The Good Oils – For Pets

Have you ever wondered whether you’re giving your pet the nutrients she needs?

Dry pet food manufacturers claim that all the nutrients your pet needs are to be found inside that pretty bag but let’s face it – no matter how good the ingredients are – it’s still highly processed.

Which means, some valuable nutrients are destroyed in the process.

That’s why we always recommmend you augment your pet’s dry food diet with regular fresh foods and added healthy supplements – such as some Essential Fatty Acids.

Essential Fatty Acids

There are 2 groups of Essential Fatty Acids and you’ve probably heard of them. Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Research tells us that Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are as important to our health (and our pets) as are Vitamins and minerals. Sources of Omega 6 include, Chicken, cereals, grains, vegetable oils and eggs – common ingredients in cereal laden dry pet foods. Present in lesser amounts are the Essential 3 Fatty Acids – found in Flaxseeds, Fish oils, and some leafy green plants . Unfortunately – Fatty acids oxidise (go rancid) very quickly when exposed to air so unless they’re highly preserved – they may no longer be active in your pet’s food.

Signs of a Fatty Acid deficiency could include:

  • Dry, itchy or scaly skin
  • Dull, Dry coat
  • Allergies and Ear infections
    Sore joints

But Essential Fatty Acids don’t just look after the skin – they also help keep cells functioning normally. They are the building blocks for Prostoglandins which help regulate hormones and prmote a healthy immune system. And without a healthy immune system – all kinds of degenerative diseases can develop – including allergies and cancer.

You can supplement your pet’s diet with any of these healthy oils. If given in small amounts on a regular basis they can most certainly help keep your pet in better condition.

Flaxseed oil

Veterinarians have been recommending Flaxseed oil for quite some time now – especially for dogs with skin problems and dull coats. Flaxseed oil also has some anti-inflammatory properties so it’s a good supplement for dogs with joint problems and arthritis. It also contains Lignin which is believd to contain powerful antifungal, antiviral and cancer fighting properties.

Coconut oil

A highly valuable oil as it can be used both externally – on the skin and internally – added to your pet’s food.

External application – can be used to:

  • Disinfect cuts and promote wound healing
  • Improve your pet’s skin and coat (No wonder it’s a favourite ingredient in Shampoo for pets and humans) – Smells good too!

Internal benefits

  • Coconut oil has strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties therefore it can help prevent infection.
  • It has lower calories than other oils so it’s ideal for dogs with a weight problem
  • It improves digestion so it can help dogs with digestive problems

Coconut oil is a good “Allrounder” and is good for us humans too. But if you do buy it, make sure it’s the Unrefined or “Virgin Coconut Oil” – not the refined type made from low quality coconuts and then subjected to intense processing. Most good Health Food Stores will stock this product.

Amounts to give: Recommended dose for dogs is 1 tspn per 4.5kg given once a day with food. Dogs seem to like the taste so you shouldn’t have any palatability issues.

Find our more about the benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs.

Fish Oil

These are a concentrated source of Omega 3’s which are often missing in commercial pet foods. You can buy quality Fish oil capsules, break them open and add to your pet’s food or you may find they are eaten whole as a treat or with food.

We use and recommend Bloom’s Fish Oil.

The best thing about Essential Fatty Acid supplements is that results become self evident after a month or so and they’re not expensive to buy. A little goes a long way.
If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, please see your vet first before adding any oils to her diet.

The Case of the Howling Cat

“What’s wrong with my cat?”

“There’s something wrong with her legs. “She tries to get up but she only manages to stick get her bottom in the air…… and she’s making these loud meowing noises. Then she throws herself on the floor and rolls around.”

Hmmmm … “How old is your cat? “She’s 5 and a bit months old.”

Don’t worry I say – it sounds very much like your cat’s in season. Cats generally come into season around the 6 month mark however – it’s only a rough guide. Some reach sexual maturity sooner and others later.

So – what do you do? Put up with the plaintive yowling because she’s desperate to mate? Or settle down those rambunctious hormones by having her desexed?

Choose option 1 and you may be lucky to have her avoid pregnancy for now but – if not mated, you’ll be going through this every few weeks until she is mated.

Cat, unlike dogs, who come into season around twice a year, are difficult to contain when on heat. Just one escape from the house and a chance encounter with a waiting Tom will more than likely guarantee some extra fur babies in around 9 weeks time.

It’s one of the main reasons for the production of thousands of unwanted litters of kittens each year. Cats are prolific breeders.

The best action to take at this point is to have your cat desexed. Cats can be desexed when they’re on heat but do be prepared for the fees to be higher. We often recommend waiting until she’s gone off heat – around a week or so and then book her in for the procedure.

If she accidentally mates with a Tomcat during that time, don’t worry. Many cats are already pregnant by the time they are booked in for desexing. And desexing during early pregnancy won’t harm her in any way.Cat on Heat Flickr

Apart from preventing the birth of unwanted litters which then need to be rehomed, you’ll be doing your cat a great favour. She won’t have to put up with the stress of the raging hormones or risk being ravaged by preying Toms every time she ventures outside to play.

She’ll be much happier and contented when all these dramas are removed from her life. And, as for you – you don’t have to worry about all the responsibilities of finding good homes for an endless number of kittens she’d be bringing you each year.
Make an appointment to have your cat desexed today – for everyone’s sake.

Need to know more about what desexing involves? Read – “Our spey operation in cats and dogs

P.S. Written in an effort to prevent the dumping of thousands of unwanted cats and kittens in garbage bins, shelters and veterinary clinics everywhere.

Flickr image (c) kaibara87. Used under Creative Common Licence

Why are Vet Fees so Expensive? Here’s our take on the issue

It’s all to do with Advances in Veterinary Technology and your Expectations of Service. Right?

This seems to be the common response to the issue of steady rise in vet fees over the past decade or two. And in a way, it’s absolutely true.

Twenty years ago – an Ultrasound was a rarity in general practice – nowadays it’s an expectation. After all, who wants to wait to book in an Ultrasound exam or travel somewhere else to have the procedure performed?

Twenty years ago all blood samples were sent to an external Laboratory for processing. Noways you expect answers sooner so we have sophisticated in house laboratory equipment to process samples on the spot.

Add to that – The overheads that benefit your pet:

  • Best Practice Anaesthesia (gas), Patient Pain management protocols, monitoring by trained assistant and elaborate equipment – Labour & Leasing costs
  • Patient supervision post surgery – Labour costs
  • X-Ray and in house Film processing Equipment – Leasing costs
  • Quality medications – vs cheaper alternatives – Expense
  • Modern Dental Equipment – Leasing costs
  • Educational expenses – keep up with new advances in the profession, learn new procedures and treatment methods.
  • Expense
  • Availability – 7 Days – Labour costs
  • Plus … daily hours of unpaid over the phone advice – labour expenses (Ever tried to get free Legal, Accounting or Medical advice?)

The end result is -all of these added overheads have transformed the original general practice of old into a serious High Tech – High Overhead establishment. Pushed – in part by client demand for safety, options and convenience clinics have no choice but to raise fees to cover costs.Veterinary Fees

There is no other way.

Is there more to this story?

Cat and chart with heap of coins on white

Cat and chart with heap of coins on white

We believe so. It’s called intense competition for pet owners like you. Simple maths tells us that the more people these overhead costs can be spread out over on a given day – the less it’s going to impact each and every one of you.

So – the more patients that can be treated each day using existing staff and equipment – the less “overhead costs” each individual client – like you has to carry. This fact is applicable to any business.

But what happens when there’s more competition – i.e more clinics? Wouldn’t prices go down in an attempt to attract clients?

Not unless the surrounding pet population is growing in proportion to the number of new clinics opening up in a given area.

Since this is not the case and each clinic has to make a living, they have to do so while potentially seeing less patients as new clinics move in. So the price per patient or visit has no choice but to go up. Unless overheads – the very things that you said you want and need – are reduced. OR – they’re subsidised through a secondary business venture.

It’s Volume – not competition that can make the difference. You can see this idea catching on in different businesses – on the internet, airlines (bring a friend and pay less per seat) and in restaurants and cafes. (Book a full table and get a discount) In Veterinary clincs there’s always a substantial discount on Vaccinations for multiple pets or litters.

From our point of view – if a business stays busy and can manage with current resources – there’s little need to raise fees other than to accomodate normal rise in expenses.

If they see less customers, the shortfall in revenue has to come from somewhere. Increase prices across the board, squeeze more out of you at each visit (upselling) or cut back on something. And that’s not good for anyone.

So if like your clinic, help keep them busy by referring others to them – you could be helping everyone in the long term – including yourself.

Unleash the power of numbers – ask about referral or multiple pet discounts for specific services – or a “bring a friend” incentives. And don’t forget either – loyalty has its rewards. You never know when you might need that extended payment plan for that “unexpected” procedure.

Food for thought!

Please note: As stated earlier – this is our opinion only and may not reflect the opinions of our professional peers.

Why we don’t recommend Making your Dog Vomit at home

Making Your Dog Vomit Can be Dangerous

If your dog has swallowed a foreign object, a dangerous food or other toxin – the first course of action should be to seek veterinary attention immediately – no matter what time of day or night!

Unfortunately many people attempt a DIY at home remedy which often doesn’t go to plan and ends up doing more harm than good. Just this past weekend we treated one of these DIY vomiting attempts after it went horribly wrong.

Dogs by nature are scavengers and can be pretty good at swallowing things they shouldn’t. This could include foreign objects (any kind), packets of human medications, antufreeze (dogs and cats love its sweet taste), toxic foods (onions, chocolates, grapes, macadamia nuts), snail and rat baits (attractive to dogs) just to name a few.

Danger # 1

Just because the object or toxin went down through the oesophagus doesn’t mean it’s safe to come back out this way.

If your dog has swallowed a foreign object like a bone, a ball, batteries or anything else for that matter, by inducing it to vomit could see the object cause damage to the delicate passageway that is the oesophagus. Worse still – your dog could choke to death. Please leave dealing with foreign objects to your vet.

Danger # 2

If your dog has swallowed a caustic solution like a household cleaner or similar corrosive liquid – chances are it will have done some damage to the oesophagus on the way down – you don’t want to cause further damage (burning) by bringing it back again. Once again – see your vet a.s.a.p.

First Aid Tip: – give your dog food to help absorb as much of the corrosive liquid as possible and keep it from further damaging the stomach lining. Bread will do for this – the more the better. Then head to the nearest vet.

Vomiting causes great distress to your dog

If you’ve ever experienced a dog heaving its stomach contents repeatedly through induced vomiting – you’ll know how distressing it is. Dogs should only be made to vomit under careful supervision and using the least traumatic methods. You need a medication that is easy to give and acts fast.

Unfortunately the internet is littered with supposedly helpful DIY treatments and not all are safe. In fact some are down right dangerous as they don’t provide adequate dosage information. The last thing you want to happen is for the supposed remedy to do more harm.

Induce vomiting only if the following applies

  • Your dog has swallowed a toxic substance and you can’t get to a vet within half an hour
  • The substance is not corrosive and not a large foreign object which could cause damage or obstruction on the way out.

In this case we recommend using a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution. Be careful though and make sure it is the right concentration. Do not use Hairdressers’ Hydrogen Peroxide – it is far too concentrated and will cause serious damage.

Dosage for 3% Hydrogen Peroxide is: 5mls (1 teaspoon) per 4.5kg (10pounds) of body weight. Give the medication then walk your dog to mix the solution in your dog’s stomach. It should start to work in around 20 minutes. If not, it is safe to give one more dose.

If at all possible – get in touch with a Vet Clinic or Poisons Centre so they can provide the necessary over the phone assistance.

Finally

Once your dog has vomited please take him to your vet for further appropriate treatment.

Tip: If you live somewhere, where veterinary help is not close by you might want to keep a bottle of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in your pets’ First Aid Kit. Also handy are some Activated Charcoal Tabs to help absorb remaining toxins. (Both are available through Pharmacies.)

P.S. No dog was harmed in the taking of this photo.

One guess as to who this fellow is! That’s right – only “Bill” would agree to this pose for a treat.

Why We’ve become a Fan of Booties for Dogs.

When Dog Booties are More than just a Fashion Accessory.

Foot injuries are a reasonably common problem in dogs. Cut or grazed pads, broken and torn nails, burnt feet, nasty grasseeds wandering in between toes, embedded glass – just to name a few.

In many cases treatment involves anaesthetics, minor surgery, medications and then finally – a bandage which often brings with it a whole new challenge. Stopping your dog from ripping it off!

You can avoid many of these injuries simply by slipping a pair of sturdy boots on your dogs’ feet.

Think about it. Most dogs now spend most of their time walking on man made, unnatural surfaces which their feet just aren’t prepared for. Hot asphalt and concrete, can burn and graze pads. Then there’s the hazards of broken glass and other nasties littering the grounds in off leash parks and footpaths. Imagine what running barefoot over some of these terrains would do to our feet. Ouch!

But there’s more.

Sturdy booties also provide valuable grip to dogs with neuromuscular impairments and arthritis. Dogs with these conditions may demonstrate unusual gaits to compensate for their disability. This may lead to placing undue pressure on specific feet to compensate for impaired function – or pain in others. Neuromuscular damage may also mean your dog can’t place her feet correctly on the ground therefore causing further injuries and creating a reluctance to walk. Now we all know how important gentle exercise is to dogs with arthritis and other degenerative diseases so making walking more comfortable will encourage your dog to walk more.

Nowdays there’s a variety of dog booties available and some are quite technically advanced. Designed with the natural shape of the dog’s foot in mind, they’re comfortable to wear and made from materials that will withstand even the toughest of treatment.

Styles vary from the everyday variety – designed for normal day to day activities to the tough all terrain type booties. Booties usually comes in packs of four – naturally and are avaiable from most pet stores and online pet retailers.

We’ve seen the benefits these booties have provided for some of our canine patients so we’re quite comfortable in recommending them to our clients. Dogs seem to adjust quite quickly to wearing these boots simply because they are foot friendly. Just make sure you buy the right size as they do need to fit snugly without being too tight.

If you can’t find these in your local pet store, you can order them online at Waggle. We’ve found their brands to be high quality and comfortable.

So next time you see a dog sporting boots in the park – don’t think it’s such a silly idea.