Waterside Safety

Some pets love to get involved in fun water activities when the weather heats up.

Whether you are going to the beach, a river, a lake, on a boat, or just staying at home by the pool, these waterside safety tips will help you, and your pet enjoy the warm weather safely.

Look out for oysters!

Their sharp shells can cause deep cuts to skin and paws that can be incredibly painful for your pet, requiring stitches and potentially antibiotics to ward off any nasty infections.

Prevent scavenging

There are some wonderfully smelly things your pet might find by the water that can be very dangerous if ingested, including dead fish and other animals (some can be toxic!), discarded fishing items, rubbish, and more. If you see any of these items lying around, please pick them up and dispose of them properly to save other pets or native animals from finding them.

Fishing hooks & line

Leftover, poorly discarded bait & gutted fish can cause gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Often, these tasty morsels may also include a fishing hook or line, which has a high potential of significant medical problems if ingested. Fishhooks can become stuck in the oesophagus (food pipe) or stomach. This will usually require the hooks to be removed endoscopically or surgically.

Carry fresh water

Prevent your pet from drinking salt or stagnant water and offer them fresh water to avoid them getting sick. Excess salt will lead to dehydration and can cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Stagnant water can host all sorts of nasties, like waterborne diseases and parasites.

Seaweed & Kelp

Do not let your pet play with or eat seaweed and kelp. Ingested seaweed and kelp can lead to intestinal blockages, which can be fatal if not surgically removed in severe cases.

Shoreside critters

There are many animals and plants that live around water – some toxic. Ingesting, licking, being bitten, or stung by one of these organisms will not only be painful but present problems for your furry friend.

Algae

Algal blooms are common in stagnant water, especially over the warmer months when the conditions are just right. Blue-green algae, and many other types, are toxic to cats and dogs when ingested.

Life jackets

If there is a chance your pet could end up in deep water on a day out, investing in a life jacket may prove to be very beneficial.

Wash your pet

Make sure to wash your pet after playing in the water. Washing off salty water and river water is essential to ensure there are no nasties in your pet’s coat or irritating their skin.

Beware of pools

Pool covers present a very serious danger - if your pet falls in, they may become trapped and could drown. Pets can often struggle to get out of the pool if they fall in, also leading to drowning. Never leave your pets unsupervised around the pool.

 

Speak to your vet if you have questions or concerns about any of the above hazards.

If you suspect your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t or has suffered an injury by the water, give your vet a call right away for help!


Hot Weather & Heatstroke

We all love spending quality time with our pets on a hot summer’s day. However, we need to stay vigilant in summer, as the warmer weather can expose our pets to several dangers.

One of these dangers is heatstroke. Heatstroke, or hyperthermia, occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises rapidly. It is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.

There are several causes for heatstroke, including:

  • Being left in a hot car,
  • Being left outdoors during extreme heat,
  • Not having enough shade and water when outdoors,
  • Exercising in hot weather.
  • It is important to know the signs of heatstroke - even if you avoid all the above.

Your pet may show some or all of the below symptoms:

  • Excessive panting,
  • Restlessness,
  • Drooling excessively,
  • Becoming unstable on their feet,
  • Their gums turn a bluish-purple or bright red colour.

If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms, you must take them to a vet immediately.
Make sure to cool your pet while you are on your way to see us.
The most effective way to cool your pet is by using a fan or air-conditioning. You can also use a damp towel or a spray bottle filled with water to cool them lightly. It is important not to submerge your pet in ice-cold water, as this could be detrimental to their recovery.

Other warm-weather tips:

  • In hot weather, it is also essential to keep your pet’s feet in mind – if the pavement is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your pets! Keep them inside, walk in the shade, or use pet socks/shoes if it's not possible to keep them off hot surfaces.
  • Always ensure there are plenty of cool places with shade and fresh water for your pet to access on hot days. Never leave them unattended in a car, even if the windows are down.
  • Before the weather gets too warm, book your pet in for a groom to remove any unnecessary shedding hair, and a trim where suitable. Do not shave your pet’s coat yourself – some breeds require their coats to help regulate body temperature.
  • Brachycephalic dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke and can develop serious health issues quickly due to their inability to pant efficiently. If you own a brachycephalic dog (a dog with a flattened face, such as a French or English bulldog, Pug, Boston terrier, Pekinese, Boxer, etc.), please be very mindful of their whereabouts on a hot day, and keep an eye out for any of these symptoms.

If you think your pet is suffering heatstroke, or you want to know more about how to prevent it, call your vet clinic today!


Spring cleaning hazards

Springtime is the perfect time to shake off those winter blues and freshen up our homes for the busier, warmer months ahead. While we are clearing out and cleaning up, some of the products and tools we use potentially threaten our pets if not handled properly!

Check out some of the issues that can occur for our furry and feathered friends when they come into contact with common household cleaning chemicals:

  • Ensure that any cleaning products you use are out of reach of your pets and stored securely, so they don’t end up accidentally ingesting any poisons. Also, be aware of where you’ve cleaned with a harsh chemical – sometimes, when dry, the residue might taste appealing to your pet.
  • Do not use aerosol sprays around pets, especially birds! Move the animals to another room altogether to avoid them breathing in any chemicals or particles.
  • Ensure that pet’s food and water supply is also clear of any chemicals you may be spraying – droplets and particles can easily contaminate food and water, leading to ingestion later on.
  • When disposing of chemicals or their container, be sure your pet cannot access the rubbish bin.
  • Bottle caps, elastic bands, plastic bags, sponges, and other scrubbing implements can become choking hazards, should they fall into the wrong paws! Make sure these are stored safely and out of reach of your pet.
  • When airing out your home for a clean, make sure that all window and door screens are secure and that your indoor pet cannot sneak out unnoticed!
  • Mops, sponges, and brooms can appear like a fun, interesting new toy for a playful puppy or curious kitten! Be sure to keep your fur-baby away from these to avoid any loose bristles being eaten.

If you suspect your pet has ingested or inhaled any cleaning poisons, call your nearest vet clinic immediately.

The following symptoms are signs your pet could be poisoned and seriously ill:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive sneezing and/or coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

If you have any questions or concerns, please call your local vet clinic immediately.


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.