Blog posts for May 2018

 

Best Park Practice

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Adult dog with family in park

Giving dogs a place to run and play not only keeps them healthy, social and stimulated, it’s a great excuse to get yourself moving too.

Not all of us have a backyard to play with our dog in, but many of us are lucky enough to have access to a number of parks and open spaces within our communities, where we’re able to take our four-legged friends.

Like any public space, there are some unwritten rules that are great to know so that everyone, including you and your dog, can continue to enjoy these pet-friendly spaces to the fullest.

Training

Before taking your dog to the park for the first time, it’s important that they’ve had obedience training and can respond well to basic commands like “sit” and “stay”. They can easily get over-excited when meeting new friends at the park, so make sure you’re confident that they’ll respond to you, particularly when they’re off their leash. Knowing that your dog is trained will also put other park guests at ease.

Training also plays a big part in how your dog interacts with its peers. Like humans, all dogs have different personalities, which means that they’ll have different styles of play. Some love to chase, play tug-o-war and wrestle, whilst others might prefer to interact at a level that is less gregarious.  Talking to the other pet parents at the park is really important – flagging up front if your dog does or doesn’t play well with others can help prevent some awkward interactions!

Ensure Your Dog is Healthy

With so many different dogs going to and from parks, it is crucial that your pet is up-to-date with their vaccinations. This not only prevents the spread of illness and disease, but ensures they live a long, healthy life. Puppies can be particularly susceptible to illness so you’ll want to make sure that they’re not only vaccinated, but old enough to be at the park (at least 12-16 weeks old). By keeping up with regular vet checks and vaccinations, you’re safeguarding your animal against any nasty bugs they may catch from some of their new found playmates.

dog

Keep a Close Eye on Your Dog

We know that dogs can get up to all sorts of mischief when they are off their leash, so no matter how exciting that text message or other pet owner might be, make sure you have tabs on what your dog is doing, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those around you.

It’s a great strength as a pet-owner to recognise body language from your dog and acknowledge the differences between it being alert, happy and friendly, versus dominant, aggressive and fearful of other dogs. After a bit of play, your four-legged friend might even be telling you it’s time to go home. If they shows any of the following, it may be time to go:

  • Tucked tail
  • Yawning
  • Panting / drooling
  • Shaking
  • Body freezing

Make sure you recognise the signs and act appropriately.

Respect Public Areas

Don’t forget that parks are there for everyone to enjoy, so play your part and keep them clean. In the interest of public health, clean up after your dog with tidy bags when nature calls. Don’t stress if you forget or run out, as most local councils will have them on-hand at dog-friendly parks and spaces.

Always look for signs! Some councils implement rules about where pets can play so it’s important that you’re aware of any restrictions that may be in place, particularly in areas where young children are present.  If you’re not certain on the restrictions, it’s always best to get in touch with your local council to find out more. 

Bring the Necessities

As well as tidy bags, bring along water, toys and treats for your dog. Some parks provide water buckets or bowls, but they are not always guaranteed, so it’s best to pack your own just in case. Most pet shops will stock compact water bowls and bottles that can easily be attached to leashes and make it easy to keep your dog properly hydrated at the park. It’s always a great idea to bring a ball or similar toy along so that you can play and bond with your pet while at the park. Particularly during the initial stages of introducing your dog to the park, don’t forget to bring along some treats as well to reward them for good behaviour.

 

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Understanding the legislation changes in Victoria

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Beagle

Late last year the Victorian Government announced a number of changes to tenancy laws, with one of the most notable granting tenants in the state the right to have a pet in their rental property. The new reforms reflect the understanding that living with a pet can be part of what truly makes a house a home. If the Victorian Government passes the legislation in Parliament before the 2018 state election, the changes will come into effect in 2019.

Currently, landlords often write ‘no pet clauses’ into rental agreements. Under the updated laws, such clauses would be prohibited with few exceptions. According to RSPCA Victoria, the banning of pets from rental properties results in a large number of renters giving up their animals, particularly in the last two financial years.

The reforms to tenancy laws would make it easier for Victorian tenants and landlords to understand their obligations and rights when it comes to renting and leasing. Tenants would need to obtain their landlord’s written consent to keep a pet at the property, however landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a request. Some instances where landlords may still be able to refuse pet ownership could include when a renter wanted to keep an animal that has been banned by the local council or body corporate.

Tenants who have an animal living with them at a rental property would be required to undertake cleaning and fumigation if there is pet-related damage to the property at the end of their tenancy. In some circumstances, managers of heritage listed dwellings may refuse permission for tenants to keep pets if the costs of cleaning or maintenance would be excessively high.

These legislative changes are a response to Australia’s changing society, where more people are renting long term and changes are needed to make sure Australia remains pet-friendly. Pet owners can often make great tenants, looking for longer lease terms and displaying great care for their rental properties. The Victorian Government has sent a clear signal that tenants should be able to keep pets just like anyone else, helping Australia to be a more pet-friendly place.

 

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Tips and tricks for keeping your house pet friendly

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House friendly

Bringing a new furry friend into the home (whether you’re a first-time owner or have had pets for years!) is always an exciting time. Pets are great family members who provide companionship and unconditional love. But before they arrive, you should make sure you create a pet-friendly environment that keeps them safe and spikes their curiosity!  Here are our top tips:

Give them their own space

Make your new pet feel welcome by setting up an area in your home that is just theirs. Add all the necessities including a comfy bed, food and water bowls, as well as some toys to get them entertained and keep them away from things they shouldn’t chew. For cats, keep litter boxes away from feeding areas.

Baby gates can be your best friend

Baby gates don’t just keep little humans away from steps, they can also keep your new puppy or kitten away from stairs or areas in the house you don’t want them in. Using the gates to separate rooms and block off stairs ensures that your new furry friend won’t injure themselves going somewhere they shouldn’t.

Keep the bench clear and bins away

Some foods, medications, and cleaning products can present a potential danger to pets. Make sure you keep items that are not meant for pets away from benches, and make sure they are placed high and out of reach – they’ll do anything to get their paws on these! Make sure you keep bins behind closed doors if possible and secure them properly.

Keep your shoes and socks away!

There’s nothing more enticing to curious pets (especially puppies) than a pair of shoes or socks to chew on. Not only will they ruin these items, pieces of material can get stuck inside their intestines. Make sure you keep your shoes and socks in cupboards and away from teething puppies and curious cats.

Keep your backyard pet friendly

Pets love to play outdoors so it is important to make sure that areas are kept hazard free and safe as possible for them. Make sure that any tools and machinery are locked away in sheds, along with pesticides and other harmful products. If you are keeping your dog outside, make sure that the kennel is placed in an obstruction free zone, in an area where they won’t be affected by the weather.

Fencing is also very important -  it may be high, but that doesn’t mean it is secure. Make sure there aren’t any holes or gaps that your pet could get through. Pool fences can be particularly dangerous for puppies or small dogs to slip through the gaps. Some plastic mesh secured to the bottom of the fence with zip ties is an easy fix.

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