One of the benefits of our growing use of online media is the availability of timely and important information, and over recent years there has been a general increase in awareness by pet owners of foods that are dangerous to pets - largely due to the attention they get in social media at times when the risks often increase such as at Easter and Christmas. Pets owners therefore generally know the dangers that foods such as chocolate, onions, garlic and raisins pose to their furry companions’ health, but less known is an ingredient called xylitol which is a serious concern year-round and is more common than many people think.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a substitute for sugar in many human food products but can also be found in other consumer goods. Xylitol consumption can be very dangerous for dogs but is less so for cats.
Not only do Australians love the great outdoors, sports, and living in one of the world’s sunniest countries, we also love pets! Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world and it is estimated that around 70% of Australian households have a pet and that there are more than 24 million pets in Australia.
A nation of animal-lovers
Dogs are the most common Australian pet and with an estimated 4.8 million pet dogs, there are 20 dogs for every 100 people! Cats come second, with 30% of households owning a cat, which equates to there being four million pet cats in Australia. Birds are also a popular choice of pet, and there are about 2.5 million other pets including companion horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and other small mammals.
Chances are that a dog is going to get hugged at some point
The other benefit of getting a dog to perceive hugs positively is that it may help to reduce their anxiety when other people try to hug them. In addition to interactions with children, dogs may find themselves in other situations such as grooming and handling where people try to hug them, therefore it can be beneficial for the dog to get used them.
Some dogs appear to enjoy being hugged which probably has to do with the dog’s personality, as well as the trust and depth of relationship the dog has with the person hugging it. If there is a loving and trusting relationship, then hugging may help to strengthen the bonds and provide comfort to the dog.
With the explosion of social media over the past decade, most of us by now have seen countless images of animals dressed up as people and funny objects. Whether it’s cats with witches’ hats at Halloween or dogs in Santa suits at Christmas, it seems that everyone is waiting for the next opportunity to put their pet in drag. Nobody could deny that there are some unbelievably cute and funny images out there, but how much fun is it – and more importantly - how safe is it for our pets?
All fleas want is a warm and moist home, access to a ready supply of blood, and to breed a very large family! Ideally, she would like to lay 50 eggs a day. And, there’s no place like home when it comes to fleas burying themselves into the fur of your pet. Unfortunately, you and your dog probably don’t feel the same way.
There are 2,200 types of fleas, some for cats, some for dogs, some for humans, some for all animals. In Australia, you need to be vigilant of flea infestations in your pet’s environment all year round, as well as have your dog on preventive medication.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is the feline equivalent of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Once your cat contracts the virus, it may go undetected for years.
What is the health risk of FIV?
FIV compromises your cat's immune system so that everyday exposure to what should be harmless viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause serious illnesses. FIV positive cats can live with the virus for approximately five years once diagnosed.
Cats most at risk of contracting the virus are undesexed, unvaccinated cats who go outdoors. The most effective ways to transmit the virus is to be bitten by a cat infected with the virus. Indoor cats are much less likely to become infected.
In Australia, we have a number of snakes inhabiting areas where people (and their pets) live. There are a few ways that you can try to prevent a snake biting your pet and there are some tips that will help you identify if your furry friend has been bitten, and act quickly to minimise the likelihood of death or permanent injury.
The good news is that most snakes want to stay clear of you and your pet. So, while you may have been near one, you would never know. The bad news is that dogs and cats (and other domestic animals) are very curious hunters and they may pursue a snake, which can result in a snake reacting and biting your pet in self-defence.
High on the list of the many cringeworthy things we hope not to hear at a visit to the doctor is, “I’ll need a urine sample”, but we accept it as something that’s important in the diagnosis of potential problems and compliantly retreat to the toilet, plastic jar in hand. Our pets’ doctors also recognise the importance of pee in the provision of invaluable health insights, and without it illnesses can progress and are sometimes too late to treat by the time symptoms become apparent.
This simple and affordable test provides the opportunity for your vet to check the health of your pet’s kidneys and urinary system and look for other problems in their organs as well as signs of metabolic disease. An animal may appear completely healthy and not exhibit any signs of discomfort or issues until they have gone beyond the point where the disease is treatable. An annual urinalysis can catch difficult-to-detect diseases in their earliest stages and they can be an important way to ensure that your pet is healthy and disease-free.
Most of us are familiar with microchips. They’re used for a variety of purposes including creating a permanent form of identification for pets.
Collars and tags can still be effective, but some animals don’t like wearing them, and there’s always the chance they can come off and be lost. Also, relying on this method means that if your contacts details change, you need to remember to get a new tag engraved.
Are microchips foolproof?
The effectiveness of microchips lies in accurate information being recorded against the chip, and people who find a lost animal getting the chip details checked. Of course, people may still respond to a notice that the lost pet’s owner has placed in various media, but microchips are one of the simplest and most effective ways of reuniting lost pets with their owners.
Often, we don’t think about our pet going missing until it happens, and it does… even with indoor pets. They can run away from a sitter, escape while you’re entertaining, or bolt during fireworks or a thunderstorm. Thousands of pets go missing every year, and sadly, many owners never find them. Minimise the risk of becoming one of them, by microchipping your pet and keeping your details up to date.
Don’t forget also, that microchipping of dogs and cats is now compulsory in South Australia. If you have any questions about microchipping, want to get your pet chipped, or you need to obtain your pet’s microchip number, please get in touch.
When the 8-hour working day was legislated in Australia in 1948, it didn’t include dogs, and we’re certainly lucky it didn’t. Being intelligent, loyal, and hardworking animals, dogs are suitable for many roles in addition to human companionship, and one of the areas in which they are used extensively is service. There are a variety of roles in which our canine friends excel, and they include assistance, rescue, and even lifesaving. Following are some occupations in which dogs have been working alongside us throughout history.
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