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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

How to keep your dog’s teeth healthy

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Dental health is not only important in humans but for your pets too! Here are some tips to keeping your dog’s teeth healthy:
  1. Provide your dog with a daily dental routine. It is best for start from a puppy. Tooth brushing is the single most effective method however other methods can also be combined. Pick a suitable time in your routine and keep as your usual time.
  2. If your pet is older, you should still begin daily dental care, however it is best to have a dental check prior to beginning to make sure there are no issues.
  3. Make sure your pet has an oral examination every year at their annual check-up.
  4. Provide chews and toys that are recommended and are safe for your pet. Avoid abrasive objects such as bones, hard nylon chew toys or tennis balls as these often cause damage to teeth and gums.
  5. Feed a diet formulated to reduce dental plaque and keep teeth healthy.
  6. Dental chews can be used to reduce plaque and tartar build up however these should be accounted for within their day’s diet to prevent obesity.
  7. Keep the session short from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
  8. Repeat each stage daily then move onto the next stage when you dog is comfortable.
  9. Train at a pace that suits for dog.
  10. Give lots of praise and reward for GOOD behaviour.
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How can I help my dog lose weight?

Weight issues in dogs are not just down to feeding too much food at meal times, this is just part of it. There are plenty of other factors to consider.

Feeding suggestions
  • Make sure you know your dog’s weight so you can accurately calculate the amount of food they will need.
  • Weigh out their recommended daily food to control their portion sizes. However, recommended daily food allowances may need to be altered due to factors such as age, gender, and reed. Unfortunately the recommended daily food allowance is not a one guide fits all, and each brand will have their own suggestions.
  • If you want to continue treating your dog, make sure your factor this into their daily food allowance and reduce their normal food.
  • Consider avoiding commercial treats – carrots make excellent treats and most dogs like them as an alternative option.
  • Consider a Senior or Light brand diet if your dog is becoming less active or requires a lower calorie food to reduce weight. These may not always be suitable for younger animals, or with pets who have an existing medical condition, so it is best to check with your veterinary practice before purchasing.
Exercise Suggestions
  • Any exercise is better than no exercise, even a quick walk to the corner shop and back on a rainy day. Exercise stimulates metabolism as well as being a mental stimulus for your dog.
  • Chasing toys and balls is a great way to bond with your pet and provide them with the exercise they need.
  • With older dogs, they may not be as willing to go out for a walk so consider splitting their exercise into three smaller sessions throughout the day.
  • Food activity balls are also a great idea to get them to work for their food and provide mental stimulation.
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How can I help my cat lose weight?

If you feel your cat is overweight, or would like to discuss their diet, we run SHAPE clinics at Walnut Tree or Stony Stratford surgeries with a Registered Veterinary Nurse. Call us to find out regarding the availability.

In the meantime there are ways to help your cat at home, such as weighing out their recommended daily food to control their portion sizes. However, these allowances may need to be adjusted due to factors such as age, gender, and breed. Unfortunately the recommended daily food allowance is not a one guide fits all, and each brand will have their own suggestions.

If you like to give your cat treats then these need to be taken into consideration with their daily food allowance. Treats are fine in moderation, but you will need to reduce the amount of normal food to allow for how many you have given.

Cats should never have a big change to their diet, a slow and steady weight loss is ideal as sudden weight loss can cause further medical issues. You may not see weight change every day so regular weighing is a useful way to monitor progress. In most cases it can take up to a year for an obese cat to achieve its ideal weight.

The same as humans, exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight. Typically an indoor cat will be a higher risk of being obese as their exercise levels will be lower than outdoor cats. Ways to get cats to be more active can include feedings balls, which encourage them to work to get their food, again making sure this is within their normal daily allowance. Playing with your cat will also encourages them to exercise, as well as providing bonding time with them.
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Preparing for Fireworks season: Tips on how to help your pet

Fireworks season can be a stressful time for many, with over 40% of dogs and high population of cats in the UK suffering from a fear of fireworks.

Here are some ideas to help your pets during this time:
  • Keep them indoors prior to when the fireworks are due to start.
  • Keep all doors and windows securely closed.
  • Make sure curtains are pulled closed to muffle the sound and block the light from the fireworks.
  • Keep internal doors open so they don’t feel enclosed.
  • Put the TV, radio or music on to provide background noise. It is advised to start this before the fireworks start.
  • Ensure your pet has a safe place to go when they feel distressed, this may be their own bed, or create a den.
  • Take your dog for a walk earlier in the day before the fireworks start and kept on the lead at all times.
  • Provide your cat with a litter tray if they are used to toileting outdoors.
  • Feed them their usual meal before the fireworks are due to start.
  • Ensure your pet is wearing an ID tag or microchip details are up to date in such case that they do run away or manage to escape.
  • Absolutely avoid any form of punishment. This will simple lead to more anxiety and even cause your pet to become aggressive.
  • Comforting you animal when they are scared is a controversial area. Definitely try to be at home during any known firework events. Although you shouldn’t pet or over fuss your animal when they are worried, as this can reinforce the fearful behaviour, it may help some pets to hold them firmly and lean into them, while using long, form massaging strokes, rather than normal petting.
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Tips on improving your senior cat’s appetite


Cats rely heavily on their ability to taste and smell food and these are both reduced in elderly cats. If your cat has a reduction in appetite it is always advised to get them checked with your vet, however sometimes it can be due to their decreased senses.




There are ways that you can encourage food intake at home, this includes the following:
  • Warming foods to 30˚c – A cat’s taste receptors are most receptive when food is at body temperature as this mimics the temperature of live prey.
  • Strong smelling foods such as fish can help encourage them to eat as a cats sense of smell may be reduced due to age.
  • Offering foods that you know they have enjoyed in the past as familiarity is important to cats.
  • Offer a different variety and consistency of foods. Often a cat that has always enjoyed biscuits may develop a preference for wet food due to dental disease causing pain. Adding water to the diet and mashing it up may encourage your cat to eat.
  • Shallow bowls that do not restrict your cat’s whisker movements are important. In the wild your cat would use their whiskers to wrap around their prey to help them bite in the appropriate location. Whiskers are also important to help cats locate food and objects that are close to their face.
  • It is also important to offer fresh, high protein diets. Cats possess taste receptors that are able to detect the amino acids produced by meat and this can help them to distinguish the nutritional quality and protein content of the food. Offering a variety of foods, including wet and dry as well as a variety of food shapes will give your cat the opportunity to choose their preference.
  • Offer food little and often, do not leave uneaten food down for long periods or lots of different food choices at once as this can be overwhelming for them. Place the food in a quiet, easily accessible part of the house.
  • Raise food bowls up on stands or boxes as this may provide more comfort for cats suffering with osteoarthritis affecting the neck.
  • Providing your cat with attention whilst they are eating can help increase appetite.
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