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