Lets Talk About Teeth – Dental Disease

Let's talk about teeth! One of the best ways to keep your pet well and healthy is to care for their teeth. Do you know what your pet's mouth looks like? Take a good look, including right up into the back of their mouth. This photo is of my dog Ash and her mouth. This is what your dog's teeth should look like. No tartar, no gingivitis, no smell. Now the three reasons that Ash has a healthy mouth are; 1. Her age:  Ash is only 2.5 years old.  Her mouth has less wear and tear and areas for bacteria to take hold. (this is not under my control) 2. Her genetic design: Ash has well-spaced teeth that align well.  This allows natural self-cleaning of teeth as she chews (also not under my control) 3. Her diet: Ash is fed a fresh food diet that is high in meat and vegetables.  It is also low in processed carbohydrates (this one is under my control!) Unfortunately you have no control over your dog's age and once you have chosen your dog, their breed is not able to be influenced either. It is important to know that some breeds of dog have far higher potential to have severe dental disease than others. The breeds who take up most of our dentistry bookings include the brachycephalic breeds whose teeth do not line up well at all (these are the Pugs, Cavaliers, Bulldogs), small and toy breeds of dog (these are the Maltese, Shih tzus and toy Poodles), and strangely, dogs with long hair around their mouths (Schnauzers and the many and various -oodles). Before settling on a breed, it may be worth considering the financial impact of regular dentistry prevention and treatment. Pet insurance companies rarely cover pet dentistry fees and so this cost will come out of your pocket. In predisposed breeds, the cost can be significant over the lifetime of your pet. If you do share your home with one of these breeds, it may be that a fresh food diet alone is not enough to protect their teeth. You can expect [...]

Joint Pain in Older Pets

With this sudden snap into really cold weather and now the rain with it too, many pet owners are noticing the signs of stiffness and joint pain in their older dogs. While nobody likes to accept the fact that they’re pet is getting on in years, there is much that we can do to help the senior pet live their later lives well. Have you noticed your dog struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Does it take a bit of time before they are moving around more freely? Do you need to help your dog into the car now when they used to leap in unaided? These are all signs that your dog or cat is feeling their age and suffering from some joint pain. One thing you can easily do, is feed your pet well. Feed your pet food that will nourish and care for their joints and support them as they age. Here are a few of my tips to help your pet live a young life. Senior pets need good quality protein and enough of it. This means meat that is simply cooked or fresh and raw. Meat is easily digested by our pet carnivores and is needed to support muscle strength and metabolic functions. Keep in mind that the protein in dry food has been rendered and extruded which makes it harder to digest, promoting inflammation. Feed a fish oil supplement. Increasing the Omega 3 fatty acid balance in the diet will naturally reduce joint inflammation and will also support their skin and coat, brain, kidneys, and eyes. PAW Fish Oil is a measured dose for dogs and easy to feed. Feeding canned oily fish such as sardines or mackeral can also help. Senior dogs need increased levels of B vitamins in their diet. This can be achieved by feeding fresh leafy green vegetables, or by adding Wellbeing Essentials Complete22 to their diet. Feed a variety of different vegetables and some fruits and berries to offer the most micronutrients and vitamins. Feed healthy fats and oils in addition to fish oil. Olive oil, flaxseed oil, […]

Physical & Mental Stimulation for Your Older Dog

Games You Can Play With Your Older Dog For Physical & Mental Stimulation Feeding a portion of your dog’s daily food intake from your hand during games is brilliant for mental stimulation. Not just with young dogs, but for older dogs to keep them bright, alert and happy too!  1. The Cup Game  As dogs get older, their eyesight and hearing may dim but their sense of smell remains strong. All you need is three empty cups with a couple of holes poked into them (to let scent out) and a healthy dog treat, such as Ziwipeak. Place a treat under a cup, slide the rest of the cups around on the floor and then ask your dog, “Where’s the treat?”  This is a great option for dogs who have a hard time moving around. You get to spend time together, engage his interest — and he gets treats! Yay! Win for the dog!  2. Finders Keepers  This is a thrilling game for older dogs who still remember the glory of the hunt. Hide some treats, such as pieces of carrot or some Ziwipeak treats, around your house in cups or easily accessible containers. Tell your dog to “Find it!” and let them sniff around.  Don’t make the treats or toys (or even yourself) too hard to find. Remember, your dog is a senior. Try it, they’ll love it, and so will you.  3. Tug- of- War  Fun games such as tug-of-war are great for mental stimulation, balance and strength.  Don’t tug too hard and let them win the battle sometimes too! 4. Food Puzzle toys  Food puzzle toys are made to hide a portion of your dog’s food. Your dog has to work to get the food out, which motivates your dog to solve a problem. Food toys can help keep your dog moving around plus they keep your dog’s brain engaged too!  5. Adapted Agility   Low impact and low level obstacles can help keep your older dog mentally stimulated. They also help your dog maintain balance, strength and gently using his full range of joint motion. A visit to your local hardware will give you all you need to set up […]

Stop! Dont Wash Your Dog

Don’t wash the dog!! It is amazing that, after all these years of veterinary practice, I still love the 12 week old puppy vaccination appointment! Many of my colleagues are perplexed by my love of such a ‘mundane’ consultation; but it is here that I often feel I can do my best work. By putting in place good husbandry practices from this early age, I can help to prevent this pet from returning to see me time and again with chronic disease complaints. One of my biggest bug bears is to see the new puppy come in and in response to my standard question “Do you have any health concerns with Fido that you have seen over the past few weeks?” is the owner who says,  “yes, he is really itchy. I have washed him each week in the puppy shampoo recommended by the pet store and I have applied the flea treatment recommended but he is still scratching all the time”. Itchy Dog And the new owner is invariably surprised when I plead “Please stop washing the dog!”. No more baths at least until I have seen you next month! “But they were covered in poo from the breeder!” they exclaim. “He needed a bath!” That may be – but he doesn’t need more. Specialist dermatologists agree. The fastest way to predispose a pet to developing atopy (allergic skin disease) is to too frequently wash the pet in shampoo and to neglect the gut microbiome. Even pet shampoos strip the skin of vital oils, dehydrating the skin and compromising the skin barrier function. Once the skin becomes dehydrated, it suffers tiny cracks, or microfissures in the outer layer. These cracks let in allergens to the deeper layers of the skin where they stimulate receptors and interleukins to start the inflammatory cascade. The beginning of itch! What can you do to protect your puppy’s skin? The best way to protect your puppy’s skin is to avoid washing him in shampoo. Sure, if he needs a bath, you can wash him in warm water to get the dirt off. Or if […]

Pet Dental Health

The month of August is upon us again and traditionally, vet clinics have touted the importance of pet dental health by promoting dental services during this month. I find this amusing since the importance of dental health is not just for the one month per year. I did a little digging.  Guess what I found? The Australian Dental Association (people, not pets this time) also promote the importance of dental health during the month of August. It seems we vets have jumped on the human dentists’ bandwagon… Dental Health Week, which takes place in the first full week of August, is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event. Its aim is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives. The Importance of Oral Health I strongly agree that the importance of a healthy mouth cannot be overstated.  Pets are no different from people here. The beginning of poor dental health is the beginning of decline for so many of our pet cats and dogs. Sadly, many pet owners see bad breath or brown teeth as a ‘natural aging sign’ of their pets and do not treat it as the serious health issue that it is. We have always maintained that the best way to care for your pet’s teeth is to feed them a fresh food diet with raw meaty bones. The high carbohydrate content of processed dry foods actually sticks to the teeth.  This creates the perfect environment for the bacteria that cause tartar to grow and form their protective biofilm. Fresh food with a need for chewing reduces the ability of these bacteria to bind to the teeth and gums. But what to do if your dog does not tolerate raw bones? Or your cat just refuses to eat anything other than kibble. We know that not all pets happily eat the ideal diet. And although we can sit and advise you to just ‘wait it out’ or keep on trying those bones, there are just some pets who cannot and these pets need some other form of help. Our recommendations So, what products […]

Why you shouldn’t feed kibble to a Cat

The fundamental reason you shouldn’t feed kibble to a cat. We’ve all been there haven’t we? Stuck in the aisle of the pet food store trying to choose the best quality food for our furry felines. They sleep there on the couch all day looking for all the world like an angelic fluffy cushion, but at dinner time (or 5am breakfast time) the inner hunter emerges and they demand what they want. And if we don’t have their ideal meal planned that day, they let us know about it. So here we are again, staring at rows upon rows of meals for cats,.  Trying desperately to reconcile the taste demands of our ‘Lord and Master’ with our desire to feed them food that will keep them well. Being influenced by our budget, and that nagging doubt you’ll never find the ‘best food’ anyway. Does it even exist? Well I’m here to tell you that if you are looking on the shelves of the pet food store, then no. You are not going to find the ‘best food’.  Because we all intrinsically know that good quality, fresh and wholesome food is not found in a bag or a can in the long-life storage area of the store. Real food goes off. Fresh food needs to be chilled or frozen. Fresh food is not ‘convenient’. Why do cats need fresh food? Our furry feline friends are highly evolved as master hunters. They are obligate carnivores who are so successful in their hunting prowess that they have discarded all other nutritional adaptive measures that would mean they can eat a varied diet. They are finely tuned to eat a diet consisting of small animals, several times per day. These might be mice, rats, lizards, rabbits, frogs, insects and birds and yes, they do eat the gut contents of small prey. They do not eat vegetables, grains or grass. This evolutionary elitism means that cats are designed to eat raw diets, raw meat, organs, bones, skin and feathers. Unlike dogs who have adapted to living with humans and eating their food, cats have done […]

What Vegetables Can I Feed My Dog?

Eat your greens! I was asked the other day, three times in a row during busy morning consults, how to feed vegetables to a dog. Each time I was a little baffled by the question… Just cook or blitz them for your pooch! But by the third consult, I realise that this is obviously a topic that perplexes many of our clients. And so, here it is. What vegetables should I feed my dog? There are some vegetables that are best served cooked for your dog.  These are all of the starchy vegies, such as potato, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots. The starches are easier to digest once they have been cooked. And then if that cooked starch has been left to cool, it becomes even more beneficial to those ever-important gut bugs by converting into ‘resistant starch’ which is essentially a prebiotic form of starch, or fibre. There are also some dogs that will have trouble digesting the brassica vegetables and will show this in the form of tummy pain, gas or even loose stools. The brassica family include broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower. All other vegetables are best served raw.  Although they do need to be finely chopped, grated or better yet, blitzed in a food processor to be easily digested. How do I prepare vegetables for my dog? So how do I prepare vegetables for my Bonsai Wolfhound, Ash? You all know that I am a time poor, working parent running a family business. I’d like to say that I have the time to dedicate to preparing each meal for my precious furry family member each night but in all honesty, she’s lucky if I remember to feed her… and the kids… Apparently they need feeding every day too – at least according to the school they do…. So, to make it easy for myself! I prepare a large batch of vegetables for Ash on a weekly or fortnightly basis. I buy the ‘Winter Veg’ snap frozen bag of vegies from the supermarket and blanch these in boiling water until just cooked. Drain and mash with a […]

Raw feeding for Cats

Raw feeding for Cats At Benton’s Road Veterinary Clinic we are advocates for wholesome nutrition for your pets.  Unfortunately, our feline companions are often limited in commercial nutrition options compared to the range that is available for dogs. Furthermore, home prepared raw feeding for cats can become overwhelming with the preparation and necessary calculations to appropriately balance a nutrition plan. We all know that correct calcium and phosphorous levels are essential, and don’t forget that all important taurine! We are proud to present a new option for clients who wish to feed their cats and kittens a more natural diet, but in a convenient way. Raw Meow is an Australian company based in Perth specialising in producing high quality feline nutrition products. The creators at Raw Meow use only the best quality ingredients and have worked alongside nutrition professionals to ensure their products are appropriately balanced for our feline companions. You can rest assured knowing you are feeding a high quality, balanced product. We will be stocking the following Raw Meow products: Raw Meow Mix – Formulated based on the prey model of feeding, Raw Meow Mix is a meal completer which can be added to muscle meat of your choice to provide a balanced meal. We recommend using human grade muscle meat to make your cats meals. Raw Meow Mix is also available in a formulation appropriate for growing kittens. Raw Meow Freeze Dried Meals – This is a complete meal, just freeze dried! Simple store in the pantry and re-hydrate your portions with water before feeding. Raw Meow Freeze Dried Chicken Breast – Human grade single protein treat option. We think about getting dog treats all the time for our canine companions, why not felines too? Freeze dried chicken breast is a dry product which many cats adore. Especially the reformed biscuit eaters who miss that crunch! Freeze dried chicken breast can also be utilised as a meal topper to help you transition your cat onto raw food. Raw Meow does have a larger range of freeze-dried treats available, if you would like something that we don’t have […]

Natural Diet for Optimal Health

Feeding a Natural Diet for Optimal Health   All species on the planet thrive best when they eat the foods that nature intended them to eat. When the digestive system is receiving items that its evolved to eat that animal, person or bird will be able to achieve optimal health. This is the philosophy behind our dietary recommendations at Bentons Road Vet Clinic.  We encourage all pet owners to embrace food as the natural source of a healthy lifestyle.  We also help clients to incorporate at least some, if not all, natural ingredients in their pet’s diet. But what does a natural diet look like for our pets today? There are a multitude of bags of dry food in the pet stores claiming to be “natural”, “organic”, “grain-free” and “holistic”; but what do these labels mean and how “natural” are they? At Bentons Road Vet Clinic we believe that a dry food or kibble based diet is the furthest from the natural diet of our small carnivores, as you can get. These foods are low in meat proteins.  High in refined grain carbohydrates. Devoid of any moisture.  And biologically removed from the natural meat and fat based diet of our pets. The more processing that a food goes through to get to its finished state, the less healthy it is for that species. We know this. There is a huge amount of advertising for our human health that encourages us to stay away from processed foods and to eat as much fresh, wholefoods as we can to stay healthy. The same is true of our pets’ diets. For cats and dogs, a diet that contains meat, organs and bones, essential fats and oils and some green leafy vegetables and herbs is the closest to their wild type diet. This diet can be nutritionally balanced over time, not every meal needs to be the perfect mix. There are some proportion differences between cats and dogs; puppies, kittens and geriatrics and also some changes that should be made with diseases or illnesses. But the baseline ingredients remain the same. Natural diets can be […]

Dog Behaviour

Dog Behaviour Please don’t steal my bone! Vets are asked every day how to help with dog behaviour issues. Behaviour problems are the biggest health problem facing dogs and their owners. These problems tarnish the relationship with your dog and often indicate that a pet is living a relatively unhappy life. The decision to put a dog to sleep because of a behaviour problem is the hardest one any pet owner has to make. But sometimes there is no option – particularly when a dog has bitten. One of the most common dog myths I see continued is the dominance theory. So many new pet owners proudly declare that they take their dog’s bones and food away while they are eating – just to show them who’s boss. They believe that by demonstrating dominance over their dog that their dog will submit to them and they will all live happily ever after. But it’s not that simple. A dominance relationship is not a hard and fast vertical ladder with “boss” on the top rung and “minions” on the lower. This visual makes it seem logical, that all members of the lower rungs are hell bent on climbing the ladder and that you have to keep knocking them down if you want to stay on top. But true dog and family relationships are just not like that. What are Dominance Relationships Actually Like Dominance relationships are always dynamic and relative to the situation at any given time. One dog may be “dominant” when it comes to a favourite toy and will put up a good fight to anyone who tries to take it away from them.   Another dog may be dominant when it comes to choosing a sleeping position.  And yet another dog may be dominant in an interaction when it comes to food.     The dominance relationship depends on the members present and the situation or the resource being considered at that time. It depends on just how much each dog wants that thing! So, in the case of removing the bone from the dog happily chewing it. You may […]