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Read all our latest articles on animal care and welfare issues. If you would like more news and information, please contact our media team.


Keeping your pets safe on Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for people, but for pets it can be a nightmare, and it is a time to exercise caution. To ensure that both you and your pets enjoy a fun and safe Halloween, we recommend you follow these tips:

  • Don’t feed your pets Halloween lollies, especially if they contain chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free products) as these can be poisonous. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures.
  • Be sure your pet is wearing identification tags with your name and phone number on them and their microchip details are up-to-date in case they escape through the open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters.
  • If you are using candles to light your jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decorations, make sure to place them well out of reach of your pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or causing a fire.
  • If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween.
  • Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn’t likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely. In addition, battery-powered Halloween decorations can present a risk to pets.
  • Pets may become anxious and frightened when the doorbell is constantly ringing and all they see is people in strange clothes and masks. Confining them to their own safe haven for the evening can help calm their nerves and prevent them from barking excessively or running out of the constantly opening front door.
  • Don’t leave pets outside on Halloween as this may place them and trick-or-treaters at risk. A constant stream of people in strange clothes may cause your pet to become stressed and cause them to behave in a way they normally wouldn’t.

Even though the rest of your family might be caught up in all the Halloween festivities, your pet still needs a routine that includes all of their activities. Following these simple tips will help to keep your pets safe, healthy and out of any scary trouble this Halloween.

Download a copy of AWLQ's Keeping your pet safe during Halloween brochure here.

Word count: 397

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Protect your pet during tick season

Every year the paralysis tick will cause illness in over 100,000 companion animals on the east coast of Australia. Paralysis ticks are external parasites that suck the blood from their host animal. Their salivary glands produce a toxin that affects the nervous system of the host.

Not only is the paralysis tick one of the most common, it’s also one of the most dangerous. Once paralysis occurs the animal is likely to die unless it is treated quickly with tick antiserum transfused by a vet. It still takes 48 hours for the toxin to be removed so your pet can continue to deteriorate during this time. Full recovery can take weeks

Where are paralysis ticks found?

Ticks need humidity and mild weather to develop and aren’t able to survive in cold climates. They are most commonly found along the east coast of Australia during the warmer months, but can be found inland in suitable habitats and in northern parts of the country all-year-round.

What do ticks look like?

Ticks vary in size between 1mm and 10mm long, depending on their age. They look like tiny spiders with a white, egg-shaped body. This body becomes larger and darker as it fills with blood.

How can I protect my pet?

The best way to protect your pet is to check them daily in conjunction with a tick prevention treatment. Begin with their head and remember that you’re more likely to feel the tick than see it, so make sure you use your hands. Check inside your pet’s ears, nose, and mouth, under their chin and around their throat. Move down the front legs and check in between their toes. Feel along their body making sure to check their belly, and then check down their back legs and in between their toes. Inspect your pet’s genital region as ticks can sometimes be found there and finish with their tail.

It’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available and it’s best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet. Read the instructions very carefully as some treatments are for dogs only and can be very dangerous to cats and can even kill them. Some can also react with other medications your pet may be on.

How to spot the signs of tick poisoning

If your pet has come into contact with a paralysis tick they will experience paralysis in a variety of forms. A typical case will start with vomiting, a change in “voice” and progress to weakness in the hind limbs that will then progress to total paralysis of the whole body (gastrointestinal, ability to swallow and finally paralysis of respiration).

Other early symptoms may include the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or dry retching
  • Excessive salivation
  • Coughing
  • Noisy panting

What should I do if my pet has a paralysis tick?

Paralysis ticks can lead to an animal needing to be ventilated and sadly many victims of these ticks do not recover. If your pet is showing any signs of tick paralysis, you should take him/her to a veterinarian for treatment promptly.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has tick paralysis you can reduce the risk of complications by withholding food and water before you can see a veterinarian. This is especially important if the dog or cat is regurgitating.

Download a copy of AWLQ's Protect your pet during tick season brochure here.

Word count: 573

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Risk factors and managing obesity in pets

How can you resist those adoring eyes your pet gives you when you’re eating something, surely a small amount won’t hurt? Although it may be hard to resist giving your pet an extra treat or a little bit more food when they show off their puppy dog eyes, obesity is a serious concern and can lead to a number of potential serious health concerns and even shorten their lifespan.

When your pet becomes overweight or obese it creates a range of health related issues. Not only does it place stress on your pet’s vital organs and joints, it can potentially cause heart problems, pancreatitis, cushing’s disease, diabetes, liver and renal issues.

Dr Bridget Brown, Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) Senior Veterinarian, says with almost half of dogs and one third of cats in Australia being overweight or obese^, Australian veterinarians are seeing a dramatic increase of pets waddling into their clinics with health issues due to being overweight.

“Pets may be overweight due to a number of factors – overfed, a high-fat diet, or lack of exercise. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, the first step is to consult your local veterinarian, who will perform a thorough health exam of your pet and assess the body condition score of your animal.

“Your vet will then discuss with you the healthy weight range for your pet and help you formulate a weight loss plan involving diet choices and exercise options,“ said Dr Brown.

There are varied opinions on animal diets; however, there are two common options:

  • Premium dry food – it is entirely acceptable to feed your cat or dog a good quality dry kibble (biscuit) only diet. You can mix this up with a small amount of good quality wet food, sardines (in spring water), cooked meat, fish or vegetables and rice.
  • A natural diet – while a natural diet such as cooked vegetables mixed with lean cooked meat can suit some dogs very well, ensure you choose human-grade meat, practise good food hygiene and have a veterinary nutritionist formulate the diet for you.

Dr Brown adds that many dogs lack enough fibre in their diet. “The addition of cooked pumpkin or grated carrot can improve their bowel health. Boiled pumpkin or carrot can be mixed with some other vegetables, or a small piece of lean meat.

“It is always best to consult your veterinarian as your pet’s diet will depend on the individual needs of the animal. How much a pet should eat depends on a lot of things – how much exercise they get, their breed, size and any health issues that might require special dietary requirements, especially if it is a mature animal,” said Dr Brown.

Important tips:

  • Never give your pet chocolate, garlic, onions, grapes or raisins, macadamia nuts and never give cat food to a dog. No raw meat, chicken or fish for risk of salmonella. No milk to either dogs or cats as they are lactose intolerant.
  • As much as dogs love fresh bones, it is best not to let these be consumed. Bones contain high amounts of fat, can chip teeth and become lodged in your dog’s throat or stomach.
  • If your pet consumes something it shouldn’t always seek veterinary advice.

Reference

^ Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved. Vet Rec. 2005 May 28;156(22):695-702.

Download a copy of AWLQ's Managing obesity in pets brochure here.

Word count: 536

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Preparing your pets for bushfire season

With recent severe bushfires resulting in an early start to the season, and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) expecting it will go later as well, Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) is urging pet owners to ensure they are prepared for the bushfire season.

Bushfires are extremely dangerous and threaten homes and lives of both humans and animals. Having a plan of action in case of an emergency, for both you and your pets, is essential to getting out alive.

Bushfires can occur in a matter of seconds, providing very little time to evacuate. With a plan in place you will know exactly how to react and what needs to be done in order to save the lives of you and your pets.

Tips for preparing for bushfire season:

  • Monitoring high fire danger days are important, as this will allow you to be prepared and ready if the worst happens. As soon as you are aware of a bushfire threat, it is important to act as quickly as possible.
  • Check with local authorities as to where your nearest pet friendly refuge centre is located. Know where you could house your pets as an alternative – this may include boarding kennels, a relative or friend’s place.
  • Because of the potential stress on animals in a major bush fire, we recommend that you relocate your pets early to a safer location.
  • Have a kit ready to go – this should include food and water, a bowl for each pet, a spare collar and lead, a carrier for cats and smaller pets, bedding and a woollen blanket, a favourite toy, any medications and your pet's medical history, including proof of vaccination.
  • Have towels and woollen blankets available to cover and protect your pets.
  • Make sure your pets can be identified easily – microchip your animals and include your details such as your phone number on collars.
  • Discuss with neighbours about protecting your pets if you are not at home during a bushfire. Keep in regular contact with your neighbours during the fire danger period to let them know your plans.
  • Practise how you will move your pets if you leave – it takes longer than you think.

If your pets have suffered injuries during a fire ensure you seek veterinary assistance as soon as it is safe to do so.

For more information visit - https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety/Pages/Create-your-bushfire-survival-plan.aspx

Download a copy of AWLQ's Preparing your pet for bushfire season here.

Total word count: 389

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Ensure your pet is well cared for when the unexpected happens

Your dog might be your closest friend giving unconditional love, and your cat, your TV couch companion, but unfortunately they can’t fend for themselves should something happen and you aren’t able to be there for them.

Because pets usually have shorter life spans than their human caregivers, you may have planned for your animal friend’s passing. But what if you are the one who becomes ill or incapacitated, or who dies first?

To make sure that your beloved pet will continue to be cared for, should something unexpected happen to you, it is important to plan ahead.

What can I do now to prepare for the unexpected?

In the confusion that accompanies a person’s unexpected illness, accident, incapacitation or death, pets may be overlooked. In some cases, pets are only discovered in the person’s home days after the tragedy, resulting in their safety and welfare being placed at risk.

To prevent this from happening to your pet you should take these simple precautions:

  1. Find at least two friends or relatives who agree to be emergency caregivers for your pets in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home along with any important information such as feeding instructions, medical needs and the name of your pet’s vet.
  2. Make sure your neighbours, friends and relatives know how many pets you have and the contact details of your pet’s emergency caregivers. Your pet’s emergency caregivers should also have each others contact details.
  3. Carry a card in your wallet that advises emergency personnel you have a pet at home and lists the contact details of your pet’s emergency caregivers.
  4. Post “in case of emergency” stickers on your doors specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency personnel during an emergency. Ensure you remove these when you move or if you no longer have your pet.
  5. Display your pets emergency caregivers contact details somewhere highly visible in your home.

Pets require daily care and will need immediate attention should you not be there to care for them – the importance of making these formal arrangements for temporary care of your pet should not be overlooked.

Download a copy of AWLQ's Ensure your pet is well cared for when the unexpected happens brochure here.

Total word count: 368

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Pets can’t add but they DO multiply

In 2018, more than 1,700 kittens and nearly 500 puppies came into Animal Welfare League Queensland’s (AWLQ) care across our four Centres in South East Queensland.

Many more don’t make it to shelters, rescue groups or pounds, and are abandoned to live and breed on the street, or around shopping centres and industrial complexes. Uncontrolled breeding and pet over-population contributes significantly to this problem.

When you desex your pet, you’re doing yourself, your pet and the community a big favour.

Your pet’s health and longevity improve, you’re saving yourself large vet bills from all the health complications that could come from an undesexed pet, and you are preventing unwanted litters ending up in pounds or shelters.

There are many reasons why pet owners should desex their pets. As well as helping to stop pet overpopulation, the following are some of the benefits associated with desexing cats and dogs.

Health

  • Reduced risk of getting cancer or other diseases of the reproductive organs, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer/disorders in males, and cystic ovaries, ovarian tumours, acute uterine infections and breast cancer in females, and also other diseases like mammary cancer, perianal tumours and perianal hernia.
  • Females can suffer from physical and nutritional exhaustion if continually breeding.
  • Pets generally live longer and healthier lives.

Behavioural

  • Pets are less prone to wander, fight, and are less likely to get lost or injured.
  • Reduces territorial behaviour such as spraying indoors.
  • Pets are less likely to suffer from anti-social behaviours and they often become more affectionate.
  • Eliminates “heat” cycles in female cats and their efforts to get outside in search of a mate.
  • Eliminates male dogs’ urge to “mount” people’s legs.

Cost

  • Reduces the cost to the community of having to care for unwanted puppies and kittens in pounds and shelters.
  • No additional food or vet bills for the offspring.
  • No need to find homes for unwanted or unexpected litters of puppies or kittens.
  • Saves cost of expensive surgeries from car accidents or fights, which are less likely to occur if your pet doesn’t roam.
  • Dumping puppies and kittens is an ethical cost, as it can cause immense suffering. It is also illegal.
  • The price of desexing is more affordable to those in financial need with the assistance of organisations such as NDN.

Cats can become pregnant from four months of age. To prevent accidental or early litters, kittens can be safely desexed from two months of age and one kilogram in weight. It is ideal to desex your pets when they are kittens or puppies as the recovery process is much faster.

July is National Desexing Month and during this time certain veterinary clinics are offering discounted prices, for your nearest participating veterinary clinic visit www.ndn.org.au.

National Desexing Month is an initiative of AWLQ and was created to help put a stop to the huge numbers of stray and surrendered cats and dogs in Australia’s pounds and shelters.

Total word count: 484

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Keeping your pets happy and healthy in winter

It’s easy to assume that because our pets have a coat of fur, they can tolerate the cold better than humans. Just like us, our pets feel the effects of winter, so it is important we make sure they are kept happy and healthy throughout the cool season.

Outdoor pets

Ideally your pet shouldn’t be kept outside at night during winter. Like humans, cats and dogs can suffer from hypothermia. If your dog needs to stay outside, make sure they have access to a draught-free kennel offering protection from rain and wind. Fill the kennel with warm, dry blankets for extra warmth and comfort. For cats, consider installing a cat flap for easy access to your house during the day, and remember you must keep your cat indoors at night.

Indoor pets

Give indoor pets access to comfortable bedding, raised off the floor, away from cold drafts. Try to keep a heater free area for your pet. While your pet may enjoy getting up close to heating, they run the risk or receiving burns and dehydration. Always have fresh bowls of water available for your cat and dog whether they are indoor or outdoor pets.

Senior pets

Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in pets, particularly arthritis. It’s very important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but make sure your dog has a warm soft rest area to recuperate after activity. If you don’t already, give your senior pet a natural joint supplement to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis, you may want to consider adding one in winter. Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to other illnesses during winter weather.

Grooming and paw care

Avoid having your pet’s coat clipped close to the skin during winter, as longer coats provide more warmth. Also minimise bathing your pets in the cold as this can remove essential oils from your pet’s skin and fur, increasing the chance of skin irritation. Brush your pet regularly to get rid of dead hair and stimulate blood circulation. This can improve skin condition. Cold weather can be hard on your dog’s paws, leading to chipping and cracking. If this occurs, consult your veterinarian for the best treatment options.

Exercise your pet

It is important for your pet to remain active in winter. For dogs make sure you stick to regular exercise routines during the colder months. When heading out for a walk, dress your dog in a sweater or coat. This helps retain body heat and prevents skin from getting dry or inflamed. For cats, consider a game of chase, with a piece of string or a bit of ribbon to help them stay fit and healthy.

Download a copy of AWLQ's Keeping your pets happy and healthy in winter brochure here.

Total word count: 466

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au


Keeping your pets happy and healthy this Easter

Overindulging during the Easter period may result in a few extra kilograms for humans; the consequences for our animal companions are much more serious. We've put together a few tips on how you can keep your furry companions happy and healthy this Easter.

Chocolate is a big no, no!

The accidental ingestion of chocolate can lead to serious illness or even death for our beloved furry companions. Symptoms your pet may have ingested toxic levels of chocolate may include hyperactivity, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking, tremors or seizures. If you think your pet may have consumed chocolate seek veterinary treatment immediately.

Having an Easter feast?

You might feel mean to sit down to a big Easter feast while your pet has their normal meal, feeding them leftovers can cause all sorts of preventable problems. Food toxic to pets include onions, caffeine products, avocado, grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants, nuts, unripe tomatoes and mushrooms. For everyone's comfort it is best to always only feed your pets their specific food.

Be sure to clean up after your Easter hunt!

Easter egg hunts are fun but these can pose a threat to pets, due to the foil wrapping that are often discarded. Foil can cause choking and can also be a dangerous intestinal obstruction, which may require surgical intervention is performed. This also applies to shredded paper or cellophane often found at the bottom of Easter baskets.

How can I include my pet?

Including your pet in Easter celebrations is fun, and the good news is, there are still plenty of treats you can provide. Fish, such as tinned sardines, tinned tuna and tinned salmon can be given as a treat occasionally, as can small amount of cooked meat. If you have a dog, they will be just as happy with a walk or game of fetch.

If you are concerned about your pet it is always best to seek veterinary advice. AWLQ's Gold Coast Community Vet Clinic will be open over Easter (excluding Good Friday) and can be contact on 5594 0111.

Total word count: 340

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au

Download a copy of AWLQ’s guide to Keeping your pets happy and healthy this Easter.


KEEPING OUR PETS SAFE AND HEALTHY AT CHRISTMAS

The festive season is upon us, and many of us will include our pets in these festivities. As you gear up for Christmas, it is important to your pet's wellbeing in mind. Help your pet have a healthy and happy Christmas by following these tips.

Food
Keep people food away from pets – if you want to share holiday treats with your pets, buy treats formulated just for them. Feeding your dog human foods can have dire consequences such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and in some cases chronic breathing difficulties. Other dangerous foods for dogs include grapes, mince pies, Christmas puddings, whole Brazil nuts, alcohol, onion, raw potato (green), turkey bones and high content cocoa chocolate.

Decorating
Christmas trees can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with the lights and ornaments, ensure your tree is secure. Ornaments can cause hazards for pets, broken ornaments can cause injuries and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Electric lights can cause burns when a curious pet chews the cords. Flowers and festive plants can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them. Clean up wrapping paper quickly after presents have been opened.

Hosting parties and visitors
The sudden influx of visitors and noise of the festive season can upset pets; even pets that aren’t normally shy may become nervous. Try and keep to your pet’s routine as much as possible, including exercise and feeding times. Pets should have access to a comfortable, quiet place inside if they want to retreat. If your pet is particularly upset by house guests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

Holiday travel
Pets in vehicles should always be safely restrained and should never be left alone in the car in any weather. Proper restraint means using a secure harness or a carrier. If you are leaving your pet with a pet sitter, ensure you utilise a trusted and reliable service and that your pet’s microchip and ID tag details are up-to-date in case they go missing while you are away.

Total word count: 356

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au.

Download a copy of AWLQ’s Keeping Our Pets Safe And Healthy At Christmas Guide.


SUMMER SAFETY FOR YOUR PETS GUIDE

Queenslander’s love nothing more than spending summer days outdoors, more often than not with our furry companions. However, hot weather can spell danger for our pets. To help your companion through summer festivities and prevent your pet from overheating, you can take these simple precautions.

  • Never leave your animals in a vehicle – even with the windows open. A parked car is like an oven and temperatures can reach extreme levels in just a short period of time leading to fatal heat stroke.
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly – have plenty of fresh, clean water available. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets – this includes excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, vomiting, or even collapse. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke.
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool or at the beach – not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.
  • Don’t let your pets linger on hot pavements – when the temperature is very high and being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly. Their sensitive paw pads can burn so keep dog walks during these times to a minimum.
  • Human food and drink are not for pets – these should be kept out of reach form your pets. Food enjoyed by humans should not be a treat for your pet as any change of diet may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments or in some cases be poisonous and result in death.
  • Many pets are fearful of loud noises – so it’s best to keep your pets somewhere safe inside during any loud Christmas or New Year celebrations and storms. Ensure your pet’s microchip and ID tag details are update in case they go missing.

 Total word count: 337

For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email communications@awlqld.com.au.

Download a copy of AWLQ’s Summer Safety For Your Pets Guide.