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In Australia, when we think of dog sleds we usually think of snow, however many of us are surprised to discover that sled dogs exist in many parts of the world including here, and are used for a variety of purposes. They have been around for generations, and it’s thought that in the world’s artic regions sled dogs were used tens of thousands of years ago, and that the Eskimos bred them with various breeds of dogs and wolves. Consequently, their offspring were conditioned to the snow and freezing temperatures. It is unknown when they started to be used to pull sleds, but it is thought to be several thousand years ago. Today, dog sleds are used for transportation and for racing.

Dog breeds used for sledding

Many breeds of dogs are used to pulls sleds, and traditionally they were Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes. There is also a number of mixed breed dogs used, and many would have bloodlines that originate from wolves. Breeds are chosen for their strength, endurance, and speed. Leadership qualities are also important with sled dogs. In cold climates their big thick coats are important in helping to protect them from the cold, and wide flat feet help them to gain traction when traversing it. In the snow you’ll see them sleep curled up with their tails covering their noses to keep them warm, but in Australia’s hot climate they’re more likely to be spread out to help control their temperature.

Australians love swimming and water sports and we’re renowned for the “bronzing” of our outdoors lifestyles. We have some of the most magnificent beaches in the world and the highest per capita rate of pool ownership, so we know that waterside is a great place to spend long hot summers. It’s great to be able to include our pets in the fun, but there are some things to keep in mind when exposing them to water, whether it’s a back-yard pool, lake, river, or the ocean.

Being afraid of the noise of thunder, fireworks and the like, is common in dogs, but less so it cats.  It can become an entrenched pattern, and depending on the severity, can lead to the development of a noise phobia. Phobias are excessive and irrational fear reactions, which are excessive and persistent. If your pet reacts nervously to noise, keep an eye on them in order to avoid it becoming a major issue.

 

In the case of thunderstorms, pets may also be fearful of not only the noise, but also the associated events such as lightening, barometric pressure changes, and even the smell of storms. Research suggests that certain breeds are more at risk of developing noise phobias, and the sporting breeds such as Bassett Hounds, Beagles, Collies, and German Shepherds, may be more susceptible.

Christmas is just around the corner, and while for us that mean holidays, good times, and festive treats, it’s not without its fair share of risks to our pets’ safety. Not only does Christmas have 12 days, but it also has (at least), 12 hazards

Summer’s here! The year’s drawing to an end, and our focus is turning to Christmas... the celebrations, the holidays, the time spent with our near-and-dear and of course the shopping! Preparation for Christmas can last for weeks; there are decorations to hang, cards to write, and detailed plans to make, and that meticulous yuletide planning also needs to include our very special family members - our pets. Let’s take a look at five important considerations for your Christmas planning checklist:

1. Need to board your pet?

2. Preparing for travel with pets

3. Microchipping for fast and accurate identification

4. Grooming for comfort and good health

5. Keeping pets safe in hot weather.

Summer’s here… and along with all the good times it brings, there are a few not-so-fun things, such as mozzies, sunburn, and sleepless nights.  As South Australians, we take for granted our familiar and entrenched summer survival techniques, but we need to remember that our pets depend on us to make their summers comfortable and safe. While we’re enjoying trips to the beach, barbecues and spending time outdoors, summer heralds the start of many hot weather hazards for our pets, and two key sources are what they’re on and what they’re in.

We all acknowledge the importance of water, as it affects all facets of life. Without it, there would be no vegetation, no oxygen, and it wouldn’t be possible for us to survive. But how much of this valued and precious resource should our pets drink and what are the signs of dehydration? In this week’s blog, we provide some advice to help dog and cats owners get the balance right for their pets.

 

Why is water important?

Water is an important part of your pet’s daily dietary requirements and overall nutrition, and a particular balance is required in order to keep your pet healthy. Water is the primary component of the body’s healthy living cells and without it, neither we nor ours pets, would be able to function properly. One of the reasons a balanced diet is important to hydration is that is food also provides some moisture.

 

Water’s role is to carry and transport important nutrients into and out of the body’s cells. Water helps digestion and assists the body to absorb nutrients, and is also important in maintaining normal body temperature as it helps to cool the body. Water aids movement by lubricating and cushioning joints, and internal tissues and the spinal cord are also cushioned by moisture. The removal of waste from the body through urination and bowel movements, is also dependant on water.

 

What is the prostate?

 

The prostate is a small gland located near the neck of the urinary bladder, it has two symmetrical lobes. The purpose of the prostate is to produce and store the fluids found in semen. The urethra (the tube connecting the urinary bladder to the outside world) passes through the prostate.

 

What are the clinical signs of prostatic disease?

  •  
  • Straining to urinate or defecate (pass faeces)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Changes to the shape of faeces

Immunodeficiency is a medical term that refers to the body’s inability to develop a normal immune response, therefore feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) refers to a complex retrovirus that causes an immunodeficiency disease in cats. FIV is in the same class of viruses as HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, the causative agent of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). FIV is estimated to infect between 14-29% of the Australian cat population.!

 

FIV is a retrovirus, and retroviruses replicate by inserting a copy of their genetic material into the DNA of a host cell. As it spreads throughout the body FIV destroys the body’s immune cells. Lentiviruses represent a genus of slow viruses with long incubation periods, and being a lentivirus like HIV, FIV can take months or even years of lying dormant in a cat’s body before causing symptoms. Most cats infected with FIV are asymptomatic, but have an increased susceptibility to developing other infections and some types of cancer.

Most of us know what it’s like to sustain a bee sting... That sharp jab, the immediate stinging sensation, and then the fire in our veins, yeeooow!  It’s exactly the same for our pets. With the warmer weather and the abundance of flowering plants, the chances of our pets being stung are greater and it’s important that we know the signs of bee sting and what to do.

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