Frequently Asked Questions

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Cats & Dogs

Allergies

The most common allergy is a skin rash. Common causes are:

  1. Washing your dog too frequently. Dogs should not be washed more than once a month. Shampoo dries out the skin and can lead to scratching and opening up an irritated skin area.
  2. Bedding, blankets washed with bleach and other very harsh chemicals. The chemicals retained in the bedding can cause skin irritations in your dog.
  3. Grass – some dogs love rubbing their underbellies on grass and if done too frequently again cause a rash.
  4. Food allergy – just as humans have become more allergic to ingredients like dairy and gluten so have animals. Hot spots on dogs’ toes and persistent allergic reactions despite treatment point to a food allergy. You will have to seek veterinary advice.

Itchy skin solutions can be:

  1. Use the right shampoos and do not wash your dog too frequently.
  2. Include a small amount of oil, preferably coconut oil in your dog’s daily food.
  3. Massage your dog daily with baby oil, particularly where the most persistent spots are. Oil provides relief to dry skin-again do not wash your dog at all if the skin irritation is severe.
  4. Supplements, we have a range of supplements that your dog can take to help with the skin rashes.
  5. Where the allergy does not subside despite all the above treatments, you may have a dog with a chronic food allergy. In this case you may need to move to non-allergen dog food which is offered by both Hills and Montego(Field and Forest).

PLEASE NOTE: that this advice does not replace your veterinarian advice but has been helpful in treating most common skin rashes.

Feeding

Link to DOGS/bad breath

Age appropriate food

It is important that your dog receives the right food from the outset. My view is the best food is (a) what you can afford but also what fits into the (b) age of your dog and any special needs your dog may have like allergies. Read the content make up of feeds on bags, cheaper feeds in retail food stores generally have high maize content, which is a filler. This leads to you feeding larger amounts as they remain hungry, large and frequent dog poos in your garden and lack of the right supplements in the food.

Like us humans’ factors like genetics, proper exercise, good diet and happy home increase a dog’s life span. A bad diet reduces their life and increases chances of ill health. Refer to Puppy Food, Adult Food and Senior Food for age appropriate information. Check information  on weight care and supplements, where your dog is overweight. Refer to allergies for more on the treatment of the causes of these in dogs.

Puppy Food:

Most brands differentiate between small breed and large breed puppy food. This is generally for the first 12 months of your puppy’s life and it is essential that the right feed is given. The type of breed your dog is determines what to feed. The reason behind this is the level of protein and fat content. Most hip dysplasia, joint and skeleton problems in later life of your dog can be attributed to wrong feed, however genetics and breeding conditions do also play a critical role. Too much fat and protein for large breed type dogs accelerates growth of the skeleton and therefore creates the joint damage in later life. Small breeds require the higher content of protein for normal growth and development.

When your dog moves to adult food at about 12/14 months of age or as recommended by your vet, some brands do not differentiate in breed size anymore, with the exception of:

Royal Canin, Vets Choice, Jock, Eukanuba, Hills

This is due to the fact that kebble size is the largest change and not necessarily the protein content within adult food.

We recommend that you buy the best brand you can afford at puppy stage as this lays down the key stones for your dog’s overall health for the rest of its life.

PLEASE NOTE: it is dangerous to the health of your senior dog to eat puppy food. Senior dogs cannot process the high fat and protein content in puppy food and this causes long term liver and kidney damage. Key warning factor is blood in the stool of your senior dog and extreme lethargy and drinking large amounts of water.

Adult Food:

Adult food should be introduced at the latest at about 14 months of age. Your choice of brand depends on affordability and any key health issues your dog may have. Where the dog is healthy, we recommend you stay with the brand that you had your dog on as a puppy. There are a variety of choices and all dogs should find a suitable food of choice.

Variations of choice (lamb, ostrich, chicken, tuna, salmon, duck) and the amount of food that you feed depend on the breed, the activity level of your dog and any specialised health issues your dog may have. Where there is a pre-existing health issue; we recommend the advice on feed of your preferred veterinarian.

Usually your dog will stay on adult food until the age of 7 years unless there is a critical reason otherwise, mostly breed

/age related or weight care.

Mini, x-small, medium, large and giant descriptions on food bags refer to the breed size of your dog. This will determine the size of the food kebble, ie a Yorkshire terrier will struggle with eating Giant or Large food kebbles.

Senior Food:

Senior food should be introduced at about the age of 7 years but for the very large breeds like Rottweiler and Great Dane; the earlier introduction at age 5 can have far reaching positive benefits for longevity and quality of life. Senior food contains less protein and fat overall as the liver and kidney functions have slowed down and the large amounts of protein required for activity has also slowed down. Instead larger amounts of muscle and joint supplements are introduced into their diet in the general form of glucosamine. This is vital for joint deterioration and helps with stiffness and pain. Joint supplements have been found to be highly effective in relieving your dog’s arthritic pain. The most common joint supplements for canine arthritis are glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine is effective in pain reduction, joint inflammation reduction, and increased joint mobility. Glucosamine supplements are often paired with chondroitin, which promote joint repair. Overall it improves quality of life for your senior dog.

Where your senior dog is showing increased levels of stiffness and pain even though on senior food, please see your veterinarian immediately. There may be serious underlying conditions, alternatively higher levels of aging supplements need to be added to the normal senior food quantity. Most of these will include a component of MSM , ie methylsufonylmethane which is a popular supplement with a wide variety of uses. Research shows that it may be helpful in reducing joint pain, lowering inflammation, improving skin health, decreasing allergy symptoms and speeding up recovery after exercise.

PLEASE NOTE: where no notable change in pain reduction is seen within 2- 3 weeks, please see your veterinarian immediately.

PLEASE NOTE: it is dangerous to the health of your senior dog to eat puppy food. Senior dogs cannot process the high fat and protein content in puppy food and this causes long term liver and kidney damage. Key warning factor is blood in the stool of your senior dog and extreme lethargy and drinking large amounts of water.

Large breed-age when determined a senior: generally from the age of 6 years but in giant breeds like the Bull Mastiff and Great Dane , they may be considered senior at the age of 5.Factors that affect when you should be changing to senior food is genetics/hereditary factors. Where a dog has not been bred well earlier introduction of senior food and supplements is recommended.

Small breed-age when determined a senior: generally from the age of 7/8 years, however your much smaller breeds like the Yorkshire terrier may only be considered at about 9 years.

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Do I need to walk my dog?

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How often should I exercise my dog?

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Dog Breeds

Small breeds include but are not limited to:

Beagle

Bulldog

Cocker spaniel

Chihuahua

Dachshund

Jack Russell

Toy Pom

Most terriers

Maltese poodle

Pug

Schnauzer

Yorkshire terrier

Large breeds include but are not limited to:

Afrikaner

Boxer

Bull Mastiff

Dalmation

Great Dane

German Shepherd

French Poodle

Labrador

Rottweiler

Retriever

Sheep dog

Dog Exercise

Birds

Fish

There are a variety of reasons nut most common are Link to FISH DISEASES and TOXIC FOR FISH

Link to FISH CLEANING

How important is the PH of my tank?

Link to PH RATIO

How do I treat ICK?

What fish can I put in my tank?

Link to FISH RATIOS

SNAKES/REPTILES

Why is my snake not feeding?

How much should my snake eat?

How do I feed my snake?

What should I feed my bearded dragon?

 

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Link to FISH RATIOS

Rodents

Link to Rodents/RAT COMMON FACTS

Link to Difference between Teddy Bear and Dwarf Hamsters

 

Snakes & Reptiles