REUNION OF THE DAY: Cookie the spoodle from Melbourne VIC Tuesday 12 June 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Cookie
"We want to thank you for helping to reunite us with our beloved Cookie.
The Brimbank Veterinary Clinic contacted us after seeing our Pet Alert to inform us that a good samaritan had dropped Cookie at their place very shortly after he went missing from our house.
We are so thankful to everybody involved.
Here are a few pictures of our reunited family!
Warmest Regards from us all." - Gilbert, Tidi and Tommy
Scaredy Pups: Driving with Dogs Monday 28 May 2018 @ 10:22
You want to be able to go places and do things with your furry friend, and that can be really difficult when your dog experiences a phobia. Over the last few months, we’ve talked about a number of common fears, the most recent of which was the fear of strangers. This is a fear that can develop as a result of a lack of socialisation, or it can be embedded in your dog’s genes. Whatever the reason, it can make going places with your pup very difficult if you don’t find a way to work through it together.
Some of the other common fears that might be standing in your dog’s way include…
We’re nearing the end of our list, but that doesn’t mean we’ve covered every fear your dog might have! If there’s another fear or phobia you’d like us to cover to spread information and awareness, please do get in touch. Until then, we’re going to talk about what you can do if your dog is afraid of cars.
If your dog tends to dive away from or toward passing cars, it can be a very dangerous and scary experience for both of you. If your dog is afraid to go inside or even just close to a parked vehicle, it can become impossible to travel together on outings, moves and vet trips. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help. Although it may be very upsetting or worrying, it’s actually very common to have a dog who is afraid of passing cars.
Try to Stay Cheerful and Relaxed
When dealing with passing traffic, try to use a happy, soothing tone of voice and smile at your dog. If you’re anticipating your dog’s reaction, it’s easy to fall into the trap of tensing up every time a car is nearby. This is something your dog will notice. Try not to reinforce your pup’s anxiety with your own.
Always remember the three key rules for helping a dog’s phobia:
- Do not soothe and cuddle your scared dog. Your dog will read this as a reward, so it’ll only encourage more anxious behaviour.
- Do not force your dog to confront their fear as a “cure”. This will only intensify the phobia, not help it.
- Do not physically punish or shout at your scared dog. This will only cause your dog to associate more negative things with the situation.
My Dog Is Afraid of Car Rides
Being afraid of noisy cars passing by on the road is one thing, but being afraid of riding in a car is a whole other issue. Your dog might be afraid of car rides for any number of different reasons, such as…
- Motion sickness: Humans aren’t the only ones who can vomit or experience nausea when riding in a car. That sick, horrible feeling is a surefire way of getting your dog to associate cars with negative things.
- Negative association: A lot of dogs only find themselves in a car if they’re going somewhere nasty, like the vet’s. If your dog is already scared of the vet, that fear can transfer onto all related experiences.
- Traumatic experiences: If your dog has ever been in a car accident or been hit by a car, they may easily come to associate being in or near cars with extreme danger.
- Trip to the shelter: If you adopted your dog from a rescue or pound, there’s a high chance they’ll associate being put in a car with being taken to a shelter and abandoned. This can be tied in with a fear of abandonment.
- Fear of the unfamiliar feeling: If your dog isn’t used to travelling in a car, the peculiar sensation can be very disturbing. If your dog is already skittish by nature, it can be downright terrifying. Cars also tend to have their own mysterious sounds, sights, vibrations and smells that can be very difficult to understand.
Make a Comfortable, Secure Travel Seat for Your Dog
Try teaching your dog to love the car by giving them somewhere safe and cozy to sit. This can be your dog’s refuge. One of the safest ways for your dog to travel is in a crate, which will give them protection in the event of an accident (N.B.: Not all crates are created equal. Shop around for something heavy-duty if you’re concerned for your dog’s safety!) and helps to stop them from distracting the driver.
If the slope of the car’s seats makes your dog uncomfortable and unstable, you may choose to buy a car leveler, or you can simply make your own using rolled up towels. Try to make your dog’s crate as comfy as you can. It may also be a good idea to drape a breathable towel over the dog’s crate so they can’t be scared by the landscape rushing by, but many dogs prefer to see what’s going on.
Don’t Rush It
Approach your dog’s phobia with a determined, but calm, attitude. As with any other type of training, patience is key here. If you’re taking your dog somewhere in a rush, now is not the time to try and work through these fears. If you want to help your dog, you need to be ready to do it in their time (not yours). This is a process with two prerequisites:
- You have no definite result in mind.
- You are willing to take baby steps.
If you try to begin training having already imagined the outcome, it’ll only lead to disappointment for you and distress for your dog.
At the end of the day, once your dog can be taken on walks without being a danger to itself and others, and taken in cars without being in severe distress or causing major distractions to the driver, you can call that a success. Your dog may never be happy to be around cars, just like some people may never be excited to fly in planes. All that either of you can do is your best.
REUNION OF THE DAY: Prince the Shetland Sheepdog in Perth WA Monday 21 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Prince the Shetland Sheepdog in Perth WA
"Prince is like another child to me. We have only been together for 10 months, but he quickly claimed me as his 'mum', and our family have nurtured him from when we first got him at 7 months old. He is a very gentle and special dog, however, is wary of people as it appears that he has suffered some trauma prior to being welcomed into our family.
He went missing in unusual circumstances as I was in a suburb that we were not familiar with (an hour's drive from our home), as I was visiting a friend that day. When I realised he had gone missing I felt sick with anxiety.
I went searching in my car within 10 mins of him being gone, and my friend assisted. We saw him running down a busy road towards another very busy main road, and managed to corner him and he then panicked and ran across the road to the other side and vanished.
We spend until dusk that day searching by car around all the surrounding streets, parks and local bushland and went door knocking to try to find him. I also called all local vets and the pound within 2 hours of his disappearance.
Then later that night I went on all social media platforms with a 'lost' ad, and felt encouraged by the words of support and climbing Facebook coverage, and sharing via 'Lost Pet Finders'. I also checked that Prince's microchip details were current, and informed the Registry that he was lost.
I printed fliers and my friends posted information on their Facebook sites, and other lost animal sites. The following day I went to some petrol stations, stock food places and major shopping centres within a 20 km radius, with the fliers. I found it very encouraging with the positive responses I received.
Within a few hours of driving and searching and distributing the fliers, I received a call from a boy who simply said 'I've found your dog'. The relief from those words was indescribable. I asked him to hold Prince and stay with him until I got there, as he was only a 1 minute drive away.
Prince had exhausted himself from running and was laying down on the verge of his driveway next to his car. When I saw him I was overjoyed, and he had a look of recognition and relief on his face that I won't forget. It turns out that this kind boy had looked at the tag on Prince's collar and had called me from these details.
I was so grateful that he had reunited us, and had also given Prince water to drink, and had stayed with him to ensure he didn't run away. It made me realise how kind and caring people can be, and I was so very grateful for this.
I found the most difficult part of the process was to try to manage the grief and anguish I felt for Prince, and my thoughts about what could happen to him if I didn't find him soon enough. And the helpless feeling of just not knowing where he was or what was happening to him, and imagining the panic and anxiety he must be feeling.
So, I tried to channel all of those sad feelings into absolute determination to do everything possible to find him, as I knew that this was what Prince was depending on. And I wanted to focus on finding him safe, and just bring him home.
I thank everyone who was involved with this journey, and for their support and encouragement, and for helping to increase exposure to improve the chances of finding Prince. It is so lovely to feel that sense of compassion from others.
My heart goes out to the pets and owners who are in the same predicament. Never give up hope, and be relentless in your searching efforts. Although it seems impossible, try to redirect your grief into positive energy and strategies to find your pet as soon as possible.
And most importantly, stay safe in your efforts to do this, and have faith that you will be reunited." - Renee
REUNION OF THE DAY: this happy girl is back with family in Melbourne VIC Thursday 17 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: this happy girl is back with family in Melbourne VIC
Message from Charlie who found this little girl and made the reunion happen:
"The first thing I did upon finding the lost dog was to post A4 letters with photo's in the local milk bars. My son also posted the lost dog on facebook. I also then took the dog to the local vet to scan the microchip but unfortunately the owner did not register the microchip with any company, I did not hand the dog into the vet as I did not want the local council ranger to pick up the dog as I did not want to see the dog put down (pit bull cross).
Then I explored the internet for dog finding services where I found your wonderful site. Within a few hours I received messages from people who saw the dog on Facebook and then eventually the next day the owner rang and I promptly returned her.
Just a great site, thank you and I have sent links to your site to several friends." - Charlie
REUNION OF THE DAY: Justice the border collie and kelpie cross in Melbourne VIC Monday 14 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Justice the border collie and kelpie cross in Melbourne VIC
"Justice has been found and is resting after her adventure in her new home, getting used to her new family and surroundings. She is completely unharmed physically, she was even dry apart from this mornings few drops, so she had been keeping dry last night clearly.
Her new mum, Melanie, had a call yesterday from a house very close by who got her flyer in the mailbox and recognised Justice from the picture. They had seen her the night before in their back yard, about 9:30pm, but she ran away as soon as she saw them.
So Melanie called me, I came out to Belgrave straight away, with Pete and Jamie(my dogs), and we walked around everywhere, in the rain, until midnight, calling out, searching backyards, knocking on doors... with no sign. But we had hope because there was a sighting less than 24 hours prior within 200 metres of where she ran off!
We had put my jumper and a toy at the front of Melanie’s house, and this morning Melanie’s neighbour called her saying there was a kelpie-looking dog in their front yard, barking, and she should come see if it was Justice. The toy had been taken from the front of the house and dropped 2 houses up where she was hiding in a bush.
It was definitely Justice, but she was still too frightened, was barking if anyone approached, and wouldn’t come to anyone even though she was clearly hungry.
Melanie called me and I immediately came back up to Belgrave with my dogs... I pulled up to the house and calling out to Justice, let Pete and Jamie out... well! As soon as she saw Pete and Jamie she came out joyfully wagging her tail and jumping and licking, basically beside herself with excitement! She didn’t know who to jump on and kiss first, so she went around doing circles between the 3 of us! I even got lots of kisses and paws in the face.
We made the short trip (2 houses away) back to her new home where she’s been eating and sleeping. P&J (the amazing rescue dog search team) and I are hanging around to make her feel comfy in her new home before we leave.
Thank you isn’t enough to say to the people who have been sharing and searching and helping in so many ways. Melanie and I have been humbled by the dog loving community everywhere who have rallied together to help." - Lorelle
Scaredy Pups: Getting Comfortable with Strangers Monday 14 May 2018 @ 09:18
We want your pets to live their best life, and that includes working through any of the fears that might be holding us back. Last month, we talked about how you might go about caring for a dog who is afraid of men. It’s commonly assumed that dogs who experience this fear feel this way because they’ve been abused or neglected by a man, but some dogs are just that way by nature.
Just like any fear, there’s no one reason that your dog might have it, but there are a good few ways you can work together to deal with it.
Some of the other common fears your dog may be struggling with may include…
This is the list we’re slowly working our way through, but it definitely doesn’t cover every fear your dog might have! If there’s another fear or phobia you’d like us to cover to spread information and awareness, please do get in touch. In the meantime, we’re going to look about how you can go about helping your dog to feel more comfortable around strangers.
Why is my dog afraid of strangers?
Dogs tend to be afraid of strangers for two main reasons. In some cases, it occurs because the dog hasn’t been properly socialised as a puppy. If a pup doesn’t have the opportunity to meet a wide range of different people in their formative years, it’s highly likely they’ll end up being afraid of people they aren’t familiar with.
In other cases, your dog’s fear will be all about genetics. Dogs who are timid and skittish often produce offspring who are equally shy. Dogs who are scared of all strangers rather than a specific type of stranger (such as men or children) may experience this because of genetic predisposition.
How can I tell when my dog is afraid?
One of the main struggle for dogs who are afraid of strangers is that humans - both strangers and dog owners - may fail to notice that a dog is feeling anxious. The dog will be giving off all sorts of body language, and nobody will be reading it. Learn to spot what your dog is trying to tell you, and you’ll know straight away when your dog announces “I am feeling afraid! Please back off!”
Perhaps Rover’s body will be tensing up, his eyes will be darting or he’ll be looking away while making his body as small as possible. Some dogs start sneaking around, furrowing their brows, flattening or perking up their ears or moving much more slowly than usual. Maybe Bowser has started licking her lips, panting for no obvious reason or yawning more than usual. In many cases, the dog’s tail will be held lower than usual, sometimes hidden between the legs. All of these are indicators that your dog is feeling frightened.
Make your dog feel safe!
If your dog is showing signs of fear and anxiety, you need to help them to calm down. To do this, you need to bring your dog somewhere they can feel safe, and it can be helpful to create a specific safe zone where your dog will always know it is completely safe. Think of it as a puppy panic room! This is a space that is exclusively for your dog, whether that’s a special chair, part of a room or just their crate.
Make a rule where nobody except for your dog is allowed to enter the special safety zone. This will allow your dog to see that the area is their special place where nobody is able to hurt or annoy them.
Let people know how to greet your dog!
If a stranger goes down on one knee by your dog when making their introduction, the meeting is far more likely to be successful.
Your dog will feel less threatened as the person is at their level. Often, your dog will be more comfortable with sniffing and accepting pats from a stranger if they aren’t towering over them like a monster (offering a treat can only help the interaction further). It’s also a good idea not to let a stranger make too much eye contact with a dog, as staring can be perceived as intimidating and downright rude.
If you don’t know a dog but want to offer a treat, the best way is to drop it on the ground so as not to appear forceful, having first made sure that the owner is alright with you giving their dog a treat.
What if the owner is the stranger in question?
If you adopt a dog who already has a fear of strangers, it can be pretty difficult to start building a bond between you. However, if you take it easy and allow your dog to move at their own pace, you’ll get there soon enough and the results will be so worth the wait. You’ll need to be very patient and comforting at first so the dog can start to understand that you are not a threat.
If your new dog gives you the opportunity to pet them, always do so very calmly. Make sure your voice around your new dog is always soothing, friendly and relaxed, and offer treats by gently throwing them rather than bringing your hand near the dog’s face.
Trying to care for a dog who is frightened of strangers can be very difficult, and it’ll take a lot of patience and care on the owner’s part. All the same, if you are considerate and make the decision to always keep your dog safe from surprise encounters with strangers (and especially make a point of avoiding things like markets, dinner parties and parades), the pair of you can get through this.
REUNION OF THE DAY: This little Shih Tzu girl from Perth WA Saturday 12 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: This little Shih Tzu girl from Perth WA
Comments from Helen the lovely caring person who found this little girl:
"It was a combined effort. The dog was found in my street by someone who works in the area but doesn’t live here. She had picked up the dog and was trying to locate the owners. Someone told her that I owned a little white dog so she knocked on my door. I offered to take the dog and look after it as the person who found the dog didn’t live in the area.
I posted the add last night, rang the Vic Park Ranger this morning to ask if any dog fitting the description of the little one I had was reported missing.
The ranger said she had a report and drove to my place to scan her. At the same time that the ranger rang, the woman who had handed the dog over to me rang to say that an advertisement reporting a lost dog in Vic Park had been broadcast on Curtin Radio. It was indeed the missing dog. The ranger arrived, scanned the dog and we waited for the owners to arrive to collect her.
Persistence and networking pays off. The stars did align in this instance and I’m so glad the family has been reunited."
Scaredy Pups: Dealing with a Fear of Men Friday 11 May 2018 @ 00:00
Continuing with our series on helping with doggy phobias, our last post talked about dealing with your dog’s fear of children. This can be a very dangerous fear resulting in aggression on your dog’s part and injury or psychological trauma for the child in question.
Fortunately, though, there are ways of dealing with it.
Other fears you may come across when getting to know your dog might include the following…
We only have a few of these common fears left to cover, so let us know in the comments if there are any you’d like to hear about!
Before we can do any of that, though, we’re going to take a look at what you can do if your dog is afraid of men.
If your dog shakes, whines or snarls whenever a man is nearby, they may well have a fear of men. A common assumption is that dogs who are afraid of men feel that way because they’ve experienced trauma or abuse by a man. While there’s always a chance this is the case, it’s also sometimes the case that your dog will have a fear of men without any traumatic history.
It is just as likely (if not more likely) that your dog’s phobia has occurred as a result of physical and social factors.
Please note: This blog post will use some generalizations in discussing what “women” are like and what “men” are like. These descriptions may not all apply to you or the people you know because everyone is different, gender is a universe and our lives and personalities are our own.
So why is my dog afraid of men?
The simple answer is this: We don’t know. There is no one, clear-cut reason that your dog would be afraid of men, but there are a few potential causes. The most likely cause of this fear, as with many other fears, is that your dog wasn’t socialized with men as a puppy.
As with the differences between children and adults, there are certain differences that exist between many men and the women and children they may be more comfortable around. For example, many men are louder and take up more space than women, and the vast majority have deeper voices. To animals like dogs, the larger size and louder voice can single out the man as a threat, putting the animal into defense mode.
It’s not uncommon for men and women to act differently with regard to puppies. In many cases, a woman will approach a puppy in a comforting, gentle way. Meanwhile, as being gentle and nurturing is considered a “female” response, many men will instead opt for a more assertive form of play. While this play would be acceptable coming from another dog, human men are generally much larger than dogs so their actions can read as threatening rather than playful.
Another potential cause is that dogs primarily see the world through their noses, and men can smell quite differently to women and children. The fragrances marketed to men and women are very different, and the hormones a dog will smell on each sex will vary, with most men producing testosterone and most women producing estrogen. In nature, the scent of estrogen would be familiar to puppies, as they are nursed by their mother while their father is rarely present.
Do keep in mind, however, that none of these theories have been proven, and we still don’t know the exact reason why some dogs are afraid of men. What we do know is that as their primary caregivers, it’s our responsibility to give them a good life and help them feel safe whenever possible.
Narrow it Down
Some fears are more complicated and specific than we might expect. Say, for example, your dog whines when your brother-in-law who is a police officer, or the local milkman, comes to visit. You’ll need to figure out if this means your dog is afraid of men, or if she’s specifically afraid of men in strict uniforms. Maybe your dog was once chased by an animal control officer in a uniform, and thinks that all men in uniform are about to do the same.
Are all of the men that scare your dog wearing hats? Are they wearing a specific cologne? Maybe your dog just isn’t used to seeing men in hats, or is confused by the smell of aftershave. There’s every chance that your dog finds these things frightening, and isn’t overly concerned about the wearer’s gender.
Overcoming a Dog’s Fear of Men
If your dog’s fear is severe, you may wish to find an animal behaviourist, trainer or obedience class that can help you. However, a dog whose fear is only mild is generally much easier to help here. The main things you can do to help your dog are similar to those used to cope with other fears.
- Don’t force your dog out of their comfort zone. If men frequently visit or even live in your house, don’t force your dog to spend time with them. This can often make the fear even worse, and can cause your dog to hurt you or the man in question.
- Do use treats to encourage progress. Make sure men who spend time around your dog have treats to offer your dog when it’s appropriate. For example, if the dog comes a little closer to them than they normally would, get them to throw a treat (gently). Your dog may not even accept these treats at first, but eventually they should learn to associate men with positive things.
- Do allow and encourage your dog to approach men of their own accord. Although it may be difficult, you need to get the men in your life to leave your dog alone and not approach the dog until they approach the men themselves. Attempting to befriend a fearful dog can often have the opposite effect.
REUNION OF THE DAY: Chilli and Lotti the staffies from Mount Barker SA Thursday 03 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Chilli and Lotti the staffies from Mount Barker SA
"Lotti is a bouncy pup from my girl ‘Chilli’s’ 3rd litter. She is 3 months old and a darling! So is her mum!
My dear son left the gate open Saturday late afternoon when he came home from soccer...Chilli and Lotti thought they’d go exploring.
When I went to feed them that night I realised they were gone. We were all devastated and spent until 3am driving around the neighbourhood calling for them...sorry neighbours! Didn’t sleep much after that.
Then come first light I went out again with no success. I had to go to the shops for a few things and left my phone home. I arrived home and my son came out with good news. The council had bought them back while I was out.
The lesson from this is to have your contact details on their collar and never take your dogs collar off!
I have excellent tags with my details however this was useless as it was not on her. (My 6year old had taken it off) .Family talk happening with stricter rules! Anyhow here they are home again....." - Rachel
REUNION OF THE DAY: Charli the Shih Tzu dog lost in Brisbane QLD Wednesday 02 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Charli the Shih Tzu dog lost in Brisbane QLD
"I was told by the vet that a man saved her from getting run over on a major road where we live and took her to the vet clinic the same day she went missing.
The vet then kept her at the clinic over the w'end, he was going to drop her off at the local pound on Mon but he saw my "Lost dog" sign that I placed in the vet door Sat arvo after I finished work (they had already closed for the day) and rang me Sun morning.
I asked if the man left his details but he hadn't so offered the vet to reimburse him the cost of keeping Charli warm and safe but he wouldn't accept anything though he did ask that I book her in to be chipped, which I'll be doing next week!!" - Jodie
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Umbra the lost husky from Geelong VIC Saturday 28 April 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Umbra the lost husky from Geelong VIC
"I got Umbra when he was 10 weeks old. Having just moved towns and into my own home with my partner and his Kelpie, we slowly realised that she would be happy with a companion whilst we were at work.
I thought for a while on getting a husky and saw umbra's picture online; he was the most beautiful pup and he was the last one left! After a few days, I got the go-ahead from the breeder stating I could come meet him and put a deposit on him.
A few days later I picked him up and our adventures began!
Our Kelpie, Frejha, loved him immediately. Her actions were almost motherly; checking up on him all the time and always wanting to be near him. Everyone loved him.
Leaving for work every day, I had faith that they would entertain each other and everything would be fine until that horrible Thursday afternoon when my partner got home and found he was missing. That night was the worst night of my life.
We alerted the breeder and went about checking neighbours yards - to no avail. I spent most of the night awake; going outside to call him and shake his bowl of food. He didn't return though.
We made Facebook posts and I entered him as lost into Lost Pet Finders. We alerted vets and rescues and shelters as well as the council; providing them with his microchip number, name, breed and our contact details.
Every day we were calling and visiting shelters to see if he had come in.
We made flyers and door knocked and checked the CCTV on our neighbours property; nothing.
After a few days, we assumed someone had him and the fear and worry set in. None of us could get decent sleep. Are thoughts were filled with nothing but Umbra. Frejha physically cried and did nothing but sleep and that broke my heart.
A week and a day later we received a tip-off of where he was at.
I called my partner and breeder and after an hour and a half of waiting to speak to the people who had him; they confessed and handed him over. We are so fortunate that they looked after him even though they had done the wrong thing.
All I hoped for whilst he was gone - was that he was warm, safe and fed. And he was.
There were no ill-feelings toward the family that kept him. And the night ended peacefully. With Umbra back home, we are finally a happy family again and he has not left my side.
I want to personally thank each and every one of the people that sent kind words, shared our post, offered to help hand out flyers and liking the post. Umbra's return couldn't have been possible without the persistence and effort all of you put into informing everyone.
I honestly never thought I would see him again so soon. Thank you all!
If you are missing a pup; I urge you to never ever give up. They are out there waiting for you! Kindest and thankful regards" - Kayla, Joel, Frejha and Umbra xo
REUNION OF THE DAY: Chewie the moodle dog from Melbourne VIC Wednesday 25 April 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Chewie
"Chewie, our golden MOODLE came into our lives eight years ago. He arrived via airfreight from Country Puppies in Bathurst. He was a bundle of fluff when we first saw him and we could really see his eyes through all the hair, so my son named him Chubacka. As he settled into Melbourne life and his new home, he discovered his love for chewing, especially any unsuspecting socks left lying about. So his name was shortened to Chewie.
Chewie is at the heart of our family, along with our cat Lucky, who is Chewie’s best friend, and often comes on family holidays never far from under our feet. On our evening walks both Chewie and Lucky come together. For the last couple of weeks, I have been staying at my sister’s house looking after my elderly mother. Naturally, Chewie came with me and until yesterday he had been enjoying his new environs and new neighbourhood smells. Yesterday, while I was at the hospital with mum Chewie, managed to find an escape from the backyard and when I came home excited to see him he was nowhere to be seen.
Initially, I couldn’t believe he had gotten out. I walked around the neighbourhood calling him for an hour or so and then further afield in the car but to no avail. I spoke to neighbours and the Postman who recalled seeing him out on the street that morning but nothing. At some stage, I had a cry.
Not knowing where to start I simply googled ”find my pet” and came across Lost Pet Finders. I thought it could be just another online rort but being desperate I signed up, paid for a Pet Alert and logged Chewie’s details. I found the site very helpful as it went through a checklist of what to do. I promptly got an email back welcoming me to the service informing me there were 142 people within a 1.8 km radius who were registered with their service so I was hopeful.
I rang the local Vets, Lost Dogs Home etc but nothing. I made up some cute flyers and blitzed the neighbourhood by that time it was dark so I decided to retire for the evening. Later in the evening one of my sons rang me from home to let me know someone from the Glen Eira Council had left a message telling us that Chewie had been found.
First thing this morning I jumped in the car and was off to the Council Offices who informed me he had been taken to the RSPCA. Two hours later Chewie was back in my arms as gorgeous as ever.
When I got back to my sister’s I had 8 messages from LostPetFinders. One was from an angel called Elizabeth who wrote saying she had found Chewie on the way home and taken him to the nearest VET.
Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. Thank you to LostPetFinders and everyone in the local neighbourhood who was so supportive. The postman stopped by this morning to see if Chewie had been found. And I was so happy to be able to tell him YES." - Kerry
REUNION OF THE DAY: Ciccio the fox terrier from Sydney NSW Tuesday 24 April 2018 @ 00:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Ciccio
"The best piece of advice I can give is to be extremely active in searching for your lost pet.
Definitely, do NOT sit at home and wait for a phone call. Multiple posts on Facebook and other platforms of social media help. There are usually gardeners, property maintenance people and rangers in areas near new suburbs so make sure the owners of the lost pets go around and email/text photos of their lost pet and their contact details.
As well as this, contact Blacktown and Hawkesbury pounds and ensure they haven’t yet received your dog. I think these are the only pounds in Sydney.
And of course, use Lost Pet Finders. I extremely loved your services because you made me feel supported throughout this whole process which calmed me down. When calm, people can think clearer. But if the organisation was rude and very distant with their assistance, I would’ve stressed out more and probably would’ve given up hope.
Lost Pet Finders encouraged me to keep looking even when I thought I had given up! Thank you so so much!" - Jess
Scaredy Pups: Getting Along with Kids Wednesday 11 April 2018 @ 08:46
As part of our series on dealing with dogs who suffer from phobias, our last post discussed how you might go about helping your dog with their fear of other dogs. This is a real issue for some dogs and their owners, who might have uncomfortable run-ins with other dogs on a daily basis. Other fears your dog might struggle with can include:
We plan on covering all of these fears over the course of the series, but for now we’re going to talk about what you might do if your dog is afraid of children.
We all know and love those photographs of children playing and cuddling with their favourite doggy companions. There are thousands of these photos, and hundreds of films and books imagining what these playful pairs might get up to. You may be surprised or disappointed, then, to hear that dogs who are afraid of children aren’t all that uncommon.
A dog’s fear of children makes sense when you think about how they tend to communicate with the world around them. Dogs can’t use words like humans can, so they communicate through sounds and body language. A dog who is used to living with adult humans will be accustomed to the sounds and movements they make. Children speak in a higher pitch to adults. Their steps are unsteady and faster. Their movements can be jerky and unexpected. It’s entirely possible that a child might hurt a dog by accident, or even fall and land on them. When compared to an adult, children and babies could very well appear to be part of a different species entirely.
What might be even more upsetting for a dog is that the presence of a child can also alter the behaviour of the adults around them, making even the most trusted human suddenly unreliable.
How can I tell if my dog’s afraid of children?
Indicators that your child is afraid of children are much the same as those exhibited with any fear. The signs below are indicative of extreme stress and your dog should be removed from the stressful situation if they are exhibiting these signs around children. The behaviours a scared dog might show around children can include…
… attempting to hide or escape;
… shutting down or going stiff when children are nearby;
… showing teeth (lip-lifting) and snarling;
… biting or nipping (especially when trapped);
… lunging or yapping;
… lowering of head, increased eye contact;
… shaking, rolling over or recoiling.
In some cases, these behaviours can be fairly subtle so if you think your dog might be afraid of children, watch them carefully!
How can I help my dog recover from their fear of children?
If your dog’s fear is of children who visit your home, you need to manage this situation. Begin by identifying an area in your house where your dog can go and where you can prevent children from entering. For example, you may have a room where you can close the door, or set up a baby gate. Make sure children are supervised at all times, as you can’t always trust kids not to open a door or try to touch something through a gate.
Begin training by having children you can trust to behave calmly walk past at a safe distance from your dog while providing your dog’s favourite treats. Your dog should be kept on a leash for safety, but should eventually come to associate the presence of children with good things.
If your dog’s fear is an issue when children are present outside the home, try avoiding parks and schools where kids might be playing.
Always keep socialization fun!
As we’ve mentioned in many of our Phobia Series posts, flooding isn’t generally the best technique when it comes to training your dog out of fearing something. If you want your pup to enjoy something, you need to make sure their experiences of that thing are relaxed and enjoyable. Make sure your dog knows that you appreciate it when they gently check a child out, but don’t force them to do this until all parties are ready.
For example, if their fear of children causes them to act timidly, you can help your dog by getting some quiet, calm children to just sit quietly and spend time making sure your pup is happy and safe. Socializing your dog doesn’t need to involve throwing them in at the deep end with a crowd of noisy kids. Don’t exhaust your dog by forcing them to process sounds and sensations that are scary.
Start by introducing children one at a time, not all at once.
Are your kids animal-friendly?
In some cases, the issue might not be with your dog at all. It could be the children who are the issue. It can be pretty difficult to find children who are actually good with animals, especially when they’re very young. Animal-handling skills aren’t generally something that comes naturally to a kid. It’s something that has to be learned, so they won’t always get it right the first time.
Relatively few children will happily sit still, watch another child pet a dog without getting jealous and piling in, stay calm and respectful, pay attention to where a dog actually likes to be pet or take care to pet gently. If your kid isn’t instantly perfect at handling a dog, try learning what works together. This can be a great bonding opportunity for you, your child and your dog.
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Cadbury the dog from Caboolture, Moreton Bay QLD Friday 06 April 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Cadbury from Caboolture, Moreton Bay QLD
"I had called the Vet’s office yesterday to report Cadbury missing and they got my details and with my consent passed it onto the Council. I received a call from the Council after hours service Officer this morning to confirm that she had retrieved Cadbury from a house two streets away.
Cadbury had wandered 360 metres and dug under their fence and into their backyard. They were wonderful people who have two dogs of their own. They fed him and gave him water and kept him overnight.
They called the Council this morning and reported the incident and Council got in touch with us after matching our description that was provided to them by the Vet’s office and Cadbury’s microchip.
We are so grateful for all the assistance that we received from you guys and members of the public who were very encouraging on the Facebook site. We particularly want to thank the family that housed him and fed him overnight. It was a very anxious night for us.
Having been reunited with Cadbury, it’s the best Easter for us, ever!" - Vinod and Gina
Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog Make Friends Monday 26 March 2018 @ 08:38
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about how you might go about helping your dog deal with some of their fears. Our last post talked about one of the stranger fears you might encounter when you live with a dog: The Fear of Stairs. This issue can really get in the way of living a normal home life with your dog, but thankfully in most cases, it can be dealt with through some training. Other examples of common doggy fears include:
We hope to discuss all of these fears in time, but this week we’re going to focus on The Fear of Other Dogs.
It’s not unusual for a dog to feel nervous around other dogs every now and then. There are probably some humans out there that make you feel nervous yourself. This only becomes a real problem if it becomes an everyday occurrence for your dog, in which case you’ll need to become proactive in helping with your pup’s fear. Understanding the source of your dog’s fear will help you deal with it, and can be vital in allowing your dog to be happy and healthy.
Your dog’s fear of other dogs will affect both of you. It can turn a simple activity like walking the dog into a stressful event. Some owners find themselves timing their walks or altering their routes to avoid other walkers, but there will always be a sense of dread just in case someone else has had the same idea. These actions can also prevent your dog from having any opportunity to socialize, which can make their fear even worse.
Fear as a Result of Trauma
If your dog is easily spooked, a series of these negative and scary experiences can easily cause the development of a phobia. For example, this could happen to a small-breed dog or young pup if they encounter larger dogs who want to play in a manner that could be harmful to a dog of smaller stature. Over time, your dog could come to associate larger dogs with danger and may bark, snarl or behave aggressively towards any they come across.
It should be noted that while small dogs are used as an example above, it’s very much possible for similar things to happen to larger dogs. Similarly, while the other dogs in the example are just playing rough, trauma can also occur as a result of genuine, aggressive attacks from other dogs.
For some dogs, this fear might be because they’ve experienced something traumatic in their past which is having an impact on their behaviour. In some cases, it might occur because of insufficient socialization, making meeting unfamiliar dogs a new and terrifying experience. In certain situations, it might be simply that your dog is submissive by nature, and this display of fear is their way of accepting the other dog’s dominance.
Small Dogs: Know Your Safe Breeds
While there are loads of great ways to improve your dog’s ability to interact with other dogs safely, dogs of smaller breeds may always have a fear of some breeds. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that your dog has certain limitations, and understanding that their fear, at least to them, is fully justifiable. For example, a small or toy breed dog may begin to feel comfortable around other small and toy breeds, and even medium breeds, but large breeds may simply be too large.
Similarly, your dog may learn how to read signals and become comfortable interacting with dogs who are being openly friendly but may not develop the confidence to approach dogs who aren’t sending these signals. This is fine, and may just prevent further traumatic experiences.
How Do I Tell if My Dog is Experiencing Anxiety?
In almost every case, anxiety is rooted in fear. As with humans, anxiety in dogs can exist anywhere between mild fear and utter panic. Generally, this will result in your dog taking on either a defensive or offensive position.
Signs that your dog is panicking include:
- Excessive barking;
- Active effort to escape;
Ongoing anxiety can also lead to nervous symptoms such as biting and licking themselves or diarrhoea. Dogs who are only experiencing mild fear may show some of the following signs:
- Cowering or shrinking away;
- Vague attempts at escaping;
- Lower activity;
In all cases, your chances of success will be highest if you get to start young. If you have a new puppy, ensure that they’re fully vaccinated and then start socializing with as many dogs as you can (making sure this is in a controlled, secure environment). If you’re still in the planning stages of getting a puppy, be sure to talk to the shelter, store or breeder about how the pup has been socialized with littermates and other dogs.
If your dog is older and has missed this key socialization stage, you’re going to need to begin rehabilitation in gradual, gentle steps. Whatever you do, don’t force them to face their fear before they’re ready. This can be a traumatic experience and will only make your dog’s fear even worse. One of the strongest items in your toolbox is a technique known as desensitization. This involves introducing your dog to their trigger - in this case, other dogs - in a slow, systematic way. The idea is to allow them to learn over time that other dogs aren’t actually that scary.
Dogs are a common and much-loved pet, and as a result, they’re pretty much everywhere. This means there’s a very high chance you and your dog will bump into a strange dog without having time to prepare first. Try to ready yourself by training your dog to respond to a “let’s go” command or something similar, so you can both remove yourselves from the situation with minimal anxiety.
For many dogs, picking them up will only stress them out further, so it’s best for your dog to be able to follow you on foot. One way is to start with your dog on a leash somewhere you won’t bump into strange dogs, such as your own house. Begin walking, but suddenly change direction and encourage them to follow you using a happy voice and/or gestures.
Each time your dog follows you successfully, reward them enthusiastically with toys, food or whatever else they love the most. Once this is going smoothly at home, you can start doing it when you’re out and about.
Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog Get Up The Stairs Monday 12 March 2018 @ 08:26
Last month, we helped to reunite border collie Maiden with her family. Maiden had a fear of thunder, so we decided to give you all some tips on helping your pup’s fear of thunder to celebrate the reunion. Astraphobia, the fear of thunder, is one of the most common fears experienced by dogs, along with fear of other loud noises such as fireworks. Other examples of common doggy fears include:
We’ll discuss all of these fears in the future, but first we’re going to explore one of the strangest and most inconvenient of the common dog fears: The Fear of Stairs.
Many of us have encountered a dog who is afraid of staircases and other steps, or at least seen videos of them online. Watching your pup cry, give up, tuck their tail between their legs or tremble hopelessly at the sight of stairs can be understandably stressful or upsetting for any caring owner.
A common way of dealing with this fear is to force the dog up and down the steps in an attempt to show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always help an animal to overcome the fear. To truly help your dog’s fear, you really need an understanding of the underlying causes.
There are any number of different reasons that this fear has developed. In some cases, the dog might have experienced something in the past that has caused them to associate stairs with things that are scary, hurtful or otherwise unpleasant. Maybe the dog was once scolded for ascending, descending or going near a set of steps, or was pushed down them.
Perhaps the dog fell down steps as a puppy and was frightened by the experience, or has simply never come across stairs before.
Maybe the dog was abused by previous owners, and was led up steps to the place where the abuse occurred. Older dogs may develop a fear of stairs if they’re used to living in single-storey homes and are suddenly moved into a house with more than one floor. If your dog never had to climb stairs in their formative years and received no training, it’s likely you’ll see a certain amount of fear at first.
In these cases, it’s very possible that even the most well-behaved and gentle dog will bite or nip their owner in a bid to communicate their fear. Rather than forcing your dog to live through their biggest fear with no effect, it’s often a better idea to help them through use of counter-conditioning and positive reinforcement (positive motivators like treats and praise).
However, before you attempt to train them out of this fear, you should consult with your vet first to make sure this step-phobia isn’t the result of an injury or other physical condition.
Overcoming the Fear
The good news is that it’s generally fairly simple to help your dog recover from their fear of the stairs. These are just a few tips to help you on your way:
- Make Way! Before trying to get your dog up the stairs, make sure the steps are clear and safe. Remove anything that your dog could knock over or stumble on. Getting spooked right at the start of training will only make matters worse!
- Counter-Condition! As the Animal Humane Society explain, “Counter conditioning means training an animal to display a behaviour that is different than his current reaction to a stimulus.” In other words, you want to replace your dog’s reaction of fear with one of excitement or joy. You may begin by standing near the staircase and encouraging your dog to approach. Tools that may come in handy here include a high value treat or a cherished toy.
- When your dog comes to you by the stairs, shower them with praise and reward them appropriately. Try to remove their negative association to the stairs by replacing it with the feeling that they are the best dog on the planet.
- Start at the Beginning! Don’t try to force your dog to run before they’ve learned to walk. If the stairs in your house are very steep, make things simpler by taking Rover somewhere with low, wide steps. Get your dog to practice climbing here with all of the encouragement, treats and rewards they need. If possible, someone should stay behind them on the stairs to provide extra support. Each time they reach the top or bottom of the steps, give them an extra special reward.
- Ups and Downs! Keep in mind that going up and down the stairs can be two completely different experiences for dogs, and require different skill sets. Once your dog has mastered going up the stairs, be prepared to start the entire process again from the top!
- Choose Your Timing Wisely. Dogs are more receptive to training when they are happy and alert. If your dog is overly tired, needs to eat or is eagerly waiting for a walk, it’s best to save your training for later. It’s also a good idea to keep Rover’s interest by splitting training sessions into numerous shorter (around 10 minutes) sessions rather than one long lesson.
- It can be a good idea to plan your training sessions for directly before playtime or a walk outside. This will mean your dog is happier about training as they’ll know that something fun will happen afterwards.
If you believe your dog’s fear of stairs may be as a result of abuse in the past, there may be some other things you can do to help them. Start by reading some of our other posts on the subject!
- Rehabilitating Your Previously Abused Dog
- Rehabilitating Your Previously Abused Dog: A Few More Tips
- How can I tell if my rescue dog was abused?
- What is the RSPCA?
Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog with their Fear of Thunder Monday 26 February 2018 @ 09:39
Everyone's a little bit scared of something. Some of us are scared of spiders, others of clowns, so it makes sense that our canine companions should have similar issues! Thunder! Vacuum cleaners! Other dogs! All of these can be absolutely terrifying to some dogs.
This month, we helped to reunite Maiden the black and white border collie with her family. According to Maiden’s family, she “[h]as a limp. Friendly but very scared of thunder.” This isn’t uncommon. In fact, astraphobia (fear of thunder) is one of the most common fears for a dog to experience. Other members of the list of common dog fears include…
We’ll cover some of these other fears in time but for now, how can you help your dog’s fear of thunder?
Show your dog that you appreciate their calm behaviour.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of attention and approval when they’re behaving in a calm, happy way. For this to work, it can be a good idea to train your dog to settle down on command. You can do this by keeping a separate leash that’s only used when inside the house and getting your dog to lie down at your feet with the leash on as you praise and reward their behaviour. Don’t wait for the stormy season to begin this training!
If your dog only gets cuddles and attention when they’re clambering all over you and whimpering in fear, this will encourage them to continue their panicky behaviour. It can be a better idea to offer distractions in the form of toys and games. Give them all of the support they need when they’re in distress, yes, but don’t make it seem like a surefire way to get treats and pets!
Practice calm behaviour while there’s no storm to get worked up over, so your dog gets a sense of the new routine. Once the storm arrives, putting the leash on will signal to your dog that it’s time to be calm. This will also give them something else to focus on, distracting them from the thunder. Your goal is to give them something more interesting and positive to think about.
Predict the Future!
Compared to the other fears and phobias your dog might be dealing with, thunder is a whole lot easier to predict:
- Weather forecasts often over-predict thunderstorms, which makes it easier to prepare than if they were to under-predict.
- In most cases, thunderstorms will occur in the afternoons, or to a lesser extent in the evenings and nighttime.
Once you can predict a storm, you’re able to take action before the storm takes place. All you really need to do is pay attention to the weather forecast. The main sources of fear that come with thunderstorms are the loud noises, unusual darkness, specific smell and cold/rain if your dog is made to stand outside in the storm. The best thing you can do is take your dog inside and keep them somewhere safe (even better if it’s sound-proofed).
Get plenty of exercise in before the storm starts.
When a thunderstorm weather warning is released, it can be a good idea to take your dog out for a few extra walks in advance. Things will be a whole lot worse if the storm means your dog doesn’t get an opportunity to exercise properly, and the extra bit of exertion before the storm hits can tire your dog out both physically and mentally, which is good in this scenario.
As with humans, exercise could also boost your dog’s serotonin levels, which will allow them to feel calmer in the long run.
Create calmer noises.
If the thunderstorm begins and you’re unable to calm your dog down, it can be helpful to mask the noise as much as possible. Less “threatening” noises such as those produced by the radio or TV can dilute the sound of thunder. Another idea is to close all the windows and crank up a white noise machine or air conditioner. Don’t turn the volume up too high, though, as a large part of your dog’s fear probably comes from a fear of loud noises. There are a few white noise apps you can find on your smartphone which can come in handy here.
Consider investing in a compression vest
Products such as the ThunderShirt are designed to help anxious animals deal with the things that stress them out, such as thunder and other loud noises. The idea is that these garments will calm your pet by applying pressure in specific areas, causing calming endorphins to be produced. Think of it as being sort of like an artificial hug you can strap onto your dog.
Research appearing in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour (King, C., Buffington, L., Smith, T.J., Grandin, T., The effect of a pressure wrap (ThunderShirt®) on heart rate and behavior in canines diagnosed with anxiety disorder, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2014), doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.007.) concluded that:
Results from this study showed dogs who wore the ThunderShirt® to manufacturer’s specifications had lowered heart rate, decreased visual orientation towards the door (looking for their owner), as well as trending toward reduced yawning and tongue-flicking stress behaviors.
Stop the Static!
This is an idea that may be a little surprising: some studies have suggested that rather than the sound of thunder, it’s actually the sensation of static electricity in your dog’s fur that will make them miserable during a storm. If you manage to block out the noise and your dog is still in panic mode, this may be the problem. Is Rover suddenly cowering in the bathtub or the basement?
Some pet owners have suggested that what your dog is really doing is searching for somewhere grounded where these electric shocks won’t bother them anymore. It seems the best place for your dog to hide in this case is the bathtub, where they can comfortably hide until the storm is over.
For more information about how pets experience storms, try checking out some of our other articles!
- Why is my pet behaving oddly after storms?
- How do I keep my pet safe during an evacuation?
- How do I make sure my pets are safe during storms?
Adopt, Donâ€™t Shop! Monday 29 January 2018 @ 00:00
At Lost Pet Finders, we believe that every pet deserves to find the home where they feel secure and happy, and this holds true whether that pet has simply lost its owners temporarily or is in need of a whole new family. This is why, when possible, we really recommend checking out your local pounds and shelters before heading to a pet store. For those based in Australia and New Zealand, here are some of the best sanctuaries to check out:
- 9 Lives Cat Rescue (WA)
- Alaskan Malamute Rehoming Aid (active in ACT, NSW and SA)
- Alice Springs Animal Shelter (NT)
- Best Friend Fur Ever Rescue (active in ACT, NSW, QLD, TAS and VIC)
- Best Friends Pet Rescue Assn Inc (active in ACT and NSW)
- Bowen Collinsville Pet Rescue Inc (active throughout Australia)
- Happy Paws Haven (active throughout Australia)
… and of course we can’t forget our friends at Hunter Animal Rescue!
- Animal Rescue Network New Zealand Charitable Trust
- Dogwatch Sanctuary Trust
- The Humane Society of NZ
- Pet Rescue (Paw Justice Charity)
- SPCA New Zealand
Now that you know where to look, here’s a quick rundown of some of the main reasons you should consider adopting your new best friend, rather than buying them.
1. What practices do you want your money to support?
If you opt for a local breeder or pet store, your money will most likely end up going straight to something like a puppy mill, an unethical business where baby animals are stored in unhygienic, cramped and clumsy setups without sufficient access to healthcare and socialization. It doesn’t matter that you plan on giving your new pet all the love in the world: Once you’ve contributed to this practice through your purchase, you won’t be able to undo that damage.
2. Are you interested in being a superhero?
If you adopt an animal rather than buying one from a store, you’re saving a life. In and around 3.7 million animals are euthanized annually in animal pounds and rescues because nobody has adopted them in time. The best way to save one of these lives? Give a shelter animal a home before it can be euthanized. As far as your new rescue pet will be concerned, you’ll always be a superhero.
3. You’ll get an amazing animal.
Rescue pets aren’t “broken”. Animal sanctuaries are generally filled to the brim with healthy, playful pets just waiting for their new playmate to come and find them. Most of the pets in a pound are there because of human issues like divorce or job redundancies, not because of any failing on the animal’s part. In fact, many are even better pets than the animals you’ll find in a store as they’ll already be housetrained!
4. It’s a whole lot cheaper.
Penny-pinching may not be the most “romantic” reason to choose adoption over shopping, but who’s going to turn down a little financial bonus when they’re already saving an animal’s life? Buying a new dog, for example, can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000 (USD), with prices varying depending on breed. Meanwhile, opting for a rescue pet brings that price right down to between $20 and $200 (depending on the rescue you go to).
5. #RescuePet #AdoptDontShop #Cute
This is more a tiny bonus than an actual reason to adopt, but it’s still something fun to think about: Bragging rights. The only thing better than a cute selfie is a cute selfie with a dog. And the only thing better than a cute picture with a dog is a cute picture with a rescue dog. Posting the perfect picture to your Instagram account isn’t a valid reason to adopt an animal, no, but it’s definitely something you can look forward to doing once you’ve made sure you’re in a position to give a rescue pet its perfect forever home.
6. Experienced animals are no less worthy of love.
Often, it’s the older pets you adopt who are the most loving animals because they know you’ve saved them from a bad situation. They also tend to be a little easier to deal with and a lot chiller than they would have been when they were younger. When it comes to finding the perfect pet, age is just a number. Just because the rescue animals you meet in your local pound aren’t kittens and puppies anymore, it doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to give you all the love in the world. If you give a rescue animal the happy home they’ve been looking forward to, they can finally begin to live their life.
7. Taking home an adopted pet can be easier.
If you bring a rescue pet home instead of a brand-new puppy, your household will thank you. As many of the pets in sanctuaries and shelters have had previous owners, there’s a high chance your new rescue animal will already be housetrained, allowing you to skip the potty-training phase. It also means introductions will be simpler, as they’ll already be used to meeting new people on a regular basis.
8. You won’t just be saving one animal.
If you adopt your new pet from a pound or shelter, you’ll be allowing that organisation to rescue another animal who they man not necessarily have been able to house before. When you adopt a pet rather than buying, you’ll be saving not only your pet, but also one you’ve never even met.
As amazing as rescues and sanctuaries are, they aren’t magical and their buildings do have to follow the laws of physics. They cannot take in an unlimited number of animals. As much as the charities behind pet rescues hate to turn away an animal in need, sometimes they have no choice if there’s nowhere to keep them. This means that once a shelter reaches capacity, the pets in their care either need to be adopted or euthanized before any more animals can be taken in.
Keeping On Top of Your Dogâ€™s Dental Health Monday 15 January 2018 @ 10:25
Last month, we met Ciarra and Keisha, two gorgeous kitties looking for adoption through Hunter Animal Rescue. The pair are still waiting to find their forever home, but if you think you can provide one you can check out their page on Hunter Animal Rescue’s website. When we first met them, Ciarra had just returned from a visit to the vet and had just received a polish, one tooth extraction and a descale. For this reason, we thought it would be a good idea in our last post to talk about some of the best ways to look after your cat’s dental hygiene.
But of course, your cat isn’t the only pet whose teeth you need to keep in tip-top condition. Between the regular vet checkups, fitness and quality food, we put a lot of effort into making sure our canine companions are healthy. But it can be so, so easy to overlook their dental hygiene. Conditions like periodontal disease can easily occur when the deep bone structures of your dog’s jaw are separated from the teeth by calculus, allowing abscesses and pockets to form.
Experts have suggested that around 85% of dogs over the age of 4 will be living with a type of periodontal disease, which can easily lead to infection and tooth loss. If your dog has damaged gums or toothache, they’ll be living with difficulty and pain that you may not even have noticed. A dog’s teeth are often forgotten about, but they’re a major part of their overall health.
As with oral hygiene issues in cats, bacteria from your dog’s mouth, if left untreated, can reach the bloodstream and cause real issues in their kidneys, liver or heart. Fortunately, all of these issues can be avoided with the help of regular tooth-brushing and visits to your doggie dentist.
Doggie Dental Diseases
When your dog has good gums and teeth, they’ll get to enjoy every last morsel of food they can get their paws on, but with unhealthy teeth, this will quickly come to an end and your pup will no longer be enjoying their food. This can be very bad news. So what should you be looking out for as a concerned puppy parent?
- Plaque develops when the bacteria constantly forming in your dog’s mouth get the chance to mix with food and saliva. This appears as a colourless, sticky film on the outside of the teeth, especially the upper molars and pre-molars. If plaque is allowed to build up, it can harden and turn into calculus. Plaque and calculus can be helped to a certain extent by dry dog foods, but you will also need to provide some dental care to keep everything healthy.
- Calculus forms when plaque is allowed to stay on your dog’s teeth for around 3-5 days and combines with the minerals in their saliva. This is also known as tartar and can be very irritating to a dog’s gums, leading to reddened, swollen gums as a result of gingivitis. Gingivitis can also cause bad breath, which can be rather noticeable.
- Periodontal disease is more likely to become an issue the longer calculus is allowed to build up under your dog’s gum line. This is where your dog can begin to struggle with bloody gums, lose teeth, struggle with food and suffer damage to their internal organs. Bacterial growth is allowed to progress unnoticed, eventually causing irreversible damage. And every last part of this process could be avoided with a good cleaning!
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth will be a little difficult when you do it for the first time, but if you’re gentle and allow your dog time to get comfortable with what’s happening it can be a lot simpler than you may expect. Here’s a quick Step-by-Step to help you become the best doggy hygienist out there!
- Be gentle. Give your dog time to get used to having hands and brushes in their mouth.
- Let your dog do a taste-test. Help them get used to the taste of dog-friendly toothpaste by licking it off your finger or brush.
- Introduce the toothbrush. Allow your dog to get used to the idea of the toothbrush and see that it’s nothing to be afraid of, but help them understand that this is not a toy.
- Start small. Just brush a couple of your dog’s teeth at first so they can get used to the sensation.
- Move from Outside to Inside. Brushing the outer sides of your dog’s teeth is less invasive, so it’s generally a better idea to start here and move to the inner sides.
- Introduce a routine. If you turn brushing your dog’s teeth into a routine, it’ll be easier for them to get used to it and for you to remember to do it regularly. Daily brushing will provide the best results, but even three times a week will make all the difference.
There are also a number of high-quality treats and chews that can contribute to better dental hygiene for your dog. These chews will keep your dog entertained, involve less work for you and will still provide a good clean (though you will still need to brush their teeth occasionally).
Four Tips to Make Brush-Time Easier
- Your dog can sense if you’re stressed or tense and will mimic these emotions, so try to keep calm!
- Don’t go straight for the goal - your dog will need time to adjust to this new experience!
- The earlier you start (anytime after the age of 8 weeks), the better your dog will be at having their teeth brushed.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: You aren’t going to be able to brush your dog’s teeth for a long time straight away. This is something that will get easier over time.
Making Your Own Dog Food Saturday 02 December 2017 @ 00:00
Back in August, we sponsored Jordy. Jordy is an energetic, loving, playful pupper who just loves to be affectionate with his humans. His only special requirement was that he needed a family willing to pay special attention to what he ate, as he had a food allergy. But in return for this extra care, he was ready to give all the love in the world!
Jordy’s allergy is the reason that our last blog post was all about hypoallergenic dog foods. With food allergies becoming an increasingly big deal for people and pets alike, it’s easy to feel a little lost when you find yourself staring at stacks of food, all of which claim to be grain-free or hypoallergenic or any number of other things.
An alternative to investing in some complicated hypoallergenic, organic and grain-free dog food while still keeping your pup healthy would be to make your own dog food. This may sound a little fiddly, but it’s quite possibly the best way of making sure your dog doesn’t eat anything they’re allergic to. There’s a whole community of people out there who have all taken to making their own dog food.
Try looking at some hacks and tips such as those shared on websites like Pinterest, and some recipes like the ones shared on Rover.com. To help you get started, here are a few tips that might be helpful.
The Perks of Making Your Own Dog Food
- As we’ve already mentioned, making your dog’s food yourself can be a great way of keeping them healthy if they have allergies. This is the only way you can personally choose the ingredients that go into their food, and the best way for you to make sure you’re avoiding everything you should be.
- If you’re smart about your sourcing and try to buy in bulk, making your own dog food will be no more expensive than buying it in cans, and can sometimes be even cheaper while still being more nutritious.
- You will be able to save time and effort by preparing large batches of food which you can freeze and use later.
- Picky dogs are often more likely to love the food you’ve prepared for them yourself than processed food from cans.
- Better food often means more compact, tidy stools.
- Many people who make their own dog food find that their dogs tend to be leaner and more muscular as a result.
- A healthier diet often brings with it fresher breath, less doggy odour, clean teeth and good skin.
- Preparing food for your dog will be no more difficult than cooking for your family, but will make a big difference to your pet’s health.
- You will no longer need to worry about dog food brands being recalled, as you know that the food you’re giving your dog is safe to eat.
- Making your dog’s food means you get to choose the standard of ingredients you want to use. You get to choose if you want foods to be free-range, organic or anything else. You get to choose if you want to buy ingredients from a farmer, market, supermarket or wholesaler.
Animal Products and Meat
These should always make up at least 50% of your dog’s meal. Be careful of meat cuts that contain excessive amounts of fat, as these are unhealthy and can cause obesity. Unless your dog gets the chance to have intense exercise on a regular basis, try to remove the skin from any poultry you use, cut off as much fat as possible and use lean meat, ideally with less than 10% fat.
If your dog becomes obese and you have to try and reduce their food to control their weight, this can result in deficiencies in the other nutrients. Remember that unless your dog needs an extremely low-fat diet, dark-meat poultry is better than breast meat. If this is already starting to sound a little tricky, just consider all of the advantages this change can bring.
In time, you’ll be able to come up with your own recipes without any help from us. But until you feel like you’ve got the basics of doggy dining down, here are a few ingredient lists you could try. Please note, all ingredients in these lists should be cooked before use!
Doggy’s Salmon Supper
3 potatoes (any variety)
1 head of broccoli (with the stem)
2 portions of salmon with skin (or 1 ounce per 10 pounds of dog)
|1 pound of beef mince
1.5 cups of rolled oats
Half a cup of cottage cheese
1.5 cups of your dog’s favourite grated vegetables, like carrots, peas or aubergine
Tasty Turkey Stew
|2 pounds of turkey mince
2 tablespoons of raw chicken or turkey liver
2 grated carrots
1 cup of broccoli florets
Half a shredded aubergine
1 cup of cauliflower florets
|OR:||1 cup of brown rice
1 shredded aubergine
Half a cup of peas
3 cups of chopped baby spinach
3 pounds of turkey mince
2 grated carrots
Add Any Necessary Supplements
Just because you’re cooking from scratch, it doesn’t mean your pup’s supplements are off the table. Even if you’re using the best recipes possible, it doesn’t mean your dog will automatically be getting all of the necessary nutrients. Supplements for nutrients such as calcium are the best way of keeping your dog healthy.
The supplements you need to include will depend based on the ingredients you’re using and the nutrients they already contain. For example, a recipe containing spinach and broccoli will contain iron, but might not have enough zinc. For more guidance on this topic, talk to your vet or a pet nutritionist.
The top things to do before you bring your new dog home Saturday 25 November 2017 @ 09:53
Christmas is just around the corner, and for many families, this will mean the introduction of a new bundle of fur joy into your home!
Like bringing home a baby, it can be daunting to know what to do with your new bundle, and unfortunately, if you are not prepared you can find yourself chasing your tail for a long time, and you may not be giving your pet the best chance to calmly assimilate into your family.
Here are our top tips:
Crate – for many this is a godsend when it comes to training. It quickly becomes the place where your puppy can feel safe, and at the same time when you’re not around so you don’t have to worry about the place being trashed!
Bedding – your puppy will need clean and warm bedding from the get-go.
Exercise area – make sure there is space for your puppy to exercise, and remember it needs to be out of the sun. Also if you want to confine your dog to a certain part of the house, you may want to consider baby gates to block doors.
Collar and leash - essential for those long walks and training.
Seat belt – these are now required in many States and can save the life of your dog in the event of an accident.
Training tools - These days, training is all about rewards and not punishment. Most importantly, there is no point punishing a dog for something after the event – it will not have a clue what the punishment is about – you need to catch them in the act! Clickers are used as a prompt for training, but they only work with a reward – generally, food as most dogs are motivated by food.
Boredom busters – dogs are social animals and love it when you play with them. Think about getting some balls, and fetch toys. Also if he is alone a Kong which is like a rubber beehive can be used as a toy or will keep your dog occupied for hours if you stuff it with treats!
Grooming tools – think about stocking up on combs and brushes (get some advice from your groomer or vet), shampoo, conditioner, scissors, nail clippers and toothbrushes. When you groom your puppy early he will get used it and don’t forget to give him a reward so that he looks forward to it in the future.
Pooper scooper – no pet owner should be without a pooper scooper, and/or doggie bags to “do the right thing” when you are out and about.
A vet would be at the top of the list, and one of the first things you would do is sign up for puppy school – these are often promoted and managed through vets. If you are going to be out a lot, you may want to identify a dog walker or daycare. Ask your friends and your vet for recommendations – it’s a very important decision – and don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Pet Insurance – it’s best to get pet insurance sorted whilst your puppy is young – that way you avoid pre-existing conditions being excluded from your policy. For most policies, once covered your pet can be covered for life. But do check the terms and conditions carefully. Here are some things to consider when choosing your pet insurance.
Microchip – this can be a lifesaver, especially when your puppy is young and may have a tendency to go AWOL. If you get your dog from a breeder this is usually done in advance, but if not, your vet can oblige. Make a note of the microchip number and keep it safe. Microchipping is mandatory in most States in Australia.
Lost Pet Finders – don’t forget to register your new furball with Lost Pet Finders. It won’t cost you anything, and in the event your puppy gets lost Lost Pet Finders will activate an army of pet lovers in your area to be on the lookout so you can be reunited with your furball as soon as possible.
Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. Liz is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals
Hypoallergenic Dog Food Monday 13 November 2017 @ 00:00
In August, our sponsored pet of the month was Jordy, a playful, super-active and loving young pup who loves nothing more than a sloppy kiss and a big old cuddle every once in a while. If you want a chance to meet Jordy, you can look for him through his page on Hunter Animal Rescue’s website, because he’s still searching for his forever home!
Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating, as he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want!
Jordy is the reason that our last blog post was all about caring for dogs with food allergies. Around 10% of all dogs suffering from allergies are living with some type of food allergy. However, it’s also possible for dogs to suffer from food intolerances, which are different to food allergies. Food allergies are the cause of around 20% of all scratching and itching in dogs. We also covered hypoallergenic dog food to a certain extent in the last post, but today we’d like to talk about it in more detail so that you have all the information you need on the subject!
What is hypoallergenic dog food?
With food allergies becoming an increasingly big deal for people and pets alike, it’s easy to feel a little lost when you find yourself staring at stacks of food, all of which claim to be grain-free or hypoallergenic or any number of other things. A dog with an allergy doesn’t necessarily need you to splash out on some overpriced “organic” meal, and while some will benefit from grain-free foods others will feel no difference between the two.
What your dog will need is an elimination diet. This is why the only actual hypoallergenic dog food is either a diet with hydrolyzed protein or an elimination diet. Ingredients from your previous dog food must be avoided in an elimination diet. This is why, as healthy as grain-free dog food with venison meat may sound, it may be of no use if it’s also full of corn, dairy, beef, chicken, eggs or soy.
Try taking the ingredient label from your old pet food into your local pet store and identifying any foods which don’t have any of the same ingredients. Keep in mind that colouring and flavour additives should also be avoided if possible. The best way to find the right food for your dog is to take them to the vet. Your veterinarian might be able to come up with a diet plan specific to your dog or find you the prescription diet right for your dog.
Most Common Allergens
As a general rule, dog foods will be marketed as hypoallergenic if they’ve been formulated to avoid the more common allergens for your pet. Pet food producers such as Drs. Foster and Smith explain that although dogs aren’t naturally allergic to the majority of these items, some of the most common food allergens for canines include…
These have become the most common allergens as they’re the ingredients used most often in dog foods. As a result, our dogs are exposed to them more often than they would be naturally.
Making Your Own Dog Food
As fiddly as it might sound, making your own dog food from the very basics is easily the best way to make sure your dog doesn’t end up eating things they’re allergic to. Try looking at some healthy dog food recipes such as those shared on Rover.com, and tips and hacks like the ones shared on Pinterest. There’s a great big community out there of other people who have started making their own dog food. Go out and find them, and they’ll be able to help you on your way!
Perks of Switching to Hypoallergenic Dog Food
There are loads of benefits you might find when you make the switch from regular dog food to hypoallergenic and homemade types. At the end of the day, your dog won’t be the only one who gets the benefit of a healthier diet: your wallet might also start looking much healthier. While saving your pup from the unpleasantness of an allergic reaction is the main goal here, it’s not the only benefit you’ll get to experience.
A carefully planned diet of homemade or hypoallergenic dog food could also reduce your dog’s likelihood of suffering from a number of other health issues, including anal gland blockages, periodontal disease, obesity and arthritis. Further problems you could avoid can include difficulties in digestion, some kidney ailments and heart disease.
Dogs are happy, fluffy, eating machines. They love food and need plenty of nutrients to be healthy. It’s not surprising, then, that the vast majority of illnesses that tend to affect our dogs come as a result of their diets. With veterinarian appointments costing as much as they do, improving your dog’s diet and therefore their health will be the best move for both of you in the long run.
- Food that doesn’t contain the same ingredients as most other dog foods is known as hypoallergenic dog food (though the best hypoallergenic food for your dog can be found through an elimination diet).
- This is not a solution for all allergies. Only around 1 in 10 dog allergies can be treated through the use of hypoallergenic dog foods.
- If you think your dog may have an allergy, talk to your vet. Seek professional advice before attempting an elimination diet.
- These foods are a good way to help your dog if they’re suffering from food-related allergies. They are not, however, the only tool available to you.
All dogs deserve to get the best food possible for a content, healthy life.
Caring for Dogs with Food Allergies Tuesday 31 October 2017 @ 07:54
Back in August, we got the chance to sponsor Jordy, a loving, fun and super-active young Vizla X (Kelpie/Bully) who loves a hug and a big sloppy kiss every now and then. Jordy’s favourite pastimes include running, fetching and taking long walks on the beach, but he’s happy to take part in any sort of game (even frisbee). He isn’t even all that high-maintenance in terms of attention - as much as he loves snuggling with his humans in warm or comfy places, he’s still relaxed and happy enough in his own company.
Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating because he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want!
Somehow, Jordy still hasn’t found his forever home. This is a shame as every dog deserves to find the family that will love them, but it’s also good news for you as it means there’s still a chance for you to get to know Jordy yourself! For more information, head on over to his page on HAR’s website! And for more information on caring for pups with food allergies, continue reading below…
How common are food allergies in dogs?
Around 10% of all dogs suffering from allergies are living with some type of food allergy. However, it’s also possible for dogs to suffer from food intolerances, which are different to food allergies. Food allergies are the cause of around 20% of all scratching and itching in dogs.
Food allergy or intolerance?
It’s important that you know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Food allergies are a type of true allergy, showing all of the external skin problems and itching found in other feline and canine allergies. Food intolerances, on the other hand, are primarily internal issues which can cause vomiting or diarrhoea, and won’t cause a typical allergic reaction.
Your pet’s food intolerance could be similar to you getting an upset stomach when you eat fried or spicy foods. It’s not going to kill them, but it will make them very uncomfortable. The good news here is that both allergies and food intolerances can be improved if you feed your pet a diet free from the offending foodstuffs.
Try to isolate the problem
If your pet appears to be exhibiting symptoms, the first thing you’ll need to do is work with your vet to check that these symptoms really are as a result of a food allergy. If this appears to be the case, your veterinarian will probably recommend an elimination diet, that is, feeding your dog foods with a different grain (carbohydrate source) and meat (protein source) to what your dog had been eating previously.
What symptoms should I be looking out for?
A lot of symptoms which may seem completely random could actually be signs your dog has a food allergy. Other symptoms of food allergies can closely mimic those that a human will experience. Your dog’s symptoms might include…
- Chronic ear inflammation
- Paw biting
- Obsessive licking
- Chronic diarrhea
- Itchy rear end
- Skin rash
- Poor coat quality
What causes food allergies and intolerances?
It can take months or years of happy munching before your dog becomes allergic to a certain food. However, once the allergy is there, it’s there and he will almost definitely have a strong negative reaction to the food. Allergic reactions in dogs are most often tied to the protein source (meat) in their food.
Food types: The most common causes of food intolerance and allergies in dogs are milk products, wheat and beef.
Age: Food intolerance and allergies can occur at any age.
Breed: There are certain dog breeds which appear to be more prone to developing food intolerance and allergies. These breeds include cocker spaniels, Irish setters and West Highland White terriers.
Damage as a cause: Food allergies and intolerance may occur as a result of damage to the digestive system caused by infection, certain medications, surgery and inflammation.
Does an allergy to a specific dog food suggest there’s something wrong with that product’s quality?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: Allergies occur as a result of your pet’s immune system, as opposed to issues with the product it is consuming. If your dog develops an allergy to a specific ingredient, they’ll most likely experience the same unpleasant reaction to any product containing that ingredient.
What is the best food for dogs with allergies?
Common anti-allergy foods that may be recommended will feature novel protein sources. Combinations might include venison and potato, or kangaroo and oatmeal. With any luck, this should prevent your pet’s immune response from continuing to be triggered.
It’s important that you work with your veterinarian to determine which food is best for your dog with an allergy. Along with novel protein, hydrolyzed diets which are only available by prescription are generally better than those which are bought in your average pet store, as the later will often contain a certain amount of common allergens whether or not they’re mentioned on the label.
Eliminating different ingredients from your dog’s diet at random without talking to your vet first can also be a pretty bad idea. This can easily lead to nutritional imbalances without making the underlying issue any clearer.
For a simple explanation of how you might identify whether or not your dog has a food allergy, check out this great WikiHow article: 3 Ways to Determine if Your Dog Has Food Allergies. We’ve also written a couple of blog posts on pet foods. Check out our posts, Should You Trust Your Pet’s Food Label? and Species-Specific Diets: Fundamentals of Feeding Your Feline for more information.
5 Things You Must Do to Find Your Lost Pet Thursday 28 September 2017 @ 08:38
We hear stories all the time from devastated families who have lost their pet and have no idea how to go about searching for them. To try and help you guys out, we’ve put together a list of five of the most important things you need to do when searching for your missing animal companion.
1. Postpone Any Unnecessary Commitments
Some things - like doctor’s appointments, funerals or graduations - can’t simply be cancelled or postponed whenever necessary. However, some things can. Laundry day, day trips and coffee dates are not as important as the life of your puppy, cat or feathered friend. If you have young kids to look after or older kids to cart to and from school, see if a friend or family member can do this for you for now.
If at all possible, it’d be very helpful to take a bit of time off work to search for your missing animal. If you have a big event that you have any chance of postponing - a wedding, a family holiday - this can wait as well. You need to give yourself as much free, flexible time as possible to look for your missing pet.
2. Start Spreading the News
To give your furry friend the best possible chance of being found, you need to get the fact that they’ve gone missing out there. Try making up posters and fliers with your contact information, information about rewards (if you can afford one) and a picture of your pet. Try to give a good, clear description of your animal so that he can be easily recognized, but do make a point of keeping one identifying characteristic a secret so that you can check if anyone claiming to have your animal is telling the truth.
With your posters ready, it’s time to spread them. Try putting them up all around the area in which they went missing. Information and fliers can be posted in town halls, animal shelters, mailbox clusters, vet offices, grocery stores - anywhere your poster can be seen by lots of people who might have relevant information. If you’ve recently moved house, you may also want to post fliers around the area you used to live, as many pets have an uncanny ability to reappear in the neighbourhoods they used to inhabit.
3. Get Out There
As important as it is to have all of these extra eyes on the lookout for your missing pet, it’s also absolutely vital that you get outside yourself and call your missing animal by name. After all, your pet knows and trusts you, not all of these other strangers. It’s also a good idea to get friends and relatives - especially those who are familiar with your animal - to go out and search, canvas the community and talk to people.
Don’t try to predict where your pet will and won’t be: you don’t know, and you can’t know. All you can do is search, and the best time of day to do this is nighttime and dawn. These are the times your animal is most likely to be out and exploring because there are fewer people out and about. The reduced number of people also means it’s the time when your pet is most likely to hear you, and you’re most likely to hear your pet.
If you’re searching from your car, drive slowly while calling. Keep all of your windows rolled down and the radio turned off. Stop your car and turn off the engine every now and then to make listening easier.
4. Set up a Home from Home
If you’re keeping yourself busy searching for your missing pet, there’s a pretty high chance your house will be empty while you do this. So what happens if your missing pet decides to return while you’re out of the house?
A good way to deal with this conundrum is by setting up a home from home where your pet can stay until you return. Try placing a large cardboard box (big enough for your animal to hide in) upside down in your yard. Cut a hole in the side big enough for your animal to climb through, and cover its floor with your pet’s favourite bedding and toys.
Make sure the base of this box is weighed down enough that it won’t blow away so that this can be a safe place where your pet can wait for you. Place some water, food and a litter tray (if relevant) nearby. Not only will these creature comforts make this den a nice place to hide when your pet returns, but the scent of your animal’s toys, bedding and food may well attract them and help them find their own way home.
5. Register Your Pet with Lost Pet Finders
Finding your missing pet is quite literally our job. When you register your lost pet with us, you’re automatically opting in for our many free services. Once you’ve completed this registration, you’re also given an obligation-free quote which will show you how much it would cost to issue a Pet Alert in your area, which you can adjust to your liking.
The final price of your pet alert will vary depending on where you live, how large an area you wish to cover and how many people are available in the area for us to contact. If you opt into our paid services, you’ll also get the free bonus boost on your Facebook Pet Alert.
5 Mistakes Not to Make When Looking for Your Lost Pet Tuesday 12 September 2017 @ 13:03
When you’re looking for a beloved pet who’s gone missing, you’re not always going to be thinking straight. This is completely understandable - someone you care about has gone missing. You’re upset. You’re stressed. You’re going to make a few mistakes, and that’s okay. Today, we’re going to talk about 5 major mistakes that people sometimes make when searching for their missing pet. Hopefully, this will help you avoid making similar mistakes, so that you can spend more of your time searching for your pets effectively.
1. Unhelpful “Lost Pet” Posters
Of course, the hope is that you’ll never have to search for your pet with “Lost Dog” (or cat or bird) posters but if it does come to that, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid.
First of all, you want as many people to be able to see your poster as possible so that there are lots of people keeping an eye out. Avoid using small print on your poster so that people in moving vehicles can still read it. If someone needs to pull over, slow down or squint to see what you’ve written, they won’t read it. The vast majority of people aren’t going to go out of their way to read a poster.
Second, make sure people who see your poster can make out what your pet looks like. Small, poor quality photographs are better than nothing, but what you really want is a large, high-quality image to show people what they’re looking for. A large, eye-catching image has a better chance of staying in someone’s mind, whether they want it to or not.
Finally, don’t try and fit too much writing on the poster. Only include the essential information, so that the text that matters can be displayed in large, eye-catching type.
If you register with Lost Pet Finders, we design a printable lost pet flyer, which is available for free as soon as you register your pet.
2. Don’t Put All of Your Faith in a Microchip
Microchips are a spectacular piece of technology, and easily the best tool we currently have when looking for a lost pet. But pet owners can fall into the trap of putting a little too much faith in them. It’s important that you know that microchips are not foolproof.
Microchips are not GPS trackers, and cannot tell you where your pet is. Most importantly of all, microchips will only help you if you register them, something a shocking amount of people forget to do.
This technology works using radio frequency identification technology, with each chip holding its own unique serial number. If a missing pet is brought into a pound or veterinarian’s office, it’ll be scanned for a microchip. If the microchip is registered, the vet will be able to match your details to the unique code and return your pet to you. If the chip isn’t registered, there’s nothing it can do for you.
3. Don’t Wait Too Long
It’s pretty common for a lot of pets - especially cats - to go exploring every now and then. This can make it difficult for pet owners to know if their pet is missing, or if it’s just out on an adventure and knows to return in its own time.
If you’re uncertain whether you should start searching yet, your best bet is probably to get looking. It’s better to start searching early and find out you didn’t need to, than to find out too late that you should have began your search a long time ago.
4. Don’t Just Call Them
You might have the most well-trained pet on this planet, but that still doesn’t mean they’ll definitely come when you call. Being lost can be a pretty traumatic event and just like humans, your pet is capable of suffering from shock. It’s common for pet owners to rely on their pet’s ability to recognise their owner’s voice and their name, but this is often a waste of time.
A lot of humans have very similar voices, especially when heard from a distance. Our smells, however, are far more unique to us!
5. Don’t Fall for Lost Pet Scams
We love our pets, and that’s a wonderful thing. But sadly, some people might use this fact as a way of making an easy buck.
If you’re offering a reward for your missing pet and someone claims to have found them, try to find a way of verifying this person definitely has your pet before moving forward with them. Does your pet have any unique features which aren’t visible on your poster? Can you ask the person to provide a photograph of your pet?
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to be wary of anyone who expects to receive their reward money before returning your pet.
Pet of the Month: Jordy! Tuesday 29 August 2017 @ 09:40
The main topics we’ve covered over the past few months have been caring for shy cats, long-haired cats and rescue pets with abusive previous owners. We chose to discuss these issues in honour of our sponsored pets, Misty, Russia and Lucy.
Lucy, Misty and Russia were three pets we had the good fortune to sponsor through Hunter Animal Rescue, an amazing non-profit whose goal is to place pets - who have been abandoned and are facing euthanasia - in their forever homes. All of the pets rescued by this not-for-profit organisation are given foster homes where they are looked after until they find their new families, so nobody ends up in the pound. This means they get all the cuddles and love they could possibly want, even before they find their new homes.
This month, we’re continuing our new sponsorship tradition and sponsoring Jordy.
Animal Number: 17002
Sex: Male (desexed)
Size: Medium 25.5kg
Jordy is a loving, fun and super-active young Vizsla X (Kelpie/Bully) who loves a hug and a big sloppy kiss every now and then. His favourite pastimes include running, fetching and talking long walks on the beach, but he’s happy to take part in any sort of game (even frisbee). Jordy isn’t that high-maintenance in terms of attention - he loves snuggling with his humans in warm or comfy places but is still relaxed and happy enough in his own company.
Right now, he lives in a foster home with a human who works during the day, so he’s getting very used to entertaining himself. Unlike many other excitable pups, Jordy isn’t interested in digging up the garden or chewing things, so he can be trusted to behave while you’re out and about. In his current foster home, he has free reign both inside and outside the house, and his favourite thing to do is snuggling up on the lounge when it’s time to go to bed.
Jordy is both crate- and toilet-trained and is just a very polite gentleman in general. He’s really good at travelling in cars and loves to go on adventures with his family. He has a meat allergy which means he needs to eat special grain-free fish bickies, but he likes these a lot and sits very patiently when he knows he’s about to have some for supper. He even knows how to sit, stay and drop, so he’s a pretty keen learner!
Ideally, Jordy would love to play a big role in a really active household. He doesn’t really mind if he lives with a big family, a couple or just one person, so long as he’s able to hang out with them indoors and go on outdoor adventures with them. With Jordy, you just need to put on your shoes and grab the keys and lead and he’s ready to go anywhere you’re going.
Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating because he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want! He’s even suitable for kids and loves to play with children with proper supervision. He does get very excited, though, so it’s possible he could accidentally knock a small child over if they’re not properly supervised.
Jordy has lived as part of a big group of dogs and got on with them just fine, but he’d definitely prefer to live in a one-dog household. A polite boy like him can find other dogs a little annoying at times, especially if they’re impolite and pushy! He gets on alright with cats too and currently lives with three feline companions. He tends to find the cats interesting more than anything else, and generally only chases them if they’re already running around.
If your cats are happy to hang out with a dog without getting spooked and are generally laid back in nature, Jordy is ready to become firm friends with them. He gets on well with the three he lives with right now, who are constantly stealing his toys, teasing him and rolling around on his beds. He’s annoyed them once or twice and received the odd slap as a result, but they usually get along pretty well!
If you’re interested in getting to know Jordy a little better, head on over to his page on HAR’s website!
Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!
“Great advice and tips during a stressful time for the family.
Distant neighbour found and returned our boy. We live in an amazing caring community.”
“Thank you all so much for your caring and supporting our search for our lost girl.
Sox was found a group of dog lovers on Monash Fwy today and they all got together to reunite us. One lady rang me to get my address, 2 men got her into the back of a car and the lovely owner of that car brought her home. We are so thankful to these people has she had travelled approx 14kms since Wednesday afternoon up Eastlink and the Monash and managed not to get hit by a car.”
“Many thanks for your fantastic service.....a happy ending.
We knew a paid alert was the best way of maximising the prospects of his return. The Pet Network support was awesome. The immediate responses were very encouraging. Chifley was recognised by a Good Samaritan as a result of the LPF alert and returned to us.
Simply put, if you want your lost pet back, have LPF get an alert out to its membership that is on watch and vigilant.”
“Thanks for all the information provided and a dedicated member call I found dusty save and sound within 24hrs”
“Dog found in 2 days after a dedicated member responded to an alert after seeing my dog running the streets. There are good people in the world! So thankful to the member and Lost Pet Finders for enabling it all to happen.”
Living with a Shy Cat Thursday 15 June 2017 @ 09:41
If there’s one thing that gets our tails in a twist, it’s hearing the term “scaredy cat” used as an insult! There’s nothing wrong with being a little shy every now and then, and a cat’s survival instinct is one of the things that makes them the unique little creatures we have come to love. Take Misty, for example. Misty is our current sponsored pet with Hunter Animal Rescue, and she’s a deeply affectionate little girl who can be a little shy from time to time. It’s one of the (many) things we love about her!
For Misty, being shy just means she can take a little while to settle into a new home, and that’s fine. It’s when your cat seems constantly on-edge, feels the need to hide and is unable to build trust with its family that you may need to worry. Most of us will have come across a cat with this level of shyness before, either as a pet of a friend or part of our own family. These special cats are often particularly common in pet shelters, either having been abandoned in frustration or converted into a shy cat through the stressful experience of living in an animal shelter.
If you’re thinking about adding a new furry friend to your family, it is vital that you put a great deal of thought into the type of cat you choose. Some cats are fearless and full of beans, and will fit in perfectly to a home with dogs, action, noise and children. Some cats, however, can be a little more sensitive.
A cat can be shy for any number of different reasons. Perhaps she was abused by a previous owner, or experienced a traumatic event. Maybe she wasn’t properly socialised in the first few weeks of her life. Some cats even have a genetic predisposition towards being particularly timid.
Unsurprisingly, shy cats tend to thrive in fairly calm, quiet homes more often than they do in rowdy households full of parties, shouting, children and dominant pets. If you know you’re dealing with a timid cat, it’s best to avoid sudden movements and loud noises, and it’s definitely important that the family dog doesn’t try to chase or roughhouse even if he is only playing!
Never leave a new cat on her own with other pets until you’re absolutely certain the pets are comfortable with - and no threat to - each other.
Importantly, if your cat is prone to running away and hiding, you mustn’t ignore these behaviours. This most likely is not a behaviour that will go away over time, and your cat doesn’t simply need to “get used to” the things she fears. The more times it happens, the more time she’ll spend hiding, and the more difficult it will be to calm her down.
Whether or not they’re particularly shy, cats are generally sensitive to new experiences such as new sounds, smells, routines, tastes and environments. These are all things that you’ll need to take into consideration when you bring home a new cat, or if you need to send your current cat to live with someone else for a short while.
Often, you can make these changes a little easier for your cat to handle by setting up a special living space, even if it’s only for the first week-or-so. Try arranging her litterbox, toys, food and bedding in a spare bedroom or other unused (or at least lesser used) space, and don’t let guests bother her too much. This method will let her get used to her new conditions in her own way, at her own pace. As your cat gets used to her surroundings, you can introduce her to all of your family members one by one, making sure to keep these meetings quiet and calm.
Just like you and me, every cat is an individual and will grow and learn at its own unique speed. If it feels like it’s taking too long for your cat to overcome its shyness, don’t be discouraged! Just keep working together and your cat will be your best bud in no time at all.
Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!
“was contacted on the site.”
“Billy jumped onto a person's arm in the area. His sister looked for lost parrots in Lane Cove and saw the listing. We just picked Billy up and couldn't be happier.”
“**UPDATE - NALA IS FOUND **
Nala was hiding in a shed.
She was too scared to make a sound for 6 days!
Thank you to the couple that saw my post and checked their house and shed.
It took me a few times calling her name for her to come out of hiding.
Please remember to check your houses and sheds for missing pets. This is a success story
Thank you to the whole community for helping me in my search for my fur baby.
She is so happy to be home. She hasn't stopped meowing!”
“his dady spent six hours roaming the streets to find him, 8 cats and one bunnie rabbit later he found him :) but the comfort of knowning a service like this exisits and the tips it gave on locating a cat were really valued”
“It was reassuring to feel others a part of the search. Thanks to Bec for her sighting....which turned out not be Roxy. After 5 anxious days Rox came home overnight. She is so timid her disappearance was unusual and distressing. I will now be vigilant and regularly check with LPF to support others.”
Why is my pet behaving oddly after storms? Monday 15 May 2017 @ 08:57
The weather can affect everyone differently, even once it seems as though everything should be back to normal. This point remains true not only for humans, but for our furry friends too. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how we can keep our pets warm and safe during a storm, and some of the best ways to keep an eye on them in the event of an evacuation. Today, we want to talk about how a storm can influence your pet’s behaviour even after the weather improves.
Storms can make a whole lot of changes to your pet’s world, which can lead to a great deal of confusion. In extreme weather, the familiar landmarks and scents by which your pet navigates his world can be altered by the rain or wind. Think about our post about the magical item that is your dog’s nose:
“Sometimes it’s hard to understand how dogs can relate to the same world so differently to us, but dogs are built to interpret the world through their sense of smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell as much as we rely on our vision.”
A massive amount of your dog’s brainpower is devoted entirely to interpreting the smells that surround him. While humans have a seemingly generous 6 million sensory receptor sites in our nasal cavity, our dogs hold over 100 million receptor sites, with the part of their brains dedicated to analyzing scents around 40 times larger than that of a human. So you may think your dog smells bad sometimes, but he actually smells somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than you do! A dog’s sense of smell is so powerful that, should he go blind, he will be able to adjust to his new world with significantly greater ease than a human.
Stories are shared often of pets who have managed to find their own way home from from incredible distances, but did you know that this homing instinct relies on their sense of smell? Dogs have a peculiar superpower that allows them to move each of their nostrils independently, allowing them to identify easily the direction from which an odor is coming. This means they can use their noses like their very own built-in compass!
Cat owners needn’t worry, however! As Lost Pet Finders user Bryna discovered, our feline friends also have a knack for tracking down their families:
“As it turns out, the night Chloe wandered off and didn’t come back, she managed to find her way back to their old house. The family had moved two streets over last October, and it would appear that Chloe was missing her old home. Discovering another cat had taken over her territory, Chloe had taken it on herself to reclaim what was once her land!”
With the landmarks changed and identifying scents removed, you will need to be extra-careful for some time after the storm to keep an eye on your cat and take note of any signs of stress or confusion. Similarly, when you take your dog for a walk, be sure to keep him on his leash until you are certain he feels familiar with his environment. Something as minor as a shrub or an old pot you had completely forgotten about might have been your pet’s only way of telling his home apart from any other. With it gone, you may as well have remodelled your entire home as it could be completely unrecognizable.
When you are confident that your pet has grown accustomed to his altered world, you should still exercise great care when you allow him outside. Your neighbourhood may have suffered more damage than you realise, and you can trust children and pets to discover any dangerous changes in the most painful ways possible. After a storm, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advises that you “beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters.”
Always keep in mind that while a storm may have been simply inconvenient for you, it might have been traumatising for your pet. In this case, your pet’s coping techniques may be very different to yours. Following a storm an animal will sometimes feel as though their territory has been invaded and grow defensive or aggressive as a result. Try your best to be as patient as your can with this behaviour, and try to be aware of it until you’re sure your pet can be trusted outdoors.
If you follow these tips and your pet still goes missing after a storm, be sure to create a Pet Listing on Lost Pet Finders and check out our other pet-finding tips. Don’t panic: often, animals that go missing during or after major storms can still reappear a few weeks later.
Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!
“his dady spent six hours roaming the streets to find him, 8 cats and one bunnie rabbit later he found him :) but the comfort of knowning a service like this exisits and the tips it gave on locating a cat were really valued”
“The flyer was a great way to spread the word. We met many people walking around the neighborhood who had grabbed my number just in case they spotted Maxi.”
“Sox has come home. Thank you for a wonderful service was reassuring to know that people in the area were made aware of my missing cat and nice to get some emails wishing me luck. Thank you”
“I had a lovely woman message me at 5:39 in the morning because she had noticed a dark cat that she doesn't usually see around run past her drive way and she called me incase the slight chance it was Amarni and it turns out it was, he had been running away back to our previous house that was only two streets away from our adress we are at now.”
“Along with the help of some locals who were alerted by LostPetFinders and a LOT of letterbox drops within a 1km radius, Millie was reported found to us by a lady to whom I dropped the third-last leaflet one km away :)
We are overjoyed.
She is injured and not eating yet, but we have only just come home from the vet moments ago.
My heart goes out to all those people who are missing their beloved animals. The pain for us was excruciating. Thank you Tony for your encouragement and your advice, and to the kind neighbours who phoned and texted me and urged me not to give up.”
by Tabitha Buckley on May 13
Rehabilitating Your Previously Abused Dog: A Few More Tips Saturday 04 February 2017 @ 09:24
Last month, we talked about identifying whether or not your rescue pet was once abused, and how to go about beginning its rehabilitation. Today, we’re going to finish this series of posts by discussing a few more ideas for helping your dog in his journey to recovery.
Just like humans, dogs are generally very sociable animals. They have a natural tendency towards living in family groups and since their domestication, they have evolved with us to work alongside us and live as smaller, furrier members of our families. This is why, given the choice, most family dogs would spend almost every waking moment in the company of their owners. Every now and then, you’ll come across a dog who prefers the company of other dogs but very, very rarely will you come across a dog who prefers to be alone.
All the same, while these sociable animals prefer the company of others and should not be left alone for long periods of time, it should be possible for you to leave them own for a short period of time without them going off the rails. If this happens, your pet is showing signs of separation anxiety.
A simple solution for a dog displaying separation anxiety is to arrange for him to have plenty of entertainment and things to do while you are away. If the problem persists, though, you may have to look into some more solutions!
Fear of Strangers
It’s common for dogs to feel uncomfortable around strangers, especially if your dog has previously suffered some form of abuse. Often, this fear is made worse by both the stranger and the owner failing to read the dog’s body language. Your dog will try to signal to you and others that he is frightened by panting without being overly warm, furrowing his brow, lowering his gaze or tensing his body. He might try licking his lips, darting his eyes or yawning. His ears will suddenly move back or he will cower or move more slowly than usual. Then there’ll be the sign that everyone knows to look for: the tail between his legs. All of these are signs that your dog is scared or anxious, and should not be ignored if you care for his wellbeing.
If your dog is showing signs of being terrified of the people you encounter, it is your responsibility to protect him from their advances, no matter how well-meaning.
You can further improve your pup’s confidence by employing a policy of “reverse dominance”, giving him everything he needs or wants free of charge. Don’t make him work for the food, love, attention and care he needs to survive and grow. Your dog should always have access to these things at no cost.
If you feel your dog is ready to build his confidence through training, “clicker training” is a great method to use. As explained by Blue Cross:
“Clicker training is a positive training method based on rewarding an animal for good behaviour. Your pet learns to understand that the sound of the click means “that’s right” and that a food treat is coming.”
You can find more information on this training method with Blue Cross. This training is designed to help empower your pooch by allowing him to find ways of earning awards. Often, once a pet has figured out how the game works, they’ll begin to enjoy the game itself rather than simply its rewards. As well as empowering your pet and encouraging good behaviour, this training method is a great way of improving non-verbal communication with your dog (though you may add vocal signals later in training).
While it is important that you improve your dog’s confidence and happiness, it’s also vital that you do not do this at the expense of his basic biological needs. Dogs are naturally active animals and need a healthy diet and aerobic exercise - preferably around 20-30 minutes of running exercise - every single day.
Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with their perfect families, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!
“This is a great service. Turns out he was stolen and ran from this place and a nice honest person looked after him until Monday of which they in turn rang the council. Thank you very much.”
“You guys helped a lot like I called up the vets and they had already put up posters ts just the cheeky guy rocked up home this morning”
“Your site was great in generating flyers, thank you so much! She came back home after a wild night in Bulimba.”
“A big shout out to the amazing community we live in. Santa gave me the best gift ever, our beloved PEARL is home! She flew all the way to Winston Hills & landed on the door step of a beautiful family. With the persistence & kindness of them & their neighbour, they searched on the net to find one of my many 'lost bird' ads. We received the phone call this morning & my girls & I screamed the house down with excitement.
Thank you to everyone, people we don't even know, who went for walks to try to find Pearl, and shared our ads. This just reminds me yet again of what a wonderful place/community we live in. Thanks again everyone, from the Hugo's! Xx”
“From New York we used your service to lodge an alert about our lovely Emily. Within 24 hours we had been alerted that she had been found and was well. Many thanks for the service”
Leaving Your Pet Alone: Bobby is reunited Monday 01 August 2016 @ 10:00
This week, we read about the reunion of the beautiful Bobby with her family.
Jeremy got Bob as a pound dog 9 years ago, when she was only around six months old. One morning, at 1 a.m., Jeremy experienced absolute horror when he discovered that Bobby had gone missing. Like any dog owner, he was concerned for her wellbeing, but the situation was made all the more urgent by the fact that Bobby was not used to being on her own and had no idea of the area, having only moved to the area four months before.
Jeremy and his family left the gate open and began their search, but to no avail. The next day, he walked all the streets, before attaching signs to his car bearing her description and driving all over his suburb from dawn to dusk. Bobby was registered with various pet sites, and posters of her were stuck up all over the area.
Thank you for doing this. It really does help.
Bobby and Jeremy were eventually reunited, thanks to Jeremy’s refusal to give up - a happy ending to an issue which affects all too many pet owners.
So how can you protect yourself and your pet from this situation?
How to help your pet get used to being alone
Losing your pet is always stressful. But this stress is even further amplified when you’re painfully aware of the fact that they’ve never spent time alone before. While dogs shouldn’t be left alone for too long, it’s important that they’re able to cope by themselves every now and then, because you can’t always be there to watch them.
Your first step in this branch of training is deciding where you want to leave your dog alone. A common preference here is a kitchen or utility room, and these are generally the rooms which will be easiest to clean in the case of unexpected messes. This is an acceptable choice, although it’s important not to make the mistake of only bringing your dog into this area when you’re leaving them. Your pet needs to be left in an area where they are relaxed and comfortable, and not one which they have come to associate with anxiety and isolation.
Once you have chosen an area and made it a safe and comfortable space for your pet, you’re ready to begin training. This can be done in five, fairly simple steps:
- Begin by encouraging your pet to go to their bed and stay there with you for a while. Once they have waited quietly in their bed for some time, reward them.
- Call your pet to their bed again, this time slowly moving away. If they stay quietly, return and reward them.
- Repeat this step, moving a little further and staying away a little longer each time. The extent to which you increase the distance and time each time will depend on your pet, with some requiring a much slower pace than others. If your pet reacts or moves from its bed, don’t reward it and repeat the previous stage until it is ready.
- Begin going out through the door before returning to reward your pet. Next, go outside and shut the door behind you. Repeat this, going out for a little longer each time. Always return to reward your pet between each trip.
- When you reach the stage where your pet can happily be left alone for up to an hour, you should be able to comfortably be able to leave them alone for longer periods. Always remember to leave your pet something to play with or keep them busy while you’re out, otherwise they may be inclined to get up to no good!
Don’t let your pet get bored!
If your pet has a habit of causing mischief when they’re left alone, there’s a pretty high likelihood that they’re getting bored while you’re out of the house. Here are a few of our top tips for keeping them entertained while they’re alone:
- Give your pet a suitable toy (or bone) to keep them occupied while you’re out of the house. You can make this their special toy by only giving it to them when they’re alone or separated from you for some reason.
- Leave your pet special food to keep them occupied, such as cheese or peanut butter mixed in with their biscuits, or a meat-flavoured chew.
- Invest in a treat ball, cube or puzzle which you can fill with dry treats - something your pet will have to work or play with in order to get to the treats.
- These treats and toys will keep your pet busy by giving them mental stimulation. Any other toy which will mentally stimulate your pet can also work!