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Tips for Dog Safety during Home Renovations

Could home renovations cause our pets to get sick? Pet Insurance Australia recently took a look at DIY, the connection with certain illnesses and most importantly the steps we can take as home owners to prevent these issues.

“With Spring in full swing many pet owners will be considering refreshing the home with a fresh coat of paint or going the whole distance with an extensive renovation,” said Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “However, it’s a good idea to plan ahead to prevent pet problems.”

Dr Vadim Chelom BVSc, CEO of Pawssum and House Call Veterinarian agrees that more consideration needs to be made when it comes to the health of our pets during these times.

“In my house call work, I see a disproportionate number of pets adversely affected by the impact of home renovations - both physical and anxiety-related,” he says. “Pets at around one in ten of the homes I attend are being affected by home renovations and it is often easier to diagnose a problem when visiting the pet’s home environment. A cursory walk around the property usually reveals the culprit.”

Some of the most common problems associated with home renovations include:

  • Lead ingestion
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Toxic fumes
  • Physical injury
  • Anxiety and stress

"In the financial year 2015 we recorded approximately 227 claims that could have been the direct result of home renovations. This included poisoning cases not specified and exposure to unspecified toxins," said Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia.

"By comparison, in the 2018 financial year, we saw 2,494 such claims. While this increase could, in part, be due to increased uptake in pet insurance over those years, it still shows there is an increasing number of pets at risk due to poisons and toxins being left in reach."


So how can pet owners prevent their pets from becoming sick due to dream renovations?

“A little planning and confinement,” Crighton suggests. Ensure you keep your pets away from all of the action and plan ahead, perhaps they could stay with a friend or head to a boarding kennel during the really busy times.”

Dr Chelom agrees:  “The first thing is - never assume that because it has been blocked from human access, it is also out of reach of our pets,” he says. 

“They can be externally creative in overcoming man-made barriers. Often the best solution is to organise boarding away from home in advance of the renovations starting. They may not like the boarding kennel but, remember - dogs and cats like their house being turned upside down even less.”

Dr Chelom also reminds pet owners that pets are far more sensitive to sights, sounds and smells than the two-legged variety – aka humans. So if the renovation is stressing you out, chances are your pet is also feeling the impact of a disturbed home environment.

“If a problem does occur, a house call visit from a Vet can be far more effective than trying to explain what’s going on in a clinic.”

Meredith Crowhurst, a Melbourne-based Veterinarian with Pawssum also warned to watch out for "red and sore eyes caused by dust, dogs escaping as workmen come and go whilst cats can develop stress and urinary issues (due to stress) during extensive renovations."

About Pawssum

Pawssum’s on-demand vets can help with 80% of a pet’s health checks at home. They cover urgent medical check-ups, vaccinations, dental, heart, eye and ear checks, taking blood and lump samples, in-clinic follow up or dog training and behaviourist. There’s even an at-home euthanasia service offering increased comfort and privacy. The Pawssum app also keeps a pet’s complete health records accessible by the pet owner or physician at any time, for continuity of service.

Pawssum vets offer visits out of normal business hours, 7 days a week in all major Australian capital cities. For more information, please visit or call 1300 34 35 80

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