44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
Banner image

Marie, our practice manager attended the Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference in Brisbane, tying this in with a short break in Townsville, Queensland.

During her twelve days away, Dunedin had heavy snow, an earthquake and severe flooding – a well-timed break away for her, but not so for the rest of us.

With such a cluster of disasters, it got us thinking – how prepared are we? How can we help our clients be prepared?

When we did our Best Practice Accreditation in 2013 we took it a step further and got an earthquake kit for the practice. We have had a few power cuts and leaks over the years so have become adept at dealing with little glitches and emergencies and adapting to still being able to carry on with work.

In respect to our pets and yours, we have found some useful links. World Animal Protection has a free download for advice on what to prepare for your pets.

Protect your Pet in a Disaster

In a nutshell, you need to think about having:

  • relevant phone numbers ready for care of your pets:  vets, kennels/cattery etc.
  • a copy of their microchip numbers, a recent photograph (as many pets can run off during disasters if not secure). Having your pet microchipped greatly increases the chance of a successful reunion with your pet. Record registration tag number for dogs,
  • a list of any medication they may be on, and a spare supply to cover those first few days,
  • food and water (the recommendation for people is 3 days’ worth of food that is non-perishable and water). The average cat or dog can drink between 60-100ml of water per kilogram of body weight.  A  good guess would be 300-500ml of water for the average 5kg cat, and approximately 2-3.5 litres for a large dog – Labrador sized – 35kg, per day,
  • blankets/shelter
  • cat cages, collar and lead for dogs and/or crates for security,
  • sanitation – poop bags, cat litter, plastic bags, paper towels.

Other useful websites are:

Caring for Animals |

This is an overseas website but it is very comprehensive.

New Zealand Dog Safety

Be ready, be safe!!

…and next time Marie our practice manager goes away we will be ready for any natural disaster!!

disaster dog

Being prepared can save lives

Contents of this newsletter

01  Physical Therapy Rehabilitation for Senior Pets

02  Is your pet over the hill?

03  Three common senior pet questions

04  Top reasons to adopt a senior pet over a puppy or kitten

05  Heating up the fleas

06  Look into my eyes

01 Physical Therapy Rehabilitation for Senior Pets
old dog OA article

Looking after your old friends in their twilight years

Aging causes many changes to the dog’s musculoskeletal system, the most familiar being osteoarthritis (OA) and we now know that at least 1 in 5 dogs suffer from OA.

Rehabilitation goals of the senior pet are to enhance quality of life by relieving pain and associated muscle spasm, maintain and regain joint range of motion, improve joint health, strengthen supporting muscles, address proprioceptive deficits and advise on lifestyle modifications necessary to improve function.

Rehab the mind!

Regular, targeted exercise is not only recommended to keep your senior pets body in optimal condition but did you know we can rehab the mind too?

Cognitive training or ‘brain fitness’ exercises have been found to aid in the prevention and treatment of canine dementia. So don’t just let sleeping dogs lie, get your senior pet out for some fresh air, and why not teach them a new trick or play hide and seek? Massage also provides a form of tactile sensory therapy – improving brain function as well as relieving sore muscles!

Each pet is an individual, thus treatment and exercise plans are developed to suit the pets specific requirements. It is very important that body function is assessed before commencing a new exercise program. Here at Humanimals owners are educated how to effectively provide treatments at home to supplement frequent clinic visits. For more comprehensive details on cognitive training ideas or to make an appointment please call Krystle on 456 2345.

02 Is your pet over the hill?

The thought might not have even crossed your mind … but could your pet be starting to show his age?

Most people are not aware that cats and dogs are generally considered ‘senior’ after the age of about 8 years. Whilst the majority of our furry friends are well off showing ANY signs of slowing down at this age, there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Obvious changes might include grey hairs around the muzzle, the occasional accident around the house, hearing loss or stiff legs. Beyond the changes you can see, there can be a slowing metabolism and changing nutritional requirements.

So if you have a senior pet, it's important to arrange more regular check ups with us. We will watch for trends in your pet's weight, check they don't have sore joints and examine them for new lumps or bumps. A thorough dental check, eye check and heart check is also important for a senior pet.

We may also suggest blood tests, urine tests and blood pressure measurements to make sure that, internally, all is going along nicely.

If you have a senior pet call us and arrange a check up today - we can help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

03 Three common senior pet questions

1. Can my pet get dementia?

Yes - we now know that, like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from dementia. Common signs include becoming lost in usually familiar surroundings, loss of toilet training, trouble finding doors and stairways, sleep disturbances at night, separation anxiety and staring at walls. We can help you support your pet through this - just ask us for more information.

2. Can I still exercise my pet as he gets older?

Yes - consistency is the key and this will help keep him mobile and lean. Don’t overdo it and avoid repetitive exercise such as throwing the ball twenty times over as this can place added stress on joints. We can advise you on an exercise regime for your senior pet. 

3. Do I need to change my pet’s diet as he gets older? 

Yes - senior pets need a well balanced diet that is generally lower in calories, but still has adequate protein, fat and fibre. Some pets will require diets high in essential fatty acids for arthritis support. We are the best place to seek advice when it comes to a senior diet. 

If you have any questions about your senior pet we are always here to provide you with the best possible advice. 

04 Top reasons to adopt a senior pet over a puppy or kitten

If you're looking to add a new addition to your family you're probably considering a cute, cuddly little puppy or kitten. But if you're wanting a true companion (and possibly less work!) then a senior pet might be the better option.

Here are some good reasons why a senior pet can be a good choice:

1. Senior pets are mostly toilet trained which means you have more time to play with your new friend

2. You know what you are getting when it comes to size, coat length and temperament

3. Senior pets are generally more mellow, relaxed and independent 

4. You are saving a life and giving a pet a second chance - and you'll be surprised how most pets seem to know it!

We can point you in the right direction when it comes to adopting a senior pet - ask us for our recommendations. 

05 Heating up the fleas

Fleas love winter. Why? Because their eggs love a warm house to hatch in!

If you've suddenly noticed your dog is itching or your cat is over grooming or, heaven forbid, you have itchy ankles, it could be FLEAS!

Flea eggs require a warm temperature to hatch so if you've turned the heating on to keep warm you might have turned on flea hatching too. 

That's why it's super important to apply flea treatment all year round.

Ask us for the most suitable flea prevention for your pet. 

06 Look into my eyes

We finally know why you love your dog like a child. Scientists have shown that when you look into your dog's eyes, it triggers a spike in the "love hormone" oxytocin in both humans and the dog. This is the same mechanism that helps mothers bond with their newborn babies.

The study, conducted at The University of Japan, suggests that the dog literally 'hijacked' the parent-child bonding mechanism.  

You can read more here.