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Small Animal Newsletter – October 2020

Dog Safety Tips for Children

It’s always a good time to have a chat with your young children about dog safety.

1. Check it’s sweet – before you meet!
Before going up to a dog ask permission from its owner.
Lots of dogs are friendly, but some aren’t. The owner can tell you if it is safe to go up to their dog. But still be careful. Let the dog approach you – don’t chase it if it moves away, it might not feel like meeting you that day.

2. To understand – they sniff your hand!
When meeting a dog let it sniff the back of your hand.
Dogs have a sense of smell that is 50 times stronger than ours. Dogs use their sense of smell to get to know strangers. Using the back of your hand keeps your fingers out of the way. Let the dog come up to you and sniff – don’t push your hand under the dog’s nose.

3. Chin or chest – that’s the best!
After permission is given, stroke only the dog’s chin, chest or shoulders and remember to be gentle.
Dogs don’t really like being patted on their heads by strangers. They might think you are trying to hurt them.

4. To meet a pup – ask a grown-up!
Ask an adult before cuddling a puppy.
Mother dogs are naturally protective and may growl or snap at you to protect their puppies. But even if a puppy’s mother isn’t there, puppies can bite, jump and scratch like older dogs– so be careful and gentle. Puppies and adult dogs don’t like being picked up and hugged or kissed.

5. If a dog has a snack – keep well back!
Stay away from a dog that is eating or has a bone.
When they are eating, dogs might think you want to take some of their food if you try to pat them. They want to protect their food.

6. Keep your face – out of their space!
Never kiss or put your face down close to a dog’s face.
It’s just common sense for you to keep your face away from a dog’s teeth. Even if it doesn’t want to nip you it could hurt you accidentally.

7. Don’t run and shout – it freaks us out!
Do not run around or shout near a dog.
Dogs react to the way we behave. If you shout or run a dog might chase or attack you. Playing fetch or obedience games with your dog is better than playing chase or tug of war games.

8. A dog’s not a toy – don’t tease and annoy!
Never tease, hurt or annoy a dog.
Dogs can tell us to stop only by growling or biting. Don’t tease a dog by waving food or a toy in front of it – the dog might make a grab for the food or toy and hurt you by mistake.

9. Quiet and slow – is the way to go!
If you are scared of a dog, move quietly and slowly away from it.
Don’t run. Stand like a tree – stand still, look at your feet and keep your arms in front of you. Don’t scream or shout. Walk away quietly and slowly. Don’t stare at the dog as you move away. If you stare, a dog might think you want to fight.


Taking the stress out of vet visits

For some owners visiting the vet with their dog can be stressful which leads to delaying seeing the vet rather than making their pet anxious.

Dogs can pick up on stress hormones in another dog’s urine, so just sniffing the carpark outside our clinic can tell your dog “Warning! Danger ahead!”

We encourage you to bring your dog in for “Happy Visits”.  Good experiences at the Vet can leave a lasting impression.  Short visits which are associated with fun, pats and treats in our clinic can help build their relationship with us. Our nurses are more than happy to give treats, and rewards while you pop in. It’s also a great time to put them on the scales while they are here, as this is a normal routine thing they do when they visit.

If your dog is nervous or uncertain of other dogs,  let our staff know at reception or when booking the appointment and we will accommodate you, and make the experience as pleasant as possible. We are here to help! Happy dog’s = a Happy owner!


Ringworm is a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair and nails. The fungi responsible for ringworm belong to a specialised group known as dermatophytes, and these can cause disease in both man and animals.

In cats, one type (species) of dermatophyte called Microsporum canis is responsible for almost all ringworm infections, and this species in addition to being infectious to both cats and dogs, will also readily infect man.

While generally harmless, ringworm is highly contagious to humans, especially to children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system (eg. people undergoing chemotherapy). As such, if you suspect you or your pet has ringworm it’s important to seek medical or veterinary treatment immediately.

For more information about Ringworm click here.

Wild Birds

It is lovely to look out and see a group of wild birds feeding in your backyard.  We stock a range of Topflite products and feeders to help encourage these beautiful visitors to your garden.

Remember to provide some fresh water for your wild birds to drink and bathe in. Water is particularly important during the winter when natural supplies may be frozen and in dry, hot weather during the summer when water can be hard to find.

Tips on feeding wild birds:

  • Birds are vulnerable on the ground so raised feeders are the safest solution.
  • Sturdy tree branches, or a specially designed hook or stake are the best options for hanging your feeder.
  • Ensure you keep the feeder topped up so birds know they can rely on it as a regular food source.
  • Birds feed most actively in the early morning, replenishing their energy after the night.
  • Regularly clean and dry your bird feeding station or feeder. Feeding food from unclean feeders may contribute to the spread of disease amongst wild birds.
  • Always keep food dry. Do not allow it to go mouldy as rotten food is potentially harmful to wild birds.
  • Some birds feed on nectar – use a nectar feeder with sugar water to attract them to your garden.

Foods to avoid:

  • Bread. Birds are likely to become malnourished.
  • Milk. It can’t be digested by birds and causes stomach upsets. Fermented dairy products such as cheese are okay.
  • Honey or honey water. Never put out honey or honey/water for birds.  While birds love it, so do bees, and therefore it leads to the spread of bee diseases.
  • Cooked oats or porridge. This can harden around a bird’s beak. Uncooked oats are okay.

Do you like feeding the ducks at the park?
Lucky Duck Topflite is perfect for feeding the ducks as it contains a nutritious blend of seeds and grains (which is much better for them than the traditional bread).
ur Price $5.50

Have you checked your pet’s nails lately?

Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of your pet’s routine care.  They should be inspected and/or trimmed at least once a month.  Elderly and indoor pets, require their nails trimmed more regularly as they are less likely to be wearing them down naturally.  How often your pet requires their nails trimmed depends on their breed, age, level of exercise, and the environment in which they live.

When the nails are not trimmed regularly, they can keep growing and can

  • split
  • break
  • bleed
  • cause soreness or infection

Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long they curl backwards into a spiral shape and dig into the pad of the foot – making it very painful for your pet to walk.

We offer a nail clipping service during the week with our qualified veterinary nurses on Tuesday – Thursday’s. There is a charge of $10 per animal. If your pet usually requires two nurses when nail clipping – please call ahead and make an appointment.

Some pets will not tolerate nail clipping and require sedation. There is a charge for this and a booked appointment is required. If you are unsure if they may require sedation, feel free to talk to our team and we can give you advice on the best options that will suit them.

This is also a great chance to have a discussion with our nurses about any questions you may have about flea and worm treatments, nutrition or mobility or your pet’s general well being.  We can also apply flea or worm treatments if you find this difficult to do at home.

Staff Showcase
Clinic CEO – Dr Robert Mills

Rob is a very familiar face around our clinic and has been with the practice since he first started back in 1980. Being our clinic CEO, he thrives in his multidisciplinary, demanding role. He has dedicated his career to working with small and large animals and is passionate about providing top-quality veterinary care.  Rob’s empathetic nature is crucial to his role in supporting pet owners.

Last year, Rob completed his Masters of Veterinary Medicine through Massey University (with Distinction), another one of his outstanding achievements. He also has a keen interest in Oncology. We are fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated leader.  When he’s not seeing patients or running the business, Rob and his wife Dawn are busy developing their lifestyle farm and they also like to take a spin in one of Rob’s classic Fords.

BVSc – Massey University
MACVSc – The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (Small Animal Medicine)
M.V.M – Masters of Veterinary Medicine – Massey University (with Distinction)

Instagram superstar

Aren’t these two just gorgeous – enjoying the spring sunshine!

Have you checked out our Instagram page yet? Updated daily – Meet our pet visitors and patients! Click here!
Disclaimer: This newsletter contains comments of a general nature only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice.
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