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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 19 results tagged with 'health'.

Stress in cats

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This is an image of a cat relaxing in a cubby.

Stressed out

Just like us, stress can affect kittens and cats.  Here we take a look at some of the ways stress may be expressed by cats.  If your kitten is suddenly acting differently and you're concerned, it's always best to get advice from your vet, who may if necessary, suggest referral to an animal behaviourist.   

Stressed out

Just like us, stress can affect kittens and cats.

There are a number of ways stress may be expressed by cats.  If you're concerned about any sudden behaviour changes, it's always best to get advice from your vet, who may if necessary, suggest referral to an animal behaviourist.   

It’s worth noting that certain feline behaviours such as scratching and scent-marking, might be perfectly normal from your kitty's point of view, just not so acceptable from yours!

Here are some ways a stressed cat may act:

Anxious behaviour

If your cat crouches low to the ground, with a tense body and dilated pupils, they may be feeling anxious.  If so, they may also pant, and lick themselves more than usual.

Aggression

If your usually friendly cat starts to bite and scratch, they may be feeling bored or threatened.  If a cat’s hunting instincts aren't met through play, they'll start to look for it in other places.  A cat might also behave like this if they think their territory is under threat.

Hiding

Cats like some degree of ‘alone time’.  However, if your cat starts hiding from everyone in the house, and particularly if this is not usual behaviour for them, head to the vet.

Excessive meows

Some cats are ‘talkers’, but unusual episodes of increased vocalisation shouldn’t be ignored.

Off their food

If your cat suddenly seems disinterested in their food or stops eating altogether, it’s best to book a visit to the vet.

Indoor urine marking

Changes to a cat’s normal routine, or the introduction of a new cat in the home, can lead to urine marking behaviour. 

Avoid using ammonia and chlorine cleaners as these smell similar to cat urine and may actually encourage marking behaviour.  Clean the affected area with a 10% solution of biological washing powder, and spray it with an alcohol such as surgical spirit.  Offer your cat lots of love and reassurance.

Not using the litter tray

If your kitten is otherwise healthy, eliminating outside the litter tray could be a sign of stress.  It’s still important to rule out any underlying medical issues, so book a check-up with your vet.  

Cats don’t stop using their litter tray out of spite, so consider if you’ve made any changes such as using a new type of litter.  Also assess whether your litter tray cleaning schedule is up to scratch.  Provide one more litter tray than the number of cats in the household and ensure all cats have free access to litter trays.

Nervous grooming

Stressed cats may over-groom themselves by continually licking and scratching a particular area of their coat.  This can lead to hair loss and a skin infection, so head to your vet for advice.

Chewing wool

Obsessive wool chewing and sucking behaviours can occur, and amongst other causes, can be stress-related.  Items such as blankets, jumpers and carpets are commonly targeted, and this behaviour tends to be more often seen in Oriental breeds such as the Siamese and Burmese. 

Try to discourage your cat from doing this, and if possible remove or reduce access to the tempting material.  Redirect your cat through puzzle feeders and toys, and ensure your cat has scratching posts and other ways to stay entertained.

Cats don't all display the same signs when it comes to stress.  Always talk to your vet so that you can rule out any underlying health issues.  Then you can focus on ensuring that your home and routine helps your cat feel safe and reassured.

 

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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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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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Foods your pet should avoid

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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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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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Importance of quality nutrition for kittens

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Big changes

Kittenhood is an amazing time of change and development, both physically and mentally.  Fuelling the incredible changes that you see in your kitten is the nutrition you provide.  It can be argued that no other factor plays such a crucial role in the overall health and wellbeing of pets as a nutritionally balanced diet.  So choosing the right diet is vitally important. 

Big changes

Kittenhood is an amazing time of change and development, both physically and mentally.

Fuelling the incredible changes that you see in your kitten is the nutrition you provide.  It can be argued that no other factor plays such a crucial role in the overall health and wellbeing of pets as a nutritionally balanced diet.  So choosing the right diet is vitally important. 

How long should I feed kitten food for?

Cats are considered adult at around 12 months of age, and can then be transitioned to an adult cat formula.  Until then, keep your kitten on a complete and balanced growth formula, and ensure they maintain a healthy body condition.

How can ADVANCE™ support my kitten's health? 

ADVANCE™ has been formulated to support multiple pet health indicators.  This is achieved through high quality ingredients, potent actives as well as synergetic complexes of nutrients.

ADVANCE™ Kitten dry food contains:

• Colostrum to help protect the developing gut.

• Antioxidants which help prevent cellular damage and provide a natural defence for your pet against Australia’s harsh climatic conditions.

• Enhanced levels of zinc and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and shiny coat.

• Smart start – fish oil (natural source of DHA) and enhanced levels of Choline to help support brain development.

• Yucca extract to reduce litterbox odour.

Every ingredient in ADVANCE™ serves a precise purpose to deliver the superior nutrition your kitten needs. 

ADVANCE™ kitten diets are suitable for all breeds, so you can be sure there's a diet that’s just right for your kitten.

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Digestive upset in kittens

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Bellyache

Did you know that digestive upset is common in kittens?  Rapid dietary change and the stress associated with moving to a new home, plus other causes such as infectious agents, can lead to loose faeces, diarrhoea or vomiting. 

Bellyache

Did you know that digestive upset is common in kittens? 

Rapid dietary change and the stress associated with moving to a new home, plus other causes such as infectious agents, can lead to loose faeces, diarrhoea or vomiting. 

Avoid milk

Once kittens are weaned from their mother, they no longer require milk as part of their diet.  The feeding of cow’s milk to kittens can lead to digestive upset, and should be avoided.  Lactose-free pet milk is an option, but a complete and balanced kitten diet will supply all the essential nutrition your kitten needs. 

How can I avoid my kitten getting an upset tummy?

  • Ensure that your kitten's vaccinations and worming treatments are up to date
  • Avoid access to food scraps and garbage
  • Offer small, frequent meals
  • Make any diet changes gradual, over a period of 7 days.  Add a small proportion of the new diet to the kitten’s regular diet on the first day.  The proportion of the new diet should be gradually increased each day, so that it makes up half of the kitten’s food on day 4 and the whole meal by day 7.

When to call the Vet

If your kitten is experiencing diarrhoea, vomiting or lethargy be sure to take them for a check-up at the Vet.  Dehydration can occur quickly in youngsters.  Signs of dehydration include dry skin that lacks elasticity such as neck skin that stays tented when gently pinched, lethargy, increased heart rate, high fever and a dry mouth.

By feeding a high quality, highly digestible kitten food you will reduce the chance of an upset tummy in your kitten.                                                                                 

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Gum disease in dogs

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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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Common puppy feeding queries

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Feeding your puppy

It can be argued that nothing plays a more important role in healthy puppy growth and development as nutrition, so let's look at some common puppy feeding queries. 

 

Feeding your puppy

It can be argued that nothing plays a more important role in healthy puppy growth and development as nutrition, so let's look at some common puppy feeding queries.  

How much to feed my puppy?

Use the feeding guide found on pet food packaging as a starting point.  This will show you the total daily amount to offer your puppy.  Keep an eye on your puppy's body condition so that you can fine tune the amount fed, if needed.  Have a chat to your veterinarian if you're concerned about your puppy's body condition or growth rate.  

How often to feed my puppy?

In general, younger puppies should be fed smaller meals more frequently.  This is to help allow them take in enough food for growth.  Their stomach capacity is small, therefore they require frequent meals.  

Start off dividing your puppy's total daily food into four small meals.  Over time, the number of meals can be gradually reduced so that by the time your puppy reaches adulthood, they will be on one or two meals per day.  Ensure that your puppy has free access to a continual supply of fresh drinking water in a suitable sized container.

Should I feed my puppy a home-made diet?

It can be tempting to feed a pet a diet made up of human food and table scraps.  However, it's a challenge to create a home-made diet that is complete and balanced, especially in the long term.  Puppies need a complete and balanced diet that is specially formulated to support their healthy growth and development.  A high quality super premium pet food such as ADVANCE™ provides this peace of mind.

In addition, some human foods can be toxic to pets such as grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate. 

Should I feed my puppy dry or wet food?

Dry and wet foods are equally nutritious.  The feeding of both dry and wet foods 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.

Different size puppies have different nutritional needs, so remember to choose a formula that is tailored accordingly.  ADVANCE™ has a range of puppy diets to suit the various breed sizes, so you can be sure there's a diet that’s just right for your puppy.

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