Every few years there’s a story in the Australian media saying we should be keeping native mammals as pets. This always fills me with horror.
For I’m a vet working with pets in the Australian state with the slackest rules on owning native animals and I see the results. I also hold a Masters degree in Wildlife Medicine and Husbandry and have worked in zoological medicine.
I hope that by the time you finish this, you’ll understand why there are some animals who are uniquely suited to being pets, and others that almost never are. I’ll also debunk some common myths about keeping native animals everywhere, not just Australia.
Burying a dog or cat is an important part of the grieving process for many people. It certainly was for me. So as someone who advises it, and has done it, I was annoyed to see “Why you shouldn’t bury your pet in the backyard” featured on my ABC.
It’s the classic case of sitting in an ivory tower making the rest of Australia feel guilty for doing what comes naturally. It also says some fairly silly things. So before I give you some simple tips for a proper home burial, let’s clear them up.
I’m known for supporting clients who use raw diets. Done well, they should add to the health of your pet.
However, there are some persistent myths that get in the way. One of the most common is the idea that offal and organ meats are essential ingredients. As useful as they can be, (even with vegan diets!), they aren’t a cure all.
What do you think when you see a dog like this? Many people would say he’s not pretty, or pedigreed, and he probably doesn’t have too many fine manners. Of course we’d disagree. And more and more dog lovers are also seeing the rough diamond in these dogs.
Many dog owners come to us thinking that if their dog chews biscuits it will protect their teeth. Sadly this is not always true. Here we will tell you which biscuits can help dental care, and what else can prevent gum disease and tooth decay in your dog.
Runt. What a powerful word. It instantly brings to mind images of poor, sickly puppies destined to never be as healthy as their brothers and sisters.
What if the whole idea of the runt of the litter is a myth? Well that’s what I think, anyway. My 20 years tell me you can take home the smaller puppies without having poorer health, as long as you follow a few basic rules…
“I thought you can’t bath a dog more than once a month”. We hear this almost every day when we tell someone how the right bathing strategy can help their dog’s skin (read how to bath dogs later). This has to be the most common and widely held myth of all and it deprives dogs of a great way to soothe their itchy skin. However, there is an element of truth to it.
Everyone says large dogs die sooner than small dogs. You hear it on the TV, in the park, and it’s been said as long as anyone can remember. Just google this blog’s title and you’ll see what I mean. But is it true?
Choosing the right place to board your cat is more important than you think. Twice in the past week we’ve seen cats get sick after being in boarding. We also seen cats lose weight and have anxiety problems which could have been avoided if their owners knew what to look for when choosing.
I’m going to start with an admission; my dogs have been fat. This will come as a relief (and possibly a delight) to those thousands of dog owners over the years to whom I’ve discussed their dogs’ weight. Today I’m going to explain why this happens to all of us, how to judge your dog’s weight and how to decide how much to feed them.
The guidelines written on dog foods are almost never right for your dog.
Here I go again! Another unbearably cute puppy picture in the paper and all I can do is complain!
There’s no question that adorable images of a Shar Pei puppy and a Scottish Fold kitten from the Adelaide Advertiser melt the heart. So why do most vets see something different when we look at these pictures?
Do you have a friend with ‘cat breath’ or ‘dog breath’? We joke about it, sometimes tell them off for it, perhaps even suspect them of eating something foul.
The truth is that bad breath doesn’t come from the stomach and it isn’t just from the food. Instead it’s often the only sign of a painful dental problem.Thankfully, more and more owners now bring their pets in just because their breath smells bad.
This is Toyah’s gift to all dogs with itchy skin. She had mild dermatitis for a while and her owners quite rightly thought a bath would help. They found a nice-looking soothing shampoo with tea tree oil and gave her a good clean. Instead of getting better, her dermatitis got dramatically worse, and three days later when she came to us her skin was looking angry and sore.
We’ve known Mia since she came bounding in to the clinic twelve years ago and started stealing our soft toys.
These days she still has a go but though she’s a puppy at heart, she’s old and has significant arthritis. However, her quality of life is good. A few weeks ago, her owner noticed Mia being a bit unsteady and wondered if it could be the arthritis treatment. We thought that was unlikely and so did a home visit to check on her.
In these days of the ‘Cone of Shame’ most people know that pets shouldn’t lick their wounds. But there is also a long folk tradition that licking and saliva are good for healing. So where is the truth? Somewhere in the middle, as I will explain.
We all love funny animal pictures but sometimes we come across ones that are just so wrong we can only shudder. It’s when the interpretation of the animal’s behaviour results in them being blamed for behaviour where they are actually the victims.
Many of our cat-owning clients will already know how much we hate the name ‘cat flu’. The name comes from a time when we didn’t fully understand what these viruses were. These are serious diseases with often lifelong consequences for the infected cat. Here are the stories of four such cats: Felix, Sooty, Princess and Twitch.
This article aims to save pets lives and improve owners’ awareness of their rights. While I believe it is a discussion we need to have, it includes topics which may be upsetting to some. It in no way is intended to be read as criticism of the business practices of any veterinarian and is not referring to any specific surgery, clinic or hospital. At the end is a series of recommendations for what to do when faced with the need to make a quick decision.
If there is there a saying that makes a dog trainer more cranky I’d like to hear it. This myth is responsible for a world of missed opportunities for our senior pets. Take it from us- the only thing stopping our pets learning through life is our own prejudices.
In our daily work the problems we see cry out to be publicised so we can warn others. The joy of writing these blogs is that these articles sometimes seem to write themselves based on what we are seeing and doing. There is no better example than this week’s. It might almost seem amusing to read these stories, but the results can be severe and lifelong.
Perhaps the biggest scandal of pet ownership in Australia is that there is no independent monitoring, testing or licensing of pet food products, and nowhere to turn when they cause harm. And equally shocking to vets is that it is easier to buy flea control products that are neither safe or effective than it is to buy good ones.
Following our killjoy post about Christmas hazards, now we’re going to tell you why your pet doesn’t need treats! And why they are happier without them.
Don’t worry. We’re not going to report you to the RSPCA if you occasionally give in to those pleading brown eyes. We know treat feeding comes from the heart and later I even talk about ways to do it well. But we do hope that after reading this you will feel less like you have to give the treat, and less guilty if you don’t.
In Adelaide, Rabbits, Chickens, Ducks, Guinea Pigs, Native Mammals and any other small pets commonly live in outside hutches, pens or coops. And without their owners being aware of the risk, they are in great danger. If they are not adequately protected, one night can be all it takes to lose them. Please read on but this story may be upsetting for some.
A lot of people make this mistake and it’s easy to see why. Puppy preschool is all about socialising dogs and if there’s a dog at home, surely this is enough. However, if anything, having a dog at home makes pups less social. I’ll explain why this is so.