After dreaming of being a vet for her entire childhood, Dr. Felicia Tam graduated from Sydney University Veterinary School in 2012. Now she loves being a part of the PAW team, developing new natural pet health products, giving advice to pet owners and educating the public on natural pet health care. She has a 4-year old ex-racing greyhound -Nala' and a 5-year old rescue cat -Cooper' at home and is training for her second half-marathon later this year.
Question: What inspired you to become a Vet?
Dr. Felicia Tam: I dreamed of becoming a vet my whole childhood. I love animals and can't imagine my life without them, so becoming a vet seemed like a good way to ensure that animals would be a part of my life. Being a vet allows me to help lots of animals and see the special bonds that pets have with their owners, which I love.
Question: What is PAW by Blackmores?
Dr. Felicia Tam: The PAW by Blackmores range consists of natural products developed by vets through thorough research. These products are clinically proven to support the health of pets and all the products are of the finest quality with ingredients that are pure and suitable for pets. The products in this range contain unique natural active ingredients that have shown ground breaking results for pets' health and wellbeing.
Question: Can you talk about your role in developing new natural pet health products?
Dr. Felicia Tam: Originally developed by Dr Alister Webster, whose family has been creating quality pet products for over 80 years. Dr Alister Webster noticed that there was a need for long term preventative health measures for pets and decided to investigate this further. He spent four years researching and developing natural wellbeing products for pets and from this sprung PAW by Blackmores.
Today I am following on from Dr Alister Webster's work as the resident PAW Veterinarian. As a vet I provide my expertise in all things pet health during the development of the PAW products. My veterinary knowledge combined with my passion for animals allows me to consult with Blackmores to continually develop the Pure Animal Wellbeing natural healthcare range and deliver clinically proven natural products that take into consideration pets unique and specific health needs.
Question: Why do you choose natural pet health care?
Dr. Felicia Tam: I chose natural health care because I believe that prevention is better than cure! Natural health care provides ingredients from nature to help maintain the health of pets, and in cases of disease, they can reduce the need for or amount of medications needed to treat our pets. This helps our pets to lead longer, happier lives with us, which can only be a good thing.
Question: What are your tips to raising a healthy dog?
Dr. Felicia Tam: My top tips for raising a healthy dog are:
Your pets' diet is as important as your own
Pets should have balanced meals that are low in sodium and any bones they eat should be raw.
Tend to wounds with care
Like us, pets' wounds can get infected. Seek veterinary attention, and clean their wounds carefully with solutions designed for pets to stop infection.
Groom your pet
Grooming your pet is important, it is also key that you use pet products and not human products. Pets' skin is often sensitive so shampoos and conditioners such as the Nutriderm Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner from PAW, are perfect for your pet.
Don't ignore their aches
Pets are often prone to join pain and swelling as they age. If you notice that your dog is limping, take them to the vet for a check-up. There are many great supplements designed to aid pet joints. Try the PAW Osteocare® Joint Health Chews if your dog is struggling.
Keep their ears clean
Dog's ears often get very dirty. If you notice that they are shaking their head a lot, this could mean that they have an ear infection. There are solutions specifically designed for sensitive dog ears that are a great way to clean ears and prevent infection.
Question: What advice do you have for pet owners coming into the cooler months?
Dr. Felicia Tam: When the seasons change you may notice a change in your pet's demeanour and health. Here are some tips for helping them get through the cooler months.
If they are having trouble sleeping in the cold, let them sleep in a warmer place such as inside or with a blanket.
If they have pre-existing health conditions such as arthritic, the cold may cause it to flare. Make sure they are taking their PAW Osteocare® Joint Health Chews to help soothe any pain.
When you bath them, they may need to dry off inside so the cold weather doesn't make them unwell.
They may need an extra coat just like you. Short haired pets often feel the cold more than longer haired pets so another layer may be essential to keeping them warm this winter.
Question: Can you tell us about your pets?
Dr. Felicia Tam: Both of my pets are from rescue/adoption groups and have taught me a lot about unconditional love and responsibility. Cooper is a cheeky -blue' (grey) 5 year old cat with bright green eyes who is very naughty and lovable at the same time! Nala is a blue brindle 4 year old greyhound (grey with brown stripes) who is loves to sleep on our couch and play with squeaky toys. They get along well – Cooper likes helping to clear Nala's bowl after meals!
Question: You're training for your second half-marathon; does your dog Nala, join you for your training?
Dr. Felicia Tam: It often surprises people to learn that Nala actually isn't a great training buddy because she only likes to run very short distances, and she runs very fast. It's like training for a half marathon with a sprinter! So she stays home while I go running and we go for walks together separate to my training.
Question: What advice do you have for runners looking for a dog to train with?
Dr. Felicia Tam: Depending on the amount of running you want to do I would recommend a breed that enjoys running for long distances, like border collies and kelpies. Otherwise you can work on improving your dog's fitness as you increase the distance and speed of your runs together. Some dogs are better than this than others. There are also useful accessories you can use to free up your hands so you don't have to hang on to a leash while running!
Question: Which of the PAW by Blackmores products are your pets, favourite?
Dr. Felicia Tam: This one is easy! Nala loves the Osteocare chews as a nightly treat and the sensitive shampoo and conditioner for baths. Cooper gets the Digesticare probiotic in his food every day and Essential 6 spot-on on his coat to keep him smelling great and looking shiny.
Interview by Brooke Hunter