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Ausboard 2015

Pet Boarding Australia Events

Between Monday 24 AugustWednesday 26 August is Ausboard – the national event for the Australian pet boarding and training industry. 

For anyone working in the industry, looking to get into it or interested in pet care as a whole, we encourage you to get along. These events usually provide great insight into the current practices and a window into the future. Innovation and change is always something exciting, lets hope there’s lots of that at this year’s Ausboard.

As a pet boarding industry supporter Smiley Pets will be attending. Hope to see you there.


new dog meets cat

Introducing a new dog into a cat house

A common question that gets asked is how to integrate a new puppy into a cat household.

It’s a tough question because a lot depends on the dedication of the owners and their willingness to learn and be flexible to the needs of both animals. Cats can be the problem and so can the dog or puppy in a lot of instances.

Managing your Cat & Dog

I’t probably no surprise that you will be in for some cold shoulder treatment from your cat. It’s common to see them change their habits completely and to emotionally disconnect. Many cat owners report them not sleeping in their bed anymore, not resting on the couch where they used to and basically camping outside, away from the reach of the intruder.

This response is to you and the dog. Here’s some key points to consider.

  • Always supervise their initial interactions, don’t leave them alone. Dogs can get aggressive and attack and vice versa. Controlled and supervised ‘socialising’ is strongly recommended in the early stages (this could take a couple weeks)
  • The dog is the guest and it’s important it knows it’s place. They are pack animals and it’s important they know their place in the hierarchy. Don’t elevate them above the cat or favour them in front of the cat
  • Start obedience training immediately so the puppy can respect boundaries around the house and with the cat
  • Stay focused on the task, if you are committed to the process it will be smooth sailing in 1- 2 weeks, if you let it slip it could never happen

The truth of the matter is that integrating any animal will be a challenge. Not just dogs, new cats is also a struggle. But the nice thing about introducing a pup is that they can be trained, they join the bottom of the ‘food chain’ in the household hierarchy and when well managed it can be happy pet household sooner than later. For options on housing your cat and dog separately while you’re on holiday consider these local options.




dog boarding facility

The Pros and Cons of Dog Day Care and Boarding

There are a number of reasons why people want to consider checking their dog into day care or boarding for longer stays, after all it makes sense. But there are several factors that need to be considered before making your decision.

What makes a Good Dog Day Care Centre

Finding the right day care centre for dog owners is not quite the same as for parents, but some act like it is. Good day care centres are harder to find these days and the best ones can be a well kept secret and/or harder to get into. With the majority of these centres prices per day will range from as little as $20 up to $50 plus. Before you go ahead and select one ensure there are some basic control measures in place that protect you and your dog.

  • Ensure the centre requests a copy of your dogs current C5 vaccination certificate
  • Check out the centres cleanliness and friendliness of staff
  • How many animals are there in the facility, does your pet react well to playing in large numbers or are they a quiet reserved type?

Understanding Dog Boarding Facilities

For a longer stays you will be looking towards dog boarding or dog kennels to house your pooch. If you have a big or small dog there are considerations to be aware of around space, outdoor playtime and their diet.

dog boarding facility

A lot of kennels will have runs or outdoor play areas where they can go nuts. Others, say suburban facilities, will have smaller spaces – so factor in your dogs needs.

  • Be sure to ask exactly how long your dog will have to run outside each day and is it morning and afternoon?
  • Are their beds on the floor or raised?
  • What food is fed and can you make changes for your animal

These are normal requests, do your homework, it will take you 10 minutes more and you and your animal will be happier for it.

animal rescue and shelters

Animal Rescue & Shelters for your Next Pet?

If you’re at a point of thinking about looking for a new pet for your family it’s a fun and exciting time. Often the kids have a million suggestions, everyone wants this one or that one and even walking past a pet shop can be a challenge in itself.

animal rescue and shelters

Before you jump out to buy a new pet, consider adoption for a moment, you might be surprised at how rewarding an experience like this could be for your family. As I kid I remember when we took in a dog from the pound. We named him Casper, because he was white like a ghost. Casper had a troubled past but he was a good dog at heart. He taught me a lot of valuable lessons about training an animal and he grew to become a much loved family member.

It’s not always the path most traveled but it can be a good one. This is not a guilt trip suggestion, merely a reminder to think about it. You can find a range of young, old, pre loved or troubled animals through your pound/RSPCA or places like Sydney Pet Rescue where animals from all walks of life are up for adoption.

Not only can you save money but you can also enrich the life of an animal in need. Not a bad result all-round really is it? Smiley Pets will try to focus more on different groups in the community that are making a difference like Sydney Pet Rescue in the future. Stay tuned to this blog.

pet rats

Rats as Pets – Getting Past the Stereotype

There are few pets that evoke the same reaction from people as rats. We are so familiar with the ‘normal’ domesticated animals that the concept of owning a rat is a bridge too far for many regular pet owners. But is the stigma justified and what kind of pet is a rat afterall?

Many rat owners will testify that they make excellent pets. They consider them to be smart, clean and friendly animals that very rarely bite and they play, do tricks and smell less than mice.They are considered good pets for children too. They can be potty trained too, which is always a nice bonus.

On average a adult male rat can grow to about a foot long including the tail. There are a wide variety of breeds that are hairless, big eared, smaller and tailess. Their coats can have great variety, just like dogs and cats, though it’s harder to find that range at your typical pet store.

rats can grow to one foot in length

You can keep rats in pairs, they make good companions for one another and they like to groom each other too. Introducing older rats to live together is not a wise idea, however babies that grow up together will form a strong bond.

Female rats can produce big litters of 15 or more and they will naturally be very protective during this period. Having babies will shorten their life as rats can get pregnant every 20-25 days, the whole cycle of birth and feeding can be very taxing on the mother. Once the babies are old enough to fend for themselves the mother will return to normal temperament.

So although a pet rat was probably not on your radar before you read this article (and it still might not be) there is a lot of really positive things about owning a pet rat that people should be aware of. We will hopefully be able to document more about these unique creatures in future posts so be sure to pop by again to check up on the Smiley Pets blog.

dog at beach off leash

Dog Friendly Walks and Beaches Sydney

Sydney is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscape and natural coastlines in Australia. It’s a gift Sydney siders really should make the most of as much as possible. If you’re a dog owner, you should be mindful and respectful of the places that are dedicated dog friendly areas.

Manly Lagoon

Now this is clearly not a beach and the water is not the sort you will plunge into, but for dogs it’s great. You can walk leash free 24 hours a day. It’s really close to Manly, so that means on weekends it can be tough to find parking, but the beginning and end of the day are best.

Rose Bay 

Finding dog beachs around the city beaches is a challenge, but Rose Bay is a handy little gem that locals love. Your dog is allowed on leash anytime and off leash after 4.30 pm until the next morning at 8.30. Which works for most owners looking for the before and after work walk shifts. It’s a narrow when the tides up so check the tidal report if that concerns you.

Bicentennial Park

This is a off leash area all day everyday. The nice thing about this area is that is runs into Blackwattle Bay and where there are now new access points into the water at various locations.

Smiley Pets will keep you posted with future updates about newly developed dog friendly areas as they pop up in and around Sydney.

cats and laser pointers

Are Laser Pointers Bad for Cats?

Sitting on the couch with a laser pointer and playing with your cat can seem like a lot of fun for owners and the cat. The elusive light can dance anywhere and even the most agile of cats struggles to keep up. But are they having fun and is it helpful or harmful?

From an owners perspective it’s easy to see why you playing with your cat in this way seems like a great idea. They respond really well to the stimulation, they stalk, hunt and jump after the light and it gets them moving.

From the cats perspective things are a little different though. Cats through life and play like to stalk, hunt, watch and then pounce on their prey. The laser can never be ‘caught’ though and this can be frustrating for the animal. Because they are used to have a tangible or tactile outcome to these games, the laser can be a source of frustration.

Cats can become overly aroused, frustrated, confused and annoyed by these games. The results can at times be aggression towards other cats or biting and scratching.

How to Play with Lasers the Right Way

Cats need a prize or a reward for their efforts, so a way around this is to set up soft toys in the area where you will play. Then as you begin your game, start with having them chase the beam, when it’s time for them to be rewarded with a ‘catch’ shine it onto the top of one of the toys and leave it there so that they can feel the catch and rough it up for a second.


Don’t just go from 100 miles and hour to stopping the play. Decrease the speed of play down to a slower pace, before finally leaving the light on a toy to end the session with a ‘catch’. Before ending the session reward them with a treat or a meal.

They will be happy and enjoy the play feeling less frustrated over all.

What to Avoid in Laser Play with Cats

  • Shining in their eyes
  • Long sessions with no reward
  • Stopping the session abruptly

Smiley Pets don’t recommend the use of laser pointer play, but there are safe ways to do it if you are going to play that way.

dog lovers show sydney

The Dog Lovers Show Sydney

Sit up and pay attention dog owners, this is an event on the Sydney animal calendar that you should not miss. The Sydney Dog Lovers Show is in August on the weekend of the 15th and 16th. It’s usually a whole lot of fun and great for the whole family.

You can expect to see talented dogs showing their skills in a whole range of areas like flyball, frisbee and agility skills. There will be a huge show with over 30 dog breed clubs competing this year.

flyball dog in action


You can expect to learn a lot too – this year there will be expert advice available on training, behaviour and new puppy skills. You will also be able to learn about the different breeds and which is the best match to your personality.

Working dogs like the search and rescue dogs and Australian military dogs will be doing their thing to keep everyone entertained and there will be a tonne of food and performances for the kids.

Important Information for the Dog Show

  • Although this is a dog event, it’s indoors so Sydney dog owners that means it’s a leave your pets at home event
  • Fox Studios Moore Park location means you can drive or take the bus from town

Million Paws Walk May 2015

The Million Paws Walk is Australia’s biggest dog walk so don’t miss the chance to get involved.

million paws walk


Sponsored by the RSPCA it takes place on May 22nd and it’s the idea way to show your support to this great cause while raising money for animals in need.

What ever breed of dog you have, any shape or size it’s welcome. Even if you don’t own one, you can join in on the fun. All funds raised will help the RSPCA NSW to continue their great work in the region. You need to register – so jump online and get involved. It’s always a great fun day out for young and old, canine or human. Smiley Pets Sydney loves to promote this event and in the coming years we hope to contribute more where possible.

Why do Cats go Nuts for Catnip?

What is catnip?

Catnip is a herb that is closely related to the mint family. Not all cats fall for it, but those that do absolutely love it. The key ingredient is nepetalactone and this can bring even the most docile cats to life, sometimes with funny side effects.

Smelling Variety vs Consumed Catnip

One form of catnip works via smell only. It’s believed to be related to pheromones – in particular happy pheromones. When cats eat the herb, it can have a different effect, more of a mellowing pacifying effect. The reactions can be very profound with those cats that do love it. Jumping, running, rolling, rubbing are typical reactions.

It can last for 5-10 minutes and then the cats will slowly lose interest. Most will typically play with it, rolling in it as it’s the smell that is working for them.

It’s considered safe to give to your cats, although the exact science of it is not known, it’s a short term effect that wears off quickly for the animal. It’s considered a fun and harmless form of entertainment that is fine to use from time to time. Many owners use it to spice things up for their pet, especially if the cat is left alone at home during the day.