pet insurance

Pet Insurance

09 Nov 2020

Handy Hints with Dr Harry: Why is my pet scratching?


Here comes summer, but we need to get through spring, the season where allergies begin to raise their ugly heads.

Our dogs and cats are no different. It was always fleas that were the number one culprit when it came to allergies. The sight of a poor dog constantly scratching, usually at the lower part of its back, till the condition became so bad hair would fall out, the skin would be constantly oozing serum, in short the dogs smelt and looked terrible. Cats were never quite  that bad but they did continually scratch too, with the inevitable ‘flea eggs’ deposited everywhere. They were however not flea eggs that we saw, but rather little black granules. Almost like a grain of sand. If you wet them they turned brick red. This was in fact flea manure,partly digested blood!

An easy way to test if your pet has fleas is to have them sleep on a nice white sheet overnight. In the morning very gently pick up all four corners and slowly agitate the material until whatever is present accumulates in the centre. If it is typical ‘flea dirt’ and you can confirm this with the water test, you have all the proof you need.  

Fleas should not be a problem for your pet today. There are a great number of tablets, spot-ons, and collars that will keep them at bay. The problem always was that for every flea on your pet there are another 25 waiting in the wings as eggs or larvae, ready to reinfest your pet.

The important thing about all of these products is that you must follow the directions. They will not control the flea problem in your household unless used regularly, following the manufacturers recommendations. What if your pet still scratches? Well, you have to look elsewhere.

Food allergies are a possibility, as are dust mites that inhabit your home.

Over my years in practice though there is one other standout that causes severe allergies. Wandering Jew, it is a dark green, lush looking weed that grows in a prostrate fashion in shaded and dampish areas. It always feels cool to touch, which is why your dog loves to lie on it on a hot day. This weed is not easy to kill! Smothering it with black plastic works well for me.


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^ Price Promise a. only available if a Woolworths Pet Insurance policy is purchased by 30 June 2021 b. only applies to competitor products available as at 1 May 2020 that at least cover up to 80% back on eligible vet bills and have a similar excess c. does not apply to quoted renewals, variations, free insurance offers, or quotes that include discounts for other products purchased d. only available if the quote is genuine – written proof of quote may be required. Please note covers provided by insurers will vary.

Offer available to new Woolworths Pet Insurance policyholders, and is limited to 1 membership per eligible policy. The free membership offer (valued at $199p.a) is from the date of your policy commencement, provided your Woolworths Pet Insurance policy remains active. You are not eligible to redeem the free membership subscription for cash or credit. VetAssist is a separate subscription based service to the Woolworths Pet Insurance product, and is provided independently by Woolworth’s third party service provider, VetChat Services Pty Ltd (VetChat). Click here for full VetAssist Service terms and conditions. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at anytime, without notice.

* Limits, waiting periods, exclusions and excesses may apply.

‡ Subject to continuous renewals and no gap or change in level of cover (with cover subject to the applicable terms and conditions of the policy for each renewal period). 

Benefits are subject to the terms and conditions including the limits and exclusions of the insurance policy. Cover is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL No. 241436 (Hollard). Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675 AR No. 245476 (Woolworths) acts as Hollard’s Authorised Representative. Any advice provided is general only and may not be right for you. Before you purchase this product you should carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement to decide if it is right for you.

Any general advice provided by Dr Harry Cooper in relation to Woolworths Pet Insurance is provided as an Authorised Representative of Hollard through an arrangement with Woolworths AR No. 1000933.