Dental Duties

Veterinarians frequently recommend pet “dentals”, but what does this procedure actually involve? Read on as we explain more about what happens during a dental procedure, and how we can help keep your pet’s pearly whites clean and healthy!

Anaesthesia

For a thorough dental treatment, we recommend that animals have a general anaesthetic for their comfort and safety. This allows us to properly clean several millimetres below the gum line, a place where bacteria-filled plaque can hide. 

Additionally, a general anaesthetic means that your pet is not stressed or feeling any discomfort or pain during the procedure. They’ll receive a pre-anaesthetic sedation or ‘pre-med’, which includes some relaxing pain-relief medication to ready them for a comfortable little snooze! 

Periodontal probing and charting

The first step of a dental procedure is to probe around your pet’s teeth with a special measuring instrument. Unusually deep gum pockets around your pet’s tooth roots suggest periodontal disease – which means there is permanent inflammation and damage.

These findings, along with any other notable changes – such as missing or damaged teeth, will be noted on your pet’s dental chart, allowing us to record any symptoms of dental disease.

X-rays

If the initial examination reveals any obvious abnormalities in your pet’s mouth, dental x-rays may be recommended. Just like when we x-ray an injured leg, it’s important that we look below the surface to properly diagnose the issue!

Dental x-rays help us find ‘hidden’ problems such as dental abscesses, resorptive lesions (similar to cavities) and jaw bone changes, such as those involved with tumours.

Scaling and polishing

Your pet’s teeth will then be given a thorough clean by ultrasonic scaling to remove any plaque and hard tartar deposits. After this, the teeth will be polished with an electric polishing device and a very fine gritty paste – this smooths the outer enamel layer to slow the reformation of plaque.

Extractions

If our examination reveals any significant tooth damage which is painful or will cause issues, and cannot be repaired, we will recommend that the tooth be extracted.

If teeth are already loose, they are removed using fine instruments to carefully sever any remaining attachments. If teeth are still firmly fixed (e.g. broken teeth), they may require a surgical extraction. This involves using a special dental drill to section multi-rooted teeth into pieces, and carefully remove small amounts of surrounding bone. In the case of large extractions, the extraction site will be carefully stitched closed afterwards, with dissolving stitches.

Pets undergoing extractions generally receive ‘local anaesthetic’ injections or nerve blocks – these are numbing injections administered into certain locations in the mouth to block sensation for several hours, preventing any pain. Depending on their particular procedure, your pet will also be sent home with 1-5 days of additional pain relief, which helps to ensure that they experience minimal discomfort during the healing process.

As you can see, each dental procedure involves a thorough assessment and treatment of any dental issues. This helps to ensure that your pet’s mouth remains comfortable and healthy, helping to maintain their overall wellbeing and quality of life!

Recurrent “sensitive stomachs”

Signs of poor digestive health in your dog or cat can be uncomfortable for your pet and be a cause of concern for you. Some owners write these signs off as a ‘sensitive stomach’, and either tolerate the symptoms – feeling as though that’s normal for their pet, or try various different diets in the hope that this may help settle their pet’s tummy issues. But when do recurrent vomiting and/or diarrhoea signs warrant veterinary diagnosis and treatment?

What symptoms can occur with poor digestive health?

Poor digestive health can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal stools – diarrhoea, foul-smelling stools, or stools with blood or mucus
  • Straining to pass stools, which may come out as small “blobs” of soft material
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Poor or picky appetite
  • Weight loss or poor growth in young animals

What can cause intermittent tummy upsets?

Symptoms of an upset stomach can be caused by various problems affecting the gut itself. These can include:

  • Chronic gut infections, such as giardia or worms
  • Food responsive gut issues (e.g. food allergies)
  • Bacterial imbalances in the gut
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gut tumours

Signs of vomiting and/or diarrhoea can also be caused by other common illnesses around the body that can cause nausea, such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Hormonal imbalances (e.g. hyperthyroidism)
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatic inflammation or insufficiency

How can we diagnose what is causing a pet’s upset tummy?

If your pet suffers recurrent bouts of vomiting or abnormal stools, or if they seem very unwell during an upset tummy episode, it’s important to book an appointment with one of our vets for further assessment, because as you can see above, there are many potential causes!

If your pet is generally well, and in good condition, we may perform a few simple faecal tests to rule out infectious causes, such as worms or giardia. Then, we may start prescription veterinary diet trials, beginning with a highly digestible diet with altered levels of fibre for gut bacteria health. We may also suggest a probiotic for your pet, and other medications to manage vomiting or diarrhoea symptoms.

If your pet is more significantly unwell (e.g. losing weight, having severe vomiting or diarrhoea, or becoming lethargic), or not responding to the simple therapy above, then we are likely to suggest further testing. This can include blood tests, abdominal imaging (e.g. ultrasound) and sometimes surgical biopsies of the gut. We may also start your pet on a strict hypoallergenic dietary trial – this helps settle symptoms in pets who have allergies to certain proteins in some foods.

If testing shows that your animal has significant gut bacteria imbalances or inflammatory bowel disease, they may need more long-term medical treatment. This can include long courses of certain antibiotics or sometimes steroid anti-inflammatories.

Gut issues can be complicated, so it may take a variety of diagnostic tests and several treatment trials to diagnose your pet’s issue and find what therapy works best for them. However, once we do, your pet’s symptoms will be relieved, and they may surprise you by being a lot happier and more sprightly again! 

So, if your pet shows poor digestive health signs, it’s best to book them in for an appointment. Vomiting, flatulence and abnormal stools aren’t nice – for anyone!

Diets and exercise by lifestage

Like us, our pets can unfortunately fall victim to the ‘middle-aged spread’ and put on weight. This occurs due to the natural slowing of the metabolism associated with ageing, which can predispose your pet to excessive weight gain. For this reason, depending on the lifestage of your pet, we often recommend varying their dietary and exercise routines, to help ensure they stay at their healthy best!

Puppies and kittens

Puppies and kittens have high-energy and nutrient requirements for growth. However, young puppies and kittens also have small, immature digestive systems. 

For this reason, it’s recommended that your puppy or kitten is fed a balanced puppy or kitten veterinary diet designed for growth. These foods have higher energy levels and ensure the correct balance of nutrients such as calcium, phosphate, essential amino acids and vitamins – to ensure your pet develops a healthy musculoskeletal and immune system.

It’s best to keep growing animals in healthy, slim body condition – being underweight means your animal may not grow healthily, and being overweight can worsen certain developmental joint conditions, such as hip dysplasia.

At this age, it’s recommended to not over-exercise puppies (particularly larger breed types e.g. labradors), as they can be at risk of joint damage if exercised too vigorously during growth. As we all know, kittens do what they want exercise-wise, and luckily tend to be pretty hardy!

Adults

When your pet becomes an adult (10-12 months old for cats and smaller dogs, and 18-24 months old for dogs over 25kg), it’s best to transfer them to a high-quality, balanced adult diet, and follow daily feeding guidelines. This will help ensure that your pet does not start to gain weight now that they’re no longer growing.

Consider “indoor”, “neutered” or “healthy weight maintenance” diet types for less active pets. More active adult pets (e.g. working dogs) may require special ‘working dog’ diets to meet their higher energy requirements.

As long as you keep any exercise appropriate for your dog’s physical limitations (e.g. not exercising in hot or humid weather, especially if your pet is snub-nosed, overweight or has other health issues), adult dogs can enjoy most exercise activities freely, such as swimming, running, walks or ball games! Just make sure you gradually taper your pet up to very vigorous exercise, just as you would for yourself.

With indoor cats, aim for two five-minute toy play sessions daily, and encourage access to climbing frames and scratching posts.

Older animals

From eight-to-ten years of age, pets can start to slow down. It’s best to ask our vet team for individual advice regarding the best diet for your elderly pet, as some animals may need to be transferred to a “senior diet” with added joint support, reduced calories, or reduced protein, and some may require special prescription veterinary diets e.g. for kidney disease support.

Older animals should still receive gentle to moderate daily exercise that’s appropriate to their abilities. This helps to keep their muscles strong for joint support and gives them important mental stimulation. 

Whatever the lifestage of your pet, please feel free to ask our team for an assessment of your pet, so we can provide more specific advice around their dietary and exercise requirements. Like you, we want your pet to be looking and feeling their best!

Assessing the urgency of pet injuries and illnesses

It can sometimes be hard to know which injuries or illnesses are emergencies and require a veterinary consultation or more urgent veterinary care.

Which symptoms suggest urgent care is required?

As a general guide, your pet should be seen urgently if they are showing any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Bloody or profuse vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Extreme listlessness
  • Collapsing or seizures
  • Sudden painful belly bloating
  • Steady bleeding
  • Severe pain not settling within a few minutes
  • Sudden wobbliness or weakness

Unwellness in very young animals, or older animals with other health problems (e.g. diabetes, heart disease), should also be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. These animals have reduced immune system capacity, and can also develop dangerous dehydration or low blood sugar levels more rapidly than a healthy adult animal would.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, such as an object that could get stuck (e.g. a ball) or a potential toxin (e.g. rat bait, chocolate, human medicine), it’s important to phone us ASAP and let us know what your pet has consumed.

If possible, it helps to have the packet of any potential toxins close-to-hand, so you can let us know the exact ingredients. If what your pet has eaten is potentially harmful, we will advise that they’re brought into us as soon as possible. Successful treatment for some toxins can be time-dependent, so it’s best not to “wait and see”.

What should I do if my animal requires emergency care?

If you do need to bring your pet to us urgently, it helps to give us a phone call prior to your arrival, if possible. This way we can prepare our staff and equipment for your pet, so we can start treatment as soon as possible.

Remove any available food and water from your pet whilst you ready them for travel, in case they require sedation or an anaesthetic for treatment.

If your pet has any steadily bleeding wounds, you can perform basic first aid to slow blood flow whilst travelling to the clinic:

  • For limb or tail wounds, you can either wrap the area with bandage material (if you have it) or place a clean, folded face-washer over the wound and then wrap cling-film around. Ensure you can still get a finger underneath any bandages or wraps, so they’re not too tight.
  • For body wounds, place a clean towel over the wound, and apply steady pressure for 4-5 minutes. Limit your pet’s movement and excitement.

If your pet is in pain, handle them carefully, as they may lash out uncharacteristically. Sometimes it’s best to bundle them in a thick blanket or quilt before you attempt to move them. Wherever possible, try to secure pets safely in the car, with cats and small dogs in carry cages and larger dogs wearing seat belt harnesses.

If you’re unsure about the care required for your pet’s unwellness or injury, it’s always best practice to give us a call. There are no “silly” questions or concerns and we’d always prefer to ensure that your pet is safe, comfortable and well!

Special breeds have special needs!

There’s a lot to love about welcoming a particular breed of dog or cat into your family. Whilst there is always variation between individual animals, many owners like the predictability of knowing the likely temperament, grooming requirements, activity levels, full-grown size, and appearance of their future pet. 

Additionally, given that some breeds can be predisposed to certain common genetic issues, owners can actually get some peace of mind in knowing what health problems their pet is more likely to develop, so they can be prepared for any potential care requirements.

It’s best to research a breed thoroughly before obtaining your pet. Be realistic about your lifestyle, and the amount of time you have to care for your pet each day (e.g. for exercise, grooming, training, etc) and the type of environment you can provide. There are many “breed selector” tools available online to help guide you towards an animal suited to your lifestyle.

Thorough research prior to selecting your pet will make you aware of any potential genetic issues your breed of choice may be predisposed to. In some cases, there may be preventative measures you can take to help screen or manage your pet for these issues. In other cases, it just helps to be aware so you can monitor your pet for symptoms and seek help from our veterinary team if you have any concerns.

Examples of potential issues in popular pet breeds can include:

  • Greater exercise and mental stimulation requirements in high-energy/working dog breeds such as border collies, kelpies, German shepherds and beagles
  • Airway/respiratory issues in brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, and Persian cats
  • Spinal issues (intervertebral disc disease) in short-legged dog breeds such as dachshunds, corgis, or basset hounds
  • Heart disease in cavalier King Charles spaniels, dobermanns, and maine coon cats
  • Eyelid issues (entropian) in shar-pei dogs
  • Skin or ear allergy issues in poodle crosses, lagottos, French bulldogs and staffies
  • Elbow or hip disease (dysplasia) in labradors, German shepherds and golden retrievers
  • Increased skin and coat care requirements in sphynx cats, or long-haired cats such as ragdolls or birmans

It’s also a great idea to speak with our veterinary team if you are thinking of purchasing a new purebred pet (or have recently purchased one), as we can discuss any common health issues seen in that breed, and explain the potential management and treatment options available.

Once you’ve made the decision on your chosen breed, ensure you source your pet from a reputable breeder. Our veterinarians will sometimes work with breeders, so feel free to ask us for recommendations. Otherwise, there are trusted resources online such as  rightpaw.com.au and dogzonline.com.au.

Chat to at least a couple of breeders, and make sure to ask about any health testing they perform on their animals. It’s also strongly recommended visiting their premises, to ensure that animals are being kept in good conditions with lots of human contact, and both parents appear to be healthy and friendly. The temperament of the parents has a direct correlation to the temperament and personality of your new family member.

These measures should help set you and your new companion up for many years of happy, healthy fun and snuggles! 

Protecting your pet with vaccinations and flea/tick prevention

Vaccinations are vital

Regularly vaccinating your pet is important to protect them against various potentially fatal or debilitating infectious diseases. During a consultation, we can discuss with you the most appropriate vaccination protocol for your pet to keep them healthy.

Our vets will advise the type of vaccination which will be best for your pet, taking into account your pet’s age and lifestyle – such as whether they are mainly indoors or outdoors, and any risk factors that they might be exposed to.

We follow current world guidelines on vaccine types and frequency of use to ensure your pet is best protected from disease. If your pet has any health problems of concern, or a history of autoimmune disease, we may recommend titre testing to check the pets level of immunity which can then guide the vaccination protocol.

Similar to when us humans get our vaccinations, when your pet has a vaccination there is sometimes some mild pain or discomfort at the site of the vaccination injection. However, pets have a lot looser skin than people, and the vaccination injections are given subcutaneously to pets instead of into the muscle like with us. Some pet vaccinations, such as for canine cough, can also be given orally or sprayed into the nose.

We will be able to explain any common things to be aware of after your pet has had their vaccination, and what to do if you have any concerns. Your pet’s health and wellbeing are of paramount importance to us, so make sure to book in for your pet’s regular vaccinations today.

Flea and tick prevention is essential

By using flea and tick prevention products on your pet, you can help keep your pet healthy and prevent illness and discomfort.

With so many combination flea and tick prevention products now available, we frequently field questions from pet owners about what products to use for their pets.

Fleas are present all over Australia, and can cause severe skin irritation and infection in flea-allergic pets. Fleas can also transmit human diseases, such as cat flea typhus.

Paralysis ticks can be active on the east coast of Australia all year round. Affected animals can suffer paralysis and breathing difficulties, requiring intensive emergency care. This condition can even be fatal for pets.

Other species of tick, such as the brown dog tick and bush ticks, are mostly found in bushland areas near to waterways or the coast, and can cause local skin irritation and also transmit diseases. In northern areas of Australia, ticks can transmit dangerous diseases such as ehrlichiosis in dogs. 

A regular program of parasite prevention is recommended for all dogs and cats who go outdoors. In areas where tick-borne diseases are known to occur, it is recommended to use dual prevention with a tick repellent product plus an oral flea/tick prevention product to best protect your pet. 

Veterinary studies of flea and tick prevention products have shown these drugs to be safe and effective for pets. Please ask us about the best flea and tick protection options for your pet.

The Routines: Keeping your pet healthy

Keeping our pets happy and healthy is a top priority, so having a good handle on routine preventative health care is a great start!

Vaccination

It is recommended that all dogs and cats who go for walks outdoors or otherwise come into contact with other animals (e.g. in boarding) should be kept up-to-date with their vaccinations. This generally involves a series of three puppy/kitten vaccines, and then vaccinations every one to three years thereafter.

The vaccination regime your pet requires depends on their age and species, the environment they live in, and whether they travel or go to boarding, grooming or doggy-daycare.

Once adults, dogs should have the C3 vaccination every three years to protect them against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo, and then an annual booster against Kennel Cough.

Cats should have the F3 vaccination annually as a minimum, and if they venture outside they should ideally be vaccinated against FIV as well.

If you own a rabbit, it is recommended to have them vaccinated every 6 months against Calicivirus, even if they do not come into contact with other bunnies, as this virus is spread via mosquitoes.

Desexing

Unless you are confident that you have the time, resources, knowledge and finances to responsibly breed your pet, it is generally best to desex them at an appropriate age.

Entire male dogs and cats are more likely to show problem urine marking behaviour and territorial or competitive aggression. Female cats and dogs need to be protected from accidental mating whilst “on heat”, and can suffer from false pregnancy afterwards.

Desexing your pet will also prevent testicular tumours in males, and uterine cancers or infections (pyometra) in female animals.

Cats are best desexed around 4-6 months old. Small-to-medium dogs may be desexed around 6-10 months old, but it is generally recommended to delay the procedure in larger breed dogs to 12-18 months old to allow optimal joint development.

Parasite Control

There are many parasites that can not only cause uncomfortable irritations to our pets but also cause ill health and disease. It is important to protect your pet against these internal and external parasites with regular treatments and preventatives. Depending on your pet’s breed and size, there are a wide range of products available and we recommend speaking to one of our team members about which product would best suit you and your pet.

Diet

It’s important to ensure your pet is on a complete, balanced diet that is appropriate for their species and age (and any special health requirements they may have).

Whilst dogs are considered omnivores, cats are obligate carnivores and require a meat-based diet with taurine supplementation to maintain proper health.

Puppies and kittens should be on a diet designed for growth, with higher levels of protein and fat, and increased levels of balanced calcium and phosphate for bone growth. Most animals can then be transferred to an adult maintenance diet around 12 months old (or 18-24 months for large to giant breed dogs), to prevent unhealthy weight gain.

Most vets recommend the “veterinary brands” of food, as they are confident about the long-standing nutritional research that has gone into their development. These diets also come in “prescription” formulas to support animals with certain health issues, such as kidney disease, joint disease or food allergies. 

However, if you would prefer to offer your pet a home-cooked or raw diet, it’s best to ask your vet for a recommendation for a qualified veterinary nutritionist, to ensure the diet you are offering is balanced and complete. Many meats available for purchase via the supermarket or butcher do not meet the nutritional requirements for our pets and, if fed raw, can contain bacteria that can cause gastritis.

Covering these basics of routine health care will help to set your pet up for a lifetime of good health!

Tips for Medicating Your Pet

Many common veterinary treatments, such as worming products and antibiotics, require owners to regularly administer oral medications to their pet. Whilst some pets will obligingly allow tablets to be popped down their throat, or at least eat them in food, other pets can prove more difficult. Here are some vet techniques for successfully medicating those trickier pets, with less stress!

How to “hide” a tablet

Try masking the flavour and smell of tablets with a tasty coating. For cats, coat the tablet with a thin layer of cream cheese or semi-melted butter, and briefly refrigerate it to set the tablet inside. For dogs, cream cheese, peanut butter or vegemite can be good options, or try embedding the tablet in a small tasty meat treat.

It helps to get some decoy treats ready too, so you can feed your pet a few treats to set a rhythm, and then administer the medicated treat closely followed by another treat. This distracts your pet from the fact that a tablet is being administered, and gives some positive reinforcement for cooperative behaviour.

If your pet learns how to eat the tasty coating and spit out the tablet, you will need to learn how to “pill” them instead (i.e. administer the tablet directly into their throat).

How to restrain your pet for “pilling”

Learning how to perform effective, gentle restraint of your pet is very important – it allows you to quickly administer medications with less stress to your pet and reduced risk to yourself should your pet become uncooperative.

For wriggly cats or small dogs, consider any of the following techniques:

  • Wrapping them firmly in a thick blanket with their head popping out the top – often called a “purrito” for cats!
  • Kneeling on the ground with them gently trapped between your thighs.
  • Sitting them on a table, pressed back against your chest, whilst you hold around their shoulders.

For larger dogs, it’s generally best if someone gives them a firm “hug-hold” around their chest (whilst your dog stands or sits on the ground). Alternatively, try backing your dog into a corner, and get them to sit – this way they can’t back up when you start to administer the tablet.

How to administer a pill

A great starting point is to watch the Dechra Veterinary Products video, “How to pill a cat” on YouTube. If you don’t feel confident putting your fingers near your pet’s mouth, consider usage of a “Pill Popper” – check out the iCatCare video “Giving a cat a tablet – using a pill popper” on YouTube to learn more.

It also helps to have 2-3ml of water in a syringe close to hand, so you can quickly give your pet a drink as soon as you’ve “pilled” them. This will help them to swallow the tablet. Make sure to give them a tasty treat afterwards as compensation!

If you’re having trouble medicating your pet, have a chat with your friendly veterinary team! We can help you administer medications to your pet, or suggest an alternative treatment instead.

Warm weather hazards

We all love spending time outdoors on these long summer days, and our pets are no exception! The increased activity is great for their mental and physical health. To prevent some common warm-weather hazards from raining on your pet’s parade, follow these summer safety tips!

Heat stress
In hot weather, cats and dogs can be at risk of dangerous overheating. This can lead to heatstroke, a potentially fatal condition where your pet goes into a cardiovascular shock state, putting them at risk of brain, kidney, liver or heart damage.

Certain pets may be at more risk of overheating, due to reduced ability to cool themselves naturally. These include snub-nosed pets, pets with thick coats, overweight animals and animals with pre-existing respiratory issues. 

To protect your pet from overheating in hot weather:

  • Ensure they always have access to shade and cool water.
  • Only exercise your pet in the cooler early morning and evening, and keep exercise light.
  • Stop exercising your pet if they are panting heavily.
  • Never leave your pet in a car unless the air-conditioning is running and they have adult supervision.
  • On hot (over 28°C) or very humid days, keep your pet indoors with a fan or air-conditioning (especially important for at-risk pets).

Water safety
If you’re bringing your dog along for some fun water activities, it’s important to follow basic water safety guidelines as you would for a young child. Make sure your pet can only access pools under adult supervision. Not every dog is automatically a competent swimmer, so if your dog doesn’t have prior water experience, fit them with a dog life jacket, and introduce them to the water slowly. And remember, swimming is hard work! Help your dog out of the water promptly for a rest if they seem tired or are panting heavily.

Sun safety
Pets can get sunburnt just like us, particularly those with areas of pink skin on their noses, ears or bellies. Repeated sun damage can lead to nasty skin cancers, so regular protection against sunburn is best. In summer, prevent at-risk pets from sunbathing between 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. If they’re going to be outside during these hours, regularly apply a pet-safe sunscreen.

Grass seeds
From spring to summer, the grasslands in suburban and rural areas produce copious amounts of grass seeds. Some of these seeds are very sharp with backwards-facing barbs, which can get caught in your pet’s fur and embed painfully into their eyes, ears, paws or skin. From there, the seeds can migrate surprisingly deeply and cause infection. Pets may require surgical removal of seeds under anaesthetic, and sometimes  in rare occasions with specialist CT or MRI to ascertain the location of particularly deep seeds. (including ones that migrate into the abdomen and brain!)

Help prevent issues by keeping your pet well-groomed during spring and summer, with weekly brushing to remove excess undercoat, and trimmed fur around their face, ears and paws.

Provided your pet safely avoids these warm weather hazards, we’re sure they’re going to love joining their favourite person (you!) for some fun summertime activities.

Holidaying with your pet

Holidaying with your pet

Is your pet joining you for a Christmas holiday trip? Here are some basic pet travel guidelines to keep everyone merry!

Making a list and checking it twice

  • Pets away from home can easily get disoriented and lost. Before you travel, check that your pet’s microchip registration details are up-to-date. If you are unsure, use petaddress.com.au to find which registry your pet is registered with and then visit the website. Click on the owner link and type in your friends microchip number. It’s safest to make sure your pet is also wearing an ID tag or collar marked with your best contact number. 
  • Think about everything your pet will need for the trip. This often includes a secure carrier or collar/harness and lead, plus bowls, your pet’s regular food, some familiar comfortable bedding and a few “keep busy” toys or treats. If you’re bringing your cat, don’t forget to pack cat litter and a tray. For dogs, bring a decent supply of poo bags.
  • If you know your pet gets sick or stressed on car journeys, please contact us to discuss the safest options for relief medications. Mildly anxious pets may benefit from starting on a calming natural supplement like Zylkene several days prior to travel.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient supply of any regular medication your pet takes and that they’re up-to-date with parasite prevention and vaccinations.
  • If you’re travelling up the east coast of Australia make sure your pet is on a tick preventative. Ticks have travelled as far down as the coast of Victoria and are easily picked up by pets in grass and around water sources.

For the sleigh ride

  • Encourage your pet to go to the toilet before starting your journey, so they’re more likely to rest comfortably. It’s best to avoid giving your cat or dog a large meal for several hours prior to travel to reduce the potential for car-sickness.
  • 15 minutes prior to travel, apply a calming pheromone spray onto your pet’s travel bedding. For pheromone sprays, use: Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. This can help them to feel secure during the upheaval of their normal environment and routine. Collars of these products are also available and last for one month once applied.
  • For everyone’s safety, ensure your pet is properly secured in the car. For most dogs, the safest option is usually restraint on the back seat using a safety-tested car harness and seatbelt attachment system. For cats or small dogs, it’s best to use a properly-secured travel crate. Check that the crate is large enough for your pet to stand up and lie down in comfortably, and has good airflow to prevent overheating.
  • Every two hours, stop to offer your pet some water and take dogs for a toileting walk. For long trips with a cat, it’s best to plan in advance for toileting stops at least every four hours, somewhere that you can set up a litter tray for them in a safe, confined area. Cats in unfamiliar environments may be too worried to pass urine for up to twelve hours, but it’s best to offer opportunities all the same.

If you have any concerns about taking your pet on holiday, please don’t hesitate to phone our friendly team for advice.