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Tag: Dog

Nail Clipping

Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of the routine care of your pet.  It is essential for elderly and indoor pets, whereas outdoor pets may wear their nails down naturally. The requirement for nail trimming can vary depending on breed, age, level of exercise and the environment in which your pet is kept. Working and herding breeds of dogs are active and generally have compact feet with well arched toes that angle the toenails downwards towards the ground. If these dogs are active on hard surfaces such as gravel, rock and concrete, their nails may not need trimming until they slow down with age and exercise less, however you will still need to attend to their dew claws (the little claws on the inside of their front legs that don’t touch the ground) regularly. Other breeds may have nails that grow more forward than downward, and therefore no matter how much exercise they get on rough ground, it is unlikely they will wear down naturally. Some dogs may benefit from having the tips of their nails taken off once every week or two, however for most it will be longer than this, and you will have to decide what is right for your dog by inspecting its nails on a regular basis. Certainly, if you notice a change in the sound of your dog’s nails on hard floors this is a pretty good indication that it is time for a trim. 

Cats also require nail clipping, with the frequency depending on their lifestyle. Indoor-only cats will need more regular nail trims whereas outdoor cats may naturally wear their nails and require less frequent trimming.

What happens if my pet’s nails get too long?

If a pet’s nails are allowed to grow, they can split, break or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes. Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long that they can curl backward into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful for dogs (it’s like walking in shoes that are too small). Cats are able to retract their claws so this is less common for them, however,cats do still need to have their nails regularly clipped (especially if they don’t get much natural wear and tear). Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain. Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed on at least a monthly basis. If not, the quick tends to grow out with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and very painful for the pet. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, pressing the nail into a bar of soap will effectively stop the bleeding.

We have a variety of nail clippers that suit different pets – from the very small to the very tall.  Make an appointment today to have your pet’s nails checked.  We can also teach you how to do it if you would prefer to cut them yourself.

Nutritional Advice


Along with regular exercise and veterinary care, careful nutrition is the best way you can contribute to your pet’s prolonged good health. 

These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:

  • Water is the most essential nutrient in any diet. Your pet’s body is made up of approximately 70% water and will quickly perish without it. Ensure your pet can access fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
  • Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption. Too much fat however, can lead to such obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
  • Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet’s body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the blood stream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
  • Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet’s immune system during times of stress.

How do you make sure your pet’s diet is healthy?

We strongly recommend that you: 

  • Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding generic pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas.
  • Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or “kibble”) is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.
  • Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet’s ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
  • Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories.
  • Avoid “people” food. Your pet’s digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps will result in an unbalanced diet, can cause stomach upsets or even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

Life Cycle Feeding 

Your pet’s nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable.

Please give us a call to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life. 

Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!


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Your Pet’s Oral Health

It is important for our pet’s to maintain good oral health to prevent gum disease and problems with their teeth. Alarmingly, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three.

There are 2 simple ways to maintain your pet’s oral health, the first is using Oral Wipes there are many options available to purchase and that we sell in the clinic. They are easy to use, a quick wipe over the teeth at regular intervals removes and reduces plaque build up. Our nurses can you show the process and advise you on how regularly to use.

Another great way is to introduce teeth brushing, although this may sound odd it, with some simple training your dog may find brushing their teeth a positive experience.
Start the training by choosing either a dog toothbrush and toothpaste kit or just use a kids soft bristled toothbrush and water. Show your dog their toothbrush and then give it a treat, do this every day for the first week. By the time you reach week 2, most dogs will see the toothbrush and it will trigger an understanding that a treat is coming.  The toothbrush now means “treat”!
Once your dog is excited by seeing the toothbrush, touch it to your dog’s lips followed by a treat. Now your dog should be tolerating the touching of the toothbrush to the lips. If you are using dog toothpaste, you may like to let your dog have a sniff and taste of the paste. See if your dog will tolerate a gentle rub of the front teeth with the toothbrush followed immediately by a treat. By week four your dog should be tolerating the brush entering his mouth and allowing you to gently brush some teeth.  

  • Don’t rush
  • Don’t try to brush the entire mouth
  • Follow every session with a treat

Your dog will begin to understand that this is part of the daily routine and always leads to a desired food reward. Over time you may find you can give the whole mouth a good brush.

Initially focus on the incisors (small front teeth) and canines (large pointy teeth).  The molars at the back of the mouth do get a workout with chewing.  You can include the molars when the dog will allow.

If you can manage to brush your dog’s teeth THREE times per week it will reduce plaque by 75% and this will reduce tartar and subsequent periodontal disease.

Puppy Toilet Training Tips

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also bring some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is toilet training. Puppies have small bladders and need to go frequently, which means accidents are bound to happen, however, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your puppy to use a designated toileting area in no time.

Choose a designated toileting area
The first step in toilet training your puppy is to choose a designated toileting area. This area should be easily accessible and grassy, secluded, and away from your living areas. Taking your puppy to the same spot every time they need to go will help them understand that this is where they should be going to the toilet.

Use positive reinforcement
Puppies respond well to positive reinforcement. Whenever your puppy goes to the designated toileting area, verbally praise and encourage them. This positive reinforcement will encourage your puppy to repeat the behavior and use the designated area consistently.

Avoid punishment
Never punish your puppy for toileting in the wrong spot, this can cause fear and anxiety, which will hinder the training process. Instead, if you catch your puppy toileting in the wrong spot, calmly pick them up and take them to the designated toileting area. When they go in the right spot, offer them plenty of praise.

Be consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to toilet training your puppy. Take your puppy to the designated toileting area frequently, especially after eating, sleeping, or playing. By being consistent, you’ll help your puppy understand where they should be going to the toilet.

Be patient
Toilet training takes time, and accidents are bound to happen. It’s essential to be patient and not get frustrated when your puppy has an accident. Remember, your puppy is still learning, and mistakes are part of the learning process.

Clean up accidents properly
If your puppy has an accident inside the house, it’s crucial to clean it up properly. Use a specially designed cleaner that’s formulated to eliminate the odor completely. Avoid using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can encourage your puppy to go in the same spot again.

Toilet training your puppy can be a challenging experience, but with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can succeed. Choose a designated toileting area, use positive reinforcement, avoid punishment, be consistent, be patient, and clean up accidents properly. With time and effort, your puppy will learn to use the designated area consistently, making toilet training a breeze for both you and your furry friend.

Puppy PreSchool

Why you and your puppy need to head to school

From the age of 1 to 3 months old, the canine brain is wired in such a way that allows it easily bond to their family, and learn about the world. They spend this time determining what is safe, and what is not. Puppies that are not socialised in this period, tend to be fearful of anything unfamiliar, be it people, dogs, other animals, sounds and other physical aspects of their changing environment.      

It is extremely important to expose puppies to different people, pets and places, during this socialisation window. It is also vital to ensure that they are having an enjoyable time during these novel encounters. 

Puppy School, run at Newtown Veterinary Clinic, aims to provide a social, safe and enjoyable experience for the puppies. We also provide extensive support to the human “pet parents” during what can be an intense and tricky stage of the puppy’s life.

Today, there is unfortunately a lot of misinformation presented to pet owners about the best ways to train a puppy. There is no legal requirement for dog trainers to undergo accreditation, and as a result laymen dog trainers may be self-taught, or base their training on outdated, and often cruel, ‘dominance’ theory. 

How is NVC Puppy School different?

Our classes are run by qualified veterinary nurses, not laymen dog trainers

  • We teach training techniques that are aligned with the behavioural theory advocated by veterinary experts. Our curriculum, and Puppy School handbook, was authored by Australian Veterinarian, Dr Jen Nesbitt-Hawes BVSc (Hons) MVSt (Wild Med) MANZCVS (Vet Behaviour).
  • We only use positive reinforcement techniques, in order to maximise the puppy’s ability to learn and bond with their new family. 
  • Dog owners are taught how to train their puppy basic obedience, but more importantly, to better understand their puppy’s emotional states by learning about canine body language.  
  • We limit the number of puppies in each class, so that the puppies (and humans) are not overwhelmed by the experience.
  • We also limit the age of the puppies, to both ensure that they experience the joy of puppy school during their socialisation period, but also to ensure that all participants are at a similar age and size. This makes the puppy play sessions a safe and enjoyable experience.

Course inclusions

Comprehensive Puppy School Guidebook, a valuable resource for use during and after the course.

Headshot of your puppy

Free ongoing training advice from our experienced nursing team

Human-only discussion class

Your puppy is invited to three training and socialisation sessions

*Please note: No refund policy applies.

DIY Dog Wash

We have a “Do it Yourself” Dog Wash in the carpark behind the clinic, entry of Gregory Ave.  Open 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

Paywave and token payment options are available.  (Tokens can be purchased from reception during business hours)

Shampoo, conditioner, rinse and blow-dry options are all built in, however, you are welcome to bring your own products if you prefer.
Remember to bring some treats to ensure your dog has a positive experience and get WASHING!