Brown pug lying on a brown pillow showing puppy eyes

Five Indicators That Your Dog Might Be Stressed Out

Not unlike human babies, our fur babies cannot talk to us and let us know how they are feeling so it is up to us to monitor their behaviours to make sure that they are not suffering in silence. Like humans, stress and anxiety can affect their quality of life, and cause them to behave in ways that are unusual or are a cause for concern. Some symptoms of stress in pets include:


When human beings are stressed or upset they will often display aggressive or defensive behaviours, which are good indicators that there is a problem, even if they are not talking about what is happening for them. Dogs do not have the ability to tell us if they are feeling stressed but you may notice that they are behaving aggressively towards yourself or others and destroying furniture and other items in the home. Taking the time to identify what may have happened (or is still happening) to cause them to feel stressed, and making changes where needed will usually help to alleviate the symptoms of the problem.

Diarrhoea or Constipation

Like humans, if animals are feeling anxious then there will often be physiological changes that accompany the behaviour changes. One area where this can occur is in their digestive system. If your dog is suffering from diarrhoea or constipation it is a sign that something is wrong, which could either be stress related or due to a physical issue such as an illness. Seek veterinary expertise if you are unable to work out what might be wrong, as it could be an indicator that treatment is needed.

Excessive Shedding

You may have heard of the human hair shedding disease, alopecia, which is often caused by stress but have been unaware that it can occur in animals too. If your dog is feeling stressed, especially for a long period of time, it may start to shed more hair than usual. Working out what the issue is, and seeking the appropriate change or treatment, will help to get it back on track and allow for its hair to grow back.

Decrease in Appetite

If your dog is not eating as much as it usually does (for any length of time) then it is likely that it is suffering with some sort of discomfort, whether it be stress or illness. It is important to be aware that if you are stressed then your fur baby will likely pick up on this. Similarly, stress occurs if there have been big changes to your lifestyle such as moving house or introducing a new pet to the family.


Dogs are very sociable animals so if they are isolating themselves and not being as involved as they usually are, it is a good indicator that they are feeling stressed, sick or unhappy. If there are obvious reasons for their behaviour, it can be rectified but if you are unsure, it is best to seek veterinary assistance to be sure that there is not a physical issue that needs to be treated. At Durack Pet Motel, we get to know your fur baby so that we are able to provide the best care possible during its stay.

Dirty white colored pug unhappily facing the camera

How Cigarette Smoking Affects Your Pet’s Health

It is now common knowledge that smoking cigarettes can severely damage your health, causing a number of psychological and physiological issues that could impair your well-being. For this reason, it probably comes as no surprise to imagine that anyone else who is exposed to the chemicals produced from smoking cigarettes will also be affected. Our pets are often the unwitting victims of our smoking, which can have dire effects on their health with exposure over time.

Exposure to Chemicals from Surfaces

Unlike humans, our pets groom themselves by licking their fur, which means that whatever chemicals are on their fur can be ingested very easily. Because cigarette smoke and its residue lingers upon all surfaces where the smoking is taking place, this means that carpets, furniture, curtains and other fabrics of the house will absorb the chemicals.

Your pet spends a lot of time brushing past, lying and sitting on these surfaces, which allows the residue to be picked up on their fur. When they groom themselves, by licking their fur, they are likely to ingest whatever chemicals they have picked up. Over time, this can lead to a very sick animal as its body is strained from the effort of cleansing the chemicals out.

Ingesting Cigarettes and Nicotine Products

One thing about pets is that they are very inquisitive and will literally put their noses into anything to discover what it is, and how it works. Unfortunately, ingesting cigarette butts, nicotine replacement gum, patches or drinking water that has become contaminated with nicotine can be a fatal mistake for your pet.

Diseases and Allergies

In addition to all the risks of ingesting the nicotine chemicals, inhaling the second-hand smoke from your cigarette can cause pets to develop allergies and other respiratory diseases that can cause them pain and misery. Second-hand smoke has been shown to cause lymphoma in cats, as well as nasal tumours and sinus problems for dogs that are living with a smoker. Dogs that have shorter noses (and living with a smoker) have been found to have a higher risk of lung cancer also, due to the second-hand smoke being able to reach the lungs a lot easier.

Reducing the Risks

At Durack Pet Motel, we encourage all of our pet owners to minimise harm for their pets in any way possible. One way to reduce the risks of your pet being affected by your smoking is by making the inside of the house a non-smoking zone. Smoking outside allows for the smoke to be dissipated into the air, where it cannot linger on carpets and other surfaces, thus becoming a hazard for your pet.

Cat lying on a dog

Best Outdoor Activities For Cats and Dogs

A key element for taking your dogs and cats outdoors is going to be how well you trained them to use a leash in the early days. Cats and dogs that are leash trained will be easier to manage during outdoor activities, and increase the number of activities that are an option for you to enjoy together.

If your cat is primarily an indoor cat, it will benefit hugely from having access to an outdoor run that comes from your home, but leash training it will certainly increase your options for other activities that you can do with it. Also, be mindful of taking cats outdoors as they tend to kill a lot of birds, this being their natural instinct. Dogs are usually trained to use a leash early on as a matter of their basic training, and if this is done well then you should have no problem bringing it along to participate in any of the outdoor activities that you are doing yourself.

Bicycling Riding

While this would probably not be an activity suited to cats on leashes, they may enjoy sitting in a basket while you ride. However, if you have a dog and also love riding your bike, this is a must-do activity that you can enjoy together. Dogs have loads of energy that needs to be expended, so running alongside your bike will give them great pleasure and give them a chance to exercise their strong muscles, as well as feeling the wind in their coat.

Dog Parks

As the name suggests, dog parks are a suburban oasis for owners and their dogs to meet up with other dogs (and their owners), to run about, sniff each other, and do doggy things. At present there is no such thing as a cat park in Australia, most likely because cats are very self-contained creatures and do not often socialise with other cats, unless they are in the same household.


While cats would not enjoy swimming at all, dogs love getting into the water and chasing a ball, or exploring ponds, pools or coastal areas. They will gladly swim along with you, or jump into the water to take part in whatever activity you are doing, and it is another activity that is excellent for keeping their muscles strong. At Durack Pet Motel, we encourage owners to do lots of outdoor activities with their pets to socialise them with other animals to make their transition to staying with us as comfortable as possible.


Importance Of Walking Your Dog

If you force a human to remain trapped in one area for too long they end up not feeling very happy, and start to climb up the walls with boredom and lack of stimulation. The same applies to man’s best friends – dogs. A dog needs the stimulation of regular walks outside of its yard domain for various reasons in order to maintain optimal health, fitness and emotional wellbeing.


As you can imagine, exercise is a big part of why it is so important to walk your dog. You may not be aware that dogs are descended originally from wolves. If you think about how much energy a wolf has to hunt and wander long distances, it is easy to understand why a dog would have a lot of energy that needs to be expended somehow. Walking your dogs allows them to use up some of this latent energy, which keeps them happier and healthier.


As the saying suggests, man’s best friends are very sociable animals and they not only need the stimulation of social interactions with people, but also with other dogs. You may have noticed that when you go for a walk, your dog will be sniffing poles and peeing on as many spots as they can. This is a part of how dogs socialise with each other; they leave their scent.


One key way that you can train your dog is through repetition of different activities. Going for a daily walk is an excellent opportunity for training your dog how to stay close to you and walking alongside without running off on its own. Any sort of discipline will assist with your training of the dog in other areas, so it is definitely worth including the daily walk.

Emotional Wellbeing

Like people, dogs want to do fun things, too! An unhappy dog will start to display ‘acting out’ behaviours, which could mean that it damages your property, or jumps all over you with the desire to connect with you on some level. Regular walks assist the dog to have time to socialise and do its doggy thing with other dogs, as well as get enough exercise to keep it feeling happy and relaxed. At Durack Pet Motel, we recognise that happy dogs make the best companions, so we encourage people to walk their dogs regularly and get into this habit before they come to visit us.

What Are Your Pets’ Behavioural Changes Telling You?

We all know that the people in our lives change and often we experience them behaving in new ways when they are in the process of change. Humans can also tend to behave different from normal if they are not feeling as well as they usually do. They may tell you when they are sick, such as, “I’m not feeling like myself at the moment”.

Unfortunately, our pets do not possess the ability to tell us how they feel. As a result, it is up to us to be aware of behavioural changes, which could indicate an underlying medical concern that needs to be addressed. At Durack Pet Motel, we get to know your pet’s personality while it is with us so that we are aware if there is any behaviour that is out of the ordinary.

Urination Changes

One of the most common complaints that vets hear from pet owners is that their previously toilet trained animal has started urinating in the house. Sometimes owners assume that this is a behavioural change that needs to be addressed, but it could indicate a medical concern that is troubling the animal. Some underlying causes why pets may start to urinate in the house could be due to urine infection, or stones in the bladder. Changes in the frequency of urination as well as the quantity could be an indication of issues with the kidney or other organs.

Changes in Eating Habits

Another tell-tale indicator that a pet may have a medical concern is when they change their eating habits. A pet that is drinking a lot more or less water or eating a lot more or less food than usual could have a medical concern that is causing these changes to their eating behaviours. These changes could be caused by a variety of different medical issues such as organ or dental problems, so getting your pet to a vet as soon as you notice changes will assist you in getting a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

Less Sociable

Changes in the way that your pet behaves socially could be a big indicator of a medical issue that needs treatment. Pets that are no longer as active as they used to be could be suffering from arthritis or pain of some sort. If your dog usually sleeps on the bed but it has stopped doing so, it could be because it has trouble getting up onto the bed. A cat that takes to hiding could be trying to hide its pain or discomfort. The only way to really find out for sure what is going on with your pet is to take it to the vet for assessment and treatment; so, don’t delay if you notice sudden behavioural changes.

The Importance Of Routine For Dogs

It is not surprising that we often refer to a dog as ‘man’s best friend’, since our furry friends are very human-like in some ways, and are very much creatures of habit. In fact, they are a lot like babies and thrive best on routine. Having a routine in place will help your dog to feel happy and secure because it knows what is going to happen next. Like babies and toddlers, it is important to introduce changes to the dog’s routine gradually, while maintaining the basic consistency of habits, so as not to overwhelm them.

Why Your Dog Loves a Routine?

Your dog needs consistency in its life. It needs to know when it is scheduled to eat next, to be walked and to have play time, and rest time, and these times need to be consistent and regular, so that the dog does not feel stressed or anxious. Having a regular routine helps the dog to feel secure, so it is able to relax.

Adding extra activities and outings are welcomed by the dog as long as the regular routine remains the same. At Durack Pet Motel we ensure that consistency is maintained with your dog’s routine, because we understand the importance of maintaining the routine in a dog’s life.

How to Implement a Routine

Routine is all about consistency. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using the popular new concept of the ‘crate training’ method, which can be used on both puppies and older dogs. It can help the dog by providing a ‘safe’ space for it to retreat to if it starts to feel overwhelmed. The crate training will assist with other aspects of training the dog into its routine, including where it eats its food, when it is play time, when it is time to rest, and where its boundaries are within the household.

Crate training is also a great way of ensuring that your dog is kept safe from mischief during those early explorative years, so while your back is turned it can be enjoying some crate time. The idea is to make the crate a place where the dog has pleasant associations, so each time it goes near the crate or inside, reward it until it becomes a place where it feels comfortable to go for some time out. And of course, another important advantage of training your dog to feel comfortable using a crate is in the event that if you need to take your dog to the vet, on a plane ride, or if it goes on a holiday somewhere, such as the Durack Pet Motel, it will feel more relaxed.

If You Love Your Dog, Read This!

Dog owners now have an array of services available to make their furry family members happy, comfortable and enjoying life. Washing, grooming, clipping, massage therapy, day care for dogs whose owners work; the list goes on. In fact, a person could own a dog and never do anything with it other than feed it.

Dog Walking is Now a Real Job

Even the daily walk, that incentive that gets us off the couch to exercise our dog, and therefore ourselves, can be by-passed by handing over the leash to someone else. Dog walking is now on the list of services offered to owners who are too busy or have some other reason to hand over this task.

The fact that owners are prepared to pay for the service tells us they know how important a daily walk is for the health and wellbeing of their dog. If they are tied down by work or perhaps too ill to do it themselves, they value the practice enough to engage a dog walker.

Pet Care Programs Include Exercise

We also understand the importance of regular exercise for dogs of all sizes, and this is part of our pet care program at Durack Pet Motel. When you board your dog with us, you leave knowing that your precious pet will have plenty of opportunity for exercise. Our doggy boarders have access to large, safe, grassed play areas where our caring staff members engage them in daily play and petting.

Individual Attention Plus Exercise Equals Dog Heaven

The difference between the care and exercise we provide and the activities of a dog walker, is the individual attention our staff can offer. They are in the kennels with our guests for the whole day and have the time to become friends. A dog walker typically enters a client’s premises, takes the dog for its exercise and returns it immediately afterwards.

Dog Sitting an Option Based on Trust

Another service popular among dog owners, is that of the dog sitter, which is not the same as the dog walker. A sitter may take a dog they are looking after for a walk, but they are primarily engaged to live in its home and provide its care while the owners are away.

This can be successful provided the owners trust the people they have employed. Not only will the sitters have unfettered access to the homes, but they are also responsible for the safety of the pets in their care. A careless moment leaving a gate to a busy road open is just one of the things that could go wrong.

Boarding Kennels Offer Safety and Care

Leaving their dogs in the safety and security of our purpose-built facility is a much better option. The dogs have a great time interacting with our staff; they have comfortable, secure accommodation, and they leave relaxed and happy.

Are You Stressed?

Are you stressed? If you are, there is a good chance your cat is too. Uncanny how they can pick up our moods. Just like children and others who are a bit more “sensitive” they tend to take on too much of our stuff and end up stressed themselves.

Just like humans the major stressors in a cat’s life can include:

• Divorce
• New baby
• Death in the family
• Moving house
• Renovating house
• Illness
• A new pet
• Injury
• Abuse
• Storms

Even day to day occurrences can have a big effect on how a cat’s day went. For example, just take these experiences from your “cat’s point of view”-

• They stopped me sleeping in my favourite spot
• The litter has not been cleaned quickly enough (for their taste)
• My owner is playing loud music and scaring me
• Bleh! What is that new food, I hate new things
• The carpet man came today and took away all our stuff and put something that smelt revolting on the floor
• Eeek! New furniture
• That dog constantly barking is sooo annoying
• Who let THAT in my yard?
You’re getting the idea we’re sure!

Signs of Kitty Stress

Because cats choose not to talk with us and we don’t understand kitty talk we are left to watch for other signs.
These may include, a change in diet usually not wanting to eat, excessive grooming, aggressive behaviour and less interest in family members and companion animals, hiding and inappropriate elimination (always our personal fave – joking).

Help Your Cat Through Stress With Ease

So how can you help your cat through any of these experiences? Well, we are glad you asked. Durack Pet Motel staff love animals and can tell from all sorts of indicators from the tiniest nuance in body language all the way through to out of control spitting, slashing and hissing. Talking with your cat in words and pictures can be a real asset. For major events such as moving house or getting new carpets laid, prepare them as long as possible. The more they “know” the better they feel. Allow them plenty of hidey holes and increase areas they can climb to help them feel more secure and allowing them the choice of exposing themselves or staying hidden. Interactive playtime, is one of the best ways to get a young kitten used to a busy family life. For a more fearful or older cat this is still an opportunity to bring them out of their shell and give them some attention.

Minimising Stress And Anxiety

Today we want to talk with you about something that is very close to your heart—your dog. Someone pretty special to you. If he or she wasn’t you would not be considering bringing it to us to care for whilst you are away.

When you go away for a week or more it is important you find someone to care for your pet who you and your pet know and trust. If you are using a boarding kennel there is no doubt your dog is going to see and hear some things that they usually wouldn’t. The increased noise and activity could be enough to set off several responses in your dog.

It may be that they want to be the life of the party. They may feel frightened or threatened both of which can evoke aggressive behaviour. Stress of this kind can lead to excessive barking, constant lip licking, pacing or loss of appetite.

The staff members at Durack Pet Motel are well versed regarding these signs and they are constantly alert, especially during group playtime.

What You Can Do

There are several things you can do to help your dog assimilate into our environment.

If you have a dog that is particularly attached to you or that does not deal well with being handled by others, it is a really good idea to think about taking the time out for you and your dog to come and visit us. From there, an ideal stepping stone to the actual week or more stay, would be to book in some day and even some overnight visits.

Items from home are always great companions. Dog toys, blankets and even something of yours is more than welcome to keep your number one four-legged friend calm and happy. There are products on the market that can assist with calming aggressive, nervy, or anxious dogs.

The Adaptil Collar is available worldwide. Hundreds of reviews on this product from happy animal owners testify that this doggy pheromone releasing collar helps keep your dog calm during times of stress. Perhaps you may want to consider putting one on your dog a day or two before it are due to join us.

Another item that is receiving rave reviews as a great way to help a dog with anxiety or aggressive tendencies is the Thundershirt. Putting this snug fitting vest on your dog gives it the same feelings as a baby has when firmly swaddled.

From the accounts we have heard and read online you will be amazed at the behavioural change you could witness in your dog.

Don’t Be Fooled By Laid-Back Looks – Cats Get Stressed

Cats often look to be the most laid-back of the animals we keep as pets, so it comes as a surprise to some cat owners that their generally placid pet can be subject to the same kind of stresses as humans. Cats react to similar situational changes that can upset us. Things like moving house or other changes to routine are just as stressful for cats as they are for their owners.

A trip to the vet, an upset to household routine like moving to a new home or bringing home a new baby are typical examples. Most cat owners are accustomed to their furry friends absenting themselves when the carpet cleaners arrive or hiding under a bed when they see the cat carrier being prepared for transit.

Unusual Behaviour can Indicate Anxiety and Stress

What we often don’t appreciate is that this is not just funny behaviour that we can ignore but is an indication that whatever is going on in the home is making the cat feel anxious and threatened. Key indicators are suddenly forgetting the purpose of the litter tray and being aggressive to people in the household for no apparent reason. When this type of unusual behaviour happens, look beyond it for a reason.

If playing host to interstate relatives for a few days or having trade work done is enough to make your cat anxious, imagine what must be going through its mind when you leave it in a boarding facility. We know how traumatic separation is for some cats and how stressed they can become in unfamiliar surroundings. That’s why at Durack Pet Motel we have designed our cat accommodation for safety and security.

Suites with a View, Comfortable Beds and Hide and Seek

Our stress free cat boarding facilities include large and airy individual suites with a full view of the garden so the feline guests don’t feel constrained. Each suite also has a trampoline bed, 6ft high scratching posts with cubby holes and shelves to keep the cats active and entertained.

Special Diets and Medications Accommodated

We feed our guests a large variety of good quality pet food but we also know that cats can be fussy eaters so if yours likes something special, just bring it along and we will feed it to your pet. Our pet care staff members are trained to administer medications or treatments so you need not worry if your pet has special needs.

We encourage owners to bring special toys, blankets or treats along as cats settle better with familiar items around them. This should help to relieve any stress and anxiety they may feel at being temporarily away from home.