As the summer gets into full swing, here's some summer safety tips...

posted 21 Mar 2017, 12:35 by Victoria L

  • Cats

    Originating from the desert, cats are generally very comfortable in the heat and can often be found stretched out sunbathing in the summer months.

    Cats (like dogs and rabbits) have sweat glands in their feet so if you notice wet pawprints it’s sweating. Make sure that they always have fresh drinking water and access to a cool environment should they need it.

    Cats generally sleep about 16 hours a day but will nap more on hot days.

    Play with your cat during the cooler hours in the summer months.

  • Dogs

    Dogs are generally sensible in the heat, but they can easily overheat when playing games and running so be very careful when playing games or exercising them.  

    To be safe, it is best to walk your dog during the cooler morning and evening hours in the summer months 

    Beware of heatstroke and dehydration. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, vomiting & collapse – if you are at all concerned then please contact your vet straight away. 

    Never leave your dog in the car, because even with the windows cracked it might only take a matter of minutes for the temperature inside to soar to fatal levels.

  • Rabbits

    Hygiene is very important in the summer months as flies and maggots cause flystrike which is often fatal. Check your rabbit’s bottom 2 or 3 times a day in the summer months to ensure they are clean & dry and infestation free.  

    If you need to take your rabbit out in the summer months never leave your rabbit in the car because hot cars can be fatal for pets. 

    Move you rabbit’s hutch to a shady spot or move it indoors to a room with air conditioning or a cooling fan.

How to Get Animal Urine Smells Out of Your Yard

posted 20 Mar 2014, 10:38 by Victoria L

Cats and dogs who use your yard for their common pooping or peeing grounds can often leave behind an unappealing odor in your grass and tree trunks. Since cats and dogs (particularly unspayed or unneutered) will use their stomping grounds to mark their territories, you can often have certain parts of your yard that just cause you to pucker up in disgust when you go anywhere near it them. If you and your neighbors are sick of smelling nasty urine odors in your yard, you can take action quickly and effectively to eradicate the nasty smells and get rid of the sticky residue that is taking over your yard.

Don't get mad at Rover because his odor stinks. He needs to pee, and the backyard is his his toilet. It is annoying, however, when stray cats and dogs come into your yard and stake their claim, peeing and spraying with abandon. To lessen the scents and make your yard less attractive to outsiders who are quick to cover your pet's handiwork with their own, follow these simple steps to get your yard smelling fresh and green again instead of smelling like pee pee.

Try vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, or even better you can buy a spray container that attaches to your hose and you can fill it with whatever you'd like and when you hose your yard the liquid in the bottle will spray with the water from the hose at the same time. This is great for larger peed on areas or if your whole yard smells like a toilet. The vinegar won't harm your grass (unfortunately it won't harm your weeds either) and as soon as the vinegar dries it has no scent. The strong acid in vinegar neutralizes the urine scent. For smaller pee smelling areas like tree trunks or the side of your house, warm water and vinegar (equal parts) sprayed directly to the site will get rid of the odor and the color.

To keep cats from spraying in your yard, apply a citrus-smelling water (like lemon juice in water) to your yard and garden. Cats don't like citrus scents and will avoid areas that smell of citrus. The lemon juice/water mixture can also be applied all over your yard (1 part lemon juice to 2 parts water) to eradicate pet odors and urine smells and wash away the yellow stains left behind. Once again, buying a spray bottle that can be attached to your garden hose and filling the bottle either with lemon juice or vinegar is a great way to get rid of odors.

You can also spray the affected areas with lemon or orange-scented (or lavender) Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle. The yard will smell fresh and keep fleas and ticks out of your yard as well, keeping both cats and bloodsuckers from affecting your pets in their own yard. An added bonus- dish soap (a few tablespoons to a full spray bottle of water) is a great fertilizer for your grass and garden, so spray away.

When your yard smells less like pet urine, it also keeps other animals out of your yard to mark their own territory as they are not drawn by the preexisting odors. So regularly spraying your yard to keep it fresh will keep other animals from putting in their own efforts to your pet's markings.

If your pet urine is suddenly killing grass or is stronger than normal, take them to a vet to rule out urinary or kidney issues, as stronger urine can be a sign of health problems. Otherwise, by spraying your yard every now and then with home products can keep your yard smelling fresh.

What is lungworm?

posted 23 Feb 2014, 14:20 by Victoria L   [ updated 9 Mar 2014, 05:26 ]

The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.
The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.
Foxes can also become infected with the lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country. 

There are two main problems caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm: 

1. Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
2. Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected. 

The signs of lungworm

Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.
Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately.

There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. If you are concerned your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.

Breathing problem
Tiring easily

Poor blood clotting
  • Excessive bleeding from even minor wounds/cuts 
  • Nose bleeds 
  • Bleeding into the eye 
  • Anaemia (paleness around the eyes and gums) 
General sickness
  • Weight loss 
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
Changes in behavior 
  • Depression 
  • Tiring easily 
  • Seizures (fits) 
Prevention & treatment

  Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.
  If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your veterinary surgeon without delay.

Speak to your vet about ways to prevent this parasite


Chocolate Toxicity in Cats

posted 23 Feb 2014, 14:13 by Victoria L   [ updated 23 Feb 2014, 14:13 ]

 catsCats, and especially kittens, are known for eating things they are not supposed to.
This can be a dangerous
combination when there is chocolate around. Also, cats have an excellent sense of smell, making it fairly easy for them to find secret hiding spots for the chocolate.
 Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains certain properties that can be toxic to cats: caffeine and theobromine. When ingested, these two ingredients can lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal for your cat.

 Symptoms and Types
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Increased body temperature 
  • Increased reflex responses 
  • Muscle rigidity 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Seizures 
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma) 
The amount and type of chocolate ingested is also important, as they are determining factors for the severity of the toxicity. The three types of chocolate that you must be aware of are:
  1. Milk Chocolate 
  2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate 
  3. Baking Chocolate

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

posted 23 Feb 2014, 13:52 by Victoria L   [ updated 23 Feb 2014, 13:58 ]

dog labrador chocolate
Chocolate, in surprisingly small amounts, can seriously affect your dog, and in some cases cause your dog to die.

Small animal veterinarians are seeing increasing number of dogs with chocolate toxicity as more of us are eating the ‘healthier’ dark chocolate. Unfortunately your dog only needs to eat 1/3 as much dark chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate to become seriously ill.

In this article, I will show you why chocolate is toxic, the types and amounts that will cause poisoning, the symptoms of toxicity, and what you can do if your pet consumes chocolate:

The toxic components in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine. 
The theobromine is found in high concentrations in chocolate, and causes most of the clinical signs in dogs. Theobromine affects your dog’s intestinal system, nervous system (brain), cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), and the kidneys.

The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs are based upon the amount of chocolate eaten, the type of chocolate, and the time since it was ingested.

The most common sign after your dogs eat chocolate are gastro-intestinal, meaning stomach upset, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Not uncommonly you may see hyperactivity, restlessness, elevated heart rate and increased drinking and urinating. The most serious signs are when the nervous system is affected; these may show up as tremors, seizures, increased breathing rate, high body temperature ( hyperthermia) and coma.

The toxic and potentially fatal dose of chocolate is 60 mg/kg–so a 10 lb dog only needs to consume 300 mg of chocolate. Clinical Signs can be seen as low as 20 mg/kg-=meaning a small 10 lb dog only needs to consume 100 mg to have problems. Severe signs are seen at 40 mg/kg–or consuming 200 mg of chocolate.

Let’s look at how much theobromine is in certain types of chocolate, then we can best know if you need to be concerned about chocolate poisoning in your dog if he has eaten some. A 5 oz milk chocolate bar contains 250 mg of theobromine, a dark chocolate bar contains 600 mg. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains 400 mg theobromine per square, Semisweet chocolate chips (30 chips), 250 mg. Dry cocoa powder contains 700 mg of theobromine per ounce.

A poodle weighing 10 lbs can be fatally poisoned by as little as one milk chocolate bar containing 250 mg of theobromine. A 75 lb larger breed dog, such as a Golden Retriever, would need to eat to eat 8 milk chocolate bars to become seriously ill. On the other hand, the dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are far more toxic; the 75 lb Golden retriever only needs to consume 3 of the dark chocolate bars to be fatally poisoned.

If your dog eats any amount of chocolate, the first thing is to figure out how much has been consumed. Then, based on the type of chocolate, determine if your pet has eaten a potentially toxic amount. If the dose of chocolate is 20 mg per kg of theobromine or higher, you should be seeing your veterinarian and inducing vomiting, or doing this at home. So this means that if your 10 lb (5 kg) poodle eats a milk chocolate bar, then induce vomiting as he has eaten more than 200 mg of theobromine. I have calculated this dose by multiplying the poodle’s weight of 5 kg times the toxic dose amount of 20 mg/kg giving a level of 200 mg.

The method I prefer to induce vomiting is by giving (3 percent) hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. If your pet doesn’t vomit in 10 minutes, repeat again. I advise to never do more than 2 treatments of peroxide. You can also try salt: dilute 1 teaspoon of salt in a tablespoon of water per every 10 lbs of body weight. If you are unable to induce vomiting, if your dog is showing any serious signs such as tremors, seizures, excessive vomiting, diarrhea, or you are at all unsure please see your veterinarian.

You can now see how even a small amount of chocolate can cause serious problems to your dog. As a responsible dog owner, you should be aware of the types of chocolate, and the amounts of chocolate to cause poisoning in your dog. You should be able to recognize the symptoms of chocolate toxicity, and know how to induce vomiting if your dog is to eat toxic levels of chocolate.”

Pets, their self being and safety during cold days of winter

posted 23 Feb 2014, 13:41 by Victoria L   [ updated 21 Mar 2017, 12:31 ]

  • Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather. 

  • Know the limits: Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

  • Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

  • Stay inside: Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

  • Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it’s deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

  • Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

  • Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

  • Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

  • Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it’s critical that you keep the registration up to date.

  • Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

  • Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don’t have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.

  • Protect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

  • Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

  • Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

  • Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.

  • Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

  • Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.

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