The holiday season is upon us; and while that means festivities and fun for you and your family, it can mean a lot of stress for your dog. Some of the stresses your pet has to deal with this time of the year are the weather and unfamiliar faces and guests that may visit your home during this time. The summer months bring with them lighting, thunder and electrical storms all of which can upset your dog.
Most dogs are extremely sensitive to climatic changes and some of them are also phobic when it comes to dealing with the stormy weather around them. They have a very acute hearing and a keen sense of smell and know when a storm is approaching well before humans do. If you find your dog becoming restless and anxious, it’s important that you don’t make too much of a fuss about it.
Act normal and comfort them without mollycoddling them too much as this will help calm them down eventually. The same logic applies to help your dog through the noise and bustle associated with parties and guests in your house. This same approach should be used when there is too much of commotion or when fireworks are being lit in the vicinity of your home.
Some tips to follow
Here are some more things you can do to help de-stress your dog:
Make the holiday season stress-free for your dog
If you are planning on hosting parties during the holiday season, do spare a thought for your nervous pet with unfamiliar visitors. The idea is to create a safe zone he can retreat to in case he feels stressed. That could mean keeping one room free for him, with his bed and water and food bowls easily accessible. This will reduce his anxiety and give you the time to focus on the party and your guests.
The other thing you need to focus on is the activity levels of your dog during the holiday season. With all the running around you have to do decorating the house and preparing food for guests etc. it’s easy for your dog’s needs to get sidelined. The one way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to bring your dog to K9 SWiM’s Hydrotherapy Centre. Your pet can swim around and have fun at our indoor pool and get the exercise he needs during the holiday season too.
Conscientious pet parents are always aware of all the nuances of their dog’s behavior; and so, if there is any change in the way their pet behaves, they are able to quickly pick up on it. While it is easy to pick up things such as food habit changes or appearance changes, there are times when you may not be able to pick up signs of anxiousness in your pet.
The fact is that just as humans can suffer from various behavioral problems, so can pets. There may be times when a pet dog starts acting very erratically, they may just start running around in circles in the yard or may continuously lick its legs or some other part of its body which could develop into an infection. Some pets become very aggressive or destructive and will tear apart everything in sight, the minute their owners leave them alone in the house and go out.
Many pet owners are puzzled when they hear about pet anxiety as it can come on at any stage of their dog’s lives. Owners think that the dogs should be stress free because they have a comfortable and loving home but this is not necessarily the case.
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs can be due to:
Signs of anxiousness in dogs
Here are some signs that your dog is anxious; it is an indication that something has upset them and they require additional support from you:
Displacement behaviors in dogs
Natural ways to reduce anxiety in pets
Reduce Your Dogs Anxiety for a Happier and Healthier Dog
A visit to your vet is advised initially as you need to rule out if this anxiety is caused by an illness or a toxicity. A simple blood test can determine this.
If it is a fear or phobia then find yourself a good behaviourist that can help with some techniques to lessen the anxiety and help put your dog in a better frame of mind. They will be able to detect the triggers and work with you in alleviating the stress.
If your dog needs to burn off energy which will assist in calming him down then good exercise and mental stimulation is important. Find a sport that your dog will love or swim a couple of times a week. This will make a happier and healthier dog and will reduce the anxiety levels.
K9 Swim stocks Pet tunes which is a portable Bluetooth speaker with 90 minutes of acoustic music specifically designed to calm your dog. We also offer herbal remedies to calm, massage and an indoor heated pool or an underwater treadmill to burn off excess energy.
Summer and it’s hot weather is here! That means that the bush fire season is upon us. Pet owners need to be prepared in the event of a bush fire. Pets have been left behind in bush fires because their owners had not included their pets as part of their Bush Fire Survival Plan. Taking the time to create a Bush fire Survival Plan helps ensure your family and pets safety.
Having a pet emergency kit will ensure you have the items you need for your pet ready to go quickly. The kit can include:
If you are using a cage, pet carrier or float, have these easily accessible for a quick evacuation and make sure your pet is trained to enter and spend time in these. Otherwise they may panic or fret and you may have difficulty to get them go into their crate or carrier.
Relocate or Stay?
For high-risk times it may be safer for you and your pets to relocate to somewhere else until the danger is over. Pets may panic and run. If you want to keep them with you, then keep them close to you at times of risk by keeping them inside, on a lead or in a crate. This will be faster and more efficient when it’s time to move your pet should you need to evacuate.
Do not leave it until the last minute to evacuate as this is the most dangerous option for you and your pets.
Make a Plan with Neighbours
Having a plan made with neighbours can help keep your pets safe if you are not at home. Consider doing the following:
It is a great idea to have signage on a gate or on your door should you have animals on your property or inside and you are not home. State how many pets there are so they can be accounted for should someone else have to evacuate them in an emergency.
Always prepare your evacuation bush fire emergency plan before summer so you can act quickly in case of an emergency.
Watch for Heat Stress in Your Pets
Bush fires are usually in times of extreme heat and your pets may be vulnerable to heat stress. The signs will be panting, dehydration, drooling, high temperature, red gums, increased respiration and heart rate. If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat stroke, soak towels in cool water and place over pet or in-between the legs or around the neck. Always seek veterinary assistance immediately.
To prevent heat stroke provide lots of shade and fresh water outside. Preferably bring them inside to a cool part of the house if the temperature is soaring outside. Do not leave dogs in cars; the car can heat up so quickly to a dangerous temperature. Overweight, aged, short nosed or unhealthy dogs will suffer a lot more in the heat than other dogs so take extra precautions with them.
Fire Safety for You and Your Pets
As dog owners we want to ensure that our gardens are safe for our four legged friends. When creating our gardens we are sometimes unaware that they could be toxic to our pets. Pet friendly gardens tend to have an organic approach, making them safer and healthier. Before going out and buying seeds or plants, let’s make sure you are planting a dog friendly garden.
Common Weeds & Plants That Are Harmful To Dogs
There are a lot of plants that can be harmful to our pets and it is always wise to check online before purchasing. Listed below are some common weeds and plants found in the garden that can cause allergies or toxicity to your pets:
The AEC (Animal Emergency Centre) has produced a chart that you can download or print for reference, listing Common Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Check your garden today!
Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides and Baits
It is important to store any fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or baits out of reach of your pets as these can be toxic. When using, keep your dogs out of the garden and make sure you read the labels. The label will include instructions and ensure the safety of your pets when using the product. If you are unsure then consult your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Plants?
Not all dogs eat plants but here some common reasons why some dogs do:
Common Symptoms Associated with Toxic Dog Plants
Most of us know when our four legged friends are not feeling well and toxic plants can cause minor to more severe symptoms. Listed here are some of the common symptoms related to toxic plants:
If you think your dog or pet is sick from ingesting a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Planning Your Dog Friendly Garden
When planning your garden, make sure you select plants that are safe for your dog and avoid plants that are toxic or irritable. Some dogs love digging and there are bulbs like hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and some lilies that can be fatal. Some plants are fine and it’s only the fruits and berries that are poisonous, although there are also some grasses and weeds that can cause allergic reactions like itching, sneezing and bad rashes.
Familiarise yourself with what plants you have in your garden, or if planning a new one - check that the plants are safe for your pets before purchasing them. There is a great Australian book out called
“Poisonous2pets by Nicole O’Kane” that details all of the common plants and their toxicity along with great photos to help you identify the plant itself.
You also need to be aware of plants with thorns, spikes or hard sharp branches and where they are planted. If they are poorly positioned dogs may run into them or run past and injure themselves.
Features of a Dog Friendly Garden
To keep our dogs happy and healthy, here is a list of dog friendly features for the garden:
With days shorter and colder in the winter months we thought we would share some tips and treats on keeping your dog healthy, warm and fit over winter. Our furry friends rely on us for their health, comfort and joy.
Winter Dog Bedding Tips
Your dog’s bedding will depend on whether they are an inside dog or an outside dog.
Even though it may feel warm inside the floor can still be quite cold. Make sure bedding is off the floor and out of draft areas. Dogs are social animals and love to be part of the family and having their beds in a location where they can see you always provides them comfort knowing that you are there.
A dog house should be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. Any extra space just means extra area to heat. Make sure your dog house is in a good location so the wind does not enter the opening and gets some sun during the day to add some warmth. You can cover the doorway of the dog house with a flap of carpet to prevent the wind from coming in. You can also place a blanket over the dog house to provide some extra insulation in the winter months. A good insulated mattress and warm blankets within the dog house will ensure a nice warm comfortable sleep.
Extra warmth for your four legged friend can be provided through heat lamps, heaters, heat mats, heat packs and hot water bottles. It is important to make sure that any heating mats, packs or hot water bottles are placed under bedding so the heat radiates through. NEVER apply heat directly to your dog as it will burn the skin and cause discomfort.
If your dog sleeps in front of an open fire it is important to make sure the fire has a screen so your dog doesn’t accidentally get burnt from embers.
How About a Winter Jacket
There are so many warm and protective winter jackets on the market that can keep our pooches nice and cozy in the cold nights. Dogs with arthritic conditions, older dogs, short coated dogs and dogs that have been unwell feel the cold so much more and will benefit greatly in these months with the extra warmth.
In the winter months our dogs can turn into couch potatoes and sleep a lot. They conserve energy whilst sleeping and exercise much less so you will need to adjust their diet accordingly otherwise they may start to put on weight!
Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and will need extra food if you can’t bring them inside.
Water is just as important for Winter as it is Summer so make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available at all times.
Adding some great winter herbs to their meal can help them through the cold months- Echinacea for the immune system, turmeric for mobility and it’s a warming herb as well, Rosehips for vitamin C. Consider adding these supplements to their meals to get through the cold days and nights. Remember to ALWAYS consult a vet or an animal naturopath before giving your dog herbs or supplements.
The days are shorter in winter months. You may go to work in the dark and get home in the dark and are unable to exercise your dog like you can do in the warmer, longer months. Exercise is still very important as dogs need to burn off energy, stretch their muscles out, get mental stimulation all for their well-being. Why not bring them for a weekly swim at K9 Swim where the pool is indoors and heated and is a perfect workout. They will sleep well at night after a swim!
Arthritic dogs suffer more in the colder months. This is the time to keep them exercising so they don’t seize up. Swimming in a heated pool is a great exercise for arthritic dogs since it is a non-weight bearing activity. Keep arthritic dogs on regular and no stress to the joint exercise and stick to it, they will get through the colder months a lot easier.
Warm Winter Food - Why not cook up a doggie casserole with lean meat , vegetables and some brown rice! A delicious nutritious winter warming meal for a cold day! Or you can add some warm water to their kibble , this will warm their tummies!
Winter Massage – Massage is wonderful for our dogs and especially in the winter months where muscles can get tight and sore as they are not moving around as much. Treat your dog to a massage whilst you are watching TV or listening to some nice music in a warm room. Not only is it nice for our dogs but it’s a wonderful bonding experience for owners and their beloved pets.
Not sure how to massage? Come along to Richmond TAFE’s next animal massage workshop on Friday 24th June, bring your dog and learn how to make your dog feel great!
Who doesn’t love to snuggle! Winter is a great excuse to curl up and snuggle with your four legged friend inside in the warmth away from the winter cold.
Keep safe, warm and well.
Dogs love to be part of any family fun including Easter, but CHOCOLATE is NOT safe and is harmful to your dog. There are alternatives to chocolate that your dog can enjoy when celebrating Easter with you.
Including Your Dog In Easter Celebrations
Your dog can join in the Easter celebrations by you making or buying Easter eggs made from carob that are yummy to eat and safe for your dog.
A boiled egg, coloured and decorated with natural food dyes is another treat your dog can enjoy at Easter.
Why not make up some healthy brownies or biscuits made into Easter shapes and frost with carob or yoghurt drops! Your dogs will go hopping mad over them!!!
Continue reading for a great doggy biscuit - K9 Cookie that you can make yourself.
Easter Hunt For Dogs
Children love to play a game of Easter Hunt around the house and yard so why not get your fury friend involved and create an Easter Hunt for your dog! Carob Easter eggs or their favourite dog treats or biscuits will work a treat that will have them hunting for a surprise.
The Perfect Easter Egg For Your Dog is NOT Chocolate!
Most humans love chocolate but chocolate is toxic to our 4 legged friends. Chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs. The amount of Theobromine differs in the different types of chocolate with dark chocolate having the most.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Experiencing Chocolate Toxicity
The symptoms of Theobromine poisoning include:
• Rapid breathing
• Stiff muscles
• Uncoordinated .
• Elevated heart rate
• Seizures / collapse
How Do I Prevent My Dog From Eating Chocolate Over Easter?
It is important to keep chocolate out of reach of our dogs and keep them in a different area if there are Easter celebrations with chocolate about. Many people are unaware that chocolate is toxic to dogs so make sure the rest of the family and friends know not to feed your dog any type of chocolate or sweets containing cocoa.
I Think My Dog Has Eaten Chocolate, What Should I Do?
Stay calm and contact your vet immediately.
Try this delicious healthy K9 Cookie recipe for your pooch. It is a great treat for your pooch that can be used for Easter and any other celebration. So let’s get cooking!
K9 Cookie Recipe
• 2 cups of wholemeal flour
• 1 cup of rolled oats
• 1/3 cup of smooth organic peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon of natural honey
• ¼ teaspoon of chia seed
• 1 1/2 cups of water or low salt chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix the flour and oats together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in one cup of water or stock and stir until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, honey, and chia seeds and mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
3. Slowly add the water until the mixture has a thick and doughy consistency.
4. Lightly flour a cooking surface. Roll the dough onto the cooking surface to create a 1/4 inch thick sheet.
5. Use a cookie cutter to create Easter shapes. Place the cookies onto a greased or lined baking tray and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely before icing.
When cool you can melt carob or yoghurt drops to decorate the cookies. Delicious!!!!
We all love our Australian summers and dogs love to stretch out and relax in the summer sun but some days can be excessively hot for our pets and we need to take some precautionary measures to avoid heat stress in dogs.
Dogs Can Dehydrate Very Quickly
Consider leaving more than just one bowl of water around just in case one gets knocked over. Do not use stainless steel or tin bowls for their water as these can heat up quickly. Make sure the water is left in the shade and if you are heading out for a few hours on a really hot day place some ice cubes in their bowl of water to help keep it cooler for longer.
Never Leave Your Dog In The Car
It does not have to be a hot day for the temperature of your car to rise quickly even with the windows down. The temperature in cars rise quickly and they can become like an oven for your dog so never make the mistake of leaving them in the car even for “just a minute” while you run an errand.
Provide Your Dog With Plenty Of Shade And Access To Cooler Areas
Provide your dog with shade and access to cooler areas so they have a place to get out of the sun and beat the heat. On extremely hot days it is best for you to keep your dog inside. It is always nice to “chill out” with your dog away from the heat.
Take Your Dog For A Swim
What better way to escape the heat than going for a swim. Hot summer days are not good for exercising your dog like you normally would at the park or going for a long run or walk. Swimming will cool the body temperature. Dogs can’t release heat by sweating the way humans do, heat and humidity can raise our dogs body temperatures to dangerous levels. Not only will your dog cool off by swimming but will get a good workout as well! For the older dog wading and gentle swimming can help bring the core temperature down.
The Swamp Cooler's light color is designed to reflect heat from the sun. Combined with the evaporative cooling effect, the Swamp Cooler keeps dogs comfortable when temperatures rise. Auto-lock buckles on each side of the jacket provide easy on/off.
Symptoms Of Heat Stress in Dogs
The symptoms of heat stress can vary and they will display several signs:
• Rapid panting or finding it hard to breath
• Fast heart rate
• Red or pale gums
• Excessive drooling
• Signs of distress
• Lethargic or difficult for them to get up
• Vomiting or diarrhoea
What Should You Do If Your Dog Show Signs of Heat Stress
Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Take them to your veterinary. You can also lower their temperature by wetting them with cool water. CAUTION: Do NOT use very cold water as it can actually be counterproductive and cause more harm. Allow your dog access to cool water to drink but do not try to force feed them water as they may choke.
Remember prevention is the key!
We are getting closer to the festive season where there will be lots of food, fun and festivities. You want to make sure your dog is happy and part of this. Not everything we do in the jolly season is safe for our canine friends. Here are our 7 top tips on how to keep your dog happy this Christmas.
1. Keep tinsel and decorations out of reach
These decorations are very tempting for dogs even if they are placed high on your tree. Make sure you keep an eye on your dog if they are anywhere near these because swallowing them can cause serious injury or even death.
2. Know which Christmas foods are bad for dogs
Christmas foods that we love can be toxic to your dog. Here are a few foods that you should NOT give your dog – chocolate, Christmas cake, grapes, raisins and nuts and NO ham bones as they are quite fatty and can lead to pancreatitis. Stick to treats that have been made for dogs as they love it and they are good for them. Love’em has some great treats and cookies created especially for dogs.
3. Secure your Christmas tree
A Christmas tree can easily be knocked down by your dog. Place your Christmas tree in a corner and secure the tree so it won’t be knocked causing your dog or anyone else injury.
4. Choose the perfect gift for your dog
The perfect gift for your dog is the practical gift. Why not buy your dog their own life jacket so you can be assured they are safe when they go swimming on holidays or in your own pool, we also stock lots of healthy supplements and Hills Science Diet food so you can keep them healthy inside and out. We stock fun water toys that are durable, colourful and floatable- the perfect gift for this summer.
Our Surf Dog robes are a must for this summer! Dries your dog quickly after their swim and also stops sand and water getting into your car! Plus they look pretty cool in them! The robes come in XS, S, M and Large in Pink, yellow and Blue.
5. Include your dog in celebrating Christmas and know when they need a rest
It is great to have your dog enjoying Christmas with family and friends but they also need space away from it all where they can rest and relax. Many dogs are afraid of fireworks and may panic or try to run away and injure themselves in the process so be sure they are safe and cannot get out. If your dog needs to be away from the celebrations make sure you spend some time walking and playing with them beforehand.
6. Organise a dog sitter
Friends, family and neighbours can be busy during the holiday season so organising a dog sitter will make sure your dog stays safe and happy while you are away.
7. Play with your dog
Your dog loves to spend time with you. It is not always the quantity but quality. Play their favourite game or take them to their favourite dog park to meet up with their friends. So play and be merry.
Dogs are part of the family so it is important that they feel safe and happy over the holiday season. We hope these tips help you keep your dog happy and safe over Christmas and keep their tail’s wagging!
Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.