One of the first things I notice as an indicator of health in the pets I see is the quality of their coat.
Over my 30 years as a vet I have consistently seen that pets with strong, healthy and shiny coats are equally internally strong and healthy.
So what does it mean if your pet’s coat is looking dull and lifeless? And how can you help them enjoy better ‘hair days’ as well as better all-round health?
Concentrate on these five areas, and you can expect to see a difference in as little as three weeks.
Like most vets, when I see a patient with a dull or drab coat my first thought is “poor nutrition.”
‘You are what you eat’ … and in our pet’s case, we are making those choices for them. The days of feeding our four-legged companions a second class diet are surely behind us, with so many good options in premium and super-premium foods.
Start with an entry level premium food recommended by your vet that is breed and age appropriate. If you find that your pet has special needs you may need to adjust the diet carefully in consultation with your vet.
Supplementing your pet’s diet to support their skin and coat health can be very effective, but don’t make the mistake of using human products on your pets.
There is now a wide range of Omega oil supplements registered for use in dogs and cats. You can use them with confidence knowing that the ingredients, formulation and dose rate have all been tested to ensure your pets safety and a great coat to go with it.
Regular brushing stimulates the skin and hair follicles, which increases the natural production of skin oils which make the coat shiny. Brush your dog at least a couple of times a week and try a Slicker Brush to really stimulate the skin and remove dead or matted hair.
Make brushing a bonding time for both of you and enjoy the benefits of a pet who is both happy and looking great.
Frequency of bathing will depend on the length of the coat, and how dirty he or she gets. Bathing once a month is a good general guideline—often enough to keep the coat clean, but not so often that you’re stripping the coat of essential oils. Use a moisturizing shampoo that won’t irritate skin. Consider adding a pet conditioner afterwards—those that contain vitamin E are soothing to the skin and hair
Many medical conditions can also affect a dog’s appearance, so a dull coat may be a good reason for a veterinary checkup. Parasites like tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms can all deplete your dog of the key nutrients important for coat health. Infections, fleas and ticks, thyroid problems, kidney conditions, and other health issues can impact skin and hair quality, so speak with your vet if you notice any change in your pet’s coat.
Your pet’s skin and hair are perhaps the clearest indicator of their overall health, so focus on these areas to help them be their best, and speak with your vet if you have any concerns.
Happy hair days & happy pet days!
Paralysis ticks are the single most dangerous parasite for dogs, with just one tick capable of causing paralysis and even death!
In this post you’ll learn:
- Symptoms of tick paralysis
- How to identify a tick
- 4 methods to prevent tick poisoning
Ixodes holocyclus, commonly known as the Australian paralysis tick, can cause paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into its host. Ticks are most commonly found in bushy coastal areas and although they are most prevalent from spring to autumn, they may occur at any time of year.
Symptoms of Tick Poisoning
The paralysis tick causes paralysis in a variety of forms, but typically starts with weakness of the hindquarters and staggering gait, progressing to total paralysis of all four legs.
Other early symptoms include the appearance that the dog has something stuck in its throat (gurgling), vomiting or heavy, loud breathing and not being able to bark properly.
How to Identify a Tick
Paralysis ticks can be identified by their grey body and their legs around their head. Unlike other adult ticks, paralysis ticks have one pair of brown legs closest to their head, then two pairs of white legs and then one pair of brown legs closest to their body.
4 methods to prevent tick paralysis
Paralysis tick prevention is essential and you must take precautions if you live in a tick area or are travelling to the east coast on holidays. There are several options when it comes to paralysis tick prevention products and methods, each depends on your dogs age, size and lifestyle.
1. Daily Tick Searches
Search your dog thoroughly every day, especially around the head, ears and under the collar where ticks commonly attach. Don't forget to check between the toes and under the tail. Clipping your dog’s coat short, especially during the tick season, makes performing tick searches much easier. It is recommended to use a tick preventative as well as daily tick searches.
If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or better still, a tick-removing device, which you can get from your vet or pet store. Try to gently lever the tick off, not to squeeze the tick’s body.
If you remove a tick after your dog has started showing some signs, you should seek veterinary attention. If your dog is paralysed, you must seek veterinary attention immediately.
2. Tick Collars
Tick collars can provide protection for up to 3 months but in tick paralysis areas, daily searching of the entire body is still recommended. Tick collars like Scalibor are safe to use in puppies as young as 8 weeks but don't forget to remove the collar before washing or swimming.
3. Oral /Chewable
Oral chews are easy to administer offer up to 4 months paralysis tick prevention. Oral chews like Bravecto can also protect against flea infestations
4. Spot-on Products
Spot-on tick prevention products like Advantix and Frontline Plus both repels and kills paralysis ticks when applied every 14 days. The products are suitable to use with dogs that occasionally swim, but some spot-on products are toxic to cats so use with caution.
You can not be too careful when it comes to paralysis ticks. They can cause a lot of distress to your dog and treatment is difficult and expensive. Prevention is always the best cure.
Check out our comprehensive tick products here : http://bit.ly/tickproducts
Be prepared and get peace of mind this tick season.
Due to family commitments, Roger has recently undergone an exciting and arduous trip. He has flown to Canada! His family have headed over to Toronto to help out some ageing relatives, so naturally Roger had to make the journey as well. First he had to undergo some health checks, and be vaccinated against rabies, a disease we on the Australian continent are fortunate enough to be free from. After some more worming medication and a last minute tick bath in Fidos Fre-itch rinse, it was off to the airport, next stop Hong Kong.
He had a lovely stop in Hong Kong, did the usual things, shopped in Kowloon and caught the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island. He was very impressed with the array of treats on display at Stanley markets. Then back to the airport for the long haul across to Toronto to be greeted by a lot of familiar faces.
The best part of Toronto so far are the squirrels. Roger of course has never seen a squirrel before, but has taken to them as only Roger can. Every one he sees is a potential friend, so he hasn't stopped wagging his tail since he arrived. But the raccoons? Well, they are another story altogether. He hasn't quite worked them out yet. One thing is for sure, there is a lot of excitement to be had in the months ahead. Who knows what he will make of snow, being a born and bred Queenslander. Time will tell, stay tuned...
FOR HUMANS ONLY - Some very different thinking on how to remove ticks (from humans only) provided by the ABC TV Show - Catalyst. The advice they give about applying an insecticidal cream could be dangerous for our pets so only use something recommended by your vet. Dr Mike
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Only Advantix is specially formulated to repel and kill ticks including the deadly Aussie paralysis tick. This easy-to-use spot-on is applied fortnightly, removing the worry of ticks harming your dog.
Advantix also kills fleas fast reducing the worry. Its rapid killing power stops fleas biting within 3 to 5 minutes, killing adult fleas and their larvae within 20 minutes. Because it breaks the flea lifecycle, Advantix is the only flea product you need to use.
Unlike other treatments, Advantix kills fleas in your dog’s surroundings – your home.
Advantix also repels and kills many biting insects including mosquitoes (responsible for the transmission of heartworm) and irritating sandflies - less irritation and stress for your dog!
Advantix is also waterproof*, so it keeps working even after swimming or shampooing.
For use with: Dogs only (must not be used on cats)
Acts on: Paralysis ticks, Brown Dog ticks, Bush ticks, Fleas, Lice, Mosquitoes, Sand flies, Stable (biting) flies Protects against: Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) Environmental parasiticidal activity: Yes. Flea larvae are killed in the pets' surroundings such as pet bedding and carpets in your home.
Safe for: Puppies from 7 weeks of age Application: Topical (spot-on) Dosing: Must be used once a fortnight for the prevention of paralysis ticks. Can be used once a month in non-paralysis tick areas for biting insects (fleas, mosquitoes, sandflies)
*See product label
The unique all natural Sashas Blend™ formula possesses anti-inflammatory actives which reduces inflammation in a non invasive method with no side effects. It promotes the growth of healthy cartilage and conditions the joints by helping maintain the fluid (known as Synovial Fluid) that cushions joints. The Synovial fluid is important for healthy joint function as it provides lubrication to the joint, supplies nutrients to the cartilage, provides impact protection for the joint and removes waste from the cartilage. Sashas Blend™ also suppresses the production of Nitric Oxide which is a major chemical produced responsible for pain and the breakdown of a healthy joint.
Sashas Blend™ also contains the full range of GAGS (glycosaminoglycans) including Keratin, Dermatin, Heparin sulphates and the commonly known Glucosamine & Chondroitin sulphates which provide the necessary nutrients required to stimulate healthy joint function.
Designed for DOGS The actives in Sasha’s Blend are very delicate. Dose:- 0-10kg 1/2 teaspoon, 10-20kg 3/4 level teaspoon, 20-30kg 1 level teaspoon, 30-40kg 1 1/4 level teaspoon and 40 -50kg 1 1/2 level teaspoon.
The 250 gram pack will treat a 20kg dog for 144 days.
Well Roger my black labrador continues to be 8 years old going on 8 weeks. Roger rarely barks, as his life philosophy has always been to love everyone and everything, even if his enthusiasm is not reciprocated by some members of the doggie community.
Last night he was inside the back door and he barked once, VERY loudly, his hackles were up, his body clearly in "I shall defend the house" mode; he was ready for anything. I got quite a shock, this had never happened before. "Let's take a look mate", I said, as I could indeed see a strange shadow outside. We locked eyes so as to co-ordinate our assault on the unknown. I flung open the door and went out at pace, turning left towards the strange shadow. Roger on the other hand went out at greater pace, turned right, and promptly disappeared from site.
The shadow was a neighbour up on a ladder backlit by his working light. I followed Roger and found him sitting squashed as far as he could go into the back corner of his kennel and bed. Some dogs are simply lovers, not fighters.
Roger was and is an unusually quiet dog, when you consider there is absolutely nothing quiet about his demeanour in general. It wasn't until he was nearly a year old that I first heard him bark. A huge deep throaty single bark that made me look out my office window to see what the hell was going on.
To go further with this, I must describe the stages of Roger's tailwagging. As I previously explained, in his capacity as "the world's friendliest dog" his tail is extremely busy. If he sees someone, anyone, walking down our street that he doesn't know, he goes for the conventional but enthusiastic side to side wag. If that person is walking with a dog he doesn't know, he stays conventional but also wags his entire rear end. If he sees someone he does know, he moves up a notch to the furious figure eight wag, and if he sees a person AND a dog he knows, he escalates it to the full "helicopter" wag.
All of this information is relevant for Roger's first bark story, because when I looked out the office window, he was standing in the backyard with a full helicopter wag happening, which confused me because he can't see any people or dogs from the back yard.
I had to go out and investigate, so shocked was I that he had actually barked for the first time. When I got there the helicopter was in full force, and the cause for all the excitement and the bark was a tiny mouse, which was standing up on its hind legs sniffing nose to nose with Roger, not in the slightest bit intimidated. A new firiend.
Its Christmas time, and for Roger that means going to the Pet Resort. To many dogs this may be a time of sadness and quiet reflection at being separated from the pack, but for Roger this is a time to be relished. He has been going to the resort on and off for 3 years now, and since the very first vist the pattern remains the same. I load him into the back seat of the car with his bed and some rawhide chews, and off we go. There is no need for a lead. When we arrive at the resort, I open the back dooor, and amid furious tail wagging he disappears down the driveway, through the reception area and is gone. No "See you later", no "I'll miss you", no "Merry Christmas".
By the time I arrive at the front desk to pay for his holiday, the owners already know he has arrived, because he has admitted himself and is out playing with the other dogs. I have mentioned in previous posts, that Roger loves other dogs, all other dogs, even the ones that don't love Roger, he loves them. So while I am spending time with the family and relatives, Roger is catching up with all his old friends. Marmalade, Ajax, Pothole, Bowser, its so good to see you guys. Have fun Roger.