March 2018

Easter is almost here and while I’m sure many are looking forward to chowing down on chocolate it’s important to remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs and in some cases, fatal.

Chocolate is toxic as it contains the compound theobromine which is a chemical similar to caffeine and is used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator and smooth muscle relaxant.

Dogs can’t metabolise theobromine like humans can and the highest levels of compound can be found in dark chocolate, cocoa powder and baking chocolate.

The toxic effects vary depending on the dog’s size, type and the amount of chocolate eaten, but may result in severe clinical signs if not treated early.

Consumption can lead to an increased heart rate, seizures, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and in worse cases can also result in death.

Dogs are natural scavengers, so keep this in mind when preparing your Easter egg hunt for the kids. Some helpful tips is to use larger eggs and place them up higher so they’re out of your dog’s reach.

The importance of desexing your pet is something we’d also like to raise this month and if you find that it’s something you can’t afford, there are other avenues you can take.  

Cessnock Council has had a long standing partnership with Hunter Animal Watch who work to reduce the number of unwanted pets in our area by offering financial assistance to people on low incomes to desex their pets.

In January and February this year, Hunter Animal Watch helped 179 dog and cat owners across the Hunter to desex their pet which is a fantastic achievement.

If you are a pensioner or unemployed and would like assistance with the cost of desexing your pet, we encourage you to call Hunter Animal Watch on 024961 6133. Alternatively, you can visit to find out more information.

We’d also like to advise that there are new rules in place for parked trailer advertisements and signage to improve road safety and reduce driver distraction.

The changes have the effect of:

  • Banning advertisements on parked trailers on roads, road shoulders, footpaths and nature strips, excluding advertising associated with the primary use of the trailer, e.g. tradies trailer, and public authorities
  • Requiring consent for displaying signage on trailers parked on private land in view from roads, road shoulders, footpaths and nature strips
  • Allowing advertising in transport corridors permissible with consent from the Planning Minister or delegate, across NSW.

The change to ban trailer advertising came into effect on 1 March 2018. Individuals failing to comply can be fined $1500 and businesses doing the wrong thing could attract a $3000 fine.