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Can my pet get coronavirus? Get the facts.

Can my pet get coronavirus? Get the facts.

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Coronaviruses/COVID-19 and your pets – what you need to know

The vets at PetSure provide their expertise on what you need to know about the Coronavirus/COVID-19

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What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which can cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the recently identified COVID-19.

What is COVID-19 and can it infect pets?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the recently identified coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 was unknown before the recent outbreak identified late last year.

Currently there is no evidence suggesting that dogs and cats can be a source of infection for COVID-19, or that they can become sick from the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 is currently spreading through human to human transmission.  However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This helps protect against various common bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, that can pass between pets and humans.

There is a single dog in Hong Kong which tested a weak positive to the COVID-19 virus, however it is still being investigated whether this positive test result was due to environmental contamination or if the dog was truly infected. It is important to note the dog was not showing any signs of disease.  This is an evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available from the relevant human health and veterinary bodies.

Do dogs and cats suffer illness from any coronaviruses?

Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIP) and canine coronavirus (CCV) are two coronaviruses which have been unfortunately present and causing disease in dog and cat populations for a long time. It is important to note that FIP and CCV are distinctly different and separate to the COVID-19 virus causing the current disease outbreak with humans. CCV generally causes mild gastroenteritis in dogs, and FIP is a progressive and invariably fatal systemic disease of domestic cats. Both cannot cause illness in people.

Do petinsurance.com.au policies provide cover for COVID-19 or other coronaviruses?

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and canine coronavirus (CCV) are assessed as Illness conditions under petinsurance.com.au policies and are generally eligible for cover under Illness subject to the policy terms, and provided the condition is not a pre-existing condition.

It is important to remember, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and veterinary bodies have advised currently there is no evidence dogs and cats can become sick from COVID-19. If there are any developments in relation to COVID 19 impacting dogs and cats, we will do our best to keep our customers informed.

Rest assured if your pet is currently displaying symptoms of coughing, respiratory issues or a fever/elevated temperature, you should seek veterinary advice, and know this is generally coverable under your policy depending on your selected cover and relevant terms and conditions.

If I am quarantined or hospitalised due to COVID-19 and can’t take care of my pet, can I seek assistance for emergency boarding?

Emergency boarding under petinsurance.com.au is generally covered if you become sick with COVID-19 and require hospitalisation for five or more consecutive days. Please note this is subject to your selected policy, benefit limits and relevant terms and conditions.

If you are not hospitalised and are simply quarantined at home due to COVID-19, emergency boarding for your pet will not be covered.

Additional resources

Further information relating to the Coronavirus can be sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) websites:




Professor Vanessa Barrs, a veterinarian who specializes in infectious diseases, has also provided a useful video update, explaining that there is no risk of infection of COVID-19 from our pets:


Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits and exclusions apply. Petinsurance.com.au is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 and Petsy Pty Ltd ABN 54 633 343 058, AR 1277359. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS andTarget Market Determination available at Petsy’s TMD page
GapOnly™ is a trademark owned by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (Petsure), ABN 95 075 949 923, ASFL 420163. Insurance products are issued by The Hollard Insurance Company (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) and administered by PetSure through its Authorised Representatives and distribution partners. Any advice is general only and may not be right for you. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider to decide if a product is right for you.

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Before taking out a pet insurance policy, your pet Bella has a case of Gastroenteritis (a tummy upset). The condition is treated and Bella recovers. Following the surprise episode, you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy for Bella to help with future, unexpected Vet visits.

What to do if your dog gets stung by a bee

What to do if your dog gets stung by a bee

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Spending time outdoors is a natural part of being a dog and having access to fresh air, exercise and mental stimulation is vital to a dog’s happiness and well-being. While regular time outside is great for your dog, it also means they have to share the same space as insects, bees and other critters who live outside. Dogs are curious creatures and they investigate the outside world using their noses and paws, which also happen to be the two prime targets of insect stings. Dogs also love to run and chase things including insects which in some cases, protect themselves by stinging the dog.

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How to identify if your dog’s been stung

If your dog has been stung, it’s important be aware of the signs so you can get them to the vet as soon as possible. The most common signs to look for are excessive licking or pawing of a particular spot. Other tell-tale signs include swelling, drooling, crying out or running in circles. If you notice your dog exploring a flower, plant or native bush and yelps in pain, they may have experienced a sting. The most common spots for bee stings on dogs include the pads of the feet, the mouth, and the face area.

Mild signs include swelling, scratching rubbing, licking or chewing at the sting. Severe signs include profound swilling, hives, vomiting and difficulty breathing.

If in doubt, take your dog to the vet immediately.


Multiple stings are dangerous.   Dogs who have been stung by multiple bees at once are more likely to have a reaction and may experience anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your dog has encountered multiple stings or has been stung inside the mouth or throat, take them to the veterinarian.

Bee and wasp stings are poisons. The two most common types of stinging insects are bees and wasps. The main cause of pain for the dog is the poison that is injected by the bee or wasp, not the small puncture wound created

Most of the time dogs get stung on their faces from getting too close to a stinging insect. They are also more likely to get bee stings than people as they tend to chase or play with things that move. A sting on your dog’s sensitive nose is particularly painful and they can get stung by several kinds of insects including bees, wasps and hornets. Some dogs may even get stung on the tongue or inside their mouth or throat if they try to bite or catch an insect. These stings can be dangerous as the subsequent swelling can close your dog’s throat and block his airway.

It’s important to note that not all stings are the same. Bees have a barbed stinger that detaches from the bee and will remain in your dog’s skin. For several minutes after the sting, the venom sack on the stinger will continue to pulsate and inject more venom into the area. Wasps and hornets on the other hand don’t have barbed stingers, instead they retain their and can sting multiple times.

Watch out for allergic reactions

Signs of allergic reactions include:

  • Redness
  • A flurry of yelping
  • Pawing at the muzzle or affected areas
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • General weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A large amount of swelling extending away from the sting site
  • A pained yelp or limp

If you notice your dog experiencing any kind of reaction, take your dog to the vet immediately.

What you can do to help

Stay calm

While seeing your pup being in pain may make you anxious and nervous, it will help your pup if try to remain calm while you make your way to the vet. Bee stings, though uncomfortable are rarely fatal with the proper precautions.

Keep an eye on your pup

Keep a close eye on your pup to see if the problem worsens. Signs could include significant swelling, hives, increased pain or signs of anaphylactic shock, like having trouble breathing. You should take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these signs. Once you arrive at the veterinary clinic, if the pet has symptoms consistent with a worsening allergic reaction, injectable therapy such as antihistamines, steroids and/or epinephrine may be administered. Do not give your dog any medication without consulting your veterinarian first.

Do your best to remain calm and give her all the love and support she needs until she feels better.


Please note that any advice is general. For further advice and information, you should consult your veterinarian.

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Before taking out a pet insurance policy, your pet Bella has a case of Gastroenteritis (a tummy upset). The condition is treated and Bella recovers. Following the surprise episode, you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy for Bella to help with future, unexpected Vet visits.

Becoming a pup-parent: The 6 essential development deadlines in a puppy’s life

Becoming a pup-parent: The 6 essential development deadlines in a puppy’s life

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If you’re bringing home a puppy, it’s crucial to understand the 6 essential canine development deadlines in a puppy’s life to help ensure you have a well-behaved companion for life.

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Puppyhood is a critical time and the success of your dog-human relationship is based on your teaching your puppy the rules and regulations of domestic living. Understanding this development period will have a profound and everlasting effect that will enrich your dog-human relationship for many years to come. An adult dog’s temperament and behaviour habits (both good and bad) are shaped during puppyhood – very early puppyhood.

Understanding these natural stages of learning and development will help ensure your pup has the best possible start to life and will help avoid many of the behavioural pitfalls that many dog-owners face.

The stages in a nutshell

 Before you bring your puppy home

Stage 1: Educate yourself on dogs

Stage 2: Learn how to evaluate a puppy’s development

Stage 3: Learn how to house-train your puppy

After you bring your puppy home

Stage 4: Socialise your puppy with other people and dogs (by 12 weeks)

Stage 5: Learn bite inhibition (by 18 weeks)

Stage 6: Preventing adolescent problems (by 5 months)

What’s with the rush?

Your pup’s first month in your home is the most crucial developmental period of his life. This is a short, make-or-break period which pretty much determines whether your puppy will develop into a well-mannered and good-natured companion that will bring joy to your life for many years to come, or whether your puppy will develop numerous, predictable behaviour problems and grow up to be fearful and unfriendly.

Before bringing home a puppy, understand that you will be faced with a crossroad with the course of your puppy’s development in your hands. The clock is ticking and there are only three months to get a lot of things done. Early socialisation and training will help to prevent the list of predictable behaviour and temperament problems.

Appropriate socialization and training are the biggest factors in determining how closely the dog will approach your view of perfection in adulthood. Any puppy can be a fantastic companion if properly trained and any puppy (regardless of breed and breeding) can also be difficult to live with if not properly trained and socialised.  No matter which puppy you choose, success or failure is entirely in your hands and your puppy’s behaviour and temperament largely depends on good care and training.

Environmental influences (socialisation and training) exert a far greater impact on desired domestic behaviour and temperament than genetic heredity. For example, the temperamental differences between a good (educated) Malamute and a bad (uneducated) Malamute or between a good Golden Retriever and a bad Golden Retriever are much greater than the temperamental differences between a Golden and a Malamute with an equivalent experiential and educational history.

Why is it important?

Misbehaviour can be one of the most prevalent reasons for re-homing dogs and for them being sent off to shelters. Minor house soiling and chewing mistakes sometimes leads to banishment to the backyard, where the dog may develop severe socialisation problems and learn bad habits.

Some of these predictable habits and problems can be prevented with responsible owner and puppy education.

Before you bring your puppy home

Development stage 1: Educate yourself on dogs and puppies

If you have decided that you would like to raise and train a puppy, before you go looking for puppies, you should complete your education about puppies. This includes understanding what puppies need and how they behave, deciding what kind of puppy you want and how to search for and select a suitable puppy.

Owners will need to learn how to teach the pup to go to the toilet, what to chew, when to bark, where to dog, to sit when greeting people, to walk calmly on the leash, to settle down and hush when requested, to inhibit his otherwise quite normal biting behaviour and to thoroughly enjoy the company of other dogs as well as people.

You’ll need to decide what breed you like, what breed matches your lifestyle, whether you want a pure-breed or mix-breed, when and where to get your puppy as well as whether you’d like to get a puppy or adopt an adult dog.

Remember, you are selecting a puppy to live with you for a long time. Choosing a puppy to share your life is a very personal choice – your choice. You will save yourself lots of unnecessary problems and heartbreak if your choice is informed and educated.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What breed or type of dog are you looking for and why?
  • How many dogs do you want in the household?
  • Do you want a male or female dog?
  • What age would you like the dog to be when you bring him into your family?
  • What type of dog would suit your lifestyle?
  • What size dog are you able to keep?
  • Do you want a mix-breed or pure-bred dog?
  • Will you look for a breeder or adopt from a shelter?
  • How much time can you allocate to grooming, exercise and training?

Evaluate the following:

  • Sensitivity to sounds and the puppy’s response to a variety of different noises like people talking, laughing, crying and shouting, a whistle, a hiss or a single hand clap.
  • Household etiquette and where they are choosing to eliminate in the house (comparing how many piles and puddles are in the toilet area versus on the floor will offer a good indication on where the puppy will eliminate when they arrive at your home).

You are choosing a pup to come and live in your home with you and adapt to your lifestyle so make sure the pup has been prepared as best they can for domestic life in general and suitable for your lifestyle.

Development stage 3: Learn how to house-train your puppy

Have a toilet training and chew toy training program ready to be implemented from the very first day your puppy comes home. Your puppy wants to please but needs to learn how. You will need to be the person who teaches the puppy the rules around the house. You can start by teaching your pup good habits from the first day she comes home. Good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits.

Your puppy will feel the need to bark, chew and eliminate during the day so they must be left somewhere where they can satisfy their needs without causing any damage or annoyance. House-soiling is a spatial problem and involves normal, natural and necessary canine behaviours (peeing and pooping) performed in inappropriate places.

Simple behaviour problems are so easily preventable, yet they are one of the most common reasons for people’s dissatisfaction with their dogs a. Teaching household manners should be your number one priority the first day your puppy comes home.

Toilet training can be accomplished by praising your puppy and offering treats when they go to the toilet in an appropriate area. Usually puppies urinate within half a minute of waking up from a nap and usually defecate within a couple of minutes of that.

Puppies have a 45-minute bladder capacity at three weeks of age, 75-minute capacity at eight weeks, 90-minute capacity at twelve weeks and two-hour capacity at 18 weeks. Releasing your puppy every hour offers you an hourly opportunity to reward your dog for using a designated toilet area. You do not have to do this precisely each hour, but it is much easier to remember to do so each hour on the hour.

Short-term confinement as a method of toilet training offers a convenient means to accurately predict when your puppy needs to relieve herself. Confining a pup to a small area strongly inhibits her from urinating or defecating, since she doesn’t want to soil her sleeping area. Hence, the puppy is highly likely to want to eliminate immediately after being released from confinement.


Short-term confinement, whether to a crate or tie-down, is a temporary training measure to help you teach your puppy where to eliminate and what to chew. A dog crate is the best housetraining tool to help you accurately predict when your dog wishes to relieve herself and is the best training tool to help you to teach your puppy to become a chewtoyaholic. Once your puppy has learned to eliminate only in appropriate areas and to chew only appropriate objects, she may be given free run of the house and garden for the rest of her life.

Short-term close confinement allows you to predict when your puppy wants to go so that you may be there to direct him to the appropriate spot and reward him for doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. During the hour-long periods of close confinement, as your puppy lies doggo in dreamy repose, his bladder and bowels are slowly but surely filling up. Whenever the big hand reaches twelve and you dutifully release the pup to run to his indoor toilet or backyard doggy toilet to relieve himself, your puppy is likely to eliminate pronto. Knowing when your puppy wants to go allows you to choose the spot and most importantly to reward your puppy handsomely for using it. Rewarding your puppy for using his toilet is the secret to successful toilet training. If on the other hand the puppy were left in his playroom, he would most likely use his indoor toilet but would not be rewarded for doing so.

Teaching your dog to chew toys instead of the furniture

Sadly, the maddening pace of present-day domestic dogdom necessitates teaching your puppy how to enjoy spending time at home alone—not only to ensure your pup adheres to established household etiquette when unsupervised, but more importantly to prevent your puppy from becoming anxious in your absence.

A chew toy is an object for the dog to chew that is neither destructible nor consumable. If your dog destroys an object, you will have to replace it, and that costs money. If your dog consumes the object, you may have to replace your dog. Eating non-food items is extremely hazardous to your dog’s health.


In the wild, dogs spend a good 90% of their waking hours searching for food and the regular bowl feeding deprives them of this principal activity – searching for food.

In a sense, each bowl-fed meal steals the puppy’s raison d’etre, its very reason for being. Within seconds of gulping his meal, the poor pup now faces a mental void for the rest of his day with nothing but long, lonely hours to worry and fret, or work himself into a frenzy.

As the puppy adapts to fill the void, normal behaviours such as chewing, barking, strolling, grooming, and playing become stereotypical, repetitive, and maladaptive. Specific behaviours increase in frequency until they no longer serve any useful function except to pass the time.


Stereotyped behaviours cause the release of endorphins, perpetuating their repetition, and in a sense, the dog becomes drugged and hooked on mindless, repetitive activity. Stereotyped behaviours are like behavioural cancers; as they progressively increase in frequency and squeeze most useful and adaptive responses from the dog’s behaviour repertoire until eventually the “brain-dead” dog spends hours on end barking, pacing, chewing himself, or simply staring into space.

A vital facet of your puppy’s early education is to teach him how to peacefully pass the time of day. Feeding your puppy’s kibble only from hollow chew toys—Kong’s, Biscuit Balls, and sterilized bones—keeps your puppy happily occupied and content for hours on end. It allows the puppy to focus on an enjoyable activity so that he doesn’t dwell on his loneliness.

Each piece of extracted kibble also rewards your puppy for settling down calmly, for chewing an appropriate chew toy, and for not barking.

Teaching your dog to enjoy his own company while you are gone

Teach your puppy how to settle down calmly and quietly when you are absent by teaching him how to settle down with chew toy at time when you are present. Right from the outset, make frequent quiet moments part of the puppy’s daily routine.

When playing with your pup, have him settle down for frequent short interludes every one or two minutes. Initially, have the pup lie still for a few seconds before letting him play again. After a minute, interrupt the play session once more with a three-second settle-down. Then try for four seconds, then five, eight, ten, and so on.

Although being yo-yoed between the commands “Settle down” and “Let’s play” is difficult at first, the puppy soon learns to settle down quickly and happily. Your puppy will learn that being asked to settle down is not the end of the world, nor is it necessarily the end of the play session, but instead that “settle down” signals a short timeout and reward break before he is allowed to resume playing. If you teach your puppy to be calm and controlled when told, you will have years of fun and excitement ahead.

Once your puppy has learned to settle down and shush on cue, there is so much more your dog can enjoy with you as this well trained dog will be invited to many adventures like trips in the car, picnics, visits to the pub and dog-friendly activities.

On the other hand, if you allow your puppy to run amok when he is a puppy, there is no doubt that he will want to run amok when he is an adult. Try your best to teach your puppy to enjoy his own company, to develop self-confidence, and to stand on his own four paws.


When you are at home (short-term confinement)

It is important to supervise your puppy. When the two of you are not play-training, confine your pup for an hour at a time to her doggy den (short-term confinement area), such as a portable dog crate.

The purpose of short-term confinement is threefold:

  1. To prevent mistakes around the house
  2. To teach your puppy to become a chewtoyaholic (since chew toys stuffed with food are the only chewables available), so that she learns to settle down quickly, quietly, and calmly
  3. To be able to predict when your puppy needs to eliminate

When you’re not at home (long-term confinement)

An example of long-term confinement is containing your puppy in a small puppy playroom like the kitchen, bathroom, utility room, or section of the room cordoned off by an exercise pen. Include a comfortable bed, a bowl of clean fresh water, plenty of hollow chew toys (Kong products and sterilized bones stuffed with dog food), and a doggy toilet in the farthest corner from her bed.

The purpose of a long-term confinement area is twofold:

  1. To prevent mistakes around the house
  2. To maximize the likelihood that your puppy will learn to use the provided toilet, to chew only chew toys (the only chewables available), and to settle down calmly and quietly (without barking)

Housetraining recap

When you are away from home, keep your puppy confined to her puppy playroom, where she has a suitable doggy toilet.

Otherwise, when you are at home:

  1. Keep your puppy closely confined to her doggy den, or on-leash by her bed.
  2. Every hour on the hour, release your pup from confinement and quickly run her (on-leash if necessary) to the toilet area. Instruct your pup to eliminate and give her three minutes to do so.
  3. Enthusiastically praise your puppy, offer her three freeze-dried liver treats, and then play/train indoors or in the yard. (Once your puppy is over three months old, take her for a walk as a reward for eliminating in her toilet area.)

After you bring your puppy home

Development stage 4: Socialise your puppy with other people and dogs (by 12 weeks)

A dog’s temperament, especially his feelings toward people and other dogs, is primarily the result of his level of socialisation during puppyhood—the most important time in a dog’s life.

Your puppy should be socialised with people before he is twelve weeks old. As a rule of thumb your puppy needs to meet at least one hundred different people during his first month at home. To capitalize on the time your pup needs to be confined indoors, you can invite people over.

Puppies that enjoy the company of people grow up into adult dogs that enjoy the company of people. And dogs that enjoy the company of people are less likely to be frightened or bite.

Many puppy training techniques focus on teaching your puppy to enjoy the company and actions of people. Well-socialised dogs are confident and friendly, rather than fearful and aggressive. For under socialised dogs, life is unbearably stressful.

Socialising your puppy to enjoy people is vital—second only in importance to your pup learning to inhibit the force of his bite and develop a soft mouth. Socialisation must never end. Remember, your adolescent dog will begin to de-socialise unless he continues to meet unfamiliar people every day. Walk your dog or expand your own social life at home if this becomes the case.

There are 3 goals of socialisation:

Goal 1: Teach your puppy to enjoy the presence, actions, and antics of all people—first the family, and then friends and then strangers, especially children and men. Adult dogs tend to feel most uneasy around children and men, especially little boys. A dog’s antipathy toward children and men is more likely to develop if the puppy grows up with few or none around, and if the puppy’s social contacts with children and men have been unpleasant or scary.

Goal 2: Teach your puppy to enjoy being hugged and handled (restrained and examined) by people, especially by children, veterinarians, and groomers. Specifically, teach your puppy to enjoy being touched and handled in a variety of “hot spots,” namely, around his collar, muzzle, ears, paws, tail, and rear end.

Goal 3: Teach your puppy to enjoy giving up valued objects when requested, especially her food bowl, bones, balls, chew toys, garbage, and paper tissues.


Development stage 5: Learn bite inhibition (by 18 weeks)

Bite inhibition is the single most important quality a dog must learn. The narrow time window for developing a “soft mouth” begins to close at four and a half months of age.

Puppy biting is a normal, natural and necessary puppy behaviour. Puppy play-biting is the means by which dogs develop bite inhibition and a soft mouth. The developing puppy should learn that his bites can hurt long before he develops jaws strong enough to inflict injury. A puppy must learn his limits and can only learn his limits by exceeding them during development and receiving the appropriate feedback.

The greater the pup’s opportunity to play bite with people, other dogs and other animals, the better his bite inhibition will be as an adult.


Good bite inhibition does not mean that your dog will never snap, lunge, nip, or bite. Good bite inhibition means that should the dog snap and lunge, his teeth will seldom make skin contact, and should the dog’s teeth ever make skin contact, the inhibited “bite” will cause little, if any, damage.

Bite inhibition is of crucial importance, by far the single most important quality of any dog, or any animal. Living with a dog that does not have reliable bite inhibition is unpleasant and dangerous. Bite inhibition must be acquired during puppyhood.

Bite inhibition training comprises first teaching the puppy to progressively inhibit the force of his bites until painful puppy play-biting is toned down and transformed into gentle puppy mouthing, and then, and only then, teaching him to progressively inhibit the incidence of his mouthing. Thus, the puppy learns that mouthing is by and large inappropriate and that any pressured bite is unacceptable.


Teaching bite inhibition

The first step is to stop your puppy from hurting people: to teach him to inhibit the force of his play-bites. It is not necessary to reprimand the pup, and certainly physical punishments are not called for. But it is essential to let your puppy know that bites can hurt. A simple “Ouch!” is usually enough. When the puppy backs off, take a short time out to “lick your wounds,” instruct your pup to come, sit, and lie down to apologise and make up. Then resume playing.

If your puppy does not respond to your yelp by easing up or backing off, an effective technique is to call the puppy a “Bully!” and then leave the room and shut the door. Allow the pup a minute or two time-outs to reflect on the association between his painful bite and the immediate departure of his favourite human playmate. Then return to make up.

It is important to show that you still love your puppy, only that his painful bites are objectionable. Have your pup come and sit and then resume playing once more. It is much better for you to walk away from the pup than to physically restrain him or remove him to his confinement area at a time when he is biting too hard. So, make a habit of playing with your puppy in his long-term confinement area.

This technique is remarkably effective as it is precisely the way puppies learn to inhibit the force of their bites when playing with each other. If one puppy bites another too hard, the bite yelps and playing is postponed while he licks his wounds. The biter soon learns that hard bites interrupt an otherwise enjoyable play session. He learns to bite more softly once play resumes.

Development stage 6: Preventing adolescent problems (by 5 months of age)

Behaviour is always changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Things will continue to improve if you continue working with your adolescent dog, but they will get worse if you don’t. Both behaviour and temperament will tend to stabilise, for better or worse, as your dog matures around his second birthday for small dogs or third birthday for large dogs. Even when your dog reaches maturity, you should always be on the alert for the emergence of unwanted behaviours or traits, which you must quickly nip in the bud before they become hard-to-break habits.

To ensure that your well-schooled puppy remains well socialised and friendly towards people, during adolescence and adulthood, he needs to meet different and unfamiliar people (especially children) every day.

Socialisation often heads downhill during adolescence, sometimes surprisingly precipitously. As they get older, dogs have fewer opportunities to meet unfamiliar people and dogs. Puppy classes and parties are often a thing of the past and most owners have established a set routine by the time their dog is five or six months old. At home, the dog interacts with the same familiar friends and family, and is walked, if at all, on the same route to the same dog park, where they encounter the same old people and the same old dogs. Consequently, many adolescent dogs become progressively de-socialised toward unfamiliar people and dogs until eventually they become intolerant of all but a small inner circle of friends.

Remember, your dog will only remain sociable if he continues meeting and greeting unfamiliar people and unfamiliar dogs every day. Meeting the same people and dogs over and over is not enough. You want your dog to practice the art of meeting and getting along with strangers, not simply getting along with old friends.

As soon as it safe for your puppy to go out, take him on walks – lots of them. There is no better overall socialisation exercise and no better overall training exercise. Dog walks are also good for your health, heart and soul. The secret to a well-socialised adult dog is at least one walk a day and a couple of trips a week to the dog park. Try to find different walking routes and different dog parks so that your dog can meet a variety of dogs and people.

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50 amazingly fun things to do with your dog

50 amazingly fun things to do with your dog

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Treasure every moment with your special pooch and do some fun things with them to keep life interesting. Doing activities together will help to strengthen your bond, not to mention add sparkle and interest to their lives. Create memories you’ll always treasure; these fun activities will be sure to get your four-legged friend’s tail wagging. Life is an adventure, enjoy the ride together.

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1. Take a road trip and visit a new place together

2. Throw your dog a pawty with all their closest pals. For the ultimate cute patrol, make them dress up in funny costumes

3. Take a break from technology, get off-grid and stay in a dog-friendly Tiny House

4. Make healthy homemade treats for your dog

5. Plan an overnight camping trip. If glamping is more your style, check out these luxurious pet friendly stays

6. Head to a dog-friendly beach like Greenhills and enjoy an early morning walk or leisurely sunset stroll looking out to the ocean (dogs are allowed on the beach before 10am and after 4pm)

7. Have a doggy playdate with a friend’s dog

8. There are a small handful of National parks and reserves with dog walking areas. Discover nature together on a scenic hike at one of these regional parks

9. Pack a hamper full of delicious goodies, bring a blanket and have a picnic together at the park

10. Chill out at home, put on some jazz and enjoy each other’s company

11. Watch a movie together at an outdoor cinema at Centennial Park

12. Practice your coordination with a game of frisbee

13. Take your dog on a boat ride and don’t forget to bring a doggie life jacket

14. Hold your dog while you dance

15. Watch the sun come up at the top of Mark’s Park in Bondi

16. Teach your dog a new trick

17. Stop off at Manly Lagoon Park for a doggy dip in the water

18. Go bike riding and give your dog a workout (or have him relax in a basket)

19. Visit Sydney park – they are allowed in the spacious parks and open spaces with the exception of the children playgrounds

20. Explore a dog friendly hideaway like Sirius Cove reserve in Mosman

21. Socialize and meet new friends at Hawthorne Canal Reserve

22. Head down to Leichardt’s Café Bones to share a cappuccino and a puppacino with your furry friend

23. Take your dog paddle boarding

24. Treat your dog with a gourmet meal

25. Have a steak dinner together

26. Take a trip to the spa and get a

27. Go shopping together at a dog-friendly store

28. Get a dog calendar made with all your dog’s photos

29. Take an obedience class

30. Do doga (dog yoga) yes, it exists

31. Go on a scenic wilderness hike

32. Test your dog’s intelligence with a Pooch IQ kit

33. Create a social media fan page for your furry friend

34. Take a splash in the rain with an

35. Get squeaky clean and have a bubble bath

36. Enjoy the sunshine at the dog-friendly Marrickville local, The Vic on the Park

37. Enjoy a Sunday roast together at The London hotel

38. Enjoy some pub grub at The Henson

39. Bake your dog a dog-friendly cake

Practice balancing treats on your pet’s nose

41. Enjoy million-dollar views at the Observatory Hill Park (it’s off-leash for dogs too)

42. Take a sunshine walk along Beare Park, a small but lovely enclosed playground

43. Have a good ol’ Aussie BBQ with your crew (and their pups of course)

44. Get your heart and legs pumping by running through the Centennial Parklands

45. Have a photoshoot and make your dog a superstar

46. Draw or paint a portrait of your dog

47. Get sandy at the dog friendly beach, Rosebay Foreshore

48. Kayak with your dog, make sure they’re wearing a safety vest

49. Take a scenic hike through the heritage Narrabeen Lagoon trail (8.4km) and appreciate the fresh air and beautiful scenery

50. Take your dog to a dog-friendly farmer’s market

Get a quick Pet Insurance quote

Who would you like a quote for?

Before taking out a pet insurance policy, your pet Bella has a case of Gastroenteritis (a tummy upset). The condition is treated and Bella recovers. Following the surprise episode, you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy for Bella to help with future, unexpected Vet visits.

Everything you need to know if you’re thinking about getting pet insurance for your cat

Everything you need to know if you’re thinking about getting pet insurance for your cat

Table of Contents

Do you need cat insurance?

Pet insurance helps to protect pet owners against unexpected costs related to their pets. Pet insurance helps to cover vet bills and can also pay for additional routine care for the ongoing maintenance of health and wellness for your pet such as vaccinations, teeth cleaning and Specialised therapies. Most pet insurance policies help to cover up to 80% of vet bills for selected accidents, illnesses and surgeries.

To get a better idea on whether or not pet insurance is worth it for you, we have a look at what cat insurance is, the expenses associated with cat ownership, common risks and problems as well as what is included in cat insurance or indoor cat insurance.

Get a quick Pet insurance quote

Who would you like a quote for?

Table of contents

How has the cat evolved over the years and what kind of cat do you have?

The domesticated cat today is a small carnivorous mammal which are kept for pets by humans as they are valued for their companionship. Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species and communicate via vocalizations like meowing, purring, hissing, growling and grunting as well as cat-specific body language. There are approximately 60 cat breeds as recognized by various cat registries.

In Australia, there are approximately 3.9million pet cats and they are the second most popular type of companion pet after the dog. Nearly 3 in 10 households own a cat and in Australia, more than 50% of Aussies live in a household with a dog and/or cat than with a child. Veterinary services currently cost Australians approximately $2.2 billion per year.

Doing research on the type of cat you have can also give you additional knowledge and information on any predetermined illnesses or health conditions that are known to the breed.

Cats can be a fantastic perfect pet. They are affectionate but can also be very self-sufficient in feeding, toileting and are clean, quiet pets.

What are common risks and problems for cats?

Diseases which can affect cats include acute infections, parasitic infestations, injuries as well as chronic disease, thyroid disease and arthritis. Vaccinations are available for many of these infectious diseases as well as treatments to eliminate parasites such as worms and fleas. Approximately 250 heritable genetic disorders have been identified in cats.

Parasiticides (treatment for external and internal parasites) for pets make up 64% of all pet healthcare products sold in Australia. Vaccines and antisera are the next largest product category. Rates for desexing have remained stable for the past few years and microchipping and registration for dogs and cats is compulsory across most states and territories.

Kidney disease is a lifelong disease and it is a common ailment for cats as well as the second-priciest condition – averaging $649 a year to treat. Approximately 30% of cats will develop some degree of kidney compromise and many of these cases will progress to kidney failure. When the kidneys fail to perform properly, the cat’s life is at risk.

When a cat develops kidney disease, it means their kidneys are not properly filtering the blood. To treat this, owners must put their cat on a special diet and bring it for multiple checkups and blood tests to monitor the nitrogen levels in their blood. Warning signs to get your cat checked out include lethargy, drinking a lot of water, frequent urination and taking a disinterest to food. If your cat has contracted kidney disease, the vet bills for this particular illness could be upwards of $649 a year.

Some cat illnesses have enormous financial outlays – For example it costs $6,643 to treat and remove a tumour. A pet insurance policy provides a benefit limit of thousands of dollars each year meaning that families don’t have to agonise and stress over the cost and burden of an emergency treatment of a beloved pet.

What is cat insurance?

Cat insurance is a type of pet insurance policy that helps to cover expenses related to the health and well-being of a cat. Pet insurance policies may contribute to the vet costs and expenses relating to accidents, illnesses and or routine care.

Is cat insurance worth it?

Veterinary fees and bills can quickly add up over the years of owning a cat. If you’re unsure on whether or not pet insurance is worth it for you, consider how you would deal with and manage an unexpected veterinary bill as well as the general costs in having and care maintenance costs of your cat. The average cat costs a household $1,029 per year and they have a minimum expected lifespan of 15 years although many cats have been known to live past 20 years.

In an average four-week period, 14% of Aussies pay for some type of pet care service. Regular checkups at the vet are essential for a healthy cat. As your cat gets older, he or she might need more frequent checkups or possibly surgery and other medical treatment.
A standard cat’s first year’s vet expenses may be around $1,004 and this amount covers things such as microchipping, vaccination, de-sexing, and vet checkups. After the first year, ongoing annual costs for checkups and vaccination may range from $450-$800 a year.

What does it cost to have a cat?

Cats are a popular pet in Australia, with three out of ten households having a cat family member. Having a feline companion at home can add companionship, affection, and humour to your life, but we don’t always think about how much it costs.

Before you adopt or buy your cat, doing a budgeting exercise can give you a good idea of how much you should be prepared to pay for your cat over the years. Cats can live for 15 years or more, so welcoming your new companion to your household is a long-term emotional and financial commitment.

One-time / upfront cat expenses

Carry cage and bed $50-$100
Collar and bell $15-$50Council registration: $23-$201
(de-sexed or un-desexed)
De-sexing $115-$300 (male or female)
Flea and worming treatments $100
Food and bowls $370 upwards, depending on quality
Grooming $50 upwards, depending on breed and frequency
Kitten vaccinations $170-$200
Microchipping $60
Name tag $6-20
Purchase of cat $0-$2,000
Cat registration $30-90
Scratching post $20-$300
Toys and treats $30 upwards
Tray and litter $130-$180

Total for first year: $1,180-$3,660

*Please note, all figures above are approximate and are purely a guide to what it may cost for cat ownership.

Annual pet expenses

Annual vaccinations and veterinary check From $80
Flea and worming treatments $100-$150
Food: Approximately $370 upwards
Grooming $50
Litter $120 upwards
Toys and treats $30 upwards

Total for consecutive year: $880 minimum

What does cat insurance include?

Many pet insurance policies help to provide thousands of dollars’ worth of cover. Cat insurance can cover your cat for up to 80% of costs at any licensed veterinarian throughout Australia. If you choose to add on routine care to your pet insurance policy, your cat can also be covered for vaccinations, de-sexing, microchipping plus many other day to day health care options.

How much does it cost to insure my cat and what factors impact the premiums?

The cost for cat insurance is dependent on multiple factors such as the age, species, gender, desexed/spayed status, health condition, breed, activity levels and lifestyle of your cat as well as the level of cover you select and the insurer you choose to go with.

Petsy offers covers 3 levels of cover for accidents, illness as well as optional routine care. They also offer a cover option for indoor cars which includes home vet visits for cats that don’t usually leave the house.
In addition to this, each type of policy (e.g. accident only, accident & illness, or comprehensive cover) is a priced differently. This is because each one covers more than the last, with comprehensive being the most expensive, but also the most exhaustive in what you can claim on (including great benefits like subsidised checkups, vaccinations, and more).
Another thing that affects your premium is your excess. If you elect to pay a more expensive excess in the event of a claim, you’ll pay less each month in insurance premiums – and vice versa.
Last of all, each insurer prices their products differently, which means no two policies are likely to cost the same.

Can I insure my cat for life?

Once a cat has been accepted and as long as the policy is continually renewed, the cat will be covered for eligible vet expenses for life. Depending on the insurer, there can be varying age entry limits as well as age upper age limits when signing up to a new policy.

What kind of things aren’t covered with cat insurance?

Like any insurance policy, it doesn’t cover everything which means you should understand what it does and doesn’t cover before you sign up.
An exclusion is a treatment that is explicitly not covered by your pet insurance policy. Below are some of the more common exclusions you may find on a common policy.

  • Abuse: All insurers will not pay out claims when there’s evidence of a malicious act or negligence.
  • Ambulance costs: Many vets will do callouts and transportation for ill/injured animals. These costs may not be covered by your pet insurance policy, especially if it doesn’t turn out to be an emergency (a non-essential hospital admission).
  • Artificial limbs / other prosthetics: While you may find that your insurance covers a procedure to fit a prosthetic, the cost of the limb itself may not be.
  • Bilateral conditions: If a pre-existing condition affects a body part to which your pet has two of (e.g. eyes), then an injury or illness affecting the opposite body part is generally not covered by your insurance policy.
  • Dental issues: 85% of dogs four years and older suffer gum disease, according to VetWest. Because of this, many of us seek out pet insurance that covers dental treatment. Be careful, though, because many pet insurance policies will not cover some (or any) dental costs; like cleaning, orthodontics, oral disease, etc.
  • Diseases with a known vaccine: This exclusion is designed to stop people from neglecting important vaccinations and preventative treatments (e.g. parovirus, canine cough, Hepatitis, deworming tablets). However, you may not be able to claim even if your pet is properly vaccinated and contracts the disease anyway.
  • Elective procedures: This can include desexing, regular checkups, etc. If it’s not medically necessary treatment, you may not be able to claim for it. Comprehensive policies may cover routine care, while accident & illness policies exclude such cover.
  • Organ transplants: Organ transplants can be particularly risky operations, not to mention organs may not be the easiest to source for certain animals. As such, these procedures may not be covered under your policy.
  • Pregnancy/breeding: Treatments that are the result of pregnancy are usually not covered by your pet insurer. There are many reasons for this. For one, animals that aren’t desexed are at greater risk for developing certain healthcare conditions (e.g. urinary tract infections) and can be more aggressive towards other animals, which makes them higher claim risks.

The above doesn’t constitute an exhaustive list and it’s a good idea to refer to your product disclosure statement to learn the finer details of your policy.

Other pet insurance restrictions you may encounter

Your ability to claim on your pet insurance is limited by terms and conditions, or ‘rules’. Some of these rules dictate that you cannot claim instantly once your pet gets covered but there is a Exclusion period that applies before claiming.

  • Cruciate ligament conditions are fairly common and expensive to treat. Some pet policies will let you seek treatment after you sit through a Exclusion period when first signing up for insurance (e.g. six months).
  • Pre-existing conditions. Any conditions your pet had before you took out the policy will not be covered by your new insurance policy, unless otherwise stated by your insurer.

You are also unable to claim for treatments you’re currently sitting a Exclusion period for. Exclusion periods can range from 30 days to six months.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

While you shop around for different pet insurance cover options, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of each option however it is important to find an option that insures and protects your pet against as much as possible and as quickly as possible to make sure you’re protected against the unexpected.


  1. Pet ownership statistics – Australian Veterinary Association
  2. How long do cats live? Ageing and your feline – Vet West Animal Hospitals
  3. Adoption fees – RSPCA Victoria
  4. Getting a pet – ASIC’s MoneySmart
  5. Factory farms… for kittens – Animals Australia
  6. Doggone it: pet ownership in Australia – Roy Morgan
  7. How much do pets really cost? The answer may surprise you – Brad’s Deals
  8. Top Ten Tips on How to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Clean – Pet MD

Get a quick Pet Insurance quote

Who would you like a quote for?

Before taking out a pet insurance policy, your pet Bella has a case of Gastroenteritis (a tummy upset). The condition is treated and Bella recovers. Following the surprise episode, you decide to purchase a pet insurance policy for Bella to help with future, unexpected Vet visits.

Optional Extra Benefits

During the application process You will be provided with the option to include Optional Extra Benefits that cover certain conditions and Treatments which are not otherwise covered under the Policy.


The Optional Extra Benefits are:

Alternative Therapies, Behavioural Problems, and Dental Illness.


Examples of Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy

Examples of Behavioural Problems: Excessive licking, fur pulling, pacing and destructive


Examples of Dental Illnesses: Dental diseases, gingivitis, periodontal disease.