Pet Care Questions - Mad Paws

Pet Care Questions

Your furry friend is devoted to you and caring for them is the best way to love them back and prevent future problems. So we have asked Dr. Lisa some common questions pet owners ask us all the time that can help them to have the best life possible.

How do I keep my pet entertained whilst I’m at work?
If you can’t take your pet to work, I personally think a pet babysitter or day care for dogs or cats is the best option. Whilst you’re at work or you’ve got a busy day taking the kids to school and running errands, you won’t be worried about your friend being lonely and bored. Also, I think using toys that can hold food are great ideas if you’re out for a bit. Consider getting another pet as a companion – make sure you speak to your local vet to find out which pet may be suitable

My dog eats so quickly, how can I stop this?
Ensure you are feeding your dog for their ideal body weight. Divide this amount into portions and give several smaller meals over the day. You can try hiding their food in a pet treat ball, where they have to spend time working out how to get the food out – this is a great boredom buster too!

Dental care for cats and dogs?

  • Dental disease is one of the most common health problems amongst our pets. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a build up of tartar, resulting in gum disease, infections, pain and potentially tooth loss.
  • I recommend to start dental care whilst they are young so they acknowledge it as a routine. It’s best to do it when they are calm and relaxed, like after a walk at the end of day. 
  • Firstly start by lifting the lips and looking at the teeth – allow them to get used to you touching their mouth. Reward them with a small treat when they behave correctly. Once your pet tolerates this, you can start to use a rubber finger-brush that fits on your finger. Gently rub their teeth and gums, working along both surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Continue to reward them for doing the right thing. 
  • Another option is to use a soft toothbrush moistened with water. There are pet-specific toothpastes available, but these are not usually necessary as it is the brushing action that cleans the teeth.
  • It is ideal to brush your dog’s teeth at least 4 times a week.
  • Remember to always train positively, so have treats or toys ready for after brushing.
  • If you start when your pet is young, they are much more likely to tolerate tooth brushing. Keep in mind that pets that refuse brushing and those with a large build up of tartar will most likely need to have their teeth professionally cleaned by a vet.  
  • There are treats and toys available that may help clean your pet’s teeth, but these are not as good as brushing.
  • But remember to always get you vet to check your dogs teeth for tartar and periodontal disease which you may not be able to pick up on

Do you recommend bones for dogs?
As an emergency vet, I see so many problems associated with bones. They can become stuck in your pet’s digestive system, leading to life-threatening obstructions. In severe cases, the bones can perforate their digestive tract, which can be rapidly fatal. Bones can also cause constipation, as well as infections like gastroenteritis. It’s better to be safe and stay away from the bones.

Flea and tick control

  • Paralysis ticks are mostly present along the east coast of Australia, while fleas can be found anywhere! Both are more prevalent during the warmer months, but in some areas can cause a problem all year round. There are many effective tick and flea medications available – it’s best to speak to your vet to find out which is suitable for your pet. No tick treatment is 100% effective, so as well as using a medication, you need to check your pet every day. Keeping their hair cut short can help. Remember never to use dog flea / tick products on cats as this can be fatal.
  • If you do find a tick on your pet the best thing to do is take them to the vet straight away. They can help you safely remove the tick and will examine your pet to see if they require life-saving tick treatment.

I’d love a pet but I’m not sure what is suitable for me? What are the best pets for an apartment?

  • Dogs – I advise that if you’re thinking of getting a dog look at the breed characteristics before purchasing or even getting one from a shelter. Most dogs can cope well in an apartment as long as they are taken out several times a day and are given at least 30-40 minutes of daily exercise that is suitable to their age and breed.
  • Cats – Cats are great apartment or household pets as they don’t need heaps of space and can live inside happily. I believe cat’s should only be taken outside with constant supervision – they should not be allowed to roam freely as they can get into fights, be injured by cars or other dangers and have the potential to hunt our wildlife.
  • Other Domestic Pets – like birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents can all make wonderful pets. None of these animals should be confined to a small cage. They should all have large enough enclosures that allow them to exercise. Ideally they should be let out of the enclosures several times a day to have free-range supervised exercise in your house or garden. Your vet will be able to help you with the specific requirements of each animal.

Do you suggest a collar or body harness for dogs and cats?
Dogs and cats should wear a collar with an up-to-date ID tag. The best way to walk them is with a harness as it does not put too much pressure on their heads and necks. There are many harnesses available to suit different sizes and temperaments, some come with a car restraint, which is important too.

How do I pick the right lead?
The best way to choose is to take your pet for a test walk in the pet store – find a lead that is the right length, material and thickness for you and your pet. Long leads are great for training in open spaces, whereas shorter leads are more appropriate when walking around the streets.

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