Opening Hours

Animal Viewing Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 3pm

General Hours: 
Most Days: 9am - 5pm
Wednesdays:  10am - 5pm
CLOSED: Sundays and Public Holidays

Our Shelter will be closed to the public the first Wednesday of each month.

Education and Animal Stories

All blog posts

Corn cobs and dogs: a potentially lethal combination

**WARNING - ARTICLE INCLUDES GRAPHIC CONTENT Corn cobs can be your dogs worst nightmare. Corn cob husks can not be digested, instead they tend to get stuck and cause a blockage in the intestines. It's painful for the dog, they often lose their appetite, start vomiting and in the case of one poor dog recently at RSPCA ACT, it couldn't pass anything for a week causing the colon to swell and become extremely painful. The constant pressure can rupture the intestine and cause a potential life-threatening infection in the abdomen. If you see a dog eat a corn cob, get to a vet quickly as it may be

Cat Vaccines- what are they for?

There are half a dozen different types of vaccines available for cats. Like human vaccines, they are designed to induce an immune response and thereby protect your pet against some dangerous diseases. In Australia the core vaccination for cats is the ‘F3’- a vaccine that protects against feline panleukopenia, feline herpesvirus, and feline calicivirus. Your veterinarian may recommend other additional vaccines depending on your cat’s circumstances, but this article will focus on the diseases targeted by the F3 vaccine. What is feline panleukopenia? Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious

Cat Vaccines- what is going on?

There is currently (November 2023) an Australia wide shortage of cat vaccinations due to COVID-related supply chain issues. While most vet clinics will still have vaccines on-hand, they are currently unable to restock their supply from the manufacturers or wholesalers. It is hoped the shortage will be short-lived, and it is predicted that some supply will become available later this year. However, the issue may not be fully resolved until early 2024. Should I be worried? There is no need to panic! The immunity created by vaccines does not disappear overnight, and the majority of cats who have

Getting ticked off, a paralysing problem for pets

There are good ticks and bad ticks in this world. Good ticks are the ones you get for answering a question right. Bad ticks are a type of parasite that can make your pet very ill. It is this second sort of tick that pet owners need to be aware of, particularly as we approach summer and start planning for holidays. So, what are they, what is the problem, and what can you do about it? Firstly- what exactly are ticks? Ticks are small parasites, normally less than 1cm in size. They have eight legs (like mites and spiders) and they feed on the blood of animals- including cats, dogs, and people

Senile Symptoms in Senior Pets

Do dogs get dementia? Can cats suffer cognitive decline? If your pet is getting older, then these questions might be playing on your mind. The answer is yes … just like people, pets can develop symptoms of senility in their senior years. The problem is more technically known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). So, what exactly is the problem, and how can you help your furry friend to live their best life as they age? Firstly, what is going on in the brain with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? Studies have shown that pets with CDS can have a build-up of toxic substances in their brain (akin

Autumn and Arthritis

Autumn is here, bringing with it Easter, Anzac Day … and aching joints for those with arthritis. It is commonly accepted that cold and clammy weather can cause creaky joints to complain. But how and why does the autumn weather affect arthritis? First things first … what is arthritis? The term arthritis come from Latin and means joint (“arthr”) inflammation (“itis”). While there are many types of joint inflammation, arthritis in animals most commonly refers to the inflammation associated with degenerative joint disease. Degenerative joint disease is basically joint damage caused by wear and

Why dogs can’t eat chocolate (and why cats won’t)

Have you ever wondered why it is that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, and yet kids can consume and adults indulge with no ill effect (well, aside from a sugar high and excess of calories)? It all comes down to species differences in metabolism. Each species has evolved to eat certain foods. They have their own system of digesting, absorbing, processing, and excreting the waste products of their food. There is a lot of overlap in metabolic processes between species, but the differences are key to understanding why chocolate is a treat for some and toxic for others. What is toxic in chocolate

What’s Up Doc? The Importance of Vaccinating Rabbits

Vaccinations are not only for cats and dogs (and people). They are also for rabbits. There are a couple of very nasty diseases (myxomatosis and calicivirus) that have been introduced to Australia to control our wild rabbit population. Unfortunately, these viruses do not differentiate between our pet bunnies and their wild counterparts. There is currently no vaccine for myxomatosis in Australia, but you can vaccinate your rabbit against calicivirus … and doing so might just save their life! What is the concern with rabbit calicivirus? Rabbit calicivirus, also known as rabbit haemorrhagic

What are …? Overbites and Underbites

These two terms are easy to confuse. They both refer to a malocclusion- a condition where a dog’s or cat’s (or person’s) teeth do not line up normally. But which is which? How do you know if your pet has an overbite or underbite? And is it something you should be worried about? First things first … what is normal? Dogs and cats have four types of teeth- incisors (the little ones at the front), canines (the long pointy ones), premolars (the front cheek teeth) and molars (the back cheek teeth). Normal occlusion means the teeth line up properly with each other. Specifically: The upper incisors

Top 10 Facts: Kennel cough

Most dog owners know about kennel cough. The basics at least. Whether through discussions with your vet at vaccination time, personal experience of your canine catching it, or a good old Dr Google search, you probably have the basics covered. But here is a Top 10 list of facts that you might not know about it: Fact 1: Kennel cough has a bunch of different names. If you like being accurate you can call it “canine cough” because it is not always associated with kennels. If you want to sound smart you can call it “canine infectious tracheobronchitis” because it is an infection of the windpipe

Senior Cats and Their Care

Senior Cats and Their Care
Did you know that RSPCA ACT has been experiencing a high number of surrender applications regarding the surrender of old and geriatric cats? This post is hoping to help pet owners on how to best care for their ageing felines and to help keep them comfortable in their twilight years. A cat’s health changes with age, both physical and mental. It is important to keep an eye on your pet as they age, as some changes can be subtle. Most senior cats will begin to sleep more than they did when they were younger and will usually sleep more deeply, this is typical for any ageing pet. Becoming aware of

What is …? Ringworm

Author: Dr Michelle Gray It has a misleading name and a bad reputation. Many people have heard of it but far fewer truly understand it. So, what exactly is ringworm? And what else do you need to know about it? First things first- what is ringworm? Put simply, ringworm it is a skin infection. More technically known as dermatophytosis, it is not caused by worms, but rather by fungi. Dermatophyte fungi can infect many species, including cats, dogs, and humans. The fungi feed on the keratin containing outer layer of skin cells, hair, or nails. What does ringworm look like? The classical red ring

Holiday Hazards Part 3: Merry misadventures

Its holiday time (nearly!). The festive season is traditionally full of gatherings at home and trips away. For many of us, our pets will be included in the happenings and holidays. But there are some risks involved. This is the third and final article in a series looking at common holiday hazards for pets. It identifies some potential pitfalls in amongst all the merriment, and features some top tips to keep your furry friends safe and well this festive season. Hazard #1: Escaping and lost pets The problem: With visitors coming and going from gatherings at home, and families travelling for the

Holiday Hazards Part 1-Dangerous decorations

Christmas is approaching. Hurrah! Many of our households will soon fill with beautiful decorations and delicious treats as we prepare to celebrate the festive season. But there are potential perils for our pets in amongst the Christmas trimmings. This is the first in a series of three articles, which will identify the common holiday hazards for pets. They will also have plenty of tips on how to keep your furry friends safe and well … because the last thing anyone wants for Christmas is an emergency trip to the vet! Hazard #1: The Christmas Tree The risks: Injury to your pet if it falls (any

Holiday Hazards Part 2- Not so tasty treats

The festive season is full of family gatherings and social celebrations. A common theme to many of these festivities … lots of food! While a little overindulgence may hurt our waistlines (and trigger some New Year’s resolutions), overindulgence for our pets can be much more dangerous. This is the second in a series of three articles looking at common holiday hazards for pets. Today the focus is on dangerous delicacies, and some top tips to keep your furry friends safe and well. Hazard #1: Fatty foods- like ham and bacon The problem: Pancreatitis. A sudden high fat meal is one of the classic

How to know: Is your pet the right weight?

Author: Dr Michelle Gray You probably know that keeping your pet at a healthy weight is important for their well-being. But given the variety of sizes and shapes that cats and dogs come in, how can you know what weight is healthy for your furry friend? And what can you do if your pet’s weight isn’t ideal? First of all- Why exactly should you care? Being over-weight increases the risk of your pet developing certain medical conditions. What is more, being over-weight can make the symptoms of disease more severe and can slow recovery from injury and illness. Examples of conditions that have been

What’s this medication? Meloxicam

Author: Dr Michelle Gray Meloxicam (brand name Metacam) is a commonly used medication in veterinary medicine- it might be dispensed after your pet has had surgery, or if you have an old dog with stiff joints, or perhaps if your cat has been out fighting and been injured. But what is it? How does it work? What side effects can it have? How should it be given? When should you stop giving it? Can it be given long-term? If you have been wondering these things, then read on. What is meloxicam? Meloxicam is a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. This means it is in the same family of drugs as

How to spot: Is your cat hurting?

Author: Dr Michelle Gray Identifying pain in your cat can be tricky. Acute pain (like that caused by an accident)) is apparent to most owners, but signs of chronic pain (seen with problems like dental disease or arthritis) can easily go unnoticed. This is because cats have evolved to mask or hide their pain as a survival technique. This trait works well for wild cats, but can unfortunately cause our companion cats to suffer in silence. Learning to recognise subtle signs of pain in cats is important. It will allow you to detect disease or illness earlier. It means you can seek treatment sooner

What is …? Reverse sneezing

Author: Dr Michelle Gray Is it a cough? Is it a sneeze? Is it choking or retching? No … it’s a reverse sneeze! The first time you see it, reverse sneezing looks rather odd and concerning. Animals will make a snorting/ gagging sort of noise while extending their head and neck, and will often do this repeatedly for a minute or so. You may think your pet is choking or gagging or retching, but what you are actually seeing is a sudden, forceful intake of air through the nasal passages. This differs from a regular sneeze where air is forced out of the nose- in reverse sneezing air is sucked in

Dogs and Barking Behaviour

Author: Dr Michelle Gray Barking is a normal canine behaviour for dogs. It’s how they communicate, not only to each other but also to tell you their needs. However, living in a suburban environment, a dog who barks can also cause tension among the neighbourhood. Why do dogs bark? Dogs can bark for a number of reasons, mainly due to boredom, excitement, anxiety or from a stimulus/trigger. Managing barking can be done by first identifying its cause. Look at when the barking occurs, what is happening in the environment at the time and the type of barking – is it constant or intermittent and can

Pet Policy FAQs for Owners Corporations of Unit Plans

Too frequently, RSPCA ACT is the last option for a pet owner when they move house. They simply can’t take their pet with them because of rules imposed by either the landlord or a corporate body. In 2016/17, 12.7% of all surrendered animals were because the owners said they were moving. Canberra is going through major changes in terms of the density of housing, as well as the number of people living in units within our community. While we recognise the need for pet owners and non-pet owners to be able to live peacefully together within tighter spaces, we are increasingly concerned by the number

Take Your Dog To Work Day!

Read our tips for when you bring your dog to work
Puppy Break! Isn't that the dream? A little bit of stress relief and cuddles from 'man's best friend?' Here’s your chance! Friday is International ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day!’ On this day every year, employers are encouraged to open their doors and hearts to our furry friends to promote the benefits of pet ownership and animal adoption. Before you bring the pooch into the cubicle, it’s important to check with your organisation to ensure bringing your dog to work is appropriate and will not affect the health and welfare of your co-workers. Some work environments may not be appropriate or safe


Discounted desexing will run from July to October 2018
The Lunar calendar might say that this is the year of the dog, but at RSPCA ACT it has been the year of the cat. Some of you may be aware that we had made a deliberate investment into prevention programs a few years ago. Specifically for cats, we started a three-year, free cat desexing program that we named, “Frisky Tom.” The program was launched on the back of consecutive years of growth rates and the sheer number of unwanted kittens that were coming into the RSPCA ACT Shelter. With some help from a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, we aimed to desex 1,500 cats for free for


Nasa was found under a building as a kitten 17 years ago
While promoting our recent national ‘Clear the Shelter’ $29 promotion, we had some concerned supporters reach out to us. They believed that by lowering the prices, we’d motivate people to adopt pets for the wrong reasons including by prompting ‘impulse purchases.’ A few also felt that we were in some way devaluing the animal by this promotion. So why do we, as a national charity with a mission to protect animals, not share the same concerns? In truth, both international research and our local stats prove that such beliefs are actually a myth. To give you some context I’ll share my own

A Face that can Kill – When Breeds Need More than Unconditional Love

Australian Bull Dog with breathing issues
On the 25th February, an eight-year old Australian Bulldog named Jaxon was surrendered to RSPCA ACT. Like so many other dogs of his breed, he came to us with significant health issues related to his exaggerated features. In order for him to live a healthy and longer life, our vet team would have to perform significant surgery just to help him breath. In Jaxon’s case, his teeth are overcrowded and the soft palate was too loose and floppy to allow for adequate air flow resulting in a daily struggle, much like a person with chronic asthma. Jaxon’s story is not unusual unfortunately. Turn on any

Why not adopt the unusual?

Albert the beautiful rooster red cone and rich brown feathers
The now familiar call out reverberates around the Shelter. The signal has been sent to all staff that we have a large number of animals being brought into the Shelter by the Inspectors. Today that number included over 200 rabbits, chickens, birds and assorted small animals. We will work into the late night to process and conduct health checks on each one. Often when people think of the RSPCA ACT Shelter, their first thoughts go to cats and dogs. Whilst there is no doubt that our Shelter is always full of these lovable pets looking for homes – they’re not the only animals we have waiting

Through Leopold's Eyes

Leopold the dog
He’s still there. Those big brown eyes staring at me through his cage. I walk by his kennel almost every day to say hello. When he sees me, he recognises me instantly. He never fails to show his delight at the extra attention. I walk into the staff only section and reach my fingers through the gate wires to scratch his back first. He rolls over on his back so that I can try to rub his tummy too. If I have time, I might even go into the kennel with him and allow him smoother me with love and leaving me covered in his hair and drool in the process. I don’t have any treats with me this time, but

Breed Specific Legislation Doesn’t Work

Happy Relaxed Pitbull laying on a garden path he has a big pink tongue and a blue grey coat and soft kind eyes
There has been a lot of talk lately about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) for dogs after a number of horrific attacks locally. The entire community including RSPCA ACT has a desire to see a reduction and prevention in dog attacks from occurring. However, using legislation in this manner has proven to be ineffective in reducing dog attacks. What exactly is BSL? It’s the restriction of specific breeds or cross breeds of dogs regardless of their behaviour. The only form of BSL that the Australian Capital Territory has in place right now is for greyhounds which are required to wear muzzles until

Pet Pool and Beach Safety

Finn the little dog is wearing his life jacket and he is ready for a swim
Summer is well and truly here and many people are already planning their holidays! If you plan to bring your furry companion along with you there are things you should consider. Here are our top tips to ensure that your holiday is everything to remember – for the right reasons! 1. Pet-Friendly? Make sure wherever you’re going allows animals. Some beaches and campsites that normally allow them may have different rules during the busy holiday period. Give them a phone call and do your research. 2. Make sure your pet can swim: When it comes to dogs, some breeds are instinctively comfortable in

Christmas Food Dangers for Your Pet

Moo the puppy in a basket licking her nose
We all eat things we shouldn’t from time to time, after all, who can resist that extra serving of dessert at Christmas? Luckily for us, the worst consequences often require us to loosen our belts and put on some stretchy clothing. Unfortunately for our pet pals this isn’t their reality. When animals are allowed to overindulge it can mean an emergency visit to the vet. This festive season keep an eye out for the following dangers: Chocolate: We’ve previously discussed the toxicity of chocolate for animals and would like to reinforce that (even a little bit) it’s a serious health threat to your

Helping Your Dog Be A Good Neighbour

Helping Barking Dogs
Yesterday I decided to tag along with our RSPCA ACT Inspectors for the afternoon. They investigated seven different complaints within a two-hour period and all but one was related to what we would call a ‘nuisance’ complaint – most frequently that of dogs barking. Barking dogs are not actually covered by the Animal Welfare Act which is the legislation that our Inspectors enforce. The majority of the time we will turn these types of calls over to the Rangers at Domestic Animals Services (DAS). However on occasion, the person lodging the complaint will describe other welfare issues which we will

What Can You Do to Help the Greyhounds?

ceo message
Last Thursday was a historical day when the NSW and ACT Governments decided to ban greyhound racing – the first in Australia to do so. Despite our advocacy efforts, it was a day that I wasn’t sure that I would see during my time at RSPCA ACT. We certainly didn’t think that NSW would be the first state to ban this commercial activity in the country. Most people will not realise that only a few countries in the world permit commercial greyhound racing. In the United States, 40 of 50 states have banned it with active racing now only in five states. Growing up in the US, I never met a greyhound

Pet Owners Make Great Tenants

dog at home
“I’m surrendering my pet because I am moving house.” These are some of the saddest words we hear at RSPCA ACT and way too frequently. While Australia has one of the highest percentages of pet ownership in the world, there are still many people that would love to own a pet, but cannot because they are renting. Last year, I spoke at a property management conference in Canberra. One of the questions I asked the audience was, “How many of you have first-hand experience with a pet causing significant damage to a property that you were managing?” A show of hands only resulted in two people that

Why We Rehome ‘Imperfect’ Pets

I’m often asked what the best type of pet is. The answer is easy: A rescued one! However, when I say ‘best’ I do not mean perfect. I once had a government official (who is no longer working in government) tell me that perhaps our financial challenges were related to the fact that we were “selling the wrong kind of product.” She meant that if we only rehomed the perfect pure bred animals that were in high demand we wouldn’t have problems adopting them out; and therefore would have plenty of money as a result. She obviously did not understand our mission at all! Every day dozens of animals come

Buyers Remorse: The Problem with Buying Pets Online

It was just another day at RSPCA ACT in February this year, a little ball of white fluff arrived at the Shelter. At just six weeks old, the purebred Japanese Spitz was being surrendered into our care. The reason? After only two days his new owners were in over their heads. He barked too much, he had a skin condition, and what they thought they had ‘ordered’ from the website for about $2000 because of his cute photo wasn’t what they expected. The skin condition was hot spots all over the left side of his body which had turned into ugly scabs. At this age, he should still have been with his

'Twas the Night before Million Paws Walk

Sleeping puppy
‘Twas the night before Million Paws Walk, when all through the Shelter All the creatures were stirring, even the mouse; The banners and signs were hung by Stage 88 with care, In hopes that lots and lots of dogs would soon be there: The puppies were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of the Paw-Olympics Games danced in their heads; And volunteers in their green shirts and staff in blue caps, Had just finalised the rosters hoping there were no gaps, When out on the lawn there rose such a clatter, I sprang from backstage to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a