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Arthritis in Senior Dogs—Signs and Treatment
You might have noticed your older dog slowing down as the years go by. Perhaps he is playing less and sleeping more. Although this may seem like the normal consequences of aging, arthritis could be to blame.
What Is Arthritis?
There are several different types of arthritis that can affect dogs, but the most common is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease. This condition can affect up to one out of five adult dogs. Aging is a definite contributor to the development of osteoarthritis, but there are other factors, as well, such as old injuries, metabolic disorders such as diabetes, and obesity.As dogs age, the cartilage in their joints begins to thin. This cartilage serves to cushion and protect the bones in the joint, and with excessive loss, the bones can rub against each other and break down. The resulting friction causes pain and loss of mobility. Inflammation in the joint capsule can also lead to the development of extra bony growths known as spurs. Any joint in your dog’s body can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the most common locations are the hips, elbows, knees, wrists, shoulders, ankles and the lower back.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Dogs
Osteoarthritis can be hard to detect in its early stages. It is not until the joint is badly damaged, and the bone surfaces are wearing away, that outward symptoms are seen. In addition, dogs often mask their pain. If you are seeing the signs below, your dog may be suffering from osteoarthritis and dealing with some degree of discomfort or pain.
- Avoiding or reluctance to exercise like running or reluctance going up the stairs
- Playing less
- Lethargy, tiring easily, and sleeping more
- Problems jumping, getting up on the couch, or into the car, for example
- Stiffness, limping, or difficulty moving
- Weight gain and changes in appetite
- Irritation when petted or touched on the affected area
- Personality changes like depression or grouchiness
- House soiling
Arthritis may not be the only cause for these symptoms, so it is imperative that you take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. X-rays are the best way to diagnose osteoarthritis because most of the changes in the damaged joint can be seen. Your vet will also want to know about your dog’s behavior and any changes you have noticed. She may also manipulate your dog’s joints to listen and feel for any crackling or grating during movement. Any stiffness when your dog moves around the exam room or loss of muscle mass may also indicate osteoarthritis.
Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs
Many of the same treatments available to people suffering from osteoarthritis are also available to dogs. The goal of treatment is to control the dog’s pain level and increase his movement and function. If possible, attempts should be made to slow down the degeneration of the joint and encourage repair of the cartilage.
There are many medications your vet might suggest, including pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), for example Rimadyl. These reduce the inflammation in the joint, resulting in less pain. However, NSAIDS can have side effects that impact the liver and kidneys, so it’s important for your vet to run a blood test to check that these organs aren’t compromised before writing a prescription.
Cortisone or steroids can also be used to combat inflammation, but long-term use can be of concern due to serious side effects. Another category of medication is chondroprotectants such as Adequan. These drugs inhibit the enzymes that contribute to cartilage breakdown, protecting the cartilage as it tries to repair itself. Be aware that many drugs meant for humans can be toxic to your dog, so never treat your pet with medication from the pain relief aisle in the drugstore without first consulting your vet. Surgery is another option for dogs in serious pain or with severe joint damage. This can range from cleaning debris from inside the joint, or rebuilding part of the joint, to complete replacement with an artificial joint. This can lead to significant pain reduction and greatly improved mobility.
An important treatment for all arthritic dogs is appropriate exercise and weight management. Excess pounds put more stress on the joints, so keeping your arthritic dog at a healthy weight will help with mobility and pain management, as well as minimize further damage. Products like ramps, stairs, or a lift harness can also help your arthritic dog with mobility. Proper exercise keeps the joint supple and will also keep the muscles around the damaged joint in top condition, supporting and protecting the bones underneath. Canine physiotherapy is another great option, so be sure to ask your veterinarian about certified canine rehabilitation therapists in your area.
Finally, there are many complementary therapies available, from acupuncture to herbal remedies. Even your choice of dog food can have an impact on your arthritic dog’s quality of life. Look for joint health or senior formulas with additives such as glucosamine and chondroitin, the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and antioxidants such as vitamin E. These may help reduce the inflammation in your dog’s joints, minimize damage to cartilage, and ease arthritis symptoms. You can also give these supplements in addition to your dog’s regular food; however, as with any supplement or alternative therapy, look for treatments with scientific research behind them and consult your veterinarian to ensure safety for your dog.
WHAT KIND OF REPTILES ARE GOOD PETS FOR CHILDREN?
By Madeline Masters
If scales and tails get your kid excited, you have many good options for pet reptiles. When choosing a reptile for kids, consider the animal’s required habitat, the lengths your child is willing to go to feed the animal, whether the creature is sturdy enough to withstand handling, and whether the pet will hold your child’s interest throughout its life.
Children do well with animals whose habitats are easy to maintain. Animals that don’t require heat lamps or UV lamps will be easier for your child to care for. Corn snakes, king snakes and many gecko species need no special lighting. Geckos and snakes also don’t need a big enclosure compared to other reptiles. Many geckos and small snakes are happy in a 20-gallon aquarium. Turtles and tortoises require UV and heat lamps. Aquatic turtles will also require regular water changes and monitoring of water quality and temperature. Turtles and tortoises need roaming room outside their aquarium. Large animals like iguanas, monitor lizards and pythons — such as the Burmese and reticulated python — grow too large for many homes to accommodate, often needing an entire small room to move about in.
Some reptiles do better with handling than others. Small snakes have no claws and rarely bite their owners. Corn snakes, ball pythons and California king snakes are good choices for kids because of their laid back attitude and manageable size. Corn and king snakes grow to about 5 feet long, and ball pythons reach 4 feet in length, but are thicker and more muscular. Bearded dragons are easy to tame and are docile, verging on lazy. Delicate reptiles aren’t recommended for children because the animal could get injured. True chameleons and anoles can get stressed from handling, which can affect their health. Tokay geckos are quick to bite, have strong jaws with sharp teeth, and can inflict serious damage.
Your child may be put off by feeding live animals to a pet reptile, especially when cute, fuzzy mice are on the menu. If this is a primary concern, a vegetarian reptile could be the best choice. The drawback is that vegetarian animals require a more varied diet that involves more preparation and planning than reptiles that eat insects and small animals. Certain species of tortoises can live on a vegetarian diet. Geckos, blue-tongued skinks and bearded dragons can eat produce along with store-bought reptile food, but it’s preferable for them to eat live invertebrates at least once a week. Captive bred snakes should take well to eating pre-killed prey, such as frozen and thawed mice.
A pet that’s active at the same time of day as your child and doesn’t spend most of its time hiding has a higher chance of receiving the care and attention it needs. Blue-tongued skinks are lively creatures that like to explore their environment. Leopard geckos are nocturnal so they may not hold much interest for your child until the evening, but are fun to watch as they climb and scamper. Bearded dragons are largely inactive and may not hold your child’s interest for long. Turtles and tortoises are active pets but live for 50 or more years, a very long time commitment for a young child to make.
All reptiles may have salmonella in their digestive systems, so they’re not recommended for children under 5 years old. Children may become sick when they touch the reptile or the animal’s habitat and then put their hands in their mouths. Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling their pet and always supervise any interactions with the pet reptile.
The benefits of dog houses
Protection is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a dog houses. When a dog spends a lot of time outdoors, he is exposed to the weather. Many dog breeds are sensitive to weather, so this is one important point to take into consideration.
But even rough dogs will eventually succumb to heavy weather. Heavy weather implies extreme cold or heat. During heat waves, especially, it is important to be careful with our pets. If your dog is going to spend time in the backyard during times of extreme heat, he must be well protected.
The importance of quality dog houses
As we stated before, every dog needs a house of his own. A spot where he can rest and be by himself. Needless to say, when you get or build your dog a house, make sure it is the correct size.
It is also very important for you to consider that dogs are individuals with different needs and dog houses should be built to meet those particular needs.
What is the best dog house?
The best dog houses have the following basic characteristics:
They provide enough room for the dog to fully stand up, move around and even have access to food and water.
They are elevated above the ground to provide ventilation during hot weather and to avoid the floor from getting too cold during winter.
Speaking of ventilation, a good dog house has a good ventilation. The big opening for the dog to access is usually enough.
Some insulation can help keep a dog house cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter.
They are colored with light colors as these reflect heat instead of attracting it.
In Dogalize we care about dogs as much as you do. This is why we have comprehensive guides, tips, and tricks for you to best take care of your pet. Visit us and check out all the information and resources we have.
7 Things People Do That Dogs Hate
1. Hugs From Strangers
Imagine a total stranger coming up to you and giving you a full body hug. It would probably make you feel threatened, uncomfortable and put you on alert. Dogs don’t express affection in the same way as people. Some dogs tolerate being hugged, but many don’t enjoy it, and it’s certainly not their way of expressing affection. Many feel threatened and fearful, even when hugged by people they know well and love. In the photo above, the little girl is all smiles, but the dog is clearly tense and pulling his head away from her. My senior Lab, Sanchez, accepts hugs, but only if they are short. He shows many signs of discomfort, including backing up and disengaging from the person hugging him.
2. Petting a Dog’s Head
Just as you wouldn’t enjoy it if a total stranger came up and reached their hand over your face and touched the top of your head, dogs don’t like it either. Again, it can easily put them in a position of feeling threatened. After asking to pet a dog you don’t know, it’s always best to let them greet you first. Once they do, most much prefer a chest rub (reaching under them) to a head pat (reaching over them).
3. Staring Into Their Eyes
Staring into a dog’s eyes, particularly one you don’t know, doesn’t build connection. Instead, it makes them feel threatened. They may see it as a sign of dominance and avert your stare. This tells you to stop staring, as they are uncomfortable. Alternatively, you’ll build their trust by looking to the side and observing how they respond. It will tell you everything you need to know about their comfort level.
4. Not Providing Structure or Routine
Dogs thrive from consistent behavior. Setting and following rules is not being mean to your dog, it’s being helpful and loving. Dogs get very confused and frustrated when a rule is applied in one situation but not another. They don’t understand when they are rewarded for jumping on you after you come home from a trip, but they are scolded for the same behavior when you are leaving for work. When confused, many dogs don’t know what to do and just shut down. Sadly, shutting down is often seen as “good behavior.” But, I would much prefer that my dogs understand the rules and are guided into making good choices.
5. Putting Your Face Right in Their Face
This is another way that humans express affection, but dogs don’t. The woman pictured is delightfully happy and appears to love this dog. But the dog’s body is tense and uncomfortable. Remember that small dogs aren’t babies. Love them, but remember that they are dogs, not children.
6. Not Giving Them Time to Smell The Roses
Dogs gather information with their noses. When dogs stop to smell the bushes in a new environment, it’s equivalent to checking their messages to find out who was there before them. While you may want to designate part of your walk time for exercise and moving along, you also want to allow time for them to sniff. My dog Sanchez has always been a big sniffer. But, after he was attacked a few years back, he’s needed even more time at the beginning of a walk to check the surroundings. His nose tells him whether it’s safe and I allow him time to do this.
7. Bringing Dogs Into Loud Environments
We bring dogs into our human world and we say “adjust.” Some do, many don’t. When dogs can’t orient the source of a sound to determine whether it is safe, they can easily go into sensory overload and develop anxiety behaviors along with health problems. Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While I think it’s great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter, doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be careful of your dog’s sound environment and observe their body language when they are exposed to loud sounds.
Outdoor Pets That Are Easy to Keep and Care For
Several types of outdoor pets are considered to be low-maintenance. In the interest of delivering the best information, I believe we need to first define what an “outdoor pet” is. An “outdoor pet is typically an animal that is kept outside as a pet. But outdoors animals that you keep as pets is completely different. For example, a fish is an outdoor animal, but is rarely kept outside. If raised as a pet, it is much more common to find a fish living indoors. On the other hand, a chicken is a pet that is kept outdoors.
Low-Maintenance Pets That Can Be Kept Outdoors
Low-Maintenance Outdoor Pets
Outdoor fish are simple to care for. All they need is water, sunlight, and food. If kept properly, they can be great pets. The only downside to keeping fish outdoors is that their living area needs a lot of maintenance (cleaning pumps, ponds, etc.). On the other hand, they only need to be fed once a day, cleaned once a month, and after initially setting up the tank, they don’t need the constant attention that other animals may require.
Keeping fish indoors is another great way to enjoy the pet. Instead of having a pond or fountain, you simply set up a low-maintenance tank in your home and fill it with your favorite fish. Rather than choose an exotic saltwater fish, go with an easily cared for tropical fish. Once you set up the tank, the fish will provide you with endless hours of fun, and they only need to be fed once a day. Be sure that if you are interested in a low-maintenance fish that you are choosing the correct fish family. Also keep in mind that the more fish you keep in your tank, the more you have to clean it out each month.
In my opinion, cats are best kept outdoors. I only recommend doing this if you own your own land or live in a rural area. You should not let your cat(s) run rampant through your neighborhood. But, if you do live on a farm, or outside of the city limits, cats pretty low-maintenance. They do not require elaborate housing, just a warm place to take shelter from the weather. They simply require food and water, and are usually pretty happy chasing mice and the likes around outside. Furthermore, as long as you place a flea collar on the cat, it can be allowed to roam with no problems. Cats enjoy independence and will be more comfortable coming to you rather than being forced to constantly be by your side as indoor companions.
There are many different types of snakes to consider keeping. Smaller-sized snakes are usually low-maintenance. If you are planning on keeping a 30-foot boa constrictor, obviously the maintenance is going to be a little more demanding.
Snakes require sunlight, heat, shelter, food, and water. Their feeding habits are very particular, so before you acquire a pet snake, learn how to feed it, what to feed it, and how much to feed it. I also recommend against getting any kind of poisonous snake unless you are a professional.
4. Lizards: These reptiles make great low-maintenance pets, and can be kept indoors or outdoors. The best lizard to think about getting is a bearded dragon or a gecko. They have great personalities, and they are very hardy and tolerant to quick change. In fact, these fascinating creatures regenerate lost, broken, or damaged body parts. Lizards are the best pets for those who are new to pet-keeping because they’re very simple to care for. They are very loyal, curious, and naturally love to explore, so they do require a particular environment or habitat to live in.
It is obvious that birds are outdoor animals, but when people keep them as pets, they are usually confined to a cage indoors. Considering that birds need to be able to fly and interact with other birds in order to maintain happiness, they do require a lot of attention, otherwise they can become withdrawn, depressed, and even mean.
The best way to keep a bird as a low-maintenance pet is to place it in an outdoor sanctuary where it can be in its natural environment. Here, it can fly around to exercise, as well as tweet away in the morning with the rest of its species. Building a sanctuary is no easy undertaking, however, once it is set up, the birds require very little maintenance. It is important to note that keeping birds outdoors is only acceptable in appropriate climates.
Lion Head Rabbit
Rabbits are very low-maintenance, requiring only food, shelter, and water. You can keep it in a cage, and let it hop around in the yard 4 times a week. You do not have to keep them inside (unless it is too cold). They’re also small, gentle, and easy to clean up after.
Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. make great low-maintenance pets and can be kept as indoor pets or outdoor pets, provided they have the appropriate conditions in their cage.
Chinchillas usually like to be kept alone or in pods of 2 or less. They are best kept in large indoor cages and require weekly feeding and watering. They are a great pet to keep if you have little time to care for an animal. The chinchilla is very similar to a rabbit and can even be allowed to roam around your home if you don’t mind them nibbling on things they find. Like rabbits, they are small, soft, and also great with kids.
In Mexico, people keep them as pets similar to the way we keep dogs in the U.S. There are a few reasons why chickens make great outdoor pets. They require very little interaction, they only need to be fed once every other day, they can find they’re own food and water, and they do not need shelter. Chickens that are kept alone and cared for properly are extremely loyal. They can be a great companion, and will usually great you in the morning with a song and dance. They also do a great job of chasing off unwanted critters and providing you with fresh eggs!
Bugs usually require little food and water, and can be kept in small containers. Ants are a great idea, especially for kids. An ant farm requires almost no maintenance at all.
These fascinating animals make great outdoor pets, but require an appropriate habitat. They thrive in dry and warm environments, but require lots of water and fruits to keep them hydrated.
There is no such thing as a pet that requires absolutely zero maintenance. It is inappropriate to consider keeping a living thing if you are unwilling or unable to spend time with it. Any animal, reptile, or insect kept as a pet should be cared for at least once a day. A good rule of thumb is to try to spend an hour a day with your pet. This list suggests animals that require little maintenance, but you must still give your pets a sufficient amount of care and attention. It’s also important to consider your environment. If you live in a busy city or somewhere cold, the tips above may not apply to you and you could harm an animal if you keep it outside. It is best to consult with an animal specialist before making a decision on which pet to keep.
Pet Tips – Five Life-Lengthening Health Tips for Your Pet
How to Add Years to Your Pet’s Life
Feed a high quality diet. Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. …
Keep your pet lean. …
Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly. …
Keep your pet’s mouth clean. …
Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised.
5 Tips for Caring for Pet Fish
Vibrant and sleek, calmly drifting along, circling the mini-treasure chest…could there be a more peaceful pet than an aqua pal? “Fish are beautiful to watch and naturally therapeutic,” says David Boruchowitz, the editor-in-chief of Tropical Fish Hobbyist. Here’s how to set up an aquarium the whole family will enjoy:
Consider the tank size It’s true that if you’re just starting out, a large tank can seem like a lot to deal with. But there are advantages: If the filter clogs or the heater breaks, the water will remain stable much longer in a spacious model, giving you a chance to fix any problems.
Plan ahead Think about buying freshwater fish — they’re easier to maintain than saltwater ones. But first get the tank ready: Ask a pet-store employee (or read a fish-care book) for tips on pretreating the water, setting up a filter, and creating the healthiest environment for your future finned friends.
Pick a swimmer who’s a winner Small, peaceful fish are best, like neon and cardinal tetras, cory cats, gouramis, and zebra danios. (Goldfish need more attention.) An aquarium light enhances fishes’ colors, but don’t leave it on all the time — it can encourage algae.
Feed frugally Whatever food your fish get (ask the salespeople at the store for advice), whether it’s flakes, pellets, or freeze-dried or live treats, don’t overdo it; uneaten bits make the tank dirty. Your kids can still handle feedings — just help them measure out the right amount.
Go with the flow You’ll need to change at least a fifth of the water in the tank every week; it’s even better if you change half. But don’t take out more than that — it’ll disturb the delicate balance of beneficial bacteria that keep your fish healthy.
It takes about one hour for the average spider to construct an elaborate web of silk thread, called an orb web. An orb web is a series of wheel-shaped, concentric outlines, with spokes extending from a center. Many species of spiders weave orb webs, which are most noticeable in the morning dew.
Like other webs, spiders use orb webs to capture insects for food. The orb web is the most efficient type of spider web, since it covers the greatest area with the least amount of silk. Pound for pound, spider silk is about five times stronger than steel and twice as strong as Kevlar. Spider silk also has the ability to stretch about 30 percent longer than its original length without breaking, making its threads very resilient. Still, a spider usually spins a new orb web every day to help it keep its stickiness and insect-trapping capability. Throughout the day, the spider makes frequent repairs to damaged threads.
Hornbills nest in cavities, usually in large trees. In all species except the two ground hornbills (Bucorvus), the male walls in the female on the nest, closing the hole with mud except for a small opening through which he passes food. After the eggs hatch, the female breaks out, but the young may be walled in again.
Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) are one of two species of mountain sheep in North America. They range in color from light brown to grayish or dark brown, and have a white rump and lining on the backs of all four legs. Bighorn sheep get their name from the large, curved horns on the males, or rams. They are legendary for their ability to climb high, steep, rocky mountain areas.
Bighorn sheep eat different foods depending on the season. During the summer, they subsist on grasses or sedges. During the winter they eat more woody plants, such as willow, sage and rabbit brush. Desert bighorn sheep eat brushy plants such as desert holly and desert cactus.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were between 1.5 million to two million bighorn sheep in North America. Today, there are less than 70,000.
Bighorn sheep were once widespread throughout western North America. By the 1920’s, bighorn sheep were eliminated from Washington, Oregon, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and part of Mexico. Today, populations have been re-established through transplanting sheep from healthy populations into vacant places.
Bighorn sheep live in herds or bands of about 5 to 15 ewes, lambs, yearlings, and two-year olds. Groups of males are much smaller, usually numbering two to five. In the winter, the ewe herds join to create bands of as many as 100 animals.
In the fall, the rams compete for ewes by having butting contests. They charge each other at speeds of more than 20 mph, their foreheads crashing with a crack that can be heard more than a mile away. These battles may last as long as 24 hours.
Mating Season: November and December.
Gestation: 5-6 months.
Offspring: 1 lamb.
Lambs are born with a soft, woolly, light-colored coats and small hornbuds. Within a day, a lamb can walk and climb as well as its mother. A lamb will stay with its mother for the first year of its life.
Hunting, loss of food from livestock grazing and disease from domestic livestock have devastated bighorn sheep populations. While livestock is not as much of a threat as in the past, loss of habitat from development is an increasing threat. Normally, predators like mountain lions, wolves, bobcats, coyotes and golden eagles do not pose a threat to bighorn sheep. However, in areas where sheep populations are low, the death of a sheep from a natural predator can be a risk to the larger population.
Nearly one-third of California’s populations of desert bighorn sheep have died out in the past century. These losses have occurred primarily at lower elevations, where increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation have reduced the amount of vegetation available for foraging and the freshwater springs they depend on for water. More populations of desert bighorn sheep may be at risk as the southwestern climate continues to become hotter and dryer.
Reasons For Hope
The population of peninsular bighorns hit a low of about 280 animals in 1996. Since then, thanks in large part to their inclusion on the federal endangered species list, their numbers have increased to about 600—offering hope that this nimble mountain dweller won’t fall off the precipice.
Taking care of farm animals.
The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify even from a distance. When flying, the bald eagle very rarely flaps its wings but soars instead, holding its wings almost completely flat. Its hooked bill, legs and feet are yellow.
Eagles primarily eat fish, carrion, smaller birds and rodents. Eagles are also known to prey on large birds and large fish.
Bald eagle numbers in the U.S. were estimated to be between 300,000-500,000 in the 1700s. Numbers were once as low as 500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states. Bald eagle numbers have rebounded since and now the lower 48 states boast over 5,000 nesting pairs. There are a total of about 70,000 bald eagles in the whole of North America (Including Alaska and Canada).
Bald eagles live near bodies of water in Canada and Alaska, and in scattered locations all throughout the lower 48 states and Mexico.
Did You Know?
Immature bald eagles don’t develop their distinctive white head and tail until they are between 4 and 5 years old.
The bald eagle is not picky about how it gets its food. It will eat carrion, steal fish from other birds or hunt for its own. Their most important non-carrion food is fish, which they catch by swooping down and grabbing fish that are near the surface of the lake or stream.
Bald eagles make a high-pitched squeaking sound. Other interesting behaviors include “talon clasping” or “cartwheel display”, where two eagles clasp each other’s talons in mid air and spin down, letting go only when they’ve almost reached the ground. This is may be a courtship ritual as well as a territorial battle.
Did You Know?
During breeding season, the male and female work together to build a nest of sticks, usually located at the top of a tree.
During breeding season, the male and female work together to build a nest of sticks, usually located at the top of a tree. The nests can weigh up to a ton and measure up to 8 feet across. Once paired, bald eagles remain with each other until one mate dies, then the surviving bird will find another mate.
Mating season: Anywhere from late September to early April, depending on the region.
Gestation: The female lays her first egg 5-10 days after mating. The eggs are incubated for about 35 days.
Clutch size: 1-3 eggs.
He ate what?! 9 foods you should never feed your pet
Is it okay to toss your pet a grape? How about the skin you just pulled off your baked chicken? We know it’s hard to resist those big eyes and wagging tongue, but beware: The very thing your pet’s dying to eat may just do more harm than good.
Signs that you should call your vet: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, disorientation, stupor and, in severe cases, coma, seizures or the inability to stand up.
If consumed in large enough quantities, anything caffeinated can kill your pet. That includes coffee (even the grounds), tea, energy drinks and medications.
Signs that you should call your vet: rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, bleeding, restlessness, rapid breathing or seizure-like symptoms.
Grapes and raisins
These snacks are perfect for people, but not so much for pets. Small amounts can make your sidekick sick, while larger amounts can cause kidney failure.
Signs that you should call your vet: non-stop vomiting, exhaustion or depression.
Unbaked bread dough
If it’s made with live yeast, raw dough can expand in your pet’s stomach. Small amounts can lead to gastrointestinal upset, bloating and a belly ache.
Signs that you should call your vet: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, disorientation, stupor and, in severe cases, coma, seizures, swelling belly or the inability to stand up.
Raw eggs, meat and fish
Uncooked food may be contaminated with salmonella or E. coli, which can upset your pet’s gastrointestinal tract.
Signs that you should call your vet: vomiting, fever or enlarged lymph nodes.
Fat trimmings and bones
Sure, they’re delicious for pets, but fat trimmings and bones just as dangerous. Fat, whether cooked or raw, can cause pancreatitis, and bone splinters can get lodged in your pet’s mouth and throat and even block or perforate the digestive system.
Signs that you should call your vet: diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal pain or loss of appetite.
Milk and other dairy products are not well tolerated by cats and is particularly rough on dogs. “Dogs don’t posses a significant amount of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk,” Klau said. Dairy products also predispose pets to food allergies.
Signs that you should call your vet: diarrhea.
A version of this article originally appeared on iVillage.
Pet Health: Why Bathing and Brushing Are Important
Regular grooming is good for your pet’s coat, skin, and bond with you.
Brushing your dog might seem like a big chore, especially when life gets hectic.
“Very often, people make brushing and combing a major event. They think you need to do it for an hour,” says Stephen L. Zawistowski, PhD, an animal behaviorist and science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
But grooming your dog doesn’t need to be a big deal. “In many ways, you’re better off doing it more often but for a short period, maybe 5 or 10 minutes each day,” Zawistowski says. “Make it a habit.”
Brief, frequent brushing sessions, combined with an occasional bath, keep your dog clean and comfortable. Routine brushing enhances your dog’s appearance by distributing natural oils throughout the entire coat. “It makes dogs look nice and healthy and glossy,” Zawistowski says. It also prevents hair from knotting or clumping and whisks away dirt, burs, and other outdoor debris.
Plus, there’s a big emotional payoff. “The brushing actually helps you develop a good bond with your dog,” Zawistowski says.
How extensively do you need to brush and comb? It depends on your dog’s coat. Long-haired breeds, like golden retrievers and Newfoundlands, will need longer, more intense brushing almost daily, Zawistowski says. Short-haired dogs, like Dalmatians or beagles, aren’t as hard to brush, but regular sessions will still cut down on shedding. Use a steel-tooth comb to remove tangles and then a stiff bristle brush to get rid of loose hair, he says.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Your Dog’s Bath Schedule
If your dog stays fairly clean with regular brushing, you might get away with fewer baths, Zawistowski says. But in general, dogs need to be bathed about every 3 months, according to the ASPCA.
If your dog gets dirtier, for example, by romping outdoors, consider lathering up more often. Always use a puppy or dog shampoo, not a people shampoo, Zawistowski says. Shampoos made for people aren’t toxic, but they may contain fragrances and other ingredients that irritate pets’ skin.
Though frequent brushing may do wonders for your dog, the same is not true of baths. Don’t overdo it. “Most people bathe their dog more often than they need to,” he says, sometimes weekly or every other week. Too many baths will strip the coat of natural oils that protect the skin, and your dog’s coat will lose some of its shine and luster. However, there are dogs that will need more frequent, medicated baths, but only if your vet recommends it.
Cats and cat owners alike detest hairballs, and for good reason. It’s great that felines love to lick themselves clean, but they can swallow a lot of hair that collects in the stomach.
To cut down on hairballs:
Brush your cat regularly. Your cat won’t take in as much hair, especially if you wipe her with a clean cloth after brushing to pick up any loose hairs. If your cat has long hair, try to brush every day. Limit brushing sessions to 10 to 15 minutes. Longer sessions might upset your cat.
Skip the baths. Cats don’t really need baths as long as they’re able to groom themselves, he says. But if your cat’s coat feels oily, greasy, or sticky, a bath is in order. First, give a thorough brushing to remove loose hair and mats. Then bathe your cat in lukewarm water with mild cat shampoo and dry her with a towel.
5 reasons why you shouldn’t raise wild animals as pets
Should you try to rescue that abandoned baby bunny or bird? Absolutely not, and here’s why.
Let’s say you’re walking with your kids in the woods or a neighborhood park and you come across what looks like an abandoned baby bunny. Do you keep walking? Should you try to raise that bunny as your own?
Neither. You should call your local wildlife rehabilitation center and have one of their employees come out to take a look. Oh, come on, you say. Bunnies (or squirrels, or fawns) make great pets, right? Everybody knows someone who told stories of having one of these wild animals as a pet as a kid. But what most folks leave out of the “raising a baby squirrel” tale is the story about the day that the wild squirrel (or bunny, or bird) went a little “crazy” and had to be released back into the wild.
Wild animals are not pets, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Here are five reasons why you should not try to raise a wild animal on your own:
1. It’s illegal. It is against the law to try to raise any type of wild animal in captivity. That goes for baby crocodiles and monkeys from the illegal pet trade as well as baby robins and bunnies from your back yard.
2. You can’t domesticate a wild animal. Domestication is a process that takes centuries within an animal species. Dogs and cats have been bred as pets for thousands of years. You can’t simply love the wild out of an animal.
3. Wild animals carry diseases. Did you know that many wild animals — like raccoons or skunks — can be carriers for rabies without showing any symptoms? And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tens of thousands of people get salmonella infections each year from wild reptiles or amphibians. Bringing a wild animal into your home exposes your whole family — you, your kids, and your pets — to a slew of potentially fatal diseases.
4. They don’t stay little forever. Baby animals, by their very nature, are hard to resist. They are incredibly cute and appear dependent upon others for their very survival. But within a few months, those babies grow up and their natural instincts kick in. They may bite, scratch, tear up the furniture, or worse. This is usually the time that most people who have tried raising a wild animal decide it’s time to release it back into the wild. But the problem is that the baby animal may not have developed the critical skills necessary — like hunting for food or evading predators — to survive in the wild.
5. They may not need rescuing. Remember the baby bunny you came across in the park? He may have looked abandoned, but the truth is that mother bunnies generally stay away from their babies during the day to avoid drawing attention to them. They typically check on them and feed them once during the night, and even then they only stay for about five minutes. It may sound harsh, but that is exactly what a baby bunny needs to survive. Not a medicine dropper filled with organic skim milk.
If you really think a baby animal is in trouble, call a local wildlife center to ask for advice, but don’t bring it home. You won’t be doing the baby, or your family, any favors.
If you have a puppy that pees on your carpet: After soaking up most of the mess with a paper towel, sprinkle a generous amount of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) over the area and leave it to absorb both the traces of urine and the odor.
If your dog runs away from you and you finally catch up to it, no matter how angry you are at the dog, do not yell or smack it or your dog will never come to you when called for fear of being punished.
Do not leave your dog unattended on a choke chain. The chain could get caught and strangle the dog.
Do not leave your dog in the car unattended on hot days. Even with the windows open, temperatures in cars WILL reach deadly levels. It only takes five minutes! If you see a dog locked in a very hot car do something to try and help it before it’s too late.
Do not make your dog walk on extremely hot or cold asphalt, cement, etc. The pads of their paws are not made out of steel. If it is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then chances are that it is too hot for your dog also.
To keep your dog busy, buy toys with little holes in them (such as a Kong), put both big and small pieces of kibble in the toy and give it to your dog. This will keep him busy for quite a while, presuming he has a few small ones that he gets out quickly. You can also wedge dog biscuits in the holes with a smear of peanut butter.
When your dog is teething, instead of have him chewing on couches, walls, etc., buy a few (cheap) washcloths. Soak the washcloth with water and put it in the freezer. When fully frozen, give it to the dog to chew. It will thaw out so have another one ready in the freezer. (Be careful when doing this with very small dogs, as they may get a chill. I have heard of small dogs getting too cold too quickly when chewing on ice.)
For teething puppies, mix chicken or beef broth (look for low fat, low sodium brands) with 1 ½ cups of water. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays to made broth ice cubes. They are tasty treats on hot days. (Be careful when doing this with very small dogs, as they may get a chill. I have heard of small dogs getting too cold too quickly when chewing on ice.)
Do not leave your pet in an area with dangling phone cords, drape cords or other items that it may strangle itself on. Be aware of electric cords that may be chewed by the pet.
I have a dog that used to love to dig. When I’d fill the hole and re-seed, he’d just dig it up again. One day I was watching him wander around the yard, and I noticed he took extra care not to step in his droppings. So, the next time I filled up a hole, I buried a little dung at the bottom and left some dung on top. He avoided the freshly-seeded grass, and his droppings made excellent fertilizer. This won’t work for all dogs…I also have another dog that loves to dig. This trick does not work on her, as she does not care where she steps.
Please note: the feces of dogs or any other meat-eating animal are NOT SAFE to use as fertilizer on plants that will be eaten by people, such as veggies, fruits or herbs. The feces can spread disease, even if it comes from a healthy dog.
Is your dog digging? Try putting cayenne pepper in the holes—they don’t like the sensation when they go back to dig again.
Dog urination burns your lawn? Try giving them some tomato juice every day (either in a bowl or on their food) and it should solve the problem.
After soaking up the majority of urine or picking up the poop, baby wipes do a great job and pick up all smells with no stains left behind.
Male guide dogs always squat to urinate. This is so the handler can quickly determine whether the dog is urinating or defecating during potty breaks by feeling down the length of its back. This assists the handler in determining where the poop will land so they can clean up if the dog is hunched up to defecate..
Hyperthyroidism in Cats
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats. It is most frequently caused by an excessive concentration of circulating thyroxine-a thyroid hormone better known as T4-in the bloodstream.
What Are the Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?
Weight loss and increased appetite are among the most common clinical signs of this condition. Weight loss is seen in 95 to 98 percent of hyperthyroid cats, and a hearty appetite in 67 to 81 percent. Excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactivity, unkempt appearance, panting, diarrhea and increased shedding have also been reported. Vomiting is seen in about 50 percent of affected cats. Clinical signs are a result of the effect of increased T4 levels on various organ systems.
What Breeds/Ages Are Prone to Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism can occur in any breed of cat, male or female, but occurs almost exclusively in older animals. Less than 6 percent of cases are younger than 10 years of age; the average age at onset is between 12 and 13 years.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?
Because several common diseases of older cats-diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal cancer and chronic kidney failure-share some of the clinical signs of hyperthyroidism, a battery of tests is in order. A CBC, chemistry panel and urinalysis alone will not diagnose hyperthyroidism, but they can certainly rule out diabetes and kidney failure. Hyperthyroid cats may have normal findings on the CBC and urinalysis, but the chemistry panel often shows elevation of several liver enzymes.
In the vast majority of cases, a definitive diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is based on a simple blood test that shows elevated T4 levels in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, between 2 percent and 10 percent of cats with hyperthyroidism will have normal T4 levels. One possible explanation for this is that in mild cases, T4 levels can fluctuate in and out of the normal range. Another is that concurrent illness will suppress elevated T4 levels, lowering them into the normal or high-normal range and fooling the veterinarian into thinking that the cat’s thyroid status is normal. Because these are geriatric cats, concurrent illness is fairly common, and diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in these cats can be tricky.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated?
Several treatment options for hyperthyroidism exist, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Oral administration of antithyroid medication. Methimazole (brand name TapazoleTM) has long been the mainstay of drug therapy for feline hyperthyroidism. It is highly effective in correcting the condition, often within two to three weeks. Unfortunately, about 10%-15% of cats will suffer side effects, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and occasionally blood cell abnormalities. Rare but more serious side effects include severe facial itching with self-induced trauma, blood clotting disorders, or liver problems. Most side effects are mild and eventually resolve, although some necessitate discontinuation of the medication. Lifelong daily medication is required, which is a disadvantage to owners whose cats resist pilling. CBC and T4 levels need to be rechecked regularly for the remainder of the cat’s life.
Surgical removal of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is usually caused by a benign tumorcalled a thyroid adenoma that involves one or, more often, both thyroid glands. Fortunately, most hyperthyroid cats have benign, well-encapsulated tumors that are easily removed. Surgery usually results in a palliation and not a cure, but anesthesia can be challenging in these older patients whose disease may have affected their hearts and other organs. Although surgery may seem costly, it often ends up being less expensive than years of oral medication and regular bloodwork rechecks.
Radioactive iodine therapy. This is probably the safest and most effective treatment option. Radioactive iodine, given by injection, becomes concentrated in the thyroid gland, where it irradiates and destroys the hyperfunctioning tissue. No anesthesia or surgery is required, and only one treatment is usually needed to achieve a cure. It used to be that radioiodine treatment was performed only in specialized, licensed facilities, but many private treatment facilities are now found throughout the country. Hospitalization may be prolonged; depending on local or state ordinances, cats may need to be kept at the treatment facility for 10 to 14 days until the level of radioactivity in their urine and feces decreases to an acceptable level. Also, radioiodine therapy is costly. The price tag has come down from about $1,200 to between $500 and $800-but this is still prohibitive for many cat owners.
Life as an Iguana
How to Raise Horses
Have a barn (or stable) ready before you bring the horses home. You will need stalls for the horses, a tack room for the equipment, another space to keep hay bales, and bins for grain and sawdust. It should also have a water supply such as a spigot or hose.
Fence in a place outside the barn, too. How big a pasture you will need depends on the breed and number of horses you plan on keeping. A single draft horse, for example, should have about 5 to 6 acres of pasture with room to run.
Make sure that in addition to grazing (grass), the pasture has access to water. A natural source, such as a stream, is best, but a water tank will work. Fencing to keep the horse inside the pasture is also wise.
Use a halter (or harness) around the horse’s head, as well as a lead–like a leash but for livestock, usually rope or chain–to take the horse from the barn to the pasture, or into the horse trailer when you transport the horse.
Use a round pen where you can train your horse with simple commands. The pen should be a circular, fenced-in area. You’ll also need a riding crop for those moments when you need to gently correct the horse with a tap on the side or hindquarters.
Make sure that every day each stall has a water bucket with clean water. You may also want a hay rack, but you can put the hay on the floor. There should be a good coating of sawdust on the floor, not only for the horses comfort but to help absorb odors and waste.
Clean the stall daily. A sifting fork allows you to scoop up the waste left behind without taking the clean sawdust with it. A wheelbarrow makes it easier to remove the waste to a compost pile as well as get fresh sawdust (usually kept in a bin) to re-line the stall when you are done.
Feed a high quality diet. Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. …
Keep your pet lean. …
Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly. …
Keep your pet’s mouth clean. …
Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised.
Different Dog Temperaments
What type of dog do you have?
There are three types of dogs born in every litter. Picture them in a line. There are the alpha dogs in front leading the way, the dogs in the middle who don’t really want to lead, but they will if they have to, and the dogs in the back of the line who are very submissive naturally wanting to follow. These submissive dogs don’t want to make rules or tell anyone what to do. This is considered the pack order or pack hierarchy.
Alpha Dogs, also called Front of the Line Dogs—Without strong leadership this type of dog can become very pushy and overprotective. They tend to be very smart with a lot of personality. They will refuse to be ruled by anyone who is weaker minded than they are. In extreme cases they can become aggressive with humans or other dogs. Not because they are mean, but because in their minds the pack’s survival depends on having a strong leader and they are confident that they have what it takes to be that leader. They are the soldiers ready to step up and rule the home if needed. You need to earn their respect in order to lead them. Size means nothing. The tiniest dogs can rule the extra large dogs and their humans. The power is all in the mind, not the amount or size of muscle on the body.
Middle of the Line Dogs—The dogs in the middle are easiest to train, but are also easily bored. They need to know the humans are capable of leading the pack. Without a stable-minded leader they are prone to testing their limits and can become overexcited and anxious, which is often mistaken for happiness. They do not necessarily want to lead, but they will if they feel it is needed. Because they are not born to lead, a lack of a strong being to guide them can stress them out and cause them to become unbalanced. They may obsess over things and become destructive to the home.
Back of the Line Dogs—This type is very sensitive and cautious. They can easily become timid, nervous, anxious or fearful. They are not born leaders, nor do they want to be leaders. They need to know someone is taking care of things in a confident, consistent manner or it will cause them stress. They do not feel they have what it takes to keep the pack safe. They are easily upset and will often resort to alarm barking. They are prone to submissive urinating issues and may handle things by hiding. In worst cases they can develop fear aggression towards humans and or other animals.
In addition to temperament types, dogs are also born with energy levels that range from game style working dogs that will go and go until they drop, to true couch potatoes that just want to lay around all day. Providing an appropriate amount of exercise for a dog goes a long way in balancing out their temperament.
While dogs have the same basic canine instincts, it is important to recognize their natural temperament and energy level. The type of dog is ingrained within them and it cannot be changed. For example you cannot turn a back of the line dog into an alpha type, but you can guide any dog into being happy, behaved, even-tempered, well-balanced, trustworthy dogs if they are with the right owners who can understand their natural instincts and give them what they need as a canine animal.
6 Myths About Cats and Babies
The experts say that cats and babies can actually be friends.
Myths about the coexistence of cats and babies have abounded for centuries.
I’ll confess that I, for one, was a little on edge in the past at the thought of a cat and a human infant even being in the same room.
But over the years, I’ve learned to separate the facts from the myths concerning cat/baby relationships.
Myth 1: Cats can tell when you’re pregnant.
Or is it a myth? According to Dr. Raymond Van Lienden, DVM, of The Animal Clinic of Clifton, Va., scents unique to pregnancy, although imperceptible to humans, can be detected by some animals — including cats.
Myth 2: You have to get rid of your cat when you get pregnant because of the risk of toxoplasmosis.
Although toxoplasmosis is a risk for fetuses, women are more likely to contract it from handling raw meat or digging in the garden than from a cat. Protect yourself from cat-related exposure by (carefully) emptying the litter box at least once a day while wearing disposable gloves and washing your hands after cleaning.
More than 60 million Americans carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but their immune systems usually prevent illness. Cats are carriers of the parasite but are rarely affected by it — they usually shed it.
Don’t panic. As Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, writes in It’s a Cat’s World…You Just Live in It, “Despite what your M.D. may tell you, you don’t have to get rid of your cat just because you are pregnant.” Just keep those precaution measures in mind.
Myth 3: Cats smother babies or suck air out of their lungs.
Most cats get along great with babies. By: rumpleteaser
Having always been told that babies were not safe around cats (because of the “milk scent” on infants’ bodies), I just about lost it one time when I saw a strange cat trying to break through a screened window to get to my baby. Grabbing my child, I called a neighbor for help. A trap was set, and the cat was caught that night.
But never again did I trust a cat around my baby.
And now, after my children are all grown, I learn that this myth is nothing more than an old wives’ tale stemming from the longtime belief that cats are symbols of evil. Most cats are just curious heat and comfort seekers. Curling up with an infant in a crib satisfies all of these needs. If a cat presses up against the face of a bundled infant who doesn’t know to turn away on his own, this is a dire problem. Infant deaths by suffocation are most often attributed to pillows or a sleeping person accidentally smothering the infant as they sleep together.
Bottom line? Keep your cat out of the nursery during napping or bedtime, just in case.
Myth 4: If a cat hears a baby crying, he will climb into the crib to harm the baby.
Cats are curious and may feel a new baby’s cries are worth investigating. As mentioned above, babies give off warmth, and a cat may try to climb in and share it, but it’s extremely unlikely that the cat would harm the baby.
Of course, it’s not recommended that cats and babies sleep together. If you’re worried about this, place a net over the crib so your cat can’t snuggle in. Or replace the door to the baby’s room with a screen door, which allows the kitty to see and smell the baby without feeling completely left out.
Myth 5: Flea bites can kill a baby.
At worst, your infant may develop a rash.
Dr. Ann L. Huntington, DVM, of Suffield Veterinary Hospital, suggests forestalling any flea problems before your child is born. Your veterinarian can treat your cat for any internal or external parasites, while you can treat your entire home.
Don’t Miss: How Using the Wrong Flea Meds Can Harm Your Cat
Myth 6: Cats are not good with babies.
In fact, the opposite is generally true. When you bring a new baby home for the first time, let your cat sniff around the infant. Allowing the cat to look at, smell and even touch your newest family member will assure your cat he has nothing to fear.Praising your pet when he behaves well with the infant teaches him that you are all one happy family. When feeding the baby, give your cat a few treats too, or play a laser game so he’ll associate good things with the baby’s presence.
With a few guidelines and proper supervision, baby and cat can develop a loving relationship, filling your life with many happy memories.
People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
Our nutrition experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.
Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds. Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck.
Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.
Coconut and Coconut Oil
When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.
Grapes and Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Milk and Dairy
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Salt and Salty Snack Foods
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol).
How Do Animals Spend the Winter?
Animals do many different, amazing things to get through the winter. Some of them “migrate.” This means they travel to other places where the weather is warmer or they can find food.
Many birds migrate in the fall. Because the trip can be dangerous, some travel in large flocks. For example, geese fly in noisy, “V”-shaped groups. Other kinds of birds fly alone.
How do they know when it is time to leave for the winter? Scientists are still studying this. Many see migration as part of a yearly cycle of changes a bird goes through. The cycle is controlled by changes in the amount of daylight and the weather.
Birds can fly very long distances. For example, the Arctic tern nests close to the North Pole in the summer. In autumn, it flys south all the way to Antarctica. Each spring it returns north again.
Most migrating birds travel shorter distances. But how do they find their way to the same place each year? Birds seem to navigate like sailors once did, using the sun, moon and stars for direction. They also seem to have a compass in their brain for using the Earth’s magnetic field.
Other animals migrate, too. There are a few mammals, like some bats, caribou and elk, and whales that travel in search of food each winter. Many fish migrate. They may swim south, or move into deeper, warmer water.
Insects also migrate. Some butterflies and moths fly very long distances. For example, Monarch butterflies spend the summer in Canada and the Northern U.S. They migrate as far south as Mexico for the winter. Most migrating insects go much shorter distances. Many, like termites and Japanese beetles, move downward into the soil. Earthworms also move down, some as far as six feet below the surface.
Some animals remain and stay active in the winter. They must adapt to the changing weather. Many make changes in their behavior or bodies. To keep warm, animals may grow new, thicker fur in the fall. On weasels and snowshoe rabbits, the new fur is white to help them hide in the snow.
Food is hard to find in the winter. Some animals, like squirrels, mice and beavers, gather extra food in the fall and store it to eat later. Some, like rabbits and deer, spend winter looking for moss, twigs, bark and leaves to eat. Other animals eat different kinds of food as the seasons change. The red fox eats fruit and insects in the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, it can not find these things, so instead it eats small rodents.
Animals may find winter shelter in holes in trees or logs, under rocks or leaves, or underground. Some mice even build tunnels through the snow. To try to stay warm, animals like squirrels and mice may huddle close together.
Certain spiders and insects may stay active if they live in frost-free areas and can find food to eat. There are a few insects, like the winter stone fly, crane fly, and snow fleas, that are normally active in winter. Also, some fish stay active in cold water during the winter.
Some animals hibernate for part or all of the winter. This is a special, very deep sleep. The animal’s body temperature drops, and its heartbeat and breathing slow down. It uses very little energy.
In the fall, these animals get ready for winter by eating extra food and storing it as body fat. They use this fat for energy while hibernating. Some also store food like nuts or acorns to eat later in the winter. Bears, skunks, chipmunks, and some bats hibernate.
Other Ways to Survive
Cold-blooded animals like fish, frogs, snakes and turtles have no way to keep warm during the winter. Snakes and many other reptiles find shelter in holes or burrows, and spend the winter inactive, or dormant. This is similar to hibernation.
Water makes a good shelter for many animals. When the weather gets cold, they move to the bottom of lakes and ponds. There, frogs, turtles and many fish hide under rocks, logs or fallen leaves. They may even bury themselves in the mud. They become dormant. Cold water holds more oxygen than warm water, and the frogs and turtles can breath by absorbing it through their skin.
Insects look for winter shelter in holes in the ground, under the bark of trees, deep inside rotting logs or in any small crack they can find. One of the most interesting places is in a gall. A gall is a swelling on a plant. It is caused by certain insects, fungi or bacteria. They make a chemical that affects the plant’s growth in a small area, forming a lump. The gall becomes its maker’s home and food source.
Every type of insect has its own life cycle, which is the way it grows and changes. Different insects spend the winter in different stages of their lives. Many insects spend the winter dormant, or in “diapause.” Diapause is like hibernation. It is a time when growth and development stop. The insect’s heartbeat, breathing and temperature drop. Some insects spend the winter as worm-like larvae. Others spend the winter as pupae. (This is a time when insects change from one form to another.) Other insects die after laying eggs in the fall. The eggs hatch into new insects in the spring and everything begins all over again.
Winter is cold. There is snow on the ground. People live in warm houses. What do animals do?
Some animals sleep all winter. It is a very deep sleep called hibernation. They need little or no food. Bears and chipmunks hibernate. So do frogs, snakes and even some bugs.
Other animals stay active in winter. It is hard for them to find food. They may live in holes in trees or under the ground to stay warm. Deer, squirrels and rabbits stay active.
Some birds fly south for the winter. We call this migration. They go to a warmer place to find food. Other birds stay here all winter. We can help by feeding them.
While you may be an avid fan of penguins, there is likely some information you aren’t familiar with. Learning various facts is a great way to expand your knowledge. It can also fuel your interest to learn more about specific species of penguins or certain aspects of their lives.
1. Penguins are birds
Penguins are birds highly adapted to the aquatic life.
Penguins are avid swimmers and they have changed their wings by flippers as part of the adaptation process.
2. Penguis feed in the Ocean.
Penguins feed on squid, fish, krill and some other forms of sealife.
3. The Emperor Penguin is the largest penguin
The Emperor Penguins are about 1.15 meters tall and about 37 Kg weight. The Little Blue Penguins are the smallest penguins and they are about 40 cm tall and 1.2 Kg. weight
4. Penguin Distribution.
Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, however they are not exclusively found in the cold climates. There are penguins living as north as the Galapagos islands, close to the equator.
5. Penguin are active communicators.
Vocalization is the key way in which penguins communicate with each other. While they can create unique sounds, they don’t have the best range of hearing. Instead it is believed they can often pick up mainly on the vibrations from the various sounds around them.
Polar bears are large, white bears that like cold climates, fatty meals and long days of hunting. No matter how adorable polar bears look, these animals are not cuddly. In fact, polar bears are ferocious hunters, and they are the biggest carnivores among land animals.
Size & appearance
Polar bears are also the largest species of bear. For bears, height is usually measured at the shoulder when the animal is on all fours, according to Polar Bear International. On average, polar bears on all fours are 3.5 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) tall, but when standing on its hind legs, an adult male polar bear may reach more than 10 feet (3 m). Lengthwise, they are 7.25 to 8 feet (2.2 to 2.5 m) from head to rump. Their tail adds another 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 centimeters).
An adult male polar bear weighs around 775 to 1,200 lbs. (351 to 544 kilograms). The largest polar bear recorded weighed 2,209 pounds (1,000 kg), according to Polar Bear International. Females weigh half as much as their male counterparts, at only or 330 to 650 lbs. (50 to 295 kg).
Polar bears appear to be white, but their hair is actually transparent; the white results from light being refracted through the clear hair strands, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW), a database maintained by the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan. The bears can also be yellowish in the summer due to oxidation, or may even appear brown or gray, depending on the season and light conditions. Polar bear skin is black; it absorbs the heat of the sun to keep the animals warm.
Polar bears live in countries that ring the Arctic Circle: Canada, Russia, the United States (in Alaska), Greenland and Norway. In the winter, temperatures in the Arctic are usually around minus 29 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 34 degrees Celsius) and can reach as low as minus 92 F (minus 69 C). The temperature of the water is frigid, as well, reaching as low as 28 F (minus 2 C), the freezing point of seawater, according to PBS Nature.
Polar bears are excellent swimmers; their scientific name, Ursus maritimus, means “sea bear,” according to the San Diego Zoo. They use their big front feet to paddle and their back legs as rudders. These bears have been known to swim more than 60 miles (100 km) without rest. [Images: Swimming Polar Bears]
Polar bears are solitary. The animal will spend its days sitting on the ice by a seal breathing hole, waiting for one to pop up. This style of hunting is called still-hunting. Polar bears will also seek out seal lairs, crash through the roof and kill the seals inside.
Unlike other bears, polar bears do not hibernate in the winter, according to the San Diego Zoo. They continue to hunt, unless the weather is extremely cold. Then they may seek shelter in a snow den.
The polar bear’s primary food source is seals. Their diet of meat makes them carnivores. If the food supply is plentiful, they will only eat seal blubber. This high-calorie meal helps the bears build up fat reserves, which keep polar bears healthy between feedings and help maintain their body temperature. According to PBS Nature, polar bears need 4.4 lbs (2 kg) of fat each day. This is equal to about 121 lbs. of seal (55 kg) and provides about eight days’ worth of energy.
If seal hunting isn’t going well, polar bears will also eat anything they can find, such as fish, eggs, vegetation, reindeer, rodents, birds, berries and human garbage.
Females usually give birth during the months of November or December, after a gestation of eight months. In preparation, the animals dig a cave from a snow bank in which to have their cubs. This cave is called a maternity den.
A female polar bear typically gives birth to twins, though singles and triplets have been recorded. At birth, a cub weighs only 1.3 pounds (about half a kilogram), but they grow very quickly. Cubs depend on their mothers for warmth and fattening milk, which is 36 percent fat, according to the San Diego Zoo. By spring, the cubs are outside the den, exploring, and at two years of age they are fully mature. Polar bears live around 15 to 20 years.
This West African sighthound makes a fiercely protective companion and guardian, and an extremely intelligent lure courser. The breed is elegantly built and features a short coat in a wide variety of colors and markings.
The Azawakh is a rare sighthound; he is aloof, with a complex personality, and he has the unusual characteristic of being protective. While he is beautiful to look at and quiet to live with, the Azawakh is not suited to every home.
The Azawakh is intelligent and loyal. He must live indoors with his family, never outside with little attention. Puppies must go to their homes at an early age, and it’s not easy to re-home an older Azawakh because he has difficulty adjusting. Before you get one, be sure you are willing and able to commit to him for life. Puppies need extensive socialization to new people, places and situations, which should continue throughout the dog’s life.
Unlike most sighthounds, Azawakhs have a protective streak and will bark at strangers. This is not a dog who will lead the burglar to the family silver.
Sighthounds such as the Azawakh are built for speed. His thin skin is stretched over a frame of muscle and bone. He should not be fat. Ignore people who accuse you of underfeeding him. He needs regular exercise to stay conditioned and is an ace competitor in lure coursing, a sport that involves chasing a mechanically operated artificial lure.
Like every sighthound, Azawakhs have a strong prey drive. He gets along with other dogs, but if you have cats or small dogs, they will not be safe around an Azawakh unless he has been brought up with them from an early age. Even so, it’s best to supervise them when they’re together and to separate them when you’re not home. And the Azawakh who gets along with small pets indoors may forget that they are his pals if he sees them running around outside. He certainly won’t have any qualms about chasing unknown cats or other small furry animals, so he must always be walked on leash.
The Azawakh can live contentedly in an apartment or condo as long as he gets a daily walk or run of at least half an hour. He’s an excellent partner for joggers and runners and is then satisfied to be a couch potato for the rest of the day. Never permit an Azawakh to run free except in a safely enclosed area. An underground electronic fence does not constitute a safe enclosure, by the way. The Azawakh will run right over it, heedless of any level of shock.
Although he loves to run, the Azawakh is not a play-with-the-kids kind of dog. Choose a different breed if you have young children or very active children who want a dog as a playmate. For older children who like to spend their time playing video games or reading, however, the Azawakh can be a good companion, as long as someone in the family provides the exercise he needs.
This is not a breed that thrives in cold or wet conditions. With his thin skin and low level of body fat, the Azawakh needs an indoor environment with cushioned surfaces to rest his bones.
Azawakhs are proud and independent. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, but punishment or heavy-handed methods will cause them to shut down. If you are firm, fair and provide the right motivation, they learn quickly and easily.
Other Quick Facts
In their land of origin, Azawakhs are used to hunt hare, antelope and wild boar.
The Azawakh’s thin skin clings tightly to its body, covered by a short, thin coat that comes in shades of fawn, sand, brindle, white, black, gray, blue, grizzle, and all shades of brown, including chocolate. Some Azawakhs have a black mask or white markings on the legs, chest and tail tip.
An Azawakh is not the best choice if you live in a wet or cold climate. He’s a desert dog and will not be fond of living in such places as the Pacific Northwest or New England.
When the Azawakh moves, he has a beautiful, floating gait that is breathtaking to see.
The Azawakh is a rare breed. Expect a wait for a puppy.
How Often Should Your take your pet to the Veterinarian?
Pets Wellness Check
By Linda Formichelli
WebMD Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM
You know your cat or dog needs regular checkups to stay healthy. But how often should he get them?
The answer depends on your pet’s life stage, says Susan Barrett, DVM, head of community practice at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Kitten or Puppy: Birth to 1 Year
You’ll need to bring your little one in for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until he’s 16 weeks old.
Dogs will get shots for rabies, distemper-parvo, and other diseases. They may also need shots to protect against health woes such as kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease.
Cats will get tests for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. They also get vaccinations that cover several diseases.
At this stage, your pet will also start heartworm and flea- and tick-prevention medications, if they’re recommended for your area.
The vet will examine your pup or kitten to make sure he’s growing well and shows no signs of an illness. She’ll check again at around 6 months, when you bring your pet in to be spayed or neutered.
“We’ll also check to see how housebreaking, training, and socialization are going,” Barrett says.
Adult: 1 to 7-10 Years (Depending on Type of Pet and Breed)
During this stage, vets recommend yearly checkups. The doc will give your pet a head-to-tail physical. She’ll also take a blood sample from your dog to check for heartworms. (Cats normally don’t get tested because the results are hard to interpret.) The vet may recommend other tests based on any problems your pet has or anything unusual she sees during the exam.
Distemper-parvo and rabies booster shots happen during the first yearly checkup, then usually every 3 years after that. How often animals get rabies boosters depends on state law.
Your dog may get other vaccines to prevent illnesses like kennel cough, and outdoor cats should get feline leukemia vaccines.
It’s helpful to bring in a stool sample from your pet, which your vet will check for intestinal parasites.
Senior: 7 to 10 Years and Older
Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older pets. Your cat or dog will get vaccinations when needed and will get a thorough physical exam, along with tests to follow up on any problems. Blood and urine tests can give your vet the scoop on your pet’s kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels, and more.
Mention any changes you’ve seen in your pet — if, for example, your cat is drinking more water or your dog is no longer excited by his daily walks. These can be signs of a new problem such as kidney disease or arthritis.
How to Bathe Your Dog: Dog Grooming
The Collie dog breed is a native of Scotland, mostly of the Highland regions but also bred in the Scottish Lowlands and northern England, where she was used primarily as a herding dog. She is a sensitive and intelligent dog, known for her undying loyalty and amazing ability to foresee her owner’s needs. She is a great family companion, and is still a capable herding dog.
Pit Lab Mix
The Labrabull is a mixed or cross breed from breeding the American Pit Bull Terrier with the Labrador Retriever. He is a large dog with a life span of 10 to 14 years. He is also sometimes called a Pitador, Labrador-Pit Bull Mix, Pitbull Lab Mix or a Lab Pitbull Mix. He is a talented dog participating in activities such as herding, weight pulling, watchdog, agility, jogging and guarding. He is a powerful and protective dog who can also be affectionate and very loyal.
Lambs arrive after close to a five-month gestation period — about 147 days. These baby sheep experience a high mortality rate among lambs, but good animal husbandry and management practices boost survival.
Once born, the lamb should breathe immediately. If she doesn’t, remove any traces of placenta on the mouth and nose, and rub the chest gently. You can also try blowing into the lamb’s nose for breathing stimulation. Disinfect the navel with iodine as soon as possible to prevent infection. Provide the lamb and ewe with a clean, dry, draft-free shelter.
At the one-week mark, lambs should have their tails docked. This isn’t done for cosmetic purposes, but to protect the lamb against fly strike, or maggot infestation, and for cleanliness. Unless intended for breeding purposes, male lambs should be castrated at this age.
For the first several weeks of life, lambs depend on their mothers as their primary food source. Since ewes often give birth to two or sometimes even three lambs, the smallest lamb often doesn’t receive adequate nutrition. If that’s the case, or if the ewe dies or is otherwise unable to nurse her offspring, you must bottle-feed the lamb. If the lamb didn’t receive maternal colostrum, the “first milk” full of antibodies, you must feed it within 18 hours of the birth, but it should be fed as soon as possible. If you can’t milk the ewe to provide colostrum for bottle-feeding, use a commercial colostrum supplement. If you have another ewe who gave birth the same day, you can use her colostrum.
If possible, find another ewe to take on the lamb. If that’s not an option, use commercial sheep milk replacer. Bottle-feed newborn lambs at least four times daily. Within a week, you can reduce feedings to twice daily and feed them out of a pail. You can also start them on 16 to 18 percent protein lamb feed at that age, completely weaning them off milk replacer by the age of 3 weeks.
Lamb Vaccination Schedule
Lambs receive temporary immunity against certain disease from the ewe’s colostrum. Good husbandry practices include vaccinating the pregnant ewe about one month before delivery. Between the ages of 3 and 4 weeks, a lamb should receive a clostridium perfringens and tetanus shot, included in the same vaccination. A booster is necessary three to four weeks later. Most sheep owners vaccinate their stock themselves. The vaccinations are given subcutaneously, generally in the ovine equivalent of the armpit.
Lamb Conditions and Diseases
Lambs are vulnerable to various diseases, and many of them succumb to these ailments. The viral contagious ecthyma, usually referred to as sore mouth, causes ulceration on the mouth and interferes with nursing. A lamb can starve to death without human intervention. Pneumonia often kills lambs, especially those with no or inadequate colostrum intake. Diarrhea, or scours, is another early lamb killer.
Lambs aged 1 month or more may develop coccidiosis, infection with the protozoan coccidia. Symptoms include black diarrhea and appetite loss, but the lamb can be saved with treatment. Entropion, a genetic condition in which the eyelid turns under, is common in lambs. The animal requires treatment, often consisting of removing part of the lower eyelid, or blindness can result.
How to Take Care of a Pet Bird
Bird care starts with housing for your bird. Birds need a good environment that provides a place to rest as well as places to play and exercise. Primary bird houses can be bird cages or an aviary.
There are several options when thinking about the types of bird houses for your pet. You can provide a very large bird cage or a smaller cage along with a play area outside of the cage, often utilizing a playpen. You can also provide a flight cage for regular exercise or have an aviary. Aviaries can be either an outside aviary or and indoor aviary. Indoor aviaries can even be a ‘bird room’ type.
Factors for deciding how to house your bird include what your living space affords along with meeting the specific needs of your particular bird.
All birds should be housed in a cage that is as roomy as possible, this is especially important for birds that will spend most or all of their time in the cage.
Birds need to be able to stretch their wings and flap them without hitting anything. They should also be able to make short flights, hop around and play with bird toys.
Birds that live exclusively in a cage will need a space of three times their wing span as an absolute minimum, with more space being better.
Horizontal bars on the sides of bird cages are very important for birds that like to climb, such as parakeets, cockatiels and lots of playful parrots.
The bar spacing needs to be small enough that the bird cannot get its head through them.
Metal bars are good for birds that like to chew.
It is really nice if the cage is easy to clean. Many bird cages have a slide out tray and an easily removable grate.
Outside the cage you can provide a playpen along with safe bird toys.
Bird cages should be placed in a draft free area that is well lit, but not in direct sunlight.
To make your birds feel secure and comfortable keep their cage against a wall or in a corner.
Place your bird’s cage so that it is at eye-level or lower for good social interaction. You don’t want your bird above your head because for them, being up higher means they are dominant.
You don’t want to place your bird in the kitchen or in a room that is too near to the kitchen. Birds are highly susceptible to airborne fumes and toxins. A small amount of smoke or the vapors from Teflon cookware could kill your bird.
Aviaries are beneficial because they provide large areas for birds, often with the intent of breeding. Aviaries can be either indoors or outdoors. Some birds are very noisy and can be a nuisance to close neighbors. So if your birds are loud, you may want to keep them in an indoor aviary or in a remote area.
Indoor aviaries give you the ability to control temperature, lighting, noise and humidity.
An indoor aviary is often a room in a home devoted to birds.
The windows are covered with wire and the door often has a wired porch with two doors to pass through . These are to keep your birds from flying out.
Some indoor aviaries are simply a bird room with extra large cages. Doing it this way, the doors and windows don’t need to be screened in.
Outdoor aviaries can provide your birds with a natural environment and are designed in a wide variety of styles.
Because the birds kept in outdoor aviaries are exposed to the weather, they must also have indoor sheltering, possibly heated or cooled if conditions get extreme.
Outdoor aviaries always need a shaded area and wind breaks.
Trees or large branches can fit in nicely to create a comfortable home, but must be of non-toxic woods.
To learn about different bird species, see: Bird Information: About the Types of Birds
Bowls are needed for foods and treats, water, grit and crushed shell. Small birds can use plastic bowls. Ceramic or stainless steel bowls generally are needed for medium and large parrots. These bigger birds will often chew up plastic bowls, or even pick up their bowls and dump them or toss them to the floor. Built in bowl holders are often a part of the cage and may be designed to keep the bird from removing the bowl. Other bowls are attached with hooks, bolts or clips, and may mount inside or outside the cage depending on the design.
Perches not only provide standing places for birds, but also give them an opportunity to exercise their beaks and keep their beaks trim. Perch size and shape can vary depending on the bird, but should fit their feet. A 1″ perch is comfortable for most parrots and a 1/2″ perch suits smaller birds.
Round and oval wooden perches are often used, and sometimes plastic perches are used for small birds. Variety in both size and shape is important to exercise your birds feet. Natural branches are great for providing this variety. Concrete perches make nice additional perches for parrots to help them keep both nails and beak trim.
Bird toys are a great way to combat boredom and provide exercise for your pet bird. Toys for birds are designed in lots of combinations of woods, leathers, ropes, chains, bells and even acrylics. Toys such as swings and ladders are designed for chewing and climbing, while stainless steel mirrors are for viewing and comfort. The wide range of non-toxic colors, fun textures, shapes and sizes, sounds (and even smells) that you’ll find in bird toys will keep both you and your bird interested in checking out new ones.
Exercise and activities are extremely important to keep your pet bird healthy and happy. Birds are inquisitive, social, and they like to play. Exercise is natural for them and easy to provide.
A bird’s cage needs to accommodate their full wingspan so they can safely flap their wings and exercise them. If they are kept in the cage all the time, they need to be able to make short flights. A cage should be at least three times their wingspan if they are kept caged all the time. Small birds, like finches and canaries, primarily flutter from perch to perch and make short flights. They are generally always kept in their cage or aviary and can be difficult to catch if they get out.
Parrots of all sorts love to climb on ladders and the horizontal bars of their cage. Some like to hang from the top of their cage or from various toys and swings hanging in the cage. Many of the smaller parrots like swings. . Natural perches not only provide exercise for the parrots toe muscles, they also keep birds gnawing on the bark and the wood. Cuttlebones are good for beak trimming as well as a calcium supplement.
Toys provide entertainment as well as exercise and most parrots like to chew. Perches, swings, ladders and toys all become objects of entertainment and chewing.
Plastic toys are only safe for small birds. Small birds and parakeets are fine with plastic toys, and perhaps less active cockatiels. Larger parrots will destroy them and can be injured by the chewed pieces.
Various woods, leathers, rawhides and acrylic make good chew toys for all parrots. Bells are a favorite toy and reflective surfaces, like stainless steel mirrors, can be enjoyed by some birds.
The playpen is a play areas located outside the cage. They have a variety of perches, ladders and swings that give birds a place to exercise and play. Playpens usually have food and water dishes which allows you to leave your bird out for as long as you’d like.
Most birds love a bath! A bath placed in the bottom of the cage or mounted through a side door will allow small birds to bathe, and they can create quite a splash. Often birds will take a bath in the fresh water of their water dish if not provided with a bath!
Larger birds usually like a light misting from a spray bottle 2 or 3 times a week. Birds anticipating a bath will often spread their wings out to catch the mist and call loudly when being sprayed. Hand-tamed birds often prefer to shower with their owners.
Keep your bird safe! It is up to you. It is very important that you know how to take care of a pet bird to keep your bird safe. Some of the most familiar hazards can be avoided with a little common sense and by paying attention.
Be cautious when you take your pet is out of its cage, be sure it is safe.
If you bird flies out an opened window or door, you may never see it again!
Don’t leave windows and doors open.
Don’t have any water-filled vessels lying around, or toilet lid up.
Make sure the stove isn’t hot.
Make sure the ceiling fan isn’t running.
Avoid physical harm to your pet bird. Don’t ever hit your bird and don’t let anyone else hit your bird.
Watch for toxic plants
Watch what your pet bird chews on outside its cage. Don’t let your bird eat any toxic plants like oleanders, azaleas, juniper, daffodils, philodendron, lily-of-the-valley, etc.
Avoid toxic substances
Some important pet bird information to know includes substances that may be toxic to your bird. Do not leave any of these substances sitting out and put away any rags or dust clothes that you used to clean with.
It is very important to make sure that your bird’s cage is painted with lead-free paint.
Make sure your curtain rods are also lead-free if you allow your bird to fly about the house.
Tap water delivered in lead pipes can have a toxic affect on your bird.
Signs of poisoning can include vomiting, seizures, diarrhea and lethargy.
If you are at all concerned your bird might be poisoned, take your bird to the vet right away!
Some common household poisons to avoid include:
Any household pest you eliminate with poisons also becomes toxic to your bird
Detergents containing boric acid
Various types of fuel including gas, oil and kerosene
Furniture and metal polish
Paint and paint thinner
Pine oil poisons (rat, snail, roach bait)
Toilet bowl cleaner that hangs exposed inside the toilet bowl
Various types of bathroom cleaners
Birds need good nutrition, a diet that is designed for them and has the necessary components for a balance diet. A healthy diet for most types of birds can include a wide variety of grains, bird seed, fruits and green vegetables. Use additional supplements to add minerals and proteins to their diet. Also provide plenty of daily water.
There are many types of food available for all the different types of pet birds. Most packaged bird food will specify the type of bird it was designed for, and have the necessary components for a balance diet. They are usually sold in small packages from 1 to 5 pounds, and some are available in large quantities of 25 or 50 pound bags.
Many individual types of bird seed, like canary seed or safflower seed, can also be purchased by the package. Popular bird foods are often available in bulk (serve yourself) as well. You can purchase bird food at pet stores, hardware stores, often in grocery stores, and through on-line bird pet supplies. There are pros and cons to feeding either a formulated diet only or a seed diet only. But supplements can be used to enrich all types of diets.
Foods available for birds include:
Bird feed mixes – Bird feed mixtures can include formulated foods, bird seed, nuts and dried fruits.
There are specific mixes for each type of bird. They will consist of a mixture of seeds, formulated foods, some supplements, and usually additional vitamins. Bird mixes are generally regarded as suitable especially when provided with additional supplements.
Formulated diets – pelleted or extruded manufactured food
Formulated diets provide a good nutritional base, containing all the necessary minerals and vitamins, so additional vitamins are not required. However, formulated diets do not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Phytonutrients are believed to boost the immune system, help a body to heal itself, and to prevent some diseases. Many birds also become bored with a formulated diet due to the lack of variety. Offering supplements can help provide the phytonutrients and help offset boredom.
Bird seed diets – mixes of bird seed
Seed only diets offer much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. In the wild many birds eat seed as a major portion of their diet. Many birds need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment. All seeds contain protein and are roughly divided into either a cereal type seed such as millet, or an oil type seed such as sunflower seed. To provide a balanced diet, minerals, amino acid, vitamins and trace elements can be added as a supplement to seed or water.
Provide supplements in addition to any of the above diets. Be careful not to feed things that can be toxic or bad for them, such as avocado, chocolate, or caffeine.
Vegetables, Greens, and Fruits
These include soaked and sprouted seed and even some green plants (make sure they are non-toxic). All types of fruits are a good supplement such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and even berries such as strawberries and blueberries. Vegetables are also good supplements such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, many garden vegetables, and even dandelions and chickweed. Do not feed avocado as it may be toxic to birds!
Additional proteins can be offered to some birds about every 1 1/2 weeks such as cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, and even canned dog food. Many birds will eat what you eat. Be sure anything you offer is not toxic to your bird. Most foods are okay but there are a few, like avocado, that can poison birds.
Cuttlebone and calcium blocks will also provide necessary minerals for maintaining your birds health. Finely ground shells, such as oyster shell, and other natural minerals can be added to regular grit.
Grit is an aid to digestion for birds that eat seeds unshelled. Grit also contains valuable minerals and trace elements, and though not necessary for digestion will aid some birds if offered in limited amounts.
Birds That Need Grit
Some seed eating birds need grit.
This applies especially to birds such as pigeons and doves that eat their seed whole without shelling it first.
It is an essential to aid in digestion to seeds eaten unshelled as these birds use it in their crop to grind the seed.
Birds That Don’t Need Grit
Birds that are not primarily seed eaters, like soft bill birds, do not require grit or cuttlebone.
Mynah’s and Toucan’s are types of pet birds that will eat softbill food.
Lories and Lorikeets primarily eat pollens and nectars, though they may also eat some seed.
These types of birds major diet consists of fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and grapes. They also will eat soaked dried fruits, canned fruits and natural juices. All of these are easy to supply.
There are also commercially prepared pellets and powders available.
Family Trail Ride — Just hanging out having family fun time…..
Horseback Trail Ride…Check into your states horseback trail rides.
Taking Care Of Horses
Once you’ve selected a horse that will suit your personality, experience and competitive ambitions, if any, you are ready to embark on the joys of horse ownership!
There is so much to know about horses and their care that it’s very wise to read all you can before taking that big step. This whole Web site has been designed as a Guide to information for horse owners and, as such, has links to a wealth of information and articles that will be of use to you, now and in the future.
Every sphere has its own “lingo” and in order to be able to converse knowledgeably with other horse owners, your vet, farrier and other equine professionals, you’ll need to know these equine terms and the names and appearances of the wide range of colors and markings.
Even owners planning to keep their horse at a full care facility should familiarize themselves with the principles of equine nutrition.
Horses are grazers who, in a natural environment, will spend their days grazing more or less constantly. When horses are kept in a stall and are fed one or two meals of concentrated feeds and grains, digestive problems such as colic are likely to occur.
By following these basic tenets, which are aimed at keeping small amounts of feed in the digestive tract at all times, much as in nature, the risk of stomach upsets is decreased:
Feed hay before grain – a bored and hungry horse is likely to quickly gulp down his grain. Feeding hay first will give him something to do and to take the edge of his hunger. When his grain is presented, he will be more likely to eat slowly and digest his feed properly, decreasing the chance of a colic.
Feed little and often – to approximate the horse’s natural tendency to graze constantly, presenting the grain in three or four small feeds per day, instead of one large one, will lessen the chance of colic by allowing the gut to maintain constant levels of the bacteria needed to digest food.
If your horse is a youngster or is elderly, you should be familiar with their special nutritional needs.
Whether you’re boarding your horse at home, or at a boarding facility, you’ll need to know the essentials about grooming, types of clip and types of saddles.
Horse Health Care
The subject of Equine Health Care, and especially First Aid is one is which all horse owners are constantly learning. New owners need to learn how to evaluate their horse’s vital signs, and learn what is normal for their horse, so they can quickly and easily tell when something is amiss. Maintaining a regular de-worming schedule is vital to their well-being, as are regular and appropriate vaccinations.
8 cat diseases you can prevent with vaccination and deworming
- Rabies (this can be spread to people)
- Feline panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Feline herpesvirus infection
- Feline calicivirus infection
- Feline leukemia (FeLV)
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection
- Heartworm disease
- Intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, etc., some of which can also infect people)
The following list contains 20 common foods that are given to pets — usually with devastating results.
1. No Bones About It
Bones are very dangerous for animals. Every year thousands of animals end up in the emergency room from eating bones, usually given by their owners as treats. The fact is that dogs are omnivores, not carnivores. Most dogs and cats can’t tolerate bones, since they can splinter or lodge in the intestinal tract with disastrous results, usually requiring surgery. Bones can also get stuck in your pet’s mouth or throat, which is just as dangerous. Bones of all kinds are bad, including pork, chicken, and beef. So the next time you feel the urge to give your dog a bone, just make sure it’s a Milk-Bone™ or a Nylabone™. Your pet will love you for it.
2. Chocolate Can Be Lethal
A potential lethal dose of chocolate for a 16-pound animal is only two ounces of baker’s chocolate or 16 ounces of milk chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, which causes increased heart rate, central nervous system stimulation, and constriction of arteries in pets. Clinical symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and excitability to cardiac failure, seizures, and death. A serious reaction can occur as quickly as four to six hours after ingestion.
3. Alcohol Is Toxic to Pets
It doesn’t take much alcohol to intoxicate a pet. Animals will stagger and bump into things, hurting themselves. Alcohol also causes them to urinate uncontrollably. In high doses, it will suppress the central nervous, respiratory, and cardiac systems, and can even lead to death. It’s best to just give your pet water.
4. Milk and Cheese Are Harmful for Adult Animals
Many pets are lactose-intolerant and develop diarrhea when drinking milk. Pets lack the enzyme that’s required to break down milk sugar, and this causes them to develop vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Even though your pets like it and were nursed as infants on their mother’s milk, refrain from giving them milk. Cheese, even in small amounts, is too high in fat and can lead to a life-threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
5. Ham and Other Fatty Meats Are Very Dangerous
Like cheese, ham and other fatty meats are high in fat, which can lead to a life-threatening pancreatitis. In addition to being high in fat, these foods are very salty and can cause serious stomach upset if eaten by your cats or dogs. Furthermore, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a potentially fatal condition called bloat. The stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist on itself, causing the animal to die. So avoid giving ham and/or rich/salty meats to your pets.
6. Onions and Garlic Are Poisonous to Pets
Onions and garlic contain toxic ingredients that can damage pets’ red blood cells and cause fatal consequences. Pets may develop vomiting and diarrhea, which may progress to anemia, weakness, and labored breathing. Onions, either raw or cooked, are more dangerous; a cat or dog can be seriously harmed by only a small amount. Garlic is less toxic, as pets need to ingest large amounts to cause illness.
7. Caffeine Is Risky
Refrain from giving your pets coffee, as caffeine is unsafe for them. Like chocolate, it contains methylated xanthine, which stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems and, within several hours, causes vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations, and even death. So make sure your pets stay away from that early morning brew.
8. Avoid Avocados
First, avocados are high in fat and can cause your pet stomach upset, vomiting, and even pancreatitis. Second, the pit, besides being toxic, can get lodged in your pet’s intestinal tract, leading to a severe blockage that may require surgery. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, and abnormal fluid accumulation in the chest and abdomen.
9. Tuna Is Treacherous
A cat’s heart muscle requires an amino acid called taurine to maintain normal strength and function. Canned tuna fish does not have this amino acid, and cats that eat too much tuna fish will develop heart problems. If you want to give your cats the taste of tuna that they love, just make sure it’s tuna fish for cats, which has the amino acid taurine added.
10. Just Say No to Raisins and Grapes
A recent study found that raisins and grapes can lead to gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, which starts in about 24 hours after ingestion. Small dogs can also choke on grapes, so it’s best to make sure that you provide your pets with a well-balanced diet that’s formulated for their life stage.
11. Mad for Macadamia Nuts
These tasty nuts contain an unknown toxin that can seriously affect a pet’s digestive tract, nervous system, and skeletal muscles. Clinical signs include vomiting weakness, depression, diarrhea, panting, difficulty walking, and muscle tremors. Dogs have become violently ill from ingesting as few as six macadamia nuts.
12. Tobacco Is Taboo
Tobacco contains nicotine, which rapidly affects the digestive and nervous systems of pets. This may lead to salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, collapse, coma, and even death.
13. Liver Is Lethal
Eating large amounts of liver can cause vitamin A toxicity, which severely affects muscles and bones. Hypervitaminosis A causes severe changes including constipation, deformed bones, weight loss, anorexia, and neck, joint, or spine stiffness due to excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine.
14. Fat Can Be Fatal
A pet’s consumption of fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Pets with pancreatitis are usually lethargic with severe stomach pain, and often become dehydrated. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal.
15. Potato Peels and Green-Looking Potatoes Are Indigestible
Potato peels contain oxalates, which adversely affect pets’ digestive, nervous, and urinary tract systems. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
16. Yeast Dough Is Hazardous
If ingested, yeast dough will expand in a pet’s stomach or intestines and produce large amounts of gas in the digestive system, causing severe pain and even rupture of the stomach or intestines. Secondly, as the dough ferments it produces alcohol, which can be toxic as well. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, or depression.
17. Moldy, Spoiled Food Really Is Rotten
Dogs and cats get food poisoning, like humans, and actually die from eating moldy or spoiled food, which can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, shaking, and seizures. Garbage gut is definitely dangerous, so don’t feed anything you wouldn’t eat to your pets.
18. Rhubarb and Tomato Leaves/Stems Are Hard to Stomach
These plants contain oxalates, which adversely affect multiple systems including the digestive, nervous, and urinary tract systems. Pets will experience vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, abdominal cramps, weakness, convulsions, muscle twitching, and seizures from ingesting these.
19. Hold the Mushrooms
Mushroom toxicity can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are ingested. These can contain toxins that may affect multiple systems in your pet’s body leading to shock and eventually death. Clinical signs include abdominal pain, seizures, hallucinations, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea.
20. Plums, Peaches, and Pears are Perilous — as well as Apricot Pits and Apple Cores
The pits and cores of these delicious fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which, when eaten by cats or dogs, may result in cyanide poisoning. Signs of toxicity include salivation, apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, dizziness, collapse, coma, seizures, hyperventilation, and shock.
8 Tips For Caring For Your Pet This Winter
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones living in one of the balmier states, you’ve felt the cold chill of winter arrive. For some of us, cold weather is regarded as a mere nuisance; for others, it’s a fun time filled with snowboarding, skiing and other winter joys; and still others will find this time of bone-chilling weather and huge piles of snow a veritable nightmare to endure.
Whatever your viewpoint on winter, one thing remains the same for all of us with pets: it’s a time when our beloved babies need a little extra care. Luckily, PetMD has compiled a list of tips to protect your pet from the dangers of winter.
1. In or Out?
Does your pet spend most of the time in the backyard? You might want to keep her indoors during the freezing months, especially if you live in bitterly cold areas. No one wants an icicle for a pet — they’re simply not that cuddly.
2. Bare Naked Truth
If you must keep your pet outdoors, consider this: Would a fur coat alone (even if it is faux mink) keep you warm against the elements? No? Well, your pet’s fur coat isn’t enough protection for your pet during winter, either. Be a pal and provide your dog with a warm, dry, and draft free shelter outside; the shelter should also comply with any state laws that apply.
3. No More Frozen Dinners!
Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold, outdoor animals eat more during the winter. Likewise, fresh, running water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Keep an eye on the water bowls and make sure they haven’t turned into little skating rinks for fleas (boo, fleas!). While ice pops might be a fun treat, your pet really doesn’t want to have to lick a frozen lump of ice to get his water.
4. Latest Fad Diet?
Indoor animals, meanwhile, have different dietary needs. They conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter. Dogs and cats also exercise much less when they do go outside, so you may need to adjust the amount of food accordingly. After all, no one wants an overweight pet.
5. Frosty the Biting Snowman
We’re not talking about the latest horror movie offering from Hollywood. Frosting is a serious problem during winter, especially for paws, tips of tails, and ears. This makes it even more important in keeping your pet warm, especially if they’re an outdoor pet. Get special booties, coats, and maybe a hat for your pet during her walks, and look for early warning signs of frostbite such as firm, waxy skin and blisters.
6. The Deadly Drink
The worst of all the wintertime chemical spills is antifreeze, which often leaks from a car’s radiator. It may taste delicious to your cats or dogs, but it is extremely deadly — even the smallest sip can be fatal. If your pet starts acting “drunk” or begins to convulse, take him to the vet immediately. Better yet, keep all pets away from the garage and clean up any accidental spillage. You should also not let your dog wander too far during his walks. Who knows what dangers lie in your neighbors’ driveways?
7. Salty Solution
Do you live in an area with cold and icy winters? Then you are probably accustomed to salt on the sidewalks and roads. However, the types of salt (typically calcium or sodium chloride) used to melt ice and snow and keep it from refreezing are somewhat harsh on delicate paws — not to mention they corrode concrete and damage the beautiful vegetation. Protect your pet’s paws, and keep him warm during walks, by outfitting him with booties.
8. Joy Ride
Cars are particularly attractive to animals in the winter-time, especially frigid cats that love to climb up under the hood and curl up on the warm motor. This, as you can imagine, has led to many mishaps when motorists start their car … ouch! Avoid such accidents by tapping your car’s hood before starting the vehicle. Sure, you may wake Kitty from her deep slumber, but she’ll thank you in the long run.
Wintering with your pet is mostly common sense. If you’re cold, your beloved pet will most likely be cold too. So snuggle up, keep your pet warm and safe, and sooner than you can say “Jack Russell,” we’ll all be hitting the beaches for some summertime fun.
Baby calf on the farm.
Managing cold stress in newborn calves
A fast start for newborns is vital.
Calves that become chilled at birth and don’t immediately ingest colostrum have poor survival rates. If a calf fails to nurse, it doesn’t obtain energy (for keeping warm) or antibodies to protect against disease.
A calf’s ability to absorb antibodies from colostrum diminishes as its body temperature becomes colder. Even if you force-feed colostrum a few hours after birth, absorption rate will be less than that of a warm calf. Any stress – from cold or a difficult birth – can interfere with optimum absorption, leading to problems with scours, pneumonia and other infections.
Keeping newborn calves’ warm
Robert Callan, professor of clinical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University, says a newborn calf’s temperature is about 103° F. It drops to a “normal” of 101.5-102° within a few hours. “But if it drops below l01°, this means the calf can’t thermo-regulate and keep itself warm,” Callan says. If calves are born in cold, windy weather, their temperature drops faster.
You can tell when calves are really cold, and you can usually tell when calves will be alright, but borderline calves can be hard to evaluate, says Russ Daly, South Dakota State University Extension DVM. “Many ranchers stick a finger in a calf’s mouth to see how cold he is [if he hasn’t nursed, the inside of his mouth is cold], but I encourage use of a rectal thermometer. Any calf with a rectal temp below 100° will benefit from being warmed up and a supplemental dose of colostrum,” he explains.
A normal calf has a tremendous ability to thermo-regulate, especially if the cow licks him off quickly and helps him get dry, Callan says. A wet calf continues to chill (especially in a breeze) due to evaporation of moisture and more rapid heat loss.
“High-risk calves also chill quickly. These include calves that suffered prolonged birth, twins, and calves born to sick cows or cows in poor body condition. Cows deficient in energy and protein may give birth to weak calves that don’t have much reserve, and those cows’ colostrum has less energy and fewer antibodies,” Callan says. Calves born to well-nourished cows burn through glucose reserves, glycogen and fat more slowly than calves born to cows with inadequate nutrition.
If a calf doesn’t nurse, it starts depleting its blood glucose within 30-60 minutes. Its body tries to replenish this from liver glycogen stores but these can be used up within 4-6 hours, after which the calf becomes hypoglycemic. If calves fail to receive proper nutrition, they deplete their brown-fat reserves in 1-6 days and are starving,” Callan says.
Protein and energy are crucial, and supplying supplemental fat to cows during late gestation will help calves be better prepared to handle cold weather, he adds. Cows with adequate protein levels also produce better colostrum.
To read more go to the link above.
Why do Cats Climb Trees?
There are several reasons why cats climb trees, mostly to do with predatory or defensive tactics. Cats, as predators, like to understand their environment well. As they are small animals, their scope of vision is considerably smaller than the outdoor environment of their yards or neighborhoods. Cats often climb trees to get a better view of their surroundings, to help them see any potential dangers or potential prey.
While cats are predators, they are also vulnerable to attacks from larger animals, such as dogs or even other cats. A tree often provides a safe hiding place, particularly from any annoyed canine that happens to be passing. In the wild, cats climb up trees to give them a resting or napping place that is out of predators’ range. It also helps disguise their presence, which can prevent any prey from noticing that there is a cat in the vicinity.
Sometimes, cats climb trees in response to noticing the inhabitants of upper branches: birds and squirrels. Frequently, a cat will be a little too excited by the possibility of a free-range meal and climb to precarious heights in pursuit of a tasty meal. This situation can result in serious unhappiness for the other animal, the cat, and the owner faced with getting his or her pet down from the top branches of a spruce, so a cat owner may want to consider taking preventative action the moment his or her cat approaches a likely tree.
Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful “eye” markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird’s back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.
Male vs. Female
The term “peacock” is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.
Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In fact, wild peafowl often roost in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.
Peacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.
Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues. They can be testy and do not mix well with other domestic birds.
Enjoying the Waves
Puppy Feeding Fundamentals
Walk down the dog food aisle of any large pet-supply store, or peruse the shelves at a boutique pet-food shop, and you can quickly become overwhelmed. This is especially true for puppy owners, and probably even more so for first-time puppy owners. When did it get so complicated? Back in the day, dog food options were far more limited, and even responsible dog owners didn’t worry too much about what went into their dog’s dish.
The process may now be somewhat more involved, but that’s a good thing. Higher quality ingredients with better sourcing and specialized diet formulas lead to overall better health for our puppies. And every bit as important as what to feed your puppy is having an understanding of his special nutritional needs.
All puppies are different, so if you have any concerns or questions about your puppy’s food, feeding schedule, or nutritional health, always consult your breeder or veterinarian—that’s what they’re there for.
Many puppy owners wonder, “How long should I feed puppy food?” Here is a general timeline for what your puppy needs at each stage of his first year of life.
Feeding Your Puppy: A First-Year Timeline
- 6–12 weeks: Growing pups should be fed puppy food, a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. Feeding adult food will rob your puppy of important nutrients. Four feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. Large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks; small dogs by 12 or 13 weeks.
- 3–6 months: Sometime during this period, decrease feedings from four to three a day. A pup should be losing her potbelly and pudginess by 12 weeks. If she is still roly-poly at this age, continue to feed puppy-size portions until body type matures.
- 6–12 months: Begin feeding twice daily. Spaying or neutering lowers energy requirements slightly; after the procedure, switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food. Small breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months; bigger breeds at 12, 13, even 14 months. Err on the side of caution: Better to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
- After age 1: Most owners feed adult dogs two half-portions a day.
There’s a saying in canine feeding: Watch the dog, not the dish. Body condition, not the amount eaten or left in the bowl, should determine portion sizes. Portion sizes depend on individual metabolism and body type, and nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog. If your puppy occasionally skips a meal or picks at food, don’t worry. It could mean she is ready to eliminate a feeding or that you have given her too much, in which case simply reduce the quantity served.
Also, if you are doing treat-based training with your pup, adjust the amount you feed at mealtime accordingly. Whenever training with treats, keep the treat as small as possible.
How often should I feed my puppy?
Like human babies, puppies start out needing many small meals a day, of a food formulated for their special nutritional requirements. Most, but not all, dogs finish meals quickly. To discourage picky habits, feed at regular times in regular amounts and don’t leave food down for more than 10 to 20 minutes.
Your breeder will be an excellent source of guidance for both of these questions, as will your vet.
Is it worth it to buy the more expensive stuff?
Premium food has higher nutritional density, so you can feed your dog less to achieve the same results. Also, premium foods have stable ingredient profiles; the composition of bargain brands can vary from batch to batch.
The major dog-food companies invest heavily in product development and research, constantly upgrading formulas to keep up with their competitors. This means that feeding premium food puts you on the cutting edge of canine nutrition.
Dry Food, Wet Food, or Both?
Many pet-food companies have worked with canine-nutrition scientists to develop special formulas for both large- and small-breed puppies.
- Canned food is the most expensive to feed, and dogs often find it most palatable. Be careful of “all-meat” claims, though. Your dog should have a complete, balanced diet to fulfill nutritional requirements. Meat alone may not do it.
- Semi-moist food is available in one-serving packets. It is usually made to look like hamburger.
- Kibble is the most economical, and the major makers offer a complete and balanced diet for dogs of all sizes and ages. Dry food can be fed exactly as it comes from the bag.
Some dog owners say there is an oral-hygiene advantage in hard kibble because the friction produced helps to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Kibble can be moistened, either with water or canned food. Although unnecessary, that addition may make food tastier.
To read more go to link above.
The giraffe is one of the most iconic species of Africa. As the tallest mammal on Earth, these creatures are both weird and wonderful with their long legs and necks, large eyes, long eyelashes, striking coat patterns, ambling gait and calm demeanour.
We also need to reflect on the fact that these gentle giants are in real danger of disappearing from Africa, a problem that needs to be acknowledged and addressed through intensive research, conservation and educational efforts.
Not one… but nine subspecies of giraffe in Africa
A less well-known fact about this fascinating animal is that there are nine subspecies of giraffe currently recognised in Africa. These subspecies inhabit different countries across Africa, but increasing genetic evidence suggests that some may not be that different from others, while others may be distinct species in their own right. Research efforts are currently underway to unravel the mystery of giraffe genetics. Each of these subspecies differs in their coat pattern, but also in size. Follow this link for more information on the different subspecies and in which areas of Africa they can be found – Africa’s Giraffe subspecies by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Related to a horse-like animal of the Congo
The giraffe is related to the okapi (Okapia johnstoni), found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The okapi has a similar body shape to the giraffe, but a much shorter neck. Okapis, like giraffe, have unusual fur-covered ossicones (horn-like structures), specialised teeth and tongue, and a ruminating four-chambered stomach. Interestingly, only the male okapi has ‘horns’. It has been nicknamed the ‘rainforest zebra’ (or ‘forest giraffe’) because of the black and white stripes on its buttocks and upper legs.
How many giraffe are left in Africa?
Currently, there are fewer than 90 000 giraffe left in Africa. Giraffe numbers have dropped by 40% during recent years and the species is under a lot of pressure. Giraffe are already extinct in at least seven countries in Africa. According to the IUCN Red List giraffe as a species are currently listed as ‘Least Concern’. Two subspecies, the West African giraffe (G.c.peralta; < 400) and Rothschild’s giraffe (G.c.rothschildi; < 1500) are currently listed as ‘Endangered’. The species is threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, but also poaching and human encroachment.
A tower of giraffes
The giraffe is a social, group-living animal, with a stationary group called a tower. Giraffe on the move are known as a journey. The giraffe has a fission-fusion type of social system. This means that the composition of the group changes between hours, days and weeks. Usually groups are composed of females (cows) and their young. Males (bulls) are found in bachelor herds and will join the female groups from time to time to seek females in oestrus and to mate with them.
A long, long neck…
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a giraffe is its long neck. However, even with this long neck, the giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck as humans and other mammals. Giraffe have seven cervical vertebrae, but each one can be up to 25 cm long. In addition to its role in assisting in feeding and maximizing vigilance, the neck is also used in an elaborate ritualised fight called ‘necking’, usually only seen in males. They repeatedly swing their neck to deliver powerful head-butts to their rival’s body.
Dog’s vision is very different than ours. They don’t have poor vision, just different. Their ability to differentiate color is much less than ours (they do see colors, just much less differential than human vision) yet they can detect motion much more acutely than humans.
Baby Kittens in a Shoe
From Webvet Source: http://www.webvet.com/main/2008/05/29/frisky-kittys-energy-can-be-overwhelming
I love her with all my heart, but my 9-month-old kitten is driving me crazy. She jumps on kitchen counters, the refrigerator and stove. Spraying her with water, making loud noises and slapping her behind does not help. I am a senior citizen; she is my only companion. I hope you have an answer. I cannot bear to give her away, but it is coming to that. Please help.
I do believe you love your cat. But believe me when I tell you cats climb – it’s what they do, especially kittens. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve had a kitten. It’s important you offer alternative places for climbing, and encourage her to go there using treats and praise, and perhaps a bed if it’s a sunny place.
Consider a compromise. After all, maybe it’s not so bad to allow her to scale the top of your fridge. Perhaps there’s a window sill in the kitchen or another place where she can climb.
Offer toys for your kitty. This doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. To a kitten, a wine cork, bottle cap, empty box or ping pong ball are all superb toys. It’s important to rotate toys so they don’t become old and boring. It’s also great to actively play with your kitty, using a “Cat Dancer” or another interactive toy.
Teaching Your Dog To Shake Hand
Shake is a fun dog trick that’s fairly easy to train a dog to do. Most dogs learn this trick quickly. After just a few short training sessions your dog will be offering his paw for a shake every time he meets someone new!
What You Need:
Here’s How to Do It
- Have your dog sit. If he doesn’t know how to sit, go back and practice that command before moving on to step two.
- Hold a treat in one hand, and show it to your dog. Close your fist over the treat so he can’t get it.
- Give your dog the command “shake,” and wave your closed fist under his nose to keep him interested in the treat.
- Wait for your dog to start digging in your hand for the treat. Usually dogs sniff around, and when that doesn’t work they begin to paw at your hand.
- The moment your dog touches your hand with his paw, tell him “good” or click your clicker, and open your hand and allow him to have the treat.
Caring for Puppies
Puppies are without a doubt some of the most adorable things on the planet. Parenting a new puppy, however, is no walk in the park. Here’s a guide to help you care for the new addition to the family.
When the time comes to finally bring your new puppy home for the first time, you can pretty much count on three things: unbridled joy, cleaning up your puppy’s accidents, and a major lifestyle adjustment. As you’ll soon learn, a growing puppy needs much more than a food bowl and a doghouse to thrive. And while it may be a lot of work initially, it’s well worth the effort. Establishing good and healthy habits in those first few sleep-deprived weeks will lay the foundation for many dog-years of happiness for you and your puppy.
1. Find a Good Vet
The first place you and your new puppy should go together is, you guessed it, straight to the vet for a checkup. This visit will not only help ensure that your puppy is healthy and free of serious health issues, birth defects, etc., but it will help you take the first steps toward a good preventive health routine. If you don’t have a vet already, ask friends for recommendations. If you got your dog from a shelter, ask their advice as they may have veterinarians they swear by. Local dog walkers and groomers are also a great source of ideas.
2. Make the Most of Your First Vet Visit
Ask your vet which puppy foods he or she recommends, how often to feed, and what portion size to give your pup.
- Set up a vaccination plan with your vet.
- Discuss safe options for controlling parasites, both external and internal.
- Learn which signs of illness to watch for during your puppy’s first few months.
- Ask about when you should spay or neuter your dog.
3. Shop for Quality Food
Your puppy’s body is growing in critical ways which is why you’ll need to select a food that’s formulated especially for puppies as opposed to adult dogs. Look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the packaging to ensure that the food you choose will meet your pup’s nutritional requirements.
Small and medium-sized breeds can make the leap to adult dog food between 9 and 12 months of age. Large breed dogs should stick with puppy kibbles until they reach 2-years-old. Make sure your puppy has fresh and abundant water available at all times.
Feed multiple times a day:
- Age 6-12 weeks – 4 meals per day
- Age 3-6 months – 3 meals per day
- Age 6-12 months – 2 meals per day
4. Establish a Bathroom Routine
Because puppies don’t take kindly to wearing diapers, housetraining quickly becomes a high priority on most puppy owners’ list of must-learn tricks. According to the experts, your most potent allies in the quest to housetrain your puppy are patience, planning, and plenty of positive reinforcement. In addition, it’s probably not a bad idea to put a carpet-cleaning battle plan in place, because accidents will happen.
Until your puppy has had all of her vaccinations, you’ll want to find a place outdoors that’s inaccessible to other animals. This helps reduce the spread of viruses and disease. Make sure to give lots of positive reinforcement whenever your puppy manages to potty outside and, almost equally important, refrain from punishing her when she has accidents indoors.
Knowing when to take your puppy out is almost as important as giving her praise whenever she does eliminate outdoors. Here’s a list of the most common times to take your puppy out to potty.
- When you wake up.
- Right before bedtime.
- Immediately after your puppy eats or drinks a lot of water.
- When your puppy wakes up from a nap.
- During and after physical activity.
5. Watch For Early Signs of Illness
For the first few months, puppies are more susceptible to sudden bouts of illnesses that can be serious if not caught in the early stages. If you observe any of the following symptoms in your puppy, it’s time to contact the vet.
- Lack of appetite
- Poor weight gain
- Swollen of painful abdomen
- Lethargy (tiredness)
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or coughing
- Pale gums
- Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Inability to pass urine or stool
6. Teach Obedience
By teaching your puppy good manners, you’ll set your puppy up for a life of positive social interaction. In addition, obedience training will help forge a stronger bond between you and your puppy.
Teaching your pup to obey commands such as sit, stay, down, and come will not only impress your friends, but these commands will help keep your dog safe and under control in any potentially hazardous situations. Many puppy owners find that obedience classes are a great way to train both owner and dog. Classes typically begin accepting puppies at age 4 to 6 months.
Tip: Keep it positive. Positive reinforcement, such as small treats, has been proven to be vastly more effective than punishment.
7. Be Sociable
Just like obedience training, proper socialization during puppyhood helps avoid behavioral problems down the road. At approximately 2 to 4 months of age, most puppies begin to accept other animals, people, places, and experiences. Socialization classes are an excellent way to rack up positive social experiences with your puppy. Just be sure to ask your vet about what kind of interaction is OK at this stage.
What you didn’t know about goats.
Living The Country Life
Goats are naturally curious. There’s a misconception that goats tend to eat anything they can find, but they’re actually highly selective eaters. You may find them chewing on things they find around the farm, though, because they are so curious. Goats most likely chew items to determine if they can eat them. To read more go to website above.
If a cat is frightened, the hair stands up fairly evenly all over the body; when the cat is threatened or is ready to attack, the hair stands up only in a narrow band along the spine and tail.
A cat sees about 6 times better than a human at night, and needs 1/6 the amount of light that a human does – it has a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.
Kids and Horses – Benefits of Horsebackriding on Kids
By Christine Churchill, Five Star Ranch Staff Writer
What child doesn’t love horses? Boys and girls alike dream and play pretend games of riding a horse.
Why the attraction? Is it the power and freedom a horse represents to a young child? Maybe. Or it could be the sheer fun of having a friend who is six feet tall. There are many reasons kids are attracted to horses and there are good reasons why we should introduce our children to the world of horses.
Benefits of Horsebackriding
Those of us who ride are keenly aware of the many benefits of riding. Sure, horseback riding is recreational and good physical exercise, but there are many intrinsic benefits as well.
The Wackiest Pet Names of 2016 revealed today. NATIONWIDE Insurance released the names today from a Wackiest Pet Name Contest that they put on recently
Thanks for Sharing this Info: Source: AOL Article
They launched the Wacky Pet Names competition and their finalists have been selected.
The company has turned to the internet and are asking people to vote for the dog or cat with the wackiest name.
Some of the top 10 names that have made the list for dogs are Kanye Westie, Optimus Prime Rib and Mcloven the Stud Muffin.
In the cat category, the names are Butch Cassidy, Macaroni Bob and Princess Poopy Paws.
Last years reigning title holders were impressive and will be hard to beat. The Wackiest dog name in 2015 went to Baron Von Furry pants and the wackiest cat name was awarded to Leonardo DiCatprio.
And of course one has to choose Kanye Westie, because don’t you want your dog to be named after everyone’s favorite 2020 presidential candidate?
This information obtained from AOL article released this afternoon, same information also available in Video from MSN, and USA Today.
Pet Friendly Flights
Pet Friendly Flights Make Traveling a Pleasure for Your Pet as Well
Having to take your pet with you on a trip might cause you some worries and concerns. And if you are not a big fan of flying, it might be even worse. Not everyone enjoys flying, and if the conditions you get are not the best, it will be more frightening, or it will cause you more nausea. The same happens to our pets while being on a flight.
There are airlines that allow you to travel with a pet with a weight smaller than 20 pounds on board – and the carrier you have must respect certain measurement requirements. You will also need to pay a fee for this, but your pet will be flying in style. Some airlines even have their people trained for handling animals, in case there are any issues that occur during the flight.
When you plan to take your pet on a flight, check the website of the airline first. There are some which do not allow you to carry any pets during winter months, when temperatures are very low.
You are allowed to have a pet as large as 100 pounds, including kennel, taken as cargo. The most important thing when you decide to travel with your pet is to make sure you have room for him on the plane. This means that, when you book your ticket, you should also ask about a place for your pet. Usually, only a small number of dogs are allowed on a flight, so be sure yours is one of them.
Do your best to travel with a direct flight and on a day when the airport will not be so crowded, maybe a week day. Also, consider the very high and very low temperatures when choosing the hour of your flight. During summer it is best to travel in the morning or evening and, during winter, preferably around midday.
Check with your vet if the pet has all of their vaccines up to date and ask for a health certificate that will be valid through the period of your travel. See the rules and regulations for traveling with pets outside your country or continent, depending on your destination. There are countries that do not accept traveling pets.
When it comes to the carrier, get a proper one for the size of your pet and also depending on where he will travel: cargo or board. Traveling on board will imply having one that fits under the seat, and it is recommended to be a soft sided one, because they fit better. For the cargo, have a hard sided carrier, with holes for ventilation. Once your little buddy has a comfortable carrier, in which he has enough room to turn around, stand up and lie down, you need to provide him food and water. Do this a few hours before the flight so you can allow him to pee and poop. Also, exercise him a bit so he is not very energetic during the flight.
If you have managed to get past your fright of flying, then no worries, your pet will manage to as well, as long as you provide him with good travel conditions.
Veterinary – tip of the day!
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives veterinary treatment.
Below are 41 things you didn’t know about cats
- While you may think your cat is narcoleptic, it’s natural for them to spend a lot of time napping. The average cat spends roughly 2/3 of its life sleeping.
- Cats don’t have collarbones – this allows them the flexibility to fit through openings the size of their heads.
- In North America, there are more cats than dogs. In fact, according to the Encyclopedia of Cats, over 30% of households own at least one cat.
- A group of cats is called a clowder.
- According to Tips for Cats, all kittens are born with blue eyes.
- According to two psychologists at Queen’s University Belfast, female cats tend to be right-handed, while male cats favor the left.
- There are 40 recognized breeds of domestic cats in the world.
- According to Love Meow on why cats purr, “Cats can purr while inhaling and exhaling. This is a technique that we simply cannot imitate.”
- According to Jenni Bidner, author of Is My Cat a Tiger?, a “cat can travel at a top speed of approximately 31 mph over a short distance.”
- Also according to Bidner: “A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound.”
- Egyptians were serious about their cats: they held funerals for their dead feline friends, then entombed them either in the family crypt or a pet cemetery, often surrounded by tiny mummies of dead mice.
- Also in Egypt, smuggling out a cat was punishable by DEATH.
- According to The Telegraph, the British government feeds 100,000 cats to keep down mice population on government property.
- The first cloned cat was named “Little Nicky” and cost $50,000.
- The world’s biggest wildcat is the Siberian Tiger.
- The largest litter on record is 19 kittens, 15 of which lived. They probably had to eat in shifts.
- According to Random Facts, “In Holland’s embassy in Moscow, Russia, the staff noticed that the two Siamese cats kept meowing and clawing at the walls of the building. Their owners finally investigated, thinking they would find mice. Instead, they discovered microphones hidden by Russian spies. The cats heard the microphones when they turned on.”
- Also per Random Facts, “One reason that kittens sleep so much is because a growth hormone is released only during sleep.”
- A cat named Andy fell 16 apartment stories and survived – the record height for a cat fall.
- Kittens lose their “baby” teeth at around 6 months old.
- Cats are CLEAN – probably cleaner than you. They spend 1/3 of their “awake time” grooming.
- According to the Way of Cats, our furry friends must learn to climb down a tree, whereas climbing up is instinctive. They also can’t climb down head-first because their paws point the same direction, so they are forced to back down.
- According to 25 Strange But Interesting Facts About Cats, “Cat urine glows in the dark when a black light shines on it. If you think your cat or kitten has had an accident in your home, use a black light to find the mishap.”
- The world’s first cat show occurred in London in 1871.
- After a cat named Hamlet escaped his carrier on a flight, he travelled an estimated 373,000 miles before being discovered seven weeks later.
- The average cat has about 130,000 hairs per square inch.
- The biggest domestic cat breed is the Maine Coon.
- According to Science Kids, “The heaviest domestic cat on record is 21.297 kilograms (46 lb 15.2 oz).”
- It’s not just Amazon’s idea: a group of baby cats is sometimes called a kindle.
- According to Catster, “A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during its first year, then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, it ages approximately four ‘cat years’ for every calendar year. Thus, a 5-year-old feline would be approximately 36 in cat years.”
- The Pet Wiki claims Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan all suffered from ailurophobia, the abnormal fear of cats.
- English writer Geoffrey Chaucer cited a cat door in his 14th Century work Canterbury Tales, so we know they are at least that old.
- The primary use of a cat’s whiskers is to determine if he or she can fit through an opening.
- Grown cats rarely, if ever, meow at one another. As kittens, cats meow to ask things of their mothers – so if your grown cat talks to you, it may be an indication that he or she sees you as a maternal figure.
- The lifespan of the average cat is between 15 and 20 years.
- The most expensive cat breed? Reportedly the Ashera costs $125,000. It is a hybrid of the domestic housecat, the Asian Leopard Cat and an African serval. The most expensive specific cat on record was an ALC-Domestic Shorthair blend named Zeus. He sold for $154,000.
- According to PBS Nature, 25% of cat owners blow dry their cat’s hair after a bath.
- In 2006, between cats and dogs, Americans spent $23.2 billion on veterinary care.
- People are allergic to cat dander, not cat fur.
- Unless they are polydactyl (aka multiple-toed, aka Hemingway cats), cats have five claws on their front feet and four on their back.
- Florence Nightingale named a number of her cats after famous figures, including Otto von Bismarck.
Animals are such agreeable friends–they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
– George Eliot
Family Animal Pics & Tips
“Pets of all shapes and sizes teach children about responsibility. Even the tiniest pet needs food, attention, and proper care. Families who are too busy to care for a cat or a dog might find one of these lower-maintenance pets a great addition to the family. ” Source: Family Circle – http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/pets/best-small-pets-for-families/
Tips from WebMD Ask the Veterinarian
WebMD Ask the Veterinarian – http://pets.webmd.com
by WebMD – Good Videos on this website & Great Info.
It can be difficult to stay on top of what’s best for your own health and well-being, so knowing what’s good for your pet may seem a little confusing.
Keep your feline friends and canine companions healthy and happy by following these 10 pet care tips the pros want you to know.
1. Regular Exams are Vital
Just like you, your pet can get heart problems, develop arthritis, or have a toothache. The best way to prevent such problems or catch them early is to see your veterinarian every year.
Regular exams are “the single most important way to keep pets healthy,” says Kara M. Burns, MS, Med, LVT, president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians.
Annual vet visits should touch on nutrition and weight control, says Oregon veterinarian Marla J. McGeorge, DVM, as well as cover recommended vaccinations, parasite control, dental exam, and health screenings.
2. Spay and Neuter Your Pets
Eight million to 10 million pets end up in U.S. shelters every year. Some are lost, some have been abandoned, and some are homeless.
Here’s an easy way to avoid adding to that number — spay and neuter your cats and dogs. It’s a procedure that can be performed as early as six to eight weeks of age.
Spaying and neutering doesn’t just cut down on the number of unwanted pets; it has other substantial benefits for your pet. Studies show it also lowers the risk of certain cancers, Burns tells WebMD, and reduces a pet’s risk of getting lost by decreasing the tendency to roam.
3. Prevent Parasites
Fleas are the most common external parasite that can plague pets, and they can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots, and infection. Fleas can also introduce other parasites into your cat or dog. All it takes is for your pet to swallow one flea, and it can to end up with tapeworms, the most common internal parasite affecting dogs and cats.
Year-round prevention is key, says McGeorge, who suggests regular flea and intestinal parasite control, as well as heartworm prevention in
Because some parasite medications made for dogs can be fatal to cats, talk to your vet about keeping your precious pets worm-free, flea-free — and safe.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Many dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. And just like people, obesity in pets comes with health risks that include diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity, says Douglas, who adds that keeping our pets trim can add years to their lives.
Because pets need far fewer calories than most of us think — as little as 185-370 a day for a small, inactive dog; just 240-350 calories daily for a 10-pound cat — talk to your vet, who can make feeding suggestions based on your pet’s age, weight, and lifestyle.
5. Get Regular Vaccinations
For optimal health, pets need regular vaccinations against common ills, such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and canine hepatitis.
How often your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on their age, lifestyle, health, and risks, says McGeorge, so talk to your vet about the vaccinations that make sense for your pet.
6. Provide an Enriched Environment
An enriched environment is another key to the long-term health and welfare of your canine and feline friends, says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center in Columbus.
Pets need mental stimulation, say the pros, which may mean daily walks for your pooch, and scratching posts, window perches, and toys for your cat. It means play time with you, which not only keeps your pet’s muscles toned and boredom at bay, it also strengthens your bond with your four-footed companions.
7. ID Microchip Your Pet
Lack of identification means as few as 14% of pets ever find their way home after getting lost. Fortunately, “microchipping allows for the pet to be reunited with its family,” no matter how far away it is when found, Burns says.
About the size of a rice grain, a microchip is inserted under the skin in less than a second. It needs no battery and can be scanned by a vet or an animal control officer in seconds.
Be sure to register the chip ID with the chip’s maker. A current registration is the vital last step in making certain your pet can always find his way home.
8. Pets Need Dental Care, Too
Just like you, your pet can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth pain. And just like you, regular brushing and oral cleanings help keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy.
“Dental disease is one of the most common preventable illnesses in pets,” Ohio veterinarian Vanessa Douglas tells WebMD, “yet many people never even look in their pet’s mouths.”
It’s estimated 80% of dogs and 70% cats show signs of dental disease by age three, leading to abscesses, loose teeth, and chronic pain. In addition to regular dental cleanings by your vet, “periodontal disease can be avoided by proper dental care by owners,” Douglas says. Owner care includes brushing, oral rinses, and dental treats. Your vet is a good source of information about brushing techniques, oral rinses, and dental treats.
9. Never Give Pets People Medication
Medicines made for humans can kill your pet, says Georgia veterinarian Jean Sonnenfield, DVM. As a matter of fact, in 2010 the ASPCA listed human drugs in the top 10 pet toxins.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common pet poisoning culprits, but antidepressants, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and acetaminophen are just a few of the human drugs that pose health risks to pets. Human drugs can cause kidney damage, seizures, and cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.
If you suspect your pet has consumed your medication — or anything toxic — call the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Also be sure to immediately check with your vet, and if it is during evening or weekend hours when your regular veterinary clinic may be closed, check for a local 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic and take your pet there for an examination. Many metropolitan areas have these clinics.
10. Proper Restraint in a Vehicle
You buckle up for safety when you’re in the car, shouldn’t your pet? Unrestrained pets in a car are a distraction to the driver, and can put driver and pet at risk for serious injury, “or worse,” says veterinarian Douglas. To keep pets safe in transit:
- Never allow pets to travel in the front seat, where they’re at risk of severe injury or death if the airbag deploys.
- Don’t let dogs ride with their head out the window or untethered in the back of a truck bed. Both practices put them at risk of being thrown from the vehicle in the event of an accident.
- To keep pets safe, confine cats to carriers, suggests Douglas, then secure the carrier with a seatbelt. For dogs, there’s the option of a special harness attached to a seat belt, or a well-secured kennel.