A common topic vets get asked about is how to get rid of fleas on dogs. “Why is my pet’s flea treatment not working? What’s the best way to get rid of fleas?” Often followed by: “I heard there’s a resistance issue with some flea treatment for dogs”.
If you’re finding fleas on your dog despite using a flea treatment, here’s some of the most common reasons before considering you’ve picked up a new strain of drug resistant super flea!
There’s a bewildering array of products out there for getting rid of fleas; collars, flea spray, spot-on medications, shampoos, flea powder, even flea bombs! Which works? The short answer: ask your vet.
Prescription flea treatments tailored to your pet’s needs and circumstances are far more effective than many ‘over the counter’ products, many of which frankly don’t work.
With spot on treatments, application of liquid to the skin is crucial. If most of the vial is squeezed on the coat rather than the skin by carefully parting the hair, then it won’t be as effective. Or only effective for a short period of time, leaving your pet prone to fleas before their next dose is due.
Wash off effect:
Have you washed your stinky hound after they’ve rolled in something pungent recently? Maybe they’ve had a dive in the river, or a dance in the rain? If you applied flea treatment just before, there’s a high chance it’s now been washed off before it can be fully absorbed.
Environmental flea burden:
Maybe you’ve suddenly noticed your dog scratching, and found fleas. But every day you’re finding more despite treating. Surely that must mean it’s not working? Actually, adult fleas on dogs are the tip of the flea iceberg. Chances are there’s hundreds more flea eggs and larvae in the environment, which continue hatching out weeks after an infestation is first noticed.
Using a suitable spot on or tablet from your vet AND treating the environment at the same time is the only reliable way to tackle a sudden or heavy infestation. Even with effective flea prevention for dogs, you might see dead or dying fleas for a while afterwards.
Most suspected cases of flea resistance can be explained by one or more of the above issues. If you’ve addressed all of those and are still battling a flea problem, speak with your vet about using a different product to help your specific set of circumstances.
You’ve bought a lead. You’ve stocked up on poo bags. You and your puppy are ready to go. Exercise is an important part of your energetic puppy’s routine, but too much can increase their chances of suffering from issues like joint pain later in life. So what’s the right amount? Head Vet Sean is here with his top tips.
How much exercise does my puppy need?
Puppies are naturally energetic. But growing takes lots of energy too, so it’s important your puppy doesn’t use up all their va-va-voom in the park. To strike the right balance, watch your puppy’s behaviour. When they start to look tired, it’s time to rest.
Exercise isn’t just about keeping your puppy active; it’s also a chance to socialise with other people and dogs. Getting out and about lets your puppy experience new sights, sounds and smells – all great for their mental development. Just make sure your puppy’s vaccinations are up to date before you start exploring. Vaccination schedules vary, so always ask your vet when it’s OK for you and your puppy to hit the park. It’s likely to be somewhere around the 11-week mark.
How do I avoid over-exercising my puppy?
An active puppy is generally a happy puppy, but over-exercising your dog when they’re young can lead to mobility problems later. Follow these tips and give your puppy the best possible start.
Let your puppy set the pace – they’ll show you what they’re comfortable with. Spritely dogs like Springer Spaniels are likely to be much more energetic than laid-back breeds, like Shih Tzus.
Limit high-impact exercise – like long walks, running, jumping or playing on hard surfaces
Stop when they’re tired – keep your eyes peeled for signs your puppy’s worn out.
Give big dogs lots of rest – large and giant breeds are more prone to joint issues, so if your dog is a German Shepherd, Great Dane, or similar-sized breed, it’s important to build up activity slowly.
Let them rest after dinner – getting exercise within 30 minutes of eating can cause your puppy to bloat.
Let them nap – puppy looking snoozy? Leave them to it: sleep lets their body grow, cells repair and brain develop.
Is my puppy’s food making them hyperactive?
It’s unlikely your puppy’s food is the reason they’re always so full of get-up-and-go. Puppies have lots of mental, as well as physical, energy. If your hyper puppy’s still wired after physical exercise, try adding some extra mental exercise to their day:
Interactive play – swap fetch for a problem-solving game, like hiding a ball under cups
Toys – especially challenging ones like Kong toys
Training – master ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘roll over’ then try some more creative commands
Adventures – new experiences will get your puppy’s brain working overtime
Socialising – great for mental stimulation and mastering doggy manners
Puppy foods already include the extra calories your puppy needs to grow, play and generally fill your life with fun. If you’re giving them a bit extra because it seems like they’re always on the go, you could be doubling up, and that’s not good for them in the long-run.
As a tails.com customer, this isn’t something you need to worry about. We work out what nutrients and energy your puppy needs, based on the exact information in their profile. Then we adjust their recipe every two weeks, so it keeps up with your puppy as they grow.
Help us keep your puppy’s nutrition accurate by:
Updating your puppy’s weight regularly– so we can keep track of their growth
Telling us their activity level – for the first few months, your puppy shouldn’t be doing enough exercise to need lots of extra calories. Once they hit 14 weeks this can change, so we’ll ask you to update your puppy’s activity level in their online profile. Remember their activity level doesn’t include their general bounciness – just the exercise they do on top.
You’ve worked out your dog’s daily food allowance. But did you remember to count treats? If you didn’t, it could be time to re-do your sums. Treats can add more to your dog’s daily calorie intake than you realise, which can put your dog on the path to weight gain.
Why do I need to count treats?
Too many treats can mean too many calories. What’s a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. In practical terms, it’s how much energy each food gives your dog. If they don’t use it all, they’ll store the extra as fat.
Some foods are calorie dense – they contain a lot of calories in each gram of food. These high-calorie foods aren’t necessarily bad, but give your dog too many too often, and they can quickly lead to doggy obesity.
How many calories does my dog need?
It’s easy to look up the recommended daily calorie allowance for humans, but less straightforward for dogs. That’s because every dog is different. Things that can affect how many calories your dog needs include:
Age – puppies generally need more energy than older dogs
Activity level – the more they exercise, the more fuel they need
Weight – adding or cutting calories can help under or overweight dogs reach a healthy weight
Body condition – the amount of muscle and fat your dog has can affect the amount of energy they need each day
Neutering – neutering can slow your dog’s metabolic rate by around 5%.
At tails.com, we use all these factors in our calorie calculator. This lets us accurately work out how many calories your dog needs. If you give food that’s not in your dog’s tails.com feeding plan, we’ll take that into account too. Make sure you tell us about any treats your dog gets regularly, so we can keep their diet balanced.
Is giving dog treats healthy?
Treats can be a healthy part of your dog’s diet, especially as part of their training routine. Dental chews can also help keep their teeth clean. But remember the golden rule: moderation, moderation, moderation. The occasional ‘unhealthy’ treat can be OK, as long as it’s not the norm. Here are our top tips for treating healthily:
Use kibbles from your dog’s daily allowance as treats – so you’re not doubling up on calories
Give healthier options – look for low-calorie dog treats
Know your dog’s weight goals – not sure if your dog’s overweight? Here’s how to measure their body condition score.
How many treats can I give my dog a day?
The exact number depends on your dog’s daily calorie allowance and the type of treats you give. Choose the healthiest dog treats, and you can treat several times a day. Giving human food to dogs is more restrictive – these choices are often energy-rich, but don’t deliver all the nutrition your dog needs. That makes it hard to serve up a healthy, balanced dog diet without going over your dog’s recommended calorie allowance.
What are the best treats for dogs?
Calorie-controlled treating can keep your dog in top condition and help them live longer, by keeping the health-damaging effects of obesity at bay. To help you count, here are the calorie contents of some common dog snacks, and how much of a dog’s daily calorie allowance they use up:
Big Dog – Labrador (1439 kcal/day)
Small Dog – Terrier (440 kcal/day)
Energy in kcal
Calories per serving
Big dog % daily intake
Small dog % daily intake
¼ a Banana
Carrot baton (50g)
Green beans (3)
Medium calorie treats
Energy in kcal
Calories per serving
Big dog % daily intake
Small dog % daily intake
Medium – calorie treats
Slice of cooked meat
High calorie treats
Energy in kcal
Calories per serving
Big dog % daily intake
Small dog % daily intake
High – calorie treats
4 cocktail sausages
Chunk of cheese
We’re big fans of treating here at tails.com, and we know dogs love it too. But we wanted to give treats that looked after our dogs’ health. That’s why we developed Good Dog Treats – low-calorie bone biscuits that are rewardingly rich in chicken, for guilt-free treating, every day.
It depends what kind of treats you’re giving, but in general, dog treats should be just a few bites. That may seem stingy, but remember most dogs’ stomachs are significantly smaller than ours – a small human snack is a full-on meal for your dog. Dogs generally love food, so will eat whatever you treat. That can lead them to gain weight. Don’t feel mean for keeping portion sizes small – you’re doing the best for your dog.
Got a question about doggy treats and treating your dog right? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – get in touch at email@example.com.
We’re regularly told to watch the salt level in our diets. Our Head Vet Sean often gets asked if salt is something we need to be wary of in our dogs’ diets too. So, is salt bad for dogs? In general, salt isn’t bad for dogs – in fact, it’s an essential part of their diet. The trick is to manage the amount of salt your dog gets, as too much salt in dog food can be harmful (as can too little). Dogs with certain health conditions may need a low salt dog food, and we’d always recommend you avoid giving your dog overly salty foods like crisps and savoury biscuits.
The benefits of salt in dog food
Salt, or sodium chloride, is a core ingredient in dog nutrition: our dogs need it to keep their cells working properly. A healthy amount of sodium in dog food is between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. At these healthy levels, salt helps maintain cellular functions like fluid balance, acid-base balance and nerve signal transmission. Your dog needs the ‘chloride’ in sodium chloride to produce the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, which helps with digestion.
Salt is also used as a natural preservative, and has been for thousands of years – it’s very good at drying food out and preventing spoilage.
So among all these good things about salt, what’s the fuss about?
Can dogs eat too much salt?
With salt, as with so much of dog nutrition, it’s a case of moderation. Too much salt in dog food can cause problems for your dog, including dehydration and more serious conditions if they consistently eat too much. Unfortunately, salt is delicious to dogs, so it’s best not to give them a taste for salty snacks – that way, you won’t have to deny it to them later.
If you want to make sure your dog gets a healthy amount of salt in their diet, there are some foods which are definitely off-limits. Foods that are too high in salt for dogs include:
Processed meat, like sausages and burgers
Should I give my dog a low salt diet?
As a general rule, you should aim for a healthy level of salt in your dog’s food – the magic numbers are between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. That is, of course, unless your dog has a specific health condition that requires a low salt diet. Health conditions that require low sodium dog food include:
At tails.com, we always take your dog’s health conditions into account as part of our nutritional consultation – keep your dog’s profile up to date, or request a low salt diet, and we’ll do the rest. It’s important to look at all the food your dog gets, so check the salt content of any treats you use, and be really careful before sharing any human food with your dog.
If your dog needs low salt dog food, or if you have any more questions about how much salt is healthy for dogs, get in touch. Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the dogs we know, cheese is definitely in the ‘delicious’ category – but can dogs eat cheese? You probably suspect the answer already: dog’s can have cheese, but it’s high in lactose, fat and salt, so it isn’t great for their digestion. But then cheese isn’t great for humans either: it’s all about knowing the facts, and weighing up your options.
Is cheese bad for dogs?
The short answer is ‘it can be’ – while we don’t recommend you give dogs cheese, some owners do use small amounts of cheese as a treat. Cheeses with added ingredients can be actively harmful, like garlic and certain blue cheese moulds, so definitely keep your dog away from the Boursin or the Christmas cheese board. Most other cheese can be OK for dogs in small amounts – but there are lots of healthier options for delicious doggie treats.
Perhaps a better question is ‘how bad is cheese for dogs’? You might decide to use cheese for training, or to help your dog take medication. But there are other delicious ways to help the medicine go down – check our handy guide, based on habits, disguise and reward. And when it comes to training, there’s a whole range of dog-specific treats you can use, which will be just as effective and much better for your dog’s digestion.
Alternatives to cheese for dogs
There’s certainly no way we’d say cheese is good for dogs: it’s a high calorie food, and because most dogs are lactose intolerant, it can be hard for them to digest. Healthier treats they’ll enjoy just as much include:
Meat – cook it plain, and go for lean meat
Vegetables – green beans, carrots, and sweet potato are all great alternatives to cheese
Peanut butter – a small amount of peanut butter makes an excellent indulgent treat. Just keep the quantity low, and make sure it’s xylitol-free.
Cheese and your dog’s diet
We don’t recommend including cheese as a regular part of your dog’s diet – especially if your dog needs to lose weight. There are many other alternatives that are both delicious and nutritious. At tails.com, we create a bespoke feeding plan for your dog, based on their nutritional needs. We include treats in their feeding plan too – so if you do decide to use cheese as a treat now and then, make sure you record it in your dog’s tails.com profile so we can keep everything up to date.
Got more cheesy questions? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – get in touch at email@example.com.
Fruit: that’s got to be good for your dog, right? The answer is yes and no. Exotic fruits contain lots of vitamins and antioxidants – great for dogs. But they can also have a high sugar content and cause digestive issues and other problems. Not so good. Our Lead Nutritionist, Dr Samantha Ware, explains which exotic fruits are OK to give your dog.
Which exotic fruits can dogs eat?
When prepared in the right way, some exotic fruits are a tasty, low-fat snack for dogs.
1. Can dogs eat bananas?
They can! Bananas cram a lot of nutrition into a small dog-friendly package. They’re full of potassium, fibre, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, lutein and selenium. Always remove the peel, and serve in moderation to avoid giving your dog too much sugar.
2. Can dogs eat coconut?
Coconut oil is often recommended for dogs because it has antibacterial properties. But can dogs eat coconut flesh? You bet. Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are a great source of energy, may have anti-inflammatory benefits, and can help keep your dog’s coat in good condition as well.
3. Can dogs eat kiwi fruit?
Yes, this tasty superfruit is packed full of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. Remove the skin and seeds though – these are edible for us, but not so digestible for dogs.
4. Can dogs eat melon?
Occasionally, yes. Melon is packed full of fibre and vitamin C, and is a good source of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD) – an enzyme that reduces the number of unstable, cell-damaging atoms in your dog’s body. But melon is also high in sugar, so it’s definitely a treat to avoid if your dog is diabetic. For other dogs, small portions of melon can be a tasty treat – remove the rind and seeds before serving.
5. Can dogs eat mango?
Small servings of mango make a great sweet treat for your dog. It’s bursting with nutrients: vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus B6, folate, riboflavin and choline.
It also contains minerals: iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc and selenium. And antioxidants, carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamin C. Phew! Preparing mango for dogs is the same as it is for us – peel it and remove the stone before serving.
6. Can dogs eat papaya?
As long as you remove the seeds first, papaya is a dog-friendly source of fibre, and vitamins A, E, C and K. These antioxidant vitamins help support your dog’s immune system. Papaya also contains folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and is a good source of the enzymes papain, chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase. These enzymes support healthy digestion in dogs and are thought to be beneficial for their dental health too.
Pineapple is a great sunny day snack and a good source of manganese, which helps keep joints healthy. And thiamine, which aids digestion. It also has plenty of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Planning to give pineapple to your dog? Remove the core and skin, and serve a small portion of the soft flesh.
8. Can dogs eat watermelon?
Watermelon is over 90% water, so it’s great for keeping your dog cool in summer – see our post about frozen watermelon treats. On top of that, it’s a great source of vitamins A and C, and some B vitamins too. It also gives your dog a boost of minerals including copper, potassium and magnesium. As with other fruits, make sure you remove the rind and seeds before serving.
While some exotic fruits are OK to give your dog as an occasional treat, some are important to avoid.
1. Can dogs eat acai berries?
Nope. These popular superfood berries contain theobromine (the same stuff that makes chocolate a no-no), and ficin and ficusin, which can cause serious allergic reactions.
2. Can dogs eat kumquats?
While we can eat these sweet and sour fruits whole, the rind is bad for our dogs, so they’re best avoided.
3. Can dogs eat jackfruit, breadfruit, rambutan and noni?
These, and other fruits that are new to the market, haven’t been studied in enough depth to be certain they’re safe for our dogs. On the whole, there’s no evidence these fruits are harmful – but some dogs may react differently.
How can I introduce tropical fruits into my dog’s diet?
Like any change to your dog’s diet, it’s important to introduce tropical fruit gradually and monitor your dog’s digestion or overall wellbeing. Here are some tips for adding exotic fruits to your dog’s menu:
Exotic fruit is packed with healthy nutrients but is also high in natural sugars. That means indulging your dog with too much could lead to digestive issues and weight gain. Keep those portions small.
2. Not all at once
When you add anything new to your dog’s diet, you should keep an eye on how they react. If they end up with an upset tummy, you need to be able to identify the culprit – so stick to one new fruit at a time.
3. Avoid fruit that’s past its best
Avoid feeding your dog fruit that’s spoiled or past its best. If you don’t want to eat it, your dog shouldn’t either.
4. Keep them away from fruit trees
Any fruit you feed your dog should be carefully prepared to remove skin and seeds. That means it’s important to keep fruit trees out of bounds for your dog, as they could easily nab a bite of something that’s fallen off or spoiled.
Got a question about serving exotic fruit to your dog? Our vet and nutrition teams are always happy to help. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org