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This Valentine’s Day Australians will spend a fortune on chocolate, and most don’t need the event as an excuse to indulge anyway. Chocolate is a favourite for many people, and though once much maligned for its high kilojoules, it’s now considered to be quite nutritious and provide various dietary benefits to humans. This is NOT the case for dogs, cats, and some other animals however, as for them chocolate is poisonous.

 

Chocolate’s toxicity for animals is due to the theobromine it contains which is something that we can easily metabolise but which dogs and cats metabolise much more slowly. This stimulant affects the central nervous and cardiac systems, and the effect of slow metabolisation is that it builds up in their systems and consequently becomes toxic. The type and amount of chocolate consumed is therefore relative to its toxicity, and the size of the animal is also relevant, with larger animals being able to tolerate larger quantities than smaller animals before becoming seriously ill. 

There are a number of different behavioural issues pet owners can face with their four legged family members, and several are not uncommon. Some require the attention of a qualified animal behaviourist, but in many instances your vet can help.

 

Animals’ behaviour is learned, and past experiences will have taught your pet how to behave in particular situations. Having the skills to teach your pet to behave differently will help you to address issues, and improve your pet’s behaviour. Addressing behaviour problems sooner rather than later will generally make the transition easier and simpler for both you and your pet. Following are some tips on how to deal with some of the more common animal behaviours, and they focus on the two most common pets, dogs and cats.

 

Don’t take any chances with your pet’s well-being. If you have any concerns about their behaviour take them to your vet so they can be checked for underlying medical issues. Your vet will work with you to determine the best plan of treatment, which may include behavioural training.  Any of the Vets4Pets hospitals can assist, and we can also refer you to animal behaviourists if necessary.

There could be tears from more family members than just the kids when it’s time to go back to school. Pets go through an adjustment to a changed routine as well, and an active holiday period with lots of company and fun followed by long and relatively empty days can be challenging for your pets. There are a number of things you can do however, to help take the edge off your pet’s loneliness and boredom.

Try not to leave your pet at home for long periods, and avoid emotional departures and greetings. Exercise them before you leave, and try avoid getting them overexcited when you return. Dogs with severe separation anxiety may require more complex treatment which involves a desensitisation and counter-conditioning plan. Under these circumstances we would recommend consultation with a qualified animal behaviourist.

If you have any questions about integrating a new pet into your home or issues regarding their health or behaviour, don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop by at any of the Vets4Pets hospitals. We’re here to help, and your pet’s emotional health is just as important as their physical health.

Who doesn’t love Australian animals? They’re some of the most beautiful and interesting in the world, and this Australia Day we discuss marsupials; They can’t be kept as pets but most people are familiar with them. They appear on coins and bank notes, and are amongst our most popular tourist attractions.

 

Our pets, who are inquisitive by nature and who generally can’t resist the lure of tasty smelling food, act first and think later, and that means there’s a good chance they’ll get themselves into strife during summer. One of the biggest risks to them is hot barbecues and at this time of the year Australians are firing them up, at home, on picnics and when camping.

Naturally we all want to involve our pets in our social activities but they need boundaries for their own protection. If you’re having guests, make sure that they’re aware of the rules for your pets too. Dogs can be more excitable with a number of extra people around therefore keep an eye on them to make sure they’re okay. If your pets are more reserved, or if they tire from the activity, be sure they have a safe, quiet, and cool place to which they can retreat. They should always have access to cool and clean drinking water as well. Being aware of barbecue risks and keeping an eye on your pets, means that they can safely join in the fun as well, and avoid a trip to the vet!

Vets4Pets works with the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League to rehome the animals in their care. The animals looking for homes are displayed on the TV’s in the waiting rooms of our hospitals. If you’re considering an addition to your family, why not drop by and take a look at the animals needing homes. You’re sure to find one that will steal your heart.

 

Alternatively, visit the RSPCA and AWL websites directly. As well as dogs and cats the RSPCA has rabbits, pocket pets, horses and ponies. At the AWL every animal for adoption is vaccinated, health checked, desexed, microchipped, wormed and behaviourally assessed. If you have any questions about choosing or caring for an adopted pet don’t hesitate to drop by or call any of the Vets4Pets hospitals.

Summer holidays are here and that’s when many Australians hit the road! Whether you’re heading off by car for a holiday or staying close by and catching up with friends, there’s a chance that your furry family member will be joining you, and there are some things to bear in mind to ensure their journey is safe and enjoyable too.

 

Fireworks can be terrifying for animals; They’re loud, they come without warning, and animals don’t understand what causes them. Similarly, thunderstorms can also cause extreme fear and panic and can lead to animals running away from their homes or demonstrating destructive behaviours. A panicked response to the noise also creates a risk of injury. As we head into New Years Eve, and Australia Day just around the corner, be aware of the potential impact these events can have on your pet, and the steps you can take to minimise them.

For humans, Christmas means seasonal foods, treats, and often overindulgence, but it can mean a confusing change of routine for pets. Their homes often have new obstacles due to Christmas decorations, unfamiliar visitors, additional noise, and of course numerous edible temptations. With some sensible planning and a watchful eye your pets can enjoy a safe and happy Christmas too, and the following are some things to be mindful of at this time of year.

With the longer days and warmer weather, we naturally start spending more time outdoors, and so do our pets. It means that we’re more active, but heat and increased levels of activity in our pets can increase the risks of heat exhaustion, or hyperthermia.

 

Hyperthermia is a rise in body temperature above the normal range. Heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when the body cannot accommodate excessive external heat, leading to organ dysfunction and eventually failure.

 

It occurs more commonly in dogs than in cats. It can affect any breed, but it is more frequent in long-haired dogs as well as short-nosed, flat-faced dogs such as Pugs, and Persian cats, as they are less efficient at eliminating heat. Elderly, overweight and sick animals are also more likely to suffer.

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