Starting the New Year in Australia
With a scorching Aussie summer well and truly underway, the start of the year can be particularly tough for our pets. Keep in mind the following as we enter another year of hopefully good health and fun for your pet!
Heat StressThis topic has been extensively covered in previous blog posts but deserves a top mention here also. We are all aware we need to provide fresh water at all times to our pets, but let’s go one step further.
- Don’t walk your dog in the heat of the day, if it’s >25 degrees by 9 am where you live then it’s too late, wait until it cools down. Especially if you own a squishy faced breed such as a bulldog or pug. If the road or path is too hot for you to touch then it’s too hot for your dog's paws! If your pet is panting when resting at home it can mean they are already overheating or are sick for other reasons, for example, heart disease or lower airway disease.
- Remember CAT’S DO NOT PANT, if you notice your cat open mouth breathing then they are either HIGHLY stressed or something is wrong with them. Please get them to your vet if this is the case.
- Carry collapsible water bowls with you for beach trips or longer walks and remember to apply your Dr Zoo Sun Cream especially to your pets pink-skinned areas.
Back to workSummer usually means for most of us heading back into the working year. So here’s a couple of tips to help you make that transition away from your pet back at home.
- If you were lucky enough to get a new puppy prior to the Christmas break then hopefully you have them crate trained by the time you start work. If not then it’s never too late to start! Crate training is my number 1 tip for new puppy owners. The concept works because it works with the dog's natural instinct to seek a small, low space to hide in when they are fearful or frightened. We have all seen when a dog is scared they will hide under a chair or bed, this is because as wolves they lived in dens or caves where they can watch for predators and feel safe. In a modern-day sense, a ‘crate’ allows a puppy to feel safe and exhibit those natural behaviours from a place of refuge that feels comfortable. The result is a puppy or dog who is confident, independent and most importantly … happy to be left alone! This is particularly important when we all work as much as we do and are away from home for 6-10 hours a day. If trained correctly, the crate becomes your dog's safe place where he feels comfortable and happy when you are not around. This is a huge relief for yourself, your pup and your neighbours! As it may reduce barking and other symptoms of separation anxiety such as digging or chewing furniture.
- Before heading back to working long hours, try spending time away from your pet for only a couple of hours at a time. Especially if you are a big family, the pet can feel isolated and unsettled if a sudden change is made when everyone returns to school and work. Start with short intervals away from your new pet and slowly increase them so you can be sure your pet is content and happy when you head back for those long shifts.
- Try a few new treat ideas to leave for your pet in the morning when you leave for work. Their kibble or other tasty treats frozen overnight in a container of water and then left out for your pet to lick through and be rewarded with the goodie on the inside. Try placing a treat or one piece of kibble in each of the cubes of an ice cube container, this can be fun for the kids to do and will keep your pet entertained. The latest Dr Zoo Licky Mat is so much fun! This is a great idea to keep your pet entertained whilst grooming or bathing. Check it out!
Beware the Summer BBQWe all love a barbie with friends but beware of the bad things associated with the summer fun.
- Sausages, bacon, fat and meat patties can cause fatal pancreatitis in dogs. Just even a tiny piece can cause your pet to become severely sick in the days afterwards. They cannot digest fats as we can and their pancreas becomes inflamed. Early signs can be vomiting or diarrhoea, inappetence or evening just being a little quiet. Without hospitalisation, your pet is at extreme risk of going downhill quickly as the pancreas needs to be supported by fluids via a drip and other medications to make your pet feel better.
- Onions are toxic! To both dogs and cats, these can cause internal bleeding so they are a definite no-no.
- Beware of cats jumping up onto the hot plate after cooking, especially after bbq fish which can lure our felines even closer. We see injuries, where cats burn their paw pads after jumping on stovetops or bbq’s and recovery can be slow and painful.
- Don’t forget the Dr Zoo ‘Lose the Groupies’ bug spray to keep those pesky insects away from your pets when outside. Mosquito bites often appear on the ear tips of your pets so keep an eye out for the signs.
Goal SettingLet’s be honest we all set them, every new year. Let’s stick to them this year!
- Get your pet checked by the vet twice yearly at least.
- Spend quality time with your pet. Grooming and petting your pet is equally rewarding for them as it is for us!
- Get active, get your dog out more in the cooler parts of the day to keep them in a healthy weight range.
Here’s to a fantastic year ahead, the start of another decade and hopefully many more years of good health and fun with your pet !!
Xo Dogtor Andy