Why is my pet so fussy?

hungry puppy

I’m often told by clients that their dog or cat will only eat this or that .


I’d like to explain what causes fussiness and how to deal with it.

Fussiness is caused by two things:

1. Over exposure to food and treats.

2. The pet realising that it has control of what it is fed.


When pets realise that they live in the land of plenty, naturally they will pick and choose the foods they like the most.


Small dogs and cats are more prone to fussiness than larger pets. This is because we grossly over-estimate how much food they need, and we often give treats through the day. We forget that they are only tiny compared to us, and that they spend a large percentage of their time resting. Many people also tend to leave food available for the pet all day. This is especially common with dry foods. This causes the pet to become very bored with that food, and it prevents the dog/cat from developing an appetite.


Have you noticed that food tastes better when you have an appetite?


So when dinner comes out (perhaps some dry dog food), the pet will often turn its nose up. Then the owner will often replace this food with something he/she knows the pet loves (often cooked chicken). This is when the pet learns that to get what it likes most, it simply has to refuse what is initially offered. The pet then has control, and often ends up eating a nutrient poor diet for the rest of its life.


Dogs and cats, like people, need a balanced diet with vitamins and minerals. They also need to chew raw bones regularly. I will discuss diet in more detail in the next newsletter, but for now:


How to get a fussy dog or cat to eat a healthier diet?:


Firstly, dogs will rarely turn their nose up at a palatable and nutritious diet for more than 2 days. Some cats, however will. Some cats need familiarity.

For dogs, put the food down twice daily for half an and hour only and do not give any treats during the day. You will find that by day 3, your dog is not only eating the new food, but enjoying it.

You must remember that in the wild, dogs and cats frequently go several days without food.



Cats require a different approach to dogs:


Firstly try putting a bowel of the new food next to a bowel of their usual food. Some cats like to be empowered with this choice, and enjoy the security of their usual food being there.

if your cat wont eat the new food, try mixing a little of the new food with their usual food. I would start with only 10% new food and gradually increase this over a few days or weeks. Warming the food slightly may also help.


This approach may also be tried with dogs, provided it doesn’t just pick the usual food out from the new food.


I hope this has been helpful. In the next newsletter, i will discuss what i believe to be a healthy diet for dogs and cats.


Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

What is diabetes?


Diabetes mellitus, the medical name for diabetes, is a disease caused by a lack of insulin that affects the level of

glucose, or sugar, in your dog or cat’s blood. The glucose comes from the food that your pet eats. Food is broken down into very small components by your pet’s digestive system so their bodies can use it for energy. Glucose is one of these components, and an important source of energy. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream where it travels to cells throughout the body. Insulin is required for the cells to absorb glucose. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Healthy pets produce insulin easily, but pets with diabetes don’t. In canine and feline diabetes, unused glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

Is diabetes in my pet the same as diabetes in people?

The two conditions are very similar. In fact, your veterinarian will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems similar to those used for diabetic people.


How common is diabetes in dogs and cats?

Diabetes is reported to affect anywhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 dogs and cats, but experts believe that the disease is on the rise.


Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes. Dogs and cats with diabetes can develop other health problems, usually after living with diabetes for a year or more. For dogs, the most common complication of diabetes is cataract formation. Persistently high blood glucose levels make the lens of the eye become opaque, causing blindness. For cats, weakness of the hind legs is a potential complication. Persistently high blood glucose levels may damage nerves, causing weakness and muscle wasting.


Will diabetes affect my dog or cat’s life expectancy?

Today, with effective treatment and monitoring, a diabetic dog or cat should have the same life expectancy as a non-diabetic dog or cat of the same age. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment helps diabetic pets maintain a good quality of life.


Risk factors in dogs

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Breed – these breeds are at higher risk of developing diabetes:

–       Cocker Spaniels                             

–       Dachshunds

–       Doberman Pinschers      

–       German Shepherds

–       Golden Retrievers          

–       Labrador Retrievers

–       Pomeranians  

–       Terriers

–       Toy Poodles


Risk factors in cats

  • Age (older cats are more susceptible)
  • Neutered males
  • Genetics
  • Other insulin-resistant disorders or diseases, such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

r lifestyle

Is my dog or cat at risk of diabetes?

While diabetes has been diagnosed in dogs and cats of all ages, genders and breeds, certain pets are at greater risk of the disease.


Are there warning signs I should be aware of?

Some common signs of diabetes in dogs and cats include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination — your pet produces more urine per day or has “accidents” in the house (dogs) or outside the litterbox (cats)
  • Excessive hunger yet losing weight
  • Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
  • Cloudy eyes (dogs)
  • Doesn’t groom (cats)
  • Thinning, dry, and dull hair


How will my veterinarian test my pet for diabetes?

Your veterinarian may begin by performing a general health examination and asking questions about any signs your pet may

be displaying. Then, a sample of your pet’s urine will be tested for the presence of glucose (a type of sugar) or ketones (acids

produced by the body as it breaks down fat instead of glucose for energy). If glucose is present in your pet’s urine, your veterinarian will then test your pet’s blood to determine the blood glucose level. A diabetes diagnosis is considered definite when persistently high glucose levels are found in both the blood and urine.


How do I take care of a pet with diabetes?

Although there is no cure for diabetes, the disease can be successfully managed with the help of your veterinarian. Daily

insulin injections are usually required to restore your pet’s insulin level and control their blood glucose levels. Many owners

are anxious about giving injections, but it’s easier than you think, and you’ll quickly learn how to handle the dosing routine with little stress for you or your pet.


Diet plays a vital role in helping to keep your pet’s diabetes regulated. Your veterinarian can recommend a diet that’s best

suited to the needs of your pet. A high-quality, consistent source of protein is an essential part of any diabetic diet. High-protein,

low-carbohydrate foods are currently recommended for diabetic cats because they provide the extra energy cats need to get through their active days, without the extra carbohydrates that can turn into excess sugar. It is important to feed your pet based on its ideal body weight. Consistent timing and size of meals is also very important.


Exercise can help dogs with diabetes, but it needs to be regulated because activity affects blood glucose levels. It’s best to create a consistent exercise routine for your diabetic dog and stick to it. There is no clear recommendation for exercise in diabetic cats because their activity is difficult to regulate.


Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify changes in your pet’s condition and help you to manage this disease successfully over time. Managing your dog or cat’s diabetes will require some effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Pets whose diabetes is under control have normal thirst, appetite, urination, and activity levels. Their weight is generally stable and they are less likely to develop complications.


Clean, Safe and Easy Flea Control in Cats


I’ve had many cats and have tried many flea products over the years.


What I’ve learnt is that most cats don’t like chemicals on their coats. I’ve also learnt that I don’t like chemicals on their coats because these chemicals invariably end up on me.


The product I have been using over the last 10years is the Program injection.

Program contains Lufeneron which breaks the flea cycle by inhibiting flea egg development.


Lufeneron is harmless to the adult flea, so if your cats has an existing flea burden, i would recommend using an insecticidal flea product like Advantage for 3 to 4 months to kill these.

After this, a Program injection every 6 months, prevents flea infestation by sterilising fleas.


I believe Program is the safest, cleanest and easiest way of controlling fleas in cats.

Simply bring your cat to the clinic every 6months for a quick injection. There is no consultation fee, and we can worm your cat at the same time if you wish.


Why put a topical product on your cat when you can prevent fleas with Program?


Let your cat be the judge.



Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

Socialisation Tips for New Puppy Owners


 Group of sharpei puppies isolated on white background (studio sh


Even though dogs have been around for thousands of years, each new puppy that comes into our world must learn about humans. Socialisation is the process during which puppies develop positive relationships with other living beings. The most sensitive period for successful socialisation is during the first 4 months of life. The experiences your pet has during this time will have a major influence on its adulthood. It is very important for puppies to have frequent, positive social experiences during these early months in order to prevent asocial behaviour, fear and biting. Puppies that are inadequately socialised may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. Continued exposure to a variety of people and other animals, as the pet grows, is an essential part of maintaining good social skills.


Attending puppy classes during this primary socialisation period is an excellent way to ensure multiple contacts with a variety of people and other dogs. This relatively new concept in training involves enrolling puppies early, before they pick up ‘bad habits’ and at an age when they can learn quickly. Puppy training and socialisation classes are available at Pound Road Veterinary Clinic. These classes can help puppies get off to a great start with training and offer an excellent opportunity for social experiences with other puppies and with a wide variety of people. Since there can be some health risks when exposing very young puppies to other animals and environments, the best age to begin your puppy in classes should be discussed with your veterinarian.



There is no such Disease as Old Age!

Old Dog

Has your beloved pet been getting lazier, slower in getting up in the mornings, acting slightly withdrawn and grumpy and not as interactive with the family as before?

Many of you may think that your pet is getting old but there is no such disease as old age. Your pet may have osteoarthritis! And yes, animals can get arthritis/osteoarthritis just like us and unfortunately arthritis is one of the main causes of reduced quality of life.

So, what is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a persistent and progressive disease that affects any joint in the body. Common joints that are affected in a pet are hips, elbows, stifle (knee), carpus (wrist), hock (ankle) or intervertebral joints (the spine). It occurs when cartilage in the joint is damaged, either following a traumatic event, surgery or with wear and tear that increases in athletic animals, overweight animals or when the joint is congenitally abnormal ie hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (knee caps).

Cartilage is like a gelatinous shock absorber in the joint, absorbing stress and reducing impact on the ends of the bones in joints. When the cartilage is damaged, a cascade of inflammatory changes occurs which then lead to further destruction of the cartilage and subsequent damage to the underlying bone. This is how osteoarthritis happens.

It is also important to note that cartilage contains no nerves. Therefore if your pet is showing any signs of pain or discomfort, damage in the underlying bone may already have begun.

Signs of osteoarthritis may be subtle and very easy to miss especially in cats. Here are a few examples of signs of osteoarthritis that you may notice in your pets.

  • Stiffness that may disappear once the pet has ‘warmed up’.
  • Difficulties climbing stairs, cat tree, climbing in the car or onto the bed or sofa.
  • Difficulties rising from rest
  • Reluctance to take walks of the usual length
  • Licking at a single joint
  • Limping
  • Abnormal gait
  • Acting withdrawn and spending less time interacting with the family
  • Soreness when touched
  • And rarely, aggression when touched or approached.

So now the most important part, what can you do to help your furry family member/s?

  1. Weight reduction:

Extra weight is definitely one of the exacerbating factors to increase pain in arthritic animals. Not too sure if your pet is overweight or not? Please feel free to have a chat with our friendly staff and we will be able to help you and let you know your pet’s body condition score (BCS). Your pet should be less than 3/5 BCS ideally. If your pet is more than a BCS of 3, it is time to get on the weight loss program and go on a diet.

We recommend that overweight animals be placed on a prescription diet known as Hill’s r/d®. This diet contains a unique combination of lysine, carnitine and soluble fiber that modifies metabolism from fat storing to fat burning. It also contains a high level of natural fiber which helps to satisfy your pets’ hunger while losing weight.

This will not be an easy journey but it will definitely be a rewarding one. Even a loss of 500g will be significant in an overweight animal, so don’t be discouraged. Please ask us about our few successful ‘biggest losers’ for some inspiration!

  1. Low-impact exercise:

Swimming or walking in shallow waters would be the best. This is probably not ideal in cold winter weather, but a slow jog or walk on a leash is acceptable as well.

There is also the option of seeking further advice from a veterinary physiotherapist. There are underwater treadmills and indoor heated swimming pools for animals.

  1. Injectable Chondroprotective agent (Cartrophen Vet injections)

Cartrophen Vet helps retard the progression of arthritis by stimulating the production of lubricant and cartilage molecules by joint cells. Cartrophen also improves circulation to the arthritic tissues, stimulates production of proteins that block damaging free radicals and antigens while inhibiting enzymes that break down cartilage cells.

8/10 pets respond quickly to the initial course of the injections with an increase in activity and well being.

The injections are given weekly for the initial course and a 3 monthly booster is recommended for best efficacy. Please consult one of our veterinarians to tailor this program for your furry friend.

  1. Prescription medications (anti-inflammatory and pain relief)

Most pets suffering from arthritis need pain relief now. Your pet may need NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications act quickly by suppressing the inflammatory biochemical that leads not only to the pain of arthritis but also further cartilage damage. NSAIDS can carry potential side effects when used long term. These side effects can be minimalized by regular blood and urine test. Please bring in a urine sample from your pet when you visit us.

Please note that human NSAIDS tend to be toxic to pets, especially cats. Never use a human medication of any kind in a pet without specific advice from your veterinarian.

  1. Nutraceuticals:

There are a couple of nutritional supplements that can be added in your pets’ daily diet that may have beneficial effects for their arthritis. Such as:

i)        Glucosamine and chondroitin

These products are cartilage components harvested mainly from sea molluscs. By taking these pills or powder orally, the pet is able to have plenty of the necessary building blocks needed to repair damaged cartilage. However, these products do not produce rapid results and results may vary between individuals; one or two months are needed to build up to adequate amounts. Examples of products available in our clinic are: Rejuvinate Powder and Sasha’s Blend.

ii)       Omega 3 fatty acids

Cold water fish oils have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. They are primarily used for the treatment of itchy skin, but many arthritic dogs and cats have also benefited from supplementation.

This product also does not produce rapid results and may take up to a month to build to adequate amounts.
Flax seed oil has been known to contain omega 3 fatty acids in humans, but it is not as readily converted in dogs and cats as compared to humans. Therefore fish oil is a better option compared to flax seed oil.

There are no toxic issues to be concerned with giving fish oil, but please seek veterinarian advice prior to starting any supplementation. The general rule of thumb for fish oil supplementation is 1000IU per 5kg body weight in dogs and cats. (This dosage may change depending on your pets’ diet)

  1. Acupuncture and massage

These are alternative treatments that will provide additional non-drug pain relief to your furry friends as well. Efficacy and onset of treatment may vary depending on the severity of your pet’s osteoarthritis but it is definitely an additional treatment for your arthritic furry friend if you’re worried about potential long term side effect of medications.

Please feel free to enquire further with one of our veterinarians.

There is a lot we can do for our arthritic friends during this cold winter period. Feel free to drop into the clinic and we can discuss any further enquiries you have to help improve their quality of life!


By Dr Yuen Jia Lim BVSc