Bones are necessary to keep your dogs teeth healthy and clean and also provide lots of fun for your canine friend if you are away. A large marrowbone cleans their teeth, massages their gums, and often becomes your dog's most treasured possession. You should provide your dog with a regular supply of bones for mouth and dental hygiene (raw chicken wings/necks are best). Never give your dog cooked bones, as these could be more brittle and easily splinter, causing harm to your dog. You should also ensure that there is always plenty of fresh and clean water for your dog. Sometimes bowls get knocked over and therefore to be safe it is recommended that you always provide two. In the summer months, like people, dogs need a lot more water to keep hydrated so make sure there water bowls are always full and kept in the shade.
While fleas are annoying, ticks can be deadly. The paralysis tick occurs mainly in spring and summer in Eastern Australia, and is found in long grass and the bush. Tick protection isn't necessary for all dogs and cats, and depending on where you live, may not be needed all year round – your vet can advise you on the situation in your local area. No tick preventative is 100% effective, so you still need to check your pet every day.
Male dogs are often quite independent and can be a little more difficult to train and control. Males also tend to wander and fight other dogs. Female dogs are more popular as family pets and may cost a little more. By nature females are affectionate and companionable, but unless desexed, will attract male dogs when in season and may reproduce every six months.
Lungworm larvae may be present in slugs and snails, and if eaten, pets may be infected with worms that make their way to the lungs, where they block airways and make breathing difficult. Most dog wormers don't claim to treat lungworm, although some cat wormers do. Research conducted internationally has found moxidectin, which is found in some heartworm treatments for dogs, to be effective against lungworm, but this claim can't be made for dogs on packaging in Australia. Check with your vet as to whether it's an issue in your area, and discuss the best preventative treatment.
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Giardia intestinalis and Giardia duodenalis are single celled protozoan parasites, which inhabit the affected dog’s small intestine, causing clinical signs of Gardiasis. The protozoa attach themselves to the intestines and multiply. They may be directly swept through the intestines and appear in the infected dog’s faeces or they may develop into a tougher more durable ‘cyst’ form, which is again passed in the dogs faeces but is able to survive for long periods in the external environment. Dogs are infected by ingesting the cysts from contaminated water and the environment. Infected dogs may not show any clinical signs of Gardiasis, but they can still shed the protozoa from their systems, spreading the infection to other healthy animals. Infection and subsequent illness is more commonly seen in younger animals. Signs of infection include: chronic or intermittent diarrhoea that may appear ‘fatty’ and slimy, accompanied by a very foul smell. Weight loss is also possible if left untreated.