Full Dog Pod Transcript : Episode 7
Scott: All right, welcome to another Dog Pod Episode brought to you by Dog Cloud. We are down here with Dr. Kevin Cruickshank again. Beautiful gold coast sunny morning here at Burleigh. Welcome, Dr. Kev.
Dr. Kevin Cruickshank: Thanks, Scott. It is getting warmer now, is not it?
Scott: It is. It is a magic morning down here. It is unbelievable. So after a few little technical glitches, we are finally underway here this morning. So this week, we wanted to follow up, first of all, how are you? You have been crook the last week.
Dr. Kevin: Been a bit crook, had a COVID test.
Scott: Had a nasal probe.
Dr. Kevin: Yeah, absolutely, but I am on the mend now.
Scott: Found a bit of brain.
Dr. Kevin: Yeah. [laughter]
Scott: They dig it in don’t they.
Dr. Kevin: They do.
Scott: So let us follow on from what we spoke about in the last episode where we spoke everything sort of small dogs. We promised the audience that this time, we will talk medium dogs, which is a big category in itself as well. A lot of dogs fit this category.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. It is hard to sort of define it very strictly, but we’re loosely talking about dogs between that ten to twenty kilogram size range. I think some of the low twenties kilogram size dogs would still be considered medium breeds. Certainly, there is a lot of different ones. The breed that is very popular here in Australia, the Staffies. I think they are popular around the world as well. They are quintessential example in my mind of a medium-sized breed.
Dr. Kevin: I would think that though they also go up to something like a Border Collie. Border Collies will range from sixteen to twenty-two kilos depending on male or female, their individual size. That, as you can imagine, is a completely different dog to something like a Staffy or a Bulldog which would also be in that medium breed category.
Scott: Yeah. I have spotted Bulldogs everywhere, and maybe this is just where we are located in the world. I am sure it is different in other parts of the world, but I seem to be seeing a lot more dogs with the short haired range. Obviously, the poodle crosses that which are becoming extremely popular.
Dr. Kevin: Very popular.
Scott: Let us talk about some of the common, I guess, things that you see in the vet. Some of the common conditions and things that these dogs suffer with. Correct me if I am wrong, but weight becomes an issue once we start getting up into medium and large dogs. That is probably where you start to see more of the overweight dogs.
Dr. Kevin: Certainly can be. Absolutely. Look, I think we see overweight dogs of all breed types. Sometimes our small ones, because of their lifestyles being treated and spoilt a lot, can be at overweight easily, but very large breed dogs like Labradors are the pin up children for being overweight.
Dr. Kevin: Yes, definitely in the medium breeds, some of them are also less athletic. Something like a Bulldog. So it is very easy for them to put on weight. Being overweight really has significant health implications for them as well.
Dr. Kevin: Probably the first one that comes to mind is the constant pounding on the joints of being overweight from an earlier age. They might get an onset of arthritis, be less active and mobile. The other very significant part is the impact on breathing. If you are overweight, you battle to get breath a lot more. There is actually nearly as much fat that you can see on the outside when you are feeling like over the ribs of a dog. There is actually layers of fat on the inside of the rib cage. So it really reduces the space that the lungs can expand and that sort of thing is as well.
Scott: Yeah, right. Just on the Labradors, why is it so common to see Labradors overweight?
Dr. Kevin: You try to take us into like, the next podcast already.
Scott: [laughter] Was that the big dog?
Dr. Kevin: Can we save that for the big ones?
Dr. Kevin: You will have to hang on and wait till that episode.
Scott: I will have to wait for that episode. All right. So Bulldogs, the overweight, the joints, how does– I mean, obviously, just monitoring their diet, take them for regular walks, it is going to be really key thing here as well. But…how much exercise are we talking about for a Bulldog because they can struggle when they start getting beat.
Dr. Kevin: That poses a very big difficulty, is getting them to exercise enough to lose the weight because, yes, they cannot tolerate a lot of exercise with their breathing; their biggest problem. We are talking about, not only your quintessential English Bulldog, but then a lot of the other French Bulldogs.
Dr. Kevin: They also– and the we also even get an Aussie Bulldog as well. That is a much bigger size of dog. It has got a bit of a longer leg than your English Bulldogs.
Dr. Kevin: They have a problem called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. That is a combination of various things like very narrowed nostrils, but most significantly, their soft palates of the roof of their mouth is too long. That starts to actually overlap over the larynx which is the opening of the airway. And then, it really, effectively narrows the airway. So the minute they start to try and pant, they cannot get enough air to cool themselves. Of course, if you cannot breathe properly, you cannot exercise very efficiently.
Scott: That is why you never see Bulldogs really running.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. People, my biggest tip is also don’t try and push them in the weather when it is too hot. Get out very early when it is still slightly cooler in the day or later in the afternoon.
Scott: That is a great tip because of the breathing.
Dr. Kevin: They can look like they are coping. Heat stroke can actually come on, catch people unaware even though they are aware of the issue. The dogs look like they’re coping and people think, “Oh, that is just a noise that a Bulldog makes.” [dog noise] That type of breathing, but they are really, really struggling when they are breathing like that. If they just get a bit overheated, they can tip right over into full heat stroke. That is very difficult and dangerous conditions.
Scott: Bulldogs must live with a fair amount of stress in their life. Would that be more so than other breeds? Bulldogs, because of those things, they–
Dr. Kevin: Yes. Some of them are the laziest types of dogs. Very chilled out. I don’t think they have too much stress at all, but no, they do. On a physiological level, they do have stress when they cannot breathe properly and that sort of thing, definitely.
Scott: So is there stuff you can do? Are we talking surgery or things that help with this.
Dr. Kevin: For the breathing problems, absolutely. I would love to see people look at the bigger picture and try not to breed from dogs that are severely affected, but that is a bigger pipe dream. But for those people who have a dog that is suffering with it, the earlier that surgery is looked at, the far better. It becomes much riskier if they have got what we call chronic secondary changes. From all the excessive breathing, it stretches the tissues in the back of the throat. That just makes a bad situation worse because, basically, every time they are trying to suck air, it pulls some of the soft tissue in the throat and that gets more floppy, so to speak. It can cause even further narrowing of the throat.
Dr. Kevin: So we look at it. Often, we will assess these breeds at the same time when they are being de-sexed. Castration or spaying, for people who are not so familiar with the de-sexing term, but we will assess when we are giving them the anesthetic for that. We can look and see how the back of the throat is, how long their soft palate is, if their nostrils need opening.
Dr. Kevin: If they are not yet actually suffering from the airway obstruction problem, then it can be an operation that can be done at a general practice surgery, but if they actually already having major respiratory noise and collapse, it’s actually a procedure that is far better done in a specialist hospital. With that comes a bigger price tag, but it is moderately high risk surgery. Like so much in life, catching it early and addressing it early is a good thing.
Scott: Yeah. You can say that habits you develop at a young age with this dogs can to be pretty important, is it? From the exercise, the diet, keeping the weight control managed early. It is probably a good question, too, I suppose. Not every vet may be as forthcoming and checking these things. I do not know if there is a standard practice.
Dr. Kevin: No, I think that is something that we–
Scott: When they get de-sexed, do they check it?
Dr. Kevin: Yes, it is very well known as an issue. So yes, we will. We will even start talking about preventive care, their first vaccinations, and that talking about getting on a good diet. Looking out something that pet owners can just look for, not only the actual respiratory noise that their dogs are making and how well they tolerate exercise, but snoring.
Dr. Kevin: The dog that snores quite a lot is very likely got a soft palate that is too long as well.
Scott: Right. That is not your husband.
Dr. Kevin: No, not that. [laughter]
Scott: For the ladies out there that might want to–
Dr. Kevin: Send them in for surgery.
Scott: What is another breed that we could talk about? Actually, just on the Bulldogs, skin infections is something that comes up quite a bit.
Dr. Kevin: That is what I was just thinking as well. That’s probably the next big thing that across a lot of these breeds, especially ones with the shorter coats or also dogs with a white or a paler skin suffer a bit more from. The skin infections are very commonly secondary to skin allergies. Allergies come in a few different forms. The fairly obvious type of allergy is a contact allergy. So dogs that, over the hairless parts of their belly lying on grass. I often say to people, imagine you take your shirt off and roll around on the grass. Even if it is a nice, fresh, green grass, you will get up a bit itchy. Let it be some dry, more scratchy type of grass, you already feel it.
Dr. Kevin: That can just be a plain irritation, but you actually get dogs that actually allergic to the things that they’re in contact with. The other probably slightly more common form of allergies is what we refer to as Atopy. The equivalent thing in humans is hay fever.
Dr. Kevin: We get streaming eyes, runny nose. With hay fever, dogs tend to react with itchy skin. It is from the allergens or something that you have actually breathed in. So it is your pollens, your tiny little seeds, grass seeds, that type of thing that are airborne or landing on the skin as well just from the atmosphere.
Dr. Kevin: In dogs, the first manifestation is itchy feet. So they will start chewing and licking at their feet. Their pores and that sort of thing. That is not directly from walking on something, but actually just from the inhaled things that they are allergic to.
Dr. Kevin: Very quickly, it can also– classical places are on the belly as well in the axilla which is the armpits area and in the groin area as well. Then because they scratch and lick and chew so much, they are very prone to getting secondary infections.
Scott: Right, because they are aggravating it.
Dr. Kevin: Yeah. So you might see them first come in the first time, and yes, they have just got a rash and a skin infection. Either you treat that with its antibiotics, it settles down. Three or four weeks later, the poor dog is back with another one. It might be three or four months, it depends.
Scott: Does this very from time of year. Like we are sort of hitting spring here in Australia now where it is warming up. Pollens are coming out like crazy.
Dr. Kevin: Classically, it is a seasonal thing. It’s also true that dogs can get allergies to food. They are actually probably a far less common than what people do think, especially, it’s also not only time of year, but regional. So living here in Southeast Queensland, it is probably the allergy capital of Australia. [laughter]
Dr. Kevin: Because we don’t have a big winter change so we have got grasses and plants and that growing all year around as well, but the humid sort of climate is not what an itchy skin likes at all. Whereas with a food allergy, you would actually see that they have got symptoms typically stay the same all year round because they are eating the same food.
Dr. Kevin: They might also have some gastrointestinal symptoms, especially very prone to getting diarrhea and that sort of thing. Then you might go looking more down a food allergy like.
Scott: You are saying that food allergy is less common-
Dr. Kevin: Yes.
Scott: -than a skin allergy.
Dr. Kevin: That both present as a skin allergy, or as an itchy skin, but itchy skin reacting to what you have eaten, being the food allergy, versus reacting to what you have breathed in, much, much more common.
Scott: Got you. Just for clarity, the skin allergy is quite common in a lot of medium dogs. We are not just talking about just the Bulldogs.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. It is very common across the longer head breeds, something like spaniels and those sorts of breeds, and the short coated dogs as well. A breed like a Bull Terrier, unfortunately, have a very sensitive skin. A lot of them are white, and they can have a lot of allergies. But yes, allergies are not necessarily more prone in any particular breed. The management is complex. It is certainly something to have a long discussion with your vet. Like for example, if we know dogs coming in for an itchy skin and it might be an allergy, we book them a double appointment so that we can go back through their whole history, discuss the various options that there are for treatment.
Dr. Kevin: It is certainly something to be aware of if you are getting a medium-sized dog. Watch out and get on to professional advice if they are starting to show itchiness early on because, like so much, if you can control it before it has got out of control, you can have more success.
Scott: Yeah, and it is not something you can easily deal with on your own. You really do need a medication or something for it to deal with. I wanted to ask about, just to shift gears a bit away from probably skin infections. When you get into medium dogs, I think, to me in my mind, I know you get energetic small dogs and stuff as well, but we start to see some very energetic, mobile, high-energy sort of dogs. I know there is-
Dr. Kevin: We do.
Scott: -still the lazy ones as well.
Dr. Kevin: No, no, no. We definitely do.
Scott: This is where we start to see the movement. We talked about another episode just briefly where people are then running with their dogs. It might keep weight off, but then it’s the stress on the joints and the arthritic problems. Then you have got it in the overweight stuff as well.
Dr. Kevin: Dogs aren’t designed to be endurance athletes. In the wild, they do short sprints. They might be exercising for virtually the whole day, but they do it as a short sprint, say the length of a football field, and then they will sniff around a bit or chase after a little bit of prey, and then they will chase something down for another fifty meters. Then they will just trot around, sniff around.
Dr. Kevin: When we take them on the side of the bicycle, we are expecting them to go for five kilometers at a fairly fast pace as well. The excited dogs that want to please you will do it, but it is not necessarily so good for them.
Dr. Kevin: Also, what people should look out for is remembering that they are not fully mature – in the smaller breeds around about twelve months of age, and then transitioning over to sort of eighteen months for your larger breed. So your medium breeds will be in that sort of twelve to eighteen months of age, is only when their bones stopped growing.
Dr. Kevin: So we really do not want to over do the exercise until they are probably about eighteen months of age.
Scott: Let them off leash. Let them self-regulate.
Scott: When you are researching dogs because we are doing the same at the moment for another dog and, going through, okay, it is a high energy dog. It is a– you are conscious of how much you want to be exercising the dogs to give them the stimulation that they need, but I think it is very easy to misunderstand that based on what humans like to do to stay active and stuff like that.
Dr. Kevin: Yes…
Scott: It is a very different lifestyle that we are trying to give a dog. You probably covered it in terms of the advice, I suppose. It is really just let them sort of– these like them self-regulated.
Dr. Kevin: I think so, but also something that is sometimes hard to implement with our lifestyles is trying to do the exercise regularly. Rather than having whole week off and do a marathon long walk on the weekend, try and get in fifteen minutes, half an hour of exercise on a daily basis. Ideally would be morning and evening. Hardly doing anything in the week and then expect them to go cope with an hour or two hour walk on the weekend.
Scott: There is a good research I found. Dog owners have a lower incidence of obesity all throughout the world. So people that are dog owners are out walking their dogs more naturally. So good for the dogs, good for the humans as well.
Dr. Kevin: There has been research that shows that it is also very, very good for mental health. It really is. It sort of like, you and I were chatting today. Because we are meeting up, it gets both of us out of bed. If you have got a dog, it gets you out of bed. You have got an obligation to take that dog for its walk.
Dr. Kevin: It is that little bit of extra push that we need as humans to actually get out there and get the good exercise. So get the exercise that the dog needs, but you are getting it as well. There has definitely been good quality research showing that people are so much healthier. Less stress levels owning a pet as well.
Scott: Yeah. I was reading stuff, and maybe this is probably a topic for another one, would start to move away from medium dogs a little bit. Both dogs and the dog owners and even children have lower stress levels, lower blood pressure levels, and a lot of it have been medically researched.
Scott: Both the animal and the child. We will do a whole topic on children because I think it is a great topic of how dogs impact children’s lives. Story dogs and stuff like that here in Australia is another great story.
Scott: Just back on medium dogs. What are some of the common things that you see sort of coming through the vet clinic with medium-sized dogs. Is there stuff in terms of accidents because they are being pushed with their mobility more? There is farm dogs and stuff like that.
Dr. Kevin: I do not find that they are any more prone necessarily to accidents, but probably one that keeps us really quite busy is tummy upsets. So vomiting and diarrhea. They are very prone to pick up anything. A lot of these breeds are very food driven. Something like a wild mad Staffy will eat anything. Probably the most memorable case I have had with a Staffy was he had decided to chew up the newly laid irrigation piping that someone put in their garden. The day before, he had seen dad digging around in the garden and put these pipes down so he thought yeah, he will help out and he will do some more digging the next day and he dug it all up.
Scott: They just want to be humans, staffies.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. We eventually had to go to surgery to remove some of the plastic pipe work that he had swallowed. It was just under a meter of continuous piece of tubing. It had only folded in on itself once, and it fitted in on the Staffy’s stomach.
Dr. Kevin: So it was not going out any other way. How he had swallowed that without chewing it up into tiny little bits and pieces, we still do not know. He had swallowed this irrigation piping that was probably the diameter of one’s thumb. So really quite a sizable, bit bigger than a hose. He had swallowed this hard plastic piping. It was already sort of going out of the stomach trying to get into the intestines.
Dr. Kevin: So, yes, they can be very, very destructive. Behavioral things are things that we also get consulted on a lot. They are a breed that needs to be kept entertained and stimulated. Coming back to our walks, it is not just about the exercise but mental stimulation for them. They can become very destructive.
Scott: So what else can a dog owner do though for mental stimulation?
Dr. Kevin: How long have we got? [laughter] No, it is all good.
Scott: What is a few simple things that they could do?
Dr. Kevin: So we often look at how– in the wild when dogs are feeding, that is their occupation. Takes them the whole afternoon to catch their prey, find where it is, chase it down and catch it. We give them a bowl of food, and it is gone in five minutes.
Dr. Kevin: If we can turn that into a mental stimulation thing, it can be as simple as taking your bowl of dry dog food and then scattering it over the back lawn and letting them go and find the little pieces and pick it up.
Scott: Yeah, ok.
Dr. Kevin: Another variation on that theme is something called a snuffle mat. It is a mat that is made out of a lot of recycled materials. Might be cut up pieces of old shirts or whatever. Big mat format. It looks like an oversized, badly made carpet or rug. It is all shaggy.
Dr. Kevin: Again, you put the food in amongst that so they have got to move these pieces of material around that, sniffing and ferret around and get it out. We find that very useful for dogs that do eat their food too quickly because if they wolf it all down very fast, they can be very prone to just vomit that back up. It actually slows them down in terms of eating.
Dr. Kevin: Then you get to more costly types of toys and that sort of thing that you get that also keep them entertained. They come in various shapes and forms where you put the dry food into the container. It has quite small holes. So only one piece rolls out at a time. They might either be a cube or a ball.
Scott: You see these all over Amazon now.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. The idea is that they play with it and they knock out one piece of food, one piece of food, and get eat that well.
Scott: Yeah, and just nibble away.
Dr. Kevin: In summertime, this is something that can help with dogs that are overheating. You can actually make them a giant icicle. So what you tend to do is take something like an ice cream tub and just cover the bottom with an inch of water, freeze that. Then you freeze another layer and another layer, but in the layers, you drop in pieces of meat or it might be tuna, left over dinner, or something like that.
Scott: That is a great idea.
Dr. Kevin: But if you froze the whole thing, all the meat drop just to the bottom, but if you freeze it a little bit in a few layers at a time, when you give it to them, the ice keeps the meat fresh so it does not have to be in the fridge. If it takes them all day even for this huge big ice cube to melt. Obviously only going to give it to them outside. It makes a bit of a mess, but it really keeps them entertained that they can smell and see there is a bit of food there, but they cannot immediately get to it.
Scott: Is this raw meat, cooked meat?
Dr. Kevin: Probably best cooked meat, but anything that is a treat.
Scott: So why is that? Why cooked meat? You see so many things where it is like raw bones, raw meats, and all this stuff. Why cooked?
Dr. Kevin: Well, whilst dogs are a bit more robust than us, meat still, just the same as we should not eat raw meat, has a higher incidence, even when it is been well looked after, of having bacteria on those surfaces. Those bacteria can then cause infections. It is bound to be in the biggest problem with some of the raw food diets, is when they do laboratory testing on it, very high incidence of bacteria in those foods.
Scott: You see this in dogs a lot. Uneducated dog owners, I suppose, who just do not know.
Dr. Kevin: Even food companies, there is quite a big push, as you said, to raw food feeding and the concept of barf diets. They can be shipped either frozen or fresh raw and designed to be fed raw. There has been–
Scott: That’s a great tip. I love the ice block thing, I think that is great especially coming into sort of warmer times of year and stuff. So with the tummy update, why do medium dogs suffer with it more so than say a smaller breed that we spoke about in the last podcast?
Dr. Kevin: Some of the smaller ones are probably more fussy and particular about what they are going to pick up and eat. Whereas some of the medium breeds are…
Scott: They’ve had too much time in handbags because smaller dogs are getting [laughter].
Dr. Kevin: But yeah, it is not necessarily specific to medium breeds, but we do see probably because they are a very common breed category, and diarrhea and vomiting is a very common incidents. But yes, they will tend to scrunch and pick up anything before you have even seen what they have sniffed at or licked out on a walk. So it is often very hard to pinpoint where they have got that upset tummy from.
Scott: What should a dog owner do? At what point is it serious enough that should be going to the vet? Or what sort of things can they do at home to just try and sort of start to–
Dr. Kevin: The standard sort of first aid, if the dogs still– I guess, it is also how well they seem. If the dog seems very weak and lethargic, don’t wait rather take it straight to the vet. If it is running around, bouncing, happy, looking for its next meal and food, and it has just got a soft stool or actual diarrhea, then you can try sort of the standard first aid that we recommend, is a very bland food.
Sometimes it can make a lot of sense just to skip one meal all together. It rests the stomach. Let them continue to have access to water. Then when you start them back on food after a short bit of a fasting, giving very bland foods. Something like chicken or tuna is another bland type of protein. Then carbohydrate like rice or pasta or potato.
Dr. Kevin: Rice is my first choice, does not matter really whether it is brown or white. It really is very absorbent so it helps to quite quickly start returning the stool to a more firmer consistency. Very, very digestible.
Scott: Because of its ability to draw in water.
Dr. Kevin: Draw in more water even when it is cooked. It’s a very bland, easily digestible source of carbohydrate as well. The protein being very bland is also easy to digest. Don’t have to have a lot of it to get enough nutrition. It just reduces the workload for the gut to do.
Dr. Kevin: Very often, if it is a minor little upset, we don’t go rushing off to the doctor. They have a loose bowel motion or so. Something that you should not have or whatever. Normally, your immune system will get on top of it.
Dr. Kevin: But if that diarrhea is either actually getting a bit worse, especially if it is becoming very watery or if there is blood in it, lot of mucus, then those are times to probably rather seek advice early. Most of them respond to some very standard medication. We don’t often have to do a lot of blood tests or anything the first time they come in for a diarrhea.
Dr. Kevin: But if they are vomiting, that is often a lot more serious. If they have had one bit of vomit and then they are eager to eat their next meal, that’s not so serious. But if they are vomiting and having diarrhea, they are very prone to getting dehydrated.
Dr. Kevin: It also, whilst it might just be a sign of a gastrointestinal upset, vomiting can be a sign of so many other problems, and some of them, very severe. Spoke about some breeds getting things stuck in intestines. Bones is another classical thing that can get stuck in the intestine, and vomiting is one of the first symptoms of a blockage. The quicker we know about a blockage and can relieve it, far better outcomes for the dog.
Scott: What is your advice on bones and its classic go to the butcher, give the dog a bone, they chew it up, play in the backyard with it. Obviously, they dig holes and bury it and whatever else, but what is your take on it?
Dr. Kevin: Unfortunately, I am a spoilsport when it comes to bones because I know that dogs love it. I also recognize that hundreds, thousands of people give dogs bones every day. They are not all queuing up outside the surgery with problems.
Dr. Kevin: If your dog is one that does get that problem, it is often very severe. It can start with just a problem in the mouth that can chip and break teeth, especially again some of these really thick set dogs can have a very strong jaw. Staffies have a very, very tough jaw. The number of broken teeth I have seen from chewing on bones. Once that tooth is broken, the root canal is exposed. So really, the only treatment that we can do for it is either very expensive root canal therapy, or much more commonly, remove that tooth.
Scott: With the Staffy, just don’t give it bones?
Dr. Kevin: Rather not, yeah.
Scott: Rather not, okay.
Dr. Kevin: Then the other problem with bones is that if they chew off a piece that is big enough to swallow but too big to pass through the intestinal tract, it gets a blockage. Especially lamb bones are big culprit there. They are softer type of bone.
Dr. Kevin: The other sort of category that we see is older dogs that might have been having bones all their life, coping very well with it, and suddenly, they actually come in with severe constipation because they have chewed up the bone really small, it is almost like a powder, and it becomes like a concrete. If they get a bit dehydrated, that stool gets really rock hard and they get quite a severe constipation.
Dr. Kevin: That is the one that surprises the owner the most because they might have been having bones with no problem for ten years, and now suddenly because it’s an older dog, it actually does not deal with that ground up bone quite as well.
Dr. Kevin: Also, often a culprit why they might suddenly bite off a piece of bone too big is if there is a competition. So two dogs eating their bones. One is a bit closer, and it does not want the other dog to get his bone so it chews it down quicker and swallows a piece that is a bit too big.
Scott: Is it breaking down in the intestine or not really?
Dr. Kevin: No, it does not. It is not there long enough. The acids are strong enough to break down some bone, but they have really would have to sit in acid for a week.
Scott: Right, it is passing through.
Dr. Kevin: Twenty-four hours. What you have eaten is coming out the other end. So the bone does not get digested.
Scott: So what does the dog owner do then if they, let us say if you own a Staffy, probably best advice, do not give them bones. What other dogs would you say do not give them bones?
Dr. Kevin: All. [laughter] Unfortunately, they can all have these problems. From the small guys right through to the very biggest of dogs. There is so many other– and the other frustrating thing is the biggest reason that it’s advocated to give bones is that it is good for cleaning their teeth.
Scott: Their dental clean, yeah.
Dr. Kevin: It does not, actually. When they have done research, it does not clean their teeth like everyone expected it does. They have even done this research looking at the wild animal equivalence because sort of the argument is, well, wild animals are eating a lot of bone. They have looked at wild dog carcasses in the bush in Africa. Some interesting studies have been done when they actually have done very big culls and some of the and sub-Antarctic islands where they are eradicating cats that had been introduced there. So they got hundreds of cats that they were then able to do a lot of research on their bodies afterwards.
Dr. Kevin: One part of that, they looked at their dental hygiene, and they had all the same problems that pet cats have because they are domestic cat that went feral. Then they did huge eradication campaigns to get rid of them. They get just the same amount of tartar and plaque, and they are chewing on bones all the time. That was their whole diet, was raw food.
Dr. Kevin: So, yes, we actually know that even when they are having that–
Scott: Brushing teeth and cleaning is still the best.
Dr. Kevin: Brushing is the best. I do not stand on my high horse advocating it because I do not do it with my own dog. It is not practical.
Scott: It is hard, yeah.
Dr. Kevin: To make a difference, you have really got to do it at least every second day. I do not have time. I do not get to do that.
Scott: What is a good alternative?
Dr. Kevin: The next best is feeding dry biscuit food of any brand compared to a tinned or wet food. It is a little abrasive as a chewing, but wet foods are more sticky, and so you get the plaque sticking, plaque’s the furry bit you feel on your teeth when you have not brushed for a while. That solidifies and becomes calculus or tartar.
Dr. Kevin: So that is very good. Just your diet, dry food. You do then get specialized dental diets that are even more effective at doing that job. The pieces of the kibble are much bigger but a bit softer. So when they chew on that, it doesn’t just shatter. The teeth actually penetrate into the kibble for brief, little bit of time before it actually breaks up.
Scott: Got you. Great tip.
Dr. Kevin: Then, it is a fact of life. Even ourselves, when we brush our teeth twice a day, we need to go to the dentist. I did it like every six months, but it is not that frequent that they need. When the time is appropriate to have a scale and polish because then you prevent it accumulating to a point where it might really cause the roots to be affected of the teeth.
Dr. Kevin: Then you get so many good quality dental chews these days that are safe and are fully digestible even if they chew off half of it and swallow that suddenly.
Scott: How often would you give a dog one of those?
Dr. Kevin: You can give it once a week. I do have some people who give them every day. Some of them are very effective but quite pricey. My other tip there is to probably mix and match your brand of dog treats because the different textures, different shapes, they will chew in a different part of their mouth. So you are going to be cleaning slightly different teeth instead of just being loyal and using the one brand all the time.
Dr. Kevin: If they are getting them very frequently, realize that some of these treats have quite a bit of a normal calorie components. So then you might cut back on the amount of food. Anywhere from every second day to once a week is a good idea.
Scott: So how do we wrap this up for medium dogs. We’ve approached the 30-minute mark of this podcast. What would be your best advice to people looking to get a medium dog or people that have got medium dogs?
Dr. Kevin: I think matching what your lifestyle can allow you to do because even in that breed size range, there is your very athletic Border Collies and Kelpies and cattle dogs that need a lot of stimulation. If you have got the time to exercise those sorts of dogs, which are effectively, originally were working breed dogs, they are not dogs that do well with staying in an apartment environment. But something like your Bulldogs and some of the smaller Cavoodles and Labradoodles and that sort of thing, they can be very well adapted to indoor living and more of a sedentary lifestyle as well. Matching those up, I think, to what your expectations, what you want to be able to do with your dog, and how much exercise you can give it.
Scott: Yeah, brilliant. Well, this has been the year of take your dog to work. That has been one thing [laughter] everyone working from home.
Scott: Dr. Kevin Cruickshank, thanks so much for joining us again on the Dog Pod. Your wealth of wisdom, and we always love having you on. Cheers.
Dr. Kevin: That is pleasure. Been an interesting chat.