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Adjusting your pets to a new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic

By John Morgan | Dated April 9, 2020

We all know there have been some pretty big changes throughout the world over the last few weeks. We are working from home, avoiding travel and not dining out or going to social gatherings. This has undoubtedly has significant impacts on our lives AND our mental health. At Gordon Vet Hospital we thought we would bring up some of the potential impacts for our four legged family members during these uncertain times. Please be advised this advice is general in nature and please contact us on 94983000 if you are having trouble with behavioural issues with your pets at home.

Dogs:

Dogs are currently relishing the extra time they have to spend with family members. They are going on an exponentially increasing number of walks and getting endless lap time. While improving the bond with your dog is always important it is also important to note that all this additional affection and time together is likely to be temporary… Once restrictions are lifted in the coming months a lot of dogs will struggle to readapt to their new reality of less human time! Some tips to help reduce the impact of our return to normal:

  • Try to have some time away from your dogs through the day. This can be done by keeping them in a separate part of the house or backyard. Initially they will object but it is important for them to realise that you are not constantly available for their every whim. Start small (15-30 minutes) and gradually increase this time over the coming weeks. Do not let them back if they are demonstrating undesirable behaviour such as scratching the door or barking.
  • Do not reinforce separation anxiety by showing an exaggerated greeting when you come back – for dogs that fret or become anxious when you are out of the house a very energetic HELLLOOOO! and showering of affection only teaches dogs that they were right to be anxious while you were away and they should keep behaving like that. It is better to reenter the house calmly, put everything down or away if you have been shopping and only engage with your dog once they have fully settled (sitting calmly or lying in bed).
  • Medication may be helpful in some cases – if, after everything returns to normal, you your dog is struggling to adapt speak to us about some options. A behavioural consult may be useful, or alternatively we may recommend medication to help.

Cats:

Cats will often thrive when they can get your attention regularly and they are likely loving the extra “keyboard time” at the moment. It is important to remember, however, that some cats will be uncomfortable with all the extra 2 legged creatures around invading kingdom and may show signs of stress including urinary tract disease, excessive grooming or aggression with all the changes that are going on. Some things you can do to help:

  • Provide places like open cardboard boxes for cats to hide in high places. This might include above appliances, or on top shelves. Make sure they are comfortable jumping to the locations you have provided.
  • Set boundaries for children with cats so they aren’t constantly playing with them. Some cats love kids but others need some alone time. In some cases it might be worthwhile putting cats in a separate part of the house for a few hours.
  • Use Feliway spray or diffusers – this is a feline facial pheromone product that is helpful in reducing stress in cats.
  • Speak to use about anti anxiety medications or other ways to help manage feline behavioural issues.
Written by John Morgan

John first started with Gordon Vet Hospital back in 2004 as a weekend Nurse while studying Veterinary Science. When he graduated he worked in Goulburn for a few years before spending 2 years doing locum work through Canada. John returned to Australia in 2013 and came back to Gordon Vet Hospital. John completed his postgraduate studies in Small Animal Practice in 2013 and in 2015 gained Membership to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery.

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Steve Walker
Steve Walker
11:33 11 Aug 20
Helen was great. Took great care of our dog.
Eve Barratt
Eve Barratt
01:17 04 Aug 20
I took our little girl Coco for her very first vet visit yesterday. Dr Helen gave Coco a thoroughly check-up and provided me with useful information as the first time puppy owner. Coco is now enrolled in the puppy school and will return back for her 2nd vaccine in a couple of week!
Claire Turner
Claire Turner
05:21 19 Jul 20
Care & attention for your furry friends second to none.
Kimba
Kimba
02:50 09 Jul 20
Dr David and the team have provided real care, support and expertise for our furry family members over 25 years. They've also readily taken in injured wildlife. A great team of Vets and nurses - thanks for all you do!
Jayna Hirani
Jayna Hirani
03:43 09 Apr 20
Quality care and advice at every visit. The staff are friendly and informative and genuinely care about your pets. I am 100% confident that my cat and dog always receive the best pet healthcare and as pet parents that's all we want.
Marianne Broeng
Marianne Broeng
23:23 28 Jan 20
Gordon Vet has looked after my golden retriever since she was 9 weeks. Everyone has been amazing and caring with lots of experience. I have been able to ask any questions and always been welcome. Even one day when she stepped on a bee in the evening, they stayed open until we got there and helped her get it out. Thanks to all the staff :-)
Lizzie Wei
Lizzie Wei
00:56 18 Jan 20
We just moved to Gordon couple month ago and need to get my cat vaccinated. We found this hospital through google and I need to say they provide excellent service and very professional! The doctor really knows cat. Highly recommended!
Lara Bisley
Lara Bisley
08:15 27 Nov 19
Exceptional veterinary hospital. I have been taking my dog here for many years and although I now live in the Eastern Suburbs, I still drive across town to see the Vets at Gordon. The staff are highly skilled, compassionate, friendly and helpful. My 9 year old dog has had 2 knee operations (1 on each knee!) and the outcome of these surgeries far exceeded my expectations. I have been incredibly impressed with the care provided during all of our visits. I would highly recommend Gordon Vet Hospital.
Eugenie Goodyer
Eugenie Goodyer
23:22 21 Oct 19
Very friendly staff. Wonderful care for all our animals A++
Jennie Keogh
Jennie Keogh
06:36 21 Oct 19
Fantastic and friendly staff who you can tell really care about your pet. Their follow up service is also very reassuring. I also board my cat with Gordon Vet and I feel very comfortable to know he's in safe and caring hands. I'm so glad I found this clinic.
Newsha Amiri
Newsha Amiri
20:24 03 Oct 19
We took our dog there and Dr. David take care of his skin issues. he was so caring and professional.
Luxe Sydney Mum
Luxe Sydney Mum
06:37 02 Sep 19
Compassionate, caring and highly skilled veterinary surgeons who treat their patients and owners with respect. The nursing and administration staff are efficient and remember their patients by name which is a lovely touch. A lovely vet practice which despite our Golden Retriever Finn’s complex medical history, is always welcoming to him and he never displays any signs of anxiety when attending. Dr Helen is lovely and a firm favourite of ours!
Lihong Xing
Lihong Xing
05:00 05 Nov 18
Highly recommend Dr David, Scott, Helen, and Catherine, I've taken my cat to see all the doctors here.
Jeremy Tarbox
Jeremy Tarbox
22:55 10 Sep 18
We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
Vishal Kapoor
Vishal Kapoor
01:52 04 Sep 18
Really amazing staff members. Their systems and processes are also very
Gerry Stevens
Gerry Stevens
11:01 14 Jul 18
Good competant vet. Did what I needed. Staff friendly. Cat's well.
Arezu A
Arezu A
03:20 15 Feb 18
Absolutely love the service here. I switched from other Vets to this Vet as the staff here are quite attentive and really care about your furry baby! I have basically seen most of the Dr's here and all of them so far have been fantastic, friendly and fun to speak with! Easy to locate and enough parking available! 5 Stars indeed!
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