Settling pets during the scary season

As more Australians embrace the spooky season and don the ghoulish costumes to scare the neighbours, consider our four-legged friends with some tips about how to get them through this year’s Halloween.

Scary Treats: Trick or treating goodies may be delicious for kids and those that are young at heart, but some sweet treats could be toxic to our pet pals. Keep your pet’s paws away from the Halloween treats this year. Chocolate, particularly dark and baking chocolate, is a big no no for our pet pals, as are raisins which come in a variety of Halloween-style tricky or treating goodie bags. Also stay clear of gummies and lolly treats as these may include Xylitol, a sweetener that can induce vomiting and be life threatening for dogs. If you’re concerned your pet pal has ingested a treat that could be harmful, head to the vet for advice immediately.

Noise and strange visitors: It’s possibly the only time of year when we’re excited to see unusually dressed, makeup laden, noisy strangers come to our door, but our pets aren’t accustomed to what we’ve all come to understand as Halloween tradition. Your pet may be scared by the noises, costumes and general ghoulishness of Halloween, so it might be best to create a safe space for them in your home while the Halloween fanfare unfolds. Create a space with their favourite toys and familiar smells, and away from the scariness of Halloween.

Update contact details: When pets become frightened, there is the chance that they can escape the safety of their home and get lost. Before Halloween hits, make sure your pet’s microchip details are up to date, especially if you’ve recently moved house, and opt for an ID tag that your pet can wear for easy identification, so they get home safely sooner.

Cords and cables: It’s fun to set the mood with spooky lighting, but cables and cords snaking around the floor can been seen as a form of fun for pets, especially our feline friends. Make sure cables are securely tied and covered and, if possible, out of reach of pets to prevent them from chewing through the wires.

Costumes: Everyone loves a pet in costume and Halloween is another perfect opportunity to dress up our pet pals. However, safety should be the number one priority when considering a costume for your doggo or kitty. Make sure the costume is a comfortable fit around your pet’s neck and chest with enough room for them to move easily and run around. Always monitor your pet while they are wearing their costume as they might become tangled or ingest some of the decorative items such as buttons and ribbons. Grabs a few snaps and show off your pet in costume, but don’t leave your fur kid in their creepy threads for too long.

If you’re planning Halloween celebrations, keep our pet pal’s safety in mind and seek advice from your vet if you are concerned about your pet’s wellbeing.

Pet sitters in search of a place for celebrate the spooky season can head online to find their ideal position.

Supporting pets through thunderstorms

Thunder and Pets

Thunderstorms can be spectacular and yet terrifying events in nature. The loud noises, and bright flashes of light of a fierce thunderstorm can send chills down the spine of even the most heroic humans. So, spare a thought for our pet pals who might need extra comfort during these overwhelming moments of nature.

We can all understand that sporadic flashes of light and booming, crashing sounds during thunderstorms would trigger unease among pets. Many pets have highly sensitive hearing – in fact, dogs are said to have four times better hearing than humans! – which means the unexpected loud cracks of thunder can cause them distress and anxiety. Continue reading “Supporting pets through thunderstorms”

Protecting Precious Paws

Caring for pet paws

Across the globe, dogs and cats are by far the most common and popular pets of choice for many households. In Australia, an estimated 6.4 million dogs and 5.3 million cats have become the lovable fur kids of their homes. This translates to around 46.8 million padded paws pouncing, playing, and patting around the country – and that doesn’t include all the other pets with padded feet!

So, what’s the best way to protect these precious paws? Here are some tips: Continue reading “Protecting Precious Paws”

A Toothy Tale – Pets dental Hygiene


Animal dentistryDental disease among pets is one of the most common problems diagnosed by vets in Australia. Reports reveal that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of three are likely to have some form of dental disease which can cause them discomfort and pain, and potentially have more serious impacts on their long-term well-being.

Just like humans, pets need to have their teeth brushed on a regular basis. Regular teeth brushing will help keep your pet’s breath smelling sweeter, and it will also help prevent dental diseases such as periodontal disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay.  Continue reading “A Toothy Tale – Pets dental Hygiene”

5 ways to recognise National Pet Day

With an estimated 30.4 million pets delivering a dose of love, loyalty and companionship in households right across the country, it’s no wonder that Australia is known as an animal-loving nation.

National Pet Day in Australia is celebrated on April 11, and it’s a time to recognise the role pets play in our lives each and every day. Research on the benefits of pet ownership tells a clear story of ways in which our pet pals can help boost our moods, improve our health, and truly become a member of the family. Continue reading “5 ways to recognise National Pet Day”

Fussy and frightful eating habits

Fussy eatersOur pets can have the most bizarre eating habits. Some prefer certain textures and flavours over others, and some choose to ingest things you rather they wouldn’t. We’ve listed tips from Dr Jo Righetti from Pet Problems Solved to help you work out how best to address your pet’s interesting eating habits.

Fussy eaters – Just like humans, our pets can have a preference for one food over another. However, it can become problematic if they aren’t having a balanced, diverse diet to suit their age, size, and health requirements. It’s best to speak with your vet about your pet’s diet. Some smaller dogs can be pickier eaters, and so too can some cats. If your dog or kitty is noticeably eating only certain textures and flavours, try mixing their preferred food with one that you would like them to eat. Then gradually increase the portions until they become accustomed to the taste and texture. Continue reading “Fussy and frightful eating habits”

Those puppy dog eyes are hard to beat when it comes to leftovers

Pet Diet

We’ve all been tempted to sneak a morsel of meat to our wide-eyed, lip-licking, four-legged best friend under the table at dinner time. But are we doing more harm than good in giving them leftovers?

Animal Medicines Australia research reveals that a quarter of dog owners and one in ten cat owners give their pets leftover human food. Women are pegged as the main culprits of feeding table scraps to canine friends, particularly those in larger households and owners of medium-sized dogs.

But of course, the question remains… should we, or shouldn’t we? While overfeeding our pet-pals leftovers or making it a daily occurrence can have negative effects, Dr Simone Maher has said that it’s ok to give our pets leftovers if it’s more of a treat on a special occasion.

Of course, there are things we must consider when giving our pets leftovers. Specifically, if the food contains ingredients that are toxic to animals, such as onions, chocolate, macadamia nuts, caffeine, sultanas and grapes.

Studies suggest that more education and information needs to be available for pet owners to learn about the quantities and types of foods pet owners are feeding their pets.

When leftovers become a daily meal for pets or added to their meal routine, this can have significant health impacts, including leading to obesity, diabetes or pancreatitis.

Many of us want to share celebratory meals with our fur friends. Occasions such as Christmas, birthdays and New Year’s are all times when excess food might make it to Benny’s dog bowl. However, rich, fatty foods can’t always be handled by the gastrointestinal systems of our pet friends, which can lead to pancreatitis – a severe inflammatory disease.

When you notice that your fur-friend has increased in kilos and needs to go on a diet, eliminating the routine of feeding them leftovers is usually a good place to start. Speak with your vet about following a calorie-controlled diet that suits your pet’s breed and size to ensure they are on track for a healthy, long life.

Always seek advice from your vet if you have any health concerns about your pet.

When engaging a pet sitter, ensure all health-related information is shared and outlined to the pet sitter before they start the position to ensure your pet can keep to their usual routine.


Pet First Aid

First Aid

When our pets look unwell, injured or take a sudden turn for the worst, it’s the actions we take in the moments after realising that something’s not right that could end up saving our pet’s life.

We can face a range of emergency situations with our pets. They may have been involved in an accident with a vehicle, swallowed a toxic plant or substance, have something lodged in their airway, may be bleeding or burned, or experiencing heat stroke.

One of the first actions to take is to identify the severity of the situation.

  • Life-threatening – your pet requires immediate attention and assistance.
  • Serious but not life-threatening – your pet needs immediate attention at the vet.
  • Minor emergency

Australian Dog Lover provides a quick guide to pet first aid, which might be helpful to review.

The Australian Red Cross recommends regular health checks at home, so you understand when all is good with your pet and when you might need to take action.

  • Temperature – Cats and dogs generally have normal body temperature of between 37.5 degrees Celsius and 39 degrees Celsius. A higher body temperature could indicate a serious health issue and it’s time to take them to the vet.
  • Heart rate – Watch your cat or dog and note how many times their chest rises and falls in one minute. This will give you a baseline for what is normal for your pet and when they may be having trouble breathing.
  • Checking hydration levels – Some parts of Australia can experience sweltering heat. To check whether your pet is dehydrated, The Australian Red Cross recommends: ‘pulling up on the skin between their shoulder blades. When you let go, the skin should spring right back in place. If it stays tented this can be a sign of dehydration.’

There are several first aid courses and resources available. The Australian Red Cross offers pet first aid courses. There are also courses through TAFE and online and face-to-face options through the RSPCA. It’s best to check availability in your state or territory.

If you’re wanting a go-to guide when you’re out and about, there is also a first aid for pets Australia app that’s free.

Learning first aid for pets is a vital skill for both pet owners and pet sitters. Knowing what to do in an emergency will ensure you have the confidence to step up and take action which could prevent serious injury, long-term illness or even save a pet pal’s life.


5 pet play ideas for Spring

Our pet pals love to spend time with us, and Spring is the perfect time to embrace the outdoors for some quality fur-kid/pet-parent time. Here are some suggestions of what you can do to make the most of the warmer weather with your fur friend.

Go camping

It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by nature on a camping holiday. There are many caravan and holiday parks across Australia that welcome pet pals for holiday. Check with park managers for rules around pets that are allowed to stay. While dogs are generally not allowed in National Parks around Australia, check with your state-based park’s website to check for other options. For instance, there are regional parks in Victoria that allow dogs to join in the camping adventure.

Go for a walk or hike

As we mentioned, dogs and pets are not generally allowed in National Parks, and this is because we need to protect the native Australian plants and animals that find refuge in those environments. However, dogs are welcome in all NSW state forests, and in South Australia, there are 17 national parks where you can walk your dog, as long as they are on a lead for pawesome walk time.

Have a photo session

Spring brings a flurry of photo opportunities with flower buds blooming, greenery re-emerging after the winter and sun-filled days becoming longer. While some pet parents choose to book a professional pet photographer to capture precious moments with their pet pal, a compact digital camera or smartphone could be an alternative to capture candid moments on a walk or day out.

Combine exercise with social experiences

The start of Spring is always a good motivator for extra exercise. There are dog-friendly parks around Australia that include agility courses and obstacles to keep your pet-pal stimulated while also working on their fitness. These parks are also a great opportunity for your pooch to become familiar with other pups and people and learn positive social behaviours.

A Spring clean for your pet

Bathing and grooming might get a little overlooked during winter, so ‘Spring clean’ your pooch with a good wash, nail and fur cutting and overall health check-up. While this may not sound like a form of pet play, you can make bath time fun! End the wash with a doggie massage using pet-appropriate products and brushing your pet’s coat can also be a great way to bond with your pal.

Pet sitters walk, talk, groom and love pets while homeowners have to travel. Find a pet sitter to provide personalised care for your pet or become a pet sitter yourself!



Loving Lizards: Care tips


They may not top the list for ‘most huggable pets’, but lizards are wonderous creatures that can deliver companionship like no other. They are quiet and can be easy care creatures. However, lizards and other reptiles still require attention and affection to lead happy, healthy lives. Here are some tips and considerations to start your lizard-loving friendship.

Permits: Do not take animals from the wild as this can damage the native ecosystem and biodiversity. Lizards and reptiles should be purchased from licensed dealers or breeders. Permits are required to keep some reptiles as pets. There are specific rules and guidelines required by each state or territory, which are detailed on the NSWQLDVICSANTTASACT, and WA government websites. There are also minimum age restrictions for applying for a permit to keep a reptile.

Food: As omnivores, lizards enjoy a range of foods. Vegetables and insects such as crickets, cockroaches and snails make up a well-balanced diet for lizards. Like all pets, fresh water is vital and should be cleaned regularly – at least twice a week.

Habitat: Your lizard’s home should be draft and escape-proof. There should also be heating and lighting in the enclosure as lizards require heat to remain active and to help digest food. Monitor the temperature of the habitat, especially if using under-tank heaters, ceramic heaters, or basking bulbs to provide gradual heating throughout. Plants, rocks and branches will help your reptilian friend feel more at home and offer a place to hide and feel secure.

Holding lizards: Ensure you know your lizard’s breed personality, as some are more aggressive than others. Never pick up a lizard by its tail, and depending on the size of your lizard, you may need to handle them carefully – see handy tips here.

Health: Metabolic Bone Disease is common among lizards and can be caused by not having enough exposure to ultraviolet light or enough calcium in their diet. Symptoms include weakness in lifting itself, tremors and seizures. Seek advice from your vet if you are concerned about your lizard’s health.

Check out this lizard care sheet for more information about welcoming a lizard into your home.