As Easter nears, we look forward to celebrating with family, seeing friends and of course, delicious treats. However, it’s important to remember the risks these goodies can pose to our furry friends, as they can be toxic foods for dogs and cats.

Dogs and Chocolate:

It’s no secret that chocolate is a hazard to a dog’s health. Chocolate contains substances like theobromine and caffeine, harmful to dogs when ingested in large amounts. Additionally, the colourful wrappers on lollies can also be hazardous if swallowed, potentially causing gastrointestinal issues and might even require a visit to an emergency vet.

While chocolate is widely known to be harmful to dogs, it’s important to note that cats are also at risk. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep all chocolates out of reach of both dogs and cats to prevent any potential health issues associated with cats and chocolate ingestion.

 You can keep your pets healthy by:

  • Storing chocolates and lollies out of reach.
  • Let guests know about the dangers to pets.
  • Dispose of wrappers properly.
  • Offer safer alternatives for dogs to occupy themselves with like dog toys and treats.

Candy Wrappers and Your Dog’s Health

But it’s not just the toxic food for dogs itself that can pose a threat, the colourful wrappers can also be harmful when ingested. One way to notice this happening is your pet breathing heavily.

The sharp edges of the foil on wrappers pose another danger to dogs, such as tearing or puncturing the digestive tracts that might require an emergency visit to the vet.

Pet Holiday Stress

All the excitement around the easter period can be exciting, but can also be anxiety inducing and lead to a very stressed dogs and cats.

It’s good to remember that, like us, dogs and cats  can be overwhelmed too, and that puppies and kittens can experience stress too. So during the easter holidays, your pets will thank you for checking in on them particularly when their normal environment is being invaded by unfamiliar people, which will mean you’ll have a much less stressed pet..

Easter Plants and Flowers:

Easter is a time for flowers aplenty, with lilies and daisies being some of the most popular during easter celebrations. However, for cats, lilies are particularly harmful, all parts of the lily plant contain toxins that can cause severe damage if eaten.

Symptoms of a cat eating lily flowers include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lethargy

What to do if your Cat or Dog is Unwell

Contact Clyde vet or us immediately for guidance if you believe your cat or dog has eaten poisonous foods or is displaying any of these symptoms. Certain situations, such as a pet ingesting toxic foods or displaying alarming symptoms like your pet breathing heavily, may necessitate an immediate visit to an emergency vet for quick treatment.

Acting quickly can be crucial for a successful recovery, so don’t hesitate to get help if you have concerns about your cat or dog’s health.

Pet Toxic Food Treatment at Clyde Veterinary Hospital

You can trust our team of experienced vets to look after your pet if they’ve ingested harmful food or plants. Give our team a call on (03) 9052 3200 or make a booking online to get started.

Click to Keep Reading


Giving your furry friend the best chance at living a longer, healthier life is the goal of every loving pet owner. Doing what’s best for your pet goes beyond ensuring they have access to good food, water & a comfortable environment.

Dental health care is often overlooked in pets and is of critical importance for their health & wellbeing. Did you know up to 85% of dogs or cats experience some form of dental health issue by just 3 years of age?

National pet dental health month is the perfect reminder of why it’s important to look after your pet’s teeth and gums. By recognising the signs of dental disease and taking steps to prevent it, you can help improve the quality of life for your pet for the years to come.

Learn More About Out August 2023 Dental Health Month Promotions Here

Recognising dental disease in pets: what is it and what does it look like

So why are teeth and gums so important to look after and what happens if they are not looked after?

Most dogs, cats and pocket pets are not born with bad teeth. In actual fact most young pets teeth will look clean, white and quite unremarkable. This can often be misleading because this may instil a false sense of security in pet owners; you may then ask yourself “My pets teeth are perfect, why should I bother to clean them”?

What is important to remember is that without regular brushing and possible dental heath care products (if required) over a period of month to years teeth WILL slowly accumulate plaque, followed by tartar with associated gingivitis.

A healthy mouth

A healthy pet’s mouth should show gums of a uniform light pink colour, with clear white teeth showing no discolouration or build up of plaque around the gums.

Screen Shot 2023 07 28 at 14.05.02 pm dental care Puppies

What is plaque?

Plaque is the first stage of dental disease and in animals is the pale yellow, light tan grimy film layer that coats the surface of teeth. Dogs, cats, pocket pets (and yes even humans!) that do not brush their teeth will accumulate this layer in a matter of hours. The composition of plaque itself is a mixture of microscopic food particles, saliva, oral bacteria, and minerals.

Plaque can in its earliest presentation be removed with regular toothbrushing. However if it is allowed to continue without proper dental care and removal it can form tartar.

This stage of dental disease is the most reversible and easiest to treat.

Screen Shot 2023 07 31 at 11.20.54 am dental care Puppies
Sourced from: The Healthy Dog Co

What is tartar?

Tartar is the next step in dental disease after plaque. It is plaque that has mineralised (calcified). Tartar can over time form continual layers on teeth and reach below the gum line to sit in the tooth socket. Tartar looks like a thickened brown film on the teeth with a craggy / raised ‘mountainous’ appearance. Because tartar is mineralised (and therefore very hard) it is not as amenable to tooth brushing for removal.

Screen Shot 2023 07 28 at 14.06.53 pm dental care Puppies

What is Gingivitis?

Once plaque and tartar are established on teeth and at the tooth / gum margin gingivitis will worsen. Gums are very sensitive tissues and chronic exposure to oral bacteria in plaque and tartar will cause a lot or redness, tenderness, inflammation, prone to bleeding with associated pain. It should also be remembered that red swollen, infected gums are more permeable to oral bacteria; which means that there is a higher chance of oral bacteria being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Screen Shot 2023 07 31 at 11.21.11 am dental care Puppies
Sourced from VCA Animal Hospitals








Tissues that can form bacterial inflammatory deposits include kidney and cardiac tissue. This may result in continual disease in these organs (example; kidney dysfunction or infections) or recurrent periods where your pet is unwell and “just not right”. The longer the dental disease continues untreated the more sickness episodes can be expected in our furry friends.

What happens with continual untreated dental disease?

End stage Periodontal Disease: Infected and loose teeth

Over time continual exposure of teeth and gums to bacteria will slowly erode the supporting ligament that holds teeth in place (the periodontal ligament); in time teeth will loosen and become mobile (wobbly) in their bony sockets. This increased gap in the space in-between the tooth and its socket allows further bacteria to sit in this space and accumulate.

In time the end stage of dental disease or “tooth decay” will become evident as teeth with pus around the gum / tooth margin with wobbly teeth that move whenever the pet eats.

Eventually the bony sockets of the upper and lower jaw that the teeth sit in become infected (osteomyelitis) with the bone changing into a more softer and fragile consistency.

Once the gums, teeth and mouth reach this later stage of dental disease it is often irreversible: meaning that dental cleaning and prophy treatments are recommended and instigated but these will not restore the teeth back to complete health and ongoing dental disease is expected in the future requiring ongoing care.

As expected this final stage of dental disease can be quite painful and reduce eating due to pain. Additionally brushing the teeth becomes more difficult due to the increased sensitively of the teeth to pain.

While plaque and tartar can often be seen by looking in your pet’s mouth, sometimes it can be hard to notice when you’re unsure what to look out for. As a general rule, don’t assume that your pet’s teeth are healthy without getting a pet dental health check and maintaining pet dental care.

Here are some common signs of dental disease:

  • Bad breath 
  • Irregular/abnormal eating or drinking: eg. picking up food with their nouth then dropping it
  • Broken/loose teeth 
  • Excessive drooling or pawing at mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Teeth that are no longer white on the surface but are yellow or tan with a rough texture rather than a soothe surface 


Benefits of Maintaining Pets Dental Health

By getting to it early, you minimise the likelihood of tartar forming and moving below the gum line and causing your pet serious pain and discomfort as a result of inflammation and infection.

Ensuring your pet receives proper dental care both at home and at the vet is vital. By practising proper dental care, pets are more likely to experience improved overall health that will help them in the years to come.

Pet dental health awareness month is the perfect time to book your best friend into your local veterinary clinic for a check-up.
At Clyde Veterinary Hospital, we provide dental health services for dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents and ferrets. We pride ourselves on treating animals in our state-of-the-art clinic and using gold standard service and dental equipment.

With dedicated dog and cat treatment areas, you can trust that your beloved pet will receive the highest quality, tailored care. We use the best pet dental care products and perform rigorous pre-anaesthetic testing to help ensure your pet receives the best treatment possible.

If your pet is showing signs of dental problems or you’d like to make sure your pet’s health is the best it can be, give us a call on 03 9052 3200 or make a booking online today.

What You Can Do?

Clean Their Teeth Regularly

Few pet owners take the time to give their animal’s teeth a regular or dedicated clean, but this is without question the gold standard in preventative care.

We strongly encourage the use of a dedicated species-specific toothbrush or “finger brush” which is a specially designed plastic overlay that you place over your finger and use to brush their teeth directly, and which gives much better tactile feedback and a better experience for your pet.

dog breath treatment veterinary casey

Using a dedicated dental paste is really the gold standard. Dedicated pet-specific formulations are available which have a palatable taste for pets, and which provide additional benefits such as mouth freshening and prevent plaque build-up.

We do recommend products such as Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel, which is completely odourless and tasteless and made from natural ingredients.

Screen Shot 2023 07 31 at 11.24.53 am dental care Puppies

We DO NOT recommend using human toothpaste to clean your dog or cat’s teeth, as these can contain ingredients that can be harmful to dogs or cats if used over an extended period and in some formulations contain ingredients which can be toxic to pets.

It’s important that you remain committed to a daily process of brushing in order to maintain the benefits of a regular dental regime, and it’s important to quickly get your pet used to the somewhat unnatural process of having their teeth brushed.

Here are some tips for gradual introduction to tooth brushing for your pet:

  1. Start by gently lifting up your dog or cat’s top and bottom lip one side at a time and lightly rubbing their teeth with your finger once a day. Once they become used to this, you should begin use of the finger or tooth brush.
  2. Once your pet is used to you handling their mouth and rubbing their gums, use the finger brush (WITHOUT) toothpaste to rub the gums. Brush with gentle circular motions.
  3. Finally introduce a small blob of toothpaste to your pet onto their gums before applying this onto the fingerbrush. This will get them used to the taste of the toothpaste.  Then apply the toothpaste to the finger brush and start gently brushing each row of teeth, top and bottom left and right using circular motions. Concentrate on cleaning the outside (cheek-facing) surfaces, as most pets will not allow you to brush the inside (tongue facing) surface of the teeth. Be sure to clean the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar.

Be sure to reward them after their toothbrushing with play, petting or a favourite activity, to positively reinforce the brushing process

We recommend starting your pet out as young as possible while they are still puppies or kittens, as they will be far more receptive to brushing if you begin at an early age.

Use Specially Formulated Dental Dry Food

A number of dog and cat food manufacturers now make several varieties of dry food formula which has been specially designed to abrasively prevent the build-up of plaque or tartar on your pet’s teeth and gums.

At Clyde Veterinary Hospital, we strongly recommend Hills Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care for Dogs and Cats –

This diet features a specially formulated, species-specific kibble shape and size, with “fibre matrix technology” for maximum plaque reduction. Essentially the kibble biscuits clean the teeth just by the pet chomping them up and eating them!

Hills t/d comes in a formulation for cats as well as various sizes for dogs

Screen Shot 2023 07 31 at 11.25.31 am dental care Puppies

Use Dedicated Dental Chews

Similarly, several manufacturers make dedicated dental chew treats for dogs, which are a great-tasting way to supplement a daily brushing regime, and provide a little reward for putting up with the hassle of brushing.

Add a Specialised Dental Formula to Their Drinking Water

Oxyfresh have also come up with this extremely clever way of destroying bacteria and removing plaque – a dental additive solution you can mix in with their regular water – it’s completely colourless and odourless so they’ll never even know the good they are doing themselves every time they go to the water bowl – and it’s effective for both dogs and cats, or indeed any animal species.

We don’t recommend relying primarily on this as a preventative measure, but it can certainly help improve the effectiveness of a more hands-on dental care regime.

oxyfresh veterinary dental water additive

Give Dogs a Raw Bone

Although this is one preventative measure your dog will truly relish, we recommend exercising caution with this. Always supervise your pet when they are chewing a bone.

Importantly NEVER give your dog a cooked bone, as they are liable to splinter and can seriously injure your pet.

Always give your dog a human-grade meat bone (some preservatives used in inferior meats contain substances that can harm your dog), with enough meat still on to retain a degree of softness, and make sure the bone is large enough that they won’t attempt to swallow it.

Chewing on the bone’s rubbery surface can help remove plaque and tartar build-up and strengthen your dog’s gums, providing improved resistance to dental decay.

We recommend a maximum of 1-2 bones per week, and remember to try to leave a minimum 3 day gap between bone treats.

See Your Vet Regularly

This one may seem obvious, but it’s important that your pet has regular dental check-ups from an early age – you don’t want them having to live with a lifetime of tooth or other dental issues, which can lead to a loss of appetite, and restrict their enjoyment of life.

Only a professional dental check can properly diagnose and treat the often deeply hidden teeth or gum issues that can lurk deep within your dog or cat’s mouth.

Animals will also benefit from dental scaling, and your vet can advise if this would be appropriate and beneficial for your pet. Depending on the level of build-up, some dogs may need a yearly scale and polish.

Screen Shot 2023 07 31 at 11.37.56 am dental care Puppies
State of the Art IM3 Ultrasonic Scaler, as used by Clyde Veterinary Hospital








Ultrasonic scalers are handheld devices which use ultrasonic vibrations to remove hard, calcified deposits from your pet’s teeth. They also create shockwaves that disrupt bacterial growth, while also washing and flushing pockets between teeth and any exposed root surfaces with water.

The procedure is usually followed by a professional tooth polish, which smooths the surface of the tooth to minimise bacteria and plaque build-up.

We do strongly caution against any lay dental practitioners who claim to perform dental scaling free of anaesthesia. For starters, the procedure can be painful and distressing for your pet, but just as importantly – it’s been shown to be ineffective as a preventative measure – in most cases, your pet is simply not going to allow anyone to insert anything deep enough into their mouths to provide for a complete and effective clean.


August 2023: Dental Month

And a final reminder, we have a huge range of special offers for August 2023 Dental Month

Colorful Veterinary Clinic Facebook Cover 3 dental care Puppies


A Team You Can Trust at Clyde Vet

We have a team of trusted veterinarians who are leaders in pet care. 

We value preventative care to keep your pet healthy and endeavour to identify any concerns before they become a bigger issue. 

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment please give us a call at (03) 9069 4088 or email us at info@clydevet.com.au



Our pets are an integral part of the family and we want to keep them safe and healthy at all times. If you have a pet you need to be aware that something as simple as feeding them the wrong food could lead to serious problems. 

Familiarising yourself with common pet poisons in your animal is advisable to prevent potential toxicities. If poisoning should occur, it is also beneficial to recognise that the substance is toxic in order that prompt veterinary treatment can be sought.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something dangerous, it is essential you visit a vet straight away. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your beloved pet.

Understanding toxic foods for pets 

Certain human foods can cause severe health problems if ingested by a pet. In some extreme circumstances, the wrong food can be life-threatening. Certain foods can be more toxic to one species than another, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with what is safe.

Common Toxins in Cats: 

There are several foods toxic to cats that can cause a range of health problems, some even life-threatening if consumed. 

Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks

Onions are part of the Amaryllidaceae family. This genus Allium also includes garlic, chives, and leeks. 

Allium species contain sulfoxides (sulfur-containing compounds), which are readily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and when absorbed into the bloodstream disrupt red blood cell membranes, resulting in red blood cell rupture which can result in anemia. As little as 5g/kg (or 20g in the average-sized 4kg cat) is enough to cause toxicity.

Breakdown products from red blood cell rupture may also result in kidney damage or failure.

Cats remain more sensitive to this form of poisoning than dogs (although this remains a toxic risk in dogs). 

Signs to look for: Weakness, lethargy, pale gums, collapsing, vomiting.

poison in pets onions dental care Puppies

Grapes, currents, raisins and sultanas

While the exact mechanism of toxicity and amount required to produce this remains unknown this food group is known to cause kidney damage and, in some cases, can result in kidney failure.

Signs to look for: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea inappetence, seizures.

poison in pets grapes currents dental care Puppies

Feeding exclusively fish, particularly if cooked or smoked (eg. salmon, tuna)

Feeding a diet comprised solely of fish is not advised in carnivores as this can result in Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency. Thiamine is essential to carbohydrate, amino acid, and fatty acid synthesis and metabolism. Thiamine can be destroyed by heat, sulphur preservatives, and in diets high in thiaminase (an enzyme that breaks down Thiamine) such as raw fish. Thiamine deficiency results in progressive neurological signs with the brain being particularly vulnerable as it requires Thiamine for many critical cellular processes.

Signs to look for: Early onset vomiting and inappetence followed by possible seizuring, impaired vision, weak or wobbliness on legs, head tilt.

Dairy Products

Many dogs and cats are lactose intolerant, which means that dairy products consumed can cause gastrointestinal upset. Milk is only required in the nursing stages of puppies and kittens under 6 weeks of age. Therefore, if milk is desired as a dietary addition in an adult animal a pet milk is advised (eg. Whiskas Milk Plus Lactose Free milk for Kittens & adult cats).

Dog food

While dog food might not be toxic, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances if consumed by cats. Generally dog food contains insufficient levels of the following nutrients required in cats:

Protein: Cats are strict carnivores requiring a higher protein diet than dogs (which are omnivores eating both meat and plant-based material). Most commercial dog foods are too low in protein to meet a cat’s protein requirement. Likewise feeding a cat a “vegetarian” or “vegan” diet is dangerous and completely inappropriate for their metabolic needs and will result in severe illness and death if continued to be fed.

Signs to look for: inappetence, weakness, lethargy, seizures, coma

Remember a cat does not have a choice in what it eats and must consume meat!  Pet owners’ beliefs should not be forced on our pets at the cost of their health and well-being.

Taurine: Cats, like people, cannot make their own taurine naturally in their bodies. Cats must therefore obtain taurine from their diet. Most dog foods do not have a high enough taurine content for cats. Signs of taurine deficiency include digestive upset, loss of vision, and heart problems. 

Niacin: Cats are also unable to make their own niacin vitamin within their body.  Animal tissue is high in niacin, so a high-protein diet is also required in this respect.

Vitamin A: Again, cats cannot produce their own Vitamin A and must obtain it from their diet. Dog food is too low in this vitamin for cats. Signs of Vitamin A deficiency include weak muscles, dull hair coat and night blindness. 

Arachidonic acid: This fatty acid is unable to be produced naturally in cats whereas dogs create arachidonic acid themselves. Dog food, therefore, contains lower amounts than cat food. Signs of deficiency can include liver and kidney disease and various skin diseases.

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)

If you feel your cat is in pain it is often best to consult a veterinarian before administering home medications.

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is highly toxic to cats due to their inability to metabolise this drug due to their body lacking the required enzymes. In order for cats to metabolise Acetaminophen they must use another metabolism pathway which results in toxic metabolites (breakdown products) being produced. 

Toxicity is characterised by two processes:

  1. The inability of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body results in low oxygen and collapse with blue/dark gums and struggling to breathe. This may also result in kidney damage
  2. Liver toxicity with liver tissue damage and failure

In cats, toxicity can occur with as little as 40mg of Paracetamol ingested in an average 4kg cat! Compare this to dogs where toxicity can occur in the same size 4kg dog but with a minimum toxic ingestion of 400mg. This illustrates the cat’s sensitivity to this toxin and marked inability to process it.

Signs to look for:  Dark brown/muddy gum colour or blue gum colour, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, weakness, collapsing, depression, weakness, vomiting, hypothermia, yellow gums or skin (icterus), facial or paw oedema (fluid swelling)

Common Toxins in Dogs: 

As dogs love wandering around the home trying to find food, it’s important to be mindful of what food is in reach. There are many toxic foods for dogs that you may have around your home and yard without even realising. 

Macadamia nuts

The process involved in producing toxicity from macadamia nuts remains unknown however even consuming small amounts of these can lead to very serious illness. It should also be kept in mind that macadamia nuts can be coated in other products that are toxic to pets such as chocolate, xylitol sweetener, and grape products. 

Signs to look for: weakness, staggering, vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia.

poison in pets_macademia nuts


While chocolate is a toxic food for dogs and cats, dogs are more likely to be affected as cats are usually too discriminating to eat chocolate in large quantities.

The severity of chocolate toxicity depends on the type of chocolate ingested, the amount and the size of the pet.

Chocolate contains methylxanthines; namely theobromine and caffeine 

Darker and more bitter chocolate (eg. higher percentage cocoa and cooking chocolate) contains more theobromine and caffeine and hence tends to be more toxic than milk and white chocolate but again this will depend on the quantity consumed.

It is also worth remembering that some chocolate products contain other toxins such as coffee beans, macadamia nuts, raisins and xylitol.

Signs to look for: hyperactivity, increased heart and respiratory rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, hyperthermia, tremors, and seizures.


Xylitol is a sweetener used as a sugar substitute in many pharmaceuticals, oral care products and as a food additive. It is found naturally in fruits such as berries and plums as well as corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce and many trees. Commercially used Xylitol is extracted from corn fibre or birch trees and has gained popularity as a sugar substitute due to its low glycaemic index and dental plaque fighting properties.

Products containing xylitol include: 

  • Oral care products (eg. Mouthwash, toothpaste, sugar-free gum, breath mints)
  • Foodstuffs (eg. Candy, baked goods, peanut butter, pudding snacks)
  • Supplements and over-the-counter medications (eg. cough syrup, chewable or gummy vitamins, nasal sprays, skin care products, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy medications, mouth lozenges, sleep supplements)
  • Pharmaceutical medications especially those formulated as quick-dissolve tablets or liquids.

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. The Xylitol is absorbed into the bloodstream which causes a rapid release of insulin from the pancreas which results in a marked drop in blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) which can be life-threatening. Xylitol is also known to cause seizures as well as liver failure however this process is poorly understood.

Signs to look for: vomiting, lethargy, weakness, wobbliness, tremors, seizures, coma.

Are plants dangerous to pets? 

Certain plants contain toxins that can cause a range of health problems if ingested ranging from mild to severe.

Familiarise yourself with what houseplants are toxic to pets so you know what plants to keep away from your home. You should also make sure there are no toxic plants growing in your garden that could be a problem for your pets. 


Lilies are one of the most common toxic plants for cats. Ingestion of any part of this plant (flower, stamen, leaves or stems) can cause kidney failure. 

All members of the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis should be considered nephrotoxic to cats and potentially dogs. This includes the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), tiger lily (Lilium species) and daylily (Hemerocallis species), among many others.

poison in pets_Easter lily
poison in pets_Tiger lily
poison in pets_Day lily

Signs to look for: Initial depression, vomiting, inappetence. If allowed to progress lily toxicity can result in kidney damage and failure.

Sago palm

Part of the Cycad/Cycas, Microzamia or Zamia genus these palms are also known as Coontie palms, Cardboard palms, Japanese cycad, Cycads, or Zymias, sago palms and are readily available for purchase in stores ranging from small nurseries to the garden sections of large home improvement stores. All parts of the sago palm plant are toxic.

Signs to look for: Gastrointestinal irritation with depression, drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Neurological signs including weakness, wobbliness, tremors, and seizures. If left untreated advanced signs may include liver damage with yellow skin or eyes (icterus), increased thirst and urination and dark urine. With liver disease decreased blood clotting may also occur resulting in bleeding both internally and externally.

poison in pets_sago palm

Aloe vera 

While aloe vera can be beneficial to humans, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and digestive upset in dogs and cats if ingested.

poison in pets_Aloe vera

Azalea and Rhododendron

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are classified as part of the same family with all parts of the plant including the flower, leaves and shrub being toxic.
These plants contain a toxin called grayanotoxin, which disrupts the electrical pathway in muscle tissue including heart muscle. 

Signs to look for: Gastrointestinal signs: inappetence, drooling, vomiting diarrhoea, abdominal pain. Cardiovascular signs: abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, Neurology signs: depression, muscle tremours, blindness, seizures, coma.  

poison in pets_Azalea and Rhododendron

It is important to note that these lists are by no means exhaustive and there may be other toxins that may cause potential health concerns in your pet.

What to do if your pet is unwell?

Contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on the best course of action. Observe any symptoms and follow your vet’s recommendations for treatment, which may include medication, rest, or changes to their diet or environment. Prompt intervention can be crucial for a successful recovery, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you have concerns about your pet’s health. 

A vet you can trust at Clyde Veterinary Hospital 

We have a team of trusted veterinarians who are leaders in pet care. 

We value preventative care to keep your pet healthy and endeavour to identify any concerns before they become a bigger issue. 

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment please give us a call at (03) 9069 4088 or email us at info@clydevet.com.au



Just like every other member of the family, your pet’s mental health is important for their long-term wellbeing. If your pet is anxious, bored or without much stimulation, over time it can seriously affect their physical and mental health and over time their relationship with their owners.Luckily, there are some simple changes you can make to your cat or dog’s everyday experience that can help them live a happier and healthier life. Here are some of the expert pet enrichment suggestions from the team at Clyde Vet Hospital – and some of the signs you need to watch out for in your pet.

How to tell if your pet is unhappy

Nobody knows your pet like you do, which means you’re the perfect person to spot whether or not they need a little help. Even small changes in behaviour can point to a bored or anxious pet that needs more stimulation in their life.

Tips to help your pet live a happier life

Clyde Vet Hospital has a number of tips and tricks to help your furry friends get back on track. These pet enrichment ideas are a great place to start when trying to overcome any pet anxiety in your home.

Signs that your dog may need enrichment


dog being trained with treat - pet enrichment blog

Dogs that are bored or not stimulated enough need to find an outlet to relieve their emotional stresses and pent-up energy. This is typically the case in younger dogs that have high energy levels. Signs to look for can include:

  • Excessive barking, sometimes for no specific reason: this may be be due to relieving boredom or your pet may be looking for interaction with you via a response to the barking. 
  • Chewing or excessive licking of objects (eg. shoes, couches, kids toys, small household items / decorations): the reason for this behaviour is similiar to why dogs bark however there is a danger that accidental ingestion of these objects can occur. Ingestion of foreign objects may cause abdominal pain and in some cases result in the object becoming stuck in the gastrointestinal tract which may require potential surgical intervention.
  • Excessive digging: digging is a natural evolutionary pass time for dogs as in the wild they will bury prey / food and come back for it later. However when this becomes excessive and results in destruction to lawns, garden beds, vegetable patches it can become problematic.
  • Uncharacteristic aggression with family members or strangers: This may be due to overstimlation and no channeling of pent up energy or frustrations.
  • Increased pacing: again this is often due to boredom and pent up energy but please be mindful that may not be the only reason for this behaviour. Dogs in pain or even with neurological disease may also present with this problem. 
  • Increased quietness or depression: older dogs that are more settled in their routine may show boredom as increased quietness and lethargy

How to enrich your dog’s life

Most dogs are incredibly active animals, especially high activity level and working dog breeds. Working dog breeds are also highly intelligent and thus can get bored and frustrated easily if their mental needs are not being met. 

As such dogs require regular exercise. Being cooped up in a small backyard all the time can be boring and can result in behavioral problems developing; like those mentioned above. Behavioural problems can be difficult to break if they become a long term habit. 

Dogs are pack animals and as such they require other people and animals to interact with. 

Tips for dog enrichment: 

  • Daily walks: Dogs should be walked at least once a day (twice a day for active, high energy breeds). Often going to the park for a walk and a play at ball in off lead parks can be stimulating.  Also try new and unique locations (eg. beach) and places to stop along the way for a break and a sit down may also prove rewarding.
  • Puzzles, toys: puzzle toys that require problem solving such as mazes where a treat can be hidden (eg. KongⓇ toys) are a great way to keep dogs occupied and as a bous give a reward for their effort if they get the treat out.
  • Frozen treats: Making your own frozen “pupsicle” treats is a great way to reward your pet as well as keeping them stimulated. As always please consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about potential toxicity in any of the ingredients you are using.
  • Arrange a play-date with another dog: – join a local dog group if you don’t already know any other dogs nearby!
  • Owner / dog playtime: sometimes it is you the owner and your time and interaction that will boost your pets mood. So take that extra time every day, even if it is just an extra 5 minutes to have a play and run around with your dog.

Signs that your cat may need enrichment

Whether they’re indoor or outdoor, your feline friend will still exhibit the same basic behaviours if they’re generally unhappy. Signs to look for can include:

  • Excessive vocalisations: cats, especially young cats will vocalise in order to communicate. This can become excessive if they are demanding something from you as an owner (eg. food, attention)
  • Clawing / scratching furniture: Cats have evolved to scratch their claws on trees to shed the excess nail layer and keep them sharp for hunting. This also serves as a territorial scent mark for other cats in the area. Unfortunately cats do not understand that your chair / couch leg is not a tree!
  • Excessive grooming: this can be due to other problems such as infections and parasite burden and pain but in the context of behavioural anxieties it can be due stresses that are misdirected as the cat overgrooming
  • Extreme clinginess to you / other family members: There is a misconception that cats are not as affectionate as dogs but this has recently been disproven that cats are indeed as invested in their owners if not moreso than dogs. As such cats if they are sick or stressed will seek comfort and reassurance from their owner.
  • Excessive sleeping: this can be due to illness but may well also be a clue that they are not as interested in or stimulated by their surroundings.
  • Frequent hiding: Again this can be due to illness but also due to stress

Tips for cat enrichment:

Cats don’t require the same level of exercise as dogs in order to feel comfortable and happy, but they do require lots of mental stimulation and play (especially if they’re an indoor cat). This can include:

  • Toys: these can include soft toys (with or without pull string motors for movement), feather wands and laser pointers. Toys that encourage chasing and hunting behaviour are best as they keep the cat stimulated as well as potentially wearing out high activity level cats! Keep in mind that changing over new toys every couple of months is important as cats can get tired of the same toy long term. A good trick is to put a small number of toys in storage and rotate them every couple of months.
  • Scratching posts: A few strategically situated scratching posts around the house will still enable the cat to mark their territory, keep their claws healthy and also save your furniture!
  • Hiding places and high perches: Cats are evolutionary both predator and prey and as such they like to be high up above everything where they can survey and assess from a safe distance as well as having dark places to hide if they feel threated. Regularly updating their environment with new objects (eg. boxes, wall shelf / perch, cat towers and stations) are a great way to keep them stimulated and comfortable.
  • Cat grass: Cats eat grass as it aids in digestion and general health. Having a cat grass plantar in the house that the cat can graze on is a great way to keep them happy & healthy. Cat grass is available as seeds and the fully grown grass from most nurseries.
  • Owner / cat playtime: sometimes it is you the owner and your time and interaction that will boost your pets mood. So take that extra time every day, even if it is just an extra 5 minutes to have a play and hide and seek around with your cat.
  • Giving your cat multiple different ways to express themselves and their instincts is the key to making sure they’re sufficiently stimulated.

cat looking happy - pet enrichment blog

Your local pet experts

If you’ve noticed any challenging or concerning behaviour in your pet and want to make sure that they’re okay physically or mentally, then don’t hesitate to book a visit to the expert veterinarians at Clyde Vet Hospital. We can help you figure out what’s holding your pet back and offer a range of different solutions for a happier, healthier and longer life with you. 

Get in touch with our friendly team at (03) 9052 3200, or make an online booking at any time on our website.


Responsible pet owners want the best for their beloved cat or dog, including their skin care. When you notice excessive itching, scratching or discomfort from your pet, it’s time to take action. If a pet looks like they have skin irritation, it could be a sign that something is wrong and shouldn’t be ignored. These behaviours can be a response to a variety of things such as pet allergies, parasitic infestation, a bacterial or fungal infection, dry skin, or boredom.

When a pet is constantly scratching or chewing at their skin, they run the risk of prolonging and worsening any potential skin problems. Knowing the telltale signs of various pet skin conditions will help you find appropriate treatment sooner so you can put an end to your pet’s skin irritation and keep any issues at bay.

Signs of skin irritation in pets

If your pet has skin irritation, you may notice a red wet patch on their skin or coat, or you will catch them in the act of licking, scratching or chewing that area of their skin. You will also notice a few changes to their coat that will signify something is wrong

Some of the more common signs to look out for are:

  • Chewing, licking, biting or scratch their own skin
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Rashes
  • Dry flaky skin
  • A dull coat
  • A distinct smell/odour that resembles wet socks

Cause of pet skin conditions 

Helping your pet’s skin conditions can feel like a never ending battle. The rash on your pet’s skin could have been caused by them incessantly scratching and tampering with their skin, but there’s most likely an underlying cause to explain why your pet is feeling this level of discomfort. 

Pet allergies

Noticing sudden strange patches on your pet’s skin can often raise a few questions such as ‘is my dog injured?’, ‘does my dog have allergies?’, ‘has my cat been attacked?’. The truth is, your furry friend can be susceptible to pet allergies regardless of their breed or age. Allergies can often be triggered by food or environmental triggers such as pollen, dust, grass, mould and other allergens. Testing can be done to determine the trigger so you can try to minimise your pet’s exposure to some of these allergens.

Skin allergies and dermatitis 

Dermatitis is the name used to describe skin allergies. Unfortunately, skin allergies are often a long term, chronic condition that will require ongoing treatment for your cat or dog. 

Other skin allergies can be caused by contact dermatitis which is often the result of your pet coming into contact with chemicals or plants that cause a reaction.


Parasites that commonly affect pets include ticks, fleas, fungal infection, mange, lice, and ear mites. Some parasites cannot be seen by the naked eye until there is a large infestation. It is important you monitor any changes in your pet’s behaviour, and get them tested and treated for parasites if you notice any signs. Leaving parasites untreated can result in further discomfort, skin irritation, and more serious health issues.

Boredom and anxiety

Excessive chewing, scratching or licking isn’t always the result of a physical reaction. Sometimes it can be a sign that your pet is experiencing psychological discomfort and is trying to self-soothe. Identifying what is causing your pet distress, along with finding a way to keep your pet calm, will help to prevent these compulsions.

Pet skin care tips

Whether you’re trying to better manage cat allergies, dry skin, parasites, anxious pets, dog allergies, or recurring skin conditions for your pet, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your pet’s skin stays healthy.


A proper diet is absolutely essential for your pet to live a happy and healthy life. We’ve already established that skin concerns can be attributed to food allergies, but they can also be the result of an improper diet. Feeding your dog or cat food that is poor quality or lacking in certain nutrients can affect the condition of their coat and underlying skin.

Medicated shampoo

Unlike regular shampoo, medicated shampoo can help provide relief quickly and effectively for pets with skin conditions. Medicated shampoos are specially formulated with active ingredients such as antibacterial agents to treat common pet skin conditions.

Monitor faeces

Faecal testing is the best way for your vet to check your pet for intestinal parasites.

Testing your pet’s faeces every six months can ensure that your pet isn’t suffering from worms. Regular testing can help catch parasites early, making them easier to treat.

Keep a diary

Keeping a record of your pet’s symptoms, behaviour, medicine, and meals will help you and your vet to gain a better understanding of your pet’s health. 


As soon as you notice any signs of skin discomfort in your cat or dog, take them to the vet for a check up. Getting your pet checked for any allergies or parasites can help prevent symptoms from spreading, and allow for faster treatment.

Prior to trying any medicated creams, or if you are unsure what treatment is best for your pet, the friendly team at Clyde Veterinary Hospital can offer the best advice during a consultation. If you have noticed any changes in your pet’s behaviour, or think your pet might be suffering from parasites or an allergic reaction, please contact us on (03) 9052 3200 or make a booking online today. 


Giving your best friend the best chance at living a longer, healthier life is the goal of every loving pet owner. Doing what’s best for your pet goes beyond keeping it well fed and hydrated, and extends to ensuring that your fur baby receives regular pet dental care at home and at the vet. 

Proper dental care for pets helps to prevent and protect animals from a number of health issues that arise when their teeth aren’t properly looked after. Additionally, when an owner takes the time to maintain their pet’s dental health, they help to improve their pet’s well-being and minimise the likelihood of harmful bacteria from the gums passing onto the major organs in your pet’s body. 

National pet dental health month is the perfect reminder of why it’s important to look after your pet’s teeth and gums. By recognising the signs of dental disease and taking steps to prevent it, you can help improve the quality of life for your pet for the years to come. 

Recognising dental disease in pets 

Poor pet dental health in your dog, cat or bunny often first presents itself in the teeth, gums and surrounding areas of your pet’s mouth. 

The slow buildup of plaque can cause issues over time, eventually spreading bacteria throughout the body. If not removed correctly, the plaque can also harden and become tartar, which will need to be removed by a veterinary clinic offering pet dental health services. Fortunately, tartar above the gums can be removed and cleaned by a professional. By getting to it early, you minimise the likelihood of tartar moving below the gum line and causing your pet serious pain and discomfort as a result of inflammation and infection. 

While plaque and tartar can often be seen by looking in your pet’s mouth, sometimes it can be hard to notice when you’re unsure what to look out for. As a general rule, don’t assume that your pet’s teeth are healthy without getting a pet dental health check and maintaining pet dental care. 

If your pet has a buildup of plaque and/or tartar that has caused its’ dental health to deteriorate, you’ll likely recognise one or more of the following signs: 

  • Bad breath 
  • Irregular/abnormal eating or drinking 
  • Broken/loose teeth 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Bleeding from the mouth 

Once you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to go to the vet to get your furry friend checked out. 

Benefits of maintaining pet dental health 

Ensuring your pet receives proper dental care both at home and at the vet is vital. By practising proper dental care, pets are more likely to experience improved overall health that will help them in the years to come. Having a good level of dental care for dogs, cats, bunnies and more helps them in five key areas. 

The most important reason to maintain a thorough level of dental care for pets is to help prevent the likelihood of organ damage caused by dental diseases or infections. You also minimise the potential for the gum disease to get worse. Any bacteria that makes its way into the bloodstream has the chance to spread to the heart, liver and kidneys of your pet, potentially making them extremely sick.

Additionally, proper dental care for cats and other animals can help prevent them from losing teeth, feeling pain in their mouth region or having bad breath. This helps them live freer and helps to ensure they can eat, drink and behave as normal. 

Quality and affordable pet dental care 

Pet dental health awareness month is the perfect time to book your best friend into your local veterinary clinic for a checkup. 

At Clyde Veterinary Hospital, we provide dental health services for dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents and ferrets. We pride ourselves on treating animals in our state-of-the-art clinic and using gold standard service and dental equipment

With dedicated dog and cat treatment areas, you can trust that your beloved pet will receive the highest quality, tailored care. We use the best pet dental care products and perform rigorous pre-anesthetic testing to help ensure your pet receives the best treatment possible. 

If your pet is showing signs of dental problems or you’d like to make sure your pet’s health is the best it can be, give us a call on 03 9052 3200 or make a booking online today. 

Clyde Veterinary Hospital – dental month offer 

Did you know 70% of all cats and dogs have some form of dental disease by just three years of age? Fortunately, this August is Dental Month at Clyde Veterinary Hospital and we’re here to help your much-loved pet. 

For this month only we’re offering: 

  • Free dental assessment and dental preventative plan 
  • 10% off dental procedures if required 
  • 10% off any dental product in the hospital 

T&C – Dental health checks Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Bookings required.

Follow Clyde Veterinary Hospital on Social Media …

for much CUTENESS, behind the scenes photos, special offers and MORE …

Website copyright © Clyde Veterinary Hospital, 2018. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy.

Website design and construction by Rattling Tram Local and Retail Marketing, Melbourne, Australia.

clyde vets cranbourne