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How to keep your indoor cat happy

A common misconception with pet owners is that cats are low maintenance and anti-social – this could not be further from the truth! They may have a different way of expressing their needs to their canine counterparts but cats thrive on social interaction.

These days more and more people are choosing to keep their cats indoor to protect them from fighting, decrease risk of injury and getting hit by a car, and to protect them from infectious disease such as FIV. There is nothing wrong with keeping your cat indoors, especially if you live in a high traffic area- however, the challenge of doing such is to ensure they receive the environmental stimulation they need to avoid getting bored.

Cats have a need to exhibit hunting behaviour- to play and to explore. When necessary they should also be able to find a place where they can retreat and hide.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep your indoor cat stimulated:

Play time:

Cat owners should dedicate time daily to play with their cats. A variety of toys are needed, with different textures, colours and shapes. Using different toys each time you play can also help motivate your cat. This is a great way to get your furry friend using their natural instincts in a safe environment!

You can also encourage movement by installing climbing shelves to give your cat the option to get up high and survey their domain 🙂 There is a Facebook group dedicated to people sharing their DIY indoor cat projects if you need some inspiration

Scratching:

Who could forget a scratching post? This is a necessity for all cats, especially indoor cats. Scratching is a natural instinct for our furry friends and it is very important that your cat can do this regularly. This also protects your carpets and furniture from any possible damage. You can use catnip spray on these areas to encourage use.

Hunting:

The feline desire to hunt is natural and instinctive. Regardless of how much food you feed them, your cat will always have a hunting instinct. If something moves rapidly or squeaks with a high pitch noise, this will trigger a reaction. You can purchase toys that imitate real prey through size, texture, colour and sound. This helps to fulfil the social and natural needs that are essential to our furry family members.

Make food time fun:

While cats do not find any benefit in specific meal times, fun puzzle feeders or feeder toys can be a great way to keep portion sizes in control and promote their natural scavenging behaviour. It is beneficial to make your cat work for their food through these toys or by scattering food bowls around the house for them to find.

Getting some fresh air:

For the owners who like to offer their cat some time outside, there are the lead and harness options. However, it can be difficult for cats to enjoy or learn to walk on a lead. It is best to introduce this type of walking early on when they are kittens so that they can get used to this approach. You can also purchase outdoor cat enclosures, ideally a pen, that keeps them outdoors and safe. Remember that if your cat is having outdoor access even if on a lead, it is important to stay up to date with flea and worming preventatives.

 

These are only some of the ways you can keep your furry family member active and happy whilst staying indoors. If you notice a change in your cat or they are struggling with the transition from outdoors to being inside, please contact us. We can provide behavioural assistance and advice to help your cat enjoy life indoors.

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.

 

Introducing Anti-Anxiety Packages for your Cats and Dogs!

After working-from-home for the past few months it can be a stressful transition for your pets having to deal with you returning to work.

We have come up with our very own Anti Anxiety Pet Packages to help your pet through this change.

What do these Anti-Anxiety Packages include?

For Dogs:

  • An Adaptil Collar suited to your dogs size
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your dog’s needs
  • A course of 3 x Canine Massage Therapy sessions with our trained Nurse Jessica
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • An Adaptil bandana (you can spray this with Adaptil and tie it around your dog’s collar so they can smell the anxiety-relieving pheromones)
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy dog treats

For Cats:

  • A Feliway spray bottle or diffuser refill if you already have the plug-in at home
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your cat’s needs
  • A weekend of boarding at our clinic (including feliway)
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • A Feliway blanket to bring to consults over your cat’s carrier
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy cat treats

To celebrate the launch of these packages we are currently running a competition through Instagram or Facebook to give away 3 x Free Anti-Anxiety Packages to three lucky winners!

How do I enter?

If you have an Instagram account make sure to follow us and post a photo of your pet ‘working from home’ with the hashtag
#SHVVrelax and a short 50 word explanation of how your pet would benefit from one of our anti-anxiety packages.

If you do not have an Instagram account then just message our Facebook page with your entry.

We will be posting our own staff’s pets working from home regularly to give you inspiration.

Deadline for entries is Sunday the 19th of July 2020 so get snapping 🙂

 

 

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 🙂

FAQs about the Coronavirus

Corona FAQs

Q: What is SHVV doing to make their hospital as safe as possible for me and my pet?

A: We are monitoring AVA, NSW Government & WHO guidelines & updating our practice protocols constantly. We are asking clients who are unwell to stay at home, keeping employees home if they are unwell, cleaning surfaces within the clinic & maintaining distance as much as possible. Please help us by following our requests to stand back from reception, use hand-sanitisers etc.

Q: What can I do to help keep SHVV a safe place?

A: We need to minimise contact time between people so please

  • Limit the number of people presenting your pet to just one owner if possible
  • When arriving for your appointment, please wait in your car
  • Please phone us from your car on arrival and we can return the phone call to welcome you into the clinic when we are ready to see your pet.
  • Please use hand sanitisers located in the clinic.
  • Please phone ahead to order required prescription medicine repeats or food, worming and flea control in advance so we can arrange to have them ready for you without the need to wait.

Q: My pet needs to be seen by a Vet but I’m in self-isolation (maybe I have tested positive to COVID-19). What can I do?

A: Call us! We will discuss options – rest assured we will find a way to care for your pet. Please do not break quarantine and put other people at risk.

Q: I need to come to the Vet hospital but I don’t want to (because I’m elderly or immunocompromised). What can I do?

A: Call us! We will discuss options – rest assured we will find a way to care for your pet. Options include dropping-off medications, house-calls or collecting your pet to be examined at the hospital.

Q: How does COVID-19 spread?

A: The World Health Organisation states: People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

Q: Can I catch Covid-19 from my pet?

A: The World Health Organisation states: While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.

Q: Can humans catch COVID-19 from animals?

A: The World Health Organisation states: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.

To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Useful links:

Coronavirus: Information for looking after your pets

Update on taking care of your pets during the coronavirus epidemic

We know this is an anxious time for everyone and you may be concerned how best to look after your pet in this current situation.

Until advised otherwise, we are open as normal – here are some guidelines to help both humans and animals stay safe and healthy.

If your pet needs veterinary attention and:

  • You have been overseas within the last 14days
  • You’re experiencing symptoms
  • Need to self-isolate

Please phone us for advice and we will make a plan together with you.

In line with social distancing recommendations, we are keeping waiting times to a minimum.

We ask you to:

  • Limit the number of people presenting your pet to just one owner if possible
  • When arriving for your appointment, don’t come straight in, take a look through the window and if there is no clear space to sit away from other people, stay outside if possible
  • Please phone us if you are waiting outside or in your car, and we can return the phone call to let you know when the waiting room is fairly empty or to welcome you into the clinic when we are ready to see your pet.

Please use hand sanitisers located in the clinic.

Please phone ahead to order required prescription medicine repeats or food, worming and flea control in advance so we can arrange to have them ready for you without the need to wait.

Call or email us with questions and check our web site for updates.

We are working hard to ensure we can continue to provide complete veterinary care.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. This situation is rapidly evolving, and we will provide updates as required.

Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand. For up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in Australia go to health.gov.au

 

Information about the dog in Hong Kong who tested positive:

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.

Embarrassing Bodies- The Pet Edition, Free Health Checks!

Cats and dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes what’s normal for one pet may be abnormal for another depending on things like breed, age, lifestyle and etc. For example- the skin and coat needs of a Sphynx cat to that of a Ragdoll’s will vary immensely!

Pets come in all different shapes, sizes and hair styles! As such their health needs are very individualistic.

Pets come in all different shapes, sizes and hair styles! As such their health needs are very individualistic.

In order to help you as a pet owner decide what is best for your cat or dog, the team at Summer Hill Village Vet have developed a complimentary 5-point Health Check that covers the basic individual care needs for your pet. These 5-point Health Checks are part of our Embarrassing Bodies- The Pet Edition and will run until the end of November 2018.

What do these 5-Point Health Checks include?

Embarrassing Bodies: Pet Edition Promo Poster

Book your cat or dog in for their FREE 5-Point Health Check before the end of November 2018.

Our 5-Point Health Checks aim to cover the following areas of your pet’s health with one of our trained vet nurses:

  1. Body Condition Scoring What may be healthy weight for a greyhound would be unhealthy for a german shepherd! Our trained nurses will score your cat or dog’s body condition (based on weight and appearance), then compare it to their breed and lifestyle recommendations. The nurses will work with you to develop a plan for how to get your pet into their healthy weight range (whether it’s through diet changes or new exercise routines).
  2. Dental Health One of our nurses will give your cat or dog a dental grading from 0 to 5 (0- being perfect teeth and 5 being the opposite…). They will also give you advice on how to manage your pet’s dental health from recommending treats such as Greenies Dental Treats or teaching you home care tips.
  3. Skin and Coat Needs Certain breeds may require a more intensive grooming routine than others. This depends on more than hair length. Skin allergies can come into play when deciding what products to bathe them in and how often they should be bathed.
  4. Vaccination Needs Your pet’s lifestyle determines what sort of vaccinations they need. Our nurses can help you decide if your cat or dog is getting the protection they need by discussing with you their routine (i.e. outdoor vs. indoor, do they visit beaches or bush a lot? do they come in contact with other animals?).
  5. Parasite Protection (fleas + ticks and intestinal worms)We can all agree that  fleas, ticks and worms are all nasty and best to be avoided all together! Similar to vaccination needs, the type of parasite prevention product you use on your cat and dog is largely based on lifestyle. However, other things to consider include whether your pet is easy to give oral medication to and also how good you are as an owner at remembering to give them their treatment on time (monthly options vs. 3 monthly options).

How do I book my cat or dog in for this?

Simply call our clinic (02 9797 2555) before the end of November 2018 and let us know that you would like to book your pet in for a Free-5-Point-Health-Chek 🙂

Blue Tongue Lizard – WIRES Wildlife

One of our most recent WIRES wildlife case was a young blue tongue lizard. It was brought into our care after a member of public’s cat had gotten hold of it… When the blue tongue lizard first came in it was in poor shape and it was a struggle for us to get it to eat ANYTHING (despite being provided with an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet of strawberries, cucumbers, insectivore mixes and what not…).

blue tongue lizard feeding

Bluey enjoying a buffet of strawberries and blueberries

After two weeks of TLC from our vets and nurses we are happy to report that Ol Bluey has definitely gotten his appetite back and is well on his way to recovery.

We treat quite a number of injured wildlife day in day out, but blue tongue lizards are uncommon for us so we were all pretty excited! He is now under the care of a WIRES Wildlife Volunteer who will continue to look after it till release.

How can you help out?

These WIRES volunteers do not get paid for their efforts in rehabilitating injured wildlife and hence pay for all the food and care equipment from their own pocket. For this reason, we as a clinic have been inspired to raise money for WIRES by participating in this years Tough Mudder 18km obstacle course. All the funds we raise will go directly towards WIRES Wildlife.

If you’d like to make a donation or simply find out more you can via our fundraising page.

We’d like to extend a big thank-you to everyone who has donated so far, we and WIRES wouldn’t be able to do the work we do on injured wildlife without your ongoing generosity and support!

 

 

 

Inner-West Wildlife Warriors

Australia is a country renowned for its unique wildlife. As an inner-west veterinary clinic we consider ourselves lucky to have the extensive wildlife experience of Dr. Lydia and Dr. Sandra.  All our vets have proven time and time again to be more than capable of looking after the odd ring-tailed possum or bearded dragon!

What is WIRES?

WIRES (NSW Wild life Information and Rescue Information Service) is a volunteer run organisation. They have been working to rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife since 1986.

We share a close relationship with WIRES carers and as such we get a large volume of wildlife coming through our doors. To put it into perspective, in this year alone our vets have treated a total of 83 rainbow lorikeets!

How can you help?

WIRES relies on volunteers and donations to do the great work that they do. As such, it can be a demanding job for the volunteers with many of the animals requiring round the clock care and long-term rehabilitation.

Dr. Sandra having a squawk with a galah

One of two 6month old baby ring tailed possums found in an Innerwest canal along with their mother.

There are a variety of ways you can get involved including:

 

 

 

 

Of course, another way you can contribute is by simply contacting WIRES.  Should you happen across an injured wildlife creature all you need to do is call their Rescue Line on 1300 094 737.

Muddy Paws! Summer Hill Village Vet do Tough Mudder

In November our team will be participating in the Tough Mudder 18km Obstacle course with the aim of raising funds for WIRES. Dr. Sandra, Dr. Lydia, Dr. Kate and the rest of the team will be crawling through mud, swimming and generally putting their fitness to the ultimate test in support of all the work WIRES do (and to prove to ourselves that we are mad fit…). Donations can be made online (read more about our mission statement + make a donation) and we are immensely appreciative for your generosity!