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

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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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.