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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Pets at risk in flood waters too, vets warn

Pet owners are being reminded that their furry friends are at risk of illness, anxiety and harm due to wild weather flooding.

Vets from across the state are sharing crucial care tips for pets and local wildlife with heavy rain and flooding hitting much of the NSW coast.

Greencross Vets regional clinical director Dr. Adam Sternberg advises NSW pet parents to be aware of potential risks to pets.

“Flood water may be contaminated with sewage containing E. coli or parasites such as giardia, which can cause serious gastrointestinal upsets to include vomiting and diarrhoea,” he said.

“Ensure you provide fresh water to minimise the chance that your dog may drink storm water. Provide some of their favourite food as well.”

Anxiety is also a concern Dr Sternberg added.

“Pets may be experiencing increased anxiety from the storm. A frightened pet may display a range of out of character behaviours including hiding under furniture, drooling, pacing, barking, destructive chewing and attempts to escape. 

“If a dog is anxious, natural appeasing pheromone such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway in cats may help. A thundershirt may help to reassure dogs.

“Pets must be provided with a safe and secure environment so that they cannot hurt themselves or run away in a time of increased anxiety.”

Dr Sternberg suggests relocating outdoor pets to indoor areas until the storm threat passes.

“If you have an outdoor pet, set up an indoor area that is safe and secure. The laundry or bathroom are good temporary locations as they are tiled and your pet may feel safer in a smaller space. 

“Most pets like a cubby hole or secure environment to seek refuge. Ensure they cannot hurt themselves.”

If there is a need to evacuate Dr Sternberg recommends staying away from flood waters, following directions from authorities, packing plenty of water and pet equipment.

“Pack plenty of fresh water and try to avoid your pet drinking contaminated flood water.

Don’t forget to pack your pet’s food, any medications, collars and leads for dogs and secure carrier for cats and smaller pets.

“If you find a stray animal or wildlife take them to your closest vet to be scanned for a microchip as soon as travel is safe. 

“Many wildlife are scared as they have been removed from their local habitat. Gently place a towel over them and securely transport to your nearest vet or call your nearest Wildlife rescue. Be careful as they may bite.”

The SES has compiled a checklist for pet owners to include in their home emergency plan.

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