How To Care For Your Pet When You Go On A Holiday

Everyone loves going away on a holiday. But as a pet owner, there are some extra arrangements you need to make to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy while you’re away. There are lots of different options available to look after your pet and in this week’s blog, we’ll be discussing a few of these options as well as giving you a few pointers on how to prepare your pet for their vacation.

 

Care Options

Boarding Kennels and Catteries

Boarding kennels and catteries are specifically created for looking after pets when their pet owner is away. Booking your pet into a boarding kennel or cattery can provide peace of mind as you know your pet is being taken care of by professionals in a safe, specially designed environment. However, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable kennel or cattery where you can be sure your pet will be properly cared for, receive plenty of attention and receive daily exercise. If your pet has specific medical or dietary needs, it’s also a good idea to find a kennel or cattery with staff that have experience caring for special needs animals, or better still, a kennel or cattery that is attached with a veterinary practice. That way if your pet does require medical assistance, help isn’t too far away.

Vets on Parker, offer cat boarding services where your pet will be taken care of in a safe, clean and caring environment. We’d love to take care of your cat over the Christmas holidays but you’ll have to book quickly as places are very limited at this time of year. Get in touch with us today on (03) 9850 1355.

Pet Sitter Care

The other choice, which might be better suited to you is to have a private pet sitter come to your house or have your pet board with them. This can be a good option if you have an old or anxiety prone pet as they get to stay in their own environment and don’t have to deal with the stress of being somewhere unfamiliar. If you do decide to go down this route, make sure to discuss and then implement appropriate processes with the pet sitter and vet if something unexpected happens. This should include: which vet to take your pet to, how the vet can contact you (the pet owner) to discuss their condition and receive consent for any required treatments, as well as how payment for the treatment will work.

Preparing your pet for their holiday

Microchip your pet and update their details

Before you leave, it’s crucial that your pet is microchipped and all their details are up to date. This will be incredibly helpful if something unforeseen (like an escape) happens while your pet is in your sitter’s care.

Make sure your pet is vaccinated and wormed

Most boarding kennels and catteries require that their guests have up to date vaccinations and are both wormed and flea treated. This prevents the spread of disease and helps ensure your pet remains healthy for the duration of their holiday.

Provide your pet sitter with clear instructions

Communication is key to ensuring your pet is well-looked after. Make sure you give your sitter contact details while away as well as treatment authorisation information, payment arrangements, your pet’s microchip number and the contact details of your vet. It is also essential that you notify your vet of your pet’s care arrangements.

Paralysis tick and flea treatment

If you happen to be taking your pet outside of Melbourne on interstate, it’s important you treat them for paralysis tick and fleas as these parasites are a lot more common outside of urban areas.

 

Paralysis ticks are in Melbourne

Along with all the benefits of living in the most liveable city in the world, not having to worry about the paralysis tick was an added bonus.

Unfortunately, thanks to climate change, they have arrived on our doorstep.

I don’t want to be an alarmist and worry pet owners unnecessarily, the risk is still very low and even lower if you and your pet don’t venture much past our neat nature strips and dog parks.

However, for peace of mind, please follow the tips below and speak to your trusted vet if you have any questions.

Tick tips:

  • Keep your pet’s hair short
  • Ticks hang out in long grass. Keep your pooch out! (snakes hang there too)
  • Check your pet’s coat regularly – ticks need to be attached for 2-3 days before they inject their poison
  • Added tick prevention – 100% necessary for those pet owners travelling with their pet either north (towards the Murray) or east of Melbourne (towards Gippsland)
  1. The Bravecto chew will protect your dog for 4 months from the paralysis tick. It can be used safely in conjunction with most other parasite preventions (Advocate, Sentinel etc.)
  2. Cats – unfortunately, there is only ONE product available. Frontline plus Spray – needs to be applied every 3 weeks.
  3. Other tick preventions – Advantix, Nexgard, Serasto collars – may be recommended.

Preparing your pets for summer

The warmer months provide a great opportunity for us to get out into the sunshine with our pets! With the heat comes a few potential dangers – here are some of the more common things to be mindful of over the summer months:

Heatstroke is a common problem seen in both dogs and cats during summer and is very serious. A few simple tips can go a long way to help prevent it:

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Tinting, parking in the shade, or leaving the windows open do not help to reduce the inside temperature significantly.

If you find your dog panting heavily, doesn’t obey normal commands, has warm, dry skin and a rapid heart beat, he may be suffering from heatstroke. Other signs include vomiting, anxiety and high fever. Try to cool them off with cool water, cold packs and a cooler environment; and of course see a vet as soon as possible.

Avoid walking or exercising your dog at the park in the middle of the day. Apart from the outside air termperature, another good test for this is to take a few steps on the footath in your bare feet – if it’s too hot for you, it is too hot for them!

Senior pets and arthritic animals sometimes can’t get themselves out of their hot kennel. Kennels should always be kept in a shaded area with plenty of airflow around it.

Keep them cool – keep inside if possible, frozen pet treats, ice blocks, paddling pools are all great ideas on those really hot days.

Is your four-legged friend a Pug, Bull dog, Mastiff, or Chow Chow? Dogs with short muzzles like the breeds just mentioned are even more susceptible to over heating, so as their owners, you need to be even more careful.

The Easter treat your pets should avoid

The best part of Easter is the sweet treats that fill your house, but not for your pet! Cats and dogs should avoid the types of Easter foods you’ll be snacking on.

Every year we warn pet owners on the seriousness of chocolate poisoning. But why is chocolate so bad? Surely a little bit won’t hurt?

The truth is, even a small amount of dark or cooking chocolate can cause very serious problems. No matter what those dark brown eyes are telling you – give them something safer! It’s not worth it.

Chocolate poisoning is caused by excessive intake of the methyl-xanthine alkaloid, theobromine. Although dogs are the most susceptible, the toxin has been known to affect or kill cats, birds, rodents and reptiles as well.

Different types of chocolate contain different concentrations of this dangerous chemical. The biggest threat is from cooking chocolate, followed by semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and hot chocolate.

The symptoms of poisoning in your pet may include vomiting, diarrhoea hyperactivity, tremors, irregular heart rate and seizures. Heart failure, weakness, coma, and death can occur 12 to 36 hours after intake.

If your pet has ingested chocolate, get your pet to [Vets on Parker / Vets on Balwyn / Vets in Cranbourne] immediately. We will be able to get your pet to vomit, which will hopefully remove most of the ingested chocolate from their system. In some more serious instances, pets need to be hospitalised or treated for cardiac problems or seizure activity.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to keep the chocolate well out of reach!

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Scratch your pet’s itch

As veterinarians we can always give medicines to stop that itch, but not all of these medicines are safe to use long term. What we need to do is work together (pet owner and vet) to find out why they are itching.

Below are some simple tips and first steps to help reduce that itch:

1: Monthly flea control

All dogs and cats with sensitive skin benefit from a good quality flea control. Pets that are allergic to flea saliva only need one flea to bite them once a week to set off an intense allergic reaction. You don’t need to see fleas for them to be the cause of the problem.

Flea collars, flea powders and flea shampoos do not cut it! Ask your trusted vet for advice on what flea control you should use.

2: Bath time

If your pet has been scratching, but the skin isn’t raw or showing signs of inflammation, you can administer a lukewarm bath with a medically approved anti-itch shampoo to relieve the symptoms.

3: Fish oil supplementation

Supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oils can be incredibly beneficial. Not only will this natural anti-inflammatory aid in managing your pet’s skin problems it will also provide additional benefits for their joints, cardiovascular system and kidney health! We recommended 1000mg fish oil per 10kg body weight daily or utilizing a special skin support diet which has fish oil added already.

What your vet can do

Whatever the cause of itching, it’s important to take your pet to see a vet for peace of mind. If your pet has badly scratched themselves there may be an infection or painful sores that need professional care.

Your vet is likely to check for fleas, take a skin scraping to check for signs of mange and take an earwax sample to rule out ear mites as the cause. In some cases your vet may also perform a fungal culture to rule out the possibility of ringworm.

Once the cause has been found most cases can be resolved so that your furry family member can return to a scratch free life.

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Dr Kevin’s top 5 tips for summer!

Our very own Dr. Kevin provides 5 top tips for keeping your pets happy this summer.

Build the exercise up slowly

The New Year is here, and it’s time to step back into our exercise routines (or start new ones!). Australians love Summer and so do our dogs. More daylight means more hours to spend at the park, longer walks and the chance to hit the beach too. But take heed – exercise related injuries are very common in spring. Remember that your dog’s fitness might have dropped off just like yours, so make sure you don’t go too hard too early.

That prickly feeling – Grass seeds

A sore paw, an itchy ear, a new lump and even sneezing – all problems which can be caused by grass seeds. Needless to say, I spend a lot of my time during summer treating problems like these.

My number one tip – check your pet’s entire coat thoroughly after a visit to the park. Pay particularly close attention to the feet, ears, under arms and groin. Keeping your pet’s coat short in summer also reduces the chance of them picking up grass seeds at all.

The summer heat!

Did you know that the only way dogs and cats can lose body heat is through panting? Heat stroke is a common problem seen in both dogs and cats during summer and is very serious. So how do you prevent this from happening to your pet? The good news is that it’s an easy fix:

  • Keep them out of the car
  • Avoid walking your dog or taking them to the park in the middle of the day
  • Senior pets and arthritic animals sometimes can’t get themselves out of their hot kennel. Kennels should always be kept in a shaded area.
  • Keep them cool – frozen pet treats, ice blocks, paddling pools are all great ideas to help your pet
  • Is your four-legged friend a Pug, Bull dog, Mastiff or Chow Chow? Dogs with short muzzles like the breeds just mentioned are even more susceptible to over-heating, so as their owners you need to be even more careful.

Australian wildlife

I am going to be totally honest with you here – wild snakes are not my favourite. Not because they are slithery and slimy, but because they kill our pets. Tiger snakes and brown snakes are the most common species which envenomate our pets. See my tips below on ways to reduce the risk:

  • Keep the grass directly around the house short
  • Control mice and other vermin, which may attract snakes, however be VERY CAREFUL if using poisons as rat bait.
  • On walks keep dogs on lead and avoid areas of long grass.
  • Keep cats inside your house or in an outdoor cat enclosure.
  • Use snake deterrents – available online
  • Attract kookaburras to your property – snakes are one of their favourite food

Swimmer’s Ear

Who doesn’t like a swim to cool down during summer? Like many dog owners, I think there’s nothing better than seeing my Macy pounce into the water after a ball or better yet, swim out with me at the beach. However, be warned of the dreaded post-swim ear infection – it’s really common. Any water getting inside your dog’s ear may lead to an ear infection. That’s why I clean Macy’s ears with a gentle ear cleaning solution after swimming and after a bath.

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Festive foods that are bad for your pets

We all love a treat over Christmas, but making sure your pet has the right ones is important.

It’s normal to go a bit over the top with food over the festive period, but whist you’re being merry it’s important to make sure your pet doesn’t join in. The following items are bad for your pet and should be kept away.

Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate can be toxic for cats and dogs, but with the sweet stuff likely to be floating around over the season it’s important that it is out of their reach.

Raw or undercooked turkey

For many it’s a tradition to have turkey on Christmas day, but as you’re preparing the bird it’s important to make sure your pets don’t get near any raw or undercooked meat. Should they have any of your cooked turkey make sure it is boneless.

Alcohol

Those who will be celebrating the end of the year with a glass of champagne should be vigilant none gets near their pet as alcohol can lead to a lot of nasty symptoms, including vomiting and breathing difficulties.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping can lead to intestinal obstructions if a pet digests it. It is also important to keep any plastic bags or covers out of reach as pets can suffocate if they get stuck in them.

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice