Category Archives: Cats

Winter Grooming Advice

We know how tempting it can be to ditch your pets grooming routine in a chilly Canberra Winter, but the truth is, grooming your pet is just as important in Winter as it is in the warmer months.

Grooming isn’t just about looking good and smelling fresh, It is essential in promoting good health and comfort for your pet.

Every pet’s coat is different and so are their grooming needs, it is important to make sure you understand how to look after them properly. If you are not sure about your pet’s specific needs, speak to your vet or a qualified groomer for more information. Grooming your pet for winter doesn’t need to be an ordeal, it can be an extremely simple and comfortable activity with these squeaky-clean tips!

Brushing:

Dog holding a slicker brush in it's mouth

Brushing your pet’s coat is extremely important for removing knots and preventing mats from forming. Keeping a regular and consistent brushing routine will allow you to bathe your pet less frequently. Brushing helps to remove dead skin and hair and distributes your pet’s natural oils throughout their coat. A smooth, well brushed coat is key to properly insulating and keeping your pet clean in winter.

Some dog and cat breeds have double (and even triple!) coats, so getting rid of tangles is a top priority for these breeds! Try to brush your pet every couple of days (depending on their coat) and aim to make it a routine you both enjoy by using lick mats, chews and other treats they enjoy!

Bathing:

Bathing guidelines are a little different, depending on your pet. When it comes to cats, most don’t really need (or enjoy!) a bath, if they are able to effectively groom themselves. Dogs on the other hand, typically need more frequent bathing.  Of course, there are special circumstances when you may need to bathe your pet more, for example;

  • If they are recovering from an injury or procedure and cannot clean themselves efficiently
  • Some hairless cats require frequent bathing, speak to your vet for advice.
  • They may need an unscheduled bath if their coat has become matted, stuck with something that cannot be cleaned naturally or even just rolled in something smelly. 
  • If your pet has dry skin or other skin conditions, they may benefit from less (or more) frequent bathing.

    When you do have to bathe your pet, keep in mind a few important tips: 
  • Never use human shampoo and conditioner! The pH levels are different to what your pet needs and can cause skin irritations. Make sure you buy a specific kitten, cat, puppy, or dog shampoo.
  • Check the temperature – pets can’t tolerate the same water temperatures adult humans can. Make sure the water is comfortably warm but not hot or cold – imagine you are running a bath for a newborn baby. Use the tip of your elbow to check the temperature.
  • Make sure to dry your pet properly after a bath. Whether this is with a hairdryer or towel, it is important to make sure your pet dries thoroughly. Leaving your pet’s coat wet can lead to problematic skin conditions, matted fur and can also cause hypothermia in cold weather. If your pet prefers to air dry after a quick towel rub, make sure you bathe them early on a warm day so they have plenty of time to dry in the sun.
  • Remember to keep an eye on your hair dryer’s temperature if you use one – these can get HOT!

Footcare:

Our pets need paw-dicures too! Here are some easy tips for looking after your pet’s paws:

  • Keep your pet’s nails trimmed – this will prevent painful cracked or curling nails and more serious long-term foot and leg damage.
  • Take your dog outside to walk on hard and rough surfaces like concrete – the rough surface will act as a file and help to wear their nails down naturally.
  • Trim your cat’s claws during winter – if they spend more time indoors when it is cold outside, they might be more prone to scratch household furniture and other indoor pets!
  • Keep the fur in between your pet’s toes trimmed neatly. If this becomes wet through walking, it may be slow to dry, encouraging bacterial growth that causes skin irritations and other issues (not to mention, it will become smelly!). 

Dry Skin

Just like us, our pet’s skin can become dry in winter too. This can be for a number of reasons (incl. parasites, cool weather or allergies) and may be treated with moisturisers, dietary supplements, regular grooming and if needed, medication (check with us before starting your pet on any treatment). It is important to check your pet closely for signs of dry or irritated skin – 

  • Itchiness (look for excessive scratching)
  • Dandruff, scabby and flaky skin 
  • Cracked paws
  • Hair loss
  • Increased oiliness
  • An unpleasant odour

No matter how big or small your pet is, proper winter grooming will keep them happy, healthy, comfortable and looking fantastic over the cooler months!

Have a chat with us today about grooming and any concerns you may have – you can get in touch by calling our friendly reception team on (02) 6230 2223.

Cat Containment – Environmental Needs & Enrichment for the Indoor Cat

Whilst there are already a number of cat containment suburbs across Canberra, from the 1st of July 2022 all new cats in the ACT are required to be contained to their owners home, or on a leash if outdoors.

Cat containment not only helps to keep your cat safe from dangers such as cars and traffic, snakes and cat fights, but is also crucial for the safety of our native wildlife.

Cats are natural predators and domestic cats have been shown to hunt and kill a wide variety of native and non-native wildlife in our region. Many Canberra suburbs are close to nature reserves, areas set up to protect native wildlife. Allowing cats to wander away from their home brings them into these protected areas where they can prey on small birds, reptiles, and small mammals.

Cats are adaptable creatures and with the right environmental enrichment, can live very full and happy lives whilst contained.

BASIC ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS FOR INDOOR CATS

Your cats basic environmental needs are crucial in setting your cat up for success in an indoor only environment. These basic needs can be broken down into four main pillars;

1. Providing a safe space
For a cat, a safe place is a private and secure area, often in a raised location. These features give the cat a sense of enclosure, isolation or seclusion. A safe place is one that a cat can retreat to so that it feels protected such as an igloo or a perch/hammock in a raised location

2. Providing separate key resources
This is especially important in multiple cat households. Each cat in your household should be offered their own food, water, litter trays/toileting areas, scratching areas, play areas, and resting or sleeping areas. Each key resource should be placed in it’s own location, separate from other key resources.

3. Providing opportunity for play and predatory behaviour
Cats need ample opportunity to mimic predatory behaviour such as hunting, chasing, pouncing and capturing in their day to day life. This can be achieved by hiding/scattering food, using puzzle feeders and implementing play with toys such as feather wands and teasers.

4. Provide positive, consistent and predictable human–cat social interaction
Cats are companion animals that benefit from regular, friendly and predictable social interaction with humans. Many cats prefer a high frequency, low intensity level of social contact with humans, a scenario that gives them a good deal of control. It is important to remember that you should never force an interaction with your cat. Let them initiate, choose and control the type of human contact they desire.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT FOR INDOOR CATS

Environmental enrichment is important to keep your pet happy, active and stimulated in an indoor only environment. Without environmental enrichment some indoor cats may become frustrated, bored and even stressed or destructive. Here are some great ways to enrich your cats life;

  • Consider investing in or DIYing a secure outdoor cat run so that your cat can enjoy the great outdoors in a safe and controlled way
  • Encourage foraging and hunting behaviours with food puzzles, games and toys
  • Provide a comfortable resting area close to a window that your cat enjoys looking out of
  • Hide your cat’s favourite treats around the house and let them use their powerful noses to seek them out
  • Provide multiple dedicated scratching areas/posts
  • Cats enjoy exploring vertical spaces. Placing hammocks, perches or shelves at varying heights are a great way to allow your cat to jump, climb and explore. Always make sure these are safely and securely fixed to your walls before allowing your cat access.
  • If your cat enjoys water play, encourage your cat to ‘go fishing’ for a ping pong ball or brightly coloured marble in a sink filled to a low level with water.
  • Some cats enjoy watching or listening to nature sounds on the television, try popping Animal Planet on the TV and watch how your cat responds.
  • Laser balls/toys can be a great way to allow your cat to use their natural hunting instincts such as chasing and pouncing. Always keep play sessions short and end on a high note before you see any signs of frustration or over arousal.

For further information or questions on the environmental needs of your cat, please get in touch on 6230 2223.

Further information on ACT Cat Containment laws can be found HERE.

Spring Safety Reminders

With the change in season comes a few new safety topics for pet owners to be aware of. In this article we will be covering four Spring and Summer related health topics;
– Grass Seeds
– Heat Stress
– Snake Safety
– Paralysis Ticks

Grass Seeds

Unfortunately with the beautiful spring weather and rapid growth of vegetation comes grass seeds. These seeds have a sharp tip and barbed end, allowing them to puncture skin easily and even migrate through the body. At Hall Vet Surgery we often see patients who have these little suckers in their paws, ears, eyes, nostrils and even genitals, ouch!

The best way to avoid grass seeds is to avoid long grass, keep grass on your own property mowed and don’t allow your pet to run through long grass on walks. If your pet has long fur, trimming their fur (especially their paws) can also dramatically reduce their chances of ending up with grass seeds.

For more information and a list of symptoms to keep an eye out for, see: Grass Seeds Information.

Heat Stress

Heat Stress is extremely dangerous for our pets, in severe cases it can cause irreversible damage to internal organs and can even be fatal. Unlike us, our pets unable to sweat and are not able to cool themselves as effectively. As pets rely on panting as their primary way of eliminating excess body heat, brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds are much more at risk due to their inability to breath and pant as efficiently. Pets who are overweight, have heart disease, are very young or very old are also at increased risk.

Ensuring your pet ALWAYS has access to water, shade and a well ventilated area is the number one way to prevent heat stress. Exercising your pet at cooler times in the day and not allowing them to over exert themselves is also extremely important.

For more tips and tricks see: Preventing Heatstroke.

Snake Safety

As snakes hibernate during the colder months the vast majority of snake bites take place in Spring and Summer. Snakes are commonly found in areas with long grass, rocks and other hiding holes, often near a fresh water source such as a creek or dam.

It is important to remember that most snakes will try to avoid you and your pets. However, whilst we humans may simply walk away from a snake, our pet’s are inquisitive, armed with natural hunting instincts and when given the chance, will harass snakes often resulting in snake bites.

The best ways to prevent snake bites are:

  • Avoid areas with grass any longer than ankle height
  • Always keep your dog on lead when walking, do not let your dog investigate off path/in long grass
  • Keep your backyard tidy, mowed and remove any rubbish that would make a nice hiding spot for a snake
  • Consider building a cat enclosure for cats that like to venture outdoors

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weakness
  • Collapse (can seem to ‘recover’ shortly after)
  • Twitching of the muscles
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Dilated pupils non-responsive to light
  • Blood in urine
  • Paralysis

What to do if you think your pet may have been bitten by a snake:

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep them as quiet/still as possible whilst seeking immediate veterinary attention. Snake bite envenomation is life-threatening, the sooner your pet is treated the better their chances of survival.

Unless you are certain the snake is dead do not put yourself at risk trying to identify it. Never attempt to catch or harm a snake.

Additional information on prevention and treatment of snake bites can be found, here.

Paralysis Ticks

Although they are small, paralysis ticks are not to be underestimated. These critters are capable of killing an unprotected pet within 3-4 days of attaching.

Prevention is far safer (and kinder to your wallet) than treatment, and is now available in lots of convenient options such as flavoured chews and long lasting topical treatments. Whilst protection should certainly be considered Australia wide in the warmer months, it is absolutely imperative that all pets are protected before travelling to the coast or to Sydney.

It’s also worth noting, not all ticks are dangerous. Bush ticks are occasionally seen locally but do not cause illness. If you find a tick on your pet, bring it with you to the vet to be identified.

Early signs to look out for include:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Staggering or wobbly legs
  • Breathing difficulty, coughing or noisy breathing, changes to the sound of their bark/meow
  • Vomiting
  • In later stages. collapse and paralysis

Most pets who are treated quickly for tick paralysis will survive, so please do not delay treatment.

For more information on any of the above topics, please don’t hesitate to phone us on (02) 6230 2223.

Weight Management In Cats

Did you know that obesity is the most common nutritional disorder seen in domestic cats? Many of us don’t even realise that our pet has become overweight as it often takes place gradually over time, yet we know that in some countries up to 40% of all adult cats are obese.

As much as we love to spoil our cats with a few extra biscuits in the morning or it can be tempting to give into their hungry yowls in the afternoon, the excess weight can have serious and detrimental effects on the health. Obese cats have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, arthritis and degeneration of joints, urinary problems and stones to name a few.

Not only does carrying excess weight have a negative impact on your cats general health, happiness and overall quality of life, it can also significantly shorten their life expectancy compared to a healthy-weight cat.

WHAT CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by an imbalance between the energy your cat is consuming and the energy your cat is using. Overfeeding, a decrease in exercise, high calorie foods and frequent treats or extras are often contributing factors. Other factors can include age, desexing status and medical conditions.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

Accepting that there is a problem and committing to getting your pet back to a healthy weight is step one. To understand your pets current condition, their goal weight and how to get there, we recommend booking an appointment with your vet. Weight loss should be gradual and steady in order to be safe. Once you know your pet’s goal weight, there are a number of methods you can implement to help them get there.

  • DIET – Proper nutrition plays a very important role in treating an overweight cat. There are scientifically formulated diets to help with healthy and safe weight reduction in cats such as Hills Metabolic and Royal Canin Satiety, you can speak to your vet about the best weight management diet for your pet. Use the correct feeding guide and measure out your pets daily meals with scales or a measuring cup. Make sure to account for any treats, dental chews etc. in their total daily feed.
  • EXERCISE & ACTIVITIES – Promoting regular exercise will not only assist you in decreasing your pets weight, it will also increase their overall happiness and quality of life. Promoting regular exercise for cats means providing ample opportunity for them to climb and play. Utilising cat trees and scratching posts can help to get them climbing and toys like laser pointers and teasers can encourage the use of their natural hunting instincts.
  • WEIGH INS – Regular weight checks will let you know whether you’re on the right path, allow you to adjust feeding amounts and also help to keep you motivated by showing you how far you and your pet have come. Give us a call to find a time to come and use our cat scales.
  • TIPS AND TRICKS – Move your pets food bowls further away from where they tend to spend their time to encourage them to get moving when they want to go to eat/drink. Rather than letting your cat inhale their biscuits straight from a bowl, disperse their food over a large area or use a treat ball to make them work for it! Swap your cats regular treats for weight loss friendly treats like Hills Feline Metabolic Treats and don’t feed more than the recommended daily limit.

If you’re unsure if you pet is a healthy weight or you’d like more information on weight management, please give u a call on (02) 6230 2223.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

Unfortunately, most veterinarians will tell you that Christmas is typically a very busy time of year at any emergency veterinary hospital. So with Christmas upon us again, here are some tips for keeping your pets safe (and out of your local emergency waiting room) as they join in the festivities.


Here are a few of the common Christmas hazards, posing a threat to your pets health:

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are dangerous to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and cooked bones.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.


Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is no safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. If you suspect your pet has ingested any alcohol please contact your vet. Symptoms can range from vomiting, depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and can even progress to coma and death in some extreme cases.

Overindulgence and Pancreatitis
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! Although it’s nice to give your pet a special treat occasionally, we must remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something outside of their normal diet, especially if high in fat, is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis (which often requires days of treatment in hospital, and can be fatal). It’s best to avoid the risk at all by asking all guests not to share human food with your pets, despite their best puppy dog eyes.

Don’t underestimate your clever scavenger pup, barbecues should not be left unattended and leftovers/scraps should be removed from the table as soon as the meal is finished.

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety. Nobody knows your pet better than you do, always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action. Pet’s who suffer from noise or storm anxiety will often become destructive and dig under or jump over fences in order to escape the perceived threat. Not only can this result in your dog becoming lost, they could also sustain injuries whilst escaping, or worse, be hit by a car.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from medication to help them cope through this period, more details here -> https://www.hallvet.com.au/2020/11/storm-phobia/


The Christmas Tree
Though seemingly harmless, the Christmas tree is the cause for a few common Christmas Emergency Vet visits, including:
• Tummy upsets after chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
• Obstruction or injury to the bowel after tinsel, baubles, ornaments, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.
• Electrocution is a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call either:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services in Gungahlin on: 6225 7257 or,
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra in Fyshwick on: 62806344.

We wish you and your furry family a safe and happy holidays!

August Pet Dental Health Month

Pet Dental Health Month is here!

Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 suffer from some form of dental disease?

Dental disease that is left untreated is not only painful for your pet, but can also lead to other serious health problems including infections in the kidneys, liver and heart.

At Hall Vet Surgery we are passionate about your pets dental health so for the month of August we are offering:
🦷 15% off all dental home care products
🦷 Free dental check-ups for new and existing clients
🦷 Free dental home care starter packs for dental procedure patients

Providing your pet with good oral care is essential for them to enjoy a happy, healthy and pain-free life.

Call us on 6230 2223 for more information.

Preventing Heatstroke this Summer

Just like us, our pets can suffer from heatstroke.
The difference? Our pets are not able to sweat, are covered in fur and rarely sit in an air conditioned office during the day.
This means that our pets can’t cool themselves like we can and makes them very susceptible to heatstroke.

Heatstroke is extremely dangerous, causing irreversible damage to your pet’s internal organs including their liver, kidneys, brain and heart.
Heatstroke can be fatal if not recognized and treated quickly.

Watch this video for the symptoms, prevention measures and treatment methods that we think all pet owners should know!

Patient Spotlight – Crookshanks the Cat

Warning: this blog post contains graphic surgical images 

Crookshanks is a lovely cat that came in to see us as she had been losing weight and her owners had noticed blood in her urine.  After running blood and urine tests we then performed an abdominal ultrasound. 

The ultrasound highlighted that Crookshanks had a stone in her ureter – the ureter is the tube through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder.  The diagram below shows the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

diagram source: Merck Vet Manual

When the ureter becomes blocked the kidney fills with urine and cannot empty.  This was also the cause of the blood Crookshanks’ owner noticed in her urine. 

On ultrasound a normal kidney is bean shaped, it has a light grey outer shell, and a darker middle area.  In the images below the kidney outline is circled in red. 

Here is an example of a normal ultrasound, the kidney is circled in red. Source: JSFM ultrasound of the feline kidney .

Below are ultrasound images of Crookshanks’ kidney.  Again, the outline of the kidney is highlighted in red.  The centre of the kidney is black, this is the urine that is building up because her ureter is blocked.  Her ureter is widened and full of urine.  The ureter is outlined in blue in this image.

Ultrasound image of Crookshanks’ Kidney and Ureter. Kidney is outlined in red and full of urine, the ureter is outlined in blue and is dilated, indicating blockage of flow through to the bladder.
The same image without outlines.

We followed the widened ureter down towards the bladder wih the ultrasound probe.  This is when we found the stones that were causing the blockage.  The ureter is outlined in blue, and there is a green arrow pointing towards the stones.

Crookshanks’ ureter is outlined in blue, the green arrow is pointing to the stone that was causing the blockage.

Crookshanks’ went into surgery with Dr Vickie Saye to have the stone removed.  The ureter is very tiny, only a few millimeters thick, so it was a very intricate and delicate surgery.  You can see in the photo below, the ureter is so small that you can only fit a very fine piece of suture material through it.  The photo was taken during Crookshanks’ surgery and the suture material was passed through the ureter to ensure that all stones had been removed and the ureter was blockage free.

The fine blue string like material is the suture material used to pass through the ureter and ensure there were no more stones blocking urine from travelling through to the bladder.

Two stones were removed from Crookshanks’ ureters.  They were very small only 1-2mm in size, amazing that something so small can cause such big problems.


Here are the two stones surgically removed from Crookshanks’ ureter. There were TINY, about 1mm in size.

Crookshanks required intensive care and monitoring after her surgery.  She was in hospital for several days. 

Crookshanks resting in hospital on intravenous fluids and pain relief in a nice cozy bed.

She is now much brighter and happier than she was before the surgery, as she is not in pain anymore.  She is even starting to put on weight.  She enjoys being able to join her sister McGonagall for walks on lead around the suburb. She will be on a special prescription diet for the rest of her life to help prevent the stones from reoccurring. 

Exercising the body and the brain, Crookshanks loves being well enough to join her sister for walks!

Casper, the kitty who didn’t learn his lesson..

Casper the confident kitty

Casper is a sweet, outgoing and confident 9 month old cat who loves to explore and play. Ever since he was a tiny kitten his family always thought he was more like a dog then a cat, his human brother and sister have even taught him to sit and wait for his meals just like a dog. Casper’s family live on a farm and he loves exploring through the paddocks.

Casper’s first non-routine visit with us was in November of 2018, after he refused to eat both breakfast and dinner (which was unusual for typically ravenous Casper) and then vomited too. On physical examination Dr Lesa found that he was painful when she palpated his abdomen, which hinted at the possibility of a foreign object in his tummy.

Casper was admitted to hospital to have an x-ray of his abdomen for further investigation.

Circled in red is a plug shaped radio-opaque foreign body

Another view of the plug shaped foreign body

As you can see above, Capser’s x-rays revealed a plug shaped foreign body in his abdomen. The safest thing to do for Casper was to perform an urgent exploratory laparotomy (ex-lap) to remove the foreign body. Dr Jenny performed his surgery the same day and removed a small green rubber plug-like object. Casper recovered well and returned home to his family the following day. The only mystery remaining, what on earth was the plug-like object that Capser ingested and where did he find it? His family searched and searched but couldn’t figure out where the object came from, they disposed of the object and life returned to normal.

Fast forward 2 months to the 30th of January. Casper began showing the same symptoms at home as he did back in November, vomiting and some loss of appetite. His owners, who are now well versed in the possible causes of vomiting and armed with the knowledge that he is known to eat things he shouldn’t, brought Casper back in for another check up.

Due to his history, Dr Gillian recommended that we repeat his abdominal x-rays.

Casper’s second lot of x-rays were almost an exact replica of his first, showing another plug-shaped object in his abdomen

You wouldn’t believe it but Casper’s new x-ray was almost an exact replica of the x-rays taken back in November.
Here are the two images side by side:

The whole Hall Vet Surgery team was shocked to see that it seemed that Casper had ingested something of the exact same shape, size and material as the first time.

Casper then underwent his second urgent surgery to remove a foreign body from his abdomen. Another successful surgery later and his owners were on a mission to find out where the mysterious objects were coming from.

Caspers whole family were out scouring the paddock from top to bottom to find any trace of the rubber plugs when they came across these..

They were toy bullets from Capser’s human brother’s Nerf Gun. It seems that Casper had been finding the bullets, chewing on the styrofoam section and accidentally ingesting the rubber plug from the end of the bullets.

We are thankful that Casper’s family has found the source of the foreign bodies and we now urge anyone with children and pets to be cautious of Nerf Bullets and the risks they pose to your animals if ingested. It is safe to say that Nerf Guns have been banned in Casper’s household!

Casper is back to his normal happy self thanks to his quick acting owners

If your pet loses their appetite, vomits or becomes lethargic it is always worth coming in for a check up. Casper’s quick acting owners may have just saved his life, twice!

Tips to keep dogs safe at Christmas

Safety tips for Christmas time!

As we head into the festive season and look forward to relaxing with family and friends, it’s a good time to give some thought to keeping our pets safe as they join us in the fun festivities!

 

Here are some potential dangers to watch out for:

 

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.

 

Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is NO safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. Effects will range from depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and even possibly loss of life.

 

Overindulgence
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! We love to treat our pets but we need to remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something different or high in fat is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can trigger stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and even pancreatitis (which can be fatal). Feeding cooked bones should always be avoided as these can cause bowel obstructions and constipation requiring intervention.

Don’t risk your dog getting treats from the BBQ or scavenging from finished plates. If you can’t ensure your guests will resist your dog’s pleading eyes, then you are better off to have your dog safely out of their way!

You need to take control here on behalf of your pooch, because they are not going say no!

 

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety.
Nobody knows your pet better than you do. Always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from judicious medication to get through this time unscathed. Please call us if you would like to discuss.

The Christmas Tree!
Now, we’re not saying don’t have one! We like the festive fun as much as anyone, but here are a few things to consider if you do.

  • Tummy upsets after chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
  • Electrocution is a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.
  • Obstruction or injury to the bowel can occur if tinsel, other decorations, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.

So to make things easy, here’s a checklist on how to make your Christmas tree dog-friendly this year.

  1. Cover or box around the tree stand.
  2. Plastic cover the electric cord for the lights.
  3. Plastic or non-breakable decorations (no glass)
  4. Decorations secured in place.
  5. Tinsel up high out of reach (or none at all)
  6. Secure the tree so that it can’t easily fall.

 

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

 

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services on: 62257257
Or
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra on: 62806344

We wish you and your furry family happy and safe holidays!

 

Reference to an article by Dr Claire Jenkins  Co-founder of Vetchat.