-your-pets-when-renting


5. Commit to a Clean


While you’re already obligated to clean a property when you depart, offering to remove all traces of your pet’s presence might just get you over the line. 

Put in writing that you will deep clean the carpets, deodorise the home, and importantly, perform consistent flea treatments over the duration of your stay.

clean-house-from-fleas


We hope these tips help! If you’d like to read more articles like this, sign up to our monthly newsletter here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why Talking To Your Pet Is Good For Your Health

Hands up if you talk to your pet?

And if you’re anything like us at VetShopAustralia, it’s each and every day, all day long.

We love telling them about our day, what we’ve been up to, and even how we feel.

Whilst this may sound a little strange to those without pets, talking to pets is actually very common.

But did you know talking to your pet is good for your health?



“The average dog can understand around 200 words”



Your Pet Knows How You’re Feeling


Here’s a fun fact, although we talk to people using words, 80% of our communication is actually via our body language. 

The average dog can understand up to 200 words, but won’t really understand spoken language.

They can however, pick up on our emotions, and are able to sense how we’re feeling. 

Kind of like a 6th sense.

Some dogs will lay their head on your lap when you’re upset for example, whilst your cat may often sit with you when you’re feeling lonely or unwell (even if they don’t sit with you normally).

So it doesn’t really matter what you say to them, but rather how you express it.

If you’re one to talk regularly to your pet, he or she is going to know you inside out, which is a really special bond to have with your fur friend.



“Your pet senses how much you love them by the way you talk to them”


Talking to Your Pet Is Good for BOTH of You


We see pets as family, and genuine friends that we can bare our souls to – secrets are always safe, and an animal will never judge us… or do they?

But did you know having a good old yarn with your fur friend is actually good for your mental health?

Taking to pet’s and interacting with them regularly can lower stress levels, increase productiveness and overall just make you feel good!

That’s why at VetShopAustralia, we bring our furry pals to work with us. For more information, click here.

Now as mentioned earlier, pets can sense how your feeling; and they can also sense how you feel towards them.

A lot of you and your pet’s communication is actually expressed through intonation.

For example, your dog may associate a high, happy voice with positivity and excitement, a neutral, calming voice with reassurance, and a low, deep voice with negativity or disapproval.

Next time you talk to your pet, think about your tone and body language and see how they respond.



“Your pet actually has a lot to say in return”


You Learn Your Pet’s Language Too


Although animals are good at picking up on much of what we say, they still have their own way of communication too.

Start paying greater attention, and you’ll notice that your pet has quite a lot to say in return when you talk to them.

Try immerse yourself in the body language of your cat, dog, bunny or any pet for that matter, and you’ll soon realise there’s a whole new form of communication to discover.

Overall, the more you work on understanding each other, the stronger your bond will be and the happier and healthy you both will feel!




Do you know how to break up a dog fight? Learn the skills and protect your pet here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to Take the Perfect Photo of Your Pet in 5 Simple Steps

Can we all agree we’ve tried to take that perfect picture of our pet to share across social media, however failed miserably?

Fido sit, stay, don’t move ah! 

Taking a good photo of your cat or dog can be tricky; as most pets are not natural born posers… 

Not to worry, let us help you capture that Kodak moment with our 5-step guide to taking the perfect picture of your pet.

Step One: Work with Your Pet’s Personality


Some dogs are gentle, slow moving and calm; while others jump, lick and run laps of the yard. 

Consider what makes your pet unique and work on these qualities. 

For example, photograph your playful pooch during a game of fetch, or your cat that enjoys snoozing for hours, on a cosy blanket next to the fireplace. 

And try avoid encouraging your pet into unnatural situations; as showing their true personality always looks best.



Step Two: Ensure a Relaxed Atmosphere


Getting your pet to pose in a studio is not only difficult, but they probably won’t enjoy it either. 

In fact, most pets are more likely to relax and be their best selves in a familiar environment; at home, in the garden, or even the beach. 

Try make your little photo shoot fun for everyone, and ensure there is plenty of interaction and breaks. 



Step Three: Natural Lighting Works Best


For the most desirable lighting, try photographing your pet during the day and preferably outside. 

Also avoid using a flash, as this will not look as effective and can also frighten your pet. 

In additional to good lighting, you also want to consider the surroundings. 

An adventurous dog against the backdrop of a crystal clear beach makes for a pretty amazing shot.



Step Four: Get On Your Pet’s Level


Our best tip to you, is to get on your pet’s level. 

Kneeling down when photographing animals really does make a huge difference. 

Photos taken from a low camera angle will help make your pet the central focus in the final image.

Aim for the eyes and you’ll capture your pet’s unique personality. 

And if your pet is acting calm or a little sleepy, this is a great chance to get up close and personal. 

Most importantly, experiment! Try a close-up portrait or a fun action shot.

Another great tip is to take your photos with your subject off-centre, and have something interesting in the background.

Not only will this look nicely balanced, but your friends will think you’re a pro!



Step 5: The Winning Shot


Keep things simple, stay relaxed, and just have fun with it!

Encourage plenty of action with a selection of toys and treats, as this will allow for a range of different shots.

And most importantly, aim to harness your pet’s natural spontaneity and instinct. Your dog might suddenly do something funny, so be alert and ready to capture the moment. 

Overall, your little photoshoot most likely won’t turn out quite as you imagined, but you’ll soon see that this makes for some super cute photos, and some memorable moments shared with your best friend.

Happy snapping!



We’d love to see our tips put to use. Share your perfect pet photos on our Facebook page and you could be featured in monthly newsletter that is sent out to over 60,000 pet families!