Dog Attacks: What To Do, How To Prevent Them

dog attack

Emergency Info (details to follow):

If Your Dog Is Being Attacked

To separate dogs, try:

  • Water sprays or buckets
  • Aerosols and sprays (pepper spray is only legal in WA)
  • Personal duress alarm (hold buttons on each side of an iPhone down for 5 seconds)
  • A beach towel thrown over the aggressor
  • Picking the aggressor up by the back legs (wheelbarrowing) is dangerous and should only done by the dog’s owner

Do not try to pull the other dog off. That’s up to their owner to do. You will get badly injured. Click here for your closest Adelaide Emergency vet.

Do not blame yourself. Often there’s nothing you can do due to the size and determination of the aggressor. You’ll probably also fail to get the owner’s details in the heat of the moment.

Now dive deeper…

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How To Stop Dogs Scratching In 8 Steps

why dog scratching

If you have an itchy dog, it gets very frustrating very quickly. Nothing seems to help for long, and everyone tells you something different. Is it the food, is it grass, is it mites?

This is an opinion piece, not a regular clinic article. I have been seeing itchy dogs for nearly 30 years and have yet to see one who cannot be helped. Here I’m going to boil down all the conflicting advice into my simple step by step approach.

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Help! My Dog’s Head Is Tilted To One Side

dog head tilt

Some dogs you never forget. They are the ones you know you failed. Like Holly.

She came to me late one night for vestibular disease. And she certainly had all the classic signs:

  • a head tilted to one side
  • loss of balance and inability to walk
  • rapid eye flicking called nystagmus
  • even nausea and vomiting

It had been happening for two years, on and off, and she needed more of her medication. Except she really needed a whole lot more than that.

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Dog Baiting In Adelaide: What To Know

meat dog bait

In 2020, Adelaide has been awash with stories of dog baits being found in parks. Just this month we had:

  • green pellets found in a Thebarton park
  • meat with pellets at Shepherds Hill
  • kidneys stuffed with bait on the Torrens linear park
  • and yesterday suspicious mince found in Bennett Reserve on North East Road (pictured)

Leaving aside the twisted motives of why anyone would do this, it’s important to understand the risks and what you can do if it happens.

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Help! My Cat Attacks Me Without Warning

cat being held

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. Look for answers on why your cat bites or scratches you and you find people telling you it’s all about a competition for dominance.

As any genuine cat lover knows, our cats always dominate us. Most of us have enough humility to love them for it. 

Stopping them biting and scratching is a whole other story with a wholly different explanation. One where aggression is just a symptom of a problem in the cat-human relationship.

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Causes Of Collapse In Dogs

dog fallen over

Emergency facts (details below):

When a dog suddenly falls over or cannot use their back legs, it is usually an emergency. You should travel to a vet.

On the way, take a video if you can. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Is there muscle movement? This is common in seizures or poisonings.
  2. Is the dog unconscious? Look for a lack of response and passing urine or faeces.
  3. Are the eyes moving? Vestibular disease causes nystagmus or eye flicking.
  4. Is the heart rhythm normal? Place your hand on the chest and try to feel it.
  5. How long does it last? Fainting and airway issues usually only last for seconds.
  6. Is recovery quick? After seizures, dogs commonly appear incoordinated for some time.
  7. What was the dog doing beforehand? Cardiac, respiratory and thermal problems are more common after exercise.

Cardiac arrest is an extremely uncommon cause, and therefore it is not recommended to try CPR. You will see that most causes either recover by themselves or require treatment that only a vet can give.

Now let’s dive deeper into each of these causes…

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Help! My Cat Has A Bloated Stomach

cat swollen stomach

Essential facts (details below):

Causes Of A Swollen Belly In Cats

There are five likely causes for an enlarged abdomen in a young cat:

  • Intestinal worms, especially in untreated kittens up to three months of age
  • Pregnancy, in undesexed, free-roaming female cats
  • Abdominal fat deposition, which is usually easy to identify
  • Excessively large meals (swelling should come and go)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis or FIP
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How To Stop Your Dog Eating Poo

dog-sniffing-grass

Try looking for answers when your dog eats their own stool and you’ll quickly see the problem. All the advice is the same.

Some top sites have literally cut and pasted the content from others, and those that haven’t appear to be just rewriting what everyone else says. The reason is simple: because no-one has all the answers.

A recent study (and the only good one) found that success rates with the sort of methods they discuss are only 1-4%. And it’s even worse if you try one of the many products being sold: 0-2%!

This fits exactly with my experience over 25 years. But it’s not hopeless! I’m going to use what I’ve learnt plus the evidence to give you practical, realistic advice. There’ll be a lot less promises, but also a lot less wasted effort.

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How To Treat Chicken Scaly Leg Mite

chicken foot mite

A normal chicken’s leg is a thing of wonder: shiny, evenly spaced scales completely cover the leg and top of the foot, giving you the unmistakable reminder that chooks are really little pet dinosaurs.

You know a normal leg when you see one, but it’s harder to notice when it’s not. Scaly leg in chickens often goes unrecognised in flocks until it either gets bad, or you end up at the vet for another reason.

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Help! My Dog Has A Lump On The Face

dog face lump

Dogs can get all kinds of lumps and bumps, some serious, some not. That’s why I’ve previously written a guide to dog skin lumps with pictures. Just click on the picture to visit.

lumps on dogs
A gallery of dog lumps

However, there’s one very particular swelling that I haven’t talked about even though it’s important, common and easy to recognise.

It’s the tooth root abscess.

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5 Causes Of Bleeding Gums In Dogs

dog bleeding gums

Have a look at the picture above. You could be forgiven for thinking that Barlie’s gums are just the result of a good chew on a bone. But hang on: why are there red spots a long way from the gumline and even on the tongue?

The answer is a disease you won’t easily find if you look up the causes of bleeding gums in dogs. Even though what Barlie had could have killed her.

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Causes Of Sneezing In Dogs

dog sneeze

Does your dog do this? When mine gets excited or playful he starts sneezing.

Sneezing during play isn’t well understood, but it’s clearly one of the least serious causes of sneezing in dogs.

I’ll take you through the other common reasons, from minor to major. As nearly every one is associated with a runny nose, I’ll also describe the nasal discharge that goes with it.

By the time you make it to the end, you’ll be an expert!

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Causes Of Shaking & Trembling in Dogs

dog shivering shaking

One night my own dog started shaking and shivering uncontrollably. Several frantic minutes went by. Was it a poison, was he unwell? The reasons why dogs tremble and shake go from simple to serious.

A minute later he squatted, passed a huge puddle of urine on the floor and the shaking stopped. He was busting to go to the toilet, and no-one realised. We all felt a bit silly, but that’s how hard it is.

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Overgrown Rabbit Teeth: Trimming vs Removal

rabbit incisor malocclusion

Have a look at the rabbit’s teeth in the picture above. What you can see are the lower incisors coming out of the mouth and almost touching the nose. What you can’t see are the upper incisors curling inside the mouth in a similar way.

Much further and any one of them will create a painful wound and prevent eating. Horrible! Why this happens is due to a fact that surprisingly few rabbit owners know.

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Respiratory Infections In Backyard Chickens

chicken with sinusitis

What if I told you that your backyard chickens are carrying a respiratory illness? Even if they look perfectly fine. You’d have every right to be offended.

Well the truth is that most flocks carry more than one disease, and yet many never seem to have a problem. You’re about to find out why. You’re also going to learn what to do when one breaks out.

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Thunderstorm & Firework Anxiety In Dogs

thunder phobia dog

After every thunderstorm or firework night I wait for the calls:

  • Dogs wandering the streets far from home
  • Dogs that have gone through windows
  • Dogs with lacerations from escape attempts

What we don’t see nearly enough are the dogs that just suffer in silence, panting, trembling or hiding at home. Noise phobias are common in dogs, and there’s a lot your vet can do to help.

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