Pet Health Articles
Pet Behaviour

Although cats talk verbally they say much more with their body language than their voice. Learning to read your cats body language can give you a lot of information on how they feel about life (e.g. being held, groomed, a new addition to the family etc.)

The Tail: When a cat is content, they will usually hold the tail out loosely behind them. When happy, they may hold it high, with a slig…

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Keeping your cat active, is not only important to help maintain mobility (joint function) and keep their weight in check but it is also essential to provide mental stimulation.

Try these exercises:

Self play toys – these are toys that your cat can play with on their own. Any toy that encourages chasing or pouncing is usually a hit and they don’t have to be expensive e.g. a cardboard …

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We all know that fear is a normal part of life. It can help us and animals survive or avoid harmful situations. However, sometimes fear responses can last longer than they should and occur in response to things that shouldn’t cause fear, which leads to anxiety.

Between twenty to forty percent of dogs will have some level of general anxiety, noise sensitivity, or separation anxiety. Some b…

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Surgical sterilisation is a controversial topic. The questions are
1)Should I sterilise my pet?
2)What is the best age to have the procedure performed?

Let me give you a hint, there is no “one right answer” to either of these questions as it depends on many factors.

Surgical sterilisation of a female dog or cat is called a spey and involves removing the ovaries and usually the ute…

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A lot of dogs are storm phobic – they are absolutely terrified of storms (the smell, the dark sky, the lightening, crashing thunder and rain).

Imagine being terrified of spiders or snakes and being surrounded by them! That’s how some dogs feel about storms. Storm phobia is a serious problem as pets can do a lot of damage to themselves (and their environment) trying to escape the storm.

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Arthritis is a painful inflammation of a joint which can be caused by genetics (e.g. hip dysplasia in Maine Coon cats, patellae luxation in Abyssinian and Devon Rex cats), immune mediated disease, injury or more commonly “wear and tear”.

Although arthritis is common in cats, it often goes unrecognised by owners due to their ability to hide pain and discomfort. Cats usually show few or any o…

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Does your cat have an insatiable appetite? I.e. they eat well but are constantly hungry and don’t gain weight. They may-be suffering from a hormonal disease called hyperthyroidism.

In this condition the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone resulting in a high, speeded up metabolism. Thyroid hormone affects nearly every body system so there are a range of *clinical …

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Many peoples first “baby” comes with fur and 4 legs. If it is time to expand your family with the human variety then it is important to also prepare your pet(s) for the new family member, new furnishings and changes in routine. Here are some handy hints :

Sleeping arrangements-Get your pet used to new sleeping arrangements well before you bring a baby home. Pets can be taught to sleep el…

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If you are an avid gardener or veggie grower then you probably are not too keen on the wandering neighbourhood cat that uses your plot as their private latrine!

Obviously its irritating and somewhat off putting gardening in a spot where cats’ toilet but they are not doing it to annoy you, in fact they are paying you a complement!

Cats naturally dig a hole to toilet urinate or defecat…

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Many pet owners often question why pets eat grass and the reason for it, truth be told no one really knows.

A study at Armidale (Grass eating patterns in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris S.J. Bjone et al.) contradicted many of the popular held beliefs. They concluded “Grass eating is a normal and common behaviour and should not be seen as a problematic behaviour for most dogs”. They f…

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Since food and attention are two things dogs and cats enjoy most in life, it’s no surprise they will go to any lengths to get it.

Many pets will try whining/ meowing, begging at the dinner table, barking, nuzzling or head butting for attention.

To stop this annoying habit you must make a hard and fast rule that the dog or cat is NEVER to be rewarded by the begging and pestering-no excep…

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Coprophagia is the medical term for eating faecal matter. It is an unpleasant behaviour most commonly seen in young dogs. It is disturbing as
• They often show their affection by licking us!
• It is a health risk to both us and the pet as it is the way some parasites (round, hook and whip worm) get transmitted. You can minimize the risk of parasites by deworming your pet on a regular basis…

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Cats are fastidious about keeping their coat clean however they often do need a little help.

Grooming has lots of benefits including
• Helps to remove dead coat and prevent hairballs
• Stimulates oil production for a healthy shiny coat
• Provides an opportunity to check for fleas, lumps and bumps
• Reinforces the bond between you and your cat
• Reduces your house work

Groomin…

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If you have a senior pet you have likely seen some behavioural changes which you may think are “just old age”. Normal aging does exist but many of the behavioural changes seen in older pets are actually due to an illness.

Canine or feline cognitive dysfunction (CCDS or FCDS) is a degenerative brain disease comparable to Alzheimer’s in humans. It is the result of age-related changes (oxidat…

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Urinary incontinence is the involuntary passing of urine which means the pet either dribbles or leaks urine without being aware of doing it. This is very different to an animal that loses their house training and starts urinating inside or a pet that “pees a lot” (i.e. increases the frequency or volume of urination)

Normally urine is produced in the kidneys, it flows down a tube (called t…

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Dogs are social creatures and they form strong bonds with people. Having a furry best friend is, without doubt, the greatest thing in the world, but it is not uncommon for your pooch to feel anxious when they are separated from you.

Most dogs will adapt well to daily separation from their owners but unfortunately some dogs will become very distressed and even destructive, a problem known as…

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Cats are independent creatures that can be family orientated and live in colonies with their relatives if enough resources are available. They are also very territorial and hence are often not tolerant of “outsiders” and are less likely to cohabit harmoniously with a cat that they are not related to. For this reason if you want a multi-cat household the best combination of cats is actually li…

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Providing an acceptable area to scratch is important for your cat both mentally and physically. Cats need to scratch to maintain their claws and also mark their territory with little scent glands they have in their feet, it is also a great way to stretch those muscles and keep agile.

Scratching posts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be either vertical or horizontal, free standi…

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Car sickness, or motion sickness, can be a real problem for dogs and their owners.

The signs vary between dogs but can include
1) Excessive drooling or salivating
2) Panting , swallowing and lip licking
3) Restlessness , trembling
4) Retching
5) Vomiting

The causes of motion sickness are complex but the combination of motion and stress or anxiety triggers the inner ear which the…

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Many dogs enjoy swimming as much as people do.

You do have to look out for your pet around water since even the strongest, most enthusiastic swimmer can get into trouble e.g. if they can’t find the steps to a pool, get “dunked” by a wave, caught in a rip or just tire out. So supervision is essential.

Obedience training is very important so your dog comes to you when called even when sw…

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Cats’ need access to a litter tray even if they are allowed outside. Although considered a necessary evil by many humans, a litter tray does allow us to monitor their health so that changes in the frequency, volume or consistency of their urine and/or droppings can be detected quickly.

The basic requirements are

1) Number: There should be one litter tray per cat in the household p…

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Cats naturally hunt for food and search for water on separate occasions to satisfy either hunger or thirst. The presence of water next to their food bowl can deter some cats from drinking and finding water elsewhere is extremely satisfying.

Increasing their water intake flushes more water through their kidneys, dilutes their urine and results in more frequent bladder emptying which improves …

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Providing a healthy feline environment is essential to reduce stress, the incidence of stress related disorders, and unwanted behaviour. It involves addressing the cat’s physical environment (indoors or outdoors) as well as their social interaction with humans. To a cat environment is everything! If you could ask your cat what they REALLY want they would say:

  • Provide a safe place—to relax…
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Is your pet is thirstier than usual? Are you filling up their water bowl more often? Have you caught your pet drinking from the shower, the tap or the toilet? An increase in thirst can be one of the first signs of kidney (renal) disease.

The kidneys contain thousands of little factories called nephrons and their job is to work out how much water should be conserved in the body. Once damaged …

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Digging is a natural normal behaviour to dogs, some just love to do it more than others.

There are many reasons dogs dig. They may dig to make a cool resting spot, they may hear or smell a bug/ critter in the soil they are trying to catch, they may be looking for past buried treasure, but most commonly they are bored or anxious and digging is a way to help them cope i.e. they do it beca…

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Going for a walk should be a pleasure—not only for your dog but also for you!

Walking not only provides your pet with physical exercise but is also very important to provide mental stimulation. No matter what size your yard is, any dog will know the yard inside-out and back- to- front within a few days; it’s the going out and about for a walk that really stimulates their minds, contributes…

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Many cats have “Cat-a-tude” -making taking them to the vet a challenge for pet owners. Cats don’t like to leave their familiar territory; they are very sensitive to movement, smell and sounds so the car can be the start of a scary journey. Cats that experience car travel as young kittens, during the period between 2 and 7 weeks of age when they are most receptive to learning new things, tend to…

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Pets show pain in different ways to humans. Often these signs develop over a period of time and we might be so accustomed to seeing these behaviours that we accept them as being normal or just assume its “old age”. It is worthwhile to review the lists below and evaluate your pet’s current behaviour

Cats
•Does your cat find it difficult to jump up onto a surface; and often needs to take se…

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Interacting with a dog can enhance a child’s self-esteem, teach them responsibility and help them learn empathy. However it is essential that both dogs and children are taught the limits of acceptable behaviour to make their interactions pleasant and safe.
Children move with quick jerky movements, have high pitched voices and tend to run rather than walk. All these behaviours resemble the …

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Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from a range of behavioural disorders. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) will be running a month-long campaign in March to help owners address behaviour issues in pets.

Now in its third year, the theme of this year’s Polite Pets Month® will be Mental health is important for pets, with a focus on anxiety, fear and phobias in dogs, cats …

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No doubt, those who have recently purchased a puppy, have been told by their vet to enroll in a puppy preschool class. But you may have not been told why, so we thought we would explain a little bit more about the importance of puppy preschool.

At Vetwell, we believe that enrolling your puppy in a puppy preschool class is one of the most important and responsible first steps of puppy ownersh…

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