How To Make Leaving Your Dog Alone a Stress-Free Experience!

Even the bravest of pooches can experience a little stress when their best friend (you!) has to go away – even if you’re only going out for a short while.

It’s no fun if your dog reacts badly to you going away. A stressed dog will be unhappy, may display destructive behaviours, and could even develop more serious fear but with practice and training, you can encourage your dog to keep calm when you leave. The tips below can support that, and make leaving your dog a stress-free experience!

7 Tips To Stop the Stress Of Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

Before You Leave

1. Create A Safe Doggy Space

If your dog has a comfortable space or safe doggy haven where they can go to hide or relax at any time, they’ll feel much happier when faced with some alone time. A perfect pooch safe space should have comfy bedding, blankets to burrow under and their favourite toys (try food puzzles if you’ll be gone for a while) to distract and entertain them. If your dog has some extra special or favourite toys that they love, try saving these for times when you’ll be leaving. The excitement of playing with the toy can turn leaving into a positive, stress-free time.

Turning on the radio or playing some soothing music can also add some extra comfort for your dog while you’re away. A comfy, calm and relaxed dog will be able to sit, relax and even sleep in their safe space until you return.

2. Take Your Dog For A Tiring Walk

A walk, or energetic play a little while before you leave may be just enough to encourage your pooch to relax and sleep while you’re away. Giving your pet a chance to go to the toilet before you leave will also help them to relax without the stress of needing to go outside.

 

When You Leave

3. Don’t Make A Fuss When Leaving

When it’s time for you to leave, don’t turn it into a big event! All that’s needed is a simple cue to help your dog understand that you’re going – and that you will come back! You can work with your dog to establish a ‘leaving’ cue during training – it may help to have two different cues; one for shorter amounts of time, and one for longer durations (over 4 hours). If your dog seems stressed, try not to give them lots of attention – rewarding your pet with fuss can reinforce anxious behaviours. Just as in their training, only pay them attention when they’re calm.

4. Try A Dog Camera While You’re Away

Want to see how your pet reacts when you’re away? A dog camera, set up in the room where your pet spends most of their time, can be a good way to see how they get on – and can be a great support tool for training. For example, many cameras allow you to see and hear your dog and to speak to them from a remote location, and even dispense treats. So, you could comfort them – say by asking them to sit – then dispense a rewarding treat.

5. Leave Tasty Puzzles and Soothing Toys For Your Pet

For your pooch, licking is a self-soothing activity. For this reason, food toys such as frozen treats, chew toys or toys filled with dog-safe peanut butter can keep them distracted and relaxed until you come home. Food puzzles are another great way to entertain and stop your dog from worrying about being alone.

 

6. Arrange A Visitor For Your Pooch!

Do you have a neighbour, friend or family member who gets along well with your dog, and could drop in to check on your pooch ? A familiar face can be a welcome way to break up the day, add some excitement – and even tire your dog out if your visitor (or a professional dog walker) can take your dog for a walk! If you need to go away for a longer period of time, having a visitor drop by to let your dog out for toilet breaks is important. It can also make their alone time less stressful. Just make sure your pooch is familiar with anyone who might drop by – your dog should be calm and happy around this person before you invite them to visit alone.

 

When You Come Home

 7. Greet Your Pet Calmly

A calm, relaxed demeanor is as important when you return to your pooch as it is when you leave, so while both you and your dog will be excited to see each other, try to keep the greeting relaxed and positive. Always wait for your dog to be calm before you interact with them. If your dog seems distressed, try a simple command, such as a ‘sit’ and reward them. Always reward positive reactions to your absence, and never punish your dog for negative behaviours. Punishments will only confuse your pet, and may cause them to be more stressed or anxious.

 

Use ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuserto Create A Comforting Environment

Creating a positive, supporting and comforting home environment is one of the best ways to relax and reassure your dog; helping them to feel safe whatever the situation. ADAPTIL is clinically proven to support a comfortable environment for your dog and help them stay calm in situations such as staying alone, being around loud noises, or visitors.

 

Help! My dog doesn’t want to stay home alone. What can I do?

Everyone loves a little alone time but we are social animals at heart and don’t like being on our own for too long – and you may have noticed this is exactly the same with your paw friend. You can tell they aren’t happy when you leave the house and how madly excited they are on your return. So we’ve put together some top tips for spotting if your pooch is uneasy being left alone and how to help them cope when you leave the house.

1. Don’t Leave Me This Way!

By their nature your dog is a pack animal, it loves family and guess what…you’re their family! That’s why they come running up to you with such enthusiasm whenever you’re around. When your dog is just a puppy they learn things very quickly, and if they had an unpleasant experience being alone as a puppy this will carry on into their adult life.

Similar to people, often our fears come from something that happened when we were very young and hence we didn’t understand. So if your dog was left alone as a puppy and they didn’t have access to a comforting place, they will worry this is going to happen again. There’s also worry they won’t know where their next meal will be coming from – it’s why you might find little treats like bones, hidden in strange places around the house.

 

2. Body Talks

Like a baby crying out for its mother, your dog will try to grab your attention. Barking, whining and howling are the strongest indicators that your dog can’t bear to see you leave them alone! Similarly, being that little bit naughty, such as scratching at the doors and attempting to escape aren’t fun, so take this as a warning sign. We’re all naturally skilled at knowing how to pull on our loved one’s heart strings and your canine companion is no different; acting ‘upset’ by hiding and giving the cold shoulder is one of the ways your dog is trying to stop you from leaving!

 

3. How can I help my dog stay home alone?

There is no better feeling than returning to a safe space when life gets a bit too much. Whether this is the family home, a place in the park or just hiding under your duvet, we all need a moment to feel protected once in a while. As you’ve probably guessed by now, our canine companions have the same needs; it could be a dog crate, a certain room in the house or their dog bed. Imagine a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign around this safe space for whenever your dog is spending time in their comfort zone. ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser is the perfect helping hand, making your dog’s safe place that bit more relaxing. Plugging the diffuser into this room gives off ‘comforting messages’ in your absence, making them feel even more secure in their environment when home alone.

 

4. Tips to Help My Dog Keep Calm

Like the super nanny of dogs, one of the most well known tricks is to avoid making a fuss about your departure.This goes hand in hand with tiring your fluffy friend to before leaving because what could be more perfect than leaving your dog in the mood for an afternoon nap whilst you’re away!

No one likes to be left with nothing to do, especially not our excitable companions, so for times when your dog just wants to keep playing be sure to leave them with fun toys or food puzzles to keep their mind occupied.

Crucial to this is also not to make a big deal when you return. Your pooch will naturally be over the moon to see you, but tru not to make it into a big deal. BY playing it cool upon your return your dog will begin to realise that time alone is part of the normal way of life. So give it a few minutes, let yourself settle in, your dog will no doubt be demanding attention, and then once they’ve calmed down a little bit you can shower them with love.

 

So there you have it, some top tips on how to help your dog stay home alone. Remember – the best thing about being away from your pooch is you get all the love in the world when you return ! Just, you know, play it cool 🙂

Canine Myofunctional Therapy – Dog Massages!

We have decided to increase our range of services we now offer you Canine Myofunctional Therapy (CMT) also known as dog massage. We want to educate people about the benefits of dog (canine) massage as well as help their furry friends. This is why we sent one of our nurses to Melbourne to study and practice CMT. Jess has been we us since 2013, she has a certificate in Animal Studies, Veterinary Nursing and is now a certified Canine Myofunctional Therapy practitioner.

CMT can help pets with arthritis, recovering from orthopaedic procedures and with mobility & flexibility issues.

So what is Canine Myofunctional Therapy?

Canine Myofunctional Therapy or CMT is in the most basic of terms, a massage treatment for dogs which involves diverse massage techniques and stretching.

 

 

 

What are the benefits of canine massage?

  • It stimulates the release of endorphins which can help decrease pain but also reduce stress and anxiety
  • It will improve blood circulation
  • It helps with joint lubrication and range of motion
  • When added to good veterinary care, it can speed recovery time from an injury or surgical procedure
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Massage can encourage the body to heal itself
  • Improves circulation and dilates blood vessels
  • Stimulates lymph circulation
  • Speeds up elimination of wastes and toxic debris
  • Relaxes tight muscles
  • Relieves tension
  • Increases nutrition to the tissues by improving general circulation
  • Improves interchange of substances between the blood and the tissue cells, heightening tissue metabolism
  • Increases the excretion via the kidneys of fluids, inorganic phosphorous salts and waste products of protein metabolism
  • Lengthens connective tissue, breaks down or prevents the formation of adhesions and reduces muscle fibrosis
  • Improves circulation and nutrition to joints and speeds up the elimination of harmful deposits
  • Helps lessen inflammation and swelling in joints and therefore alleviate pain
  • Increases blood supply and nutrition to muscles without adding to the load of lactic acid produced through voluntary muscle contraction
  • Enhance muscle tone and increases range of motion
  • Endeavours to free motion and correct damaged muscles by releasing adhesions
  • Stimulates internal organs to work efficiently

When do we recommend it?

  • Massage after (orthopaedic) surgery:

Often dogs are reluctant to use a limb after a painful procedure, muscles weaken and they are less able to use that limb leading to muscle atrophy. Return to normal function is slowed down and can even become impossible.

Canine massage can help your dog make a smoother recovery, returning to health faster and reducing the pain.

  • Flexibility and mobility:

Pets of any age can benefit from CMT. Young active dogs who get carried away wrestling and playing in the park can also strain muscles. Massage can help your pet regain the flexibility and mobility.

 Do you have a dog with arthritis?

Arthritis is a disorder of the joints; it can have many causes. The most common cause is from old age but can also be caused from an injury that affects the joint. It can even be congenital, for example arthritis can develop from hip dysplasia.

Canine massage will not cure arthritis but it will increase the release of synovial fluid which acts as a lubricant in the joints. It will also increase the dog’s range of motion and help prevent its muscles from atrophying due to lack of activity.

  • Stress and anxiety:

Stress and anxiety are a common issue in dogs of all ages, getting a massage provides great benefits for your pet’s psychological well-being. It reduces stress and stimulates the release of endorphins which will help your little one feel more relax and enjoy their visit to the vet.


Our products and services

  • Post-operative massage
  • Relaxation massage
  • Geriatric care massage and advice
  • Arthritis care massage and advice
  • Qualified nurse examination
  • Internal referral to Veterinary care if indicated: consultation, radiographs, prescription medications

Some examples of contraindications:

Massage has a lot of benefits but there are also some contraindications that have to be considered before getting your pet massaged. Always ask your veterinarian for advice if you are unsure.

  • Severe fear or trust issues, as the dog might never fully relax and enjoy the benefits of a massage
  • Human aggression
  • Some skin issues
  • Malignancies
  • Some stages of pregnancy

Update on Covid-19 and Pets

At Summer Hill Village Vet we are constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation with respect to our pets and to keep you accurately informed.

Our information is primarily sourced from:

  • World Health Organisation,
  • Australian Government Department of Health,
  • NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and
  • Australian Veterinary Association.

To date there have been NO CASES of transmission of virus from animals to humans.

WHO reports that the primary source of SARS-COV-2 transmission remains human-to-human contact.

This does not mean however that the virus cannot be found living on animals.

There have been a few cases of humans transmitting the virus to an animal: it has been reported in a dog, in cats, in ferrets and even a tiger!


What does that mean for us as pet owners?

It means we need take some common-sense precautions which we have summarised below:

  1. Keep your pets in your “isolation bubble” to prevent other people from transferring the virus on to their bodies.

Avoid letting other people pat your dog in public.

We want to prevent your pets from acting the same as any other surface you might touch in public.

Don’t panic if someone does touch your dog for some reason…you can always just give them a bath (soap kills coronavirus).

You will see us maintaining the integrity of your “bubble” in the clinic by using masks, hand washing, alcohol based hand rubs and sometimes gloves.

  1. Contact your vet if you are diagnosed with coronavirus and we will advise you on the current recommendations for your pet.

At this point we would advise you to keep your pet isolated in your home, and minimise close contact (such as smooching with your face, etc).

We recommend good hand hygiene before and after handling your pet and their food/water bowls.

If there are non-infected members of the household it would be better if they looked after the pet.

We would also advise you to make a care plan for your pet in the unfortunate event that you are hospitalised.


Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have.

If you have a specific situation you would like to discuss please reach out by calling

02 9797 2555 or email us contact@summerhillvillagevet.com.

We are happy to provide more detailed information on any topic if needed.

Emergency boarding is available for cats if required.

We have protocols and procedures in place for dealing with folks who are self-isolating because they are at risk, as well as for folks who are unfortunate enough to become infected with coronavirus.

Always call us first and we will advise on best way forward to treat your pet under your individual circumstances.

Puppy’s First Vet Visit

Congratulations on your new family member! A new puppy is always an exciting time for the entire family.

Who can resist the wagging tail, puppy kisses and all too big paws of a growing pup

Whether you are a veteran puppy parent or not, it is always a good idea to bring your new little friend for a vet check – even if they are completely healthy and up to date with vaccinations.

The reason that we encourage a first vet check for your puppy is so that we can check for any health conditions that are not always obvious (for example heart murmurs or funny knees).

Another good reason for a first puppy check is that you can ask our vets any questions you have concerning your puppies health, training and future plans (this can range from discussions about diet, pet insurance, vaccination frequency, appropriate parasite prevention, dental health, toilet training and etc.)

We have complementary puppy packs for your pups first visit which gives you all the information you need to give your little friend the best start in life, you can access one of the puppy care plans here.

Make looking after your new puppy easier with our Pet Wellness Plans!

Lastly, we have Pet Wellness Plans that allow you spread the costs of your new puppies health needs as well saving you time and money.

These plans mean you never have to pay for your puppies vaccinations up front and also mean all their necessary parasite protection is delivered automatically to your front door whenever they are due.

We also include 20% off your puppies’ desexing, free microchipping and four free standard vet consults on these plans!

Read more about our Wellness Plans or Sign up directly here. 

What to expect for your puppies’ first vet visit and vaccination

 

What happens when your pet comes in for a dental procedure…

Dentals for your cat or dog is one of the routine procedures our vets do regularly at Summer Hill Village Vet.

It can be a bit daunting booking your pet in for a dental as unlike humans, they require general anaesthetic since we need them to be still to have a proper look in their mouths.

If you have any concerns or questions about what a dental for your cat or dog means, we have put together this short video following one of our well loved patients ‘Trixie’ through her admission all the way through to her discharge.

You can read the following for tips on how to maintain your pet’s dental health:

New Anaesthetic Machine!

We can now keep our small patients warmer (& safer) than ever during their anaesthetics.

Meet our new anaesthetic machine: not just a pointless bit of technology!

A) This is a special low resistance carbon dioxide scrubber, this allows us to run a re-breathing circuit for animals down to 2 kg (previously 10 kg was the lowest we could go). B) This is the attached heating circuit.

When our patients are under anaesthetic it’s very important to stop them getting cold which can slow their recovery and healing but the smaller they are the harder it is to avoid them getting cold.  Now not only are they lying on a hot water bed, our new anaesthetic machine helps keep them warm.

On a non re-breathing system a patient is getting a constant flow of fresh, COLD oxygen to breath. But on a re-breathing system only a small amount of fresh cold oxygen is included in each breath.

When you add a heating device to warm the air then you make a real difference to their body temperature during an anaesthetic.  They recover faster and their anaesthetics are more stable, perfect for the little oldies.

Add to that a hot air blanket that we can cover them with if needed and you’re talking toasty warm cats & dogs.

Stress Free Cat Visits

Do you want your fur-baby to have the most stress free visit at the vet? We definitely do!

A common sign of a ‘flipped lid’. Claws are usually out!

A few weeks ago the team here at Summer Hill Village Vet were lucky enough to have Tracy from VetPrac deliver an enlightening training session on cat behaviour. Vets, nurses and receptionists learnt more about how to keep your fur babies as stress-free and relaxed as possible – from the moment they walk in, through to consultation and handling as well as housing for longer stays in our hospital. She taught us some great distraction techniques, so don’t worry if you see one of our vets pull out an ice-cream cone full of anchovy paste during consult!

There are also good anti-anxiety medications that we’ve been trialling for a while now that can really help cats (& dogs) start off on the right paw at their visits.

‘Burrito Cat’ – a wrapping ‘art’ we tend to use to comfortably restrain the crankier kitties

We also learnt that once a cat has ‘flipped it’s lid’ (lets be real, all cat owners know exactly what this means) there is no going back. Essentially the cat is in fight, flight or freeze mode and once this happens it can take up to 24 hours before they can fully relax again. We certainly don’t want this for any of our patients. This is why you may notice us doing more handling with towels or ‘kitty burritos’ (as some of our nurses like to call it) as well as trying minimal handling, or even taking the top off your carrier to ensure your cat stays as comfy and relaxed as possible.

During consults, our vets and nurses will often try to find out what kind of handling suits your cat best before going ahead with a physical exam. Do they like to be held close? Or would they rather just do their own thing and laze on the consult table?

As a result of this training, the team are now better equipped to make sure you AND your furry friend have an easier time as we aim to minimise the anxiety associated with trips to the vet. Our team gained a lot from this training session, and Tracy will be back soon to give us more helpful tips and tricks for dogs! So stay posted.

 

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ADVOCATE 25% Off Parasite Protection!

From September the 3rd 2018, we are offering 25% off ALL Advocate 6-pack products purchased from our clinic. So now is a better time than any to brush up on your pet’s flea, tick and worm protection.

Prevention is always better (and cheaper!) than treatment especially when it comes to parasites. Take for example a simple flea infestation- fleas can easily transmit worms to your pet which can then snowball into a range of serious health issues. As an inner-west veterinary clinic we find that a lot of pet owners have the common misconception that they don’t need to worry about parasite control because of the urban environment. Your dog or cat can easily get fleas whilst they are out on walks, visiting the park or from coming into contact with other animals.

How do I know which product is best for my pet?

With the massive range of parasite prevention products available, it can be hard to decide which product is
appropriate for your furry friend. The type of parasite protection your pet needs depends on a lot of factors- living conditions, holiday trips, contact with other animals, method of dispensing (oral vs topical) and etc. Our vets are more than happy to have a chat with you and help you find out what kind of coverage best suits your pet’s lifestyle.

If you’d like to do a little research first here are some helpful handouts

How will my pet and I benefit from the 25% off Advocate promo?

The promotion we are running is only for the Advocate Topical parasite treatment when purchased in a 6-pack. The tables below show the range of parasites covered by Advocate Spot-On in cats and dogs. After discussing your pet’s situation with your vet you can decide based on the below charts whether Advocate is the best choice for your cat or dog.

Advocate Topical Dog coverage chart

Advocate Topical Cat coverage chart

 

 

Dental Month 2018