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

October will be a month of change for Humanimals. We bid farewell to Jeff who is off to pastures new as the Director of Animal Welfare at the SPCA; we wish him well in this new role and will miss his passion in the dental area of the clinic.

Our other veterinarians are all taking some well-earned time off during various weeks in October. To ensure a continued full service we have employed a couple of lovely locum veterinarians (Phil Watson and Epona Keller) to help us out. I am sure you will make them very welcome. Both are very experienced and enthuasiastic about patient care and client service.

After Labour Day we are delighted to be joined by Dr Susan Robb who replaces Jeff. Susan is a very experienced veterinarian, who is leaving a loyal following in Auckland to join us in the deep south. Susan owned her own practice in Lower Hutt, a thoroughly moden clinic for its time, indeed still would be now. She has a strong interest in animal welfare, education and wildlife.  We look forward to her starting with us.

** We appreciate in this busy age that you can receive a lot of unsolicited or unwanted emails - we hope we are not one but if you prefer not to receive any e-newsletters from us please just unsubscribe at the bottom of the newsletter.

jeff and buddy
Contents of this newsletter

01  Pet's dreaded firework season...

02  Is my pet overweight?

03  Food for thought

04  Can my cat be a vegan?

05  Smelly pets

06  Sneaky dog's pawful behaviour

01 Pet's dreaded firework season...
Adaptil Fireworks image

Unfortunately firework season is fast approaching. We say "season" because it is not simply the night of November 5th now, but days or weeks before and after.  For pets this can be an incredibly stressful and anxious time with little respite. However there are some things owners can do to help:

Calming aids:

These need to have a few weeks lead in time to be effective and there can be quite a wide range of effectiveness, depending on the individual animal. Each have websites with supporting information that may be useful for owners.

Adaptil Diffuser and collars

Feliway Diffuser

Calmex liquid and capsules

Thundershirts for dogs

Tips for owners:

Reduce visual exposure (close curtains, keep low lights on - avoid flickering lights) and muffle sounds (close windows, cover glass doors, carpetted rooms are better).

Provide a safe SECURE indoor space.  Box, crate or under blankets can all help -  covering a secure cage/crate gives an added benefit of muffling sounds and blocking out light. Close catflaps, keep doors closed, provide litter trays if not usually done.

Owners should remain calm and provide quiet reassurance, avoid inadvertent reinforcement of anxiety by excessive treat giving or making a fuss. Don't leave them alone, have someone nearby.

Distraction with new/fun toys/treats.

Keep children away from anxious pets as they will have a lowered tolerance threshold.

Microchip and REGISTER your pet to facilitate repatriation if they do run off and become lost.

Walk dogs when it is still daylight.

Ensure the effects of sedation medication are completely worn off before allowing your pet outdoors.


In extreme cases there are medications that can be used, these require a consultation and examination by a veterinarian. Please do not leave this to the last minute, as these medications can take time to work effectively, we get very busy with many who do leave it too late or with pets who injure themselves or get injured if they escape and try to run away.

02 Is my pet overweight?

You are probably well aware that if your pet is pudgy they have an increased risk of suffering from heart disease, respiratory disorders, osteoarthritis and diabetes. But alarmingly, most people aren’t even aware that their pet is overweight.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos: 

  • When you look at your pet from above they will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure they might look more like an egg on legs!
  • You can no longer easily feel their ribs when you run your hands over their sides
  • A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

The good news is that getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think! Physical exercise will help but it is crucial that you are feeding your pet the correct diet and the right amount. This is something we can help you out with. There are diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate.

When it comes to fighting the flab and counting the calories, we are here to help!  Ask about Slimanimals, our weight loss programme for pets.

03 Food for thought

When it comes to feeding your pet, we know that it can get pretty confusing with the overwhelming number of choices out there. On top of this, pet food companies sometimes complicate things with claims that their food is superior because it is all natural, paleo, vegan, grain free, wheat free and so on.

So what should you be feeding your pet? The answer to that question is easy: a diet recommended by us! When it comes to nutrition, we are able to give you the most up to date and advanced information and can recommend the most suitable diet no matter what stage of life your pet is at.

All of the foods we recommend contain natural ingredients but most importantly, these are precisely balanced for optimum nutrition. This means your pet won’t receive too little or too much of certain nutrients, a claim only particular brands can make.

If you are feeling confused please ask us for the most accurate information. We will help you make the best decision when it comes to your pet’s nutrition.

04 Can my cat be a vegan?

Embarking on a vegan diet might be suitable for some people but what about our feline friends? The truth is that a cat cannot survive on a vegan diet. These diets simply do not provide all of the nutrients that your cat requires for a healthy life.

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they require meat in their diet and have specific nutrient needs that can only be supplied through the ingestion of animal meat.

Taurine is an amino acid that all cats need in their bodies - and they can't create it themselves. If they're low in taurine, cats can experience heart disease, vision problems, and other health issues. Taurine can only be provided through the diet, and is only available through animal sources. Although there are synthetic supplements available these are not recommended.

Vitamin A and arachidonic acid also need to be provided in your cat's food and these are primarily available through animal sources.

As a result of these unique dietary requirements, a cat is unable to safely eat a vegan diet. Even with synthetic supplementation, producing a cat food that is complete and fills all of the nutritional needs of a cat is difficult (and dangerous) without adding meat to the diet.

So if you choose to adopt a vegan diet, we ask that you please do not expect your cat to eat the same way!

05 Smelly pets

If you notice a bad smell coming from your pet, it's time to take action. In most cases, a strange odour is an indication that something's not quite right and in some cases it can be a symptom of a more a serious and painful disease.

Here are of the most common smells to be on the 'sniff out' for:

Smelly mouth: 'Doggy breath' is not normal! It can indicate dental disease and may be painful as well as lead to other problems such as heart disease and kidney disease. Systemic diseases such as diabetes might lead to a strange 'fruity' smell on the breath. Occasionally a tumour or a foreign object such as a piece of bone or stick can also cause a foul odour. The bottom line is, if your pet has a smelly mouth you should arrange a check up with us asap.

Stinky bottom: A stinky rear end might be secondary to flatulence from a poor diet or secondary to a gastric upset. Blocked anal glands can also lead to a 'fishy' smell from the bottom. When it comes to smells from this part of the body, you should ask us for advice!

Smelly ears: Smelly ears can be an indication that there is a bacterial or fungal infection in the ear/s. These can be highly irritating and painful for your pet. Sometimes foreign bodies in the ear canal/s such as a grass seed or the presence of a growth such as a polyp might also lead to a smelly ear. If your pet's ears don't seem right you should get us to have a look.

Smelly skin: Stinky skin is not normal in pets either. Anything that disrupts the skin’s normal protective mechanisms can cause a bad odour. Underlying problems such as wounds, allergies, parasites, cancer, endocrine diseases and immune disorders can all lead to a stinky coat. You should arrange a consult with us for further investigation.

If you are worried about your pet, we are always the best people to ask for advice.

06 Sneaky dog's pawful behaviour

This cheeky dog isn't usually allowed into the baby's room - but a hidden camera catches his happy dance when he manages to sneak in!