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Welcome to VIN! Uh... rather, welcome to VIN at DKC! 
‎But what is VIN? Good question!
VIN is the Veterinary Information Network ( It is a website dedicated to and used by veterinarians the world over ‎to research animal medical issues, and to discuss issues amongst ourselves so that we learn from each other in the process. VIN helps to make all of us better at what we do ~ caring for your pets.
And one of the great things about VIN is that they make it possible for us to embed their search engine and information database into our own website, configured with content that is meaningful to and usable by YOU, the non-medical layman, who wants to know more than the average bear about health and behaviour issues with your pets. You might not find here everything you need or want to know‎ (gotta leave some stuff for the vets to do, right?), but taking a look at the wealth of information available here might be just the ticket for your curious, or perhaps even worried, mind.
So, research away!
Teeth Brushing ~ Should I or Shouldn't I?

Teeth brushing!!? For pets!!?? Oh my goodness!! What is the world coming to?!

Well, that'

<h5>Teeth Brushing ~ Should I or Shouldn't I?</h5><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. And dental chews of various shapes and sizes do exist, which may or may not be beneficial ~ you'll need to try them and see!</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>
Food ~ What should my dog and cat be eating?

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

<h5>Food ~ What should my dog and cat be eating?</h5><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 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 7 years 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:  1) Do you know exactly what the nutritional requirements are of your pet? Are you THAT knowledgeable, and;  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 about it? 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>
Urinate, shmurinate... all over the house! I love my cat BUT...
<h5>Urinate, shmurinate... all over the house! I love my cat BUT...</h5> <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>
Why do dogs eat their own faeces? (Blech!)

Because they're NUTS, obviously! 

When a dog eats his own faeces, this is called coprop

<h5>Why do dogs eat their own faeces? (Blech!)</h5><p>Because they're NUTS, obviously!  <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 as 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>
Clipping my pet's claws ~ How often should I do it?

When to clip your dog's claws depends on the amount of exercise your dog gets and, importantly, t

<h5>Clipping my pet's claws ~ How often should I do it?</h5> <div class="faq_ans_img"><img loading="lazy" src=""></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 to 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. <img alt="" src="/graphics/ic_wink.png" height="15" width="15">  (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>
Chewing, chewing, chewing... EVERYTHING! I love my dog BUT...
<h5>Chewing, chewing, chewing... EVERYTHING! I love my dog BUT...</h5> <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/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 <em>some</em> course, because no one wants to stop loving their dog due to really destructive, unhappy behaviour.</p>

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