How To Protect Your Pets From These 6 Potentially Harmful Instances

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Summertime is the best time to enjoy mother nature with our furry loved ones. However, it is important to keep your pets protected from potentially harmful instances.

We have compiled a list of 5 of the most common and potentially harmful instances for your Pet and enlisted the help of Petfocus Vetcare for their advice on keeping your dog safe and healthy over the summer period.


Parvovirus or ‘parvo’ is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease which aggressively attacks its victims’ tissues. In addition to this, Parvo is particularly resilient, has several different strains & can survive in its surrounding environment for up to a year, especially in hot climates. All dogs and puppies are at risk of contracting Parvo if they have not been properly vaccinated.

If you have a new dog, have recently moved, or have a puppy that cannot yet receive vaccinations (or has not completed the entire series of vaccinations) it is advised that you keep them away from outdoor public areas until they are fully protected from the virus & other illnesses.

The best way to protect your dog or puppy is through vaccination. Speak to your veterinarian about the types of parvo in your local area & the vaccines required to keep them safe.


Chocolate is toxic to both Dogs and Cats. This is because Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine.

Theobromine (the main toxin in chocolate) is used for blood vessel dilation, diuretic purposes, heart stimulation & as a smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs’ and cats’ bodies don’t metabolise theobromine the same way as humans’ do; which is what makes chocolate so dangerous for our furry friends.

If your dog has ingested chocolate, you should watch for clinical signs of chocolate toxicity, which include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting, restlessness, frequent urination and an increased heart rate. In severe cases, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure can occur. In older animals, large amount of high quality dark or baking chocolate can cause sudden death from cardiac arrest.

If you suspect your dog is developing chocolate toxicity, call your vet immediately to organise an examination. The sooner your pet receives treatment the better their prognosis will be.


Australia holds the unenviable record of the largest number of venomous snakes of any country on earth! On average, close to 6,500 pets are bitten by snakes each year in Australia and a venomous snake bite is a life-threatening emergency.

As with everything, avoidance is better than a cure. For the most part, you can’t guarantee your pet’s safety from snake bites – but you can minimise their risk significantly.

For animals like horses & dogs, who you take off your property with you, ensure you are controlling where they go. Do not let dogs wander around off-leash or go into dense areas (high grass, untamed bushland, exceptionally rocky areas), similarly do not take your horses off tracks or clear areas. Staying in the clear will mean you can see snakes before they are too close and avoid them safely.


It is also advisable to keep your yard as clean and well-maintained as possible. Small things like ensuring any firewood is properly stacked and stored can make a huge difference in keeping your pets safe. In addition, make sure any food scraps, spilled food and pet treats are immediately cleaned up.

If you do suspect your dog has been bitten by a snake, contact your vet immediately.


Cat flu is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease which affects both cats and kittens.

Cats contract Cat Flu via either Feline Herpes Virus 1 (FHV1) or Feline Calicivirus (FVC), generally it is transmitted by direct contact (saliva, tears, nasal discharge) or indirect transmission (food/water bowls, bedding, litter trays, human hands). The symptoms are reflective of a human cold and include sneezing, breathing problems, fever, loss of appetite and nasal discharge. Left untreated this condition can cause ailments such as eye damage, severe illnesses like pneumonia or in serious cases even death.

Whilst Cat Flu can be caught by any cat, kittens and older cats are in the highest risk categories due to their lower immunity. Avoiding cat flu is possible, via a vaccination series, which should be started at 8 weeks of age; followed by booster vaccinations. As with dogs & parvo, it is imperative that cats are indoors until they are properly vaccinated.

Talk to your vet to ensure your cat is protected and up-to date with their vaccinations.


Because of the smell of fish bait, cats and dogs are attracted to fishhooks – a potentially deadly item for your pet to ingest.

Common pet injuries from fishhooks include hooks getting caught on pets’ paws, mouths and hook ingestion – all of which are incredibly painful for your pet. Hook ingestion is a medical emergency and will put your pet’s life on the line.

If you are a fisher, here’s some helpful tips for keeping your furry friend away from those nasty hooks:

  • Never leave rods or hooks unattended
  • Discard all hooks appropriately

Even if you don’t fish – if you are out on the water and see discarded hooks on the bank, please dispose of them. These are a risk to wildlife too.


Ticks are common in bush and range lands, however can be picked up in some surprising places. There are a large number of different species of tick.

Some of them can cause life threatening paralysis, whilst others are more likely to cause skin irritation and potentially transmit tick born diseases.

The paralysis tick is usually located in coastal areas, however, can be transmitted on people, cars and objects that have travelled from the coast inland.

Ticks are deadly to pets. After showing signs of paralysis, Little Teddy is feeling much better after his encounter with a nasty paralysis tick he picked up on The Coast.

Contact your vet immediately if you or someone else’s pet has been injured by a fishing hook. DO NOT try to remove the hook yourself. If you notice injured wildlife, call WIRES on 1300 094 737.

To book in with Petfocus Vetcare, you can contact the team via their website:

For the latest in Pet advice and care, follow Petfocus Vetcare on Facebook and Instagram.

In association with Petfocus Vetcare

1 February 2021

Article by:

In association with Petfocus Vetcare

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