FAQ - Dog Advice


Frequently Asked Questions related to common dog related problems

How do I look after my dog's ears?

Under normal circumstances a dog's ears will not become a problem as long as they are kept clean. You can gently clean the ear daily as part of the normal grooming routine. Do not poke anything into the ear canal, such as cotton buds, as this can rupture the eardrum. Use a mineral oil applied to a small square of lint or cotton and gently wipe the surface of the external ear.

You should also check your dog's ears at least once a week for a build up of wax, any excessive matting of hair in the ear, redness or inflammation around the ear, and any foreign objects in the ear canal. Check for any dark, waxy secretion and any smell coming from the ear.

Dogs will show that there is something wrong with their ears through shaking their head more often than usual and constantly pawing and scratching their ear. They may hold their head at an unusual angle. The ear itself may be reddened, inflamed with a moist appearance and the ear will have a strong, cheesy smell. There may be heavy, waxy material inside the ear and the hair inside the ear may be matted.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it is vital to bring your dog to the vets as soon as possible. Any untreated ear problem can lead to a severe infection, and even deafness.

Can you give me some tips on how to get my new dog used to travelling in the car?

Start with very short journeys, try and ignore sickness where possible, and be lavish in your praise when he is not sick. Try distracting with a favourite chewy toy. Don't feed your pet before the journey, and dog owners should break off for a short walk half way through. Make sure dogs are restrained well, and use a doggy seat belt or wire hatchback guard for larger dogs. Make sure a dog cannot see through the window, as the flashing trees or lampposts can make the situation worse, as he will tend to follow them with his eyes. Don't let dogs stick their head out of the window as they can get injuries and eye problems from this.

If your pet is still sick after all this, make an appointment with us. There are medicines that can help, but we need to check to make sure that they would be suited to your pet's needs and health status.

How do I know when it is the right time to have my very old dog put to sleep?

Euthanasia of a beloved pet is always difficult, and it is a decision that usually only the owner of the pet can make. Talking to the vet will help you reach the best decision, but the vet's job is not to make the decision, but to help you make it.

There is a proposed criteria for euthanasia, written by vet Andrew Edney, which is:

Is the animal:
  1. Free from pain, distress or serious discomfort which cannot be effectively controlled
  2. Able to walk and balance reasonably well
  3. Able to eat and drink enough for reasonable maintenance without much difficulty and without vomiting
  4. Free from tumours which cause pain or serious discomfort and are judged inoperable or otherwise untreatable
  5. Able to breathe without difficulty
  6. Able to urinate and defaecate reasonably frequently without any serious difficulty or incontinence
  7. And the owner is:
  8. Able to cope physically and emotionally with any nursing or medication that may be required