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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.

Blog posts tagged with ‘health’

We found 22 results tagged with 'health'.

Super sniffers

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This is a close up of a dog's snout

K9 Super power

Dogs are famous for their sense of smell, but do you know just how much of a super power it really is?

Read on to learn more about the amazing talent of the canine super sniffer!

K9 Super power

Dogs are famous for their sense of smell, but do you know just how much of a super power it really is?

Often damp, sometimes wriggling but always cute as a button, your dog’s nose helps them interpret their world.  A dog’s ability to smell is nothing short of incredible!    

Superior sniffer design

When we try to smell something, we breathe air in through the nose.  When we need to exhale, the air goes back out the nose, taking the smell with it.  Dogs have thought this through a little better!  They can separate out their inhaled breath into two components – one for breathing and one for smelling.  The portion of air that’s used for sensing smell goes to a specialised lining in the back of the nasal cavity, just in front of the brain, called the olfactory epithelium. Some idea of the importance of their sense of smell can be gained from the surface area of this epithelium, which is 18-150 cm2 in dogs (depending on breed), 21 cm2 in cats, but only 3-4 cm2 in humans.  So dogs have an ability to store smell in their nose, while continuing to breathe in and out. 

The olfactory epithelium is covered by a layer of mucus, into which airborne molecules which cause sensation of odour must dissolve before they can be detected by special chemical receptors. Each receptor is a nerve cell, which transmits information to other nerve cells in the olfactory part of the brain.

Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to only around 6 million for us. Plus the region of their brain dedicated to interpreting these is about 40 times larger than ours.  This means that your dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times better than yours!  To put that into perspective, a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools! 

Dogs also have the ability to smell separately with each nostril, which helps them locate the source of a smell.  When dogs deliberately sniff objects, the duration of the sniffs is adjusted to allow optimum exposure of the olfactory epithelium to the stimulus. If a stimulus is weak, dogs tend to increase the rate of sniffing, rather than the duration of each sniff.

Dogs also possess something called the vomeronasal organ, which we humans don’t have.  This organ detects special chemicals called pheromones and comes with its own nerves and specialised part of the brain.

Tracker dogs

Dogs not only have a well-developed olfactory sense, but are also readily trained and this combination of skills has been utilised for thousands of years for the hunting, tracking and retrieving of game.

The tracking skills of dogs depend on their ability to detect the volatile fatty acids found in human sweat, in concentrations which are hundreds or thousands of times lower than our own threshold for smell. Dogs can also detect whole human odours, even those derived from fingerprints, both when fresh and following a week or more of weathering. Perhaps most impressive is a dog's ability to detect features specific to the individual in all the body odours (palm, armpit, sole) from a single person, even though these regional odours smell quite different to us.

The ability of trained dogs to distinguish between different people has been investigated using pairs of identical twins. In tracking experiments, when direct comparisons could be made, the twins could be reliably discriminated, but in successive choices the same dogs indicated that the twins were much more similar to each other than to other humans. In other words, tracking dogs can tell people apart by their smell, about as well as we can by sight.

So next time you notice your dog wriggling their nose, you'll appreciate just how much is going on under the surface!

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Your pet's golden years

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This is a picture of a dog and cat

Growing old gracefully

Time flies when you're having fun and it can be easy to overlook the fact that your pet is getting older.  It might seem like that cute little ball of fluff came to brighten up your life only yesterday, but if your pet is more than 8 years old (or for large and giant breed dogs more than 5 years old), then the senior years have arrived.  No major cause for alarm though as with some thoughtful understanding and consideration these can be some of your best years together.

Growing old gracefully

Time flies when you're having fun and it can be easy to overlook the fact that your pet is getting older.  It might seem like that cute little ball of fluff came to brighten up your life only yesterday, but if your pet is more than 8 years old (or for large and giant breed dogs more than 5 years old), then the senior years have arrived.  No major cause for alarm though as with some thoughtful understanding and consideration these can be some of your best years together.

Here we consider nutrition, care and lifestyle for cats and dogs entering what is considered to be their senior phase of life.  Your vet can also assist you by explaining how you can actively help in monitoring your pet's health at home.

The life expectancy of dogs and cats varies widely.  Although we can't prevent the ageing process, by feeding a specifically formulated premium quality diet like ADVANCE™ and modifying home care, you can help ensure your pet continues to lead a healthy active life.

Keep life interesting

The world often becomes smaller for older animals.  Walks become shorter, their ability to perceive and interact with the world becomes more limited and they often rely on you to provide an environment in which they feel safe, secure and as comfortable as possible.  This can mean appropriate veterinary care and medications as a first point of call.

Healthy ageing

Over the past few decades the life expectancy of cats and dogs has been increasing.  This is helped by a number of factors:

  • A greater understanding of cats and dogs nutritional needs and the availability of prepared pet foods that provide a balanced diet.
  • Advances in veterinary medicine enabling vets to successfully diagnose and treat more conditions.
  • The growth of preventative healthcare programmes to detect problems at an early stage and so start treatment sooner.

To keep your senior pet looking good and feeling great requires a little more attention than when they were younger.  Both cats and dogs tend to become less attentive to their own grooming so require a little more help from you, especially with their coat and oral hygiene.

Skin and coat care

As cats and dogs age their coat can become thinner, losing its shine and the skin can become thicker and less elastic.  This changes not only how your pet looks but also how it feels when stroked.  In some cases the skin will feel rough and you may find warts or growths on the skin.  By establishing a regular grooming routine you can monitor any changes in your pet’s skin and have any areas for concern checked by your vet as they become evident.  Remember to continue to treat your pet for fleas and worms even in their senior years.

Oral care

As pets age they become more prone to dental problems that can cause pain and discomfort.

The problem often begins with the build-up of dental plaque and tarter which, if left untreated, can lead to gingivitis (gum inflammation) and abscesses.  Such conditions need veterinary dental treatment.  Watch out for the following signs when your pet is eating or chewing to help detect any problems at an early stage:

  • Eating cautiously or refusing to eat
  • Dropping food from mouth when chewing
  • Avoiding eating or chewing of dry food
  • Drooling saliva when eating

Ask your vet about an oral care regime that you can carry out at home for your pet.

Let’s not forget the little things that often make all the difference for your elderly pet. Take some time for a relaxing cuddle, provide an extra soft bed or fill a food dispensing toy and encourage your dog to find it. 

Puppy and kitten thrills and spills can be great fun.  But there's also a lot to be said for sitting quietly by the fire with a long trusted friend who seems to know your very thoughts while they happily purr or snore away beside you.

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Benefits of having a feline friend

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This is a close up of a cat

A purr-fect buddy

If you already have a cat in your family, you may be familiar with the many ways they help you feel better. 

We've compiled a number of reasons why having a kitty friend is just paw-some!

A purr-fect buddy

If you already have a cat in your family it may be no surprise that having a cat is good for your health and well-being. You know how good it is to come home and be greeted by your excited cat. That second you walk in the door helps you forget what's happened during the day.  Research shows that pets can help us live longer, fuller lives.

Here are some more examples of how cats make us feel better:

Cats help reduce stress

It's been shown that patting a cat can make your blood pressure drop and make you feel more relaxed.  Research has shown that patients with high blood pressure can benefit from having a pet around.  One study found that over a 10-year period cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners.

A cat can help alleviate loneliness and depression

A pet provides unconditional love and affection and this has shown to help elderly people live longer and fuller lives. Cats - or all pets, for that matter - can help people deal with many changes and losses in life.

Cats can be teachers

You may think you teach your cat everything, but they can also teach you a thing or two.  Cats can teach nurturing and discipline skills that can be used later on for parenting, while children learn to take responsibility for the health and well-being of cats and learn how to interact with them as well.  Cats also teach the cycle of life-birth, death, loss and grief.

As we've seen, there's many great reasons for having a kitty friend in your life.  Always do your research and consider your lifestyle when choosing the best pet for you.  

 

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Essential pet first aid kit

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This is a picture of a dog

Be prepared!

If your pet is unexpectedly ill or injured, it's not always possible to have them seen by a vet straight away.  If you have a first aid kit for your pet and a working knowledge of first aid, you can give them on-the-spot treatment and relieve their discomfort.

Human first aid kits often lack the most important items that you may need in an emergency.  The best precaution is to make up your own first aid kit and keep it handy.

Be prepared!

If your pet is unexpectedly ill or injured, it's not always possible to have them seen by a vet straight away.  If you have a first aid kit for your pet and a working knowledge of first aid, you can give them on-the-spot treatment and relieve their discomfort.

Human first aid kits often lack the most important items that you may need in an emergency.  The best precaution is to make up your own first aid kit and keep it handy.

A suggested first aid kid should include the following items, although you may want to include some other items specifically for your pet.  Remember these items are designed only for emergency first aid, which is no substitute for professional veterinary care.

Emergency phone numbers

Your vet or local animal shelter contact details to quickly access professional veterinary advice in an emergency. 

Pet first aid book

Vital to be able to assess your pet's condition and provide appropriate emergency treatment.

Moist face wipes 

Handy for cleaning up the patient and yourself.

Disposable gloves

Wearing gloves is often advisable to keep your hands clean and avoid contaminating wounds.

A large roll of cotton wool

Excellent for bathing wounds, applying pressure to stop bleeding and for padding under splints and bandages.

Veterinary antiseptic

Use to disinfect hands and instruments such as scissors.  Choose an antiseptic that is safe for pets, and use only at recommended concentration levels.

Sterile dressings

Ready to use sterile gauze dressings which are coated in a special material which prevents them sticking to open wounds, or burns, are available in single use sealed packets from your vet or pharmacy and can be applied directly over a wound or burn.

Conforming bandages

These cling to the contours of a pet's body or limbs.  Conforming bandages can be used to apply even pressure to wounds eg to control bleeding.

Adhesive bandages

Used as the final layer to hold everything in place and keep the dressing attached to the pet.  Don't apply too tightly to the limbs as this can affect their blood supply.

Wooden/plastic splint

For supporting and relieving the pain of a fractured or dislocated limb, prior to transporting to the vet.

Sterile syringes

Useful for flushing wounds or eyes to remove foreign bodies or dirt, and can also be used to give a pet liquids by mouth.

Foil blanket

Wrapping the patient in a foil blanket helps to retain vital body heat and prevent hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) associated with shock.

Salt

A weak salt solution (made up with two level teaspoons of salt per litre of clean water) is a safe and effective antiseptic for bathing or flushing wounds.

Curved round-ended scissors

Apart from cutting dressings to size, curved scissors are ideal for clipping hair away from and around the edges of a wound.

Long-handled fine tweezers

Needed to remove foreign bodies such as grass seeds, thorns and splinters.

Magnifying glass

Helpful for examining wounds for foreign bodies.

Small torch and spare batteries

Invaluable if your pet needs first aid where the lighting is poor, and is also useful for checking the eyes, ears and mouth.

Pocket knife

Has a multitude of uses, including cutting dressings, opening containers, piercing lids, cutting string or rope.

Spare collar and lead

Invaluable if you need to treat a dog other than your own.

Muzzle

Even the most trustworthy pet can become aggressive when injured. A muzzle will help prevent your dog from injuring you or anyone else while you examine, treat and transport them.  Avoid leaving a muzzle on for long periods and try not to use a muzzle if the pet has head injuries or is likely to vomit.  A length of gauze bandage secured firmly around the top and bottom jaws can be used as an emergency muzzle if a dog is very distressed or aggressive.

Bubble wrap

An ideal material to place under an injured pet since it is clean, soft and waterproof.  It can also be used as padding under a splint or bandage.

Prepare your pet first aid kit, and keep it in a handy location.  Hopefully you'll never need to use it, but if you do, you'll thank yourself!

 

 

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Skin and coat health for pets

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This is an image of a dog and cat together.

Gorgeous coat!

It’s a joy to see a pet with a beautiful and glossy coat.  Not only does it look great, but a healthy skin and coat is a good indicator of overall pet health.  What you feed your pet has a direct effect on their skin and coat quality.  For pets with a sensitive skin, diet can play a really important role in their management plan.

Gorgeous coat!

It’s a joy to see a pet with a beautiful and glossy coat.  Not only does it look great, but a healthy skin and coat is a good indicator of overall pet health.

What you feed your pet has a direct effect on their skin and coat quality.  For pets with a sensitive skin, diet can play a really important role in their management plan.

Vital barrier

The skin has a number of important functions including protecting the body from physical, chemical and microbial injury, as well as for sensory perception.

To be able to achieve this, the skin needs to function as an effective barrier.  Diet can play an important role in supporting the barrier function of the skin.

Unlike humans, the skin of dogs and cats plays a minimal role in helping them regulate their body temperature.  This is because dogs and cats have a very limited ability to sweat, so instead they pant to help reduce body heat when they need to cool off.  This is one reason why you need to take extra care when looking after your pet in hot weather.

Skin is an active organ

The skin is a large metabolically active organ, responsible for using around 30% of a dog or cat’s daily protein requirement.  The skin is particularly sensitive to subtle changes in nutrient supply, however its response to dietary changes may take several months to fully appear.

Skin nutrients

A number of different nutrients help support skin and coat health.  These include protein, vitamins and minerals as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Signs of a healthy skin and coat:

  • Soft, lustrous and glossy coat (bear in mind that some breeds have different coat types such as those with wiry coats)
  • Skin is free from scurf and dandruff and there are no areas of hair loss or signs of irritation (remember that seasonal moulting or shedding is a normal occurrence for most breeds)

How can I tell if my pet has a skin and coat problem?

A pet with a skin and coat issue may scratch quite a lot, which can lead to irritation, sores and infections.  Their coat may look dull and brittle, and their skin can appear greasy or conversely dry and flaky.

How diet can help

To enhance your pet’s skin and coat health, look for tailored nutrition that offers a specific skin and coat health claim. 

Every ADVANCE™ formula has been specifically formulated to help your pet look their best.  They contain patented levels of essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, as well as high quality protein, which have been shown to help improve skin and coat condition.

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7 tips to avoid pet obesity

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This is an image of a dog and cat together.

Pet loving nation

With just over half of Australian households having a cat and/or a dog, it’s clear we love our pets!  But did you know it’s estimated that 41% of dogs and 32% of cats are considered overweight or obese?  We now know that by carrying that extra weight, a pet's lifespan may be reduced. 

To help your pet live a longer and healthier life, here are our top 7 tips for helping to avoid pet obesity.

Pet loving nation

With just over half of Australian households having a cat and/or a dog, it’s clear we love our pets!  But did you know it’s estimated that 41% of dogs and 32% of cats are considered overweight or obese?  We now know that by carrying that extra weight, a pet's lifespan may be reduced

To help your pet live a longer and healthier life, here are our top 7 tips for helping to avoid pet obesity.

Start with feeding guides

Feeding guides found on pet food packaging are the best place to start when deciding how much to feed your pet.  However, these are guides only and the actual amount fed will need to be tailored over time.  This is done by monitoring your pet’s body condition and then making any feeding adjustments accordingly.

Measure out portions

When you’re reading the feeding guide, be sure to measure out the amount of food rather than estimating it.  It can be surprising what different people guess half a cup of food looks like!  Try to measure out portions in a consistent way.

Stick to mealtimes

Some pet parents ‘free feed’ their pet, whereby they keep their pet’s bowl full at all times.  This practice can lead to overeating and weight gain, particularly if the pet is bored or not getting much exercise.  A much better idea is to feed your pet set portions at designated mealtimes.  That way you can better monitor the amount your pet is eating. 

Ignore begging

Did you know that a recent international study showed that over half of cat and dog owners give their pet food if they beg for it?  We know how hard it is not to give in when those gorgeous big eyes look at you that way, but it’s a habit that can lead to pet weight gain.  It’s best from the start not to encourage begging behaviour and a helpful rule is to have pets out of the room during family mealtimes.  This also avoids inadvertently feeding a pet any human foods that may be toxic to them.

Monitor treats

While treats can be especially helpful for training, you should keep a close eye on how many your pet is getting.  As a general rule, no more than 10% of the calories in your pet’s diet should come from treats.  Remember that food isn’t the only way to reward your pet.  Verbal praise, a tickle on the belly and playing with a toy are non-food ways to help train your pet and show them how much you love them!

Get active together

Everyone needs activity to help keep them fit, as well as their joints and muscles healthy.  Get out on daily walks with your dog and play games together to keep things fun.  Cats need places to climb and will enjoy activities that stimulate their hunting instinct.  Playing with your pets is also great bonding time, helping to deepen your relationship.

Consider weight control formulas

If your pet has a tendency to gain weight easily, you might like to consider offering them a weight control formula.  These type of diets provide less calories per meal but are still nutritionally complete and balanced.  The ADVANCE™ pet food range offers tasty weight control diets for dogs and cats in both dry and wet food formats.

Follow these tips to avoid pet obesity and you’ll help your pet live a longer and healthier life.  If you have any queries regarding your pet’s weight or general health be sure to chat with your veterinarian.

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Pet safety when entertaining

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This is an image of a dog at a party.

Party time

Got some plans to party at your place? 

While you’re making preparations, it’s worth considering the safety of your pets when entertaining.  A busy house with new people, sights and sounds, as well as tempting human foods and drinks, presents a range of hazards for furry guests.

Make sure everyone enjoys the festivities with our top party tips for pet safety when entertaining.

Party time

Got some plans to party at your place? 

While you’re making preparations, it’s worth considering the safety of your pets when entertaining.  A busy house with new people, sights and sounds, as well as tempting human foods and drinks, presents a range of hazards for furry guests.

Make sure everyone enjoys the festivities with our top party tips for pet safety when entertaining.

Party animal?

Consider each of your pets – how have they reacted to gatherings in the past?  Have they shown any signs of fear, anxiety or aggression?  Even if they’ve previously been the life of the party, it makes sense to provide them with a retreat space in case they start to feel overwhelmed.  

If you think your pet won’t cope well with a party, consider boarding them with a responsible family member or friend, or a professional boarding facility.

Create a pet retreat

Ensure that each pet has their own cosy and secure retreat space, so they can feel safe.  Prepare the space ahead of time, perhaps in a bedroom or laundry, using their crate and some comfortable bedding.  Provide food and water as well as some interactive toys to help keep them busy.  You might like to provide some background noise such as from a radio to drown out any noises coming from the party.

Pre-party exercise

Plan to exercise your pets before the first guest arrives.  This will help them be relaxed and more likely to have a snooze once the party gets going.

Keep decorations out of reach

Kittens and puppies, as well as pets with a curious nature can end up in all sorts of tangles with party decorations.  Plastic and glass items can be chewed and broken causing injury. Fairy lights also pose a choking or electrocution risk, while candles can be knocked over causing burns, or be toxic if eaten.  Keep this in mind when decorating your party space and keep things out of your pet’s reach.

Talk to your guests

As each guest arrives, let them know there are pets in the house.  Your guests can let you know if they have any allergies or are afraid of animals, and you can talk about pet safety.

Security

With guests coming and going, ensure the safety of your pets with adequate security.  Limit the doors your guests can use to help prevent any pets making an escape.  Put signs on doors and gates to remind guests to ensure they are properly closed.  Even if your pet doesn’t normally try to get loose, remember that pets can behave differently if they become stressed by the party.

Tasty temptations

Some human foods are toxic to dogs and cats.  Common party foods to keep away from pets include chocolate, caffeinated beverages, onion, cooked bones, avocado, nuts, grapes, sultanas, raisins, gravy, alcohol as well as any diet foods and drinks (containing artificial sweeteners).

Remind all of your guests (including children) not to feed your pets anything, and don’t give your pets any left-overs.  Regularly walk around the party to gather and clear up any left-over food and drink.  Also make sure that your pets can’t gain access to any garbage bins. 

Sudden dietary changes can cause digestive upset and the feeding of fatty scraps can contribute to the onset of serious conditions such as pancreatitis.  Keep an eye on your pets for any changes to their behaviour or appearance, and if you think they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have it’s best to get them to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Some planning and preparation will help keep your pets safe when entertaining.  That way everyone can relax and have a good time!

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Taking a pet on holiday

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This is an image of two dogs at the beach.

Road trip anyone? 

If you’re feeling the call to pack your bags (and your pet) and head off on holiday, here are some tips to help.

Road trip anyone? 

The decision to take your pet with you on holiday will come down to the individual pet’s circumstances as well as what your holiday entails.  Consider your pet’s personality and health, and whether you think it would be an enriching experience for them.  Some pets aren’t suited for travel or don’t cope well with change.  In these situations, making alternative arrangements for their care while you are away may be in their best interest.  If in doubt, speak to your veterinarian for advice.

Book a vet check

If you decide that your pet is coming along for the ride, then some additional planning is crucial.  Arrange a thorough vet check-up a month or so before departure.  Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, as well as other preventive care such as for parasites like fleas and worms.

Check if there are any health considerations for the areas you plan to visit, such as paralysis tick which can be deadly.  Talk to your veterinarian and commence any necessary preventive treatments before you go.

Make a check-list

Plan ahead to ensure you pack everything that your pet will need such as a food and water bowl, plenty of pet food, treats, leash, toys and some bedding.  Cats will appreciate a cozy igloo bed where they can gain some respite when needed.  Some home comforts will also help your pet settle into their holiday home quickly.  If your pet is on a specific diet, be sure to pack what you will need in case it can’t be sourced where you are going or contact a local supplier ahead of time.  If your pet needs any medication, be sure to also pack this before you go.  Pet shampoo and grooming equipment is a good idea if you are holidaying by the beach or anywhere your pet is likely to get muddy. 

Keep plenty of bottled water on hand in case tap water isn't available, to avoid dehydration.  A portable water bowl that folds up is a handy accessory for offering a refreshing drink on the go.

Pet identification

Ensure that your pet’s microchip details are up to date and they are wearing an ID tag with your holiday contact number.  This is imperative in case they got lost while you are away.  It’s a good idea to get the contact information for the vet clinic and a pet supplies store local to your holiday destination, so that you have it on hand.

Car trip

Plan your journey thoroughly and be sure to allow extra travel time for toilet stops and exercise breaks.  Dogs will enjoy a chance to stretch their legs and break up their journey.

For safe car travel, cats and small dogs should be confined in a crate, while larger dogs can be harnessed.  Ideally, when your pet is young, get them used to a crate and car travel.  Start with lots of short trips and slowly build up to longer ones. 

Arriving at your destination

When you arrive at your holiday accommodation take some time walking your dog on a lead around the rooms and outdoor areas to explore the new space together.  This will help them become comfortable with their new surroundings.  If your cat is trained to use the lead, you can gently show them around once they have settled.  However, in most cases holidaying with a cat will mean that they are kept indoors for safety reasons.

Plan well in advance and you’ll set yourself and your pets up for holiday fun!

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Foods your pet should avoid

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This is an image of a dog and cat together.

Tempting tidbits

While some pets are happy to tuck into just about anything, it’s worth knowing which ‘human’ food and drink items can make your pet unwell, and even be dangerous. Here we take a look at some of the common foods and drinks your pet needs to avoid getting their paws on.

Tempting tidbits

While some pets are happy to tuck into just about anything, it’s worth knowing which ‘human’ food and drink items can make your pet unwell, and even be dangerous.

Here we take a look at some of the common foods and drinks your pet needs to avoid getting their paws on.

Those eyes!

Picture yourself happily munching away on a snack, or sitting down to eat a meal.  Next thing you hear the pitter patter of paws, and your pet is suddenly on the scene.  Their keen nose has sensed that something good (and tasty) is happening, and they’d like a piece of the action, pretty please!

Sound familiar?  When your pet looks at you with those big adorable eyes and that goofy grin, it can be hard to resist.  Before you toss them a tasty morsel, it’s worth considering if that’s actually a safe thing to do. 

Could a little something from the dinner table really hurt your pet?  The answer to that depends on what food it is and what’s in it.  While some foods are safe for pets to eat, others shouldn’t be on the menu.  Some common foods and drinks can cause discomfort and an upset tummy, while others can contribute to choking and intestinal obstruction.  Some foods are even toxic to pets, and can be lethal.

Food and drinks your pet needs to avoid

The following is a list of common foods and drinks that should be avoided by dogs and cats, some of which might even surprise you. 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, so always check with your veterinarian if in doubt.

  • Alcoholic drinks and foods containing alcohol
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot and peach pits
  • Avocado
  • Caffeinated drinks such as cola, coffee, energy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits such as limes, lemons and grapefruits
  • Cooked bones
  • Corn cobs
  • Fatty foods
  • Fruit with pits such as cherry, plum, peach
  • Garlic, onions and shallots
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk and dairy items – most pets are lactose intolerant
  • Onions
  • Potatoes with growths or sprouts
  • Raw and under-cooked meat and eggs
  • Sultanas and raisins
  • Diet food and drinks (including candy and gum) containing artificial sweeteners
  • Yeast dough (expanding dough can cause digestive pain and bloat)

If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these items, contact your veterinarian right away.  It’s helpful if you know how much they have consumed. 

For peace of mind, it’s best to stick to only feeding a quality pet food such as ADVANCE™ as well as treats specifically formulated for pets.  Also avoid offering cats anything that has been designed for dogs, and vice-versa.  This will help keep your pet safe and healthy.

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How can I tell if my cat is overweight?

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This is an image of a cat sharpening their claws.

A weighty issue

Did you know that around a third of Australian cats are considered above their ideal weight?  Pet obesity is a serious issue, and globally it's on the rise.  As with humans, overweight pets are at an increased risk of serious health consequences, which may be life threatening.  In addition, obesity may exacerbate existing medical conditions in pets.

A weighty issue

Did you know that around a third of Australian cats are considered above their ideal weight? 

Pet obesity is a serious issue, and globally it's on the rise.  As with humans, overweight pets are at an increased risk of serious health consequences, which may be life threatening.  In addition, obesity may exacerbate existing medical conditions in pets.

Overweight pets have a reduced quality of life and are more likely to be disinterested in exercise and play.  They tire quickly when they do exercise and might appear to walk with a waddle. 

Body condition scores

You can learn to assess the body condition of your cat and this also helps let you know if you're feeding them the right amount of food.

Take a look at your cat from both a side-on, as well as an aerial view (ie from above looking down) and check:

• Can you see and feel your cat’s ribs, as well as the bones along their spine and over their hips?

• When looking down on your cat, can you see an obvious ‘waist’?

• Look at the area behind the ribs.  Can you see a tuck of the abdomen? 

A cat in ideal body condition has:

• Ribs which can be felt without excess fat covering them.

• A ‘waist’ which can be seen behind the ribs when viewed from above

• The abdomen is tucked up when viewed from the side. 

Once a pet is overweight, it becomes more difficult to feel their ribs due to a padding of excess fat.  Their ‘waist’ becomes less obvious and their abdominal tuck decreases.

All packets of ADVANCE™ cat food display a 5-point body condition scoring chart that you can use to help condition score your cat.

On a 5-point body condition scoring chart, a score of 3 is considered ideal.  A score of 1 or 2 indicates that the cat is underweight, while a score of 4 or 5 indicates that the cat is overweight.

 

 

Getting back in shape

Overweight pets need a tailored diet and exercise plan, and this is best managed under supervision by your Veterinarian.  Feeding a lower calorie or ‘light’ diet can be helpful, as they provide less calories per meal.  In addition, a tailored exercise program that is appropriate for the cat helps burn calories and build muscle.

 

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