The rise of the Pet Au Pair

Introducing the hottest trend in travel – the pet au pair. Favoured by retired couples, singles and young families, a pet au pair cares for pets in exchange for free accommodation in some of the most amazing locations across the country.

The housesitting movement is fuelled by a growing community of pet lovers who are trading expensive kennel stays for live-in housesitters to care for their pets.

The win-win exchange sees home owners inviting housesitters to live in their home rent free – paying little or no bills – in return for the sitters service of minding their home and pet.

“As a Home Owner you register for free and list your house, holiday dates and requirements via Your Home My Home,” says housesitting website Your Home My Home founder, Rebecca Nankervis.

“From there, the ad is shared with our network of housesitters, who have paid an annual subscription in exchange for the privilege to get in touch with you.

“We know that pets are a big barrier to travel because of the cost to kennel, often adding thousands of dollars to the family holiday budget. We know that no one knows who best to look after your pet than you. Your Home My Home has a database of reliable sitters waiting to apply to mind your pets and be interviewed by you”

Your Home My Home was launched earlier this year, and has already facilitated over a hundred housesits. Nankervis puts the success down to the cost saving benefit for both parties.

“If you’re a holiday maker, we offer a home away from home, except the accommodation is free! And, if you’re a homeowner, you have the promise of a responsible house or pet sitter for free.” She says.

Holiday periods are incredibly popular – for both housesitters and home owners alike.

For more information visit:

Golden Retriever at Home, lying relaxed in the beautiful big garden of the big mansion house where she lives.

Golden Retriever at Home, lying relaxed in the beautiful big garden of the big mansion house where she lives.

CATS! Why your furry friend may prefer resting on felt

At Potty Plant we absolutely LOVE all animals, which is why we didn’t want to leave the feline community out this time! Mimi’s Daughters have put together a blog on why cats prefer resting on felt. Check out their website here –

Mimis-Daughters-Purple-Polkadot-Cat Cave

There is no question that a large number of people feel like their pets are important members of their families and this is definitely the right feeling to have. Our pets are there to keep us company, to share fun times with us and they can sense when we need them to be close to us. Dogs and cats are the favorites in most homes because they are closer to us in many ways. They become heavily attached with humans and this is something that deserves our attention.

Cats like to sleep in very comfortable places and this is something that makes perfect sense because they are muscles, joints and bones just like any other mammal. The felted bed is without a doubt one of the most ideal locations for your dog and cat to rest but if you have any other furry pet, they will love it too. The point is that you will be providing a more comfortable pace for your pet to rest, sleep and recover from an active day of fun with you and your family.

There are some important facts that you need to keep in mind when you decide which new bed your cat would want. A good example is that your cat is more likely to live longer if they have a comfortable and soft place that they rest. A properly rested animal is going to have lower levels of stress. This is a condition that affects your pets too and it’s not only something that you experience. Stress can easily cause serious conditions to your pets and this can shorten their lives significantly and this is something that you want to be able to avoid as much as possible.

It’s kind of strange to think that your pet could live much more depending on how comfortable their rest is, but this has been proven to be an incredibly important thing and that is why you need to make sure that your pet is able to get the best possible rest. The Cat Cave is a luxury handmade felted bed that is perfect for your cat, but it can also be used by dogs. Cats are particularly in love with these caves because they are more likely to feel comfortable and happy being inside this kind of soft structure.

There are several models of the cat cave that you can choose, but they are more about your personal preference in colors and styles. Your cat is going to love all of them just as much. This is the kind of gift that you can give to your pet to improve their quality of life greatly and that is without a doubt the best gift that you can ever give to them. You are also going to feel great when you see your cat so happy and sleeping so well.

They are surprisingly affordable for their design and they are also durable, so you won’t have to worry about getting a new one anytime soon. They can be soaked with cold water as long as you make sure to dry them out properly they will last a long time. Just keep in mind to avoid hot water and detergents because this will ruin the smooth felted feel.

Now that you know just how great the Cat Cave can be for your beloved cat, you can order yours and you will see how quickly your cat will start exploring the cave and making it the perfect place to rest.




It is important to understand that during the formative period (when the puppy is 2 – 4 months old), the puppy is teething. During this time, they show a lot more interest in chewing, biting and mouthing. This is natural and expected in all puppies, but some are more inclined than others. There are numerous reasons they chew a lot around this time. They are learning to use their nose and their taste, along with how to use their mouth. They are also learning what they can and can’t eat or play with, so this is where we need to give them a bit of a nudge in the right direction.

The first thing we do around this age of teething is make sure the puppy has access to some soft toys that it can play with and chew when it desires. However, it is very important that these toys do not resemble anything that is commonly found in the house – a fake shoe is a prime example of a bad chew toy, because once your dog realises it can chew shoes, you will have a hard time stopping it. Select toys like rubber Kong® toys, a rope, or tennis balls (if you don’t play tennis!), special wood toys for dogs with no sharp edges, etc. We don’t recommend soft teddy bears, blankets or pillows, as these will encourage them to chew cushions, couches and bedding. Don’t leave your shoes and slippers or clothes around on the ground in the first few months of your pup’s life inside your home.

Bite inhibition is a natural progression and occurs at the same time as the chewing and destructive behaviour. This is seen naturally when the pups play with each other. In the wild, they are basically learning how to play and establish dominance order by play fighting with each other. The adults teach bite inhabitation by being assertive back to the pups when they bite too hard – so the pup learns bite inhabitation (bite more gently). From the start don’t allow painful biting.

At home, we teach them that it is fine to play and run around as much as they want, but they must not bite.

The lip roll and jaw pinch are two techniques we like to use to stop biting in puppies in the formative period. The way these techniques are executed is very simple: when the pup approaches to mouth, bite or nip, you simply let your hand be enclosed by their jaw and either roll their lip onto their teeth and press down slightly as they bite, until they pull away. Alternatively, press your thumb into the ‘V’ of the lower jam on top of their tongue and pinch down against your forefinger on the underside of the jaw again until they pull away. You need to do this every time they try and nip you and use a firm “no” command. It is ideal to review the Dog Zen video to see how this is done – it does take a bit of skill and timing as done correctly it can provoke the situation. It has to be effective – not too much and not too little. It is important that you never encourage biting when you are playing with your pup, and consistently respond to any inappropriate biting – doing it only once or twice will not solve the problem.

Offer alternatives. It’s all well and good discriminating against bad behaviour, but your puppy still needs to bite and chew, It is great to encourage this in the form of fetching or retrieving. We tie an appropriate toy (rope or ball) to the end of a piece of rope and throw it away, followed by a “fetch” command. When the puppy grabs the toy we pull it towards us while enticing the puppy in with a “come” or “bring it here” command, followed by a click and reward when they come (this is a trade – they get reward when they bring toy and drop it). Be careful not to start a tug of war – unless that is what you want of course. This is a multi-purpose exercise with many benefits. We are teaching bite inhibition by redirecting their biting onto an appropriate toy, and we are teaching destructive discrimination by helping them understand what is appropriate to chew. We are also fulfilling their natural prey drive and instinctive behaviour to hunt or chase things. Lastly, we are enriching their learning. This is a form of playtime that is very beneficial to their development as a well-rounded dog, and keeps them happy and fit and its FUN!

For further video instruction and techniques to teach all sorts of different commands and correct behavioural issues in your dog, check out Dog Zen at

Mark Vette’s Dog Zen is a comprehensive online training program and the culmination of Mark’s life work. It is a series of 30 videos, across five modules, which teach the viewer how to properly understand, communicate with, and train their dog.
Dog Zen teachings are firmly rooted in dog psychology and natural canine behaviour. The tagline is “Amazing Results Lovingly” – to reflect Mark’s caring training methodology and the inherent central philosophy of ‘Zen’.
Dog Zen teaches people how dogs’ brains work, so that they can correct any issue and have an easy and relaxed relationship with their dog.
Purchase of the programme gives the user unique login details, so they can access it from any device, any time, for life.
Some of the issues Dog Zen can teach people to correct in their dogs are:
– Aggression (towards other dogs or people)
– Hyperactivity
– Separation Anxiety
– Basic training e.g sit, stay, heel
– Barking
– Bad recall
– Jumping up
– Phobias

Dog Zen is now available from, RRP $447 AU.

Don’t waste anymore time or money on puppy pads or fake grass

barney & pp

Let’s face it, wee and poo management is the not-so-fun part of owning a dog. Whether your furr baby is a puppy or an adult dog, it is safe to say that there will be plenty of accidents to clean up. The obvious way to avoid having these ‘accidents’ is potty training from the moment you bring them to their new home. 

If you live in an apartment with no easy outdoor access, potty training is a little trickier being in such a confined space. Training pups and dogs to toilet on synthetic surfaces such as fake grass and puppy pads goes against nature and what dogs instinctively know. 

Potty Plant works with nature bringing REAL GRASS into apartment living.

The 100% real grass roots absorb the pee before it has a chance to decompose and smell. That is why plastic grass and puppy pads smell so bad – the pee doesn’t go anywhere!

Potty Plant founder, Julia Sakr says, “Don’t waste time, energy, and money on puppy pads or synthetic grass. These products end up in our landfills and require daily cleaning. A lot of training needs to go in training puppies and dogs to toilet on these synthetic surfaces and some still won’t go. Dogs are instinctively drawn to real grass which makes Potty Plant the easiest system to toilet train. They take themselves out to the toilet!”

Benefits of Potty Plant

          Grass roots absorb the pee so no more pee stench and no more cleaning everyday.

          Real grass – choose from hydroponic soil-free grass or Park grass.

          100% natural and compostable- so no more landfill guilt.

          Protective frame allows grass to absorb pee and protects it from naughty puppies that love to dig and rip things.

          Convenient. Delivered to your door every week, fortnight or month.

How it works

The Potty Plant Starter Pack comes with everything you need to get your dog started.

Once your grass needs replacing, jump online and sign up to a weekly/fortnightly or monthly grass replacement plan. Potty Plant is lined with a compostable liner to keep it clean between grass deliveries. When your new grass arrives, throw the old one out and place the new one in the Potty Plant. 

The Potty Plant design is fitted with a protective frame that surrounds the grass and stops naughty puppies from pulling the grass mat out, a problem many dog owners face when using puppy pads and fake grass.

It comes with a matching drip tray that sits underneath the Potty Plant and collects excess water from over watering your grass and rain. It can also be used to cover your Potty Plant in heavy rain.

It makes a stylish addition to your balcony or home. It comes in sleek white which makes for a stunning contrast against the green grass.

How to transition your pup or adult dog to the Potty Plant (tips straight to the dog owner)

Most dogs use the Potty Plant within 10 minutes of receiving it! For puppies still undergoing toilet training, you can soak up a little bit of their pee with a tissue and dab it on the Potty Plant. Dogs claim things by peeing on them, so it won’t be long before they re-claim it after they smell their own pee on it. Be sure to always praise your pup when he/she pees in the correct spot. It’s all about positive reinforcement and associating toilet time with praise and reward.



Thanks to Petplan for the article!

Two dogs playing with a ball. Dogs, pets, playing, ball, summer

Adding a cat, dog, to your home is much like adopting a child.  You choose to love this new creature and want to do everything possible to ensure a long healthy and happy life.  In other words, your new pet is just like a member of the family.

With any new addition to the family such as children, there are certain considerations.  Budgets are readjusted to accommodate life as it is now.  It’s no different with new pets nor is it any secret that pets can cost more than anyone anticipated.  Creating a savings account for pet care is a good idea but that alone isn’t enough.  Here are 5 reasons to insure your new pet.


Obviously, nobody saves money for canine or feline higher education as done for kids, however, the sometimes frequent visits to the vet can mount up.  Toss in the unexpected such as cancer or kidney disease and you can have one very expensive, though much loved, furry family member.


Puppies, like children, are notorious for being right under your feet.  Dr Eloise Bright from Love That Pet regularly sees owners frequently bring in pets that were accidentally stepped on, tripped over, knocked down stairs or had their tails broken by a slammed door.  While most of these injuries aren’t severe, every now and then a broken tail, paw or back can require surgery or long term special care.


Pets, like their humans, are prone to mischief.  How many of us have felt our hearts skip a beat as puppies run out the front door into the road or you realise Fido has swallowed something that could potentially kill him?  It’s said of cats that they have 9 lives, but they too can get out by mistake or into situations that lead to expensive veterinary bills above and beyond the basic expenses.  When a pet swallows something dangerous that must be removed, the bill can easily be anywhere from $500 to $5,000.


While you don’t want to think your pet will be struck down with health issues, at some point in their life your furry friend will most certainly face some kind of health problems. Some certain breeds of dogs have higher chances of specific health issues that develop into costly care, especially as they age.  Giant breed dogs for instance, have a predisposition for hip dysplasia and pugs and bulldogs can have such severe breathing troubles, surgery is required.


When asked, people who use Petplan pet insurance cite peace of mind as their number one reason for taking out an insurance policy for their pets.  For them, it means avoiding being faced with the agonising decision between wallet and pet when it comes to care, especially when that care is an unexpected surgery or illness.  If you’ve ever been faced with paying your rent versus lifesaving medicine or care for your dog, you know the decision can leave you depressed and miserable, homeless or both.


Some people put off getting pet insurance when their animal is young thinking that it is something for older pets who start having more problems.  However choosing to purchase healthcare for pets while they’re young is wise because most providers won’t cover pre-existing conditions and most will have an age cut off for new policies.

Know your breed and what to expect and question your provider regarding what is and is not covered for any specific breed.

Do you own research and find the best insurance fit for your family and pet. It’s often much easier to make a small monthly payment for insurance coverage than be faced with deciding between a shot in the heart for Fido and buying groceries that month.





A pet friendly retirement

Written by Dr Kim Kendall, feline expert at The Cat Palace

Retirement blog

A pet friendly retirement is something anybody who has ever experienced the unconditional love of a cat or dog dreams of. But life isn’t always how we want it to be. It seems though, sometimes, that the more we need our best friends, the less equipped we become to look after them.

Fortunately, I’ll always have someone to look after me thanks to Dr Kim and the gang here at the Cat Palace, but a lot of my mates aren’t so fortunate.

Pets and people in Australia are living longer than ever before, and that means more of you oldies out there will end up in a retirement community of some sort. Great as many such environments are for people, too few of them are so welcoming to the cat or dog (or budgie) that has been at your side for years. This means many pets end up in rescue shelters and, because many of them are getting on a bit themselves, finding a new home is very difficult.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

The people who run retirement communities have started to latch on to the massive benefits a faithful companion can bring, and are starting to welcome pets as residents alongside their people. It’s not all, and not even the majority, but attitudes are changing.

The Animal Welfare League of Australia have set up a separate website which lists all the retirement facilities by state, and indicates which are pet-friendly. The website is called Pet Friendly Aged Care, and is a fantastic resource for people and pets, alike.

If you know someone considering entering a retirement community, and they have pets that they’d dearly love to take with them, don’t assume it isn’t possible. Have a look at the website and see if there’s a community which fits the bill for a pet friendly retirement.

I like the idea so much that I’ve even used a picture of a dog! Everybody wins!

About Dr Kim

Dr. Kim Kendall is Sydney’s best loved and one of the world’s best known cat vets. She is a world expert in feline friendly care, one of only 2 cat-only vets in Sydney and the only cat vet in Australia qualified in cat behavior. As well as providing exceptional medical, dental and behavioral services, Dr Kim overseas all grooming and boarding services with her expert eye and provides routine health checks. Dr Kim continues with the calm pursuit of excellence in Feline Medicine and Feline Health, both mental and physical! She is mindful that we humans have changed cats’ nvironment so much – from solo desert-dwelling rodent hunter to City Gods and Goddesses. Dr Kim also delivers regular ‘cat only’ seminars and webinars and has been presenting seminar papers at the prestigious Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists on feline behavior and medicine topics for a few years now, as well as resenting papers at the International Veterinary Behaviour Meetings.

How to make a birthday cake for your dog!

How cute is this video from Media Animal TV – it was too good not to share!

About Media Animal TV

Media Animal .TV is the brainchild of Tracey Preston, an Australian television news journalist (hound)

with a passion for uncovering unique animal related stories.

Tracey brings you some of the most unexpected animal stories from Australia and beyond and introduces

you to the inspirational tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary work with animals.

There’ll be some fantastic take home tips and advice from world renowned pet and animal experts.

You’ll see videos that entertain, educate and celebrate animals!

So if you love animals as much as we do. You are going to love Media Animal TV! There’s no bad or sad

news here. When you tune into MATV you’ll be left with a warm heart and a big smile!