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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 🙂

 

 

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.

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:

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

 

Santa Paws 2019!

Is your pet holiday ready?

Preparing for the holidays can be stressful- to help make things easier for you Dr Lydia has put together a checklist to ensure you don’t need to have that last minute emergency visit to the vet!

Print a copy of the checklist below and take some time to go through it – if you notice there are some things you aren’t sure about please feel free to call us on 9797 2555 so we can make sure you and your pet have a fun and safe holiday!

Pet Holiday Checklist 

My cat is missing

We have put together a guide to help owners with lost cats. Whilst it is not a guaranteed way to find your missing cat, we have found that a lot of these tips have had some success.

A lost cat is one of the most heartbreaking things a pet owner can experience. Unfortunately having an outdoor cat will always carry the risk of kitty not returning home and going missing regardless of what precautions you take (a safety-release collar with your phone number is aways a good idea to have on an outdoor cat).

Having a completely indoor cat does not also guarantee that your cat may never go missing – indoor cats are still prone to running out of an open window or door! For most cases, particularly for indoor cats, the missing cat is hiding somewhere very close to home so it is a good idea to regularly do a scan of your immediate area (look under nooks and crannies and other small places where your cat may have become trapped)

Tips to help find your cat:

An example of a ‘Missing Flyer’ used by one of our staff members who was luckily enough to have been reunited with her missing cat after more than a month!

These tips are based on real success stories (the sooner you are able to carry out the suggestions the higher your chance of finding your cat).

  • Set up a litter tray with some used litter from your cat around the entry points of your home.
  • Set up a food bowl with your cat’s favourite treats (preferably ones with a strong scent such as roast chicken or sardines) around your home.
  • Rent a humane cat trapper from your local vet or purchase one from Bunnings. Set up the trapper near your home and cover it with your cat’s towel/blanket and bait it your cat’s favourite food (again try to use foods with strong scents). It is important you check the trapper at least twice a day to ensure you don’t accidentally catch someone else’s cat! And also to change the food regularly.
  • Print as many Missing flyers as you can and drop them in your neighbours’ mailboxes (try to cover as many houses as possible, a block is a good minimum)
  • Put up as many Missing Flyers as you can on telephone poles (again around your block is a good minimum). You may find some people tearing them down, it is important to keep putting them up again to gain as much visible coverage as possible.
  • Post about your missing cat on as many Facebook Lost Pet Groups as possible.
  • Go out late in the night when it is most quiet with roast chicken and call out for your cat.
  • Call your usual vet and notify them of your lost cat, ask them to change your cat’s microchip status from ‘home’ to ‘missing’.
  • Call all your local vets to notify them of your lost cat and provide them with a detailed description as well as your contact details.
  • Contact your local pounds to notify them of your lost cat in case it has been impounded (which is usually the case if not chipped)

There are cases of people being reunited with pets that have been missing for more than a year!

Whilst it is easy to lose hope of ever seeing your cat again it is important to remember to not give up. Our own staff member Beatrice had found her lost cat after more than a month of searching, she followed all of the points we have provided and her eventual success was the result of a letter box drop.

We also post ‘Missing Cat’ posters on our clinic window and on our Facebook page so please feel free to email us your flyers if your cat is missing.

Once you do find your cat make sure you book a visit to your usual vet ASAP for a general heath check.

Tick Season

We had our first paralysis tick patient last week. A little poodle had just returned from a trip to the bush when his owner noticed a paralysis tick on his ear!

 

Ticks aren’t always immediately visibly, they can be in hidden places such as in between your pet’s toes.

His owner was vigilant and kept up to date with his flea and worming treatment however not all flea products protect against ticks.  Luckily his mum did the right thing and brought him to us straight away with the tick she managed to pull off for identification.

 

We have also had a couple of clients report to us that they have seen ticks around their yards! Warmer weather is definitely tick season and if you plan on going to any bush area with your four-legged friend it is important to confirm that the parasite protection you are using includes ticks.

Cats are also susceptible to ticks so be cautious if your feline goes outdoors or in particular has access to overgrown, leafy areas.

 

We stock a couple of products that protect cats and dogs against ticks so if you have any doubts feel free to drop by our clinic or call us for a chat.

If you would like more information on ticks, what symptoms to look out for in particular and what to do you can read on here