How Will Our Pets Cope as COVID-19 Quarantining Ends?

While some isolated humans may be looking forward to the time when they are leaving the home to work and socialise, there are concerns that this could see a rise in separation anxiety amongst the millions of dogs who’ve grown accustomed to their owners’ constant companionship during lockdown. 

Whist our feline friends may also suffer from separation distress, it if far less common. In fact, many kitties would welcome more time to themselves as soon as possible!

Dogs experiencing so much more quality time with their families, can become over-dependent on their humans and this can lead to separation distress when mums and dads suddenly return to work and the children go back to school.

Dogs thrive on routine. They feel calmest when life offers consistency and predictability, as we all do, so times of abrupt change can be stressful.

The sudden loss of their doting humans could result in stress-induced behaviours in an attempt to find their owners or deal with anxiety. These include:

  • Barking, howling, or whining when you leave
  • Scratching or chewing at entrances and exits (doors/windows) when alone
  • Destructive behaviour that only happens when alone
  • Over-grooming or other self-harm or obsessive behaviours
  • A change in appetite

It is worth collecting video of your pet when they are home alone and pay attention to what they are ‘telling’ you through their body language. Are they coping calmly and munching through a treat whilst resting in their comfy safe place? Or are you seeing distressed behaviours?

Beware the dogs that suffer in silence with more subtle signs of anxiety like panting, pacing, salivating, trembling when alone. Some dogs are so anxious that they don’t eat or drink until their owner returns.

Separation anxiety isn’t just psychologically damaging for the pet. Some dogs attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, resulting in self-injury, such as broken teeth and damaged paws. Some howl continuously in distress, disturbing all those in earshot.

Separation anxiety in dogs already accounts for a high proportion of pets referred for behaviour consultations, even prior to the current upheavals in routine.  

So what can we do now to reduce the risk of our dogs suffering distress when we go back to spending more time away from home?

Allow your pet to have some alone time. You have your space and allow them to have theirs. This should not be a punishing time out. Make this a fun experience where the dog is in another part of the home on a comfortable bed, chewing on a Kong, dental chew or other slow-to-consume tasty treat. Tether the treat to the bed if necessary.

Interactive food release toys can take the place of the food bowl to provide hours of entertainment.

As yummy as they may be, we can’t recommend bones. Vets are often faced with broken teeth, blocked bowels or sad vomiting pooches following access to bones.

Practice training your dog to perform out-of-sight “stays” within the house. Begin a gradual process of using small absences that start to teach the dog that absences are safe. 

Abandoning one’s fur babies for even short periods could prove a tall order for the millions who are relying on and even purchasing dogs to keep themselves sane during lockdown. Especially when pets offer such a joyful greeting after any absence. However, it is important to help them through this upheaval and prepare them for staying at home alone in the future.

Above all, provide consistent and predictable routines that you can continue once you return to leaving them at home more. For example, think about your morning and evening routines. How can these remain constant when you go back to working away from home? To minimise change, keep the really good stuff – like exercising with your dog, playing with them and feeding them – to the same schedule that you will manage when you’re back at work. Make the middle part of the day less interactive as that will be the case when you’re not around.

Dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) and nutraceuticals like Zylkene can help avoid separation anxiety. However, if your dog is already showing signs of separation distress, call us for a discussion and potentially a behaviour consultation to help you manage their anxiety and help them enjoy the peaceful life they deserve.

UPDATES TO COVID-19 PRACTICE PROTOCOLS

Firstly, we’d like to thank all of our fantastic clients for the patience and understanding that we’ve been given during these difficult times. From contactless consultations, 2-3 week waiting periods for non urgent appointments and some delays in response times to customer service enquiries. We have continued to be blown away at the good will, patience and kindness of our community in the face of these challenges.

As the restrictions in the ACT begin to relax, we understand that our clients are eager for protocols to return to normal. We too are looking forward to this! As it always has been, the safety of our staff, clients and patients remains our top priority.

We have begun creating a plan that will enable us to stage the relaxation of practice policies without sacrificing the health and safety of our clients or our staff. The first stage involves combining our working teams to ensure that we have sufficient workforce to provide best care to our patients. 

Soon we will begin working on the second stage to allow one client per animal in the the consultation room – so long as there are no public health hiccups. Clients will still be required to wait in their cars until we call them and their animal in for their consultation. The waiting room will remain out of action as we cannot provide adequate social distancing in this area. And there will be plenty of hand-sanitiser!

Right now, our contactless consultations, food and medication collection protocols will continue until further notice.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on 6230 2262.

Introducing Contactless Consults

In this rapidly changing COVID-19 time, Vets at Amaroo has decided to radically change the way we do consultations and admissions so that we can minimise any possible transmission of the virus.

You Will Need:

You will require access to a mobile phone and a credit/debit card for payment (we are no longer accepting cash).
We ask that all cats and rabbits arrive in a pet carrier.
All dogs must be on lead.

The Contactless Consultation Process:

In short, when you arrive at the clinic for consultation or admission, please remain in your vehicle and call us on 62302262 to notify us of arrival.
When it is time for your consultation, we will come to your car and conduct a hand over. Your pet will be brought into the clinic with us and you will remain in your vehicle where you will await a call from the vet to begin your consultation.
During the consultation you will still be able to tell us your concerns and ask us questions, and we’ll still be able to give your pet a physical examination, explain diagnoses and treatment options.

We’ll be sad not to see people’s smiling faces in our consultation rooms, but we are very serious about maintaining health and safety for you and for our staff, so that we can maintain the well-being of your pet.

Stay safe and look out for each other.
Vets at Amaroo
(02) 6230 2262

COVID-19 Update 23rd March 2020

Vets at Amaroo will remain open for as long as possible to ensure we can care for your furry family members. As always, maintaining the health and safety of our staff, our clients and our patients is our highest priority.

It is yet to be confirmed whether we are considered an essential service, however we will continue to service our community until we are advised otherwise or it is no longer considered safe to do so.

In order to ensure we can continue to help you, we have increased our precautionary measures in the hospital;

  1. If you are arriving for an appointment we ask that you please stay in your vehicle and phone us on 62302262 to notify us of your arrival. DO NOT enter the clinic until a staff member has advised you to enter. We will be minimising the number or people in the waiting room at any given time to ensure we are executing appropriate social distancing in the practice.
  2. We ask that you please limit the number of people attending your appointment to only those that are required to be present, to limit traffic through the practice.
  3. We ask that you pay with card where possible to avoid unnecessary risk associated with handling cash.
  4. If you are experiencing any cold/flu like symptoms please advise us over the phone before booking an appointment. We will still find an appropriate way to help you.

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline, such as contactless consultations, phone consultations and home delivery for essential items such as food and medication. If you are in self isolation or are just looking to decrease your risk/exposure but don’t want to do so at the expense of your pet’s health, please contact us. We will do our best to find a solution for you.

We will continue to adapt with the situation and update advice as we receive it. If we need to make changes to your upcoming appointment, we will contact you directly. Please notify us if you need to update your contact details.

We’d like to thank you all for your cooperation on this. It is a difficult time for all but rest assured we will be doing everything in our power to remain available to assist you and your pets.

Stay safe and look out for each other.
Kind regards, from all of us at Vets at Amaroo.

COVID-19 Key Points & Our Response

We have received multiple enquiries recently around the current COVID-19 pandemic and whether companion animals have any relation to it’s spread.
The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) has released the following information on it’s website;
“The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease.”

At Vets at Amaroo the health and safety of our patients, their owners and our staff is our top priority. We want to ensure accessing health care for your animals remains as safe as possible for everyone involved. In the surgery we have ensured that there are hand sanitation stations throughout the clinic for your use, and have ramped up our own hygiene protocols.

We are currently brainstorming alternative solutions for members of our community who may be unwell, in self isolation or are considered high risk, ensuring they are still able to access essential items for their pets such as food and medication. If you fall into this category please contact us via phone on 6230 2262 for more information.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the guidelines of the Australian Veterinary Association & The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

For more information you can contact us on 6230 2262 or at hello@amaroovet.com.au

Vets at Amaroo Open Day – Saturday 14th March 2020

To celebrate our first year of being open Vets at Amaroo are excited to invite you to our 2020 Open Day. A day of fun filled festivities for humans and their furry friends!

Take a tour of our purpose built hospital, shop up a storm at the market stalls and have a cuddle with a cute kitten looking for their forever home! Spot a reptile at the reptile display station, support charity with a sausage sizzle or get in the spirit with animal themed face painting. Come and meet the team and enjoy a day out on the town with your furry family member.

Plenty of fun for children of both human and doggy kind!

Saturday 14th March 2020 10:00am – 1:00pm
Vets at Amaroo Shop 1, 2 Emerald Way Amaroo 2914

Market Stalls by:
• Rascals Treats     • Leeloo + Co     • Paws 2 Play

★ Adoption Kittens and Cats from Goulburn Cat Rescue
★ Reptile Display by Canberra Snake Relocation & Rescue
★ Animal Themed Face Painting by Anne’s Face Painting
★ 3 Lucky Door Prizes tailored to Dogs, Cats & Rabbits

Food & drink and much much more!

* Friendly, vaccinated dogs only. All dogs must remain on lead at all times.
* Unfortunately this event is not suitable for cat attendees.

WORK WITH US!

Vets at Amaroo and Hall Vet Surgery are excited to be offering an opportunity for a Customer Service Extraordinaire to join our team!

What makes this job special?

  • Be a part of a team that genuinely enjoys each others company, who support each other through the highs and lows
  • Work in a fast paced environment where no 2 days are ever the same
  • Perform meaningful work that satisfies the soul and make a positive change to people and their pets lives
  • Enjoy being employed by a locally owned business who genuinely wants to see you succeed
  • Puppies and kittens.. need we say more?

Okay that sounds great, what are the details?

  • Full time position including some Saturday mornings
  • Position spans over both our modern purpose built practice in Amaroo and our friendly country practice in Hall.
  • Training will commence on the first week of February for the successful applicant

Do I have what it takes to thrive in this role?

  • Are you positive, fun loving and warm?
  • Are you passionate about delivering customer service excellence?
  • Do you get the greatest satisfaction from helping people?
  • Are you keen to learn and improve every day?
  • Do you have great attention to detail?
  • Are you a fan of a sneaky afternoon snack binge?

I’m sold! How do I apply?

Give us a buzz for a brief phone interview!
Call April on 6230 2223;
On Thursday the 9th of January between 12:00pm and 2:00pm
Or,
On Monday the 13th of January between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

You will then be required to send an email with your resume and references, the email address will be provided at conclusion of your phone interview.

Successful applicants from phone interviews will be offered an interview on Saturday the 18th of January at our Hall practice.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Keeping your pet safe this Christmas

Safety tips for Christmas time!

As we head into the festive season and look forward to relaxing with family and friends, it’s a good time to give some thought to keeping our pets safe as they join us in the fun festivities!

Here are some potential dangers to watch out for:

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.

Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is NO safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. Effects will range from depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and even possibly loss of life.

Overindulgence
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! We love to treat our pets but we need to remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something different or high in fat is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can trigger stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and even pancreatitis (which can be fatal). Feeding cooked bones should always be avoided as these can cause bowel obstructions and constipation requiring intervention.

Don’t risk your dog getting treats from the BBQ or scavenging from finished plates. If you can’t ensure your guests will resist your dog’s pleading eyes, then you are better off to have your dog safely out of their way!

You need to take control here on behalf of your pooch, because they are not going say no!

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety.
Nobody knows your pet better than you do. Always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from judicious medication to get through this time unscathed. Please call us if you would like to discuss.

The Christmas Tree!
Now, we’re not saying don’t have one! We like the festive fun as much as anyone, but here are a few things to consider if you do.

  • Tummy upsets after chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
  • Electrocution is a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.
  • Obstruction or injury to the bowel can occur if tinsel, other decorations, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.

So to make things easy, here’s a checklist on how to make your Christmas tree dog-friendly this year.

  1. Cover or box around the tree stand.
  2. Plastic cover the electric cord for the lights.
  3. Plastic or non-breakable decorations (no glass)
  4. Decorations secured in place.
  5. Tinsel up high out of reach (or none at all)
  6. Secure the tree so that it can’t easily fall.

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services on: 62257257
Or
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra on: 62806344

We wish you and your furry family happy and safe holidays!

Reference to an article by Dr Claire Jenkins  Co-founder of Vetchat.

PREVENTING HEATSTROKE THIS SUMMER

Just like us, our pets can suffer from heatstroke.
The difference? Our pets are not able to sweat, are covered in fur and rarely sit in an air conditioned office during the day.
This means that our pets can’t cool themselves like we can and makes them very susceptible to heatstroke.

Heatstroke is extremely dangerous, causing irreversible damage to your pet’s internal organs including their liver, kidneys, brain and heart.
Heatstroke can be fatal if not recognized and treated quickly.

Watch this video for the symptoms, prevention measures and treatment methods that we think all pet owners should know!