Dog Advice

  • Dental Care
  • Looking after ears
  • Neutering Your Dog
  • Giving Your Puppy The Best Start

Dental Care

How to look after your pets teeth

Dental disease can be a relatively silent but debilitating condition. At the Animal Care Hospital we regularly perform dentals on all ages and sizes of pets using only the highest quality of medicines and equipment. This is imperative for your pet’s safety and to achieve a top quality and longer lasting result.

How do you know if your pet has dental disease?

You may notice one or more of the following:

1. Smell from the breath.
2. Drooling.
3. Inactivity/less inclined to play, lethargy.
4. Personality or temperament change, less social (i.e. aggression/depression).
5. Pets can be ‘head shy’ not as keen for rubs on the head or touching of the mouth.
6. Changes in eating habits i.e. eating less/not eating hard food in preference of soft food
7. dropping food out of the mouth/wincing in pain during eating.

On examination during consultation we look out for:

1. Tartar build- up.
2. Reddening of gums (gingivitis).
3. Evidence of fractured/broken teeth.
4. Dental decay (caries).
5. Evidence of teeth abscesses.

On noticing any of these we will offer a dental operation for your pet under general

General Anaesthetic

This is the safest currently available (‘The Gold Standard’). This standard is well above
the’average’ anaesthetic.

  • Our anaesthetic drugs, anaesthetic machines, and anaesthetic equipment are maintained to the highest standard, and serviced regularly.
  • Your pet’s anaesthetic is constantly monitored by our trained and experienced, qualified veterinary nurses.
  •  Your pet will have an intravenous (into the vein) catheter in place throughout theprocedure should any emergency medications/fluids need to be given. (Even though complications with our anaesthetics here are extremely rare).
  • Anaesthesia is maintained by anaesthetic gas and 100% oxygen via an endotracheal tube (tube down throat). This is the safest form of anaesthesia,and significantly safer than relying on the (cheaper) alternative of using injectable anaesthetics alone.
  • Every care is given to avoid any discomfort for your pet; pain relief is given before, during and after the procedure. 

The dental procedure

We use the same equipment as a human dentist

  • Our new ultrasonic de-scaler/polisher dental system efficiently and gently returns your pet’s teeth to like they were as a puppy!
  • Just as you experience at your dentist the teeth are thoroughly scaled then polished. Results with our machine show that the tartar does not build up again as quickly as it does with other less modern systems.
  • Polishing after scaling is an essential part of the dental procedure and while it adds extra time to the procedure it will greatly benefit the health of the teeth and extend the intervals between dentals considerably.
  • Polishing is ALWAYS performed on dentals done at the Animal Care Hospital
  • Our dental drill is precise and sharp. Not every practice is equipped with a dental drill and without a drill it is necessary to divide multi-rooted teeth for extraction with a tradesman’s hacksaw. We are delighted to have our dental specialised mini-drill!

How to keep your pets teeth shiny, healthy and clean


By chewing something hard, i.e. toys, a good marrowbone (must not be breakable), biscuits and being fed on a complete dry diet (hills science plan/TD diet-700 gm sample included with your dental,- free). This action cleans the teeth and keeps them strong and healthy.


If your pet will cooperate, this is the best way to keep the teeth clean. Brushing your pet’s teeth doesn’t take much time and is fairly easy. It is a lot easier to start at a young age. There are specifically formulated animal toothbrushes and toothbrushes available at the surgery. It is not recommended to use human toothpaste, as they are too minty and frothy and contain high levels of fluoride. Ask one of our nurses for a demonstration.

Regular Check-ups

Ask your vet to check your pets teeth.

Remember (as with our own teeth) by doing a scaling and polishing on time you will save your pets teeth, prevent significant complications and have a healthier (& “sweeter smelling”) pet.

Remember if you book the procedure when recommended you will save yourself some money too.

If you require any advice about pet dental care, please get in touch by phone 021 489 3033 or email

Looking after ears

How to keep your pets ears clean and healthy

Ear problems are one of the most common reasons that dogs (less often cats) are brought to the surgery.
There are many reasons for this:

  • Breed - some breeds are more inclined to get ear problems than others. Dogs with long dropping ears (spaniels), dogs that go into the water a lot (retrievers) and dogs with hairy ears (Yorkshire terriers, poodles etc.).
  • Dogs that are kept indoors - wax and moisture in the ear, added to the warm indoor atmosphere, is the perfect environment for infections to arise.
  • Specific Infections - infections like ear mites are common in dogs and cats, especially at a young age. These should be treated quickly and effectively with a proven product in order to avoid long term damage.

All of the above factors contribute to a build up of wax and dirt in the ears, which will lead to infection
and inflammation.

How to prevent and treat ear problems

As you will see from the above, most ear problems are caused by a combination of an accumulation of earwax, hair, moisture and inadequate ventilation of the ear (drooping ears).

It is important to keep the ears as clean, dry and hair free as possible. This is not difficult to do but it should be started at a young age to ensure your pets cooperation.

It is also important not to wait for problems to develop, as the ear will be tender and the dog uncooperative. Also, once an ear has become inflamed, it is more likely to flare up again in the future – so start when young!

How to keep your pets ears clean

  • Pluck any hairs visible at the top of the ear canal.
  • Clean away any wax or discharge from the ear, using a proven ear cleaner.
  • Instil any medication prescribed into the clean ear.

Please feel free to ask any of our nurses how to clean your pets ears and how to apply the medication.

Remember regular cleaning will avoid painful (and costly) treatment and possible surgery.

If you have any queries about your pets ears, please get in touch by phone 021 489 3033 or email

Neutering Your Dog

Should my dog be neutered?


Unless you are going to use your bitch for breeding purposes it is advised to get your bitch spayed. The recommended age for spaying your bitch is between 5 1⁄2 months and six months of age, before their first heat.


If your dog is over enthusiastic, is inclined to roam, urine marks excessively or exhibits intermale aggression with other dogs it is advisable to get him castrated. Male dogs can be castrated from six months of age.

What are the advantages of neutering?


1. Reduces the incidence of breast cancer* - The earlier the bitch is neutered the better. Breast cancer is a common cancer in older animals that aren’t neutered.
2. Reduces womb infections – can occur in older animals, they are potentially life threatening.
3. Prevents false pregnancies – not uncommon in the bitch and can cause complications like mastitis.
4. Prevents unwanted pregnancies – sometimes despite all your best efforts these can occur and complications can arise.
5. No need for Confinement – trying to confine your pet for long periods of time while she is in heat can be a nuisance.

Please note spaying will not change your bitches character. Spayed bitches can be inclined to gain weight. Your pet will not gain weight if their exercise and food intake is adjusted.

*According to the Animal health trust, UK. “ Spaying before the first season reduces the risk of breast cancer to 0.05%. Spaying after the first or second season reduces it to 12%. Spaying after the third season has no protective effect at all, nor is there any evidence that having puppies protects against this cancer”


1. It decreases the risk of testicular and prostrate problems later in life
2. It will reduce his tendency to roam.
3. It will reduce aggressiveness towards other dogs.
4. It will stop your pet from trying to mount objects (and people).
5. It will reduce the incidence of urine marking.

Please note castrating your dog will not make him fat and lazy if he gets a good diet and regular exercise!

If you have any further queries about neutering your pet, please get in touch by phone 021 489 3033 or email

Giving Your Puppy The Best Start

How to give your puppy the best start

When you acquire a new puppy we advise you to let it settle in for a few days and use this time to familiarize yourself with your puppy’s health. After 3 – 5 days you should have your puppy checked by the Vet. The Vet will advise you at that stage on all aspects of puppy care and answer any queries you might have. It is very important to get the right advice from the outset to avoid unnecessary problems later.

Always bear in mind that pet insurance is available for pups from 8 weeks old.

Check if your pup is microchipped already when you buy it, if so ensure to register the chip number to your details, coordinating with the breeder if necessary. If your new puppy is not micro chipped consider getting this done when you visit the vet.

How to keep your new puppy healthy

1. Worming – most puppies carry roundworms. The eggs of these worms are not visible and are harmful to children. They can be eliminated by using Milbemax or Drontal worm medicine.

a. Worming should be carried out every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until 12 weeks old, then monthly until the pup is 6 months old, then every 3 months for life.

2. Vaccinations – puppies should not be allowed access to public places until they are fully vaccinated. This involves a series on injections beginning from 8 weeks of age and finishing at between 10 and 12 weeks. They are vaccinated for Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis.

a. All the above are potentially fatal diseases and can be prevented provided effective vaccination is carried out by a veterinary surgeon and immunity levels are maintained with annual boosters.

3. Feeding – It is vital to get your puppy started on a food that is right for him/her from an early stage. There is a bewildering choice of foodstuffs both tinned and dry (nuts). The dry diets are very popular but they vary a lot in quality.

a. We recommend you start your puppy on Hills Science Plan. The quality of the food you feed your puppy from day 1 will reflect its overall development. Sticking with a good diet from the beginning will minimise “fussy eaters” and “upset tummies”.

4. Neutering – there is a lot of miss-information about neutering. We advise you to discuss this procedure with a member of staff. It is important to be fully and correctly informed as to the effects of neutering.

a. We advise that if you have a female dog (bitch) and do not intend on breeding that you should get her neutered either just before her first season or two to three months after it. The age of the first season is usually six months in most dogs but it can be as late as nine or ten months in larger breeds. 

Neutering will not make bitches snappy. (All guide dogs are neutered at six months).

Neutering your bitch will reduce by 90% the risk of breast cancer (a common cancer in older bitches), eliminate the risk of womb infections, false pregnancies, heats and unwanted pregnancies.

Male dogs – castration of male dogs also decrease the risk of testicular and prostrate problems later in life and can decrease wandering, aggression, mounting and urine marking.

If you have any further queries about your new puppy, please get in touch by phone 021 489 3033 or email

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