Santa's Naughty List: Christmas Dangers for your pet

While we celebrate Christmas and indulge in the holiday season, it is important to remember to be mindful of our furry family members.

There are many dangers both obvious and not so obvious that your pet can encounter this holiday season, below is a list of some of the things to keep aware of.

Christmas pet dangers infographicChocolate

Make sure not to leave chocolate where it can be easily reached by your pet - like under the Christmas tree!

Candles

Don't leave lit candles unattended. Better yet, ensure your pet is securely in a safe place if you have candles lit.

Snow Globes

Snow globes can easily fall from shelved and break, especially with curious cats around. Broken glass on the floor and be a major hazard for your pet.

Tinsel

While not poisonous, tinsel can still be very harmful if eaten by your pet.

String Lights

There are multiple dangers for a pet with Christmas lights. They may get tangled in them or may receive electric shocks.

Grapes and Sultanas

Everyone loves a good fruit cake at Christmas. However, grapes and sultanas are toxic for dogs. Keep this out of their reach.

Onion and garlic

Large quantities of onion and garlic are toxic to dogs if ingested. Keep an eye on what your pet is eating.

Heatstroke

With Christmas time also comes the hot weather. On very hot days make sure your pet has a cool place to stay, lots of water and don't exercise them too much.

Holly

Mistletoe and holly berries are toxic to pets. Keep these plants out of reach of your pets.

Artificial Sweetener

Sugar-free foods are still not necessarily good for your pets. If your pet ingests artificial sweeteners, it can be fatal.

Bones

Dogs can only chew on raw bones, never feed cooked bones as these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.

Costumes

We don't recommend dressing your pet in a costume, however, if you choose to, make sure they are monitored at all times. If they are visibly uncomfortable, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Be mindful of decorations that are dangling or within reach of pets, these can be a choking or injury hazard.

House Guests

Your pets may get stressed or ever excited with frequent or new visitors. Make sure that you keep an eye on how your pet is feeling. Keep your pets in a secure place if they don't like it when guests are over. ­­


Vet holding dog and cat

Focus on worms

Both dogs and cats need to be regularly treated for worms. The most common form of worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Most of the time your pet can be infected with worms without you even knowing. Because of this, both dogs and cats worming schedules should be followed closely to prevent them from infection.

In this article, we will explore the different types of worms that can infect your pet.

Vet holding dog and cat
It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet

Roundworms

This is the most common type of worm in both dogs and cats. Adult roundworms live in the intestines of our pets and can produce 200,000 eggs per day. Many pets don’t show any signs of being infected, however in major cases of infection the symptoms are:

  • Rapid breathing, nasal discharge and cough, sometimes pneumonia
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Poor overall condition, weight loss and a poor coat
  • Faeces with spaghetti-like worms up to 18cm

Whipworms

Whipworms aver 4 – 7.5cm in length and can live up to 1.5 years. Their eggs are very resistant and can remain infectious for up to 5 years in the environment. Whipworms usually only infect dogs and cause problems especially in kennels. Most infections are without symptoms but sometimes can lead to slimy diarrhoea and fresh blood.

Hookworms

These worms live in the small intestine and feed on the lining of the intestines and can be potentially fatal. Hookworms also suck blood which can lead to internal blood loss. In older animals, the blood loss may be chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.

Tapeworms

This tapeworm is largely harmless and is transmitted via fleas and sometimes lice. Cats and dogs can catch a flea and eat it, and in doing so can infect itself with the eggs of the tapeworm that are inside the flea. Tapeworm can grow to up to about 50cm but a pet will only show symptoms when there are many of them – such as diarrhoea.

How to protect your pet

It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet. Take note of their last treatment and when their next treatment is due to ensure that they stay protected at all times. As well as a timely treatment there are extra things you can do to keep your pet protected:

  • Disinfect food and water bowls regularly
  • Annual wellness checks with your veterinarian.
  • Pick up after your pet regularly
  • Keep their common areas clean

Dog playing with water hose

Hazards in the garden

When the sun comes out, so do the gardening tools and gloves. As many pet parents will know, some dogs and cats like to follow you and help out as you tinker around in the garden, or even laze around next to you while you work at the vegie patch. While gardening in the sun with your pet makes for a great day, there are many hazards for your pet in the garden that pet parents should be mindful of.

Dog playing with water hose
There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested

Poisonous Plants

There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested. Some common plants that you should avoid around your pet are:

  • Lilies
  • Aloe Vera
  • Daffodils
  • Carnations
  • Baby’s breath
  • Hydrangeas
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Nightshade
  • Tulips

For an extensive list, please click here.

Rat and Bug Poison

Warmer weather brings the bugs out in force. Using poison to get rid of bugs or rodents poses a big threat to your pets. There are multiple chemicals in these types of poison that if ingested by your pet, can lead to neurological and physical symptoms.

Common symptoms that may point to your pet ingesting rodent or bug poison are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired movement
  • Paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs
  • Slight muscle tremors
  • Large doses can also cause seizures

While some brands of poison claim to be pet friendly, it is best to steer clear of it all together if you have any pets in the house. If you suspect your pet has ingested toxic materials, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Fruit seeds and stones

While your fruit trees may begin to bare its seasonal fruit, it is important to remember that as fruits fall to the ground, your pets may have easy access to these fruits. The inedible parts of fruits, such as stems and pips can cause problems for your pet if they decide to investigate and eat them.

Some pips can damage the oesophagus and cause your pet pain. If the pip makes it to the stomach, depending on the size, it may cause an obstruction that could potentially lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Fruits with hard stones can also cause painful tooth fracture if your pet bites into it. Fruits to be aware of are:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Peaches

Gardening Tools

Leaving your tools our overnight, or even when you pop back inside for lunch, can post a risk to the safety of your pet. Gardening tools can be sharp and pronged making it easy for a pet to injure themselves. Even if tolls are packed away, make sure they are put in a safe place that is locked and secure from your curious pet.

Plant and lawn fertiliser

Fertiliser products contain additives that can be toxic for your pet. Because there are a variety of fertilisers with different combinations of ingredients, the symptoms of ingestion may differ. In general, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivating, lethargy and abdominal pain. Ensure you keep your pet inside while you are working with fertiliser in the garden.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article in your pet, or suspect that they have ingested something toxic to them, make sure to visit your nearest veterinary clinic immediately.

List of dangers in the garden


Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign

8 Halloween Dangers for Your Pet

Halloween is a time to have fun and let your imagination run wild, also to eat yourself sick on chocolate and lollies. It is important that while we are having fun, we remain mindful of our furry family members and keep them safe and out of trouble. Here are some of the things to keep in mind for this Halloween season.

Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign
Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies

Chocolate

Chocolate is the obvious major hazard for Halloween. Even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic for your pet. If your pet ingests chocolate, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • General hyper-excitability and anxiousness
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Cardiac arrest

Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies and if there are children in the house, make sure they know the dangers of giving your pet chocolate. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, call your local veterinary immediately.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that is present in sugar-free chocolate and other consumables and is unfortunately very toxic to pets. Ingesting Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death. So even if your chocolate or candy is sugar-free it still may not be safe for your dogs. As a general rule, keep them away from chocolate all together.

Raisins

Raisins can be a common addition to many Halloween treats.  Grapes, raisins, and currants can lead to acute kidney failure in dogs if ingested. It is best to keep any foods with raisins or currants far out of reach of your furry family member.

Trick or treaters

While Halloweens in Australia does not see as many trick or treaters as America, you may still get a few knocks on the door. If you know that your dog does not like strangers or is a little too curious when there is a knock at the door, make sure they are safely secured somewhere far from the front door.

Costumes

Dressing up your pet can be cute and fun, and very instagramable! However, make sure you choose costumes that do not have parts that are dangling or small pieces that can be swallowed. It is best to keep a close eye on your pet while they are wearing the costume, and if they are becoming visibly distressed, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Whether you are having a party or turning your front year into a Halloween Spooktacular, make sure your pet is kept away from any decorations that have small parts that could be a choking hazard. If you are planning on using fake spider web, ensure that you do so out of reach of any pets.

Lost pets

Greeting trick or treaters means a lot of opening and closing of the front door, cat parents will know that this a prime opportunity for the stealthy trickster to make a daring escape. While this is hard to control, you can make sure that your pets ID tag is up to date so that they can be safely returned home if they do get out.

Candles

Candles are a great way to set the scene for your spooky Halloween get together, you may even bring out the Ouija Board to scare the pants off your guests. A dog’s happy tail or a cat’s affinity to knocking things off benches could be all it takes to turn a spooky night into a call to the fire bridge. If you have lit candles, ensure your pets are in a secure place far away from them.


Cat and dog in a spring field

How to tackle the spring allergy season

The warm weather brings sunny afternoons, backyard BBQ’s, beach road trips and, of course, allergies. As we get further into spring, more and more pollen fills the air, triggering allergic reactions for both humans and our furry family members. Here are some tips on helping your fur baby get through the season comfortably.

How do I know if my pet is suffering from allergies?

Whereas we humans get the typical runny noses and sneezing, pets generally exhibit the same allergies through inflamed and irritated skin.  You might start to notice red, irritated areas or even sores on their face, abdomen, back and thighs. This is usually coupled with increased scratching or licking in the affected area.

You may also notice the more typical human symptoms of:

  • Itchy ears
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling in the face, ears and mouth area

What do I do if my pet is showing signs of an allergy?

If you notice any of the above signs, it’s time to take your pet in to see one of our veterinarians. At the clinic they will take a though history and complete and physical examination and may conduct a series of diagnostics tests and use a process of elimination to establish what is triggering the reaction, this makes it much easier to treat and manage.

The most common reasons for allergic reactions in your pet are:

  • Fleas and other parasites
  • Food allergy
  • Environmental allergy

Once you know the cause of the allergy it is important to eliminate the cause if possible or manage the environment to reduce the symptoms for your pet.

How do I manage my pet’s allergy?

After seeing your veterinarian to determine the cause of the allergy, they may prescribe medications or administer medication at the time of the consultation. They may also recommend specially formulated prescription food or therapeutic shampoos. It is important to administer the treatment following the advice given by your veterinarian to ensure your pet is as comfortable and healthy as possible. There are some other measures you can take to manage the allergy and try to prevent it from returning or from the symptoms getting worse.

  • You may think about using an air purifier in the room where your pet spends the most time
  • Regularly vacuum rooms that your pet frequents and dispose of the vacuum contents immediately afterwards
  • Brush your pet regularly to remove any foreign contaminants and loose fur
  • Keep your pets bedding clean and change them regularly

Remember to always see your local veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your pet.


Cat scratching itself on grass

Surviving the spring skin symptoms

Spring can be a challenging time for pet parents and their fur babies due to a range of symptoms that can arise from the warmer weather, spring flowers and a high pollen count.  Your pets’ skin is usually the most affected by this change in season and can result in redness, itchiness and even lesions. We’ve put together a handy guide to surviving the season.

Cat scratching itself on grass
There are some measures that can be taken to prevent them from occurring

Types of skin issues and irritations

One of the key signs that may alert you to a skin irritation in your pet is an increase in scratching. The constant itch that can’t be soothed can be very distressing for your pet and may even disrupt their sleep and change their mood.

On closer inspection you might start to notice redness, swelling and dryness. These irritations can spread very quickly and can make your pet extremely uncomfortable. If left untreated, even minor irritations could lead to infection.

Prevention is key

While skin irritations can occur due to several reasons, there are some measures that can be taken to prevent them from occurring.

Make sure that your pet is treated regularly for fleas and parasites to prevent unnecessary skin irritation. On top of flea and worming treatment, your pet should be brushed and bathed regularly with an appropriate shampoo.

Keeping common areas clean and vacuumed can reduce the likelihood of skin irritations, as well as keeping your pets bedding clean and changing their blankets regularly.

If you notice any signs of skin irritation in your pet, book in a consultation with one of our veterinarians to determine the cause and the best course of treatment.

List of how to prevent skin allergies in spring


Man petting happy brown dog

Is your fur baby up to date with parasite protection?

It is that time of year for Spring cleaning and organising, a great time to add making sure your fur baby is up to date with their parasite treatment into the spring-cleaning schedule. Fleas and worms can be very harmful to your pet and cause them much discomfort. Here, we go through some symptoms to look out for and the best way to make sure your furry family member is protected all year long.

Man petting happy brown dog
Is your fur baby up to date with parasite protection?

Fleas are parasites that live externally on the skin of an infested animal. Flea’s bite in order to draw blood from their host, this can be irritating and painful to animals while also causing damage to their skin.

Adult fleas are small, dark insects visible to the naked eye who move quickly around the host animal. While fleas are often difficult to see, ‘flea dirt’ (flea faeces) can often be seen in the coat or on the skin when the hair is parted.

How to know if your pet has fleas

Contrary to popular belief, fleas do not always cause excessive scratching. It is possible for some animals to show little evidence of flea infestation. Some cats will scratch at fleas only when they are not being observed. Other animals can be more sensitive and will scratch and bite intensely at the area, which can lead to infection. Your pet could also be allergic to flea’s, causing severe skin reactions.

Symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Redness of skin
  • Bald patches
  • Visible fleas on your pets’ skin

Signs that your pet has worms

While roundworm and tapeworm are the most common variety of infestation, there are many different types of worms that can infect your pet. Some worms are transferred via animals such as mice, rats or even insects like fleas, while others can be transferred through environmental contamination in high-risk areas where there is a lot of animal traffic such as dog parks.

Different types of worms tend to have similar symptoms; however, it is important to remember that your pet may not show symptoms at all!

Symptoms of worms in your pet may include:

  • Noticeable weakness
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Weight loss and
  • Abnormally swollen stomach

Managing fleas and worms

Prevention is the key to managing both fleas and worms in your pet. Treatments can come in the form of tablets or topical treatments that are applied directly to the skin. It is crucial to follow the instructions on your chosen treatment and that you are treating your pet at the proper time, whether it be a 1-month or 3-month treatment, to ensure that they are always protected.

We have put together a handy treatment schedule so you are 100% sure that your pet is protected, and you can track when they need their next treatment. Save the image and print it to hang up at home.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment so see one of our veterinarians as soon as possible to receive proper treatment.

Parasite Protection Calendar
Parasite Protection Calendar