Most people love the holiday season and there is so much to love about them. There is cheer in the air and everyone seems to have a smile. While the holiday season may be a happy time for us, it isn’t always so for our pets. As a matter of fact, it can be quite stressful and sometimes potentially dangerous too. So how can you ensure that your pet is able to make it through the holiday season in a stress and anxiety-free manner? Here are some of our tips that can help for different situations:
Leaving your pet when you are heading out of town?
For many, the holidays also mean travel. But it may not always be possible to take your pet with you every time you head out of town. This means you will either rely on a pet-sitter or kennel to house your pooch. This may cause stress and anxiety to your pet. You can help reduce this anxiety by doing at least a couple of runs with a pet-sitter or boarding facility before you go out on vacation. This will help him become more familiar with strange surroundings or a new person. It’s also a good idea to ensure they have a favourite toy or blanket for comfort even a piece of your clothing with your familiar smell.
Going on a long car drive with your dog?
If you plan to take your dog along with you on a road trip, it will go far more smoothly for everyone if you ensure he uses up some of his energy before loading up. Depending on the age of your pet, playing with a toy/ball or even taking them on a long walk can help expend some of the nervous energy. Also, don’t feed your dog breakfast just before you hop in the car. Feed them a relatively light meal 3 to 4 hours before you hit the road. There’s nothing worse than a gassy passenger in the car.
Entertaining at Home?
If you are planning to spend time at home during the holidays and are going to be entertaining a lot, the constant stream of guests can be quite upsetting to your pooch. If your pooch tends to get very nervous around strangers, its best to create a safe space for them in any room of the house. This will give them the quiet time they need while the festivities are on. Don’t compel your pet to be where all the noise and people are if they prefer to be in a quiet room or they want to sleep in their own bed. Allow your pet to decide exactly how much socialising they are comfortable with. Also spend some quality time with your pet around this time so their routine doesn’t feel to out of place.
Putting up Christmas Decorations?
While you may like to decorate your house and your Christmas tree with twinkling lights, decorations such as these may send your pooch into a frenzy. If you notice your pet becoming anxious or nervous when they see the blinking lights, simply use some other décor. After all, your pet is a family member and you want her to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else, don’t you?
When choosing holiday décor, consider whether it can pose a threat to your pooch if they swallow a decoration. Sometimes a simple thing like securing your Christmas tree so it can’t be knocked down will prevent an injury to your pet.
Any firework displays close by?
Dogs are exposed to a variety of loud noises throughout the holidays. The hustle and bustle of everyone cleaning the house and decorating it, clanging of pots and pans from all the holiday cooking, Christmas carolling and more. Fireworks are the added noise factor that can upset your dog immensely.
Fireworks often causes stress and anxiety in our pets. It goes without saying that you need to keep your pet away from any common areas where people are lighting fireworks. Place your pet in a quiet room when firecrackers are being lit; this can help keepthem calm and safe.
Try to maintain regularity in your pet’s routine and don’t change their diet either. While the holiday season can be an exciting time for you and your family, following these tips can also help ensure your pet is safe and happy as well.
You may also want to read:
• Tips to Keep your Dog Calm and De-Stressed This Holiday Season
• Top 7 Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy This Christmas
Warmer weather brings out the ticks and fleas and in some areas of the country our parasite season is longer due to our seasons not being as defined as they used to be.
Here is some useful information about these parasites, signs that your pet has them and things you can do to prevent your dog from getting ticks and fleas.
Fleas and Your Dog
Fleas are parasites and they live, feed and breed on your dog which is the host animal; but they can also affect humans and it doesn’t take long for them to make themselves at home on your property. Let’s look at the things we can do to prevent these creatures from infesting your home and your pet:
How do fleas show up on dogs in the first place?
Dogs can easily pick up these parasites from other pets as fleas can jump very easily from one dog to another. However, your dog primarily picks up fleas from the environment that it comes into contact with such as yards, homes parks or areas where other flea-infested pets or other animals have been.
Fleas- signs to look out for:
How to protect your dog from fleas.
Fleas thrive in shady, wet, warm and humid environments. So, keeping this in mind there are several ways you can help protect your dog from getting fleas such as:
Ticks and Your Dog
Ticks are normally found in regions where there is a lot of bushland and native wildlife. These troublesome parasites can cause quite serious problems for your dog such as paralysis. The paralysis tick latches onto the dog and injects toxins into their system which progressively paralyses them normally from the hind legs forward.
Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
Some more symptoms of common tick infestations
How does a dog get ticks?
It extremely difficult to prevent your dog from being exposed to ticks; these creatures can latch onto to your dog when he/she goes out with you on walks, or during any other outdoor activities such as hiking etc. Dogs get a tick infestation because they are out in that open environment, walking through the high grass or woods.
Ticks undergo questing (they crawl up onto low shrubs/grass and stay there). When a dog walks by or even when we walk past and brush against these ticks, they quickly dislodge and latch onto us. These parasites can live for well over a year without any food and they will just stay there waiting for a host to latch onto.
The right way to check your dog for ticks
How to protect your dog from getting ticks
Some of the things you can do to protect your dog from getting ticks include:
How to Remove A Tick Safely from Your Dog
Tick Twisters are available to purchase at our K9 SWiM Wellness Centre, North Richmond
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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:
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, K9 SWiM stock lots of healthy supplements and Hills Science Diet food so you can keep them healthy inside and out. We also 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!
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!
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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.