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First aid kit for your pets

Knowing some of the basics and having a first aid kit on hand may save your pets life.First Aid Kit

To make up a first aid kit for your pet is quite easy.

Get a water proof bag large enough to hold the following supplies:

  • Sterile wound dressing,
  • gauze bandage,
  • medical tape,
  • scissors,
  • tweezers,
  • thermometer andlubricant such as KY Jelly,
  • small syringe or eye dropper,
  • chlorhexidine disinfectant in a small bottle (with instructions on how to dilute it for use),
  • plastic non latex gloves,
  • ophthalmic saline solution,
  • antiseptic wound ointment, and
  • a small bottle or bag containing a few washing soda crystals.

Additionally have a ruler or other rigid material for a splint and a blanket large enough to cover your pet and a soft nylon rope to fashion a muzzle in an emergency.

Optional Extras include tick remover, and instant cold pack.

Once you have gathered you supplies place them in your waterproof bag and add a card with your vets and the Animal Emergency Centres number on it.

Your first aid kit is now ready

Poisons and Toxins

Your pet has just ingested something toxic. What do you do?

First, take a deep breath. Stay calm, the more composed you are, the sooner you can seek the correct medical attention.

Then, take the following steps:

eating poison

  1. Check to make sure your pet is breathing normally and acting fine otherwise and remove your pet from the area.
  2. Make sure no other pets or children are exposed to the area, and safely remove any poisonous material.
  3. Collect a sample of the material, along with the packaging, or container. The information on the pack can be vital in the treatment of your pet.
  4. Don’t give your dog any milk, food, salt, oil, or any other home remedies. This can lead to complications.
  5. Never induce vomiting without talking to your vet—you may cause further problems by doing so.
  6. Get help. Program your vet’s phone number into your phone, as well as the Animal Emergency Hospital number.

Remember your pet’s prognosis is always better when treatment is sought immediately, so don’t wait to see if symptoms develop before seeking help by calling your vet or us on 02) 6288 4944. There is only a small opportunity to remove the poison from your pet before it is absorbed so don’t delay.

Prevent Pet Poisoning in your home

Prevention is better than cure, and by taking a few simple precautions you can prevent your pet from getting poisoned.

In the Living Room

  • Make sure any pot plants or cut flowers are not poisonous. Take especial care with bouquets of flowers as they often contain Lilies, which are highly poisonous to cats. • Avoid the use of aerosols and heavily fragranced products around caged birds.
  • Make sure any home fragrance products such as pot-pourri, plug in diffusers and oil burners are well out of reach of pets.
  • Make sure ashtrays, cigarettes and nicotine replacement products are kept out of reach of pets.

In the Kitchen

  • Make sure foods poisonous to pets are kept out of reach these include sugar free gum, grapes, chocolate, onions and many more. For a more complete list check out our top ten kitchen toxins. Also avoid leaving fatty foods out as these can cause pancreatitis if eaten.
  • Avoid access to garbage bins and compost heaps as these can contain many toxins such as coffee grounds, spoilt food and cooked bones, which can cause serious problems for pets.
  • Make sure alcohol is also kept out of reach.

In the Bathroom

  • Keep all medications vitamins and supplements locked up in secure cupboards—don’t leave them on bench tops or plastic containers, which are easily chewed through.
  • Never use any human medications on your pets without first checking with your vet that it is safe to do so. Many common medications such as Paracetamol are toxic to pets.
  • Store your pets medication separately from your own, it has been known for humans to accidentally take pet medications and visa versa. Always check the label to make sure your are using the correct dose and medication before giving it.
  • Keep pets away from cleaning products. When cleaning any room with detergents and disinfectants make sure to shut your pet out of the room until the product has dried. Cats are often attracted to bleach and other cleaners and can suffer serious problems after licking at cleaning products.
  • Keep your toilet lid closed, it is not uncommon for a dog or cat to drink from the toilet bowl given half a chance and this can lead to nasty consequences especially if you use automatic toilet bowl treatments.

In the Laundry/Garage

  • Keep pest poisons out of reach of pets. Check all products to see if they are toxic to your pet and know what to do if any product is ingested. Where possible choose products that are not toxic to your pet Do not use insecticides without knowing the toxic effects of the product. Read the label carefully and make sure your pet is locked away when using sprays etc. Never use dog products on cats or visa versa without check with your vet first.
  • Keep batteries out of reach, if chewed or swallowed these can cause serious harm and dogs seem to like chewing them.
  • Keep glues out of reach—dogs love to chew on the bottles and these can cause serious damage by poisoning or causing blockages in the gut.
  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) products are extremely toxic. Choose propylene glycol products as they are safer. If you spill any antifreeze on a driveway, clean it up immediately or dilute it with several litres of water.
  • Keep all automotive products—like windshield cleaner fluid, engine oil—away from pets, and immediately clean up any spills.
  • Dogs like to eat some fertilizers such as blood and bone and Dynamic Lifter. These can cause serious problems if ingested in reasonable quantities, so keep bags tightly sealed and use products according to label instructions.
  • Grub or snail killers—use safer alternatives such as Multigard as most snail killers are extremely toxic to pets. Avoid them if possible.
  • Insecticides used outside the house may contain organophosphates or carbamates and these can be very dangerous if ingested in larger concentrations.
  • Keep pets off lawns until herbicides are dry. Once absorbed by the plant leaf products such as round up are no longer toxic to your pet.

In the Garden

  • Make sure that plants in the area your pet has access to are not poisonous. Check out our top 11 toxic plants to help you with this or go online at
  • If placing pest poisons in the garden pest traps to place the poison inside as this avoids transference of poison by the pest to areas your pet can access.
  • Make sure to remove ay mushrooms that sprout up as these can be highly toxic.

Source: Pet Poison Helpline,

Toxins around your house and garden

Do you know the toxins around your house and garden?

  • Top 10 Toxins in the Kitchen
  • Top 11 Toxic Plants

Top 10 Toxins in the Kitchen

Chocolate 1. Chocolate:Contains Theobromine which has gastrointestinal and cardiovascular effects. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa and the higher the theobromine content. As little as 5-10g of chocolate per kilogram of body weight of dark chocolate can have toxic effects on dogs. Cocoa powder is even more toxic. Another toxin in chocolate is caffeine, which acts as a stimulant to the heart and nervous system. White chocolate does not contain theobromine and milk chocolate has lower levels of theobromine so is less toxic then dark chocolate.
Grapes 2. Grapes, Raisins and Currants: The toxin is not known but ingestion of 19g/kg body weight of grapes and 3g/kg of raisins can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea within a few hours of ingestion. This progresses to loss of appetite, increased thirst and abdominal pain. Kidney failure can develop within 48 hours.
Sugar Free Gum 3. Xylitol: Is used as a sweetening agent in sugar free gum and sweets. Ingestion of as little as 0.1g/kg can cause rapid life threatening drops in blood sugar. Larger amounts are toxic to the liver leading to liver failure. Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremors, seizures, jaundice, black-tarry stools, coma and death.
Alcohol 4. Alcohol:  Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Central nervous system depression is very marked resulting in drowsiness, weakness and in-coordination and can lead to seizures and respiratory failure.
Onions 5. Onions and Garlic: contain organosulfoxides which can lead to damage to the Red Blood Cells. This causes the cells to break up leading to anaemia. Cats are more sensitive to these toxins then dogs. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, rapid heart rate, pale gums and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
Compost 6. Compost: Often contains fungal toxins which can be toxic. Signs include agitation, elevated temperature, panting, drooling, vomiting and may progress to in-coordination, tremors and seizures. Symptoms can develop within 30 minutes of ingestion and even small amounts can be toxic.
Uncooked dough 7. Unbaked Bread Dough: When ingested can expand in the stomach leading to bloat, carbon dioxide can also be released causing further bloating and fermentation can lead to release of alcohol leading to further toxicity.
Macadamia Nuts 8. Macadamia Nuts: Can be toxic to dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, in-coordination, weakness, fever, muscle tremors and depression. Macadamia nuts are only toxic to dogs. Poisoning is non fatal but requires supportive care to avoid complications.
Household cleaners 9. Household Cleaners: Similar to humans caustic cleaners can cause serious damage to the gastrointestinal tract as well as irritating the respiratory tract. Strangely it is often cats that suffer as they are attracted by bleach and will often lick the cleaners remaining after cleaning is completed causing ulceration of the tongue and mouth and excessive salivation.
Medications 10. Human Medications: Many of these are highly toxic to both cats and dogs. Topping the list are common household medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which include common names such as ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) and naproxen (eg Naprogesic). These can cause severe gastrointestinal ulcers and kidney failure. Another pain medications, acetaminophen (e.g. Panadol) is very popular. This drug is especially toxic to cats. One regular strength tablet of acetaminophen may cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen. In dogs, acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, red blood cell damage. Another class of drugs that is toxic to pets is Antidepressants such as Fluoxetine (eg Prozac or Anafrinil). While these antidepressant drugs are occasionally used in pets, overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, in-coordination, tremors and seizures. Some antidepressants also have a stimulant effect leading to a dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Medications used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (eg Ritalin) contain potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. Even minimal ingestion of these medications by pets can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems. Beta-blockers (eg Propranolol) are used to treat high blood pressure and small ingestion of these drugs may cause serious poisoning in pets. Overdoses can cause life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate. This is by no means a complete list, with many other medications harmful to pets.

If your pet ingests any of the above or any other medications or chemicals in your home please contact Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital immediately to get advice on your best course of action.


Top 11 Toxic Plants

While there are a vast number of species of plants and flowers, only a few of these plants are poisonous to your pet. Make sure you check which plants are most deadly and remove them from your backyard or home to avoid your dog or cat from getting into these toxic plants!

Autumn Crocus 1. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale: Liliaceae Family): This plant contains Colchicine, which is highly toxic causing severe vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, liver and renal damage, and respiratory problems. Signs may occur immediately but can be delayed for days. The more common crocus plants are those that flower in spring and are part of the Iridaceae family and cause general vomiting and diarrhoea but are not highly toxic. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested this plant contact the veterinary clinic immediately.
Azalea 2. Azalea: These are in the same family as rhododendrons. Azaleas can cause serious problems for pets. Eating even a few leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive drooling. Prompt veterinary attention is needed or your pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.
Cyclamen 3. Cyclamen: Family Primulaceae. It is the roots (or tuber) of this seasonal flowering plant that are especially toxic to pets. If ingested, cyclamen can cause severe vomiting and even death. They are common plants available for use as indoor plants in the winter months.
Kalanchoe 4. Kalanchoe:  Part of the Crassulaceae family. This popular flowering succulent plant contains cardiac glycosides which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and heart rhythm disturbances if ingested by pets. It is frost tender so in Canberra is likely to be an indoor or greenhouse plant.
Lilies 5. Lilies: Not all Lilies are toxic. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that can cause minor signs, such as irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and oesophagus – this results in drooling.
The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions can result in severe kidney failure. If your cat is seen eating or chewing on any part of a lily, take your cat (and the plant) to the veterinary hospital immediately for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better the chance to treat the poisoning. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) is imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can improve the prognosis.
Oleander 6. Oleander: It is a very popular outdoor shrub, with evergreen leaves and delicate flowers. However, the branches, leaves and flowers contain cardiac glycosides and these are extremely toxic if ingested. Ingestion of the plant can cause severe vomiting, slowing of the heart rate and potentially even cause death.
Dieffenbachia 7. Dieffenbachia: Popular indoor plants in many homes and offices, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.
Daffodils 8. Daffodils: These flowers contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties (substance that triggers vomiting). Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and even possible irregular heart rate or respiratory depression. Crystals are found in the outer layer of the bulbs, similar to hyacinths, which cause severe tissue irritation and secondary drooling. Daffodil ingestions can also result in more severe symptoms so if you see your pet chewing at a daffodil plant or bulb or symptoms are seen, we recommend you seek veterinary care for treatment.
Lilies of the Valley 9. Lily of the Valley:The Convallaria majalis plant contains cardiac glycosides which will cause symptoms similar to digitalis (foxglove) ingestion. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, a slowing of the heart rate, severe heart rhythm disturbances, and possibly seizures. Pets with any known exposure to this plant should be examined and evaluated by your veterinarian and treated if needed.
 Palm 10. Sago Palm: In the Cycad family, this very popular household and outdoor plant (in warmer climates) can be very harmful to pets. If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death.
 Tulips and grape hyacinths 11. Tulips and Hyacinths: Tulips contain allergenic lactones while hyacinths contain similar alkaloids. The toxic principle of these plants is very concentrated in the bulbs (versus the leaf or flower), so make sure your dog isn’t digging up the bulbs in the garden. When the plant parts or bulbs are chewed or ingested, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and oesophagus. Typical signs include profuse drooling, vomiting, or even diarrhoea, depending on the amount ingested. There’s no specific antidote, but with supportive care from the veterinarian (including rinsing the mouth, anti-vomiting medication, and possibly intravenous fluids), animals do quite well. With large ingestions of the bulb, more severe symptoms such as an increase in heart rate and changes in respiration can be seen.

This is only a partial list of poisonous plants.  For a more complete list of plants poisonous to cats and dogs, visit

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these plants or any other questionable substance, call Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital for assistance. Accurate and timely identification of the ingested material is very important. Having the container, package, or label will save valuable time and may save your pets life.

First Aid for Pets

First AidIt is important to understand when you might need to provide first aid for the pets in our family and how.

1) Recognising emergency warning signs: If you pet shows any of the following signs, seek immediate veterinary advice. This list is however not all inclusive, any major changes to your pets behaviour warrant veterinary attention.

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Coughing, especially if persistent and severe
  • Difficulty breathing. Is your pet moving his abdomen to breath?
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain
  • Pale gums
  • Restlessness and panting
  • Unproductive retching
  • Vomiting

2) Stop, Assess, Act. In case of an emergency remain calm, assess your pet methodically and communicate clearly with your veterinarian.First Aid Kit

  • Safety first. Make sure it is safe for you to go to your pet and take precautions against being bitten or scratched as panicked pets often lash out in fear.
  • Check the ABCDs: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability. Make sure your pets airway is clear, check for breathing and a heartbeat and then assess the degree of injury.
  • Administer first aid. Stop or control any bleeding, flush burns, immobilise broken limbs, etc
  • Call your vet and get to the hospital as fast as you safely can. Make sure to let your vet know what has happened clearly so they can prepare for your arrival.

3) The Vitals: Baseline Health Stats. You must first know what is normal in order to be able to determine if anything is abnormal.

  • Heart Rate: Small to Medium dogs 70-140 beats per minute

Large Dogs: 50-120 beats per minute
Cats: 140-200 beats per minute

  • Respiratory Rate: 15-30 breaths per minute for dogs and cats.

Finding a pets pulse
Finding a pets heart beat

Here is some information to help you keep your pets safe at home:

Poisons and Toxins


If you are worried about your pet’s health or would like to further discuss how you can manage first aid for your pets in your home call us now and you can talk to one of our trained staff at reception or make an appointment to see one of our veterinarians.

How to make a puzzle box toy for your cat

Making a puzzle box is simple, quick, inexpensive, and can provide hours of fun for your cat.

1 Supplies 1) All you need is an old shoe box  or small cardboard box, a feather, ping pong ball or other small cat toy, a sharp knife and some packing tape.
3 Cut Holes 2) Simply cut 2-3 holes into the sides and top of the box with a sharp knife.
2 Mark Holes 3) Make the hole large enough for the cat to fit its paw inside, about the size of a 50 cent piece should do it.
which_toy_do_i_want 4) Place 1-2 small toys in the box.
4 Taping Box 5) Put on the lid and tape it securely to the box (making sure not to occlude the holes) and your puzzle box is complete.

Why not get the kids involved and decorate it with non toxic marker pen.

Now show your cat the box tilting it so your cat can hear and see the toys moving. With most cats curiosity takes over and they start fishing through the holes. If they are reluctant, add 2-3 favourite treats into the box and see if that gets her interested. Now your feline can expend some energy trying to get those toys out

6 Tia Playing

Thunderstorms and Fireworks – Help manage your pet’s phobia


Thunderstorm & Fireworks Phobias are common problems for pets, especially dogs. These can be present from puppyhood or develop later on. Commonly this problem gets worse with repeated occurrences resulting in increasingly severe panic attacks. Many dogs will frantically try to escape the noise to find a place to hide or simply run to try to get away. This can result in severe damage to themselves with broken teeth, cut lips and gums, torn claws and skin cuts in their efforts to get out of the yard/house or into the house in some cases. Some dogs simply run frantically barking leading to exhaustion, over heating and stress. If they manage to escape the yard they can be hit by a car and be injured or worse, killed. Often they are so confused in their panic that they cannot find their way home once they calm down and end up at the pound.

While thunderstorms are unpredictable and more difficult to manage, fireworks can often be predicted and therefore you can use management strategies to help your pets to cope. This starts by providing a hiding place for them that they can access at any time. Try to avoid the dog becoming trapped away from this place of safety as this can increase their panic. In the case of fireworks bring your pets inside, play music quietly to help mask the noise, shut the windows and draw the curtains to block out the sound and light. Offer piles of blankets to hide under, these can be draped over the back of a chair and a dog bed or other blanket placed between the chair legs and the other end of the blanket to offer a mini cave. You may also find it useful to place an old jumper or shirt into this cave to offer a familiar scent. Avoid sympathising and telling them its all OK, this can reinforce their fearful behaviour. Instead sit quietly and relaxed near them, or chat in a cheerful voice about what is going on. Don’t get angry if their frantic behaviour is driving you mad. Remember they are in a panic and not capable of responding to you.

Besides giving them a bolthole you can also aid them by use of the Adaptil spray, collar or diffuser. Black-white kitten hiding and peekingThis is a pheromone for dogs that relieves anxiety and helps them to calm down. The spray can be applied to a bandana the dog is wearing or on the blankets of the dog’s bolthole. For cats the Feliway spray or diffuser will offer similar relief. Another strategy is to try a Thunder Shirt. This is a tight fitting dog coat that applies pressure around the dog’s body. Many dogs respond well to the shirt and will remain calmer through the fireworks and storms. Medication may also be needed to help them cope in the short term. These medications are usually designed to relieve anxiety and panic without heavy sedation, but are not a good long-term solution especially for unpredictable events such as thunderstorms.

Ultimately the best hope of long-term resolution of the problem is to gradually desensitise and counter condition the dogs to the noise. This involves exposing them to very low levels of the frightening sound while doing something positive like feeding treats or playing a game and very gradually through many repeated sessions increasing the level of noise until they can cope with the actual events without fear. When done incorrectly this sort of treatment can make their phobia worse so it is important to consult your veterinarian or animal behaviourist to discuss how to desensitise your dog properly.

Toilet Training Puppies

The secret to successful toilet training is three fold: Supervision, Persistence and Patience. The reality however is never quite so easy.

It is not possible to supervise a puppy all the time. Therefore, compromise by allowing the puppy access to only a small area when he or she cannot be supervised.

You could use an old playpen, or the laundry or block a tiled area with a child gate. This at least restricts the area of damage so to speak and by keeping puppies of carpets the clean up is a lot easier.

Puppies, especially those less than 16 weeks old, cannot hold on for long. Their bladders are simply too small. So after waking up, immediately after play (especially if your puppy loses interest in play himself), 15-30minutes after eating and at least every 12 hours take your puppy outside to the toilet.

If you take him on a leash to the area you have chosen you can also teach him where to go (If a puppy is left to his own devices to choose you can guarantee you wont like it!). But here is where the patience comes in. Basically stand like a tree and don’t interact with the puppy. Let him sniff and pick a spot. Keep to one area by taking small steps. Once he starts to go give your cue word for toileting such as “Go Potty”, be careful not to disturb the puppy and as soon as he is done (ie he is in the process of standing up) give him a treat. Then have a play as another reward.

Sometimes you can be standing out there for 15 minutes and the puppy is having great fun chasing leaves or chewing sticks. Bring him back in and closely supervise then try again 30 minutes later. Persist, once your puppy gets that good things come his way when he goes in the right place the whole thing will speed up and when he knows his toileting cue it will be a breeze.

Toileting times can be made more consistent by sticking to a regular feeding schedule. So if your puppy has not eating his food in 30 minutes pick it up and offer food again at the next meal time.

You can also use soiled paper towels in the desired area to provide a scent marker for toileting.

Should you find your puppy mid stream, so to speak, clap your hands or startle the puppy without frightening him to stop him going then take him out to finish the job and reward him. Now clean up the mess inside.

If you find a mess inside, there is no point in giving your pup a lecture or dragging him back to the spot. All he will know is that puddles on the floor will make you angry and he will be appropriately submissive. We often interpret this as guilt for having done the wrong thing. So give yourself the lecture for not supervising or confining the puppy sufficiently and do better next time.

Once your puppy has gone several days without any accidents then you can gradually allow more access to the house and when he starts asking to go out then your are home and hosed. The signals he will give can however vary greatly, so watch and learn your puppies so you can respond when he needs to go.


Cleaning Up Puddles 101

Whether you are toilet training a puppy or kitten or your older dog or cat suffers from medical or anxiety related inappropriate urination, every pet owner will need to clean up puddles at some time in their pets life. Here is how to do it as effectively as possible so that the risk of repeated accidents is reduced. (In pets with medical and anxiety issues it is also necessary to deal with these issues of course.)

  • STEP 1: Get rid of the urine. On hard floors this is easy using paper towel, newspaper or old towels and rags or even an old mop. Its not so easy with carpet however. As soon as the accident is spotted, use paper towel or an old towel to soak up as much liquid as possible. This can be aided by standing on the towelling. Use a plastic bag in the top layer to prevent it getting on your shoes or anything heavy that will add the needed pressure to soak up more fluid. Once no more urine can be absorbed proceed to step 2.
  • STEP 2: On tiles, vinyl etc use a biological detergent such as Bio Zet Attack (found in the laundry detergent section of your supermarket) to mop the area thoroughly paying special attention to any grout lines. Rinse with water. On carpet you may use a well-wrung sponge with the detergent to wipe over the surface of the carpet (after first testing it in attest area to ensure it does not discolour your carpet), then blot dry with more paper towel. Do not rinse with water.
  • STEP 3: Apply a spray on biological deodoriser such as Urine Off. This will further break down any urine smell and contains pheromone blockers to prevent attracting the pet back to the area. Again in carpet test on a small area of carpet first to ensure it does not stain carpet.
  • STEP 4: If desired use an odourless spray on disinfectant on the area. Do Not use bleach or any strongly scented disinfectants or cleaners (especially cleaners containing ammonia) as these simply identify the area more strongly as a toilet area to your pets.

Some cleaning products

Make A Cat Scratching Post

by Dr Doris Beck

Building a cat scratch post for your cat can be a fun weekend activity that the whole family can get involved in. 

Materials needed are:

  • a base plate to attach the upright posts to,
  • some upright posts,
  • board to cut resting shelves from,
  • screws, brackets, glue, carpet and sisal rope.

Any sturdy board of sufficient size can be used (I used left over melamine board) for the base. For the uprights, timber is the easiest to work with, however PVC pipe can also be used (I had some timber left over and purchased some PVC pipe to cover the central uprights).  Resting shelves need to be of sufficient size to allow the cat to comfortably sit or sleep on (I used left over craft wood and melamine board).  L shaped brackets are an easy and sturdy way to attach your uprights to the base plate, any timber screws of sufficient length can be used to attach brackets and shelves, glue should be able to work on multiple surfaces, so that carpet, sisal rope etc can be attached to timber or PVC pipe.

The first step is to decide where to place your uprights and attach the L brackets to the base plate. It’s easiest to attach the carpet to the base plate before attaching the uprights. So glue the carpet to the base and wrap it around the edges and glue and staple to bottom of the plate.
5 Attach the uprights (the higher the better as cats love it up high, I opted for 150cm height for top platform). Make sure that the platforms to get to the top are not further than 60-70cm apart so your cat can easily jump it.
Attach the platforms for resting on. If you have opted for PVC pipe the easiest way to attach a platform is to use pieces of timber with the corners planed down to slide inside the pipe and then screw through the PVC pipe into the timber (I used left over 75mm x 75mm timber post and 90mm diameter pipe)
Be creative with your platforms (I opted to have a small platform with holes cut out to hold a planter for cat grass and a water bowl).
Once the platforms are attached glue the carpet to the platforms and uprights. Platforms can be padded and covered in other materials as well (My top platform is padded with foam and pillow stuffing and covered in fake fur).
To offer variety to your cat cover some of the upright with sisal rope, rubber door mats can also be used but these do not glue well. (I used cable ties and tacks to hold them to the post) The more variety of material you offer your cat the more chance they will leave the furniture alone. You can also use bark covered straight thick branches for uprights or smaller ones attached to the uprights to allow some natural materials.
Finally when the glue has dried attach toys or maybe a hammock for your kitty to sleep in. (I use velour fabric and some cotton rope to make a hammock to hang from 4 of the upright posts and accessed by the lowest platform).

Be creative, the internet can provide inspiration as can the left over materials around the house, garage or tool shed. With a little ingenuity your kitty could have hours of fun, and your furniture would be safe from feline enhancement!


Useful Links

Here are some links you may find useful to find information about your pets and their care.

International Cat Care ( For advice, and all sorts of excellent info about cat care go have a look at the International Cat Care site. You can also see their YouTube channel ( for all sorts of videos on medicating cats, getting urine samples etc.

Pet Care:

Searching for ticks

– Ear care for dogs

Finding a lost pet:

– A service for helping to find your pet 

– A local Canberra Facebook group for lost pets


Senior Care


Arthritis can affect dogs and cats of any age but is most common in pets over 7 years of age. In dogs predisposing causes include being overweight, genetic causes such as hip dysplasia and repetitive high impact exercise such as leaping up to catch balls and Frisbees. In cats being overweight, injuries and to a lesser extend genetics play a role.


So how do you know your dog has arthritis? Signs can be variable depending on which joint is affected.

  • Initially your dog may simply stretch a lot more on rising after rest, or have a bit more difficulty getting into the car.
  • He may tire more easily on walks or start using both back legs together when running.
  • You may also note a loss of muscle mass in the affected leg.

Eventually though you see lameness with the joint becoming so painful your dog no longer puts all his weight on the leg. Arthritis is a chronic painful condition but most dogs wont yelp or show obvious signs of pain, its up to you to notice and get them help.



Old Persian cat Cats are a lot more difficult to see signs, as they are not usually highly energetic especially as they get older, so signs are a lot subtler.

  • Initially you may notice they are a little less certain when jumping up, or they no longer get up as high.
  • Your cat’s coat may also become less glossy as she starts having trouble with grooming.
  • Another sign maybe that she begins to miss the litter tray when urinating or defeacating or she starts to avoid human contact.
  • Sometimes all you see is that your cat sleeps more or becomes more restless and sleeps less.

So what can you do if your pet has arthritis?

Firstly make sure they are not overweight as this simply adds to the wear and tear of joints. There are some steps you can take to help your pet lose weight, call the veterinary hospital to discuss what options could work for your pet.

Secondly make sure you provide warm supportive bedding. Dogs often prefer a firm surface to assist them with getting up. A trampoline bed or a wooden packing palette with carpet or a thin foam mattress can make ideal beds. For cats they often like to snuggle, so a bed with sides is ideal but make sure the entrance is not too high so your cat can gain easy access. Heating pads are also available to add extra comfort.

Early on in the disease diets such as Hills j/d or Royal Canin Mobility Support can help get your pet back to normal. Food additives such as Joint Guard, Pernaease and many others, offer joint support through addition of glucosamine and natural anti-inflammatories.

However, medication often becomes necessary to relieve your pet’s pain and get them back to their spry selves. There are many options.

For more severe cases using Cartrophen Injections or Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories maybe necessary to maintain your pet’s quality of life. When used correctly and with medical supervision these medications carry minimal risks and provide great relief from the chronic pain of arthritis.

Contact us at Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital for further information if you think your pet has arthritis or you’d like to discuss treatment options for arthritis. We are here to help you and your pet.