In Victoria, it’s compulsory that your dog and cat is microchipped
Although you might not want to think about it, pets do go missing. In fact more than 100,000 cats and dogs are placed in RSPCA shelters each year. And plenty of other pets go AWOL too. Thankfully, the microchip registration scheme ensures that many are ultimately reunited with their owners. Are you planning on boarding your pet, or do you have a pet-sitter taking care of your cat or dog? Then it’s even more important that your pet is microchipped.
The information in a tiny microchip the size of a grain of rice, located under a pet’s skin, can be read using special readers held by veterinarians, animal shelters and rescue centres. The reader will reveal the chip’s registration number which is linked to the owner’s contact information on one of several registers. This way, the missing animal can be returned to its owner.
It’s therefore essential that your pet’s microchip data remains current: that the correct contact details are listed in the database and not, for example, a previous address or former owner (you can often update these details online). Always ensure that your pet is not only microchipped, but that they are registered with your local city council . You can find their microchip number in your pet’s insurance or adoption documentation or your pet’s veterinary records (or alternatively, take your pet to the vet to have their microchip number read).
Has your pet gone missing? Or have you perhaps found a suspected missing pet? Fortunately a vet or shelter can easily determine whether the animal is microchipped and the owner is often tracked down extremely quickly. You can also report a lost or found pet at the RSPCA, Pet Rescue, the Australasian Animal Registry, your local city council and several other pounds and shelters – thanks to these organisations, many pets and owners have been reunited.
Has your pet been microchipped? And is the registration still in order? Check today, without delay!
December is creeping up on us fast. It’s difficult for animals to regulate their temperature in the heat, so here are some tips for keeping your furry friends comfortable during summer.
• Always make sure to provide bowls of fresh, cool water for your animals. It’s also a good idea to leave shallow bowls out for wildlife like lizards, as well as a birdbath in the shade.
• Some dogs might enjoy splashing in water as well, so perhaps grab a large plastic container or plastic clamshell pool for them to paddle in. Here at Pilyara, the dogs love swimming in the dam.
• For a special treat, freeze a container of water – or even low-sodium meat or vege stock – to make a giant ice block to give to your pet on especially hot days.
• Groomers might suggest a shave or trim for thick-coated dogs or cats. Animal fur is great at insulating – keeping pets cool in summer and warm in winter, but some dogs with long coats may find it helpful to get a trim, especially if they’re active outdoors and get dirty often. Make sure if you are trimming your dog’s coat that you retain at least an inch of fur all over to prevent sunburn. The best way to deal with a pet’s coat of any length in the hot seasons is to brush it regularly – daily, if possible – to remove shed fur and untangle locks that might prevent heat transfer away from the skin.
• Walk your dog early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is down, and remember that asphalt and concrete can still be hot at the end of the day, so be careful of your pet’s paws if your route is on any sealed paths.
• For caged animals such as birds, rabbits or guinea pigs, ensure their enclosure is kept in the shade. If your caged pets are inside, check that they’re in a space that will remain cool
• For kitties or puppies that like to spend time in the sun, consider a pet-friendly sunscreen to apply on their nose, ears, and anywhere else that has white or light-coloured fur, sparse fur or visible skin. You can find pet sunscreens at your vet and at good pet stores – they’re specially formulated without zinc, which can be toxic to pets if they lick it.
• Above all – NEVER leave a pet alone in a car during the day. A balmy 22C day can cause the temperature to rise to 45C in a car after 15 minutes, even with the windows open.
If your pet does start showing signs of heat stress – panting in cats or excess panting in dogs (especially short-nosed dogs), drooling, weakness or fatigue, or even confusion – it’s important to react quickly.
Cool them down slowly by spraying the animal’s fur and submerging their paws in room-temperature water. Bring them into a cool, well-ventilated area, or into an air-conditioned house. Don’t use any cold water or ice if the animal appears ill, as it can shock the system further. If the animal doesn’t seem to be feeling any better after half an hour, get to a vet immediately.
If you’ve taken everything into account, there’s no reason why summer shouldn’t be the most enjoyable part of your pet’s year.
Registrations are now open for the biggest doggy play date of the year! The Million Paws Walk is the RSPCA’s most ambitious fundraising event, and a fun day for all animal lovers. Now in its 21st year, the walk is the premier event on the canine calendar. Thousands of people will walk at 17 different locations across Victoria on Sunday 15 May, 2016. Money raised through entry fees, the sale of merchandise and online fundraising will help to fund critical work in the community, including the care of more than 28,000 animals entering RSPCA shelters each year.
The Million Paws Walk was started in 1994 in Queensland by Dr Cam Day, who believed a special event involving animals walking together would provide a fun day out for pets and their owners. It would also promote responsible pet ownership and raise much-needed funds for the RSPCA. Since then it has expanded with over 70 events held nationally.
Taking part in the Million Paws Walk is a great way to help animals in need. All animal lovers are encouraged to brush off their walking shoes, pull out their pet’s lead and bring along their ‘best friend’ to Australia’s favourite pet event. You can register and find Victorian walk locations here. People can set up their own fundraising page – a great way to make every step count. You don’t even need a dog! As well as joining fellow animal lovers and dogs on the walk, there will be entertainment, displays, stalls, giveaways and a host of other activities. There’s nothing like the sight of thousands of pooches (and various other pets) to gladden the heart of non-dog-owning dog lovers! And there will be plenty of RSPCA staff to talk to if you are interested in adopting a dog or other animal.
Don’t worry if it rains. The walk will happen come hail, rain or shine. As an added bonus this year, if you register online and create a fundraising page, you will receive a free RSPCA Frisbee for your dog. Every dollar raised will make a difference, and help raise the target of $500,000 to prevent animal cruelty. See you there!
Our new guests this week!
Some of the new doggy guests at Pilyara this week!
Pets give us their companionship, loyalty and love. They delight us, improve our health, teach children about responsibility and remind us that we live in an eco-system alongside other animals. I for one, couldn’t imagine life without them. But pet ownership also goes hand in hand with a duty to manage their effect on wildlife and the environment. This means more than picking up dog poo in the park (in biodegradable plastic bags!) or putting a bell on your cat.
- It can begin by adopting an animal from one of the many shelters around Australia. This reduces backyard breeding. There are literally thousands of lovely dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, etc, temperament tested and in need of homes. Many rescue organisations are staffed by dedicated volunteers who devote their lives to helping these animals. If you can’t adopt an animal, consider donating to your local shelter. When my kids were younger they would save up from their allowance, and every holidays take their money boxes to the local shelter. After counting out the change, they would then take a tour to see the animals.
- Desex and microchip! This goes for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets – pretty much everything. Even my horses are micro-chipped. Geld colts and don’t breed your mares. Only serious, show breeders should bring more animals into a world already groaning with neglected and unwanted animals.
- Keep cats inside, or in an outside cattery. Bells aren’t enough. Cats are deadly predators, and hunt even if well-fed. Roaming cats get hit by cars, injured in fights, catch fatal diseases (such as feline AIDS) or get lost. Keep dogs from wandering free. I live in a rural area, and this is a big problem. I’ve seen the heart-breaking damage domestic pets wreak on other animals. Sheep, goats, echidnas and wombats attacked by dogs. Possums, bandicoots and native birds killed by cats.
- Recycle. Don’t be tempted to buy the latest, cutest pet accessories. Avoid plastic. Check what you already have around the home. Worn blankets, sheets and towels are great for bedding and easily washable. Home-made toys such as boxes and natural twine with a few knots are good for cats. Old shoes, tennis balls and soft toys can be more fun than store-bought for dogs, though make sure there are no sharp pointy edges or easily removable parts first.
- Second-hand shops and markets are treasure troves for toys and bedding, as well as used carry crates and feeding bowls. And of course, newspaper and natural fibre-based cat litters (such as walnut shell or paper based litters) are a great green option for environmentally-minded cat owners.
- The meaty diet of dogs and cats carries a big carbon footprint. Excess packaging also has a negative impact on the environment. Buy Australian made dry food to reduce food-miles, and consider brands like Nature’s Gift, that have a good environmental track record. Consider paper-packaged pet-food, buying from butchers and buying in bulk to reduce waste. Add left-over vegetables to your dog’s diet. Feed more raw meat like bones, offal and chicken wings. I’ve noticed many itchy skin issues improve with more raw food in the diet. Australian sardines are full of good oils, low in mercury and are a sustainable seafood. Free-range eggs are packed full of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Here at Pilyara we try to balance doing the right thing by our animals and the environment. Do you have any handy tips or thoughts on sustainable pet ownership? Please share 🙂