Putting Commercial Cat and Dog Foods to the Test

Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital Wellness

Supermarket pet foods should usually meet the basic nutritional needs of your animal, but you really do get what you pay for. Ingredient lists are often vague and confusing so it’s hard to be sure of exactly what you’re getting, and cheaper meals are often harder for your pet to digest. We recommend choosing a premium pet food as this way you get guaranteed quality, and you can choose a formulation which supports the individual needs of your pet.

Our Favourite Cat Food

Here at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital we are proud to stock Hill’s premium cat food for our customers. This cat food is available in the form of a delicious wet stew or crunchy dry pellets, and each formula is carefully designed for the needs of different cats. Hill’s prescription diet range includes specific meals for weight reduction, kidney care, digestion help, skin irritations, urgent care and more. You can also choose a food that’s appropriate for the age of your cat or kitten, and all meals have been scientifically tested to ensure that they’re nutritionally balanced.

Cat Food Runner Up

The second commercial cat food that we would recommend is Royal Canin Instinctive Nutrient Preference. This formula has a great overall balance of nutritional requirements, a healthy amount of fats, protein and taurine as well as a really great injection of additional minerals. The pouches contain either chunks in gravy or chunks in jelly, and your cat will love both!

Our Favourite Dog Food

The vets here at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital love Hill’s dog food just as much as we love their cat food! If your dog could stand to lose a little weight, has chronic stomach issues food sensitivities or a kidney problem then you can choose one of the specially formulated meals to help cure the problem. These recipes contain no artificial flavours, colourings or preservatives and are packed full of nutrition to support vitality and mobility no matter the age of your pooch.

Dog Food Runner Up

Purina Pro Plan is our next choice for commercial dog food. This premium brand is a little more expensive, but we believe that your dog deserves the best food available as what they eat has such a huge impact on their overall health. Pro Plan is designed to support your dog’s immune, digestive and coat systems with options for different age categories and wet or dry meals available.

Hill’s premium pet foods come as part of our wellness programmes. Find out more by calling our team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Are Australian Pets Overweight by International Standards?

The answer to this question is unfortunately yes. Cats and dogs in Australia are more overweight than ever, with up to one third of pets needing help with weight management in order to remain healthy. The ideal weight of your animal will depend on its breed, age and lifestyle but as an owner, it’s usually easy to tell if your pet is over the weight it should be.

Why is my Pet Overweight?

As a pet owner, you have a responsibility to monitor your animal’s health, but this doesn’t always mean that it’s your fault your pet is overweight. Dogs are more likely than cats to have weight problems, and certain breeds are more likely to become obese than others. After your pet is neutered it is common for it to put on some additional weight, and older animals are more likely to struggle than younger ones. Animals in single-pet households also tend to be heavier – it seems a little competition between pets is healthy!

Why Does It Matter if My Pet is Overweight?

Carrying extra weight around can unfortunately affect many aspects of its health. The strain of the additional pounds puts extra pressure on joints and ligaments which causes extra wear and can make fractures and damage more likely. The risk of your pet developing a range of conditions including diabetes, heart disease and respiratory issues is significantly increased and their life expectancy will inevitably be shortened.

Take Action – Diet and Exercise

Your first step towards having a healthier pet is reassessing its diet. Speak to your vet and calculate how much energy your pet actually needs per day based on its breed, size, age, weight and usual amount of exercise. You might be surprised at how much you can safely cut down on your dog or cat’s food intake! When considering portion control, make sure your pet is still getting all of the nutrients it needs with a well-balanced meal programme. Once meals are under control – it’s time to get outside! Take your dog for longer walks and encourage it to run around as much as possible by throwing toys and balls, or playing with other friendly dogs. If you’re trying to help your cat lose weight, then it’s time to get the whole family involved by playing lots of games and turning meal times into a treasure hunt!

Get Some Specialist Help

If you want to manage your pet’s weight in the healthiest and most efficient way possible then you should come to one of Port Kennedy Vet’s free weight loss clinics. At these sessions, our vets can provide you with professional advice on sensible weight loss targets and how to achieve them. Our priority is the health of your pet which is why we offer our clients this service for free, whether your pet is already obese or simply showing signs of becoming overweight.

To arrange a visit to one of our free weight loss clinics, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Top 10 Healthiest Foods for Dogs

Wellness Packages​

Dogs can eat people food too! Below we list our top ten favorite simple and healthy snacks for dogs.

Peanut Butter for Energy

Peanut butter is packed full of protein, healthy fats and vitamins so it gives your dog nutrients and helps them keep going longer! Some dogs find the texture of peanut butter odd at first, but the creamy salty taste is usually very popular once they get used to it. You can spread peanut butter on a slice of apple or carrot, or put it on a bone or chew toy so they can work on licking it off. Just make sure you’re using the healthy kind of peanut butter that doesn’t have any added sugar, or sugar substitutes such as xylitol which are dangerous for dogs.

Cheese for a Protein Boost

As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, cheese can be an easy and healthy snack with lots of protein and calcium. Cottage cheese is an especially good choice for dogs as it is very high in protein, low in fat and easy to digest.

Carrots for Healthy Teeth

Raw carrots aren’t just for horses – they’re a great healthy snack for your dog too! Chewing carrots is great for your dog’s teeth and helps them to stay sharp, as well as being especially good for overweight dogs as they are so low in calories.

Yogurt for Digestive Health

This one is quite specific as what you’re looking for is plain, unsweetened, live yogurt. The live cultures and probiotics are great for your dog’s digestive health, and as with cheese, adding extra dairy to your dog’s diet means a boost of protein and calcium.

Eggs for Extra Calories

Your pup can enjoy eggs cooked or raw. Raw eggs can be given to your dog whole (preferably outside!) including the shell as this contains a lot of great nutrients such as biotin and riboflavin. If you’re not sure about raw eggs then try a hard boiled egg, peeled with no seasoning. High in protein and a good calorie boost for a growing pup!

Green Beans for Veggo Dogs

Green beans are the perfect snack for a vegetarian dog that needs to lose weight. The stringy vegetable is very high in fibre which will help your dog to feel full, but doesn’t contain many calories so will aid weight loss.

Apples for Vitamins

Chuck a chopped apple into your dog’s bowl at snack time to give it a daily dose of vitamins A and C. No need to peel it as the skin is where much of the nutrient content is stored, but avoid seeds as much as you can as these contain small quantities of cyanide.

Fish for Good Fats

Cooked salmon or sardine is especially beneficial to your dog as they contain a heap of good fats and amino acids. Make sure any fish you feed your pet is fully cooked through and remove all bones before to ensure there’s no risk of choking.

Coconut for Immune Protection

Coconut contains a fatty acid called lauric which helps the immune system and can help in weight loss. You can feed your dog coconut flesh, coconut milk or coconut oil but make sure they don’t get their paws on a whole coconut as the furry outer shell can cause problems if swallowed. Coconut has also been shown to help with bad breath and skin conditions so this one’s an all-rounder!

Peanuts for More Protein

Peanuts are one of the only nuts that your dog can eat. Macadamias, walnuts and pecans are highly toxic to dogs, whilst almonds pose a choking risk due to their shape. Peanuts on the other hand are completely safe and are a good source of protein and healthy fats. Just make sure you feed your dog shelled, unsalted peanuts to keep this snack healthy.

Port Kennedy Vets offer a Wellness Programme to help you keep your dog in top condition and living a long, healthy and happy life. Call 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page today to find out more.

How to Match Your Pet to Your Personality

So you’ve decided it’s time to bring a pet into your home – but what’s it going to be?! The animal you choose will be a part of your family for many years to come so it’s important that you choose a pet that’s the right fit for your household. Below we list a few questions you should ask yourself before making this big decision.

How Much Space Do You Have?

This is the first question you should ask yourself as space is the biggest determining factor in which pets you can have. If you’re living in a small apartment with little outside space, then getting a dog is unwise and you’re better off choosing a cat or other small indoor pet. If you have some space then a dog is an option, but bigger dogs need more space to run around so make sure you choose a breed that fits the size of your home.

Do You Like to Travel?

If you work long hours or travel frequently then you’ll need to choose a cat or breed of dog that can tolerate being left alone for long periods. Most cats are happy at home if you go on holiday and get a friend to feed them, whilst dogs often struggle without their owners around and would need to spend time in a kennel.

What’s Your Lifestyle?

If you’re a very active person and love spending time outdoors running or hiking then a terrier or sporting dog such as a cocker spaniel, golden retriever or Irish setter will be a great exercise companion. On the other hand, if you prefer to spend your free time relaxing then a small breed or a toy dog will be happy to curl up with you on the sofa at the weekend without needing too much activity, and be satisfied with just a toddle around the garden for exercise.

Why Do You Want a Pet?

Do you want companionship for yourself or a play buddy for your children? If you’re thinking about home security and protection then herding dogs such as Australian shepherds, border collies and Australian cattle dogs will be your top choice. For a low-maintenance sofa buddy an older cat is a great idea, whereas a terrier will watch out for the whole family when you’re out and about.

Adult vs. Baby

You have two options when getting a new pet – buying a young kitten or puppy or adopting a mature animal. Younger pets are of course cuter and very hard to resist, but require a lot of work to become fully house trained and used to living with humans. An older animal will already be socialised and housetrained, but may be less energetic than a youngster. Think about how much energy you and your family have to give to your new pet before you make your decision.

To enquire about adopting a cat, or arrange vaccinations for your new pet, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Latest News in the Veterinary World


Human health isn’t the only area where medical breakthroughs are being made. Veterinary medicine is constantly advancing so that we can make the lives of our furry companions longer, healthier and happier. Here are a few topics we find interesting here at Port Kennedy Vets.

Australian Cat Plague

This deadly disease has been largely unseen for 40 years but multiple kittens in Victoria have been diagnosed with it so far in 2018. Feline parvovirus is a nasty disease which attacks the small intestine of cats, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, anorexia and sometimes sudden death. Australia was one of the first countries to develop a vaccine for the virus, and its use quickly became routine, almost eradicating the virus altogether. Unfortunately, the disease is now back, but it can easily be prevented with the vaccine – so contact your vet and make sure your cat is protected today.

Canine Cancer Vaccine

In some cases, canine medicine leaps ahead of human medicine. A vaccine called ONCEPT has been developed which considerably extends the life expectancy of dogs suffering from certain types of melanoma. The vaccine works by provoking an immune system response which ultimately attacks cancer cells remaining after a dog has had a tumour removed.

Animal Acupuncture

Acupuncture is now commonly used by some vets to relieve pain and treat certain ailments in animals. Researchers still don’t fully understand this alternative therapy, but evidence suggests that it is effective in many cases. Animal acupuncture is most commonly used in cats, dogs, cows and horses for chronic degenerative joint diseases, neurological disorders, chronic pain management and respiratory issues.

Dietary Supplements for Pets

Supplements are really big in the nutrition world right now – but not just for humans! Multi-vitamins, supplements and food boosters have become big business in Australia where they are being sold in specialist pet shops, wholefood shops and veterinary clinics. It’s often difficult to make sure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need from their diet, especially if they have allergies or food intolerances so supplements are a great way to keep your animal in full health.

Animal Genetic Testing

Developed in the UK, genetic testing for animals is now spreading across the world. This type of test can be used to determine paternity as well as being used to look for indicators of genetic disease. Tests can also be carried out to determine the breed of your dog if you’re unsure exactly where your beloved mongrel came from!


It’s well known that animals have a significantly heightened sense of smell in comparison to us humans, so aromatherapy can be an extremely effective treatment for pets. Essential oils can be used to calm a nervous animal, fight off bacteria and viruses, repel insects and boost your pet’s immune system, all with the added bonus of protecting you against any nasty odours caused by your furry friend itself!

To discuss any of these topics with a professional, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Identifying Dental Disease in Your Dog

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs, especially in older animals. If caught early then the damage is easily reversible, but left untreated it can lead to tooth or bone loss which can require surgery. Make sure you keep your dog’s mouth healthy by learning as much as you can about dental disease with our useful information below.

What is Dog Dental Disease?

If your dog is diagnosed with a dental disease, it is likely to be periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. This starts with an inflammation in the gums and progresses to a stage where the affected tooth is no longer fully attached to the gums, affecting the deep supporting structure of your dog’s bite.

Causes of Canine Dental Problems

There are many factors that can lead to periodontal disease in your pet. The most common cause in dogs is a build up of either streptococcus or actinomyces bacteria, but it can also be caused by poor nutrition or general bad hygiene. If bacteria, food particles or other debris are allowed to build up along your dog’s gumline then this can form a plaque which can ultimately lead to gingivitis. Certain breeds of toy dog have crowded teeth which gives them a much higher chance of developing dental issues.

Diagnosing Your Pet’s Dental Disease

There are a few simple ways you can check your dog for dental disease at home –

  • Bad breath is one of the early signs of gum disease or gingivitis so if your dog’s breath is stinky (or worse than usual!) then this could be an indicator.
  • Check your pet’s gums to make sure they are not red or swollen
  • Look over their teeth – if they are discoloured in any way, coming loose or missing then these are disease indicators
  • Think about your pet’s appetite – if your dog has periodontal disease it may be eating less than usual due to pain, or avoiding its usual chew toys or bones.

If you suspect dental disease, then it’s time for a trip to the vet. Here we will be able to take an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and discover the extent to which the disease has spread.

Treatment for Canine Periodontal Disease

The treatment your vet prescribes will depend on the severity of the disease. If a gum inflammation is caught early then treatment will focus on controlling and reducing plaque by daily tooth brushing and professional tooth cleaning, often with fluoride application. If the disease is more advanced then your dog could need a deep dental clean, antibiotics or even tooth or bone replacement.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Don’t let all this talk of dental disease scare you – it’s very easy to keep your dog in top oral health just by regularly brushing their teeth and gums, using specialist dental chews, maintaining a healthy diet and taking your pet for regular check ups with your vet.

Arrange a dental check up for your furry friend today – call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

How to Treat Your Pet’s Skin Allergy

Unfortunately, animals can suffer from allergies just like us. It can take some time to work out exactly what is causing the discomfort for your poor pet, but once the allergen is found it’s usually easy to treat the condition or avoid the allergen, and your furry friend can quickly get back to full health. Read on to find out more about diagnosing and treating an allergy for your pet.

Watch Out for Scratching

The most common way to discover that your pet has an allergy is of course scratching. You may notice your dog or cat chewing their feet, rubbing their face on the carpet or sometimes chewing the tip of their tail as they can’t reach their back. The area around the pelvis is typically the most irritated spot but this is hard to reach for most animals, so their discomfort can be displayed in ways other than directly scratching the affected area.

Allergy Related Issues

It is normal for your pet to scratch itself regularly, so the key to diagnosing an allergy is when the scratching goes beyond what you’d usually expect. If their skin becomes irritated, red or bumpy then these are common indicators of allergic reaction, and obsessive scratching can also lead to fur loss. Other symptoms could include sneezing, watery eyes and paw chewing. If your pet is feeling constantly itchy then you may notice this manifest in behavioural issues such as barking, crying or general agitation. If you suspect something is wrong then examine your pet’s skin all over – including tail, lips, ears and paws – and the chances are you’ll find signs of an allergic reaction.

When You Suspect an Allergy

The first thing to do if you think your pet has an allergy is to contact your vet. Explain the systems and show your vet any affected areas and they’ll investigate the issue. Your vet will want to work out whether this is a contact allergy (from something your pet is directly interacting with) a food allergy, medication allergy or the result of an airborne allergen such as pollen.

Finding the Cause

Sometimes it may take some time for you and your vet to work out the precise cause of your pet’s condition. A blood test can be used to check for some common allergens, but often it will be a case of eliminating individual things from your pet’s environment until you can find the cause. This may mean changing your animal’s diet for a little while, altering their feeding bowls or trying a different shampoo.

Treating Animal Allergies

The right treatment for your pet will depend on the nature of their allergy. For seasonal allergens such as pollen, your vet may suggest a temporary course of antihistamines during the spring and summer. For flea or mite allergies, a treatment or injection can also be given to restore your pet’s comfort but for most other types of reaction you’ll simply be able to reduce or remove contact between your pet and the allergen.

To consult with one of our vets about a suspected allergy, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

6 Easy Steps to Help Your Dog Drop the Extra Weight

If your dog is overweight this can pose a serious risk to its health. The good news is that helping your dog to lose weight safely is simple – just follow our tips below.

No More Unhealthy Treats

It’s often tempting to spoil your dog, especially during training periods when you want to reward good behaviour, or stressful times such as car journeys or trips away from home. Giving your dog treats is fine, but it’s important to make sure they are suitable treats and not anything which can be harmful to a canine digestive system. Good treats could be small quantities of fruit or raw vegetables, dental chews or specialist dog sticks made from 100% meat.

A Strict Dog’s Dinner

The phrase ‘sharing is caring’ doesn’t apply to our furry friends! Your dog needs to understand that your dinner is just for humans, and they have their own dinner which is completely separate. Make sure the whole family understands that giving leftovers to your dog is bad for its health and can cause weight gain as well as behavioural issues.

More Playtime, More Exercise

This one is beneficial for both you and your dog! Exercising more will help your dog to lose weight faster and is great for you too. Try to go on longer walks or fit in an extra walk to your usual daily routine. If you don’t have time to walk your dog twice every day, then join forces with a dog-owning friend and you can share the responsibility. Encourage all the family to play outside with your dog as much as possible and it will start to really shift those pounds.

Think Portion Control

Make sure your dog is just eating what it needs rather than what it wants. You can work out your dog’s daily calorie needs by searching online or speaking with your vet, and then plan your dog’s meals around this. When your dog needs to lose a little weight you can start by cutting portions by around 20-30% to make an instant difference – just make sure your pet is getting all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Do a Weekly Weigh-In

Your vet can help you work out a goal weight for your dog which will give you something to work towards. You can weigh your dog easily by standing on the scales with it, and then again without it and calculating the difference. Make sure that your dog’s weight loss is gradual over time as this is the healthiest way to lose weight.

Monitor Your Dog’s Progress

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s weight even if you don’t think it’s overweight at the moment. Weight is a good indicator of overall health so when your weightloss programme is over, keep measuring your dog’s weight every month to make sure everything is as it should be. At Port Kennedy Vets we offer a free weight loss clinic for our clients where you can work with your vet to make sure your dog stays in top physical condition throughout its life.

To arrange a visit to one of our free weight loss clinics, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Why Adult Cats Make Great Adoption Pets

Once you’ve made the decision to get a cat for your home, the next thing you need to consider is whether to adopt a mature cat or to buy a young kitten. There are pros and cons to both options, but here we outline why at Port Kennedy Vets we believe that adopting an adult cat could be the best choice for you.

A Calmer Pet

There’s no denying that a tiny kitten is cute and fun to play with, but their boundless energy can be exhausting. Kittens can be constantly excited and will need round the clock attention when they’re young. They need a lot of training in order to get used to a structured bed time and feeding times, and will munch away on furniture, food – anything they can find! When you choose to adopt a mature cat, they have already learned how to live with humans. An adult pet will be house trained and used to living peacefully in a family home. Your cat will offer company when you want it but be equally happy left alone.

A Better Choice for Children

Older cats have more patience to deal with younger children. Until your child is old enough to fully understand how to properly treat animals, their rough treatment can provoke scary reactions from kittens who may respond to boisterous behaviour with scratching or biting. A mature cat is more likely to put up with a child learning how to interact with it, and won’t be too offended by rough handling.

A Better Choice for Your Pets

If you already have adult cats or dogs, a mature cat will be able to integrate into your household much better than a kitten. Bringing a new kitten into an established pet relationship can cause problems with the older animals as their routines and independence are threatened. Kittens will want to constantly play with older animals and this can be stressful for your existing pets.

Know What You’re Getting in Advance

When you adopt an older cat, it’s already developed its personality so you know exactly what you’re getting. Some people will be looking for a quiet companion whereas others will want a lively cat to play with the kids. If you bring home a kitten, you have no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out as an adult – it could be sleepy and placid or fond of attacking you at any opportunity. When you adopt a mature cat, the staff at the shelter will be able to help you choose an animal that best suits your situation.

To arrange a check up for your new cat, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Who Are the Port Kennedy Vets?

At Port Kennedy Vets, we understand, value, and respect the special nature of the bond between an owner and their pet. We aim to provide the best quality healthcare for your pets in order to maximise their quality of life. Pets are a part of the family and we know that when they suffer, you suffer. That’s why we dedicate each day to relieving pain and restoring health as quickly and comfortably as possible.

Highly Qualified Staff

We currently have 7 highly skilled veterinary surgeons on the team, as well as our two owners who have more than 70 years of veterinary experience between them. Our surgeons have all dedicated their education and careers to animal care – we have a genuine passion for looking after your pets.

Friendly Service

Our reception is staffed by a mixture of qualified veterinary nurses and students, so you can be sure that caring for your pet is their number one priority. We understand how worrying it can be to visit the vet, both for owners and their pets, and we aim to make clinic visits as easy and comfortable as possible.

All-Round Care

Our team of support staff includes two groomers, two kennel hands, and a puppy school trainer. We pride ourselves on providing a service that looks after all of the needs of your pet from their first visit to their senior years. Our qualified veterinary surgeons offer advice on all aspects of pet care including nutrition, behaviour, dental care and preventative treatments to ensure excellent all-round care for all patients.

Modern Technology

We believe that keeping up with technological developments is vital in order to provide the highest standard of care to your pet. We are proud of the exceptional standard of our clinical facility, which includes a dedicated dental suite, a wide range of anaesthetic and pain relief methods, medical monitoring equipment, and a modern sterilisation autoclave.

A Community Vet

Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital has been operating under its current owners for 18 years, growing from a small one-vet treatment centre to the large and busy centre we are today. We believe in supporting the next generation of vets, which is why we offer many work placements throughout the year to give students the hands-on experience they need to succeed in the veterinary world. In order to give back to our community, we offer free seminars on animal wellness and provide educational support to local schools.

To make an appointment at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital, call us now on 08 9524 6644 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.