Monday, 14 November 2011

Been Busy: Now Some Important Advice!

Hi everyone, so I haven't made a blog post in a while, due to unfortunate events, namely, being busy amongst the real world. With a current aim to move, and looking after my pets instead of writing about them.

Things we need to talk about. Cars.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2010 to 2011, there is 73% of the population with registered cars. 

While according to Petnet Pet Statistics, there are 63% of the 7.5 million households in Australia, that own pets. 

Now think about the last time you made a quick stop into the local chemist, post office, Bunnings Warehouse,  or other. The last time you left your dog in the car. Did your quick stop become longer than expected?

Now this is an approximate statistic, but on average, every 3 cars out of 4 that I see, containing a dog or two, the window is either completely shut or only has a gap of 2cm. This is not okay. If you think this is okay. Test it for yourself. Sit in a hot car, in the sun, with only a 2cm gap in the window. It's not comfortable is it?

If you wouldn't do it to yourself, don't do it to your pets. They're better off locked up in the backyard, with a bit of separation anxiety, but able to get to fresh water, fresh air, and lay in the shade. Separation Anxiety is a whole other issue, but in brief, if you don't want something being damaged, find somewhere else for it, and give your dog plenty of things to keep him or her distracted (though do be aware of small objects they may swallow).

So that is the first issue covered. Do not leave a 2cm gap in the window, if you can't put the window lower, leave your dog at home in the shade.

Second issue.

So 73% of the population to registered cars.

Cat's let out at night. No reflective collar. Roads and Motor Vehicles.

Do you drive at night with cats and other animals or even pedestrians to mind? Do you drive carefully, constantly looking out for anything that might run out onto the road? Just like on country roads, you should be looking out for animals in towns and metropolitan areas.

Pet owners: I hate to be honest, not everybody loves cats, not everybody loves your cat. Some people have no care at all for how your child may feel if they hit your cat. Some people are even so cruel as to deliberately hurt your cat.

Take heed of my advice, keep your kitty indoors or an enclosure, away from the dangers of the road and it's sadistic motorists. Get a reflective collar, like the one shown in the image below.

Another few tips for Pet Owners: A micro-chipped kitty, means dead or alive, we can reunite your kitty back with you. Collars with a name tag, address and contact number will assist in recovering the owner, and best care can be taken for the cat's well-being. It allows the motorist to help you, to get this cat to a vet, with the owner at hand. I have seen this happen. That man was an amazing and caring man

I keep my cat indoors at all times, this keeps him safe, and my mind at ease, every time I leave the house, or go to sleep.

Motorists/Drivers: Have heart. This cat could be some little girl or boys whole world. Even if not for the cat, for the owners. Please drive carefully, look out for movement, reflections and silhouettes crossing the road. If you hit a cat. STOP. You might think it is dead. Think again! Please people it is you that can save this cat. I am a vet nurse, and I have seen many cats from Motor Vehicle Accidents, which have recovered quite well. Even if the cat is beyond this point, the kindest thing to do is to take it to a veterinary clinic where they can alleviate the pain, or with the owners consent, euthanise it.

Simple rules to follow:
  • Wind the car windows down. Or leave your dog at home.
  • Sit in a hot car, get it comfortable, cool with fresh air. This is how it should be for your dog.
  • Always have fresh water available to your dog and cat.
  • Drive carefully, and watch out for cats or dogs.
  • Keep your pet collared with a nametag/contact details/address. 
  • Get your pet micro-chipped.
  • If you can keep you cat indoors, or in a suitable cat enclosure or decent aviary. 
  • Always stop if you hit an animal (much like you would a human).
  • Lastly -if you can- take the cat (dead or alive) to a veterinary clinic, this way maybe the owner can be recovered, and this avoids children seeing it and being traumatised.
  • I'll try cover some basic first aid in a later blog post :)

References: The Australian Bureau of Statistics Website and

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Acclimatising your Cat to a Confined Life. New Laws!

The old saying is "You can't make an outdoor cat, an indoor cat, but you can always make your indoor cat an outdoor cat".

I proved this wrong.

My cat was an indoor/outdoor cat for the first 2 or 3 yrs of his life. Now (5 yrs old) he is an indoor cat, if the door is open he won't run out. (Okay so on rare occasions he does. If he is scared by new people or ruckus, and sometimes he's just being mischevious). But for the most of it I can order him back inside.

Now. Because some local councils may require you to keep your cat confined to your property, it is a wise idea to get your cat used to being indoors, before those potential laws come.

If you own your house you are lucky, you can get approval from your local gov and build an enclosure for your cat, this way he may go outdoors still, but confined, the way the local gov wishes. Another option is if you can get permission from your landlord to build a cat enclosure, or more likely, have a large aviary, and fill it with levels, comfort, litter box, some trees (non-toxic to cats) and other outdoorsy things.

For a cat that has been eating, sleeping and roaming the outdoors, I'm going to say now, will be incredibly difficult to make indoors. So in this instance your best option is a cat enclosure or aviary. Of course, if you start introducing her to the indoors now, maybe she'll be 50% indoor by the time they bring in the laws. Or second best option is move to a suburb or town where they haven't brought this confinement law in.  : )

Indoor cats will need more enrichment, bring in some non-toxic plants for him or her to smell and play with. Some dangle toys, string, something to chew or bite, scratching post, and most importantly a high spot where he/she can get away from the kids, the barking dog, or the crazy cat loving friend that comes over and traumatises the poor cat.

When you first introduce your cat to The Great Indoors. Even if he/she normally is part indoor. I would recommend you put sheets, sand paper or stop-scratch things onto your furniture, reward kitty when she uses the scratching post, and always redirect her to it when she goes to scratch furniture, carpets, mats, etc. Keep in mind kitty may have been roaming 6 blocks beforehand, and now is confined in one little house. Wouldn't you go crazy too? This means exercise levels go down, so should the calories, you can get an indoor cat food or cut down the amount you are feeding (gradually).

You may also need to get kitty used to the litterbox again, put it in a quiet, low traffic area, (laundry's can be okay.. but the noises are scary to some cats). If kitty won't go when there is only litter in the tray, then place a small amount of dirt from outside in their, so the cat can recognise this as his/her usual toileting spot. Also do not put the litterbox on carpet, cats are messy, it can go everywhere, and boys especially may accidentally go on the outside of the box (sterilised or not).

Remember in all this re-adjusting your kitty. NEVER punish, scream, kick or hurt your kitty. This will only make your cat scared of you, scared to go to the toilet where you might see him/her, etc. So be kind, and always reward for good behaviour (cats are very fond of food, and train the best with food rewards, just use the same biscuits that you'll be feeding kitty for breakfast).

Now as far as my cat goes, I let him outside maybe four times a year, don't do this. Once the law comes in there will be no once a year "Cats can go outdoors" Day. He is always so happy, but it also means for weeks he is eager to get back out there. Guaranteed this is because of the smells and cats that come into our yard and have taken it as their territory.

Some cats are happy on a harness and lead, so this may be an option for having kitty out in the backyard with you, but you may also spend the money and find kitty never gets used to it, so don't get too excited about this option.

How to deal with kitty when he/she is running out the door? Always bring back in, do not allow the cat to stay outside if you can bring him/her inside, do it. Reward kitty once inside. If you have mealtimes instead of a bowl of food out all the time, then kitty is more eager for food, and more likely to come runnning back in if you shake the cat food box/bag/container. I have 250g containers, this covers 2 cats. They are a healthy weight and not losing any more weight. If your cat is fat, do not cut the food down instantly, this is dangerous, take it slowly.

I could ramble on about more tips for keeping an indoor cat all day. But if you haven't had a question covered, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to give you an answer. : )

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cat Bill 2011 Summarised

This is a summary of the Cat Bill 2011 for Western Australia:
By Louise

What is it? This is the grain-of-rice sized chip that contains a unique code, which is held at the Australasian Animal Registry (AAR), where they can access pet and owner information to reunite lost cats to owners. It is placed between the shoulder blades, it can be done whilst conscious or at the same time as sterilisation under a general anaesthetic.

Cats aged 6 months and older will be required to have a microchip. If the cat does not, then the penalty is a fine of $5,000. If a veterinarian believes a microchip could adversely affect the health and welfare, then a certificate can be provided to exempt the cat from a microchip.

Where the word owner is used. The owner for legal purposes is someone living with the cat that is 18 years or over. Or it may be that of the guardian that takes care of the cat where it is being kept.

Local Council Registration Tag
What is it? This is a tag worn on the collar with a unique code held by your local council, you will need to visit a local vet or your council office in order to pay for and obtain one of these. The information obtained by your local council is also available to the public during daytime hours, read more in Public Records in Councils.

Cats aged 6 months and older will be required to be registered. With a time limit of 14 days to apply for registration if cat is purchased at 6 months and older. If the cat does not have one or is not wearing the tag, the penalty is a fine of $5,000. Any person/s that interferes with a microchip or registration tag in the aim to remove tag or chip may receive a fine of $5,000.

If there is reasonable belief and/or evidence that the cat may have lost its tag, then it may be possible to evade paying a fine of $5,000.

Public Records in Councils
Your cat’s details, your name, address and contact details will be available to the public. Only those cats under the specific councils registration are available on any given council register. This is the same as has been for years in the Dog Act 1976. If you have reasonable argument as to keeping your details private for safety reasons or concerns, then the local government will likely accede to your request. Certain details may be kept private for example the microchip number. 

Sterilisation and Tattoo
What is it? A surgical procedure that permanently makes the cat infertile, the tattoo is a unique shape that represents when a dog or cat has been sterilised and should be placed/found in the Left Ear. A person must not tattoo or cause a tattoo of the cat, if it is not sterilised. The penalty is a fine of $5,000.
A certificate of sterilisation should be provided once the cat has been sterilised.

If a veterinarian believes a sterilisation could aversely affect the health and welfare of the cat, then a veterinarian to exempt the cat from sterilisation can provide a certificate. Other reasons for exemption: Breeding (see below)

Owner Transfers
The ownership of a cat should be transferred when the cat has been sterilised (unless it has been prescribed as exempt and there is a certificate), the cat is used for the purpose of breeding, or a voucher is given so the owner can have the cat sterilised at a later time at no veterinary cost.
If this is not obliged to, then the penalty is a fine of $5,000.

A person cannot breed cats unless the person is an approved breeder.
Penalty is a fine of $5,000.
If the person is not approved, then action may be taken to ensure all cats owned by the person are sterilised.
To become an approved breeder, you will need to apply to your local government, however they may refuse or refuse to renew, if the applicant is under 18 years of age, is not providing appropriate/ethical facilities for the purpose of breeding, or had made a convicted offence under 3 years time, of the Cat Bill 2011 or the Dog Act 1976.

Cats are not to be offered as prizes in a raffle or similar.
Penalty of $5,000.
In some local councils they can choose to strictly prohibit cats from certain areas and require a portion of premises to be enclosed as to confine the cat/s.

General powers of an Authorised person
Set traps for cats in or on any public place or any premises lawfully entered; 
Examine, including by scanning, a cat to determine if the cat is the subject of an offence against this Act; Cat Bill 2011 
A person must not delay, threaten, obstruct or otherwise hinder an authorised person in the performance of a function by that person under this Act. 
Penalty of $5,000.

Seizing of Cats
An authorised person may seize a cat, where there are grounds to believe there has been an offence against the act. They may enter a private property with permission, consent, request of owner or occupier or with a warrant in order to seize a cat.

When a cat has been seized:
  • All attempts are to be made to reunite the cat with it's owner.
  • If the cat behaves aggressively and is a potential health or safety risk, microchip scanning is exempt, and despite usual holding periods, the cat may be destroyed in a humane manner.
  • The owner is liable to pay any fees that have incurred in relation to the cat. 
  • A letter is sent to the owner, stating that after 7 working days, the cat may be rehomed/destroyed, and sterilised/micro-chipped unless proven within 7 days that the cat is exempt from either.
  • If no owner is found within 3 working days from removal and impounding OR after 7 working days the known owner does not claim the cat, then the cat holder can transfer the ownership of the cat, or destroy it in a humane manner.

This is not an official copy of the Cat Bill 2011 and therefore for legal purposes cannot be counted as the actual Act. If you are still unsatisfied with the information provided, visit: where they have a link to the proposed cat bill.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Getting a New Dog

Firstly think about what you want in a dog.

Lap Dog vs Exercise Dog
Small vs Large
Light Molting vs Heavy All-Year Round Molting
Lazy vs Energetic
Family Dog vs Solitary Dog
Lifespan length?
Fur length/Grooming needs
Amount of food they will need?

The list goes on and on, if you know the basics in a dog you want, and how much you can afford for food, veterinary bills, etc then you can get a better idea of a dog that will suit you.

Remember a dog is not a right, a dog is a luxury. There are things which happen and can cost a lot in veterinary bills. Particular breeds a predisposed to conditions that may also cost you lifelong medical costs.

The best way to decide on the right pooch for you, is to talk with a Veterinarian or Veterinary Nurse and friends with dogs. They can determine what type of dog will suit your lifestyle, so you don't choose a dog that can't handle your lifestyle and therefore be naughty or cost you a fortune.

This also enables you to learn about potential conditions that are breed specific. Plus the Veterinarians will know of good breeders where you won't get a half breed or sick dog. If we don't support the bad breeders, backyard breeders, puppy farms and pet shops, then gradually they will decrease in numbers due to poor profit, and save potential owners from buying what may be an unhealthy pup.

Once you know a few breeds you would be happy with, do some personal research on them, ask anybody you know with that breed, have a look at some down at the shelters, get to know the likely personalities.

Finally before getting a new dog, make sure you organise everything you will need:
(Always allow for the growth of the dog)

Lead (and Harness for toy dogs)
Food and Water bowls
Bag of Food
A collection of Toys (Wash without soap before use)
Dog Brush (Suitable for particular fur coat)
Dog Bed
Dog seatbelt for car/Dog carrier
Training/Toileting pads for pups
Jacket/Coat for cold nights (May need to purchase with dog for correct size fitting)
Ensure backyard/front yard area is well enforced so dog cannot run away
Keep money aside for Vaccinations, Worming, Micro-chipping, Council Registration and Sterilisation.

Good luck looking for the right pooch!
Remember to look in newspapers, the quokka, animal shelters, and certified breeders before looking in pet shops, puppy farms and backyard breeders.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Puppy Protocols

You get a puppy and now you have to get it vaccinated, micro-chipped, sterilised, registered, wormed!! and the list goes on.. This outlines all the things to consider when you get a puppy, or even a new dog. Before we get started, keep in mind that different veterinary clinics and animal shelters have their own set protocols, this could be for different products used, and different skill or opinions. At the end of the day. Find one YOU trust, of course it matters what puppy thinks too, though sometimes he/she may not be happy, just because of the smells of other animals present.

Let's start with a puppy. You just got your puppy all of 8 weeks old. Yes this is the age that most people obtain puppies, earlier means they miss out on important lessons from mum. Later means more lessons with mum, though less critical socialisation and training time for you. So the standard is 8 weeks.

Puppy receiving a vaccination

8 week old Puppies: Time for puppies' very first vaccination! Start on a Puppy-safe Flea treatment. Administer intestinal worming prevention and also ask your vet about Heartworm preventatives. Puppy Preschool is also a great first step for puppy because it is a safe, clean environment where your puppy can socialise with other puppies and humans too, it also allows you to learn a lot about puppy and basic training too.

10 week old Puppies: Time to give worming tablets again.

12 week old Puppies:
2nd Vaccination is due. Puppy needs to be registered now that he/she is 3 months old. Also yet again flea treatment and a worming tablet. Begin assessing the option of sterilisation and discuss with your veterinarian.

14 week old Puppies: Give puppy lots of love and attention this fortnight :)

16 week old Puppies: 3rd Vaccination! This is the last until a years time.

17 week old Puppies: Puppy can explore the world now! Just remember to keep puppy on a lead unless otherwise prescribed (home, dog park or other places specified for dogs).

6 month old Puppies: If not already considered/discussed with a veterinarian, then sterilisation can be performed at 6 months of age. There is also a heartworm preventative that lasts for 12 months (saving you the monthly, or even daily tablets). This can be given from 6 months onwards. Also consider micro-chipping at time of sterilisation if not already carried out.

Dogs:  Flea treatment and worming should be done once a month. Though may vary depending on the product used, in which case ask a veterinarian.
Side-note: If you have a cat along with a dog. No you cannot use the same product on both unless it specifies that it is for cats too. This is because some products that are used in dog flea treatments are highly toxic to cats and can even send them into seizures, and can also be fatal. (The active ingredient that I am specifically talking about is Permethrin.)

This is the surgical procedure that makes your dog permanently infertile. Normally this procedure is carried out at 6 months of age. Though varies where dogs may have testes already palpable at an earlier stage, health risks, etc. It is possible for "future stud dogs" to be implanted with something called "Suprelorin" this inhibits the reproductive functions of dogs, (currently available for male dogs only). Ask a veterinarian for further information.

Micro-chipping: This is a small microchip about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted just between the shoulder blades with an application needle. This micro-chip contains a unique code that is traced back to an Australia wide database to collect owner contact details should the puppy go missing. It can only be read using a special scanner and pet/owner details can only be obtained by an authorised member of a veterinary clinic, animal shelter, etc.

Nutrition: Puppies should be fed on a well balanced diet aimed at puppies for the first 12 months of their life, then gradually switched onto an adult diet. Some foods are for smaller dogs, larger dogs, more active dogs, etc. It is important to discuss which is best for your puppy/dog with a veterinarian.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask. Always ask the veterinarian that is seeing your puppy about any of the above information because protocols may be different depending where you live, and who you visit.

Take care and enjoy a long happy life with your puppy or new dog :)


Monday, 19 September 2011

Kitten Conundrums

Messing about the house. I don't just mean knocking over your precious ornaments or heirlooms. I'm talking about urine and faeces in your washing! (litter box training).

So your gorgeous new kitten has just messed on you stunning new dress or your favourite cap. Let's stop this becoming a regular problem.

Paws Solved: When your kitten wakes up, exercises or eats a meal he/she will likely need to use the litterbox, so taking kitten to the litter box shortly after, will encourage use. Reward your kitten with a treat after using the litterbox (though do keep in mind how many treats you are giving, or use cat food, always provide less in the meal if giving more during snacktime). Kitten will be more happy to use the litter box if it is clean, so clean it, wash and replace with fresh litter. (You wouldn't use a toilet which was dirty would you?)

New couch? Don't you mean Scratching Post? Kittens love to sharpen their nails and keep them short, so buying a new couch will be such a treat for them! But a half ripped couch doesn't tend to blend with the decor.

Paws Solved: Make sure you either use a scratch deterrent sheeting or attach double sided sticky tape to deter kitten. Provide a scratch post, tree bark or even carpet for kitten to keep up the manicures, and save your couch from destruction.

Eating the Roast. Kitten loves food, but this does not mean that human food is a healthy source of nutrition. In fact there are many human foods that can be toxic and even fatal to your kitten. It's also unpleasant if you turn from your meal one second, and the next it's in kitty's mouth, bounding away.

Paws Solved: Don't provide food to your kitten ad lib (always out and available for kitten). Provide between 3 and 6 meals to your kitten throughout the day. Always prioritise your own meal first. Do no feed kitten off your plate because this tells him/her it's okay to take your food. Use the feeding guides on packaging, just remember it's a guide not a rule. More active kitties will need more food than less active kitties, and most likely you are feeding too much. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure about kittens weight and food supply.

I won't cover all the tough stuff in Kittens. But if you have questions or would like information/a post on another topic, feel free to ask on a comment.

*Note: Litter used: Recycled Newspaper. (Probably not allowed to specify brand.. but good stuff).

Welcome to Twice the Advice

I would like to welcome all my visitors to Twice the Advice, along with upcoming connected blogs regards animals, for your interest and convenience.

I am a qualified veterinary nurse, and have had years of experience and interest in animals. I am not a dog or a cat person. I'm an animal person. I have a cat and numerous fish, and in case you are wondering, my cat prefers the fish food and has never eaten the fish.

I want a dog, I plan to get a dog, I will get a dog. I know a bit about dogs, mainly through veterinary nursing and also family and friend companions. I will try to cover as much on dogs, or seek someone with the knowledge.

This blog is where I tell you how to care for your dog, cat, fish, bird, snake, or whatever! If I cannot give you the right information I will try to get that information from another valued source.

So if you would like to know a little more, then this is the place for you.

Welcome to Twice the Advice, enjoy reading!

Just some of my fishy companions...