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to neuter or not to neuter
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This is a contentious topic among vets and pet owners alike but here is how we see it.

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Neutering is also known as sterilisation. More specifically though, for males it is often called castration and for females it is called spaying (just in case you weren't too sure!)

Castrating a male cat is always a good idea as little boy kitties reach sexual maturity at 6 months of age... and usually become a real pesky pet at that point! They are internally driven to wander in search of females (hmmm... sound familiar?) and so often go missing or end up in fights with other cats in the neighbourhood ~ and this makes them more likely to contract either feline leukaemia or feline aids viruses (or both!), which are largely transmitted through fighting. On top of this, you may experience a cat that likes to spray very smelly urine around your house and garden in an attempt to mark his territory ~ not pleasant, we promise you! So castrating before this behaviour becomes learnt is a good way to go in order to prevent this nasty habit. And reducing wandering and fighting and urine-spraying not only makes for a healthier and more desirable pet, but also has the added advantage that your cat is not going out there and contributing to a very real problem in many cities (including and perhaps especially Dubai) ~ that of too many stray and unwanted pets.

For the very same reasons, it's also best to spay your female cat; when she comes into season, she'll do just about everything in her power to get outside and find a male cat, with the inevitable result of unwanted kittens. Furthermore, cats in season are also quite a frustrating thing to experience ~ she will meow and pace around and behave strangely for a straight five-day period (and you like your sleep at night, right?), with a break of only two weeks until the next meowing and pacing cycle... and this cycle continues until she gets pregnant. Oy vey! Oh, and by the way, neglecting (or choosing not) to spay your cat puts her at greater risk for mammary cancer, so there is this major benefit of spaying as well.

Spaying a female dog is also on our recommended list ~ besides preventing unwanted puppies (bet you didn't know that!), it's statistically true that spayed females live longer than those that are not. The risk of mammary cancer is also significantly reduced if done early on (before the third heat, but it's best in fact to do this before even the first heat if you want the mammary cancer risk to be zero). Having said this, a potential side effect of spaying is urinary incontinence, but this can be treated successfully with medication if your dog is unfortunate enough to experience it. However, the risk of mammary cancer is statistically higher than the risk of urinary incontinence, so we still do recommend spaying a female dog rather not spaying her. Furthermore, spaying your dog will prevent any risk of uterine infections (a condition known as pyometra), a condition which can be fatal if not treated promptly with surgery. Also, she won't come into heat every six months, which can be a hassle to deal with, as it's messy and you may need to fend off any male suitors that come calling! Dogs that have been spayed do experience a slowing down of their metabolism, so can be prone to obesity... something you as an owner need to be aware of so as to monitor her weight and adjust her food intake accordingly. Large breed dogs are often better off spayed when their bone growth has completed, so talk to your vet about the best time for your dog if you think she's going to be a BIG girl.

There is a much bigger debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of castrating male dogs. Generally, castrating a male will help control behavioural issues such as aggression, dominance and over excitability, and will also reduce the amount of leg-lifting and peeing to mark territory if it's done before this behaviour is learned. There is the obvious advantage of controlling unwanted puppies, of course, as males are very quick to find a female that's in heat (again... sound familiar? ). In terms of health benefits, castration does not seem to have any obvious cancer benefits, as prostatic cancer occurs equally among castrated and non-castrated males, and testicular cancer is very rare anyway. However, prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate) can occur in non-castrated males and can make the dog prone to prostatic infections and constipation (you understood all that, right?). The treatment for this condition, if it occurs, is castration.

So, the summary for our thoughts on castrating a male dog is that it's better to do it if you're having behavioural issues with your dog and that, if you choose not to do it, you should take care that he does not mate with females and contributes to the ever-growing problem of unwanted puppies. Remember too that castration also causes a slowing down of the metabolism which means you need to keep an eye on your dog's weight going forward; and if you own a large breed dog, you should ask your vet for advice regarding the best time to do the dastardly deed.

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Got more questions? Get in touch.

 

 

Urinate, shmurinate... all over the house! I love my cat BUT...

Answer

It's times like these when you just KNOW you LOVE your cat!

There are a number of possible

<h3>Urinate, shmurinate... all over the house! I love my cat BUT...</h3><p>It's times like these when you just KNOW you LOVE your cat!</p> <p>There are a number of possible reasons your cat is urinating around your house. It may be either a medically related issue or a behavioural one. Either way, not fun, we know.</p> <p>Medical conditions such as a <i>urinary tract infections</i> or <i>kidney disease</i> may result in your cat urinating more frequently, and sometimes in unusual places. Other medical conditions such as arthritis and dementia may prevent her from reaching her normal litter place and so urinating wherever the hell she gets to. It's important that your cat is examined by a vet to rule out those potential medical causes, because if your vet can indeed rule them out, then you know you have a behavioural issue on your hands.</p> <p>In which case... GOOD LUCK TO YOU!</p> <p>No no, just kidding. Stay calm.</p> <p>In the case of behavioural problems, your cat may be marking her territory due to a hormonal influence, or urinating in certain areas due to fear or anxiety. And all this, too, your vet will talk with you about once you get past any medical worries as the cause. Also, though, you may want to talk with any knowledgeable catty people (not just vets) ~ they'll often be able to help you identify the cause of behaviour issues and, hopefully the potential cures. Bottom line: if the issue is behavioural, there can be a lot of different causes, so read, talk, and try to identify which of those causes is most likely at play in your case.</p>

Chewing, chewing, chewing... EVERYTHING! I love my dog BUT...

Answer

It's times like these when you just KNOW you LOVE your dog!

Good dogs destroy things, bad

<h3>Chewing, chewing, chewing... EVERYTHING! I love my dog BUT...</h3><p>It's times like these when you just KNOW you LOVE your dog!</p> <p>Good dogs destroy things, bad dogs destroy things (is there such a thing as a bad dog? NO WAY!). And the reasons for it are plentiful (though you can be excused for thinking that the reason it happens only when you're not at home is some deep-rooted evil).</p> <p>If your dog is young, chewing things is usually normal and necessary behaviour, and is often out of boredom. Young dogs really do need lots of stimulation and to be given toys that will stimulate them (whether you're away from home or not) round-the-clock.</p> <p>But there are other causes of DEEEEEESTRUCTION(!) which are more fear or phobia related than boredom or youth. Your dog may chew on stuff in order to calm herself down, for example, or she might chew on whatever perceived obstacle stands in her way and where she wants to get to for a greater feeling a safety.</p> <p>And then there's <i>separation anxiety</i>, which can be a serious behavioural condition with one possible result being severe destruction of the area your dog is in, possibly so severe that your dog might even cause harm to herself in her attempt to escape or from sheer manic fear and anxiety, with no particular goal in mind.</p> <p>If she's young, get toys ~ lots of them, and hardy ones. If you think the problem is something more than youthfulness, get advice. Yes, your vet is a good place to start but there are also very knowledgeable people in good kennels and dog behaviourists. Whatever the course you take, take some course, because no one wants to stop loving their dog due to really destructive, unhappy behaviour.</p>

Food ~ What should my dog and cat be eating?

Answer

The pet food market is VERY large and VERY confusing with ENDLESS different brands and sub-brands

<h3>Food ~ What should my dog and cat be eating?</h3><p>The pet food market is VERY large and VERY confusing with ENDLESS different brands and sub-brands, all touting various benefits that indubitably beat out the competition. Well, to simplify things, there are a few basic rules of thumb to follow:</p> <p>Kittens and puppies should be fed kitten and puppy food, and it's best that this is a good quality or premium pet food brand (get your vet's advice on that), as the early years are very important, nutritionally speaking, for correct growth and development. Furthermore, dogs of different sizes/breeds should get different puppy foods designed for those sizes and breeds, ideally ~ all premium pet food brands do cater for this. Large breed dogs, for example, are often prone to joint development problems and these diets, if fed correctly, will help in preventing these (though no guarantees, of course).</p> <p>Once kittens are a year old they can be fed adult food, and the same applies for most small-breed dogs. Larger breed dogs will switch to adult food any time from 15-18 months of age, so ask your vet for advice if you're unsure when reading the food manufacturer's guidelines.</p> <p>Animals that are 7years and older should be fed a senior diet and, again, the premium brands cater for this specifically. Old age is also very important nutritionally and the premium foods have been carefully formulated to aid ageing body organs and joints.</p> <p>Now, there are a lot of people out there who feel that the only correct way to go is to feed freshly prepared food for your pet. While we agree with this in the ideal, there are two very important questions to pose on this front:&nbsp; 1) Do you know exactly what the nutritional requirements are of your pet? Are you THAT knowledgeable, and;&nbsp; 2) Do you have the time to make this rather awesome commitment? If "yes" to both, then great! Go for it!</p> <p>Finally, we also have a very strong opinion about... the fact that your cat should always be eating wet food, if at all possible. Controversial? Disagree vehemently? Wanna fight? Well, read this first: <a href="/docs/Wet_Food_for_your_Cat_-_The_Better_Choice.pdf" target="_blank">Wet Food for your Cat ~ The Better Choice</a></p>

Can DKC manage both the import and export sides of my pet or other animal?

Answer
<h3>Can DKC manage both the import and export sides of my pet or other animal?</h3> <div class="faq_ans_img"><img src="http://www.dkc.ae/images/faqs/faq_3.jpg"></div> <div class="faq_ans_text"><p>Definitely yes! For sure! Yup!</p> <p>Well... maybe. Read on.</p> <p>There are two parts to any relocations process: 1) the export; 2) the import; and they need to be seen as distinct processes because, in fact, they are (although both sides coordinate with each other). We can definitely assist you with the import side if you're coming <em>into</em> the UAE, and we can definitely assist you with the export side if you're <em>leaving</em> the UAE. And that's because we, obviously, are <em>in</em> the UAE.</p> <p>Right, now that's clear.</p> <p>However, there always needs to be someone (you, a friend or another relocations agent) handling things on the "other" side of a relocation, which means that if you're importing into the UAE, someone will have to handle things in your country of origin. If you're exporting from the UAE, someone in your country of destination will have to handle things upon the arrival of your pet. There must always be a physical presence on both sides for the handing of it all.</p> <p>And so, you can of course engage us to handle the UAE-based stuff (please do!), but in the other country, you will have to have yourself, a friend or another agent handle that side of things. If you're going to use another agent, that's when we can step in to help with <em>both</em> sides of the shipment - although the other agent will be doing the physical work required at the other end, you may wish to deal with only one company for the management and payment of the whole process. In which case, we can manage that for you. There will of course be an additional management fee, but you might be happier having to deal with only one company, including all payments.</p> <p>And by the way, if you do want to find another agent on your own, in your non-UAE location, check out <a href="https://www.ipata.org/ipata-pet-shippers-air-and-ground" target="_blank">IPATA.org</a>, where you'll be able to search for pet/animal shippers all over the world.</p></div>
Can DKC manage both the import and export sides of my pet or other animal?
Definitely yes! For sure! Yup! Well... maybe. Read on. There are two...

Teeth Brushing ~ Should I or Shouldn't I?

Answer
<h3>Teeth Brushing ~ Should I or Shouldn't I?</h3> <p>Teeth brushing!!? For pets!!?? Oh my goodness!! What is the world coming to?!</p> <p>Well, that's probably too philosophical a question for us humble pet owners, so just know this: the less effort and time you put into your dog's or cat's teeth at home, the more likely you will face serious dental issues (and costs) in the future. Yep, it's a sad truth.</p> <p>Dental plaque and tartar build up on your dog's teeth just like it does with us humanoids, so brushing your pet's teeth once daily is best.</p> <p>Once daily!? Can you even <i>imagine</i> doing it this often?</p> <p>It <i>is</i> a lot of work, that's true. Furthermore, some dogs and cats <i>really</i> don't like having their teeth brushed (especially those chompers at the back), which of course will make the job all that more difficult and tiresome, for both of you. But if you get the right tools of the trade (at pretty much any pet shop) and keep at it, the difference will amaze you. Truly. And in fact, if you can't manage it every day, or even every week, then just do what you can whenever you can, because within reason, in this case, <i>something</i> is always better than <i>nothing</i>.</p> <p>This said, there are alternatives to brushing (yay!)... but they're not quite as good (boo!). Dental gels can be rubbed on the gums, and there are products which you can put in their drinking water to help reduce the bacterial load in the mouth. Do make sure that the product you buy is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, as there are many on the market that do not do what they actually claim to do (what's new?) ~ ask your vet if you're not sure.</p> <p>Ultimately, if you notice bad breath on your pet or are in any way worried about their teeth, a quick veterinary check will let you know if you need to have your pet's teeth scaled and polished (just like you do when you go to the dental hygienist yourself) ~ most pets will need this done as they get older ~ usually yearly.</p> <p>So what's the point of home dental care if you gotta visit the vet anyway? Well, seriously, frequency of need and cost ~ and the comfort of your pet, of course. You'd be very surprised how many dogs and cats are not feeling as well as you might think, until you see the difference after they've been to the vet for a cleaning and, sometimes, extraction of rotting teeth and sore gums.</p> <p>Sorry folks, but that's the tooth.</p>

Clipping my pet's claws ~ How often should I do it?

Answer
<h3>Clipping my pet's claws ~ How often should I do it?</h3> <div class="faq_ans_img"><img src="http://www.dkc.ae/images/faqs/faq_66.jpg"></div> <div class="faq_ans_text"><p>When to clip your dog's claws depends on the amount of exercise your dog gets and, importantly, the type of surface your dog exercises on. If you can manage to get some walkies time on rougher surfaces (such as roads (but be safe!)), this will usually be sufficient to maintain those claws at a good length. (Oh, and by the way, a good part of puppy training should always include playing with their feet ~ this gets them used having their paws and claws touched, making it easier as they get older to clip those claws when necessary.)</p> <p>As for cats... well, they have retractable claws (very high-tech!), and so they keep them smooth by scratching on posts or (don't say it!!) your furniture... when they get their claws out! As for length, however, this usually requires a little hands-on maintenance on your part... or on the part of your vet... whichever of you has more confidence.&nbsp;<img alt="" src="/graphics/ic_wink.png" height="15" width="15" />&nbsp; (It's not too difficult, though, so why not ask for some training?)</p> <p>The amount to be cut off depends on the nail length and the length of the small blood vessel within the nail, all of which you need to learn a bit about and can ask any vet or a good kennels/cattery handler about, and then you're off and running.</p> <p>Oh, and by the way, don't forget to clip your bird's claws too!</p></div>
Clipping my pet's claws ~ How often should I do it?
When to clip your dog's claws depends on the...

Why do dogs eat their own faeces? (Blech!)

Answer
<h3>Why do dogs eat their own faeces? (Blech!)</h3> <p>Because they're NUTS, obviously!&nbsp; <img alt="" src="/graphics/ic_wink.png" height="15" width="15" /></p> <p>When a dog eats his own faeces, this is called <i>coprophagia</i>. The reason for an animal to eat its own faeces is not completely understood (what a surprise!), however it may be totally normal. It is common in young puppies, as well as females that have just given birth in order to clean their nest environment.</p> <p>In some cases there may be a dietary deficiency, with your dog trying to compensate for this. In these cases, it's important to try to ensure a good, healthy and balanced diet. Or perhaps a young dog may have developed the behaviour and the motivation to continue doing it is due to receiving positive attention for it (believe it or not).</p> <p>It's best to try and remove faeces on a regular basis, as soon as it "appears", but you can also try adding not-so-tasty substances to their faeces (after it's "dropped", of course) to deter the habit, including such things cayenne pepper and anise; there are also sometimes commercial products available specifically targetted at being added to stool (WHO goes into THAT kind of business?!). But in addition to these war-like tactics, you can try adding "stuff" to their diet, such as probiotics and vitamins (but ask your vet for advice first), and there are also tablets containing yucca, thiamine and capsicum (amoung other things) to be given orally that can sometimes help too.</p> <p>Or you can call your vet!! Help!!</p>

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