Not everything that is safe for us to eat is safe for your dog. Foods to beware of:

1. chocolate - can cause diarrhoea, convulsions, coma and death. A 10kg dog could be severely affected by a 250g block of chocolate

2. onions and garlic - can cause damage to red blood cells leading to anaemia

3. alcohol

4. grapes, raisins and currants - even small amounts can cause kidney damage and death

5. mushrooms - various species are toxic to dogs and can cause death

6. macadamia nuts - often used in cookie recipes. Can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and neurological problems

7. walnuts

8. sugarless chewing gum - the xylitol in sugarless chewing gum can cause a massive drop in blood glucose levels leading to brain damage, coma and death

9. caffeine - coffee, tea, coca cola

10. avocadoes

11. mouldy food

12. corn cobs - a common cause of intestinal blockage requiring surgical removal

13. fatty foods such as sausages  and fat offcuts from meat - can trigger pancreatitis

14. teatree oil/dettol - can cause ulceration of the tongue and throat



Puppies need to be protected against the contagious fatal diseases Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvo.  We use the Protech range of vaccines which provides long lasting immunity at a younger age.  This means we only need to give two vaccinations to most puppies instead of three.    
For maximum protection we usually also vaccinate puppies against two of the causes of Kennel Cough.  Kennel Cough is not usually a fatal disease but puppies are more vulnerable than adult dogs so we like to give them as much protection against disease as we can.         
So most puppies are given:  
1.  a temporary vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age, and    
2.  a second vaccination at 12 weeks of age.      
It is not until 1-2 weeks after the second injection that the puppy is fully protected so he or she should avoid contact with unvaccinated dogs or where unvaccinated dogs have been for at least a week.

Annual health checks and vaccinations are recommended after the puppy course has been completed.

Most puppies are born with intestinal (gut) worms and it takes repeated treatments to get rid of them.  Puppies should be wormed at least every month until 6 months of age, then every 3 months through adult life.  

Heartworm is a separate concern to intestinal worms.  It is a fatal disease and it is transmitted by mosquitoes.  There is a high enough incidence of heartworm in the Ferntree Gully area to be of concern to every dog owner.  It is also a very preventable disease.  We can give your puppy a long-acting injection which will prevent heartworm for 3 months. We then repeat this injection at 6 months of age and after this it only needs to be given once a year.
Another option for heartworm prevention is monthly tablets (Interceptor or Sentinel). These have the benefit of also controlling intestinal worms and (in the case of Sentinel) fleas.

Unless required for breeding we recommend desexing your dog. Female dogs do not need to have a litter before they are speyed.
Females should be done before their first season (i.e. at 6 months of age) in order to decrease the likelihood of breast cancer later on in life.  This procedure also prevents the possibility of unplanned pregnancy, reproductive tract cancer and pyometra (potentially fatal uterus infection).  Council registration is also cheaper for desexed bitches.       
Males should also be neutered at 6 months of age.  This decreases undesirable male behaviour such as aggression, escaping, roaming and humping.  This procedure also decreases the likelihood of prostate disease later in life and removes the possibility of testicular cancer.       

The food you give to a pup is crucial to normal growth.  A puppy should never be fed meat alone.  It is best for your puppy, and often more convenient for you as the owner, to raise him or her on a diet mainly based on good quality commercial puppy food.  Such foods are nutritionally balanced and require no supplementation (e.g.  Advance Growth, Hills Science Diet, Pal Puppyfood).      
-Feed 3 times a day until 16 weeks old      
-Feed 2 times a day until 6 months old      
-Feed 1-2 times a day through adult life      
Bones can and should be given to puppies as long as they are large, raw and unable to be broken into small pieces.  Bones are very important for maintaining good dental health.  Regular bone chewing decreases plaque and tartar build-up on dogs’ teeth. You can also offer rawhides, dentabones and pig ears for chewing.

It is very important that dogs wear a collar that carries some form of identification.  Dogs do escape from their homes and they are much more likely to be returned if they have identification.  We recommend “Pet Tags”, which have your details on one side and our phone number on the other.
Permanent identification is now required by councils and this is done by implanting a microchip between the shoulder blades.

Flea control in a puppy can be difficult as most products are not recommended for dogs under the age of 12 weeks.  To treat a flea-infested puppy, the best and safest product is Advantage.

Everybody wants to have a well-behaved manageable dog yet many people end up with the complete opposite.  Puppyhood is the most
influential time of life for the development of desirable behaviour.  Up to 3 months of age puppies are very adaptable and very impressionable.  This means that they can adjust to new situations well.  It also means that the things they learn at this age are retained well.  This has its up side and its down side.  The down side is that its hard to break bad habits that form at this age (e.g. chewing fingers, sleeping in your room, fussy eating, etc.).  The up side is that you can mould them into the sort of dog you wish to own.  It is, therefore, important to get them used to new situations that they will eventually come across (e.g. traveling in the car, meeting other dogs, being bathed, relating to children, etc.) and to start training them in basic obedience i.e. come, sit, stay, drop, heel.

There are a few principles to keep in mind in trying to toilet train a puppy:
- toilet training is a complicated thing for a puppy to learn - you need persistence and patience
- be vigilant, especially after the pup has eaten or just woken up.  These are times he or she will usually need to “go”.  When your puppy starts snuffling purposefully around looking for a place to “go” remove him or her to the place you would like the toileting to occur.
- if the pup does the right thing, a reward is very important.  Give a piece of meat or some other tasty treat and lots of praise.  Create positive associations with doing the right thing.
- don’t punish mistakes - it does nothing but make the pup frightened of you.  Anyway, mistakes are your fault not the puppy’s - try harder next time.

If you have an older or lazier dog, there's a chance that over summer you may go out to the yard one day and find him with a whole lot of flies attacking his ears. Although these flies look a lot like a normal housefly they are not. They are a nasty little blood sucking parasite that particularly like the ears of dogs (good blood supply in a dog's ear). For the months of December through to May these flies will be around and they can make life miserable for an old dog. We have a couple of options to help with this situation: Musca-ban fly spray and Fly Repella cream do a good job but both products need to be applied daily. For a longer lasting protection the spot-on product Advantix does a really good job, and it only needs to be applied monthly (and it kills fleas too).

We've got a new puppy in our house which means that we've been going through the trials and tribulations of toilet training her. The basic principles of toilet training are vigilance (keeping an eye on what she's up to) and anticipation (getting to her before she urinates on the carpet). We managed this OK and would whisk her outside for her to do her business. But we were having trouble with her realising that outside is the ONLY place we wanted her to toilet. We were praising her when she did the right thing but it didn't seem to have any impact. It was only when we started giving her little food treats for doing the right thing that she seemed to experience her "Aha!" moment. This just goes to show that a puppy is far more responsive to food rewards than praise as a general rule.

An estimated 28% of dogs suffer from motion sickness when they travel by car. If you are reading this article, your faithful dog may be one of those and you will know how unpleasant a situation this can be.

Up until now, we haven't been able to offer you a really good option for this condition. However, a new product - Cerenia - has recently come on the market. It works in 9 out of 10 cases. It has no sedative effect and it lasts for 12 hours. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to know more.