Dog Advice Centre

Our Dogs can be our best friend but sometimes it not so easy to figure out the right thing to do with them from training to food selections. Here is some simple advice to get started with. If you have just got a new Puppy don’t forget to try out our Guide to Surviving the First 30 days.
Dog Advice Centre

When a dog becomes fussy with their food, it can be frustrating and concerning as a pet owner. There are several possible reasons for your dog's change in behaviour and changing their food may be one option to consider. However, it's important to approach the situation carefully. Here are a few steps you can take:

Consult your veterinarian: Before making any changes to your dog's diet, it's advisable to consult your veterinarian. They can help rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog's fussiness and provide specific recommendations based on your dog's age, breed, and overall health.

Assess the current food: Take a closer look at the food you are currently feeding your dog. Check the expiration date to ensure it's not expired. Also, review the ingredients to see if there have been any recent formulation changes that may have affected your dog's appetite.

Gradual transition: If you decide to switch your dog's food, it's best to do so gradually. Abrupt changes in diet can lead to digestive upset. Start by mixing a small portion of the new food with the old one, gradually increasing the proportion of the new food over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Consider taste preferences: Dogs, like humans, have their own taste preferences. Some dogs may simply become bored with their food, while others may have developed specific taste preferences. If your dog's fussiness persists despite a gradual transition, you may consider trying different brands or flavours that are still nutritionally balanced and meet your dog's dietary needs.

Treats and mealtime routine: Evaluate the treats and table scraps you may be feeding your dog. Excessive treats or feeding from the table can spoil their appetite for their regular food. Establish a consistent mealtime routine and avoid excessive snacking to encourage your dog's appetite during regular meals.

Remember, it's essential to monitor your dog's overall health and behaviour during this process. If the fussiness continues or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhoea, it's crucial to consult your veterinarian promptly for a thorough evaluation.

The frequency of flea, tick, and worm treatments for dogs can vary depending on various factors such as the geographical location, lifestyle, and the specific products you use. It's best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable treatment schedule for your dog. However, here are some general guidelines:

Fleas: Flea treatments typically come in different forms such as spot-on treatments, oral medications, or collars. Many of these treatments provide protection for about a month. However, some newer products may offer longer-lasting protection, such as three months. Regular monthly treatments are often recommended, especially in areas where fleas are prevalent year-round. If you live in an area with a colder climate where fleas are less active during certain months, you may adjust the frequency accordingly. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and consult with your veterinarian for the most appropriate flea treatment and schedule.

Ticks: Tick treatments also vary in their duration of effectiveness. Spot-on treatments, oral medications, or collars can provide protection against ticks for varying lengths of time. Some products offer protection for a month, while others may provide protection for up to three months. Again, the frequency of tick treatments will depend on your location and the level of tick activity in your area. If you live in an area with a high tick population or if you frequently visit tick-infested areas, more frequent treatments may be necessary. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate tick treatment and schedule for your dog.

Worms: The frequency of worm treatments can depend on the type of worms you are targeting. In general, puppies should be dewormed more frequently than adult dogs. Puppies may require multiple deworming treatments at regular intervals, starting from a few weeks of age until they reach adulthood. Adult dogs typically receive regular preventive treatments every three to six months, depending on the specific product and the risk of exposure to worms in their environment. It's important to discuss with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate deworming schedule for your dog based on their age, lifestyle, and risk factors.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and the best approach for your dog may vary based on individual circumstances. Always consult with your veterinarian who can provide personalized advice based on your dog's specific needs and the prevalent parasites in your area. Regular veterinary check-ups are important to monitor your dog's health and discuss any changes or concerns regarding flea, tick, and worm prevention.

If your dog is experiencing allergies and excessive scratching, there are several approaches you can take to help alleviate their discomfort. Here are some suggestions:

Consult with your veterinarian: It's important to first consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your dog's allergies and scratching. They can perform a thorough examination, conduct allergy tests if necessary, and provide a proper diagnosis. Based on the diagnosis, your vet can recommend appropriate treatment options.

Medications: Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help manage your dog's allergies and control itching. These may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, or immune-modulating drugs. It's crucial to follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding dosage and duration of medication.

Allergen avoidance: If the specific allergen triggering your dog's allergies can be identified, minimizing their exposure to it can be helpful. For example, if your dog is allergic to certain environmental allergens like pollen or dust mites, keeping your home clean and using air purifiers may reduce their exposure. If your dog has food allergies, your vet may recommend a special hypoallergenic diet.

Bathing and grooming: Regular bathing can help soothe your dog's itchy skin and remove allergens from their coat. Use a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo specifically formulated for dogs, as human shampoos can be too harsh. Your veterinarian may recommend specific bathing frequency and products based on your dog's condition.

Topical treatments: Your veterinarian may recommend topical treatments such as medicated sprays, creams, or ointments to relieve itching and inflammation. These treatments are usually prescribed and should be used according to your vet's instructions.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids, derived from sources like fish oil, can have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce itching and improve skin health. Your veterinarian can advise on the appropriate dosage and supplement type for your dog.

Environmental modifications: Minimize potential allergens in your dog's environment. Keep their bedding clean, vacuum regularly, and consider using hypoallergenic or washable bedding materials. Avoid exposure to known allergens, such as certain plants, chemicals, or other irritants.

Avoidance of irritants: Identify and minimize exposure to potential irritants that may worsen your dog's itching, such as harsh detergents, fragrances, or pesticides.

Regular flea control: Flea infestations can exacerbate itching in allergic dogs, even from just a few bites. Ensure your dog is on a regular flea control program recommended by your veterinarian.

Consult with a veterinary dermatologist: In severe or persistent cases, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist. These specialists have advanced knowledge in diagnosing and managing skin conditions and can provide more specialized treatment options.

Remember, it's essential to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog's specific allergies. They can provide a tailored treatment plan based on the underlying cause and severity of the allergies.

Feeding a puppy and an adult dog the same food is not ideal because puppies have different nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs. Puppies require a diet that supports their rapid growth, development, and specific nutrient needs.

Puppy food is specially formulated to provide the appropriate balance of nutrients, such as protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus, that are necessary for their growing bodies. These nutrients support the development of strong bones, muscles, and a healthy immune system. Additionally, puppy food often contains higher calorie content to meet the energy needs of active and growing puppies.

On the other hand, adult dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of fully developed dogs. It typically contains lower levels of certain nutrients to maintain a healthy weight and support the needs of an adult dog's body.

Feeding a puppy adult dog food may result in nutritional deficiencies or an imbalance in their diet, potentially affecting their growth and development. It's essential to provide puppies with appropriate puppy food until they reach their adult size, which varies depending on the breed. Typically, this is around one year of age for most dogs, but larger breeds may require puppy food for a more extended period, up to 18-24 months.

To ensure the optimal health and growth of your puppy, consult with your veterinarian to determine the right type of puppy food and feeding schedule that suits your puppy's specific needs. They can guide you on selecting a high-quality, balanced puppy food and advise you on the appropriate portion sizes and feeding frequency based on your puppy's age, breed, and overall health.

Changing dog food brands is possible and sometimes necessary. However, it should be done gradually to minimize digestive upset and allow your dog's system to adjust to the new food. Here's a recommended approach to changing dog food brands:

Transition gradually: Start by mixing a small amount (around 25%) of the new dog food with your dog's current food. Feed this mixture for a few days while observing your dog's reaction and digestion.

Increase the proportion: Over the course of about a week, gradually increase the proportion of the new food while decreasing the proportion of the old food. For example, on days 4-6, you can increase the new food to 50% and reduce the old food to 50%. On days 7-9, increase to 75% new food and 25% old food.

Monitor your dog's reaction: Throughout the transition process, keep a close eye on your dog's appetite, stool consistency, and overall well-being. If you notice any signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhoea or vomiting, slow down the transition or consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Complete the switch: Once your dog has successfully transitioned to the new food without any issues, you can completely switch to the new brand. Ensure you follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided on the new food packaging, taking into consideration your dog's age, weight, and activity level.

Remember that each dog is unique, and some may have more sensitive digestive systems or specific dietary needs. If your dog experiences ongoing digestive problems or has specific health concerns, it's always advisable to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.

When selecting a new dog food brand, consider factors such as your dog's age, breed, size, activity level, and any specific dietary requirements or sensitivities they may have. Look for high-quality dog foods that are nutritionally balanced and meet the appropriate standards for your dog's life stage (puppy, adult, or senior).

Overall, a gradual transition to a new dog food brand, accompanied by monitoring your dog's response, can help ensure a smooth change and a successful adjustment to the new diet.

When it comes to treats for puppies, it's important to choose options that are safe, healthy, and appropriate for their age and size. Here are some suitable treats for puppies:

Puppy treats: Look for treats specifically labelled for puppies or young dogs. These treats are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing puppies and are often softer in texture for easier chewing. Read the ingredient list to ensure they contain high-quality ingredients and avoid artificial additives or excessive fillers.

Small, soft treats: Treats that are small and soft are easier for puppies to chew and digest. Soft treats can be broken into smaller pieces for training purposes. Look for treats that are made with wholesome ingredients, such as meat or vegetables.

Dental treats: Puppies will go through the teething phase, and providing appropriate dental treats can help soothe their gums and promote good oral health. Look for dental treats designed for puppies that are soft and gentle on their teeth and gums.

Natural chews: Certain natural chews can be suitable for puppies, but it's important to choose options that are safe and appropriate for their age and size. Bully sticks, rawhide alternatives, or appropriate-sized and breed-specific chew toys can provide mental stimulation and help with teething discomfort.

Remember to provide treats in moderation, as excessive treat consumption can contribute to weight gain or digestive issues. Treats should be considered as a supplement to a balanced puppy diet, and the majority of their nutrition should come from their regular puppy food.

Always monitor your puppy while they enjoy their treats to ensure they are chewing and swallowing them properly. If you have any concerns about specific treats or your puppy's dietary needs, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and recommendations based on your puppy's individual requirements.

The timing for switching your dog from puppy food to adult food can vary depending on their breed, size, and individual development. In general, small to medium-sized breeds can make the transition around 12 months of age, while larger and giant breeds may benefit from staying on puppy food a bit longer, typically until around 18 to 24 months.

Puppy food is formulated to support the high energy needs and rapid growth of puppies. As your dog reaches their adult size and their growth rate slows down, their nutritional requirements change. Adult dog food is designed to meet the needs of fully developed dogs, with balanced levels of nutrients to maintain their overall health and well-being.

It's crucial to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best time to switch your dog to adult food, as they can provide specific guidance based on your dog's breed, size, and individual development. They can also help you select an appropriate adult dog food that meets your dog's nutritional needs.

As for transitioning from adult food to senior food, this typically occurs around 7 to 10 years of age, depending on the size and breed of your dog. Senior dog food is specially formulated to support the changing needs of older dogs, which may include reduced calorie content, joint support, and additional nutrients to support their aging bodies. Again, your veterinarian can guide you on when to make the switch to senior food and recommend the most suitable options for your dog.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and the specific timing for switching from puppy to adult food and then to senior food can vary. Regular veterinary check-ups and discussions with your vet about your dog's nutritional needs will ensure you make appropriate dietary transitions at the right time for your pet.

When training a puppy, it's essential to use treats that are enticing, small in size, and easy to chew and digest. Here are some options for suitable training treats for puppies:

Training treats: Look for specifically formulated training treats available in pet stores or online. These treats are often small, soft, and flavourful, making them highly motivating for puppies during training sessions. Choose treats that are made with high-quality ingredients and avoid those with artificial additives or excessive fillers.

Homemade treats: You can make your own homemade training treats using puppy-friendly ingredients. For example, you can bake bite-sized treats using a mixture of lean meats (like chicken or turkey) and whole grains (like oats or brown rice). Ensure the treats are thoroughly cooked and avoid using ingredients that may be toxic to dogs, such as onions, garlic, or chocolate.

Freeze-dried treats: Freeze-dried treats are lightweight, have a strong aroma, and are easy to break into small pieces. They are made by removing moisture from the ingredients while retaining the nutritional value. Many brands offer freeze-dried meat treats that are ideal for training sessions.

Cheese or deli meats: Small pieces of cheese or deli meats, such as turkey or ham, can be used as occasional high-value treats during training. Cut them into tiny portions to avoid overfeeding and to keep the treat sizes consistent.

Vegetables and fruits: Some puppies enjoy small pieces of fresh vegetables or fruits as training treats. Examples include baby carrots, green beans, apple slices, or blueberries. Ensure that the fruits and vegetables you offer are safe for dogs and do not contain any harmful substances or seeds.

Remember, training treats should be given in small quantities and adjusted accordingly based on your puppy's dietary needs and overall calorie intake. It's important to consider the treat's nutritional content and factor it into their overall daily food allowance to prevent excessive weight gain.

Always supervise your puppy while giving them treats and ensure they chew and swallow them properly. If you notice any adverse reactions or digestive issues, discontinue the treat and consult with your veterinarian.

Additionally, while treats can be an effective tool during training, it's also essential to incorporate verbal praise, petting, and other forms of positive reinforcement to reward and motivate your puppy during training sessions.

Long-lasting chews and tough treats are great options to keep your dog occupied and provide them with mental stimulation. These treats are typically harder in texture and require more chewing, making them last longer. Here are some examples of long-lasting chews and tough dog treats:

Bully sticks: Bully sticks are natural, single-ingredient chews made from dried bull or steer pizzles. They are highly palatable to dogs and can keep them occupied for extended periods. Bully sticks are available in various sizes and thicknesses to suit different breeds and chewing preferences.

Antlers: Natural antler chews are long-lasting and durable options for dogs. They are sourced from deer or elk sheds and can provide hours of chewing satisfaction. Ensure you choose appropriate-sized antlers for your dog, as larger antlers may be too challenging for small breeds or puppies.

Raw bones: Raw bones, such as raw beef marrow bones or raw knucklebones, can be given to dogs to chew on. These bones can provide mental and dental benefits, but it's important to select the right size and type of bone suitable for your dog's size and chewing habits. Always supervise your dog while they chew on bones to prevent any potential hazards or injuries.

Dental chews: Some dental chews are designed to be tough and provide chewing satisfaction while promoting dental health. Look for dental chews that are specifically formulated to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, freshen breath, and support oral hygiene.

Sturdy chew toys: While not treats in the traditional sense, sturdy chew toys made of durable materials like rubber or nylon can provide a safe and long-lasting chewing experience for your dog. Look for toys specifically designed for strong chewers, and ensure they are appropriate for your dog's size and chewing style.

Remember to always supervise your dog while they enjoy long-lasting chews or tough treats, especially during the initial introduction. It's important to choose the right size, type, and level of hardness that matches your dog's individual chewing capabilities to prevent any potential choking hazards or dental damage. If you have any concerns about specific chews or treats, consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations based on your dog's needs.

If your dog is not eating their kibble, it can be concerning. Here are some steps you can take to encourage your dog to eat their kibble:

Check for any underlying health issues: A sudden loss of appetite or refusal to eat their regular kibble can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health problem. If your dog's lack of appetite persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

Ensure the kibble is fresh and properly stored: Check the expiration date on the kibble bag and ensure it hasn't passed. Also, make sure you are storing the kibble in a cool, dry place and sealing the bag properly to maintain freshness.

Evaluate the feeding routine: Take a look at your dog's feeding routine to see if any changes or disruptions may be affecting their appetite. Dogs thrive on consistency, so maintaining a regular feeding schedule can be helpful. Avoid frequent changes in the brand or type of kibble, as this can cause confusion or aversion to the food.

Warm up the kibble: Heating up the kibble slightly can enhance its aroma and make it more enticing for some dogs. You can try adding a small amount of warm water to the kibble or lightly microwaving it for a few seconds (be sure to check the temperature before serving).

Add a topper or mix-in: Sprucing up the kibble with a tasty topper or mix-in can make it more appealing. Consider adding a small amount of wet dog food (ensure it is appropriate for your dog's diet), low-sodium broth, plain cooked chicken or beef, or a spoonful of plain yogurt. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid excessive additions that could upset your dog's stomach or lead to weight gain.

Try different feeding methods: Some dogs prefer interactive feeding methods that engage their natural instincts. You can try puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, or slow-feeders that make mealtime more mentally stimulating and rewarding.

Consult with your veterinarian: If your dog's refusal to eat persists or you're unable to find a solution, it's best to seek guidance from your veterinarian. They can assess your dog's health, provide personalized recommendations, and suggest alternative food options if needed.

Remember that some dogs may simply have temporary periods of decreased appetite due to factors like weather, stress, or changes in their environment. However, if your dog consistently refuses to eat or shows other signs of illness, it's crucial to consult with your veterinarian for proper evaluation and advice.

Helping a dog with anxiety requires a multifaceted approach that may include behavioural management techniques, environmental modifications, and potentially the use of certain products or therapies. Here are some strategies to consider:

Create a safe and calm environment: Provide a designated space where your dog feels safe and secure. This could be a crate, a quiet room, or a comfortable bed. Make sure this area is away from loud noises and other stress-inducing stimuli.

Establish a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a consistent daily schedule for feeding, exercise, playtime, and rest. Predictability and structure can help reduce anxiety in dogs.

Provide mental and physical exercise: Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help alleviate anxiety in dogs. Engage your dog in activities such as puzzle toys, interactive play sessions, obedience training, or scent work to keep their mind and body active.

Counter-conditioning and desensitization: This involves gradually exposing your dog to the things that trigger their anxiety in a controlled and positive manner. By associating these triggers with positive experiences, you can help change their emotional response over time. Consider working with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist who specializes in anxiety-related issues for guidance and support.

Calming aids: There are various products available that can help calm dogs with anxiety. Some examples include:

Thundershirt or anxiety wrap: These are snug-fitting garments that provide gentle, constant pressure, which can help reduce anxiety in some dogs.

Adaptil (formerly DAP) diffusers or sprays: These products contain synthetic pheromones that mimic the natural calming scent of a lactating dog. They can help create a sense of security and relaxation.

Calming supplements: There are over-the-counter calming supplements formulated with natural ingredients such as chamomile, L-theanine, or melatonin. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if these supplements are suitable for your dog and to get the correct dosage.

Prescription medications: In severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help manage your dog's anxiety. These should always be used under professional guidance and monitoring.

Behaviour modification: A professional dog trainer or behaviourist can help develop a behaviour modification plan tailored to your dog's specific anxiety triggers. They may use techniques such as desensitization, counter-conditioning, or positive reinforcement to help your dog cope with and overcome their anxiety.

Consider professional help: If your dog's anxiety is severe or significantly impacting their quality of life, it's beneficial to seek the assistance of a professional dog behaviourist or veterinarian who specializes in anxiety-related issues. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation and develop a customized treatment plan for your dog.

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when helping a dog with anxiety. Working with professionals and seeking guidance from your veterinarian will ensure you're providing the most appropriate support for your dog's specific needs.

If your dog consistently pees in a particular area of your home or outside, there are a few strategies you can try to address the issue:

Clean the area thoroughly: Use an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet stains and odours to thoroughly clean the area where your dog has been peeing. Regular household cleaners may not completely remove the scent, which can continue to attract your dog back to the same spot.

Remove any lingering scent: Even after cleaning, some dogs can still detect the scent of urine. Consider using a pet-safe odour neutralizer or repellent spray in the area to help eliminate the odour and discourage your dog from returning to that spot.

Use positive reinforcement: When you catch your dog urinating in the appropriate area, immediately praise and reward them with treats or verbal praise. Positive reinforcement helps to reinforce desired behaviour and encourages your dog to associate urinating in the right place with positive outcomes.

Provide an appropriate bathroom area: Make sure your dog has easy access to a designated bathroom area outdoors. Take them to this area frequently, especially after meals, naps, or play sessions, and reward them for eliminating in the appropriate spot. Consistency and repetition can help establish good habits.

Interrupt and redirect: If you catch your dog in the act of peeing in the wrong spot, interrupt them with a firm "no" or clap your hands to startle them gently. Immediately guide them to the appropriate area and encourage them to finish there. Once they've successfully urinated in the correct spot, reward and praise them.

Manage access to the problem area: If possible, restrict your dog's access to the area where they have been peeing inappropriately. Use baby gates or close doors to block off the area until the issue is resolved. This helps to prevent further accidents and gives you the opportunity to redirect their behaviour to the appropriate bathroom spot.

Consider professional help: If the issue persists despite your efforts, it may be helpful to seek guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can assess the situation, identify any underlying issues, and provide specific strategies and training techniques tailored to your dog's needs.

It's important to note that if your dog's inappropriate urination continues or if there are any changes in their urination habits, it's crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They can rule out any potential underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the problem.

If your dog has a persistent chewing habit, particularly on items like decking, leg tables, or skirting boards, there are several steps you can take to address the issue:

Provide appropriate chew toys: Ensure your dog has access to a variety of appropriate chew toys that are safe and designed for chewing. Offer toys made of durable materials, such as rubber or nylon, that can withstand the chewing habits of your dog. Rotate the toys regularly to keep them interesting.

Supervise and redirect: When you catch your dog chewing on inappropriate items, redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Use a firm "no" or a distraction noise to interrupt their behaviour, and then immediately offer the appropriate toy. Consistently reinforce and reward them for chewing on the correct items.

Manage the environment: Limit your dog's access to the areas where they are prone to chewing inappropriate items. Use baby gates, close doors, or create barriers to restrict their access until the chewing behaviour is under control. This helps prevent reinforcement of the unwanted behaviour and provides opportunities for training and redirection.

Make inappropriate items unappealing: Apply a taste deterrent or pet-safe bitter spray to the surfaces of items that your dog is prone to chewing. The unpleasant taste can discourage them from continuing the behaviour. Test the deterrent on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't damage the surface.

Address underlying causes: Dogs may engage in destructive chewing due to boredom, anxiety, or excess energy. Make sure your dog receives adequate mental and physical stimulation through regular exercise, playtime, and training sessions. Consider increasing their exercise routine or providing interactive puzzle toys to keep them mentally engaged.

Seek professional help: If the chewing behaviour persists despite your efforts, it may be beneficial to seek assistance from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can assess the situation, identify any underlying causes, and provide tailored strategies to address the chewing behaviour.

Reinforce good behaviour: When your dog shows appropriate chewing behaviour, such as chewing on their toys, offer praise, rewards, and positive reinforcement. This helps them understand what is acceptable and encourages them to continue the desired behaviour.

It's important to note that chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, especially during their teething phase or when they are bored. By providing appropriate outlets for chewing, redirecting their behaviour, and addressing any underlying causes, you can help guide your dog towards more appropriate chewing habits.

Looking for other Pet Information?

Small Animals Advice Center

Fish Advice Centre

Reptile Advice Centre

Cat Advice Centre

Dog Advice Center Test

Popular Products

Need Help?
Not finding what you need? Speak with one of our Pet Care Advisors today!