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The Season of Sensuality

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 11:24:23 AM EST by Cam Day

Making Scents

Spring is nearly upon us and summer is just a sniff away. The days are getting longer and the animal kingdom is waking to a new 'season of sensuality'. I find that the start of the Ekka in Brisbane marks the start of this season of sensuality. It's not only the flowers that blossom and send out their wonderful perfumes at this time of year but many species of animals also send out their own seasonal scents in spring. The most important of these scents are pheromones.

Pheromones Cats sniffing each other are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs. In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam.  A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

While that may sound complicated, the good news is that cat, and more recently, dog pheromones are now produced synthetically and placed in bottles to help pet owners better manage their pet's behaviour. This is a very new and exciting form of science. With dogs the dog appeasing pheromone (DAP or Adaptil) is used to aid the treatment of anxiety disorders and fears. For cats, the pheromone Feliway is readily available and is used to stop cats spraying, as well as in assisting cats to become comfortable when moving into a new residence.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Dog's Behaviour 

The dog appeasing pheromone aids in the treatment of fears and anxieties in dogs and can be part of the therapy for:

Complete range of Adaptil products
  • settling a new puppy into a home

  • separation anxieties or similar disorders

  • noise fears and phobias

  • treating fears from various origins.

For instance, to determine the effects of the dog appeasing pheromone, a study was conducted on 26 dogs where 20 were destructive, 18 were vocalising excessively and 12 were house-soiling. After 28 days of pheromone use, the behaviour of approximately 75% of the dogs had either improved or resolved.

The commercial version of the dog appeasing pheromone has just been released and while that's good news, it's the method of delivery that really makes this product shine. It is simply delivered via a diffuser that is plugged into a power point in a manner similar to air fresheners.

Used for a month or longer, this pheromone can be very important in helping a dog resolve its anxieties.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Cat's Behaviour

The feline pheromones that are associated with familiarisation help to convey a message of well being and a feeling of security to cats.

The Feliway Pheromone range.The synthetically manufactured version of this pheromone (Feliway) helps when moving house with cats, or when new cats are introduced to a cat household. The pheromone also helps to reduce spraying behaviour and to calm aggressive cats when many cats are present in the same household.

The pheromones used to achieve such changes in behaviour are synthetic versions of a cat's facial pheromones. These are the same scents that a cat rubs on its owner when 'bunting' in greeting.

For cats that spray urine inside their owner's homes, cleaning the soiled area and then marking the area with the synthetic pheromone helps to solve the urine spraying behaviour. The calming function of the facial pheromones has a preventative effect on urine marking,

In addition, these facial pheromones help to settle cats into new homes, promoting exploration and calmness and establishment of normal feeding behaviour more rapidly than when the cat is placed in a new home with no pheromones.

Just like Adaptil's dog appeasing pheromone, Feliway's cat facial pheromone is now also available in a plug-in diffuser that makes it very easy to use.

These products are now available but for more information click here.

Spring has Sprung

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012 at 4:35:35 PM EST by Cam Day

Spring Care of Pets 

Spring into action now that spring has sprung to ensure your pet is prepared for the warmer weather

Now is when you need to groom your pet to remove the remains of its winter coat and you should watch for the hundreds of fleas and ticks that are organising their assault on your pets. These nasty parasites are on the march now and have you noticed that Mosquitoes are all a buzz?  They are ready to spread heartworm disease. Even flies and worms are set to worry your pets.

But, pounce on prevention and you can be done with the cure!

The Hair of the Dog

Have you noticed the tumbleweeds of cat and dog hair wafting over the floor lately? It's a sign that you need to get into grooming to make your pet more comfortable and to prevent further fur balls making a mess in your house. 

Dog sittingAt present, you should be grooming your pets on a daily basis to remove their winter coat.

A visit to your vet or pet shop will reveal a fascinating range of products designed to make grooming easier.

Look for a Zoom Groom. This is a nylon brush with large, soft fingers which will gently strip the dead hair from your pet's coat. Zoom Grooms are available for dogs and cats and come in several forms. An added advantage of the Zoom Groom is that, being nylon, it can also be used to massage shampoos and flea rinses into your pet's coat - just the thing when you are planning your pet's Spring clean!

Also, look for Slicker brushes. These brushes have dual level pins on a cushioned pad with a curved head. The long and short pins work at two levels to remove the mats and the dead hair that make your pet shabby. Slicker brushes are available from good pet shops.

For long-haired pets or those with thick hair, now is a good time to have them professionally clipped. They will feel so much more comfortable after the removal of their hot coat of heat-trapping hair. Clipping will allow them to cool down much easier and will lessen the chance of heat stroke in the coming summer months. Ugly mats of hair that trap foreign bodies and that pinch your pet's skin will also be removed 

Hop Into Flea Control

Now that the warm weather is with us, the creeping, crawling, gnashing, nasty, nibbling, bloodsucking, ferocious Aussie flea is on the prowl!

Thankfully, there are lots of 'state of the art' flea control products available which are effective and safe.

groomingaburmese200'Spot on the back of the neck' preparations are popular and easy to use, safe and effective for both dogs and cats. These products come in small vials that you squeeze onto your pet's neck. Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution are commonly known brands.

Fleas can also be controlled with tablets . 

Sentinel is a popular monthly tablet (for dogs), that not only controls fleas by stopping flea eggs from hatching, but it includes a once-per-month heartworm preventive and an intestinal wormer which will give intestinal worms a headache. Its flea control effect relies on preventing flea eggs from hatching.  Sentinel cannot be used on cats.

Comfortis and it's bigger brother, Panoramis, are once per month chewable tablets that kills fleas on your dog in 30 minutes and is not affected by your dog swimming or being bathed.

Capstar is another tablet that kills fleas and does it very quickly. It is suitable for both dogs and cats. It has no residual action and is useful if you want to quickly eliminate a new flea infestation before using a long term preventive.

All of these tablets are available from your local vet.

Flea shampoos deserve a mention. There are many on the market including Fido's Free Itch Shampoo. Such shampoos will clean your pet and will kill fleas present at the time but usually will not give any residual action.  Most are safe for cats but be sure to check the label first.

Make Mosquitoes Buzz Off

Mosquitoes spread heartworm disease and are much more prevalent in warm weather - not that they are a scarcity in winter either. Many pet owners incorrectly stop their pet's heartworm preventive in the cooler months thinking that their pet is safe. This is not so.

If you have missed you pet's heartworm preventative, contact your vet and ask for a heartworm test. If it shows that all is clear, place your pooch (and puss cat) onto a heartworm preventive medication.

Most dog owners are now using the Once-A-Year heartworm preventives because while other alternatives are very effective, they are also very easy to forget.

Flies are a Worry

Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SMLWhile talking about things that won't buzz off, a variety of flies also cause pets problems. Dogs regularly suffer from fly bite dermatitis on, off all places, their ear tips. Similar problems can occur when flies are attracted to discharges that are present around the eyes, mouth and nose of pets.  This is not such a common problem with cats.

The stable fly is the most common culprit. It rasps away at the ears of dogs and causes crusty, bleeding sores to develop.

This problem can be prevented by spraying the dog with Permoxin as needed, or by mixing the Permoxin with Vaseline, baby oil, or a mixture of both, and smearing that onto the dog's ears.

Various fly repellent ointments are also available.

Around Worm Control 

Lastly, the beginning of a new season is always the best time to ensure your dog and cat has been wormed. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are a problem for dogs and cats during the warmer months and dogs can also be infected with whipworms.Yorkshireandownertiny

As a routine, adult pets should be wormed every three months. Look for an all-wormer medication as this is likely to eliminate all types of intestinal worms your pets may have.

Also note that many spot-on-the-neck flea preparations also control worms.

Choosing the correct combination of parasite control preparations for your pet can be complex.  So be sure to consult with your veterinarian for a parasite control problem that will keep your pets up to scratch.

So, having attended to the above, you will not be wondering whether your pet will weather summer weather well!

 

 Click to go to the Spring Has Sprung Pet Pick

Pheromones for Pets

Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:40:41 PM EST by Cam Day

What are Pheromones?

contentkittiePheromones are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones are important to many living creatures including insects and mammals. For instance, queen bees produce pheromones that inhibit other queens from developing.  In insects and animals pheromones also act as sex attractants and have many other functions.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs.

In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.  

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam. 

A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

Availability in Australia

The Feliway Pheromone range.Synthetic pheromones are now available in Australia for dogs and cats.

The dog pheromone is known as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and the cat pheromones in known as Feliway.

Adaptil is available commercially in Australia as a plug-in diffuser.

Feliway is available as a plug-in diffuser and as a spray bottle.

Are pheromones suitable for your pet?

Pheromones such as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and Feliway are wonderful products because they are easy to use and side-effect free.

But they certainly are not a cure for all behavioural problems. 

If you are uncertain about purchasing pheromones for your pet, complete our Pheromone Inquiry Form and we will review your submission.

We will then respond to that by email or by telephone as needed.

Click here to inquire if pheromones are suitable for your pet's behaviour

How to Purchase Pheromones

Pheromones can be purchased from our office or, if you are certain the are correct for your pet, the can be purchased online here.

Click here to purchase pheromones


More information

Halloween, Australia, and our pets

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 12:10:01 PM EST by Cam Day

Halloween, Australia, and our pets

6836-101413-gs6836

Halloween, the 31st of October, is a time bound deep in American history. Traditionally, it is the time when Americans remember those who have passed, and ‘laugh’ in the face of death. Although it has long been an American holiday, it is becoming bigger and more popular in Australia with each passing year.

Today, Halloween has lost most of its original meaning, and the day is instead a time to delve in to the humorously macabre by watching scary movies, telling scary stories, and dressing up in all manner of ghouls and ghosts.

While that may be fun and exciting for us humans, it can be a completely different story for our beloved pets.

Pets and Superstitions

Take superstitions for example – we’re happily told from a young age not to walk under a ladder, crack a mirror, or even to let an innocent black cat cross your path.

Now, I have a big soft spot for black cats. I have two of my own and I love them to bits – my family calls them black panthers. They’re gorgeous. However, black cats are popular targets for sick ‘celebrations’ of Halloween traditions. A lot of black cats are abused, tortured and even killed on Halloween. In America, it has become common for people to adopt a black cat a few days prior to Halloween, only to return it a few days later, once the day has passed – these are considered the ‘lucky’ cats. Some American shelters have even banned black cat adoption during the entire month of October to prevent this from happening.

What do I do?

If you’re worried that your pet may be targeted, keep your pet out of harm’s reach.

  • Temporarily restrict your dog’s access to boundary fences
  • Keep your cat inside until the frivolity of the day has passed

Celebrating Halloween – Australian style

Australians love to have a good time, whether it’s a simple barbecue at the park, a beer with a friend, or dressing up in crazy costumes just because you can. Halloween in Australia is no exception.

6842-101413-gs6842With multiple parties at various entertainment and private venues celebrating everything Halloween, people are going to be acting and dressing differently. For instance, we already know that the family barbecue is a trigger for serious Resource-Guarding Aggression problems. So combine the barbecue with people in crazy costumes, people acting differently, and people under the effect of alcohol, and it’s a recipe for disaster for the family pet.

There may even be noisy celebrations such as fireworks and firecrackers. For anxious pets, this can all be cause for concern. Pets don’t understand that it’s just a bit of fun and games for us humans and that everything will be back to normal the next day. Pets don’t understand that fireworks aren’t going to hurt you, that they’ll be gone in just a few minutes. Pets don’t know that people are deliberately walking weird (as zombies), hissing (vampires, witches), or howling (ghosts, ghouls, werewolves). To pets, these loud noises are catastrophic and these people really are the monsters they are imitating, and it’s all very scary.

Scared and fearful pets are unpredictable. This is where the age-old notion of “fight/flight” comes in to play. If pets can’t run away, which they likely can’t if they’re confined in an area that has easy access to these “monsters”, they can become aggressive and that’s when disaster strikes.

What do I do?

If you’re having a get-together, have a plan in place to ensure your pet’s happiness and your visitors’ safety.

This can include:

  • Creating a sound-proof den if fireworks are going to be used nearby
  • Using a calmative if needed, such as Adaptil or Homeopet Storm Stress
  • Restricting your pet’s access to food preparation and eating areas
  • Keeping your pet away from the activity and ‘scary’ people
  • Ensuring your pet’s identification is up to date, in case they do escape your home

Trick or Treating

The most well-known part of celebrating Halloween is Trick-or-Treating. Kids of all ages dress up in their spookiest garb and travel their Puppy on cushion sad.jpgneighbourhood in packs, targeting their friendly neighbours with the cry “trick or treat!”

While this is great fun for humans, the constant traffic to and from the front door and the repetitive ringing of the doorbell may cause increasing levels of mood arousal, stress or anxiety in some pets. Combine this with the known factors of young children in costumes and crazy get-up and you could be in for a tough night.

And while we’re on the topic of Trick or Treating, just be mindful of the types of treats that could be within reaching distance of your pet.

What do I do?

While not every neighbourhood will be brimming with costumed kids wanting treats, it’s best to again have a plan in place.

  • Make the entrance area to your home a “no-go” zone for the night by closing doors or using baby gates
  • Place your pet in another part of the house where the sounds of the front door are muffled
  • Keep chocolates and other human treats away from your pets

Further reading:

The Denning Principle

Noise Fear Pet Pick

Resource-Guarding Aggression

Changing Moods

Human Foods that Poison Pets

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