Dog Advice

The health and happiness of your canine friend is about more than just feeding them right. With expert advice from our vets, you can provide the best care for your dog at all stages of their life.

Puppies

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for all the family to enjoy. However, preparation and patience is important for your new furry little friend. Here you can find friendly tips and advice for your new pup!

At what age should I bring my puppy home?

Ideally, puppies should stay with mum and the litter until at least 8 weeks of age. By this stage, it should also have had its first vaccination, including a vet check, and a microchip implanted.

If this is not the case or you are not sure, we recommend you bring in your puppy, with any paperwork you received, to see one of our vets.

How do I restrain a puppy in the car?

Your puppy may not have been in the car before, so please keep it well restrained. If it is a long ride, please make scheduled stops. It is not yet safe for your puppy to wander around public areas, so consider carefully where you plan rest stops.

What food do I feed my puppy?

Your puppy will need to be fed between 2 to 4 times daily, depending on age and breed. Fresh, clean water should be freely available to your puppy at all times.

We recommend premium puppy food designed for your type of puppy. The following brands are excellent quality nutrition for your puppy: 


  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Royal Canin
  • Delicate Care

We recommend that your puppy gets fed a large part of its daily food in a treat toy, such as a Kong. This way, your puppy spends at least some of the time you are away entertaining itself by trying to get to its food.

How do I settle my puppy at night time?

The first few nights will be an adjustment for your puppy.

It is best to try and keep your puppy awake in the evening. After some fun play time, dinner and a trip outside for a last ‘wee’, put your puppy to bed. You may consider giving your puppy a favourite chew treat/toy to take to bed.

This routine should mark the end of interacting with your puppy for the day. Even if your puppy cries or barks (a little), you should avoid giving it any attention. The more consistent this routine is, the faster your puppy will learn to settle down for the night.

Adult Dogs

As we become older we notice changes in ourselves, like human’s, dogs also experience change as they mature.

When does a dog become an adult dog?

Becoming an adult occurs between 1 to 2 years for dogs. Smaller breeds stop growing earlier, while giant breeds can take up to 2 years to reach full size.

Small dogs live longer and age slower (4 years per human year), while giant breeds have the shortest life span and age quickly (7-13 years per human year).

  • Small breeds < 10kg reach adulthood at around 9 to 12 months
  • Medium breeds 10 to 15kg reach adulthood at around 12 months
  • Large breeds 25 to 50kg reach adulthood at around 12 to 18 months
  • Giant breeds 25 to 50kgs reach adulthood at around 18 to 24 months
How often should my dog get a vet check?

We recommend yearly health checks as this will help our vets pick up any health concerns early on. 

What are some common health concerns for adult dogs?
  • Allergies
  • Bad breath and tooth decay
  • Grass seeds
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Injuries, such as wounds, sprains, strains
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Bladder infections
  • Anxiety and other behaviour concerns
  • If you suspect your dog may have one of these conditions or symptoms, please contact us or your local vet.

Cat Advice

Kittens

Bringing home a new kitten is a really exciting time for your family. It is important, however, being prepared and understanding what to expect before bringing home your new furry feline.

My kitten is on heat. What should I do?

Kittens can reach puberty as young as 4 months of age, around their last vaccination. During puberty, kittens will start acting like teenagers and you will notice the following:

  • Desire to roam.
  • Increased marking behaviour, including scratching and spraying.
  • Calling behaviour to attract all tom cats in the area.
  • Potent urine smell where tom cats are spraying outside your house.
  • Cat fights between tom cats attracted to your female.
What toys are safe for my kitten to play with?

Your kitten or cat can never have enough toys! Ideally rotate toys daily to keep your kitten entertained. 

Examples include:

  • Laser light
  • Feathery toys
  • Wind up toys that move
  • Bouncy balls
  • Empty boxes
  • Toilet rolls
  • Cotton buds 
  • Tissues
  • Hanging items
  • Dragging items. For example: a string with feather at end attached to your pants as you walk around the house
What kind of cat litter tray is best?

Cats are by nature very clean, so it’s crucial to use a good quality litter tray and litter that your cat likes.

For adult cats: A large, deep tray, around 1.5 times the length of your cat and 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) deep.

Kittens and senior cats may require a tray with shorter sides for easy access.

What type of cat litter is best?

For many cats, two trays are best. Some prefer to do no.1 in one tray and no.2 in the other, or just to have choices!

There are many different types of litter that are both good at absorbing urine and decreasing smell:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • Crystal cat litter
  • Recycled paper litter
  • Gravel based litters
  • Scented litter

Adult Cats

Cats are curious and playful creatures. Although your adult cat may not require as much attention as a kitten it is important to know the needs of your adult cat.

What should I feed my adult cat?

We recommend premium food designed for your cat’s age and lifestyle. A young cat should stay on kitten food until 12 months.  Adult cat food is for cats between 12 months and 7 years. Once your cat is over 7 years old, it should change to a senior food.

You may choose to feed only dry, a mixture of dry and canned food, or only canned food. Dry food helps to exercise your cat’s jaw and assists with teeth cleaning, so we recommend including some dry food.

Some examples of excellent quality food include:

  • Hill’s science diet
  • Royal Canin
  • Delicate Care
How often should my cat get a vet check?

We recommend yearly health checks as this will help our vets pick up any health concerns early on.

When should I bring my cat to the vet?

There are certain situations where a visit to the vet is essential for your cat’s health.

If you notice any of the following signs and symptoms, please contact us or your local vet immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fitting
  • Collapse
  • Swollen face
  • Unable to walk. This includes both being unable to get up or not being able to put weight on one leg
  • Vomiting repeatedly during the course of 30 minutes
  • Blood in vomit or blood in diarrhoea
  • Refusing food for more than 24 hours
  • If your cat has eaten rat poison, or if they have eaten rats or mice and you know there is rat poison in the area
  • If your cat has eaten medication meant for people
  • If your cat has eaten a foreign object like a needle, fish hook or string
  • A bleeding wound where the bleeding does not stop with 2 minutes of firm pressure
  • Continuing meowing or yowling
  • If you have seen your cat with a snake

Small Animal

Do you need advice or help for your pet rabbit or guinea pig? Interested in purchasing a snake or lizard? Worried that your pet fish or bird is unwell? We are here to help!

How can I prepare for my new pet?

Welcoming a new pet home is an exciting time, but preparation is the key to make the introduction as smooth as possible! Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to house your new pet, including hutches for rabbits, tanks for fish and reptiles and cages for birds. Make sure your aquarium has had time to cycle before adding in any fish and that you have the appropriate heat lamps and lighting for your reptile.

We are happy to help with advice on training your new pocket pet, including toilet training rabbits and basic obedience training for birds.

What types of small animals do we care for at Dr Paws?
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Ferrets
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Reptiles

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