Health Advice Blog

  • Joint issues in dogs – the painful truth


    Most dogs at some point in their lives will suffer with joint issues. While some breeds are more prone to joint problems, general health issues as well as your dog’s predisposition will also play a role in whether your dog suffers or not. The good news is with treatment and observation, your pooch can live a long and relatively pain-free life, even if he suffers from some form of joint problem.

    What are the symptoms of a dog suffering with joint health issues?

    • Difficulty getting up and down from lying
    • Trouble jumping onto or off the couch/car – higher objects
    • Slow or stiff when moving, especially after exercise
    • Difficulty climbing stairs
    • Limping
    • Not able to play or run for as long as he used to
    • Holding a leg oddly
    • Favouring one leg


    Which breeds suffer from joint health issues?

    Typically, it is the larger breeds that are at risk, such as Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Great Danes – but joint issues are hereditary so all dogs are susceptible. If your dog is overweight, this can be a big contributing factor as well. Older dogs are also at risk.

    What are the problems associated with joint issues? Continue reading

  • Winter Coats - How to prepare


    Ahoy – Winter Ahead!

    Yup, winter is just a few months away – is your dog ready?

    It’s blazing hot outside at the moment so the looming cold temperatures are the furthest thing from your mind, but sadly, in just a few short months, the mercury is going to start dropping and winter will be firmly on its way. To avoid any unnecessary stress, illness or discomfort for you and your dog, it’s best to prepare for the colder months now.

    Why is my dog shedding BEFORE it gets cold?

    Depending on your breed, you might notice your dog start to shed more than normal in the next few months. As odd as it seems, this is normal because they are making way for the warmer, winter coat. So don’t be alarmed. Grooming becomes vital at this point; the more hair caught in a brush, the less on your couches or floor! However, keep a check on the amount of hair being shed – excessive hair loss could be a sign of an unwell dog.

    How to prep your dog for the colder months Continue reading

  • Biliary - aka Tick Bite Fever


    By Dr Megan Kelly

    Also known as tick bite fever or canine babesiosis, biliary is a tick borne disease of dogs which is spread via the saliva of ticks.

    The organism infects the red blood cells eventually causing them to rupture resulting in an anaemia. The red pigment from the ruptured red blood cells often causes a red discoloration of the urine.The ticks which carry this disease are the yellow dog tick and the kennel tick.

    Symptoms are usually seen 10-28 days after being bitten by the infected tick.

    The most common symptoms are: Continue reading


    Example of an ear mite

    By Dr Megan Kelly

    Mites are small (usually <0.5 mm long) roughly circular, short legged insects which are barely visible to the naked eye. They originate from the same family as ticks.

    Most mites are host specific but some can be passed to other animals as well as humans. If your pet has a mite infection you will need to treat him with a topical or systemic parasiticide which targets mites. There is not a great deal of success with treating mite infections with natural products and remedies and if left untreated they can spread and result in severe generalized infections which can take months to get under control. Collies and collie crosses are highly susceptible to side effects of some of the dips and treatments used for mites. Some can cause seizures and even death. Please always get your mite treatment from your vet and make sure you give the correct strength and dosage that has been prescribed.

    Most mite infections are diagnosed by skin scrapings and identifying the mite under the microscope.

    These are the most common mites found in cats and dogs Continue reading

  • 19 Signs You Need To Take Your Dog To The Vet

    As dog-lovers and responsible pet owners, you know your dog better than anyone else, so you're likely to notice as soon as anything is amiss with your furry family member. But when should you “wait it out”, and when should you take him to the vet? We don’t want to be known as “those” pet owners who are constantly at the vet at the first sign of a sniffly nose but your dog can’t talk to tell you he’s not well, so here are 19 that signs you should head to your nearest vet for a professional diagnosis. And remember: rather err on the side of caution. If it’s not possible to get your dog to the vet’s rooms, pick up the phone for advice – your dog’s life could be at stake.

    After two days of observing: Continue reading

  • Tearing Your Hair Out due To Your Dog’s Hair Loss?

    Photo credit Photo credit

    Moulting, shedding, hair loss...Whatever you call it, if you own a dog it’s inevitable – you WILL have dog hair on the floor, on the furniture and all over your clothes. And contrary to popular belief, most dogs will shed year-round. So what can you do to manage this ‘hairy’ issue?

    Shedding: some info

    Firstly, all dogs shed. Shedding is necessary to make way for the new, healthy shaft. However, some breeds tend to shed more than others. Longer-haired dog and dogs that need to be clipped regularly tend to shed less than those with shorter hair. These dogs just appear to shed more because their lovely, long locks lying on your carpet are more obvious. The colour of your dog’s hair will also determine how much of it you see – you are more likely to spot white hair on a dark lounge suite, for example.

    Why do dogs shed year-round? Continue reading

  • How often should we wash our dogs?

    You’re quite proud of the fact that you wash Juno once a week, but then why does she continue to suffer from dry skin? It could be that you are simply washing her too much. Yes, there is such a thing.

    Washing your dog too often can strip their skin of the essential oils needed to rejuvenate the skin cells, often leading to skin problems, which could kick-start a vicious cycle of increasing the number of baths, only for your dog’s skin condition to worsen

    There is no definite guideline as to how often you should wash your dog, but as a general rule some veterinarians recommend you bath a dog with normal skin once a month. A number of factors come into play when considering this “rule” however:

    • Breed of dog
    • Is your dog an outside/inside  dog
    • Does your dog suffer from a skin condition
    • Tolerance of the owner

    When considering all of the above; longer-haired breeds might need a bath more often, as will dogs that spend all day outdoors, playing in the mud. You might find the smell of your dog too much to handle, or that your white poodle is constantly brown. All these factors come in to play when deciding whether a bath is necessary or not. Continue reading

  • Maintaining the pH Balance in Dogs skin

    Photo credit :

    Problem: The Itchy & Scratchy Show.

    Solution: Bath time!

    But will any soap or shampoo do?


    Snoopy has been scratching for days – a closer look reveals an irritated skin. No worries, nothing that a soak in the tub and a good shampoo won’t cure. You head to the kitchen for the dishwashing detergent, or to the bathroom to fetch the shampoo, or even better - grab a bottle of little Jimmy’s baby shampoo and prepare to give Snoopy a bath to help soothe his itchy skin (and combat that dreaded doggy smell at the same time).

    Wrong. Continue reading

  • Is a dog’s mouth actually cleaner than a human's?

    By Dr Megan Kelly


    If a dog doesn't have adequate dental care, bacteria and their toxins can accumulate in the plaque and tartar of a dog's mouth potentially poisoning the rest of the body.

    Food accumulates on the teeth and combines with bacteria to form plaque. Over time this calcifies and hardens and forms a yellow layer on the teeth called tartar or calculus. By brushing you're able to remove plaque; however you need to use a scaler in order to remove the harder, more stubborn tartar. If tartar is not removed, the gums become inflamed and infected. They start to recede, which is known as gingival recession. The teeth start to loosen and pockets form under the gums predisposing the pet to infection and abscess formation. We call this periodontal or dental disease. The mouth has an extremely good blood supply and the bacteria in the tartar produce toxins which can easily be absorbed into the body. The toxins from periodontal disease are absorbed into the pet’s bloodstream and can cause damage to the kidneys, heart and brain. Bacteria can also set up colonies in parts of the body, for example the valves of the heart. This forms a nidus that could continually infect the body with bits of the bacterial colony that break off and are pumped around the body by the bloodstream.

    The best treatment for periodontal disease is prevention and it’s never too late. If you open your pet’s mouth and you notice red gums, bad breath, loose teeth and yellow tartar, book an appointment with your vet. Sometimes your pet's mouth may be too painful to examine. Other signs that your pet may be suffering from dental disease include difficulty in eating, dropping food and excessive drooling.

    After a light general anaesthetic and intubation, your vet will clean your pet’s teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. This removes all the plaque and tartar. If there are any loose teeth these will be removed and then the teeth will be polished so that there is a smooth surface making it difficult for food and bacteria to stick. There are now qualified dental veterinary surgeons that specialise in fillings and root canal treatment for pets. You should ask your vet to be referred to a specialist if you do not want your pet to lose any teeth.

    The next steps are up to you. Brushing and caring for your pet's teeth will reduce the likelihood of your pet requiring more dental treatment in future years. Plaque will continually build up and if left to harden, will form tartar which will need to be scaled off.

    6 steps to healthy teeth and gums

    Continue reading




    Group of pets 6

    Spaying and neutering are widely publicised by animal charities nationwide  for population control. If intact male and female dogs are not controlled and separated during fertile periods pregnancy is inevitable. Due to so many unwanted pets our only option has been to sterilise dogs and cats from a young age as it is our only safe means of controlling the increasing number of unwanted pets.

    Spaying or neutering seems to be part of the deal when getting a puppy, along with vaccinating, puppy socialisation and deworming. But what do we need to consider when deciding whether or not to spay or neuter our pets? What are the pros and cons and when is the best time to have the procedure done? Continue reading

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