After 18 years of making do in rental accommodation, work is about to start on our new and carefully designed permanent home. It’s all due to your support. Read on to find out when we move, where we’ll be and what the building will look like. Continue reading “We’re Moving in 2018: Here’s Where”
Emergency care (details below)
What To Do If A Pet Eats Onion
- Toxin absorption can be prevented by immediately seeing a vet to induce vomiting
- If onion has been absorbed then daily blood tests are needed to monitor anaemia
- Please see a vet even if the amount seems tiny: pets vary in sensitivity and the toxic dose is low
now dive deeper… Continue reading “Help! My Dog Ate Onion”
In the last 5 years, having someone look after your dog in their own home has become a genuine alternative to using dog boarding kennels. Generally, the change has been a very positive one. However, with new industries always come new challenges.
The dog you see isn’t the only one harmed. In fact, he’s one of a whole string of similar stories I’ve seen and heard recently in Adelaide. Let’s call him ‘X’.
The Story Of X
X’s owner visited several places listed in our guide to Adelaide boarding kennels but wasn’t happy to leave him at any of them. She then heard about pet sitting and thought how great it would be.
She chose a pet sitter from one of the major websites that link dog owners with sitters and made a booking. You can read more about these sites and how to arrange pet sitting here. At least now she could relax knowing her dog could be cared for by someone in a home just like hers.
The pet minder picked up X from his home and everything seemed OK. Warning bells only started ringing when the owner was sent pictures showing lots of other dogs in the same yard. It seemed that X was being housed with five dogs, none as small as hers. It was too late to back out now, but she was reassured it would all be OK.
What Went Wrong
Later in her holiday, she emailed to see how X was going. Further photos were sent showing that X was looking a bit thin but when she asked she was told that everything was going well.
The photos show X within 24 hours of collection. He is critically thin, at a body condition score of just 1 out of 5. This can’t just happen overnight. His owner also noticed that he was weak and unable to jump up like he used to and that he had a mild diarrhoea.
There are only three possible explanations for what happened while X was at the dog sitter:
- Feeding was poorly supervised so that X’s food was eaten by other dogs
- He was highly anxious, leading to weight loss and poor appetite
- He had, or acquired an illness during his stay
We’ll never know the truth, but you’ll be relieved to know that with individual attention and veterinary care he’s making a full recovery.
Is The Pet Sitter To Blame?
Yes. No matter what the cause, this is unacceptable. All three explanations needed and lacked the correct response.
- Feeding should always be separate to prevent fighting and stealing and to ensure each dog is healthy enough to eat
- Anxiety should be recognised and the appropriate steps taken
- Sickness should be identified and a vet visit made
Why Dog Sitting Can Be A Problem
The are many, many good and kind dog sitters but we are seeing and hearing about more and more problems. It reminds me of the gold rush we saw into puppy farming 10 to 20 years ago.
Lack Of Regulation
Most of the time no one (including their own agency) has physically been to a dog sitter’s premises to check on their standards. Essentially, it’s a trust-based system and that works OK most of the time. However, unless there is a complaint, it’s unlikely that anyone will know what is going on.
Lack Of Infrastructure
Animal pens are very expensive, as I know only too painfully from building our new clinic. Additionally, the last thing most dog owners want is to see their dog penned even at night. However, without pens, dogs can’t escape other more aggressive or assertive dogs and infection control is useless. That’s probably why we are seeing some dogs coming out of pet sitters with:
- Diarrhoeas and respiratory infections
- Suspected food stealing
- Changed personalities
Lack Of Expertise
X’s case highlights either an ignorance of basic dog care or a callous disregard. I hope it’s the former. Either way, it’s too easy for anyone to set up as a pet sitter and then it’s buyer beware.
A lack of expertise can be any of the following:
- Recognising signs of stress
- Avoiding triggers for conflict
- Knowing what illness looks like
- Maintaining a safe and secure yard and house
Are you getting the feeling that there’s an incredible difference in the pet world between appearances and reality? Too right there is. Now read two more examples:
If you run a pet sitter agency, dog kennel or want to talk about recent experiences with dog or house sitting, feel free to leave a comment expressing your views below.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on Facebook and Twitter. Like or follow our page or subscribe via email to read the latest.
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.
The dog you see above was harmed by a bad experience at a pet sitter. You can read more about his story here. It’s a useful warning to all dog owners of the dangers of choosing the wrong pet sitter. Continue reading “Adelaide Dog Sitters, Dog Minding & House Sitting”
Here is a short list of cat boarding facilities we are familiar with. Click here to read what’s wrong with many other catteries. If you know of another cattery that you recommend, please leave a comment below. Continue reading “Adelaide Cat Boarding Catteries”
Here is a short list of dog kennels we are familiar with. Click here for cattery & cat boarding recommendations instead. If you know of another kennel that you recommend, please leave a comment below. Continue reading “Adelaide Dog Boarding”
Looking for good dog training for your puppy in Adelaide? Here is a list of dog training and obedience classes that have chosen to use positive, reward based methods. Continue reading “Adelaide Positive Dog Training Classes”
30 seconds. That’s how long it took me to find a fake puppy being sold on Gumtree. Even I was surprised how easy it was.
If you’re buying a puppy online, you need to know how many scammers there are out there. Why don’t you hear more? Just like other internet scams, embarrassment stops people talking about how they got tricked.
I think it’s possible to spot a scam, and even easier to spot the warning signs of a possible scam. I want to share my knowledge and experience. Continue reading “How To Avoid Puppy Scams”
Are we talking gibberish? Here are 20 of the most common vet words that get us in trouble. Read this list and you’ll prevent a lot of misunderstanding at the vet. Continue reading “20 Essential Vet & Animal Words”
Looks don’t matter. I don’t mean that in a ‘politically correct’, ‘we shouldn’t be so superficial’ kind of way. I mean it quite literally: looks don’t matter to you.
How can I say that? It’s obvious that some animals are cuter and more adorable than other ones. A cute kitty gets through my defences every time and I’m always baby talking to puppies. Continue reading “The One Thing Every Vet Wants You To Know”
Do you have to give your cat medicine? The good news is that there are a lot of other ways than tablets. Continue reading “Ways To Give Cats Medicine”