Frankston Heights Veterinary Centre
231 Frankston-Flinders Rd
Frankston, VIC, 3199
Phone: 03 5971 4888
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Welcome to our newsletter for Polite Pet Month!

Lucy has just returned from a week long conference on Behaviour and Mental health in our companion animals - what perfect timing! 

With increased knowledge and lots of new ideas, we aim to make visits to Frankston Heights as stress free as possible for both our clients and our patients.

Our consulting rooms and wards have pheromone diffusers to calm our patients and we actively seek to minimise the stress of a vet visit for each individual.  

Our puppy school provides a wonderful start to the socialisation of our youngest patients helping them learn about life in a positive way.

For those of you with puppies who graduated in 2016, don't miss the Puppy School Reunion on March 26th at Robinson's reserve. Call 59714888 for more information.

If you have any concerns about your pet's behaviour and wellbeing  - please ask us to help. 


On the Labour Day weekend, we will be open as normal on Saturday and Sunday but closed on Monday 13th. For urgent care please call the Frankston Animal Emergency Centre on 9770 5555



Here is our sponsor puppy for Dogs for Kids with Disabilities - Doc - learning about cattle! He's looking both brave and a little nervous! Pretty normal behaviour for a small pup meeting a big bovine for the first time!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Anxiety - the leading behaviour problem in dogs

02  When good behaviour goes bad

03  Common behavioural questions

04  How to get your cat to the vet!

05  Urine spraying in cats

01 Anxiety - the leading behaviour problem in dogs

Anxiety disorders are probably the most common type of behaviour problem we see in dogs.

For most dogs, genetics play a key role in the development of an anxiety problem.

It is important to understand that anxiety in dogs is a medical condition and requires veterinary attention and careful management.

Some signs of canine anxiety to watch out for include:

  • Yawning
  • Avoiding eye contact or looking away
  • Standing with tail tucked under
  • Destructive behaviour such as digging, chewing furniture, scratching at door frames
  • Pacing or trying to escape
  • Aggression - to other dogs or people

For us to accurately diagnose an anxiety problem we'll be relying on you to give us essential information about your dog's behavioural and medical history. We will ask you lots of questions and also perform a thorough physical exam and possibly blood and urine tests, especially if your dog's treatment plan includes medication.

Punishment should never be used when training an anxious dog as this will only further increase anxiety and this can impair the retraining process. Rewarding relaxed behaviour is the key....

If you are worried about your dog's behaviour please call us.

02 When good behaviour goes bad

Has your pet always been well behaved but all of a sudden things have changed?

Has toilet training gone out the window?

Is your dog suddenly digging up the garden or barking non stop?

Is your cat clawing at your favourite piece of furniture?

Behavioural problems in our pets are very common and they can begin at any point during your pet's life. 

This is where a medical examination with us is absolutely essential. For example, if your pet is suddenly urinating in the house, we need to rule out medical problems such as a urinary tract infection or urinary incontinence.

Perhaps your dog has started growling at you when he is picked up - have you thought that your dog might be in pain due to the onset of arthritis?

If your pet's behaviour has gone to the dogs you should arrange an appointment with us as soon as possible so we can get to the bottom of the problem. If we are able to rule out any medical problems we have plenty of tools up our sleeve to help treat and manage behavioural issues.  

If you want to improve your pet's behaviour, start by giving us a call. 

03 Common behavioural questions

Here are a few of the behavioural issues we talk about with our clients on a daily basis.

Dog Behaviour

Barking: It's important to understand that barking is a normal way that dogs communicate with others. Dogs might bark to get attention, during play, hunting, territorial defence, and in fearful and anxious situations. We can help you identify the reason your dog is barking and provide advice about how to manage it.

Aggression: Aggression is unfortunately often an expression of anxious behaviour, displayed when a dog does not have the option of avoiding conflict. Aggressive behaviour needs urgent attention and as vets we can rule out medical reasons and make a plan to manage the behaviour. 

Destructive behaviour: Dogs do not destroy things vindictively and there are many other reasons your dog may be destructive including boredom, inadequate exercise, investigation, anxiety, fear or phobias. We'll try to determine the cause of your dog's destructive behaviour and what to do about it. 

Cat Behaviour

Scratching: Scratching is normal cat behaviour that is used to communicate or mark territory. It's something they must do and it can be easier to direct their scratching towards an acceptable surface, especially in the early stages, rather than trying to stop the damage later. Ask us for tips.

Yowling: Owners can find that this is a common problem, particularly early in the morning. This might occur because your cat is hungry, in pain, seeking attention, demanding food or defending his territory.

Spraying: This problem is frequently reported to us by cat owners. You can read more about this issue in the article below.

If you have a question about your pet's behaviour, we are the best people to ask. 

04 How to get your cat to the vet!

Wrangling your cat and getting them into a carrier can be a very stressful event for both of you.

This can put you off bringing your cat to us and it means they might miss out on essential health check ups, vaccinations and preventative care.

While our canine friends get to leave the house for pleasurable walks and trips to the beach, most cats are invariably taken somewhere a lot more stressful and so become anxious in the carrier and the car.

Here are our top tips for reducing cat carrier stress:

  • First up: ask us about the pheromone spray we have available to help your cat feel more secure and safe while in the carrier.
  • Bring a towel that smells like home to cover the carrier when you arrive here.
  • Try not put the carrier down near a strange dog - that instantly creates stress. Put the carrier on a table or bench.
  • At home, store the carrier in a part of your house that smells familiar. Give your cat the chance to rub her scent on the carrier.
  • Have a carrier with a lid that lifts off - avoiding any fight to get the cat out.
  • Try to associate the carrier with good things! Place food in the carrier or special treats (ask us for the best recommendation).

We will happily recommend the best carrier for your cat that is both safe and secure - call us today.

05 Urine spraying in cats

If you've ever seen a cat spraying you may have been intrigued. It's a strange looking activity where the cat stands with a vertical tail (sometimes quivering at the tip) and delivers a squirt of urine against a vertical surface. 

Urine spraying is considered a normal part of a cat's scent-marking. It is thought that the spray contains information about sex, age, hormonal state and general health and it may also deter other cats from coming into a cat's territory. Both male and female cats will spray - cats that are not desexed may spray more often.

Cats will also spray when they are frustrated, upset or feel threatened by another cat. It's fascinating feline psychology and by marking with a squirt of urine and leaving a familiar smell, a cat feels a greater sense of security in his or her territory. 

Most cats won't spray indoors as they feel sufficiently comfortable in their own territory. Sometimes this can, however go out the window and simple changes may rock the boat.

Why might a cat start spraying indoors? Triggers include: 

  • The arrival (or departure) of a new cat, dog or person in the family (or next door!)  
  • Changes in the home area such as a new piece of furniture or new carpets
  • Disruptions such as building construction next door
  • An addition of a cat flap which can suddenly make the cat feel insecure indoors

Medical problems such as urinary tract infections or inflammation can also cause a cat to suddenly start spraying urine indoors. This highlights the importance of getting your cat checked with us as the treatment for a urinary tract infection will be very different to the management of behavioural spraying.

If you are concerned about your cat or have any questions relating to your cat's toileting habits please ask us for advice.