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ADVANCE™ is scientifically formulated to help improve pet health.  Read all the latest articles and news, as well as get tips and advice on puppy, kitten, dog and cat nutrition and health care topics.  Brought to you by the experts at ADVANCE™ premium pet food.

Adult Dog

 

Preventing boredom in dogs

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This is an image of a dog with a ball

Home alone

Many dogs are left alone for hours every day.  This can lead to boredom which is often the root of many behavioural problems.  Let’s take a look at how you can keep your dog occupied when you’re not there.

Home alone

Many dogs are left alone for hours every day.  This can lead to boredom which is often the root of many behavioural problems. 

Dogs are intelligent creatures and therefore require mental stimulation.  Left alone with nothing to do, a dog will create its own entertainment.  This could include such behaviours as barking at birds and clouds, running in circles, pulling clothes off the line or digging holes in the garden.  In extreme cases, some dogs will even resort to self-mutilation.

How can I keep my dog occupied when I'm not there?

The key lies in 'environmental enrichment'.  This means to make your dog's environment more interesting and complex, and is a strategy used in zoos and wildlife parks around the world.

Exercise

Dogs need daily exercise and ideally they should leave your property every day.  Taking your dog on a walk has many health benefits for both of you.  Try to vary your walks so that your dog gets to experience new sights, smells and interactions.

Find a safe off-leash area where your dog can let off some steam.  For high energy dogs consider dog sports such as Agility or Flyball.

A happily tired out dog is more likely to rest when you’re not home, rather than seek out mischief.

Toys

Have a collection of safe and fun dog toys and rotate them daily (yes, every day!) so they maintain their novelty factor and stay interesting for your dog.  Select toys that are appropriate for your dog’s level of destructiveness.  Always supervise your dog when first playing with a new toy to see if there is any potential risk of the toy becoming dangerous.  Inspect toys regularly for signs of wear, and replace any that are damaged. 

Make feeding time last longer

In the wild, an animal spends a significant proportion of their time seeking out their next meal.  When your pet can rely on you to meet their nutritional needs, they’re left with a fair bit of time on their paws.  So rather than feeding your dog from a bowl, scatter their dry kibble around the backyard.  It will take them ages to sniff out every piece.

Stuff a ‘Kong’ toy with yummy treats or put some kibble in a treat ball or ‘Buster Cube’.  Your dog will need to use their brain to work out how to get those treats.

Provide your dog with a raw bone and smoked pigs ears a couple of times each week to chew on.                            

You could also

Create a digging pit using a child’s sand pit.  Try hiding toys and treats in it for your dog to find as buried treasure.

Play hide and seek by hiding treats around the garden for your pooch to find.

If you don’t have time to walk your dog, consider employing a professional dog walker.

Investigate local doggy day care centres, where your dog can spend some quality time playing and socialising.

 

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Problem barking in dogs

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Dogs are social animals

Barking and other forms of vocalisation serve as a form of communication and are considered normal behaviour for dogs.  Tensions arise when a dog is considered to bark excessively.  Here we take a look at what you can do to help prevent and reduce problem barking.  

Dogs are social animals

Barking is considered a normal behaviour for dogs.  Barking and other forms of vocalisation serve as a form of communication between individuals, such as to alert to an approaching threat.  This ability was a seen as a good thing when humans were domesticating the dog.  Breeds were developed based on individuals who were very good at alerting us to danger.  A dog's hearing is about 4 times better than ours, and things they can hear (from some distance away) can be very arousing to a dog, whose response is often to bark.

Many dogs also vocalise when they are frustrated, excited or anxious.  If dogs are left alone for long periods, they may become under-exercised, under-stimulated and may bark as a result.         

Tensions arise when a dog is considered to bark excessively.

How can I help prevent my puppy becoming a barker?

There are quite a few things you can do when you first bring your puppy home to reduce the chance they will develop into an excessive barker.

Positive Socialisation

Ensure that your puppy is positively socialised, and that this continues for life.

Socialising your puppy involves introducing them to a whole range of new experiences including meeting different types of people, dogs, other animals, places, smells and noises.  It’s important that these interactions are a positive experience for your puppy.  Introduce them to new situations gently and reward them for calm behaviour. 

Dogs that are under socialised may become fearful and suspicious of things they haven't encountered before.  These things will be seen as a potential threat, and something that the dog then barks at.

Encourage calm

Develop a routine that encourages your puppy to display quiet and calm behaviour.  Teach your puppy that it's OK to be alone for short periods and encourage their love of chew toys which helps keep them mentally stimulated.

Crate training helps reinforce happy, quiet time and teaches your puppy that the night is for sleeping, not for barking at cats or possums!

Training

Teach your puppy to 'speak' on cue, along with the alternative command 'shush' to stop the barking.  This is a lot easier than trying to teach your puppy to be quiet when they are barking excessively (and in an aroused state).  By practising these commands when your puppy is calm and focused, they'll make the learning connection.  You then have an effective cue to offer them when you want them to stop barking.

My dog seems to be barking a lot, what can I do?

Ideally, determine the cause of the barking.  Keep a barking diary where all members of the household (as well as neighbours) note down the times of day when the dog barks.  From this, it may be possible to understand what triggers the barking. 

Another option, especially if your dog only seems to bark when you’re not home, is to use video surveillance to observe what your dog is doing.  Only when you understand why your dog barks can you start working to reduce the noise.  Options include changing the way your dog is managed, changing the places they have access to, covering over fences or gates to reduce visual stimuli or allowing your dog a better view of the world.  Sometimes the answer is to bring your dog inside the house when they are most likely to bark, or when you're not at home.

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Grooming your puppy

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Make grooming time fun!

As part of general handling, you’ll need to get your puppy accustomed to being groomed and washed.  This is also a great time to inspect the condition of their skin and coat.  When brushing and bathing, be gentle and and initially keep the sessions short.  Be sure to offer lots of positive reinforcement with treats and praise, so that grooming time is fun and a chance for you both to bond.  Check out our tips for brushing, bathing and nail trimming.

Make grooming time fun

As part of general handling, you’ll need to get your puppy accustomed to being groomed and washed.  This is also a great time to inspect the condition of their skin and coat. 

When brushing and bathing, be gentle, move slowly and initially keep the sessions short.  Progress only at a pace your puppy is comfortable with.  Be sure to offer lots of positive reinforcement with treats and praise, so that grooming time is fun and a chance for you both to bond.

Brushing your puppy

Different dog breeds have different grooming requirements, so be sure to look into what grooming tools you might need for your puppy.

To help keep your puppy looking their best, here’s our guide for how often to brush:

Short-haired breeds:     brush 1 to 2 times per week

Medium-length coats:    brush every second day

Long-haired breeds:      brush gently every day

While your puppy is getting used to being brushed, offer lots of positive reinforcement with treats and praise, to keep grooming time enjoyable.

Bathing your puppy

As a rule of thumb, try to limit baths to no more frequently than once a month as bathing removes natural oils from your puppy’s coat.  Use lukewarm water and a specially formulated puppy shampoo.  Once bathed, wipe your puppy down with a towel and keep them warm until they are properly dry.

To help your puppy stay looking great in between baths, keep up regular brushing and combing in conjunction with wiping with a towel or pet wipes.  Regularly check your puppy’s ears, and if you see any discharge or abnormalities be sure to check in with your veterinarian.

How do I trim my puppy's nails?

Proper care of claws (nails) is important, and sometimes puppies need their claws trimmed.  Use a pet claw trimmer and have someone gently restrain your puppy, or better still, ask your puppy to offer their paws.  Trim each claw back a little at a time until you get close to the quick, the pink part where the blood supply is.  You can see where this is on white claws, but you will need to use your judgement on dark coloured claws. 

If your puppy has any dew claws, keep your eye on them as they will need a regular clip.  Be sure to pair this exercise with food treats to ensure a positive association with claw trimming. 

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Gum disease in dogs

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

The stats

80% of dogs aged over 3 years have some form of gum disease, yet less than 10% of pet parents realise their pet has a dental health issue.  By establishing a good oral health routine from a young age, your dog can avoid becoming part of this statistic. 

The stats

80% of dogs aged over 3 years have some form of gum disease, yet less than 10% of pet parents realise their pet has a dental health issue.  By establishing a good oral health routine from a young age, your dog can avoid becoming part of this statistic. 

Teething

Puppies start losing their temporary teeth (also known as milk teeth) between 4 and 6 months of age.  These are replaced by a set of adult teeth. The milk teeth usually fall out easily and are often swallowed by the puppy.  Teething can increase chewing and mouthing behaviours, so provide plenty of quality, safe chew toys.  By the time a puppy is 7 or 8 months old, they should have all of their permanent teeth.

Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is common in dogs, so start dental care while your puppy is young.  

Plaque can form on the teeth which contains bacteria and leads to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).  Plaque can then mineralize to form tartar which leads to bad breath and gum recession.  If left untreated, this painful condition can eventually lead to tooth loss and even systemic disease such as organ failure. 

Tooth brushing

Prevention is better than cure, and the most effective way to prevent tartar deposits is to brush your dog’s teeth daily.  

Step 1: Start with pet toothpaste

Using washed hands, apply a small strip of specially designed pet toothpaste to your finger and allow your dog to lick it off.  Repeat a few times.  Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of different pet enticing flavours.  Never use human toothpaste as it’s toxic to pets.

Step 2: Now get your dog accustomed to having their mouth and teeth touched

Apply pet toothpaste to your clean finger, lift your dog’s lip and smear the pet toothpaste on the teeth and gums.  Start slowly progressing only as far into the mouth as your dog is comfortable. Be gentle and patient and use lots of positive reinforcement (treats, verbal praise).  

Step 3: Progress to using a finger-brush and then a doggie toothbrush – start with the canine teeth

Prepare the brush with pet toothpaste and gently brush the canine teeth first.  Use an up and down motion, with the toothbrush moving away from the gum to the tip of the tooth.  The front teeth are the most sensitive area of your dog’s mouth, so avoid brushing them just yet.

Step 4: Toothbrush the back teeth

After brushing the canine teeth in an up and down motion, now move to brushing the back teeth using a circular motion.  Progress only at a pace your dog is comfortable, and keep up the positive reward based training.

Step 5: Toothbrush all the teeth

Once your dog is comfortable with Step 4, hold their mouth closed around the muzzle and gently lift their upper lip to reveal the incisor teeth.  Brush these gently in an up and down motion.  Some dogs may sneeze when their incisors are brushed.

Gradually increase the amount of time you spend brushing your dog’s teeth.  Ideally, toothbrushing should be done every day.

Additional help

Specially designed dental dry food such as ADVANCE™ Dental varieties can be offered when your puppy becomes an adult.  Dental treats such as GREENIES™ can be used daily, and fed from 6 months of age.  These products are designed to help reduce plaque and tartar accumulation.  They can be especially helpful for pets who won't allow their teeth to be brushed.  

Follow these tips, to keep your dog’s pearly whites in top shape!

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How to stop your puppy 'jumping up'

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Jumping up

While we all love coming home to an affectionate puppy or dog, it’s important to avoid inadvertently encouraging ‘jumping up’ behaviour.  Your cute (and small-ish) puppy will grow, and you might not want to see this behaviour when they reach adulthood.

Jumping up

While we all love coming home to an affectionate puppy or dog, it’s important to avoid inadvertently encouraging ‘jumping up’ behaviour.  Your cute (and small-ish) puppy will grow, and you might not want to see this behaviour when they reach adulthood.

Be consistent 

Now is the time to be consistent in the way you respond to your puppy’s behaviour.  If you praise and give attention to your puppy when they jump up, they’re being reinforced to offering you this behaviour.  They will not understand why you are reacting differently when they become a bigger dog.

How do I train my puppy not to 'jump up'?

Reward your puppy for an alternative behaviour such as sitting or having all four paws on the floor.  If your puppy jumps on you, immediately turn away.  Do not look at or speak to your dog.  When they get down and have all paws on the ground, immediately praise and reward. 

Consistently practice this over and over so that your puppy learns the connection between having all paws on the ground and a reward.  Ensure this is consistently applied by all family, friends and visitors. Set your puppy up for success!  Anticipate jumping up and instead ask for the alternative behaviour.  Your puppy will learn that they don’t need to jump up.  Instead, if they are calm and sit, they will get your attention.

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Should I feed wet or dry food?

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Wet and dry food

There's an ever increasing range of pet food products available, often in a variety of formats.  Many pet parents wonder if they should be feeding dry food, wet food or a combination.  Each feeding format has specific advantages so let’s take a look at some of them.

Wet and dry food

There's an ever increasing range of pet food products available, often in a variety of formats.  Many pet parents wonder if they should be feeding dry food, wet food or a combination. 

Each feeding format offers specific advantages so let’s take a look at some of them.

Wet food

• Comes in a variety of packaging types such as tray, pouch and can

• Provides variety to a pet’s diet through flavour and texture

• Food is sterilised through cooking, so no preservatives are added

• Easy to chew texture can help puppies and kittens, as well as senior pets

• Provides additional moisture, especially beneficial to the pet when the weather is warm

• Aromas and texture can help tempt fussy eaters

• High moisture content helps maintain lower urinary tract health

• Less calorie dense than dry food, so can assist with weight loss and healthy weight management

Dry food:

• Concentrated nutrition, so you feed less

• Economical

• Convenient to use and store

• Crunchy kibbles may help improve dental health and freshen breath

• May contain active ingredients such as stabilised Green Lipped Mussel powder for joint health

Should I feed wet or dry food?

Wet and dry foods are equally nutritious.  The important thing is that you offer your pet a diet that is complete and balanced for their life-stage.

The feeding of both wet and dry food formats together is known as ‘mixed feeding’.  This method of feeding provides a pet with taste and texture variety and enables them to get the benefits that each feeding format offers.  In other words, mixed feeding provides a pet with the best of both worlds, so it's a great choice. 

When feeding both ADVANCE™ wet and dry food, simply halve the recommended quantities of each product and let your pet enjoy the advantages of both formats.

What about home prepared and raw feeding?

Some pet parents want to feed the wild nature of their cats and dogs, but it’s important to remember that our couch-dwelling pets have evolved quite a bit from their days as wolves and free-roaming cats. 

Cats and dogs require about 40 essential nutrients, each in the right form and in the right amount (balanced) to deliver complete nutrition.  Formulating a pet’s diet means ensuring that the minimum and maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals are met – and that adds an extra element of risk to home-prepared or raw meals.

While raw meat can be a novelty for your pet, it has to be very fresh.  A recent study, published in Vet Record, has found that raw meat can contain high levels of bacteria that may pose health risks for your pet.  The researchers also explain that such food could present a health risk to you, or others in your household if their immune system is compromised (children, the elderly or anyone using immune system suppressant medication for a health condition).

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