If your dog is healthy and fit (no skin conditions or joint problems for example) and is fed a commercial dog food that is labeled as “complete and balanced”, he will not need pet vitamins or supplements. In fact, feeding your dog a “complete and balanced” quality dog food is the best way to ensure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs.
Your dog has a health issue (particularly a skin condition or arthritis).
Choose a complete all-in-one pet supplement that includes vitamins, minerals, enzymes, Essential Fatty Acids and probiotics.
Some pet vitamins and supplements can interfere with medications, so if your dog is on medication, discuss supplements with your vet before giving them to your dog.
Can I give my dog human vitamins?
Not without veterinary guidance. Dogs and humans have different nutritional needs. Too much calcium, for example, can cause skeletal problems in large breed puppies. Too much vitamin A can cause joint immobility and pain. Human supplements will contain nutrients that are in the wrong dosage for dogs and can contain additives that are harmful to your dog such as the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Do joint supplements work for dogs?
Some do, some don’t and some have yet to be proven one way or the other. Choose joint supplements that have been thoroughly put to the test in double-blind, controlled multiple studies.
Some commercial dog treats contain joint supplements but in quantities that won’t do much good. If your dog has a joint problem, he will need therapeutic levels of joint supplements. For correct supplement dosages, talk to your vet.
Below, we list the joint supplements that have been proven to work.
What is the best hip and joint supplement for dogs?
Note that this is different to Glucosamine sulfate, which has no evidence to show that it reaches the synovial tissue of joints in dogs. A joint supplement doesn’t help if it doesn’t get where it needs to be. Glucosamine hydrochloride, on the other hand has been proven to build cartilage in dogs. Osteoarthritic dogs treated with glucosamine hydrochloride showed significant improvement by day 70. Glucosamine hydrochloride is also cheap, easy to find, and can safely be given to pets with diabetes.
This supplement inhibits cartilage-destroying enzymes, but it’s pricey. When given with glucosamine, chondroitin has a synergistic effect making both supplements more potent when paired.
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs)
ASUs protect cartilage against damage and help the bone and cartilage in knee joints to heal. When combined with glucosamine and chondroitin, ASUs increase the effectiveness of each and reduces the amount of chondroitin required.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are known to support heart health and joints, improve kidneys and boost the immune system, but the dosage for each condition varies. The best source of omega-3s are from wild-caught cold water fish such as salmon.
What pet vitamins and supplements should I use to treat skin conditions?
Skin conditions affect one in three dogs at some point in their lives and pet nutrition plays a key role.
If your dog scratches and bites at his skin creating bare patches, or of the skin is flaking, red or irritated, your dog has a skin condition. This might be due to:
Allergies: Food or environmental
Insufficient fatty acids in the diet
Parasites: Flea bites, mite infestations
Here are five ways to improve skin condition and build your dog’s natural skin barrier.
1. Essential Fatty Acid supplements
Fish oil, flax oil, hemp oil, evening primrose oil and borage oil contain large amounts of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and other nutrients for healthy skin and coat. EFAs will calm your dog’s itchiness, resolve flakiness and nourish his coat.
2. Regular Parasite Control
Make sure your dog is protected against parasites. Parasite control has come a long way in recent years, making toxic rinses and weekly flea baths a thing of the past. A simple monthly chew will keep your dog free from fleas, ticks, mites and worms. Chat to your vet about the most suitable parasite control for your dog.
3. Monitor his diet
Most food allergies are in response to a protein source. If you suspect your dog might have a food allergy, work with your vet to devise a food trial based on novel proteins such as fish, venison, duck or rabbit.
Mite-infested grains are also a hidden cause of allergies. At unsafe levels mite-infested grains are deemed unfit for human consumption, but they can be used in pet food, so choose high-end pet foods that use ‘human quality’ ingredients. Oats, barley, millet and rice are the least likely grains to cause allergies. Some pet foods omit grains altogether and substitute them with starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams.
Making your own dog food from our homemade dog food recipes gives you more control, but you will need to add a complete all-in-one supplement to each meal that includes vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes and probiotics. Choose one that is sourced from organic ingredients if you can find it.
4. Do not Over Shampoo
Do not over wash your dog as this will strip the natural oils from your dog’s coat and impair the skin’s natural defense barrier. Use a quality dog shampoo and rinse the coat thoroughly. Reserve dog washes for when soiled or smelly. Dogs with a healthy skin and coat do not require regular washing.
5. Manage your dog’s weight
Overweight dogs are prone to hot smelly skin. Those in the obese range find it difficult to groom themselves and are physically unable to reach parts of their body. Skin folds and fat rolls cause reduced skin ventilation with secondary yeast and bacterial infection.
Your Questions Answered: How Much Should I Feed my Dog
Many pet parents fear under feeding or over feeding their dog. After all, there is no ‘one size-fits all’ approach to feeding. Age, breed, sex, activity level and food type all affect how much food your dog will require. And with pet obesity rates on the rise, it can be a challenge to find a happy medium to keep your dog a healthy weight without feeling hungry. But it is entirely possible!
Determining your dog’s food intake is a process that requires you to monitor the results of your feeding and tweak portions as necessary, ensuring your dog maintains good health and an optimal body weight.
The following dog feeding guidelines will help you establish how much to feed your dog.
8 Feeding Guidelines for Figuring Out How Much to Feed Dogs
1. Know your dog’s daily calorie requirement.
Your dog’s daily calorie requirement is determined by their ideal body weight and is a starting point in determining how much food your dog requires. Check out your dog’s calorie requirement below.
Healthy Weight (lbs.)
Daily Calorie Intake (kcal)
Healthy Weight (kgs)
Daily Calorie Intake
2. Know the calorie content of your dog’s food.
To feed your dog the correct serving size you need to know the calorie content of your dog’s food. Commercial pet foods list this information on packaging. If you home-cook for your dog, you will need to research the calorie content of your recipe ingredients.
Knowing your dog’s daily calorie requirement together with the calorie content of your dog’s food, enables you to correctly portion your dog’s meals to meet your dog’s calorie needs.
3. Don’t forget treats and extras.
Set aside up to 10% of your dog’s calorie intake towards treats and extras. Remember, everything your dog eats (treats, extras, chews) should be included in your dog’s daily calorie intake.
4. Monitor you dog’s weight regularly.
If your dog drops below their ideal weight, increase food intake by monthly increments of 10%. If gaining too much weight, reduce intake by 10%. Weigh your dog regularly and track weight changes with your free WAGSTA Weight tracker.
5. Accurately measure dog food portions.
To maintain consistency in feeding, get in the habit of weighing dog food portions. Avoid estimating or eye-balling scooped portions, as this often leads to over/under feeding, especially for small breed dogs.
6. Avoid switching foods.
Choose a quality food your dog enjoys and stick with it. Dog foods differ in their calorie and nutrient content. Therefore, regularly switching foods will alter your dog’s nutrient intake and will require you to re-calculate the correct portions to feed.
7. Ignore packet feeding guidelines.
These guidelines tend of over-estimate the amount of food your dog requires. They also fail to consider any extra food types or treats your dog may be receiving. View packet feeding guidelines as the upper limit to your dog’s intake.
8. Seek your vet’s input.
Puppies, pregnant and nursing dogs, and dogs with health conditions have increased energy requirements and more complex feeding needs. Discuss your dog’s specialized feeding requirements with your veterinarian.
Finding a quality dog food is an involved process considering the tens of thousands of dog foods available. The Consumers AdvocateBEST Dog Foods 2020 article addresses the complexities in rating dog foods and helps navigate the minefield of internet advice available.
To compile your own short-list of dog foods focus on finding a food which:
Fits within your budget
Is suited to the growth profile of your dog. i.e. puppy vs reproduction vs adult maintenance vs mature dog
Is ‘complete and balanced’ – this AAFCO statement ensures the dog food is formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements.
Contains an ingredient list with readily identifiable ingredients. A quality protein source should be listed in the first few ingredients. (Tip: ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity. Foods with higher protein content will help your dog feel full longer!)
Your dog’s food should satisfy your dog’s appetite and support a glossy coat, whilst providing your dog an energetic and playful outlook.
For dogs with health conditions, it is advisable to seek your veterinarian’s advice over the many prescription diets available. From renal failure and hepatic disease through to arthritis and obesity, specially formulated diets can make a big impact in managing your dog’s condition.
Sales of grain-free dog food have been trending for several years now. Is the grain free movement simply a marketing bonanza or are there real health benefits gained by feeding grain free dog food? To find out let’s look at the rise of grain free foods….
The Grain Free Dog Food Trend
Magazines, television commercials and food packaging all sing the virtues of “super foods” promising us improved health and well being. Supermarket shelves are graced with the likes of chia seeds, goji berries, protein shakes, coconut water and gluten free foods – just a sample of the current “in crowd” of human health foods! And of course it doesn’t stop here with many such trends now flowing on into the pet food aisles.
Considering the rapid growth of the human gluten free market, it is not surprising just how popular the grain free dog food movement has become. Grain free dog food has gained such popularity that nearly all major brands of dog food have now launched their own grain free line to avoid missing out on this new market.
The trend for grain free dog food is so widespread and highly marketed, owners who have happily been feeding dog food containing grain, are starting to question whether in fact they have been doing harm!
So the question begs… Should we be feeding grain free dog food? And is grain free dog food healthier than regular dog food?
To answer these questions, it helps to understand the reasoning behind the grain free dog food movement. Advocates of grain free dog food primarily argue grain is an ‘unnatural‘ canine food source and grain is an allergen causing ill health.
Dog vs Wolf
It is true that our dogs fore bearers would have been unlikely to consume grain, other than grains contained in the stomach contents of their prey. However unlike wolves our modern day domestic dogs are capable of digesting grain based carbohydrates. Cohabitation with humans over tens of thousands of years has resulted in physiological changes to the gut and the enzymatic digestion processes of our pet dogs. Quite simply domestic dogs are more adjusted to a humanised diet than their wolf fore bearers.
Whilst on this point it is interesting to note that many brands of grain free dog food substitute grain with alternative carbohydrates such as potato, sweet potato, pumpkin and rice. From a historical perspective, carbohydrates such as these could also be argued as being “unnatural”.
Grains can act as allergens. Fact. This is backed by “grain allergic” and “grain sensitised dogs” who suffer ill effects such as itchy skin and gastrointestinal upset from ingesting certain plant and grain-based proteins.
However, it is important to realise that almost every food source has potential to act as an allergen. And it is interesting to note, allergies caused by animal based proteins such as beef and dairy, far outnumber those caused by grain.*
Grain free Benefits
An often-unheralded benefit of grain free dog food is their tendency to provide increased levels of animal-based protein. Egg and meat proteins (beef, poultry, fish, lamb, pork) are quality amino acid sources which are readily digested and converted by dogs. Naturally dogs thrive on such quality ingredients.
Grain free dog foods tend to have a higher protein content, which from a weight management point of view can be beneficial. Increased protein content enhances satiety levels (a feeling of fullness) and helps to maintain muscle mass during dog weight loss.
As pet parents it is important to realize, what works well and benefits one dog will not necessarily do so for another. There is no one-dog-food-fits-all approach. Hence the millions of dogs who consume grain in their diet and remain perfectly healthy!
It is important for pet parents not to be pressured by feeding trends. Ultimately it is your choice what to feed. So rather than following perceived health benefits of the latest food trend, invest your efforts in finding a quality food your dog enjoys and thrives on.
Whether your dog’s diet contains grain or not, if your dog sports a glossy coat, healthy appetite, formed stools and an energetic and playful outlook, you are onto a winner!
Grain Free Diet Tips:
Is grain free dog food healthy for your dog?
2018 reports by the FDA have linked grain free dog food with taurine deficiency and the development of congestive heart failure (dilated cardiomyopathy). Ingredients of concern are potato, peas/ legumes and lentils. Avoid foods which list these as their main ingredients.
There is a tendency for grain free dog food to be high in calories so always check the calorie content (ME content) and portion meals according to your dog’s healthy weight.
Is grain free food necessary for your dog?
No, not unless your dog has a grain allergy or grain free food is your personal preference.
* Carlotti DN, Remy I, Prost C. Food allergy in dogs and cats. A review and report of 43 cases. Vet Dermatology 1990;1:55-62.
Chesney CJ. Food sensitivity in the dog: a quantitative study. J Small Animal Practitioner 2002;43:203-207.
Jeffers JG, Meyer EK, Sosis EJ. Responses of dogs with food allergies to single-ingredient dietary provocation. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:608-611.
Paterson S. Food hypersensitivity in 20 dogs with skin and gastrointestinal signs. J Small Animal Practitioner 1995;36:529-534.
Thinking of joining WAGSTA Wellness to help your dog get back in shape? Hear what our happy members have to say about their WAGSTA slimming experience!
“Overall Gyp has lost about 13 pounds which is fabulous! We’ve had comments that Gyp does not even look like the same dog as he did before we put him on the diet. I really do not think we could have accomplished his weight loss without this program.
We had put Gyp on diet food before, but we were never very consistent about tracking extra treats, preventing him from licking the dishes in the dishwasher or staying with his diet after he lost the first few pounds. Because both my husband and I are very active and take our dogs on hikes and runs almost daily, we always thought he could burn off the extra weight through exercise – but after having done WAGSTAs weight plan we have learned that it is not the case. It is important to feed not only the correct proportions but the correct food and still make sure he gets daily exercise. I was very pleased with the program and I am very happy with the results.”
Sarah Oates and Gyp (6-year-old Australian Cattle Dog) Colorado, USA.
” We rescued overweight 6-year-old Labrador, Summer who suffered from arthritis, over-heating and general poor health. For this reason, we chose WAGSTA to guide our family with a healthy weight loss regime.
WAGSTA uses techniques that are easy, educational and fun for the whole family. The most helpful advice for us was pet food nutritional contents (an eye-opener!), fun games and activity suggestions that keep your pup moving without leaving home, overcoming weight loss plateaus, snack ideas and the weight loss tracker to ensure that Summer lost weight at a healthy rate. We also really loved the fact that she never went hungry or seems deprived at all. No easy feat for a Labrador!
Summer lost 10.4 kg on the program is now a happy, healthy and active 7-year-old dog. Our whole family highly recommends the Wagsta weight plan.”
Leisa Hale and Summer (7-year-old Labrador) Gold Coast, Australia.
“Delta has dropped from 68 to 56 lbs! She no longer has hip fat pads and now has a waist. She has also rediscovered that she can jump onthe bed again! This program has been the one thing I’ve been able to put my hands on that has finally given me the incentive to manage Delta’s weight. I feel so much better at night knowing Delta is a healthy weight.”
Joan Howe and Delta. Wisconsin, USA.
“Goodbye muffin top, hello waist line! Harley may be the cutest pooch on the block but his fluffy coat was disguising a growing number of fat rolls. This program soon put a stop to Harley’s middle-age spread. Not only has Harley achieved his healthy weight, he is happier and more responsive. Harley’s diet has been a real bonding exercise and we are now closer than ever! “
Claire Hawkins and Harley. Queensland, Australia.
“In practice, many dedicated dog owners have found that weight management can be a challenging process. The professional and dedicated support from Dr Williamson through WAGSTA’s weight program provides a comprehensive, informed and genuinely caring guide for dog weight management.”
Dr Michelle Felten BVSC (Hons) BSc (Epidemiology).
“Just want to encourage anyone with a furry friend who is a bit pudgy, this program is excellent! My dog was quite overweight (I kept saying that it was all muscle!) but sadly it wasn’t. I realized with Charlotte’s help that True’s weight was a contributing factor to her occasional lameness in her back legs. Just too much weight! The fact that her legs were sore meant less exercise and so the problem just got worse, but with the guidance given with this program, she has lost 6 kilograms and is now a much happier and active girl. I highly recommend this program!
Marilyn Gosney and True (8-year-old Blue Heeler/ Australian Cattle Dog).
“Excess weight is a significant causal factor in many of the orthopedic conditions I see as a surgical specialist. Maintaining your dog at a healthy weight is the best prevention against the onset of joint disease. I believe WAGSTAs diet programs provide an invaluable service for owners wanting to return their dog to a healthy weight. Dr Williamson’s passionate and supportive approach to dog weight management transforms lives for the better.”
Dr Richard Mitchell, BSc BVSc Cert Small Animal Surgery, DECVS.
‘My girl lost 5.7 kilograms and 26.7 cm over 12 weeks! This plan made it really easy to work out the correct meal size for Ebony. And receiving support and feedback from Dr Charlotte, a vet with first-hand experience in dieting her own dog, was really valuable! Thanks to this program both Ebony and I are now on the right track!”
Jenny Sheehan and Ebony (2-year-old Labrador) Victoria, Australia.
“Having worked alongside Dr Charlotte Williamson for many years I can personally vouch for her expertise and professionalism. Charlotte’s positive and understanding approach to weight management is exemplified through WAGSTA. This modern-day approach to dog weight management provides owners with all the tools and support needed to safely and successfully diet their dogs. WAGSTAs diet programs are a boon for all owners serious about helping their dogs lose weight.”
Dr Stephen Butterton BSc (Hons), BVetMed, MRCVS.
“I would wholeheartedly recommend WAGSTA to anyone with a shall we say ‘ample’ over loved doggy. My Roxy is like a different dog since starting her weight plan, she has so much more energy, looks 5 years younger (she is a spritely 13 years young!) and moves somuch easier. Roxy is losing her extra weight in a safe and managed manner. Dr. Charlotte, who is offering this assistance is a wonderfully friendly and helpful professional vet and I could not recommend her andthis program any more highly. Thank you for this wonderful program and so much more time with my beautiful girl.”
Jan Polaris and Roxy, Cairns Australia.
“Our Fur Baby, Saltie, has just successfully finished his doggy weight plan. Saltie was about 15% overweight which was contributing to Patella luxation (dislocated kneecap). Our options for treatment included surgery which would cost $2000 or weight loss. We obviously opted for the weight loss option. Through Dr Charlotte Williamson’s amazing and highly professional program – WAGSTA, Saltie is now back to his healthy weight and his lameness has disappeared. Thanks to this program we’ve identified and overcome some of our not-so-healthy feeding habits and we can confidently say Saltie is set up for long term weight loss success. I highly recommend WAGSTA Weight Plans if you have a fur baby that is carrying a bit of extra weight.”
Teresa Howard and Saltie (2-year-old King Charlies Cavalier X Spaniel).
“This program really works. Sophie looks and feels so much slimmer! We highly recommend the WAGSTA weight program to all dog lovers. We found this program highly informative with Charlotte available to us throughout the program providing plenty of helpful advice. We now understand about proper portion control and suitable foods to feed Sophie. And as a household we’ve also learnt to communicate better regarding Sophie’s feeding and treats. We have no hesitations in recommending this program to others.”
Trish and Peter Mowett with Sophie Margaret. QLD, Australia.
“This course is very user friendly and I have recommended it my dog-loving family and friends. Thanks to this program I now understand how to count calories for my dog and I have cut back on my Charlie’s snacking. I found Dr Charlotte very approachable and her passion and knowledge about dog weight management reassuring.”
Sheryl McKenzie and Charlie (4-year-old Labrador Retriever), Melbourne, Australia.
Thank you for downloading WAGSTA! Make the most of your WAGSTA experience with this quick guide to app use. Let’s get started by explaining the main tabs across the bottom of your app screen.
1. Home Tab
The home tab takes you to your dog’s PAWSFEED. This is effectively your dog’s personal diary- a place to store special memories!
Add to your PAWSFEED by typing notes in the top text field. Upload photos by tapping the (camera icon).
Tap the (share icon) to share your pictures with friends. Have the perfect pic? Why not share to the WAGSTA Facebook page and go in the running for a monthly prize!
Receive alerts for health and event reminders created in your Health tab. Delete alerts from your PAWSFEED by tapping done.
The PAWSFEED also keeps you up to date with the latest WAGSTA articles, competitions and promotions, which are regularly published to your feed.
From the PAWSFEED you can access the top left (app menu). Use this menu to manage your membership, update dog details and your user settings, and to access our blog articles, FAQS and social media.
2. Walk Tab
When you first tap the walk tab, you will be shown a blank screen. This will soon populate with your dogventures and provide you with a monthly tally of your activity!
To map your first walk simply tap (+ walk). The app will automatically start tracking distance, time and dog calories.
You may (pause) your walk at any time e.g when stopping at a cafe or stopping to talk to other walkers.
To end your walk tap (pause) and then (finish).
Don’t forget to add pictures during your walk by tapping the (camera icon). You can also add pictures from your phone gallery after saving your walk.
Coming Soon: If your walk includes dog-friendly spots such as cafes and parks, add them during your walk by tapping the (cafe) and (park) icons.
Likewise, use the Discover map to locate walks and dog-friendly spots recommended by other WAGSTA users. Look for (paw & park icons) and tap for details.
No recommendations nearby? Be the first to share the best walks and dog-spots in your area. Simply opt yes to share when saving your walk.
WALK LIST- Take pride in your pet parenting by regularly scanning your walk list. The list provides a timeline of all your dogventures, along with your updated monthly activity tally.
From the walk list you can share your walks with friends and to the WAGSTA Facebook page. Simply tap the (share icon) and follow the prompts.
3. Health Tab
Welcome to your doggy organiser. A place to set reminders for medications, events and appointments.
Tap (+)to create your first reminder. Once created your reminders will form a list on the Health Tab screen.
You will receive reminders via email and through notification on your smartphone. Your reminder will also be published to your PAWSFEED.
Coming Soon: A calendar of WAGSTA reminders will soon be visible beneath your reminder list, allowing you to see your dog’s monthly schedule in one view!
4. Weight Tab
Tap the weight tab to complete your dog’s FREE Wellness Check. This will identify your dog’s ideal healthy weight and activate your dog’s Weight Tracker Chart.
Update your dog’s weight regularly by tapping (+) located under your dog’s weight chart. Monitor for changes in weight and take action to maximise your dog’s wellness.
5. Diet Tab
If your dog is a little on the heavy side, this is where you can access our veterinary-guided dog diet plans. Receive portion plans and dog diet advice delivered through the WAGSTA app.
Learn more about diet plan options via the WAGSTA website.
You are ready to get started! Thank you so much for downloading WAGSTA, we hope you and your dog love it. We are busy behind the scenes optimising our features to create the best user experience. Stay tuned for our automatic updates as we roll out more features to help make everyday your dog’s day!
All great ventures have a story behind them! And WAGSTA’s story is hitting home with dog lovers, business innovation awards and the press…
2018: Global Health and Pharma: Animal Health and Wellness Award:
Best Online Dog Diet Program.
2018: TNQIA – Tropical North Queensland Innovation Awards-Finalist Mayor’s Choice
2018: Advance Queensland- Ignite Ideas Recipient
2017: Australia Post Regional PitchFest- State Finalist and Runner-Up
2017: Myriad Technology and Innovation Festival- North Queensland Showcase Delegate.
We’ve been featured across Radio, TV and the Written Press:
The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, ABC News, Nine News, Seven News, ABC Radio, Hit FM, The Australian, The Courier Mail, The Cairns Post, The Cairns Sun, Tropic Now, The Observer, Smart Company.
And have provided dog health and diet expertise for articles in:
The Huffington Post, Vero Beach Magazine- FL, USA , RSPCA Magazine-The Biscuit, The Cairns Sun, That’s Life Magazine.
Why the Attention?
Because WAGSTA is a world-first solution to a world-wide problem!
A problem which both dog lovers and vets alike, have struggled to overcome….
Here is our story behind the inspiration for WAGSTA…
The WAGSTA Story
Behind every innovation, there is a problem. A problem which causes frustration when a suitable solution does not exist…
For Dr Charlotte Williamson, the frustration was inadequate weight services for pets. After all, if humans receive weight coaching and diet plans at the drop of a hat, why not our pets?
As a veterinarian of 20 years, having worked across Australia and the United Kingdom, Dr Charlotte witnessed increasing rates of dog obesity and the many struggles pet parents had dieting their dogs.
During this time, Dr Charlotte was frustrated by her own inability to properly support pet owners in a clinical setting. The time and pricing constraints of a typical veterinary consultation making it impossible to provide in-depth, continued weight management support. A solution was needed!
And so the seed was planted- to create an accessible and affordable weight management and support platform. And in doing so, break down the time, price and geographic constraints faced by many pet owners when seeking expert weight management advice.
As a long term dog lover and having previously owned a tri-fector of obese-prone breeds (Labrador, Beagle and Cattle Dog!), Dr Charlotte knew a multi-faceted solution was needed. A weight plan which addressed both human and dog behaviour, whilst supporting owners every step of the way to achieving and maintaining their dog’s healthy weight.
As luck would have it, Dr Charlotte was fortuitous to welcome a rescue dog into her family at this time. An obese Labrador called Maxo!
Maxo’s input was the icing on the cake! Helping bring home the daily challenges faced by pet parents when doggy dieting. Whether it be bin raiding, stealing food from toddlers or scavenging fruit from trees, you name it, Maxo did it!
In less than 6 months, Dr Charlotte successfully helped Maxo lose 16 kgs (45 lbs)! No mean feat with a 4 year old and toddler underfoot!
After witnessing Maxo’s amazing transformation, Dr Charlotte combined this real-world experience with her clinical veterinary expertise to create the beginnings of WAGSTA!
WAGSTA has come a long way since 2015…
2015: Maxo’s Makeover!
Dr Charlotte develops online diet program- The K9 Weight Challenge.
2016: Launch of The K9 Weight Challenge Program
2017: Launch of DogSlim.com- website providing free dog diet information- helping promote awareness of dog obesity.
2018: Build WAGSTA Tracking – a free app which promotes an active doggy lifestyle by motivating pet parents to be active with their dogs- through walk tracking and sharing!
2019: Launch of WAGSTA Wellness diet memberships. WAGSTA Wellness provides diet plans according to owner budget and support needs. Offering 50+ combined-years of veterinary weight expertise direct to the homes of dog lovers!
….. The journey continues!
You can be part of the WAGSTA journey simply by mentioning our free walk and wellness tracker to your dog-loving friends.
Together we can improve the health and happiness of dogs throughout the world!
Since emerging onto the world stage in early 2020, corona virus it has significantly impacted everyday life with many of us living in uncertainty and fear due to its wide-ranging health and economic impacts.
Thankfully dogs are not affected by coronavirus which is a definite silver lining in these times of lockdown and social distancing. There are however many questions from concerned owners over coronavirus and their dogs. We’ll answer them here.
Can my dog catch Corona Virus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a disease of people. Its global spread is due to transmission between people and there is no evidence animals are responsible for this ongoing spread.
There is however evidence dogs can catch the virus from infected humans. (See excerpt from World Health Organization below). It is important to note dogs do not get ill or exhibit symptoms of coronavirus and they cannot transmit the virus themselves.
“The Veterinary Services of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China reported to OIE evidence two dogs have been infected with the COVID-19 virus following close exposure to their owners who were sick with COVID-19. The test showed the presence of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus in nasal and oral specimens. The dogs were not showing clinical signs of the disease.”
Can my dog transmit COVID-19?
There is no evidence of animal-to-animal transmission or of animal-to-human transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
However, there is potential for dogs to act as fomites (a technical term for an object or material which can carry infection). For example, if your dog was sneezed or coughed upon or handled by a person infected by coronavirus, the virus could remain on your dog’s coat. If your dog was then handled by another person, the virus could be transmitted to this person.
For this reason, it is advisable to practice social distancing for your dog as well as yourself. Do not let people who are not part of your household pat or handle your dog.
Can I take my dog for walks during Corona virus lockdown?
Abide by local laws regarding access to outdoor spaces. Many localities allow for outdoor exercise so long as social distancing is practised. Ideally walk your dog at least twice daily to provide exercise, mental stimulation and opportunity to toilet.
Employ best social distancing practice by avoiding other people and dogs and avoiding contact with benches, playgrounds, exercise equipment and water bubblers in public areas. Keep your dog on a leash and maintain 2 meters distance from others.
How do I care for my dog if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
The World Health Organization provides the following guidelines for pet owners infected with coronavirus:
“When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.
When possible, people who are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible. Animals belonging to owners infected with COVID-19 should be kept indoors as much as possible and contact with those pets should be avoided as much as possible.”
How do I provide exercise for my dog during corona virus lockdown or quarantine?
If you find yourself in a lock down situation where you are unable to leave your home, dog exercise and mental stimulation can be provided through games, dog work-out sessions and making changes to your dog’s feeding regime. Here are a few suggestions:
Turn mealtimes into a scavenger hunt: spread and hide your dog’s kibble throughout the house and garden.
Intersperse multiple play sessions throughout the day: 5-10 minutes of fetch, hide & seek or football
Encourage your dog to walk up and down the stairs multiple times (if they have healthy joints)
Teach your dog new tricks and practice obedience training to keep your dog mentally stimulated and on their feet.
It is important to try and maintain your dog’s routine where possible. By keeping up your dog’s regular exercise you will help maintain their mobility, regulate weight and reduce anxiety and boredom.
How do I keep my dog healthy during COVID-19 isolation?
Remember prevention is better than cure. So keep up to date with your dog’s health schedule. Continue providing regular medications and maintain parasite prevention (worm, flea, tick, heartworm prevention). Should your dog fall ill, don’t panic. Even in isolation, expert advice is available.
As a result of the corona virus pandemic many vets throughout the world are offering tele-consultations, enabling vets to provide advice and prescribe medication via phone and video call. As an essential service veterinary clinics remain open for your pets care.
Pay extra attention to your dog’s food intake. If daily exercise levels reduce make changes to food intake to prevent weight gain. Likewise pay attention to your own feeding habits. Extra time at home often leads to increased snacking and increased feeding of treats which quickly results in dog weight gain. Set your dog a daily food and treat allowance and make sure the entire household heeds it.
Finally, keep calm and carry on
Millions of dogs around the world are currently rejoicing over the extra attention and company they are receiving as a result of their owners staying home. Meanwhile we humans benefit by maintaining some normalcy in our lives through keeping up with our dog’s needs. We now value the companionship of our dogs more than ever. Not to mention their adorable antics which bring comic relief to the situation we all face, THANK DOG!
This coronavirus pandemic will pass. By heeding isolation and social distancing guidelines, enjoying the companionship of our dogs and keeping in contact with friends and family by phone, we will get through this together.
1 in 5 dogs are arthritic, making osteoarthritis the single greatest cause of chronic pain in dogs. The heavier the dog, the more likely the onset of dog arthritis symptoms. The link between excess body weight and early onset of this disease well documented.
Therefore, the best preventive measure against dog osteoarthritis is to maintain your dog at a healthy body weight. And the most effective way to manage arthritis symptoms in overweight dogs is through weight management.
A University of Glasgow study * investigated the effects of weight loss in obese arthritic dogs. The study recorded significant improvement in lameness and pain after a commencing weight loss of just 6.1- 8.85% body weight! Even more buoying was the fact that dogs in the study continued to improve in-line with ongoing weight loss.
Documented improvements such as these are especially encouraging for the pet parents of overweight and arthritic dogs.
Dog Arthritis Symptoms:
trouble rising from a resting position,
difficulty with everyday activities such as climbing the stairs and getting into the car,
reluctance to jump and run,
running with a skipping or hopping gait
swollen and painful joints
behavioral change e.g. reduced playfulness or aggression.
The development of any such symptoms should prompt a veterinary check-up.
4 Steps to Effectively Manage Dog Arthritis Symptoms:
1. Weight management:
Alleviate pressure on joints and improve mobility by maintaining your dog at their ideal weight. Help overweight dogs lose weight through a customised calorie and portion plan.
2. Provide regular low impact exercise:
Low intensity activities such as on-leash walking and swimming, do wonders for arthritic pets. Gentle exercise helps stimulate blood and nutrient flow to the joints, it improves flexibility and helps build muscle mass to stabilize joints. In fact, gentle exercise helps alleviate joint pain!
Many well-meaning owners believe it best not to exercise their arthritic dogs. This often results in increased stiffness and weight gain- exacerbating mobility issues. Keep your dog to a gentle activity program and seek advice from your veterinarian regarding effective pain management to help with your dog’s mobility.
3. Seek effective pain management to help ease arthritis symptoms:
Many dogs are stoic and do not overtly display signs of pain. Chronic pain is often interpreted by owners as their dog simply ageing or slowing down. Regular veterinary check-ups will determine whether your dog is arthritic or experiencing pain.
Most arthritic dogs benefit greatly from pain management. Quality of life improves dramatically as does mobility and the ability to exercise.
Pain management is achieved through anti-inflammatory medications, cartilage repair and protectant drugs (chondroprotectants) and nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Acupuncture and hydrotherapy also greatly benefit arthritic dogs.
4. Implement household measures to help your arthritic dog.
Provide your dog with a soft padded bed to cushion their joints. Avoid winter chills and keep your dog warm by bringing them indoors and using pet friendly heat pads or blankets.
Consider purpose-built ramps to aid your dog getting in and out of the car and raise the height of your dog’s food and water bowls.
Ultimately achieving a healthy weight for your dog is the best remedy and the best protection against arthritis. So, if your dog is a little on the cuddly side, start working towards your dog’s healthy weight goal. Your dog will thank you!
*Marshall WG, Hazewinkel HAW, Mullen D, De Meyer G, Baert K, Carmichael S. The effect of weight loss on lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis. Veterinary Research Communications. 2010;34(3):241-253. doi:10.1007/s11259-010-9348-7.
The Bulldog is a British national icon, symbolizing strength, courage and tenacity sometimes referred to as the ‘Bulldog spirit’. These qualities, along with its willingness to fight larger animals, appealed to the British population during the first world war, and the Bulldog became the poster child for WWI propaganda.
The Bulldog’s stout, muscular stature, wrinkled skin, undershot jaw and hanging chops are unmistakable. They make loyal companions and adapt well to the city or country life.
The Bulldog is sometimes called the English Bulldog or the British Bulldog to distinguish him from the taller American Bulldog and smaller French Bulldog.
At 40 to 50 pounds (18 – 22 kg) they’re heavier than they look and have a relatively short lifespan of 8 – 10 years. You can maximize his lifespan with a healthy diet.
Bulldogs are popular with celebrities. Adam Sandler has Meatball, Brad Pitt has Jacques, Miley Cyrus has Ziggy, Pink has Elvis, Ozzy Osboure had Lola and Ashley Simpson has Hemingway.
Bulldogs are not known for the athletic prowess, but they do have a natural aptitude for skateboarding, kicking off with one foot and leaning to turn corners. Some of the best skateboarding Bulldogs will do tricks and turns. Tyson and the late Tillman are perhaps the most famous skateboarding Bulldogs.
Positive Traits of the Bulldog
A Bulldog’s coat is short, smooth, glossy and easy to care for.
The Bulldog is easygoing and loyal.
He doesn’t need much exercise.
He seldom barks.
Negative Traits of the Bulldog
The Bulldog’s short snout can make breathing difficult, especially during hot humid days. If a Bulldog’s breathing is labored during hot days, put the air-conditioner on for him. Read more about Brachycephalic dog breed risks.
Though their fur is short, they shed.
The wrinkles on a Bulldog’s face can trap food and moisture so when you brush him wipe his wrinkles, too.
Bulldogs can’t swim. If he falls into a pool he will drown. The Bulldog carries most of his weight around his head, so stairs and swimming pools can be a hazard for him.
They can be stubborn.
The Bulldog can be food possessive and should not be fed around small children or other pets.
Bulldogs are prone to dystocia (difficult births) due to the size of their head and shoulders. Emergency caesarians are common.
Bulldogs often cost more than your average dog in vet fees over the years.
His snout means he will snore, grunt, snuffle and pass gas. They can’t help it. The short snout means they gulp air when they eat, and what goes in must come out one way or another. Some commercial pet foods can make this worse due to their high fiber levels. This high protein home made dog food will help.
Trim his nails every two weeks
Brush him with a soft brush 2 – 3 times per week, wiping in the wrinkles of his face and snout.
Keep his ears clean with cotton balls and ear cleaning fluid. Start young and keep some healthy dog treats handy so the Bulldog will associate the experience with something positive.
Exercise for the Bulldog
Bulldogs are not as demanding as the more active dog breeds, such as Labradors, but he does need regular moderate exercise, along with a careful diet, to stay in shape.
Training the Bulldog
The Bulldog is known for being stubborn, but they do have a sweet nature and persistent training will pay off.
Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving your Bulldog too many will make him fat. Choose healthy low-calorie treats to avoid him becoming overweight, and use them sparingly.
Puppy training classes will help you to curb any undesirable behaviors that some Bulldogs have a tendency to develop. Bulldogs love to chew and play tug-o-war, so it is important to teach the young Bulldog what he can and can’t chew, and to release what’s in his mouth on command. To prevent aggressive food protection, get him used to having food removed from his bowl.
Bulldog Health Issues
Bulldogs, like many purebreds, are predisposed to certain health issues including hip, heart and skin problems.
Responsible registered breeders of Bulldogs (such as Kennel Club Assured Breeders) account for these issues by supplying the buyer with information on the pup’s parents. Whenever possible you should always meet the pup’s parents so you can see for yourself that there are no exaggerated features, such as an overly short snout, that might cause health problems.
Bulldogs are prone to heat stroke and owners should be vigilant about providing shade and water on a hot day. Air conditioning indoors and ice in his water can help. Never leave any dog in an enclosed car in the sun, even in mild weather.
If a Bulldog is breathing too hard and his tongue hangs out unusually far and takes on a bluish color rather than its usual pink, he is overheated. Immediately soak him in cool water and call your vet.
History of the Bulldog
The English Bulldog was bred for bull baiting, a cruel form of amusement in the Middle Ages in which a dog was pitted against a bull or a bear. A lot of money changed hands in wagers, and as bull baiting grew in popularity, dogs were selected and bred for courage, power and tenacity. A Bulldog will hold on to the bitter end. #Bulldog