What to do when Your Pet Dies at Home

Making arrangements

We’ve written this post to help any of you who might – one day, be in the position one of our clients found herself in on the weekend.

Her elderly Dog passed away peacefully – in her sleep on Saturday night

It’s sad when a much loved pet – and companion finally passes away. Despite the fact you’ve probably prepared for this day in your mind, it’s still natural to feel upset when it actually happens.

And – it may be the first time that you’re actually forced to think of what to do with her remains.

Do you want to bury her in your backyard. For some of you, this may not be an option, Your pet is too big to bury in a small backyard. Or you might just be renting and don’t want to leave your pet behind when you move.

Your options

Anget pet Creative commonsIf you don’t want to bury her at home, here are some options for you to consider.

Contact your vet as soon as possible for help. Most vets, like us will have a facility to “store” (freeze) your pet’s body until you decide what you’d like to do with her remains.
You can choose from:

Mass burial. Your pet’s body is collected by a service that provides mass burials or cremations.

Individual cremation. Your pet is collected by a Cremation service that individually cremates your pet and returns the ashes to you in a special urn or “Scatterbox” We use Mountain High Cremation Service.

You may also contact them (or another cremation service of your choice) – and they’ll collect your pet’s body directly from your home.

In the meantime – store your pet’s body in a cool place like a garage until arrangements are made.

Some clients of ours have even asked us to remporarily store the remains until they could organise someone to dig a grave for their pet. It’s all possible so never worry about having to make hasty decisions.

If you feel such a day could be close …..

Start planning for that time now. Knowing exactly what you can do when that day finally arrives can help to ease the stress and make things a little easier for you.

Picture courtesy of Beverly and Pack. Used under the Creative Commons Licence.

Is your Pet prepared for the Holidays?

It’s that time of the year. The weather’s warming up … you’re making holiday plans and then there’s the parties!

You’re organised, the kids are organised and the holiday’s booked but what about the pets?

Fido and Fluffy’s Holiday Check List

Here is a list of things we know some people forget, leave till the last minute or just wish they’d thought about earlier!

Travelling Pets

If you plan to take your pet on holidays with you here’s a few things you need to pack for them.

  1. Water bowl and water container. To keep them hydrated for the trip
  2. Paralysis Tick Preventitive – if you’re travelling to a known Paralysis Tick area. Paralysis Ticks are deadly so do make sure your dog is protected. We recommend Frontline Plus applied fortnightly OR the Preventic Tick Collar which lasts up to 2 months.
  3. Collar and Lead. Preferably a short as well as a long lead to allow them to excercise freely or used to tie them up if needed
  4. Travelling Harness or Pet Carrier – Keeps them secured for the trip.
  5. Any medications your pet needs for the time away. If these include Prescription meds, make sure you have anough for the trip because you’ll need a script from your vet to collect more from another clinic
  6. Motion sickness medications – if your pet doesn’t travel well or gets car sick. These are Prescription
  7. Only meds so you’ll need to see your vet to get these
  8. Heartworm prevention medications – especially if travelling up North.
  9. Basic Grooming and First Aid tools. Brush – to brush out dirt or grasseeds, Elastic Bandage and swabs for wound bandaging or to immobilise a limb, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution – in case you desperately need to make your dog vomit and you’re miles from a vet. Don’t forget to write the dose rate on the bottle and refresh your knowledge on Making your Dog Vomit.

Boarding Pets

  1. Make sure Vaccinations are up to date. Dogs and Cats must be up to date with vaccinations before they’re allowed to board. Check with your preferred kennel which Vaccinations they need your Dog or Cat to have. Most commonly: C5 for Dogs and F3 for Cats
  2. Don’t vaccinate on your way to the kennels. This is not ideal as vaccines take time before they’re effective. Give your pet at least a week for full immunity to develop before taking them to the kennels.
  3. Book kennels as soon as you know your holiday dates. Most kennels are booked out weeks – even months ahead so don’t leave this till the last minute.
  4. Make sure you leave a contact number with the kennel staff so they can contact you in case your pet becomes ill during his or her stay.

Stay at Home Pets

If you’ve organised someone to take care of your pets while you’re away make sure you’ve done these things:

  1. Leave a contact number with the sitter so they can contact you in an emergency
  2. Make sure the sitter is briefed about your pet’s diet, behaviour and other needs such as medications.
  3. Leave authorisation for the sitter to take your pet to your vet should he or she become ill while you’re away. Orgainise some credit with your vet and inform them of what you’d like them to do in case your pet becomes ill or is injured. The responsibility of making Veterinary decisions on your behalf should not be left with the sitter.

Party Pets

Be aware of Fireworks and noises and activities which could frighten your pets. Most animals hate the sound of Fireworks. Some hide in fear, others run away. Make sure they have a safe and quiet place to retreat to during those times. If you worry this may not be enough – Ask your vet about medications that can help your pet survive noisy nights safely.

Last but not least…….

Make sure your pet is microchipped and that your contact details on the registration are up to date. Just in case of an escape!

You’d hate to come home and find your pet lost and gone forever …. or lose them during your travels!

What we learned about Snakes at the Whittlesea Show

At an agricultural show you can always predict where the crowds hang out. Horse events, the animal nursery and of course – the show bag stands.

But there was also a buzz around another tent

The Snake Pit!

No. It wasn’t a pit full of loose reptiles but rather an “educational” presentation on some of our most venomous natives that captured the attention of the showgoers.

Snakes are as true a part of the Australian landscape as are the Kangaroos, Koalas and the Emu. However, unlike these Aussie icons, they’re quite a bit more dangerous.

Did you know that 7 out of 10 of the most venomous snakes are found in Australia?

How’s that for a scary thought!

Most of us living in suburbia wouldn’t think too much about snakes because we associate them more with with the bush or the great outdoors. But, due to the urban sprawl there’s now a real possibility of crossing paths with one of these silent predators as we encroach more and more on their natural habitats.

According to professional reptile handler Allan Burnett – the most likely of the snakes you’ll encounter in a backyard (in Victoria) would be the common “Brown” or perhaps the “Red bellied Black” snake, both of which are highly venomous. But that doesn’t exclude others such as the Tiger snake entirely. Most will stay away from noise and humans unless of course they are attracted into your yard by their preferred food source – Rats and mice (Brown snakes) and Frogs ( Black snakes).

Best to keep the yard free of places to hide such as woodpiles in Summer, long grass and general rubbish in sheds and outside areas which can attract rats and mice.

What to do if you see a snake in your backyard?

Please – don’t ring your vet to remove it! We are not licensed snake catchers or experienced handlers. We suggest contacting the Department of Primary Industry or your local council who’ll put you in touch with a local snake remover. In the meantime, keep you kids and pets safely indoors until it leaves or assistance arrives.

Teach your children to be alert for snakes

Safety first: – Teach your children not to play around areas where snakes can hide and not to approach one if spotted.

If you or any member of your family accidentally comes too close to a snake – the rule is to STAY PERFECTLY STILL until it moves away from you. Even if it moves towards you – it may just want to be heading in that direction and you happen to be in the way. Let it slither past you undisturbed. Never run or move suddenly when you are close to a snake even if every instrinct in your body is screaming at you to run for your life.

The reason for this is that snakes have very poor eyesight and detect and strike at their prey only by sensing vibrations caused by movement. Even if it poised for attack – STAND PERFECTLY STILL and wait for it to settle down and move away.

Keeping your pets safe

Unfortunately – unlike chidren it’s difficult to educate your dogs or cats about the dangers of snakes. Cats, being natural hunters will often try to go in for the kill and depending on their hunting skill may be successful in killing the snake without being bitten. If you do see your cat stalking a snake – DO NOT DISTRACT IT BY CALLING IT TO YOU. This temporary lapse in concentration could just be the advantage the snake is looking for and it will strike like lightning. Leave it be – there’s nothing YOU can do at this point to make it any safer for your cat.

Dogs too can sometimes be succesful in killing a snake without being bitten – but this skill is more likely to be found in specific breeds. Once again – if you see your dog near a snake – (within striking distance) DO NOT CALL IT TO YOU. Take this chance ONLY at a time where it has moved far enough away to be out of striking distance. Then you might be lucky.

If your pet has been bitten or even if you only suspect it has

Take him or her to your nearest vet immediately. Time is critical as depending on where your pet was bitten, how often it was bitten and the amount of venom it received – you may not have much time before the symptoms appear. Even if it’s a false alarm and your pet checks out fine on examination or after testing it’s best to be safe than sorry.

First Aid if bitten: It’s not always easy to see bite marks on an animal because of their fur so don’t waste critical time looking for any. Slow down the circulation by keeping your pet as still as possible. Carry them or walk them slowly – don’t let them run or jump as this just speeds up the distribution of the venom and causes it to act faster.

Finally…

There’s a lot more to understanding Snake Safety than we could ever hope to cover in a blog entry so we suggest you read up some more on First Aid for Humans as well as for pets and other animals. It’s definitely snake season now and everyone should be on alert – no matter where you live.