Do you have an emergency vet on call?

Absolutely! We rarely have a need to call our vets but when we do, they are only a phone call away 24/7. It is good to know that our local vet practice has six vets who specialise in different areas and are world class professionals. www.cessnockvet.com.au. If your pet does need to go to our vets, you can be reassured by the knowledge that our vet will be in close consultation with your vet about your dog’s health history and special ongoing medical requirements. Our vet will also be happy to talk to you in detail at any time to discuss treatment needs for your pet.

My dog has daily medication – is that a problem?

Administering your dog’s medication at the right time in the right way is something we do very well. When we arrived here in 2000, there was hardly any daily medication, just the occasional flea treatment or heart worm chew but now we spend on average 1 ½ hrs per day giving out medication so it is important that it is done well. These medications range from antibiotics and creams for temporary health problems to permanent daily medications that address heart problems, arthritis, skin allergies, urinary leakage, anxiety and behavioural problems.

We give out tablets in pieces of cabanossi, which are swallowed up in seconds. We can of course put a tablet down a dog’s throat if necessary but we find it so much nicer all round for a dog to be receiving a tasty treat instead. We are also aware of how a clever dog can eat the piece of cabanossi and spit out the tablet when no one’s watching, so we do stay and watch to make sure that the tablet is definitely swallowed.

Medication is kept refrigerated at all times, which is quite important for many medications. We have daily AM and PM medication sheets that clearly state your dog’s name, the hotel room they are in and the medication they are due to receive. These sheets are signed off by the senior staff member as they administer the medication and then re checked by the resort manager.

Medications are given at 7am in the morning and 7pm in the evening so that important 12 hr gap can be in place for dogs that are on AM and PM medication. We are also happy to administer midday medication for those guests requiring medication three times a day.

My dog got kennel cough/canine cough the last time he/she was at a dog boarding kennel even though he/she was fully vaccinated and I don’t want that to happen again. Can you reassure me about this?

Unfortunately I can’t assure you that your dog won’t catch canine cough whilst holidaying with us in the same way that a shopping centre can’t assure you that you won’t catch a cold whilst shopping there.

What I can assure you is that we have researched canine cough in depth and then used that knowledge to design and build a pet resort that reduces the chances of canine cough being spread. As such we rarely see a case of canine cough, which is wonderful as no one likes to see their dog coughing and feeling miserable.

We created this Q and A for our customers:

Q) What is it?

A) Canine cough is much like a human cold or flu, only for dogs. There are over 100 known strains of canine cough. 

Q) What are the symptoms? 
A) Like the flu or a cold, the severity of the bout of canine cough varies from dog to dog. At its most mild, the dog will occasionally splutter or cough during or after exercise or after eating food or drinking. At its worst, the dog displays a harsh hacking cough that appears as though he/she is trying to clear something from their throat. This is accompanied by the coughing up of a white frothy like saliva. It is also quite likely that a dog dealing with a bout of canine cough will go off its food or is less energetic than usual. A dog’s reaction to canine cough is almost exactly the same as a person struggling through a bout of the flu. 

 

Q) How long does it last?

A) Fortunately most cases are of the mild variety and even a nasty case of canine cough usually resolves itself in one to two weeks. What is really important is to make sure your dog rests and is warm and comfortable. (Think of yourself with the flu wrapped up in a big doona with a mug of chicken soup!) Note – If symptoms persist or worsen you will definitely need to see a vet to investigate if some other health problem is present.

Q) How did my dog catch it?

A) The answer to this is again similar to the human cold, as canine cough is spread through the air! Just think of how many colds you’ve caught at the office or how many colds your kids have brought home from school. Add to this that dogs like to say hello to each other by sniffing noses, which is the perfect way to increase their chances of catching or giving a cold to one another.

The two most common types of canine cough are
(Bb) Bordetella bacterial
and (P12) Parainfluenza virus. You can now get vaccines for both of these from your vet, and all good pet resorts / dog kennels will require that your dog be fully vaccinated before they can offer your dog holiday care. This vaccination is known as C5.

Another difficulty with canine cough (particularly for pet resort owners) is that a dog carrying the canine cough bug may not show any signs or symptoms at all for up to 10 days. Unfortunately during this 10 day incubation period, they are quite contagious and well able to pass on the bug to any number of the other dogs that they come into contact with. It is even possible for a dog with canine cough (but no symptoms yet) to come into a kennel for a weekend stay, give the canine cough bug to another dog and go home without anyone even knowing. In fact the owner of this dog (when it started showing symptoms) would even think, quite understandably that their dog had picked up the canine cough bug from the kennels.

Q) If my dog has been vaccinated to a C5 level could he still get canine cough?

A) Unfortunately it is still possible that your dog may get canine cough as there are over 100 strains of canine cough that vets cannot vaccinate against. They will though be less likely to pick up the canine cough bug and have a less severe reaction if they do. This means it is very worthwhile getting your pets vaccinated to the full level available.

Q) What can I do to make my dog feel better and get well sooner if he/she has a case of canine cough?

A) Lots of love helps (of course) but it is also important that your dog be in a warm draft-free place. If your dog is experiencing a harsh hacking cough you can relieve this symptom by using a vet-recommended cough syrup. It is also important that you keep your dog well rested whilst they are under par from fighting this infection. Really you are doing all the things you would do for yourself if you had a bout of the flu.

Keep a close eye on your dog water intake as it is important he/she stay hydrated.

A vet will occasionally administer antibiotics to a dog experiencing canine cough but usually this is for a dog they feel is prone to a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia (e.g. old, recently operated on, recently sick, prone to lung problems etc.). More commonly, a vet will advise you to keep your dog warm and well rested whilst its own immune system takes care of getting rid of the infection/cold itself. We advise that if you have any concerns about your dog’s health, give your vet a call to discuss their approach to the treatment and prevention of canine cough.

My dog doesn’t eat and loses weight whenever I don’t take him on holidays with me. What can you do about this, as I am worried he/she will lose lots of weight?

We often hear of dogs having lost a lot of weight whilst in a pet resort or dog kennel so you are not alone if this has been your experience. It is obviously heart breaking to come home from a great holiday to find your dog looking thin and miserable. What makes this situation worse is that it is often a vet-recommended, professional looking place that you have visited and inspected beforehand that ends up with this result. It doesn’t make sense when everything about the establishment looks professional and all the people you have spoken to have been friendly and reassuring. Even your vet suggested you use this place!

So why then does a dog end up thin?

There are a number of reasons

Dog stacking/companion boarding (where dogs from different homes are put into the one kennel space) is the main reason dogs lose weight in a pet resort/dog boarding kennel. What happens is that the more dominant bossy dog is the one that gets most of the food whilst the more gentle natured softy dog gets the left overs, if any. Places that dog stack will assure you that they stay present for feeding but this only works when both dogs eat at the same quick rate. If one of the dogs is more of a graze eater (has a little bit to eat all through the day), it will certainly miss out on its fair share.

At Akuna Pet Resort, each dog has its own individual hotel room so they don’t have another dog nicking their tucker!

Dogs are not weighed when they are checked in or throughout their stay which means (i) They don’t know the exact amount a dog should be fed in the first place, instead taking a guess by how big or small they look. (ii) They don’t keep a record of how that dog’s weight progresses throughout their holiday stay. This means they don’t know if the dog is gaining or losing weight. (iii) No record is kept of how the dog is eating, so even if a staff member notices that a dog is losing weight, they don’t know how much more they should be feeding.

We believe that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’, so at Akuna Pet Resort we weigh every dog when they arrive and then regularly throughout their stay. We also keep a daily record of how much your dog has eaten, so we can match the weight to food and adjust the portion size as necessary. As such, we send our furry guests home the same healthy weight at which they arrived.

The dog doesn’t fancy the food being fed so doesn’t eat much of it. Most places go with the ‘like it or lump it’ approach but at Akuna Pet Resort we have a number of yummy food enhancers to add to a dog’s premium dry food (if they are not eating enough to maintain a good weight). Some of these enhancers are liver sprinkles, sardines, Nature’s Gift tinned food, chicken, gravy, cheese etc.

Not eating is sometimes a way for a dog to show that it is unhappy. In a pet resort/kennel environment, this may be because they are at a place that is loud and cold with a strange dominant dog in their room and not much human company either. At Akuna Pet Resort, we work really hard at making sure your dog is happy – by providing an environment where they feel safe and comfortable (in their own hotel room and grass garden yard), where noise is minimised through the design of the complex so it sounds more like a country resort than a rock concert. A place where a person pops in and out of your dog’s hotel room throughout the day doing various tasks such as feeding, pooper scooping, health checks, fresh h20 etc., where your dog is warm at night due to a well-insulated hotel room, a comfy trampoline bed and a polar fleece blanket. 
Radio music also provides a comforting sound from home.

We have designed our “care packages” and extra options to offer you a wide variety of choice in how much fun one-to-one loving human time you would like to organise for your dog. In addition, your dog has the enjoyment of saying ‘Hi’ to their dog neighbours or just doing a little bit of sun baking any time of the day from 7am to 7pm out in their own grass garden yard.

Remember – A Happy dog = A Happy Holiday!

Even with all the above in place, we will sometimes have a pet guest who is simply anxious and unsure of their new environment, particularly on the first day. If this is the case you can rest assured that we take the time to sit with your dog and be loving and talk sweet baby talk and offer treats until we have convinced them that this is a good place to be. A place full of dog loving people! All the happy dog faces on our Guest Book breed pages can attest to this. Link to guest book

My dog puts on weight really easily so I don’t want him to be overfed. Can you make sure this doesn’t happen?

We sure can! The reason we can assure you of this is that we board all our pet guests individually in their own hotel room so they don’t get to eat anyone else’s food. Pet resorts that board dogs together in the one accommodation place end up with overweight dogs (and thin dogs) due to the more food motivated dog eating everyone else’s share. (Often a Labrador!) In addition to this, we keep a record of how a dog’s weight is going during their holiday stay relative to how much food they are being served. This means that if your dog starts to put on weight we will know about it and cut down on their serve size.

If you feel your dog is prone to putting on weight, let us know before his/her holiday stay so we can pay particularly close attention to this. We are even known for getting some unwanted weight off a dog, so if this is something you would like, let us know your dog’s ideal weight and we can aim for this during their holiday stay with us.

How do you make sure dogs don’t suffer heat stress on really hot days?

This is a really important question, as dogs can quite easily die of heat stress in both a home and kennel environment. When we designed our new complex, we knew that we had to have a really good amount of insulation in place to be sure that our dogs’ hotel rooms maintained an even temperature all year round. We achieved this by building with thick concrete bricks, installing ceilings (instead of having exposed tin roofing), adding thick insulation in the roof cavity and having vinyl flooring. In short, the most insulation possible!

In addition we have 12 hotel rooms fitted out with split system air conditioners that you can request for a small additional daily fee.

This means that when the thermometer hits 40 degrees, as it can do in the height of summer, we know that all our pet guests are comfortable and safe from heat stress. You can be reassured in the knowledge that on extreme heat days a senior pet carer checks on every dog every ½ hr to confirm good health. If you have a dog that is particularly sensitive to heat we would suggest you choose an air-conditioned room for them. If your dog does not have an air-con room and unexpectedly suffers some heat stress, we will temporarily transfer him/her to our grooming room that is a fully air-conditioned space until they and the temperature cools down. We are very proud of having a pet resort that can safely look after any breed, at any age, in any type of temperature.

What do you do for the dogs in your care that get really stressed in thunder storms?

If you own a dog that is storm phobic then you already know how it can turn a happy, confident, calm, relaxed dog into a super strong, panting, stressing mess in a matter of moments. Storm dogs, when they get into this state, try to do one of two things – either they try to escape to run away from the thunder and lightning or they try to hide so the storm can’t get them. At Akuna Pet Resort, we have covered both of these run or hide reactions.

For dogs that want to run, we have made sure our complex is completely escape proof. Each individual hotel room and attached grass yard is completely secure. The outdoor grass area fencing is constructed of weld mesh which is a thickness impossible to bite through. The grassy surface is concrete edged so no digging or tunnelling out either. Finally, this outdoor area is fully fenced over the top, so any dog climbing the fence will not be able to go over.

That said, we don’t actually let our storm phobic dogs out into this outside area during storms, as being out in this area just worries them more, seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder. Instead we close the back door to keep them in the indoor hotel room part of their accommodation. This indoor area is well-insulated so it reduces the sound of the thunder and being a smaller more contained space, helps to calm storm dogs down. We also regularly check on our storm phobic dogs during storms to make sure they are ok and so they can see us and feel there is a caring person nearby.

We are fortunate to live in an area where storms seem to blow up quickly, do their thing and move on, so it is only a small period of time that our storm phobic dogs are distressed. Occasionally, customers will send along sedative medication for storms and/or thunder jackets. We are happy to administer these medications or put a thunder jacket on, so please feel free to send either/or both of these items along when your storm phobic dog comes for a holiday stay.