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Dogs + Care & Wellness

  • Dog food labels can certainly be confusing to interpret. In the United States, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has developed model laws and regulations that states use for animal feeds. In Canada, pet food labeling guidelines are regulated by the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act administered by Industry Canada. The Canadian government's Competition Bureau also has an extensive working group that upholds a voluntary code of conduct for the labeling and advertising of pet food. The most important information when comparing one dog food to another is the guaranteed analysis. Ingredient lists are somewhat useful when evaluating a particular dog food, but it is important to recognize the limitations. Talk to you veterinarian about the ingredient list and nutrient profile to help choose the diet that is right for your dog.

  • Your veterinarian wants to keep your pet healthy and the fact is that people who are better informed take better care of their pets. Do not be overwhelmed by “medicalese”. Try your best to understand this foreign language and if you cannot quite decipher it, ask your veterinarian to speak more plainly.

  • Degenerative joint disease is arthritis caused by deterioration and degeneration of tissues lining joints. Treatment includes regular gentle exercise, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications, omega fatty acids, chondroprotectants, and possibly other nutraceuticals. Emerging therapies include rehabilitation therapy, acupuncture, and stem cell or platelet rich plasma therapies. Maintaining your dog’s weight can help prevent degenerative joint disease.

  • Plaque and tartar forms on teeth daily and if allowed to accumulate will cause progressive periodontal disease. Cleaning your dog’s teeth every day at home will help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. For proper dental evaluation and care, your dog must be safely placed under general anesthesia. The examination usually includes dental X-rays and probing to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets. Tooth scaling will be performed, using both hand and ultrasonic scalers, to remove tartar above and below the gum line. Removing plaque and tartar before disease occurs is the foundation of preventative dentistry.

  • Dental disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition in which the tissues supporting the teeth become inflamed. When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth and the oral tissues. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas, specifically the heart, liver, and kidneys, causing distant or systemic effects. The bacteria that are found within the mouth of pets with dental disease are the same bacteria associated with both endocarditis and valvular disease in dogs and cats.

  • According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 80% of dogs have signs of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dental pain in dogs may take on a wide variety of appearances, but in many cases a dog may not show any outward signs of pain. Sometimes dogs may exhibit signs such as decreased interest in eating dry food or hard treats, chewing more slowly than usual, dropping food while chewing, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, new or worsening resistance to having the face or mouth touched. The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the dog’s underlying dental disease. The best way to prevent dental pain is to ensure that your dog receives regular dental care through a home dental care plan and regular veterinary dental care.

  • Knowing how and what your dog can see will help you make good choices for her. For example, you should keep your dog’s color range in mind when shopping for toys. She will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones. And you’ll understand why she gets distracted during a game of fetch as she hones in on a bird flying 50 yards away. You’ll also know that to get her complete attention, you should stand directly in front of her where her range of visual acuity is greatest. And the next time you are lucky enough to be graced with a rainbow in the sky, rest assured that your dog can enjoy it, too. She will not see ALL the colors of the rainbow, but she may see a bit of yellow and blue. And that will be just fine for her!

  • Most dogs' ears are a lot larger and their ear canals are much longer than ours are. They are certainly a lot more sensitive. We usually only need to clean them when there is a problem; however at this point they may already be sore, so that the dog learns that handling around the ears is painful and tries to avoid it.

  • Many behavior problems have a component of fear, anxiety or excessive arousal so that retraining cannot begin until a calm, relaxed state can be achieved on cue. Training should focus on both the behavioral response (sit, down, walk, stay on your mat) as well as the emotional state (calm, relaxed).

  • The goal of training is to teach your dog a desirable behavior and to associate a command word with that behavior. To be successful, you must first be able to get the pet to exhibit the desired behavior reliably before adding the command.

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