General Pet Advice

Dog, Cat, Rabbit Euthanasia


Deciding when to say goodbye

Losing a dog or cat is a sad and distressing time and choosing whether to have them put to sleep is one of the hardest decisions a pet owner can make. Our vets will be able to help you to assess your pets quality of life i.e are they in pain (which sometimes can be difficult to assess), are they still eating, or are they showing any changes in behaviour, such as not playing or greeting you when you come home? Though it is quite upsetting, euthanasia is sometimes the best course of action to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. Our vet will be able to help you decide when the time is right and what’s best for you and your pet. If you feel the time has come to say goodbye, or if you would like guidance and support, please book an appointment to see your veterinary surgeon.

What actually happens?

Euthanasia typically involves an injection into a vein which quickly and painlessly sends the pet to sleep. Their breathing and heart will stop within a minute or so, and they will gently slip away. You can choose to have your pet put to sleep at the surgery, or at home in relaxed and familiar surroundings.

Should I stay with my pet?

This is a very personal decision and has to be your own. Some people feel that staying with their pet helps them to come to terms with the loss. Others find it too distressing. You must do what’s best for you and your pet. Do not feel guilty if you decide not to be there, this can be a very upsetting time for all concerned and we will fully support whatever decision you make.

Once your dog/ cat has been put to sleep, you will need to make a decision on whether you would like to have your pet cremated or buried. We will look after your pet until you are able to decide.

What services are available for cremation?

You can choose to have your pet cremated at a specialist pet crematorium, either alongside other pets, or individually. If your pet is cremated on its own, the ashes will be carefully collected and returned to you in a casket, scatter box or urn. We will be able to arrange this for you.

Grieving for a pet and the support available

First reactions to the death of a pet can include numbness and shock, followed by intense feelings of sadness, despair, pining and anxiety. Your house may feel emptier without your pet. Empty beds and food bowls, even meeting other pet owners in the street, can be painful reminders of your loss. Treasure good memories and, where possible, share them with friends and family. You may like to create a memory box with photos of your dog, their collar, lead, favourite toys etc. Remember we are here to help. We are partnered with fully trained bereavement counsellors who can offer you professional and compassionate support with complete confidentiality. Talking about your grief helps to initiate the healing process and reduce the pain and guilt often felt after the loss of a pet.

Essential First Aid For Your Pet


Do you know how to provide your dog/cat with first aid if an emergency occurs? We have a few tips to help you prepare for an unexpected pet health issue:

Wounds

  • If your pet sustains a wound, wash it with clean running water.
  • If there is a lot of bleeding, apply pressure for at least five minutes with a clean cloth, such as a flannel, a towel or even a t-shirt.
  • As soon as you can, call us on 9537 3881, as the wound may require stitching or further treatment – especially if the wound is large or contaminated.
  • A common injury is a dog bite, and these can be much more severe than they initially look. It is important to always seek veterinary attention in these cases.

Lameness

  • If your pet suddenly becomes lame, carefully check the foot of the affected limb for thorns, bits of glass, grass seeds or other items that may be irritating.
  • You can usually remove these items safely, but exercise caution, as the animal will most likely be in pain and may behave in an unpredictable manner.
  • If the lameness persists call us on 9537 3881, as the injury may require further investigation and treatment. Animals limp when they are in pain, so at the very least they will need pain relief.

Road accidents

  • If you come across an injured pet in the road or yours gets hit by a car, talk gently to it as you approach.
  • Move slowly and avoid making sudden movements, and put a lead on if possible.
  • If the animal is able to move and walk, come to the surgery – even if there appears to be no pain, as there may be internal injuries.
  • If the animal cannot walk and you can pick them up, place one hand at the front of the chest and the other under the hindquarters.
  • Improvise a stretcher for large dogs with a coat or a blanket.
  • If the animal is paralysed, find something rigid to carry them on, such as a board, and cover them with a blanket.

Burns and scalds

  • Run cold water over a burn for at least five minutes and then contact us.
  • Do not apply ointments or creams, but if you can’t get to us right away, apply a saline-soaked dressing to the area.

Be prepared

Have the following things ready in your home so you are prepared for any incident:

  • A pet first aid kit – your veterinarian they can advise on what to keep in there.
  • Our phone number and address remember we are open 6AM - 9PM everyday and will be on call all night.
  • A pen and paper – you may wish to note down the vet’s instructions.
  • A clean, large blanket.

Try not to panic – an emergency situation will require you to be speedy, calm and most importantly, safe. Remember that a sudden illness or injury will cause your pet to be potentially very frightened. In this situation, even tame pets can bite, so you must ensure your own safety. Having a muzzle will allow you to help your pet confidently. Muzzles cause no harm to the animal and reduce the risk of harm to you.

Fireworks And Pets


Although great to watch, fireworks can be very stressful and frightening for many of our pets. Pets are usually distressed by the flashes and bangs. You may find your pet shivering, restlessness, chewing, vomiting and hiding. Exposing puppies to loud noises from birth as part of their socialisation period can help address this fear. For older pets already scared of old noises:

  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Move cats and dogs to a blackened room in the evening where there are toys. The darkened room helps reduce problems from lights flashing.
  • Try to engage your dog in an active game and using some background music will help to distract him.
  • Try to ignore fearful behaviour and do not reassure your dog as this will reinforce your dog’s fearful behaviour.
  • Speak to us about Royal Canin “Calm” diet for your cat or dog. Our vets will be able to advise you if this would be suitable for your pet when there is a planned fireworks event near you.
  • Make sure outdoor rabbits/guinea pigs are covered over at night to help block out flashing lights and make them feel more secure.

We also stock diffusers - a plug-in device, very similar to the plug-in air fresheners. When plugged in, the device warms up and gives off a dog appeasing pheromone (Adaptil). Bitches produce this after whelping which helps to reassure her puppies. The Adaptil has no sedative effect and cannot be detected by humans. For cats we stock Feliway. It is advisable to install the diffusers as soon as possible before the fireworks start. 

How To Enjoy The Summer Weather With Your Fur Baby


Pets rely on us as owners to keep them cool during warm weather. Here in Perth we are blessed with such warm weather which at times turns into heatwaves.

  • If your pets are outside, keep them in a cool or shady area. However, if it gets too hot you may need to bring them indoors where there is aircon.
  • When they are outside, keep an eye on your pets. When animals are thirsty they will drink anything – including liquids like Antifreeze which is toxic to animals.
  • Offer your pet plenty of fresh water, possibly in a few bowls just in case one is accidently knocked over.
  • Animals can get sunburn too, so please apply pet friendly sunscreen to the nose and ears of pale coloured cats and dogs – if in doubt please ask one of our vets for advice.
  • When it comes to keeping cool; muscular dogs, overweight pets, long haired pets, young and old pets need extra care during hot weather.
  • Don’t worry if your dog or cat starts panting – they will do so in order to take on cooler air if they’re really hot. Cats pant more rarely than dogs so any heavy panting should be cause for concern, if this happens please seek veterinary guidance.
  • Remember for any pet that is kept inside; please ensure that the room is cool and well ventilated. It may be good idea to open a window when get the Freo Doc.
  • Dogs, cats, and small animals control their body temperature through their feet. Hence wetting their feet and using a cooling mist may help ease discomfort. 
  • Don’t leave your pet in a caravan or car, even for a minute. An open window is not an adequate way to keep them cool.

Dogs

  • When you go out for a walk, take plenty of water with you and your pet.
  • Did you know that dogs may also suffer from hay fever? This can lead to skin irritations which may become infected if your dog is continuously scratching. Please make an appointment with one of our vets if there is excessive scratching.
  • Don’t take your dog for a walk when the day is at its warmest, this is usually between 10am until 4pm.

Cats

  • Cats tend to groom more often when it’s warmer- this is a cooling mechanism which is similar to us sweating. The saliva evaporates off the fur and helps the cat to cool down.
  • Cats need 16 hours of sleep a day. So they are often sensible and nap more when it’s a warm day as opposed to running around.
  • Try not to allow your cat outside between the hours of 10am until 4pm, as this is the hottest part of the day.

Cats

  • Cats tend to groom more often when it’s warmer- this is a cooling mechanism which is similar to us sweating. The saliva evaporates off the fur and helps the cat to cool down.
  • Cats need 16 hours of sleep a day. So they are often sensible and nap more when it’s a warm day as opposed to running around.
  • Try not to allow your cat outside between the hours of 10am until 4pm, as this is the hottest part of the day.

Rabbits

  • Keep a rabbit hutch off the ground. This will help ventilation within the hutch.
  • Keep hutches in the shade all day. If there are no shady areas in your garden, it might be a wise idea to move the hutch indoors.
  • Unfortunately the hot weather results in more flies, thus more maggots which may lead to a deadly condition called Flystrike. Regular cleaning is recommended to keep this at bay.
  • Pieces of water rich vegetables or fruit, e.g celery can help keep small animals hydrated.

How do I know if my pet has a heat stroke?

Symptoms include of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting.
  • Excessive salivating.
  • Rapid heart/ pulse rate.
  • Very red gums and/ or tongue.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Lethargy.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Reluctance or inability to stand.
  • In extreme cases there may be a loss of consciousness.

If your pet is showing any of these signs then try to cool your pet down gradually by dousing them in cool water (not ice cold as this may cause shock) and ensure that your pet is drinking. Heatstroke can be fatal. Call our hospital on 9537 3881 for an appointment. Our veterinarian will be able to advice on the best advice. 

Self Medicating Your Pet


Can I use human medication for my pet?

The most common drugs we see being given incorrectly to our pets are over the counter pain relief, like paracetamol and ibuprofen. Both of these medications can be very toxic to our pets, causing liver and kidney failure, and potentially even leading to death. Not even children’s medicines are suitable for our pets. Paracetamol is extremely toxic to our feline friends, and our vets will never prescribe this medication for your cat. Very rarely, our vets may prescribe paracetamol for arthritic pain control in your dog. It’s important to remember that our vets will have worked out a specific dog dose, and this isn’t at all comparable to the doses used by humans. Our vets will also have the knowledge to prescribe the drug correctly, ensuring it doesn’t clash with any other medication or act negatively toward any other conditions your pet may have. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to ibuprofen, and it is toxic for them. It can cause stomach ulcers and is commonly fatal, so it should be avoided at all costs.

We have also seen incorrect dosing of Aspirin to pets. Aspirin thins the blood, and can cause pets to have serious bleeding disorders which can be fatal. Although this medication may be prescribed at suitable doses for certain conditions (often not related to pain) by your vet, but it’ll never be used long term.

Is it safe to give herbal or homeopathic medications to my pet?

Human medication can make existing conditions worse, or even cause toxic reactions to our pets. Some of the oils used by humans to relieve arthritic pain shouldn’t be given to dogs/cats with a history/risk of pancreatitis, as these will almost certainly worsen the condition. It is equally true that garlic in garlic tablets doesn’t kill fleas, but is toxic to a pet’s liver, and can be fatal. We stock safe, animal supplements at our hospital or can place a special order for you.

If you feel your pet needs medication, or may benefit from a herbal/ homeopathic medicines, talk to us. Responsible pet ownership means taking good care of our fur babies and pets making the correct choices for their health. 

Stress In Your Pet


How do I know my pet is stressed?

Take note of changes in behaviour in traumatic situations. Some of the most common events which pets find stressful are:

  • Moving house.
  • Sudden noise, eg fireworks, thunder.
  • New members to the household, eg another pet, a baby.
  • Multi-cat households.
  • Kennel or cattery visit.
  • Grooming.

Loud noise including that from fireworks can result in the following symptoms:

  • Trembling and shaking.
  • Clinging to owners.
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture.
  • Barking or meowing excessively.
  • Trying to run away.
  • Soiling the house.
  • Refusing to eat.
  • Pacing and panting.
  • Habits such as excessive licking or grooming.

Our vets will be able to assess your pet and advise on suitable treatment and/or ways in which you can help to reduce the stress.

What can I give my pet to manage Stress?

Zylkene: This product is proven to help manage stress in dogs and cats. It can also help your pet adapt to change. Zylkene is natural, palatable and easy to give with food, and only needs to be given once daily. Speak to us if you want to know how Zylkene can help your pet manage firework stress, short or long term. Zylkene may also be used to aid behaviour therapy such as noise desensitisation. 

Diffusers - a plug-in device, very similar to the plug-in air fresheners. When plugged in, the device warms up and gives off a dog appeasing pheromone (Adaptil). Bitches produce this after whelping which helps to reassure her puppies. The Adaptil for dogs has no sedative effect and cannot be detected by humans. For cats we stock Feliway. It is advisable to install the diffusers as soon as possible before the fireworks start.

What to look out for during the summer months


Our glorious summer months can present a variety of hazards for our pets. It is important to be vigilant.

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped and the contact details are up-to-date 
  • Check that there is secure fencing at your accommodation, as well as access to dog-friendly areas such as beaches and parks.
  • If your pet requires a specific diet or medication, take enough for the holiday and a little bit extra, just in case.
  • Keep up-to-date with the worm and tick prevention treatments that you’re using. Pets can easily pick these up when interacting with unknown dogs and in unfamiliar places.
  • Keep pets amused with toys and little treats on long car journeys.

My pet has motion sickness, what can I do?

  • Don’t feed them for four to six hours before travelling.
  • Schedule short breaks to allow pets to have a stretch.
  • Open a window to ensure fresh air in the car.
  • Be mindful of loud music – what’s loud to them is not necessarily loud to us.
  • Try to get your pet used to being in a car before the trip. Anxiety is one of the main causes of car sickness in pets. Symptoms include drooling, panting, yawning and trembling. If your pet displays these signs when in the car, allow them to become familiar with their surroundings and spend time with them inside the vehicle while it’s stationary. Once they feel relaxed, take them on short trips before the main journey, rewarding them for calm, relaxed behaviour.
  • Make sure your pet is restrained while you’re driving. Cats and small dogs should be in cages, while medium- and large-breed dogs should have a secure harness.

We stock effective medication to help with motion sickness, just in case these suggestions don’t work or your pet is extremely sensitive to motion sickness.

I will be travelling with my cat, do you have any tips for me?

  • Consider having a suitable carrier – ensuring that it is secure and big enough for your cat.
  • Ensure your cat is microchipped as this is a permanent way of identifying them. If it’s your cat’s first journey then a collar and tag will be fine until a microchip is placed.
  • Once your cat is in the car, please ensure they are secure and that the carrier doesn’t move around as this can be distressing for your cat. It may be worth putting the seatbelt through the handle of the carrier and covering it with a blanket.

I will be travelling with my cat, do you have any tips for me?

  • Consider having a suitable carrier – ensuring that it is secure and big enough for your cat.
  • Ensure your cat is microchipped as this is a permanent way of identifying them. If it’s your cat’s first journey then a collar and tag will be fine until a microchip is placed.
  • Once your cat is in the car, please ensure they are secure and that the carrier doesn’t move around as this can be distressing for your cat. It may be worth putting the seatbelt through the handle of the carrier and covering it with a blanket.

Bee stings

The sound of a buzzing bee can intrigue your dog/cat, causing them to investigate and get stung. If your pet does get stung and there is swelling, see call us for advice and treatment.

Barbeques

Who doesn't love a BBQ? Pet's can get excited, as they gets to feast on scraps. This can be dangerous however, as some foods, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins can be toxic to dogs. Grapes and raisins are safe for cats, but keep onions and garlic away. Table scraps and treats should be kept to less than 10% of a pet’s diet. Boneless chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs are okay, but limit them to small quantities. 

Travelling


If you’re travelling with your pet this summer, here are a few tips that will help things run smoothly.

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped and the contact details are up-to-date 
  • Check that there is secure fencing at your accommodation, as well as access to dog-friendly areas such as beaches and parks.
  • If your pet requires a specific diet or medication, take enough for the holiday and a little bit extra, just in case.
  • Keep up-to-date with the worm and tick prevention treatments that you’re using. Pets can easily pick these up when interacting with unknown dogs and in unfamiliar places.
  • Keep pets amused with toys and little treats on long car journeys.

My pet has motion sickness, what can I do?

We recommend that you:

  • Don’t feed them for four to six hours before travelling.
  • Schedule short breaks to allow pets to have a stretch.
  • Open a window to ensure fresh air in the car.
  • Be mindful of loud music – what’s loud to them is not necessarily loud to us.
  • Try to get your pet used to being in a car before the trip. Anxiety is one of the main causes of car sickness in pets. Symptoms include drooling, panting, yawning and trembling. If your pet displays these signs when in the car, allow them to become familiar with their surroundings and spend time with them inside the vehicle while it’s stationary. Once they feel relaxed, take them on short trips before the main journey, rewarding them for calm, relaxed behaviour.
  • Make sure your pet is restrained while you’re driving. Cats and small dogs should be in cages, while medium- and large-breed dogs should have a secure harness.

We stock effective medication to help with motion sickness, just in case these suggestions don’t work or your pet is extremely sensitive to motion sickness.

I will be travelling with my cat, do you have any tips for me?

  • Consider having a suitable carrier – ensuring that it is secure and big enough for your cat.
  • Ensure your cat is microchipped as this is a permanent way of identifying them. If it’s your cat’s first journey then a collar and tag will be fine until a microchip is placed.
  • Once your cat is in the car, please ensure they are secure and that the carrier doesn’t move around as this can be distressing for your cat. It may be worth putting the seatbelt through the handle of the carrier and covering it with a blanket.

I will be travelling with my dog, do you have any tips for me?

  • Ensure you have an appropriate seat belt harness or crate for your dog to travel in, as some dogs feel less anxious if they feel more secure in the car. These restraint methods will also keep other occupants in the car safe during travel.
  • It’s important to be aware of the laws involved in wearing collars and tags and also the compulsory microchipping. This is relevant when travelling in case your dog panics and tries to escape before or after the journey.
  • For many dogs, the main reason they go in a car is a trip to the vets, hence it can be a stressful time for your dog. It is therefore recommended that you familiarise your dog and change the association that they have with the car. To start this process you can allow your dog to sit in the car whilst it is parked and sit with your dog throughout, providing praise and/ or treats. Once they’re happy to be in the car, you could also try taking them to the beach or the local park, so they will learn a trip in the car isn’t always a trip to the vets.
  • Ensure the whole experience is positive for your dog.

Calming your pet - Pheromones

There are specific products available that mimic the pheromone a female dog releases to sooth her puppies after giving birth. The main one is called Adaptil, this comes in a spray form so that you can spray your car prior to a journey to help reduce your pet’s anxiety. For cats, there is a product that replicates the feline facial pheromone called Feliway which provides reassurance to cats. Again this comes in a spray form so you can spray their carrier and your car prior to journeys to help reduce stress. Please speak to your practice for further information.

Conditions in the car

Some pets may travel better if there is fresh air or soothing music/ sounds in the car. If you’re travelling with a dog, ensure the windows are not open too much as you don’t want your dog sticking its head out of the window as this can cause risk of injuries to your dog’s head. Some dogs also feel safer in a crate and sometimes they’re better if the crate is covered.

Conditions in the car

Some pets may travel better if there is fresh air or soothing music/ sounds in the car. If you’re travelling with a dog, ensure the windows are not open too much as you don’t want your dog sticking its head out of the window as this can cause risk of injuries to your dog’s head. Some dogs also feel safer in a crate and sometimes they’re better if the crate is covered.

Medication

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to calm your pet they still may require medication. If this is the case, you will need to contact your veterinary surgery to arrange a consultation with a vet to discuss this.

Travel sickness

Anyone can get travel sick, even cats and dogs. Most of the time this can be overcome with repeated short desensitisation journeys, ensuring that the trip is not just to take them to the vets, kennel or cattery. It may be worth initially ensuring your pet doesn’t eat a huge amount for at least three hours prior to the journey to reduce the risk of vomiting during travel. If your pet still vomits when travelling then there are anti sickness medications available from your vets.

Hyperactivity

Is your dog bonkers in the car? Are they showing signs of panting, whining and salivating? Then they are displaying signs of hyperactivity. If all of the above calming methods have failed then please contact us for advice.

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