Tag: pet care


What to Do If Your Dog Barks When You’re Away

Dog barking is a deeply ingrained instinct that can be challenging for them to control. It is thought that their barking was a major reason for domestication tens of thousands of years ago; we provided shelter and scraps, and they provided protection. Modern dogs still have this deeply defensive instinct, but unfortunately it can quickly make them a nuisance when they bark while their owner(s) are away.

Here are some tips and tricks to help curb excessive barking behaviour.

Remove them from the barking stimulus

What is your dog barking at? Are they barking at your neighbours dog? Are they barking at people walking by the house? Physically restricting access to areas where they have learned to bark can help to break the cycle. This may mean moving them from the front of the house to the back, or closing off certain rooms. Some clients have had success by purchasing cheap webcams to find out where their dog barks while they’re away, then changing the areas their dog has access to.

Run them in the morning

Dogs are highly athletic creatures that require large amounts of exercise and stimulation to stay content. This is particularly true of intelligent, working dog breeds, such as border collies or Belgian Malinois. If they don’t receive enough exercise and stimulation, expect them to direct their pent up energy in unacceptable ways, such as barking, digging, or pulling clothes off the line. An energetic run in the morning will burn off this excessive energy and help their brain to release relaxing neurotransmitters. A short walk won’t suffice for most breeds – they need to run! Make sure you do this nice and early before it gets too hot.

 Keep them distracted

As mentioned, some dogs can bark out of boredom, but some can bark out of anxiety over their owner leaving. Try to redirect their attention by offering them a puzzle toy filled with their favourite treat. Skipping their breakfast and offering them their food in puzzle form can help to increase the value of this item. If you offer this just before leaving it does two things, firstly, it can make you leaving a more positive event, and secondly, it helps to keep them engaged during the stressful period immediately following your departure. Having a meal also helps to lower their stress hormone, cortisol.

Leave the radio on, find a buddy

Most dogs are pack animals, and it can be very stressful when their owner goes away and they are left at home alone. They don’t necessarily know that you’re going to return! Try leaving the TV or radio on to make them feel ‘more at home’. Some dogs benefit from having a friend to play with, though be warned, some dogs become partners in crime when in a pack!

 Day care

If you don’t have time to run your dog every morning, and their barking is likely due to excessive energy and lack of social environment, doggy day care can be an excellent solution to this problem.

See the vet

As vets, we much prefer that clients address the environmental issues described above instead of medicating by default. However, some dogs remain anxious and a nuisance despite owners taking the above steps. If you feel that your dog falls into this category, talk to us about what medical steps can be taken to curb and reprogram problem behaviours.

Cairns Veterinary Clinic is proud to have been caring for Cairns furry family members since 1966. With 2 convenient locations, Pease Street and Norman Street, Gordonvale, our clinics are staffed by a great team of hard working and dedicated veterinary professionals who treat your pets as if they are their own.   With a vet available 24/7 365 days per year, we are always here when you need us. Contact our friendly staff for all your pet’s healthcare needs.

How Can I Stop My Cat From Meowing at Night?

Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, how can I stop my cat from meowing at night?

Play with them, and keep them engaged during the day. Cats are most active during dawn and dusk, so play with them during these times.
Ensure they have clean litter trays and fresh food and water. Cats are naturally fastidious, and will often express their discontent if their litter isn’t clean.

Desex them. When cats are on heat or it is mating season, they will stay up all night. Senility, arthritis, and hyperthyroidism are medical problems that can result in night vocalization. Medications can help.

Call the clinic on 4032 9999

Learn more about why cats meow at night below. 






How Can We Get Our Pet Back To Their Ideal Weight?

Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, With 41.5 per cent of dogs and 32 per cent of cats being overweight or obese, obesity is the most common form of malnutrition on Australian pets. Overweight pets suffer more physical ailments and don’t live as long. So how can we get our pet back to their ideal weight?

See my previous blog on this HERE. 

Join our complementary weight loss program for safe and gradual weight loss. In combination with exercise, behaviour modification and Hills Metabolic prescription diet, we’ll have your pet back to a healthy weight in no time. See our website or contact us for more details.

Call the clinic on 4032 9999







How To Prevent Your Pet From Getting Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a real risk during summer in the tropics. Caused by the elevation of core body temperature, heatstroke results in heat injury to the bodies tissues and is a life threatening condition. Pay close attention to short nosed breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs etc, heavy coated breeds and pets with heart or respiratory problems in hot weather as they are more at risk of heat stroke.

During the summer months it’s essential to ensure your pet has access to fresh cool drinking water and shady areas so they can retreat out of the summer heat.

Our other top tips for keeping your pet cool include:

  1. Add ice cubes to their water to keep it cool.
  2. Keep your pet inside in air conditioning or close to a fan is best in extreme heatwaves.
  3. Dampen your pets blanket to create a cool resting spot to sleep or purchase a cooling mat or jacket.
  4. Bathing in lukewarm water will instantly cool them down.
  5. Doggy paddling pools are awesome at assisting you in keeping your pets cool and entertained on a hot summer’s day.
  6. Pupsicles! Frozen treats are a great way to cool down and keep your pets occupied. Get creative, stuff a Kong or treat dispenser with delicious treats and then freeze.
  7. Slip Slop Slap! Slip on a UV shirt. Slop on sunscreen especially if your pet is smooth/thin haired or has white coloured ears or nose and slap on some doggles to protect the eyes. Not only will your pet look super cool they will be protected from skin cancers too!
  8. Never ever leave your pet in the car! Even a few minutes whilst you nip into the shop for that last minute gift can be deadly.
  9. Be mindful of the intensity of the summer heat and schedule your dog walks for sunrise and sunset rather than in the middle of the day. Walk your pooch on grass rather than hot concrete to avoid burning their paw pads. Always remember to carry a water bottle and collapsible bowl to prevent dehydration.

It’s important for pet parents to be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke and seek veterinary immediate attention if their pet is showing any signs of distress. 

Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, lethargy, seizures, rapid heartbeat and bloody diarrhea or vomiting.

These signs may not appear immediately, but come on a few hours after exercise.

Heatstroke can be fatal so if your pet begins to show any symptom, early diagnosis and treatment gives them the best chance of recovery. Don’t delay contact us day or night on 4032 9999

Cairns Veterinary Clinic is proud to have been caring for Cairns furry family members since 1966. With 2 convenient locations, Pease Street and Norman Street, Gordonvale, our clinics are staffed by a great team of hard working and dedicated veterinary professionals who treat your pets as if they are their own.   With a vet available 24/7 365 days per year, we are always here when you need us. Contact our friendly staff for all your pet’s healthcare needs.




My Pet Is Itchy. What Could This Be?

Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, My pet is itchy. What could this be?

Whilst frustrating and upsetting to us, the constant irritation your pet feels can make them miserable. Skin dermatitis affects approximately 25 per cent of the dog population in Cairns and the hot and humid environment can make skin conditions worse.

Whilst fleas, ticks and other parasites can be responsible, often an allergy to plants and other environmental allergens are the cause.

If your pet is itchy and red you can help them find relief. Talk to our veterinarians about how we can help.

Call the clinic on 4032 9999

Which Foods Should I Avoid Feeding To My Dog?

Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, Which foods should I avoid feeding to my dog?

It can be hard to resist the endearing puppy dog eyes your pooch gives you during dinner time, but a little reward from the plate may be more harmful to your furry friend than you may think.

While delicious to humans, there are several foods that are toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, raisins, grapes, onion, garlic, and xylitol, a sweetener found in some types of peanut butter. Other foods such as dairy products, avocados, macadamias and mouldy pecans can cause your pet a great deal of nasty symptoms.

Even if you take precautions, sometimes your dog gets their paws on something they shouldn’t. If you believe your dog has eaten something toxic, contact your vet right away.

Call the team on 4032 9999