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Tips and Information

Cane Toads

Cane Toads


Toxic Toads

During most of the year, toads are rearing their 'oh so ugly' warty heads and causing terrible troubles with our pooches.

Toads are dangerous amphibians. They are a common cause of poisoning in dogs and, less commonly, they poison cats. 

Toads exude a milky white toxin mostly from poison glands behind their eyes, but elsewhere on their body as well. They squeeze this poison onto the surface of their skin when they are under threat.  When treated roughly, they can even squirt the poison up to two metres.

Dogs and cats are poisoned when they mouth the toad or sometimes when the toad's poison gets into their eyes.

The toad's poison is also dangerous to humans and deaths have occurred.  Some adults have even been affected when they absorbed the poison through cuts in their skin after handling a toad.

Keelback Snakes are not susceptible to the venom and Crows and Water Rats have learnt to turn the toad over and eat only the non-poisonous internal organs.

In China, they have used toad poison as an expectorant, a heart stimulant and as a diuretic. It has also been used as a remedy for toothache and sinusitis. In Africa and South America, toad venom has been used on the tips of arrows as a poison.

Toads were introduced into Australia in 1935 to control the cane beetle - a disastrous move as toads have no natural enemies in Australia. Australian Terriers and Fox Terriers also think this was a dumb idea, as they are the breeds most often affected by toad poisoning.

Signs of Toad Poisoning

This is what you need to do if your pet is poisoned.

Due to its corrosive and irritant nature, the toad's venom will cause profuse salivation soon after your pet bites it. Pets affected by the irritant venom will paw their mouth due to the pain. If you see your pet drooling and distressed but haven't seen it attack a toad, look at its gums. If they are red and inflamed, toad poisoning is likely.

Vomiting often occurs, especially in cats. Cats also show hindquarter weakness and a fixed trance-like stare. 

If your dog is poisoned, it will usually suffer from seizures or convulsions. These convulsions are often fatal unless you seek urgent veterinary attention. 


The poison can also affect the heart of dogs and cats, causing immediate cardiac arrest.

After it has mouthed a toad, it is vital that you remove all trace of the poison from your pets' teeth and gums.

Do this:-

  1. Use a jet of water from a hose to remove the toxin

  2. The water jet should be directed forward out of your pet's mouth, not down into its throat.

  3. Rubbing the teeth and gums with a soft rag may also help to remove the toxin.


If your pet is poisoned

If you suspect a toad has poisoned your pet, you will have a good chance of saving its life with this additinal prompt action.

  1. Transport the dog to your vet as quickly and quietly as possible.

  2. Keep your pet cool (as they overheat when convulsing) and gently restrained.

  3. If it is convulsing, it can damage itself by knocking against objects - try to gently restrain your pet by wrapping it in a towel.

  4. It may not recognise you and may also become quite vicious. Handle an effected animal with extreme caution.


How can you try to protect your dog?

  1. Feed your pets indoors. Cane toads are attracted to the food source. Cat and dog food is especially attractive to them. Keep an area inside the house for feeding. If cane toads do eat pet food, just eating it does not poison it but the pet that tries to defend its food is at risk of being sprayed by the cane toad.

  2. Leave pet drinking water inside at Night . Again, don't leave a bath as an invitation. Poison can leech into the water.

  3. Keep your pets indoors when cane toads are most active. Cane toads tend to be most active at night and after rain.

  4. Remove hiding spots. Bushy plants can become hiding spaces for cane toads. Some landscaping features can also provide them with shelter. Either remove these attractants or check them regularly and remove any cane toads found in them.

  5. Supervise your dog's outdoor time when the cane toads are around. Leaving a dog alone with cane toads is often asking for trouble. In particular, be very cautious with puppies and playful dogs.

  6. Build a barrier. It is possible to keep cane toads out of your backyard but it is expensive and requires some effort. A 50 centimeter (19.7 in) high fine mesh barrier that extends at least 15 centimeter (5.9 in) under the ground would be a good start. It will need to completely cover the perimeter of the area you want fenced off, including any gate entrances. Remove any cane toads in the yard. DO NOT KILL THE TOAD. Pick it up with proper protection avoiding direct skin contact.

Training your Dog

There are a few things to consider first -

  • Has your dog already had a taste of the poison? (It is like a drug to them)

  • Have you reacted significantly around toads and your dog? (this will make them more interested in them)

  • Have you taught your dog the "leave it" command and does it do it reliably? (meaning every time)

If you have answered yes to any of the above we would suggest getting some training - whilst we can write how to do it via treats you still need a Live toad and we are not prepared to put your dog at risk if you miscalculate and your dog gets toad poisoning.

Danger Foods to ogs

Danger Foods to Dogs



When you ask someone “What foods are toxic to dogs?” chocolate is often the first to come to mind. Chocolate toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias and seizures, and can even be fatal. This is due to an ingredient in chocolate called theobromine, which can be poisonous to pets. The darker the chocolate and the smaller the dog, the greater the danger. Consult your veterinarian if your dog eats any.


Fatty foods

Tails wag at the scent of greasy and high-fat cheeseburgers, bacon and fried foods, but don’t give in to their begging. While these foods aren’t toxic, consumption can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and gas, and can result in pancreatitis and gastrointestinal issues.

Fat trimmings and bones

No more rewarding your pet with fat trimmed from your steak, chicken or pork. You run the risk of causing pancreas and liver problems. Be cautious of leftover bones, too; cooked bones are more likely to splinter, and the sharp pieces of bone can tear digestive organs and cause internal bleeding.

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic can be lethal because of an ingredient called thiosulphate, which can damage your pet’s red blood cells and cause anemia. Thiosulphate is found in onions, shallots, chives and onion powder. It’s especially potent in garlic.

Raw eggs

Cooked eggs can make a healthy addition to your dog or cat’s diet, if eaten in moderation. Excessive consumption of raw eggs, however, can lead to a biotin deficiency that is bad for dogs’ skin and fur.



Dogs love the taste of almonds, particularly the flavored variety (jalapeno, barbecued, smoked, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.).

While not toxic, almonds are not easily digested can give your dog an upset stomach and create gastric intestinal distress.


Black Walnuts

Black walnuts contains a toxin called juglone which can cause a vascular disease in horses known as laminitis, but doesn't appear to cause problems in dogs. Eating black walnuts can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction.

In addition, moldy black walnuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

English Walnuts

English walnuts can cause gastric intestinal upset (tummy ache) or even an obstruction in your dog's body.

Like black and Japanese walnuts, moldy English walnuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins (toxic chemical products produced by fungi) which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Hickory Nuts

Hickory nuts also contain the toxin juglone that can cause laminitis in horses. Eating hickory nuts can cause the same problems associated with black walnuts: gastric intestinal upset or an intestinal obstruction.

Like walnuts, moldy hickory nuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Japanese Walnuts

Japanese walnuts contain no toxicity; however, they can cause gastric intestinal upset or even an obstruction.

Like English walnuts, moldy Japanese walnuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are very rich in fat which can give your dog a major upset stomach and may cause pancreatitis.

In addition, these nuts are reported to contain an unknown toxic principle that may result in neurological symptoms.


Pecans also contain the toxin juglone that can cause laminitis in horses. Feeding dogs pecans can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction.

Like walnuts, moldy pecans can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Pistachio Nuts

Pistachios are also rich in fat and can cause your dog to develop an upset stomach. In addition, repetitive eating of pistachios can cause pancreatitis in your dog.

Raw fish (Fresh catch)

While not inherently a food poisonous to dogs and cats, raw fish may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning in your pet. In addition, your pet may also be at risk of catching “fish disease” due to a parasite commonly found in salmon, trout, sturgeon and other upstream-swimming fish. Be sure to monitor your pet closely during fishing trips or at the beach.



A pretzel here or a potato chip there is mostly harmless. But large quantities of salt can lead to salt poisoning, which has severe neurological symptoms, including seizures and brain swelling. Be sure to monitor your pooch at the beach, since drinking salty

ocean water is a common cause of salt poisoning.


If your dog or cat can roam your yard, remove any wild mushrooms. The wild variety typically causes the most harm, as opposed to grocery store mushrooms. Even a few bites can cause seizures and vomiting.


The large seeds found in avocados can become lodged in your pet’s stomach, esophagus or intestinal tract. If you live near avocado trees, be sure to monitor your pet to prevent choking. 

Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney issues in dogs and cats. Even small amounts can result in lethargy, shivers and a decreased appetite. More extreme cases of grape poisoning can cause kidney failure and even death. 


These fruits are toxic to dogs and cats, causing dilated pupils, breathing problems and, in extreme cases, shock or even death. Beware of cherry trees and shrubs as well. With the exception of the ripe pulp around the seeds, these plants are poisonous to pets, as the non-pulp parts contain cyanide.


Fruit with pits

Beware of fruits with pits. They can cause your pet to choke or obstruct their intestines, particularly plum and peach pits, which also contain poisonous cyanide.

Beverages can be hazardous, too

  • Alcohol, even in small amounts, can lead to poisoning. And it’s not just cocktails you should steer your pet clear of. Mouthwash and fermented foods can be poisonous to dogs and cats, as well. Symptoms range from loss of coordination, drowsiness and vomiting to seizures, respiratory failure and even death.

  • Caffeine is a stimulant that can damage your pet’s nervous system, heart and other organs. In addition to coffee and tea, soda, ice cream and medications should be off-limits.

  • Milk wouldn’t necessarily count as a food poisonous to cats, but it’s definitely not the prized treat most people think it is. In fact, most cats’ and dogs’ ability to digest milk decreases as they grow, making them lactose intolerant as adults. Consuming milk, cheese or yogurt can result in diarrhea and other issues for both cats and dogs.

Ingredients can also cause illnesses

  • Yeast is a common ingredient in bread dough that is dangerous for dogs, as it can expand in their stomach and cause organs to tear or twist. Symptoms of yeast consumption include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach bloating. If you detect any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian. Some yeast dough also ferments, which can lead to alcohol toxicity.

  • Rhubarb can be bad for pets’ kidneys and digestive organs, so be careful what jams and jellies your pet can get ahold of.

  • Nutmeg, a spice often found in desserts, can cause tremors and seizures in your pet.

  • The sugar substitute xylitol can cause your pet’s insulin to spike, so keep sugarless chewing gum, candy, medicines, vitamins, condiments, some peanut butters and even mouthwashes locked away.

Danger Plants to dogs

Dangerous Plants to Dogs


This list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Please note that the information contained this list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but a sample on common plants encountered.

 If you suspect a plant has made your pet ill, don’t delay – take it straight to the vet, along with a sample of the plant, for identification. 


If you think your pet has ingested a toxic plant, it may be a medical emergency so please call your local veterinarian or a vet hospital.



Plants Dangerous to Pets

• Anemone or windflower (A. coronaria)
• Brunfelsia (Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow plant causes seizures when dogs eat the toxic berries and seed pods.
• Bulbs (onions, plus all the spring-flowering favourites, such as daffodils, tulips, jonquils, and snowdrops)
• Caladium bicolor (indoor foliage plant)
• Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)
• Chalice vine (Solandra maxima)
• Cherry tree (Prunus serrulata)
• Clematis (the large-flowered hybrids)
• Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophylla)
• Cycads (seeds on female plants)

• Daffodils (Narcissus varieties)
• Daphne (various)
• Delphiniums
• Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
• Dicentra (Dicentra spectabilis)
• Dieffenbachia
• Euphorbias (Poinsettias, Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, etc)
• Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
• Golden Robinia (R. pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’)
• Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)
• Heliotrope (Heliotropium spp.) also called Hortensia: highly toxic, it can cause liver destruction when ingested
• Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
• Holly (Ilex varieties)
• Hydrangeas
• Indoor Plants: many are poisonous to pets, so it’s wise to keep all indoor plants out of the reach of puppies and kittens especially, but also adult dogs and cats.
• Iris
• Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
• Jasmine (not clear which ones)



Lantana, also called Red sage, Wild sage, Yellow Sage, and Shrub Verbena. (L. camara, the common one)
• Lilac (Syringa varieties)
• Liliums: All parts of the plant are particularly toxic to kittens and cats, causing kidney failure and death; reactions are not quite so severe in dogs.
• Mountain laurel (Kalmia varieties)
• Mushrooms (not clear which ones)
• Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
• Oaks (Quercus varieties – the acorns are toxic to pets)
• Oleanders (Nerium oleander, Thevetia peruviana)
• Philodendron (many, it appears)
• Pine (e.g., savin, Juniperus sabina, also several others)
• Poinciana (not the tropical tree, but the shrub Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
• Potato plants and green potatoes
• Privet (Ligustrum varieties)
• Pyracantha (unclear which one)
• Rhododendron (including azaleas)
• Rhubarb (presumably the leaves)
• Snowdrops (Leucojum)
• Snowflakes (Leucojum)
• Solandra maxima (chalice vine)
• Stephanotis (Madagascar jasmine) (consumption of the seed pods is especially deadly to dogs)
• Strelitzias (Strelitzia reginae, S. nicolai)
• Sweet peas
• Toadstools
• Tomato Plants

• Tulips
• Walnuts (mouldy nuts near the ground)
• Wandering Jew (Tradescantia albiflora) is very common in gardens especially in moist, shady areas. It is a horrible weed that will grow in near total shade and almost can’t be killed.
• Wisteria
• Yellow oleander (Thevetia peruviana)
• Yew (Taxus varieties)

Dogs digging in the Garden

Has your dog been digging up your lawn? If so, it’s important to remember that they don’t do this in spite or to deliberately destroy the garden. Digging is a normal, instinctive behaviour for many dogs. Dogs may be more likely to dig in some specific circumstances or for a particular reason, such as:

  • Relief from boredom

  • Playing

  • Instinct

  • Trying to escape

  • Seeking protection

  • Release of pent-up energy/anxiety

To address this problem, you first need to learn why your dog digs—and then implement some management strategies to address the underlying cause. Dogs left alone outside for long periods of time without opportunities for interaction, mental stimulation or exercise may be prone to digging. If the environment is barren – with no playmates or chew toys, this can also increase the risk of digging.

Dealing with digging

First, you need to check that all your dog's needs are being met:

  • Exercise: walk your dog at least once daily. Insufficient exercise is a leading cause of problem behaviors.

  • Company and interaction: spend time playing and interacting with your dog everyday. Teach your dog new commands or tricks. Practice these every day for 5 to 10 minutes. Play fetch or other games together.

  • Chewing needs: keep interesting chew toys in the yard to keep your dog busy when you're not around, such as 'Kong' toys filled with food treats. Rotate the toys to keep things interesting. Offer a raw meaty bone - Antler Ear or Goat Horn a couple of times a week – these can keep a dog occupied for a good length of time.

  • Shelter: in hot weather, dogs may dig holes to lie in the cool dirt. They may also dig to provide themselves with shelter from cold, wind, or rain or to find water. Provide your dog with the comfort or protection he seeks by providing your dog with a comfortable doghouse that affords protection from wind and sun. Your dog may still prefer a hole in the ground, in which case you can try providing an 'approved digging area' as described below. Make sure the allowed digging area is in a spot that's protected from the elements. Provide plenty of fresh drinking water in a bowl that can't be tipped over.

Provide an alternative ‘acceptable’ digging area

Choose an area of the yard where it's okay for your dog to dig. Make the acceptable digging area attractive by burying safe items (such as chew toys) for him to discover. If your dog digs in the ‘acceptable’ spot – reward him with lots of praise either in the form of a food treat, vocal praise (good boy!) or a scratch on the chest. If your dog starts digging in an unacceptable area, catch his attention by encouraging him to come over to the ‘acceptable’ digging area. When he comes to you and starts digging in the approved spot, reward him with lots of praise. Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or fencing around it.

Digging to escape

Dogs can also dig when trying to escape. They will usually dig along the fence-line if this is the case. Dogs may try to escape for a number of reasons such as separation anxiety or to search for mates. Try to figure out why your dog is trying to escape, and remove those incentives. Make sure his environment is a safe, appealing place for a dog and that his needs are being met.

Things to avoid

Regardless of the reason your dog’s digging, avoid punishing your dog. This won't address the underlying cause of the behaviour, and it will likely worsen any digging that's motivated by fear or anxiety.

You should also try to avoid using fertilizers that are likely to attract your dog and make them more likely to dig (blood and bone is especially attractive to dogs). Digging up your newly planted potatoes is not just annoying for you, but can be dangerous for your dog if he consumes large amounts of fertilizer

If the problem persists if may be time to get professional help to identify the issue and help retify it for you.

Dogs digging in the Garden

Excessive Barking in Dogs

Excessive Barking in Dogs

Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs and an important means of communication. They may bark when calling out to other dogs or respond to other barking dogs or when communicating with their human owners. Any noise, no matter how slight can stimulate a barking response for e.g. rustling leaves, a banging window or a knock at the frontdoor/doorbell.

However, when dogs bark excessively this usually indicates an underlying issue  and they can become a nuisance to their owners and the neighbourhood. Before you can successfully manage a barking problem you will need to determine the cause of the barking. Your neighbours may be able to tell you how often your dog barks in your absence.

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and it is important to work out why your dog is barking excessively. Once the underlying cause and 'triggers' for the barking are identified, training techniques can be used to treat the excessive barking in a humane way.

The basis of barking issues is quite different. Likewise, approaches to treating each of them often need to be different. Take the time to characterise your dog’s barking habits – does he bark at people passing by? Ask your neighbours whether he barks while you are away from home – does he bark all day or only some of the time?

It's also a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a full health check to make sure there are no medical reasons for the excessive barking.

Bringing dogs into the house may reduce barking 'triggers' as this can remove the visual or auditory trigger stimulus.

Some of these reasons for excessive barking include:


Dogs that are left alone all day with nothing to do often resort to barking out of boredom. Boredom barkers will bark continuously and may also exorcise their frustration on your flower beds. To tackle boredom barking you should start by ensuring that your dog is receiving enough exercise. If you take your dog for a good walk in the morning they will be more likely to rest until you come home. You should also make sure that your house and garden are sufficiently enriched with fun toys and puzzles to keep them entertained when you are not home. Try putting some of your dog’s daily food allowance into a Kong toy or treat ball so they have to work to retrieve their snacks. Keep their toys in a toy box and alternate the toys they have access to each day. Hide their toys and some treats around the garden to encourage them to forage or if they like to dig provide a sand pit to divert their instincts away from your garden. If your dog has any play mates in the neighbourhood you might alleviate boredom by inviting them over for the day.

You may also consider organising a 'dog walker' to walk your dog in the middle of the day while you are at work or a 'dog minder' to keep your dog company when you are away for long periods. You may also consider utilising your local reputable 'doggy day care' services.

Being anxious when left alone 

Dogs are social animals and it is normal for them to become anxious when they are left alone for the first time. Take care to teach your dog how to cope with being left alone at a young age. Begin by trying small amounts of time apart. For example you could put your dog outside in the yard for short periods of time while you are still at home. Make sure they have toys to play and safe things to chew on while they are outside so the experience is a positive one.

Gradually extend the length of time you are leaving your dog alone. When you do leave the house make sure that they have somewhere safe to retreat to such as a kennel. Make sure that they receive plenty of exercise and that they have a supply of toys and safe chew toys/items to keep them entertained while you are away. Do not fuss over your dog when you come home – make sure both your departure and return are quiet and unexcited. Most dogs will adjust to periods of time alone, however some become severely stressed and may begin to bark incessantly and even self mutilate/injure themselves.


Dogs can also bark due to fear. They may be afraid of people coming near their territory or fearful of noises, particularly at night which may stimulate anxieties. Dogs can also be fearful of fireworks, thunderstorms and lawnmowers etc

Territorial behaviour

It is natural for your dog to want to warn you about potential intruders. Your dog may not be able to distinguish between welcome visitors, people strolling past your home and intruders. Try and use predictable passers-by such as the postman to change your dog’s association from territory protection to a positive experience.  Only reward your dog when he/she is calm and not barking. With time your dog may begin to associate a person passing the house with something good rather than someone to protect you from.

If your dog barks at your neighbours when they are in their garden it is probably also because they are protecting your territory - yelling at a barking dog will only tend to reinforce the barking and protective behaviour. Barking is also reinforced when owners yell or scold their own barking dog and should be avoided. Successfully treating excessive barking relies on positive reinforcement - that is, reward good 'quiet' behaviour and avoid reinforcing 'unwanted' behaviour.

Attention-seeking behaviour

Dogs can bark when trying to call out to their human owner or when bored through being left alone for long periods of time or having nothing to do while its humans are at work/away from the home.

You can modify attention seeking barking by ignoring unwanted behaviour and rewarding good behaviour. When your dog barks for attention he should be completely ignored – avoid eye contact, even leave the room. Praise and pat your dog when he is calm and quiet so he realises that this is the behaviour required to secure your attention.

If the behaviours continue seek professional help to identify and teach you how to instill the correct behaviours in your dog.

Exercising a Young Dog

Providing puppies with the opportunity to exercise is a very important aspect of their care. Apart from providing various health benefits, exercising also provides a good opportunity for your puppy to socialise with other puppies and dogs and friendly people too, which is vital for their behavioural development. Check with your vet when your puppy can safely go to the park in relation to their vaccination status. With puppies this is all about creating the connections in the brain in a positive manner.

Learning to walk on the lead basics:

  • Before taking your pup for their first walk, ensure they are comfortable with their collar as this may take a few days. Introduce your puppy to their collar by letting them sniff it and see it. Reward them for allowing the collar to be near them with some tasty food treats. This helps them to associate the collar with positive things.

  • When placing a collar on your pup, try this for a few minutes or so to start with and then gradually increase the time span, making sure that each time they are calm and relaxed and always reward with treats and praise so that they continue to associate the collar with positive things.

  • The next step is to encourage your pup to walk beside you without the lead (do this in an enclosed area or backyard) by offering treats whenever they are in the right position. Once things are going well, then you can try using the lead, for short periods initially with continuous encouragement for your pup to walk beside you to achieve' loose lead' walking.

  • The main thing to remember is that your pup will naturally want to pull to explore their environment but do not pull back, jerk the lead or yell ‘No’ – stand still like a tree if they pull and reward them when they return to walk beside you and the lead 'loosens'. This way they associate a 'loose' lead with rewards and pulling with no reward. Keep offering a reward for them to be beside you and they will soon learn that this is a good place to be.

Walking on the lead:

  • Whilst on the lead you should walk your puppy at a walking pace. It is also advisable to take your puppy for short walks only. If your puppy sits down or lies down during their walk it is important to allow them some time to rest and to wait until they choose to start walking again. If they appear too tired to continue on, it is advisable to stop the walk and head home. Always permit some time for sniffing plants, posts and other things as this is a very important activity that they really enjoy.

  • Avoiding over-exercising and over-exertion is especially important whilst your puppy is growing. Over-exercising puppies can affect bone and muscle development and this is of particular concern in large and giant breed puppies, e.g. Great Danes, Mastiffs etc

  • Attending a puppy pre-school that only uses reward based methods will help your puppy learn how to interact in a friendly way with other dogs and puppies they meet when out exercising. It is very important to start classes  as soon as you can to help prevent potential behaviour issues later on.

Off the lead (running freely):

  • When a puppy is off-lead in a safe enclosed environment such as your backyard with fences they may be allowed to run freely. In this situation they are generally able to regulate their own pace and the amount of exercise they receive because when they get tired, they can choose to sit down or lie down and rest before getting up again.

  • When off the lead, it is important to avoid excessive ball throwing and catching which may over-exercise your pup. It is advisable to also avoid encouraging your dog to leap into the air (e.g. Frisbee or high ball throwing) as they can land awkwardly risking an injury to their limbs.

You should avoid forced exercise such as:

  • jogging or running with puppies

  • frisbee throwing

  • excessive ball throwing and catching

  • running a puppy alongside a bicycle (In some states such as NSW and South Australia, the RTA road rules state that a bicycle rider must not lead an animal, including by tethering, while the vehicle is moving)

  • fast paced walks

  • very long walks

  • walking on hot days

Dogs should not be exercised immediately before or after eating as this can cause problems such as bloat (which can be fatal), particularly in large and deep-chested dogs such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Irish setters, German shepherds, Rottweiler, Doberman pinschers, Weimeraner and Standard Poodles, among others.


Once puppy is old enough enroll them into their first Level of Obedience this will start to teach them the basics of control in the company of other dogs.

If you are having troubles then get professional help.

Exercising a Young Dog
Whatis arvovirus

What is Parvovirus

What is parvovirus? 

Parvovirus (parvo) is a disease that affects dogs and presents itself intestinally or cardiovascularly. The more common form is the intestinal form. Symptoms include severe vomiting, blood in the stools, and loss of weight and appetite. The cardiac form is less common and attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies.

How do dogs contract parvovirus?

Parvovirus is highly contagious and can survive for long periods in the environment. The virus can withstand cleaning and weather changes, meaning the spread of the virus is hard to control. It can be easily transferred into your home on the paws and shoes of dogs and humans or other items contaminated with the virus, like bedding. It is passed in the faeces of infected animals.

This virus is typically seen in young unvaccinated puppies, but older dogs can become infected too. Symptoms progress rapidly, and the disease can be fatal. Targeted treatments are risky, expensive, and have a low success rate. Vaccinating your pet against parvovirus is your best bet to protect them from the disease.

What are the symptoms of parvovirus?

The main symptoms of parvovirus are sudden, severe vomiting, and bloody diarrhoea. Other symptoms include weight loss, lack of energy, and abdominal sensitivity.

The virus attacks the lining of the intestines and the bone marrow. The damaged bone marrow can no longer produce sufficient numbers of white blood cells needed to fight off infections.

How is parvovirus diagnosed?

Parvovirus typically attacks young, unvaccinated puppies. Vomiting or diarrhoea (particularly bloody) in dogs less than six months of age will be suspected to have the disease.

A test is available that can detect the presence of the virus in faeces.

How is parvovirus treated?

No drug is available that can kill the virus inside the body. Therefore, treatment mainly involves giving supportive care until the virus is passed from the body. Aggressive treatment is usually required to save most dogs. This includes an intravenous drip to prevent dehydration, drugs to control vomiting, and antibiotics to kill bacteria that may pass from the intestines into the bloodstream. Some dogs may need a blood or plasma transfusion.

Death rates in infected dogs are unfortunately high, with younger dogs being more susceptible.

How do I prevent my dog from catching parvovirus?

A highly effective vaccination is available to protect your dog against parvovirus. Puppies should receive this vaccine to the following schedule:

  • 6 to 8 weeks of age

  • again at 10 to 12 weeks old

  • again at 14 to 16 weeks old

  • a booster vaccination yearly for the rest of their life

  • If you are concerned about over vaccinating an older dog you can now get Titre Testing which measures the levels of antibodies in the blood stream - speak to your vet about getting this test as a means to ensure the safety of your dog.

Remember, your puppy will not have full immunity against the virus until two weeks after their final vaccine.

An ongoing vaccination program will be determined by your veterinarian in consultation with you to ensure continued immunity. If your dog presents with any of the symptoms of parvovirus, it is vital you contact your local vet.

Fence Jumping Dogs

Dogs jump fences for many different reasons such as:

  • They see an animal or something else that they feel compelled to chase.

  • They see a friendly person or dog they would like to meet.

  • If your dog is bored and looking for something to do, or looking for you. Some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety.

  • They could find it frightening to be left alone in a yard.

  • They might learn to associate the yard with anxiety, fear or loneliness.

  • They can also wander to search for mates.

  • Sometimes dogs can hear things on the other side of the fence and jump over to investigate.

It’s very important to work out the underlying cause for the jumping. Knowing why a dog is jumping over a fence is the first step to addressing the issue.

Make sure all of your dog’s physical, social and behavioural needs are being met.

Is your dog is getting enough daily physical exercise? It’s important to provide daily exercise such as going for a walk. This also provides your dog with new and interesting smells and environments in which to seek and explore.

Are they receiving enough daily attention and social company?

Does your dog have environmental enrichment? Does your dog have safe dog toys to play with? If your dog likes to dig, do they have a designated digging area?

Do they have food, water and shelter and a comfortable sleeping area? Do they have access to a toilet area?

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Talk to a Trainer about this.

How long is your dog left on their own? If a dog is left for long periods alone this can lead to boredom and frustration which can then lead to wandering and jumping. It’s important to minimise the time left alone in the yard. Try organising for a dog walk in the middle of the day to break up the time period in the yard.

Is your dog desexed? Undesexed dogs are more likely to wander in order to find a mate to breed with so talk to your vet about desexing.

In addition to ensuring all of your dog’s needs are being met and ruling out other underlying causes for jumping such as separation anxiety or searching for mates to breed with, here are a few suggestions to prevent your dog even being able to jump the fence.

  • Use PVC plastic piping or large rubber tubes, at least 5 to 6 inches in diameter, cut lengthwise down the centre. Place them along the top of your fence. This makes a curved, slippery surface that a dog cannot get a grip on to get over the top of the fence.

Alternatively, place a small diameter PVC pipe inside a larger diameter pipe and hang these on a cable suspended above the fence to create a ‘roller bar’ which a dog’s paws cannot hold onto.

  • Erect a shorter, interior fence two or three feet from the outside fence, preventing him from getting a running start. Plant shrubs a couple feet from the inside of the fence, again breaking that running start.

  • Place "cat netting" along the fence at an angle so that your dog cannot get a foothold on the fence.

 Below we have added two videos to help you with containment of your dog.

Always seek professional help when training your dog.

Fence Jumping Dogs
Blackdog Haltermate

Putting on a Blackdog Haltermate

Picking a rescue dog

Picking a Rescue Dog

Lets start with Breed

 * Have you had a real think about how much exercise the dog will need? Not well I need to exercise and get out of the house - stop thinking about you - this is a life you are about to take on board - it is a commitment to another being, if you have to get a dog to motivate you, chances are you will give up on the dog like a gym membership. Research the breed - working dogs like collies and kelpies need a lot more exercise than a Pomeranian.  Do you have the time with your job? Are you single and going to mingle so forget the dog in preference to a date? Are you too busy with the kids extra curricular activities? You need to be honest about this - not an emotional whim.

 * Does the dog have breed characteristics that are poorly suited to your living environment?  If you are in a unit or apartment is a Great Dane an appropriate choice?  Do you live on a suburban block with only a courtyard? A Short haired pointer would be a poor choice.

 * How much stimulation of the brain can you give your dog?  Can you commit to providing an environment which provides for your dogs mental needs not just physical?

 * Can you commit to at least an hour every day with your dog where it is just you and them? Providing the nurturing and love that they deserve and the ability to be in a Hybrid pack situation with you.

 Other Considerations

 * Can you financially afford to ensure a high quality diet and Parasite protection. This can be in excess of $4000 a year.

 * Can you afford proper veterinary care?  Love doesn't solve sick dogs - they may never have had care before which could mean expensive bills down the track.  You need to be realistic - don't be the one to get a new mate only to put it down because you have no money - that is not fair to the dog as a living being.

Questions to ask and what to do


These questions are so you aware of any behavioural needs you will need to address with training - every animal comes with baggage like humans but in order for you to help you need to know.  If you are refused these requests take that as a red flag.  Any statements of the dogs attitude or testing should be in writing not a spoken conversation that can be denied.  Where ever you get your new mate, gumtree - private surrender - charitable organization - they should be able to tell you Tested - Untested - or tested with X number of animals (ie cats) or in X situation so you can determine yourself.  You are taking a life into your hands - you need to get it right.

 * When you decide on a dog you then need to do a practical assessment yourself.  When you go to meet the dog - ask to go for a walk near a local dog park while dogs are in there so you can see if there is any dog reactivity to other dogs - there is no point having a dog you cannot walk safely. Again if you are prepared to put in the effort to train then there is no issue.

 * Ask what the dog is like around humans under adult age in various age groups.

 * Ask what the dog is like around other animals.

 * Ask if the dog is adversive to new situations - different human ethnicities - or sexes

 * Ask if the dog is an escape artist - or has problems with dogs on the other sides of fences in its own yard.

 * Do not be afraid to ask the questions - you are making a long term commitment to a living being.

These are all simple things you can do to ensure the right fit for your family situation.  Every family is different and their needs are different - you need to ensure the fit is right so it is a forever fit - not a rebound to the rescue or a death sentance because of a wrong fit.  This is not fair to the dog - do your due dilligence and save a life not ruin one.

And most of all - always seek professional help for behavioural issues to ensure a happy dog and happy family.

Dogs and Ticks

Protecting Dogs from Ticks

The paralysis tick, Ixodes holocyclus, causes tick paralysis.  It is found all along the Eastern Seaboard of Australia - it is one of the most toxic in the world. Tick paralysis is a serious and potentially fatal condition requiring urgent veterinary attention. It is important to be aware of paralysis ticks and to actively protect your dog by:

  1. Avoiding the tick habitat - During the tick season - the further North you are the longer the season - in Queensland this can be all year, don’t take your dog walking in bush areas or scrub areas known to harbor ticks. Keep lawns and shrubs short and remove compost material from backyards. Native animals such as possums spread ticks and like dingos have a natural immunity.  

  2. Applying tick control products - Talk to your vet about tick control products which are safe and suitable for dogs.

  3. Searching your dog every day for ticks - The most essential preventative measure is a thorough search of your dog's skin and coat at least once a day even if tick control products have been applied.  It can take up to 48 hours for the poison to affect your pet - this will depend on their size and genetics among other factors.

  4. Being aware of the symptoms of tick paralysis - If any signs of suspect paralysis are seen, a tick or a crater left by a tick is seen, then search and remove ticks as quickly as possible and take your pet to the vet immediately.

Important note: Never use any dog tick control products on cats as some dog products are highly toxic to cats and can kill cats.


What are paralysis ticks and how do they cause paralysis?

Paralysis ticks are dangerous parasites that can attach to the dog and proceed to suck blood from them. As they suck the blood, they secrete a toxin into the pet. This toxin affects the nervous system leading to a number of symptoms (see below) and potentially death.

Where are paralysis ticks found?

The paralysis tick is generally found on the eastern seaboard, from North Queensland down to Victoria. In the north, paralysis ticks may be found all year round, while in the more southern areas, the season generally begins in spring and finishes in late autumn. Please note that tick season can be variable, starting earlier and ending later, for example, it may start early if the winter is mild.

Ticks can also be found inland in suitable habitats. Paralysis ticks may be found on animals that live in or near bush or scrub land. Native animals such as marsupials, birds and reptiles are the natural hosts, however ticks can also become attached to animals such as dogs and cats.

What do paralysis ticks look like?

The paralysis tick can look different depending on whether they are engorged with blood or not. When engorged with blood they have a blueish to light-grey/grey colour. Familiarise yourself with their appearance - check at your local vet clinic/vet clinic website, they will usually have posters and photos of paralysis ticks or do an online search for an image of Ixodes holocyclus.

Once on the animal, the tick finds a site of attachment where it becomes deeply and firmly embedded in the skin. When an adult tick feeds on blood, it increases in size dramatically (becomes engorged). When a tick attaches to the skin, the area becomes red and a raised thickening or “crater” may appear. A crater is evidence of a prior tick attachment.

How do I search my pet?
  • Search pets thoroughly at least once a day, Use the fingertips to feel through the animal’s coat. Ticks or tick craters can be felt as lumps on the skin surface.

  • Most ticks are found forward of the front legs, especially on the face, neck and ears . However, remember to search the entire pet.

  • Start at your pet’s nose and slowly examine the face, forehead and ears (outer and inner surface of the ear flap/pinna). Also search the eyes and lips and the skin/fur around the eyes and lips. Carefully examine all skin folds as well.

  • Remove any collars and search the neck area thoroughly including the skin folds of the neck.

  • Continue the search, searching the shoulder area and then down the shoulders to the front legs. Remember to check between each toe and under surface of the front feet. Also check under the "armpits".

  • Examine the chest area, all along the back, sides, belly, inguinal (groin) area, around the tail and anus and the thighs, back legs, in between the back leg toes and feet (including the under surface).

How do you remove a tick?

If a tick is found it should be removed immediately. Your veterinarian can show you the best way to remove a tick. It is recommended to wear disposable gloves. Have a container with a lid or zip lock bag ready to put the tick in with some alcohol to kill it. When removing a tick, avoid disturbing the body of the tick (don’t squeeze the body). Aim to remove the tick by its head at the point of insertion into the pets skin because if mouth parts are left in, they are likely to cause a local infection. A useful aid is a tick remover - a fork like device that slides either side of the tick without touching the body of the tick and removes the tick easily. After removal, dab the area with mild antiseptic.

If you find a tick, remove it immediately and keep your pet calm and quiet. Then take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible – tick paralysis is a life threatening condition that requires urgent veterinary attention. Remember to also continue to search for more ticks. Some dogs can be infested with many ticks at one time.

What are the symptoms of tick paralysis?
  • Loss of coordination in the hind legs (wobbliness in the back legs) or not being able to get up

  • Weakness in the back legs

  • A change in the sound of the bark or voice

  • Retching, coughing (sometimes it is a moist cough), vomiting

  • Excessive salivation/drooling

  • Loss of appetite

  • Progressive paralysis to include the forelegs

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing

  • Grunting noises when breathing

  • or any other abnormal behaviour or symptom

What should you do if your pet shows symptoms of tick toxicity or if you find a crater or a tick on your dog?

  • Take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible – tick paralysis is a serious and potentially fatal condition that requires veterinary attention.

  • Stay calm and keep your pet calm and at a comfortable temperature (not too hot or cold).

  • Search for ticks and remove them as soon as possible (see removal tips above).

Do not offer food or water or give anything orally, pets affected by tick paralysis cannot protect their airway when they swallow (as a result of the toxin) and this may lead to aspiration of food/water into their airways which can cause aspiration pneumonia and serious breathing difficulties.

Are there other ticks that my pet can get?

Dogs and cats can be infested with other ticks including the brown dog tick, the bush tick and the kangaroo tick, especially if living in rural or semi-rural areas with a hot and humid climate. These ticks suck blood but may also transfer diseases such as Tick Fever, which may be a problem for pets newly arriving from a non-tick area as ‘local’ dogs generally develop immunity to this disease. It is best to check your pet every day for ticks and remove any that are found immediately.

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