Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Have a Pet-Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a time of celebration, fun and cheer for humans. 

However for pets, it can be a time of change.

There will be more noises, visitors, as well as new objects and smells.

During this time, most pets will also be steered out of their usual daily routine which can be quite overwhelming for them.

Therefore it is super important that during the busy celebrations you take good care of your pet to keep them safe and stress-free. 

Here’s how to keep your pet safe and healthy during the festive season.

dog wearing reindeer ears


Whether it’s eating, drinking or spending, most of us overindulge at Christmas time. So do our pets! But while we may suffer no more than a stomach ache, the same can’t be said for our fur-friends. It’s perfectly normal to give your pets plenty of treats during the festive season, however there are several indulgent foods which can cause serious harm to your fur-friend. Let us take the stress out of your festive season by providing you with some foods your pets shouldn’t be eating this time of year. 

Click here to see 6 Christmas foods Not to Feed Your Pet Guide

Some pets will do anything to get their paws on Christmas treats so keep an eye on your animals and be on the lookout for any changes in appearance or behaviour. These will vary depending on the type of pet and food eaten. Signs to look out for include diarrhoea, excessive panting, lack of coordination, muscle twitching, poor breathing and vomiting.

cat and dog wearing santa hats eating christmas food


Although we tend to forget what the weather is doing outside when we are enjoying the company of guests, family and food the weather does not stop for anything or anyone. It is very important that your pets are looked after properly during the drastic changes of the weather to avoid bad situations. 

Ensure your pets are never left outside unattended and that you know where they are at all times. The right accessories such as sweaters and booties should be provided to your pet if you are going out in the colder weather. Even though they may have a large layer of fur, they still get cold like you!

dog wearing scarf in the snow


Many pets experience distress and anxiety during fireworks displays and as a result try to escape. Events such as Carols by Candlelight and New Years Eve which will often include fireworks, so caution should be taken during this time.

Do not punish your pet for exhibiting their behaviour during times of stress, instead attempt to engage, distract and reassure your pet that everything is fine.

Provide access to a safe area where your pet may feel more at ease. Animals usually indicate their preferences such as under a bed or inside a wardrobe. Allow it to go where it wants to feel safe. In saying that, ensure that fences and gates are secure and that your pet cannot readily escape through or over them.

dog with new years eve party hat on

Loud Noises & Overcrowding 

If you’re hosting celebrations this year, exercise pets before visitors arrive. This helps them de-stress, and makes them more inclined to nap once festivities begin. It’s also important to create a quiet, safe place for your pet away from the festivities, as even the most social animals will need a break. 

Inform your guests ahead of time that you have pets or if other guests may be bringing pets to your house. Guests with allergies need to be aware of the pets in your home so they can take any needed precautions to protect themselves.

Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door, so watch out!

dog lying on floor with party hat on


Greenery, lights and Christmas trees can make the holidays festive, but they also pose risky temptations for our fur-friends.

Most dogs and cats love playing with Christmas decorations which can lead to some serious problems. Some decorations can be swallowed and lead to serious intestinal obstructions.

Decorations, including candles should be kept well out of our pets reach.  A plastic or glass tree ornament may look like a tennis ball to a dog, but if one breaks in his mouth, it could damage his tongue and intestines. Edible decorations, such as candy canes, are also tempting, but could prove fatal. Hanging decorations at the top of the tree will help reduce this risk.

Sparkly ribbon, tinsel, tree lights and wrapping paper can also pose threats as cats may enjoy chewing and pawing these. If swallowed, gift wrapping materials can obstruct an animal’s intestines. So just remember to keep an eye on your pet when decorating your tree or wrapping up presents.

kitten with presents and christmas decorations

Are you a responsible pet owner? Find out what some of the most important rules are to being a responsible pet owner. Click here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?

There is much more to being a responsible dog owner than just adoring your dog.

Yes, adoring your dog is obviously important, however there is much more to owning a dog than you may think.

Being a dog owner is a very serious commitment that involves several vital duties.
It is crucial that you pledge to be a responsible pet owner before adopting a dog for you and your pup’s sake.

In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs, the following are some of the most important rules of conscientious dog ownership. 

woman kissing dog

Committing for the Long Haul

Once you get a dog, it’s not just like getting a car loan. If your dog plays up, you can’t just go trade them in. Getting a dog is almost comparable to having a new baby. You are 100% responsible for them for the next 15+ years and if anything happens to your dog, it is your duty to help them. 

It is very unfair and cruel to a dog if you decide one year in that you don’t want him or her anymore. Therefore, you must be in it for the long haul from the start.

lady hugging dog

Making Time for Your Dog

Bonding isn’t something you can do once and assume that it is complete. The bond with your dog is built during the first few weeks to months of ownership. And in order to maintain this bond with your dog, it is a lifelong process. 

Similar to any relationship, there needs to be continuous interaction between both beings to keep a healthy bond. Therefore, you must ensure you have quality bonding time with your dog frequently. 

man with dog outside

Providing Proper Identification

At all times your dog should wear a collar with identification including their name and your contact details such as your address and/or phone number. It is also very important that you register your dog with the council and attach a registration tag to their collar. 

Having proper identification on your dog can help you to easily be reunited with your dog if they become lost rather than letting them go to a homeless shelter. If your dog is not identifiable, there is a possibility that you will never see them again. To be even more safe, consider micro-chipping your dog.

dog with collar and leash on

Getting Your Dog Spayed/Neutered

Unfortunately, millions of pets are euthanized annually due to pet overpopulation.  You may be contributing to this problem if you do not get your dog spayed. In many cases when dogs are not spayed they will mate with other dogs and unwanted breeding can occur.

In addition to this, breeding dogs that are not suitable for it or that are not breed properly can be very dangerous and is illegal if you are not a registered breeder. It is very dangerous for dogs with health problems and/or unknown genetic histories to breed. 

You can help saves lives by getting your pets sterilized - so take this seriously! If, however your dog is suitable for breeding, you must take on the role of a responsible breeder and take the appropriate path to become a registered breeder.

dog with bucket on

Keeping Your Dog Healthy

It is very important to keep your dog healthy, just like you should keep yourself healthy. Ensure you always provide your dog with the appropriate food and portion sizes as well as plenty of fresh water. Your dog should have a place of comfort and shelter and be exercised regularly in order to satisfy their physical and mental well-being. 

It can sometimes be very hard to interpret if your dog is sick or in pain due to them not being able to properly communicate with you. Therefore, it is essential that you take regular visits to your veterinarian as they will be able to help you prevent your dog from health problems and/or detect minor issues before they become severe.

man and woman running with dog

Training Your Dog

Canine etiquette does not only benefit you and your dog, but others too. A well-behaved and properly socialised dog is less likely to upset and/or annoy other pets and people. It makes life a lot easier for you and your dog if they are well trained as dogs with bad behaviour can often create unwanted situations or incidents. 

It is most safe for everyone if your dog is properly trained as you can command them to follow the best behaviour in any given situation. Such as calling them back if they run far way on the beach or making them sit and wait when a new guest arrives in your home.

dog on leash sitting waiting for treat

Respecting Others

Really this is just common sense for the most of us, however there are still some dog owners out there who don’t seem to fully ‘get it’. It is common courtesy that all dog owners should follow by these rules:

1. When outdoors, keep your dog on a leash or within a fenced yard. If you are in an outdoor area where it is safe and legal to let your dog off the leash, you should ensure that you are supervising them at all times. Never let your dog roam the neighbourhood or get out of your sight.

2. Do not leave your dog outdoors if it has excessive barking behaviours. Excessive barking is not only unfair to your dog, it is annoying and disrespectful to neighbours. 

3. Pick up after your dog. No one (including yourself) wants to smell or accidentally step on a “gift” your dog left behind during your afternoon walk. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of it properly. For convenience, attach a small bag dispenser to your dog’s leash.

two dogs on leash

So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight. Find out here 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Signs that Your Pet Is Overweight

Currently, one of the top health concerns in pets is obesity.

Obesity in pets can result in serious health effects, such as reducing the lifespan of your dog or cat, even if they are only moderately obese.

Excess body fat can affect multiple areas of the body, including bones, joints, digestive organs and the organs responsible for breathing capacity. 

It is very important to assess and monitor your pets weight for the health and well being of your pet.

Taking a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your dog or cat’s life.

So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight.  

sad dog lying on floor

Your Pet Has Lost their Figure

When looking at your pet from above, you should be able to see some gentle curves on their back. There should be a gentle dip after their ribs (waist area) with a gradual slope until the base of their tail.

When looking at your pet from the side, the area just before the hind legs should view as though it is “tucked up”. From their ribs to their hind legs it should not appear as a flat line along the base of their belly.

It may be hard to view the shape of your pet if they have a heavy/long haircoat. If this is the case, simply run your hands along the outline of your pet as this should reveal these natural curves.

view of dog from above

You Can No Longer Feel Your Pet’s Ribs

You should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs by applying gentle pressure with your fingertip. If you are only able to feel cushioned body wall, your pet is probably carrying too much weight.

man holding cat

Your Pet is Food Obsessed

If your pet is constantly on the lookout for food, compared to a pet who is comfortable free feeding, they are more likely to be overweight. If your dog or cat loves to eat however needs to lose some excess weight, it is best to offer them low-calorie food and treats as an alternative. Treats such as raw carrots can be a great alternative if your pet loves a treat.

cat with empty food bowl

Your Pet is Uninterested/Unable to Exercise

A pet that is of optimum body weight and in good health are usually excited to go for a walk or to play with toys and their owner. If a pet is overweight they may have the want to play/exercise to begin with, however will soon begin to pant excessively or take breaks frequently in order to keep up with the physical activity. Carrying extra body weight can also lead to extra pressure on your pet’s joints, heart and lungs making it harder for them to exercise.

Your Pet Suffers More in the Heat

In addition to an overweight pet’s body having to work harder just to move around, overweight pets overheat easily. Fat is a great insulator. This condition is known as heat intolerance, and will put overweight pets at a great risk of getting heat stroke.

cat lying on chair

Support Tools for a Healthier Pet

Before taking action to guide your pet to a healthier lifestyle, it is best to work with your vet to rule out other medical problems that may be causing your pets excessive weight as some diseases may cause your pet to be overweight.

In most cases, obesity is caused due to overfeeding and the intake of high calorie foods as well as not enough exercise. In order to get your dog or cat back on track, it is best to seek your vet for a diet and exercise plan. Every pet is different and therefore require will require different diet and exercise plans to follow.

If you do think your pet is a little on the heavy side, start by trying to exercise them more, however only for short amounts of time. In addition to this, consider alternative foods if your pets current diet includes high calorie foods.

Is your cat trying to tell you something? Find out how to ready your cats body language here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Reading Your Cat’s Body Language

Is your cat trying to tell you something?

When she exposes her stomach does she want you to rub it?

Which signals mean ‘stay away’?

cat lying on ground

Their Eyes

A cat’s pupil will dilate when they are scared or surprised. A Vet knows that seeing dish-like pupils in a bright examination room means to beware. A constricted pupil could also mean your cat is feeling aggressive or tense.

Like a human’s, a cat’s pupil will react to light by dilating in darkness and constricting in well-lit areas, so it is important to take this in to consideration when reading your cat.

Your cat holding eye contact could be communicating a challenge, whereas slow blinking, having her eyes half closed, or sleeping is a sign that your cat trusts you. In a social setting, cats will often look at someone who is not paying them any attention.

cat looking up

Their Tail

A cat will often use their tail to communicate a message. A happy or confident cat will have their tail pointed straight up, whereas a tail pointed down could mean that they are feeling threatened or scared.

A wagging or thumping tail does not indicate the same feeling in a cat as a dog. If your cat’s tail is moving rapidly, it indicates they could be feeling agitated. On the other hand, a slow moving tail is a sign that your cat is trying to make up their mind about something.

When your cat is fluffing up their tail, they are most likely feeling threatened or in danger and is trying to make theme self look as big as possible. A cat with a fluffed tail is best left alone until they calm down.

cat lying down

Their Ears

Ears turned forward suggests that your cat is in a happy and playful mood, whereas if they are turned back they are likely to be feeling anxious or nervous. If their ears are flat against their head, they are feeling aggressive and possibly ready for a fight.

If their ears are standing straight up tall, your cat is alert and at attention. This will often happen when they hear an unfamiliar sound.

cat looking up

Their Body

A cat spread out on their back could be an invitation for you to rub their belly, however use caution when approaching them. A cat will also assume this position when they are feeling defensive, and may be accompanied by extended claws.

If they begin to attack your hand as you approach them, the best thing to do is to freeze. A cat is hard-wired to pounce on moving objects, and keeping still for a moment before retreating is the best thing to do.

cat lying on couch

It is important to keep in mind that these are only guidelines, and may differ from cat to cat. Nobody will know your cat as well as you.

Is your dog being territorial? Getting aggressive around other people/pets? Find out why this may be and how to stop it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Training a Territoriality Aggressive Dog – Back to Basics

Is your dog being territorial? Getting aggressive around other people/pets?

Dogs that are territoriality aggressive can be very dangerous and a huge liability for homeowners. If the behaviour goes unchecked it is likely to increase in severity and can put visitors and other pets at risk. 

Maybe it’s time to think about some basic training to help the well-being of your dog and for the safety of yourself and others.

dog snarling

Why is My Dog Territorial?

Like most creatures, dogs are territorial by nature. It is common for dogs to inherently guard resources and possessions deemed valuable to them. 

Some dogs are genetically inclined to have a greater aggressive tendency. This is due, in great part, to selective breeding for dogs that are best suited to guard us and our property.

Other underlying causes of territorial aggression can occur due to the lack of adequate, early socialization or handling exercises and underlying medical issues. Since there is most often a genetic tendency to territorial aggression, the goal is not to cure the problem but to control and manage it in an effort to decrease severity of possible aggressive displays.

dog with ears down


The subtlety or severity of aggressive displays or behaviours in response to a real or perceived threat can vary on a wide scale and include some or all of the following signs:
Freezing when approached
Turning away
Lifting of the lips

dog snarling


Territorial behaviour can become very dangerous if it turns aggressive. These tips and suggestions for training your territorial dog are a great starting point. 

1. Basic Obedience

Basic obedience lays the groundwork for troubleshooting problem behaviour, and basic commands can be incredibly useful in a tense situation. For example, if your dog has mastered the art of “sit-stay,” you can use it to keep them calm in another part of the house when someone knocks on the door.

Pet gates and a crate will also help as you’re working on the command. Even if you’ve already been through basic obedience training with your dog, a refresher will help both of you focus and bond. Aim for a few five-minute sessions each day, and be sure to make training worth it by offering rewards.

2. Recall 

Recall, or coming when called, is among the most important things you can teach your pup, and for a territorial dog for that matter. You should be able to work on recall anywhere, but if your dog is especially territorial in the yard, indoors is a good starting point.

Again, be sure to reward them for getting it right! You want your dog to know that good things come to those who come when called. 

3. Nothing in Life is Free 

Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can reinforce good behaviour by practising “Nothing in Life is Free” training.

It’s time to re-train your dog (and yourself) that all resources come from you. Again, start small: require your dog to “sit” before you reward them by putting the leash on to take a walk, or sustain a “down” command for a few minutes before being released to eat their dinner. 

Asking your dog to work for everything they want is a positive, safe way to remind them that you control the resources, and can greatly reduce guarding behaviour.

4. Quiet Down 

If you find that your dog barks when they sense a threat to their territory, teach them a command that means “be quiet.”

Don’t wait for your dog to be stuck in a barking loop in the backyard, before teaching them to calm down.

Start in a peaceful environment such as indoors, and gradually introduce more distractions as your dog becomes better at calming on cue. The idea is to reinforce a calm emotional state. This is a step beyond the basics, but when practised and reinforced, a “be quiet” command can help an anxious, territorial dog relax.

Training can go a long way, but while you’re still working on these basics, it’s up to you to reduce potential prompts. This may mean closing the curtains, feeding in a private place, and gating your dog away from the front door when guests are expected. Good luck!

dog sitting on lead

Has your pet ever done something out of the ordinary and you’ve wondered whether or not you should tell your vet?Find out when you should seek your vet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

4 Things You Should Be Telling Your Vet – But Aren’t

Has your pet ever done something out of the ordinary and you’ve wondered whether or not you should tell your vet?

It can be hard to identify when differences occur in your pet if you’re being over protective or just concerned and unsure.

In some cases, changes in your pet can be harmless, however they can also be serious and possibly life threatening.
So what should you be telling your vet on your furry friends next checkup? 

vet, dog and owner

1. If Your Pet Ate Something Unfamiliar

If your fur friend is feeling unwell, you should tell your vet everything they have digested including food, treats, chew toys, bones and things your dog may have found.

Don’t hide anything, especially if you think they have had anything toxic. Letting your vet know will allow them help. 

It’s not the end of the world if your pet ate something they found, however it is still best to inform your vet as it may have been something dangerous. Therefore they will be able to solve the issue sooner rather than later.

cat licking lips

2. Specifics – Not ‘Handfuls’

When it comes to your dog’s eating habits, specifics are key. Telling your vet, you give your dog or cat ‘about a handful or so’ won’t help in the long run.

Exact measurements will ensure you dog isn’t under-fed and suffering from nutritional deficiencies or over-fed and risking the chance of becoming obese and suffering from health problems that follow.

Spending a little extra time measuring your pet’s food will allow your vet to asses if you are feeding them the right amount. Just because your pet is hungry, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be eating more. 

pug food

3. Behavioural Changes

"Any change in your pet's behaviour from what it normally does is a reason to see your veterinarian."

Behaviour is what animals do to interact with, respond to, and control their environment. It is generally an animal's “first line of defence” in response to environmental change.

Therefore careful observations of behaviour can provide your vet with a great deal of information about your pets' requirements, preferences, dislikes, and internal states.

All behaviour changes should be mentioned when visiting your vet, this includes water drinking habits, appetite, playfulness, energy level etc..

sad dog

4. Unusual Symptoms

Much like behaviours, our pets will let us know if they aren’t okay through change in symptoms.

Honest communication is essential when informing your vet about how long symptoms have been occurring for –you won’t be believed when your dog has a huge infection and you say it appeared overnight.

One of the best ways to spot serious medical problems is by paying attention to what is going on inside your body.

Unfortunately, our dogs are not able to tell us when something is wrong. This is why you, as the owner, should always keep track of your pet’s symptoms and honestly let your vet know about them.

Specific symptoms you should be telling your vet are; vomiting, diarrhoea, persistent coughing, hair loss or itchy skin, fever, unexplained weight loss, distended abdomen, difficulty breathing and red eyes. 


Tired of being pulled along by your dog during your leisurely afternoon walk. Find out how.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to Stop Your Dog from Pulling on the Leash

I think we all know someone with expert-leash walking skills.

You know the ones that aren’t constantly being pulled or getting wrapped around trees. The ones that are able to easily enjoy an afternoon stroll with their pooch by their side.

So you may be asking yourself the question: where did I go wrong?

If you’re over being yanked along, it’s time you take back control of the leash and implement some training methods that’ll get your pooch walking like a pro in no time.

dog on leash

Before You Get Moving

  • Remove any distractions – train somewhere where it will be easy for your dog to focus whether that is in the backyard or even indoors.

  • Short, sweet training sessions are optimal. Keep the training anywhere between 5-10 minutes a day so both you and your pup don’t get frustrated.

  • Reward your pup with treats each time they co-operate with you. 

dog on leash walking

Steps to Calm Leash Walking

  1. For your dog to learn they need to stay on one side of you when walking, ask your dog to sit next to your left leg (or right), with their shoulder in line with you.

  2. Hold a treat in your hand to get your dogs attention.

  3. Step off with your left leg, while saying ‘heel’.

  4. As soon as he takes off ahead, turn around and start walking in the opposite direction.

  5. As soon as your dog catches up and reaches the correct position next to your left leg say ‘heel’ and get his attention with a treat.

  6. Repeat then turn-around each time your dog surges ahead and correct him by saying ‘heel’.

  7. Initially reward them each time they are in the heel position and walking by your side (this will also teach them to look to you for direction). As your pooch progresses, get them to walk for a longer period beside you before they get the treat.

  8. Enjoy your walk and continue to occasionally reward your dog for paying attention and walking with you. Once the behaviour is established, rewards can be in the form of treats, play or just simply a ‘good boy’ when they are doing the right thing.

two dogs on leashes

Are bones really safe for your dog? Find out the answers here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are Bones Safe for Your Dog?

It’s one of the oldest clich├ęs in the book: Dogs love to chew bones.

You have probably heard through the grape vine that feeding your dog a bone is natural and can help with mouth hygiene. 

In fact, the majority of bones are severely dangerous to your dog and can cause various health problems. 

So, the question here is, should you ban the bone altogether, or can you give your dog a safer option?

dog and bone

The Dangers of Bones for Dogs

The following health problems can be associated with dogs eating bones. These complications can occur in dogs after eating both cooked and raw bones.

Fractured Teeth

Bones are extremely tough and can cause your dog’s teeth to crack and in some cases, can lead to the need for root canals or tooth extractions. 

Oral Injuries

Bones have sharp edges that can cut the insides of your dog’s mouth, including their gums, tongue and other oral mucous membranes. Not only is this very painful for your dog, it can also turn messy. Bone fragments can also get stuck in their mouth and in particular between the molars of the lower jaw.

Airway Obstruction

The entire bone or part of it can become stuck in your dog’s throat and potentially block their airway, causing your dog to choke.

Gastrointestinal Complications

Serious damage can be caused when bones pass through the digestive tract. Pieces of the consumed bone can become lodged in the oesophagus, stomach or intestines and in most cases emergency surgery will need to be performed in order to remove the bone. 

If bone does not get stuck, it can cause irritation while passing through the GI tract and at the very least, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation can occur. 

Life-threating situations can also arise if bone fragments poke through the oesophagus lining, intestines, colon and stomach. 

sad dog

Are Any Kinds of Bones Safe for Dogs?

Your dog may love chewing on bones, however that does not mean they should be allowed to. 

The risks associated with feeding your dog bones applies to bones from all kinds of animals, including if they are raw or cooked.

However, cooked bones are of higher risk, especially those from poultry as they tend to splinter. 

The size of your dog is not a determining factor either; any kind of dog can be affected. However, it is obvious that small dogs eating large bones are at a greater risk.

Although you may have given your dog bones in the past without any problems, it does not mean you will not run into complications the next time. 

Is it really worth the risk?

dog and bone

Bone Alternatives for Dogs

Chewing is instinctively essential for dogs. Therefore, you will need to find a safer alternative that will satisfy your dog’s chewing needs.

No matter what you may choose for your dog to chew on, you should ensure you are always there to supervise.

Specially made dog toys (such as Kong), dental chews and other dog treats (such as Greenies) are great alternatives that will satisfy your dog’s need to chew.

 Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best options for your dog.

dog and chew toy

Keeping Bones Away from Your Dog

Be cautious when removing bones from left overs.

It’s best to take them directly to your outside bin (provided it’s out of your dog’s reach). 

Put bones in the foods that are toxic for your dog category and never look back.

If you think your dog has bone-related problems, ensure you contact your vet immediately. 

happy dog

Is your cat shunning it's litter box for other places in your home? Find out more.