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dogandcatpet·11 hours agoText

Ferret Dental Care: Keeping The Tooth Fairy At Bay

Many of our domestic species are prone to developing dental disease. In some cases this is due to unfortunate genetics but in many instances diet plays an important role.

There are a number of things we can do to improve the dental health of our furry ferret friends.

Ferret teeth

Ferrets are carnivorous hunters. They were bred to hunt and would ideally subsist on a diet made up entirely of whole prey such as small mammals. Their teeth are sharp and designed for cutting small bones and tearing at meat. They have no molars, like herbivores, so are not designed for grinding hard food or grains.

Raw meaty bones

An ideal ferret diet is whole prey items such as baby chicks and mice. These tasty morsels are easily obtained from a pet shop that stocks reptile supplies. If you can’t stomach whole animals, make sure you feed your ferret golf ball sized pieces of meat twice daily.

You can use chicken necks or wings but ensure they are raw not cooked. Avoid mince and leave all meat pieces large enough that they must be chewed and cannot be swallowed whole.

Biscuits

Ferrets can wear down their tiny teeth by constantly crunching hard biscuits meant for other species. High carbohydrate processed foods also accelerate dental decay and lead to tooth loss.

For those who cannot provide a Balanced Raw Diet, good quality kitten biscuits are small enough to not require too much chewing but check the label and ensure that they are predominantly meat-based rather than containing cereal protein such as corn or soy. Some owners will mix a handful of Hills Science Diet t/d in with their ferrets dry food.

Annual checks

Your ferret should be visiting the Veterinarian at least annually for vaccination and ideally every 6 months. This is a great chance to discuss dental care. If your ferret is starting to get dental disease, correction of diet may prevent further damage.

Your Vet may also recommend a dental clean under general anaesthesia. Ferrets are surprisingly robust when it comes to anaesthesia, despite their small size and a dental clean can significantly improve overall health.

The post Ferret Dental Care: Keeping The Tooth Fairy At Bay appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·a day agoText

Unless your pet is a very active outdoor dog his nails will need to be trimmed on a regular basis – anywhere from once a week to once a month.

Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are often feared by both dogs and owners. The best way to calm your fears is to ask your Vet or a professional groomer to train you in the proper techniques for nail trimming. The best way to calm your dog’s fears is to train it from a very young age to be comfortable with the process.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails your vet or groomer will be happy to do this regularly. And often dogs do not need their nails trimmed if they go for frequent walks on footpaths or concrete. Just watch those dew claws (thumbs).

Types of Nail Trimmers

There are many different types of nail trimmers. Buy good quality trimmers that are sharp and designed for the correct size dog. They should be concave at the cutting edge, to avoid crushing the nail. Blunt or poor quality trimmers will split the nail. If the nails aren’t that long but are sharp you can simply file them or use a pumice stone to take off the tips. In the US it is common to use a dremel to slowly burr down the nails and this can be more gradual and safer than clipping.

Dog Nail Trimmers
The four core types of nail trimmers for dogs. Source: www.amitywoods.com

How to trim the nails

The first step is to get some treats, make the whole experience positive and don’t feel like you need to be a hero and trim all the nails at once. Start with one, reward and come back later if you or your pet is nervous. One technique that helps is to hold the handle of the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut straight across the nail, so that the nail will sit just above the ground. This technique makes it extremely unlikely you will cut the nails too short.

To get a shorter cut than the previous method, aim to cut at a 45° angle, after visualizing the quick. The quick is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our nails.

Nail Trimming Diagram
A basic guide to trimming your dog’s nails

Working With Black Nails

If your dog has black nails, look at the underside of the nail and you will notice that towards the tip the nail separates out into a triangular shape with two outer ‘walls’. At this point, there is no quick and it is safe to cut the tip off. Otherwise use the technique of simply cutting straight across from the pad, rather than attempting to cut up at a 45° angle. Another trick of the trade is to apply gentle pressure with the nail trimmers without actually cutting where you think you need to cut. If your dog reacts to the pressure, most likely you are too close to the quick and you will need to more the clippers further down the nail.

Nail Trimming – The Basics

What If I Make the Nails Bleed?

If you accidentally cut the nails too short you can use styptic powder, or simply use a clean bar of soap and run it under the damaged nail. The soap will plug the vessel and stop the bleeding. Usually if you have made your dog bleed, they will be a bit nervous next time, so make sure you have lots of treats at the ready and take it slow. If you pet is nervous about nail trimming, view this video on how to counter condition your dog and get him used to nail trims.

Old Dogs or Deformed Nails

Older dogs tend to end up with long quicks, elongated nails and often extremely hard nails. Nails can also grow back a bit deformed if there has been some sort of trauma to the nail bed, such as when the dew claw has been caught in something and torn.

Older dog nails
Older dogs tend to end up with longer nails, making trimming more tricky

Clipping after bathing can help with the hardness issue, as they nails will be softer. Ensuring you just take the tips off the nails or cut them so they sit just above the floor when your dog is standing can help to ensure you don’t cut deformed nails too short.

Alternatively, if you gradually take the tips off, you can often make the quick recede a little over time, but you will need to be patient. So long as your dog’s nails are not touching the ground, getting caught in anything and causing the toes to splay out or bend, there is no need to worry too much about keeping them extremely short.

Whenever you trim your dog’s nails remember to make the whole experience rewarding by having treats at the ready and always take a little bit at a time if you can’t clearly see the quick beneath the nail. And if you have a very patient dog, why not paint those nails!

painted dog nails
Hand painting your dogs nails can give them a new sense of style

The post The No Fear Way To Trim Your Dog’s Nails appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·a day agoText

Unlike dogs, cats have almost no breed variation in the shape and conformation of their ear canals. The ears look the same from breed to breed. This means that all breeds are equally at risk of ear disease.

When you look at the causes of ear disease in cats, they can be divided into primary or secondary factors. Primary factors are those that cause inflammation in the ears. They include ear mites, allergies and polyps in the ear canal. Secondary factors are responsible for continuing symptoms even after the primary cause has been treated. Bacteria and fungi are common secondary factors in ear disease in cats.

Symptoms of ear inflammation, or otitis, in cats include shaking the head and scratching at the ears. If the middle ear is affected, you may see neurological signs such as facial paralysis. This occurs because inflammation deep inside the ear affects the nerves in that area.

COMMON EAR PROBLEMS IN CATS

Whenever you are treating ear infections in your cat, you need to work out why the infection occurred and it’s usually because of an underlying problem. These are the common causes of otitis in your feline friend:

  • Allergies. Atopy is an allergy to dusts and pollens in the environment. Cats can also suffer from food allergies. Both can cause inflammation in the ear canal and allow bacteria and fungi to multiply.
  • Ear mites. These contagious little creatures cause severe itching and irritation. They spread readily from cat to cat.
  • Aural polyps. A polyp is an inflammatory growth that develops in the middle ear of cats. It’s not known why they occur but they can become large enough to fill the ear and extend either into the outer ear or inwards into the pharynx.

TREATING EAR DISEASE IN CATS

Medicated ear drops can be used to treat ear infections in cats. They usually contain an antibiotic, an anti-fungal drug and an anti-inflammatory medication to ease the irritation and make your cat more comfortable. Continue using them as directed for as long as your veterinarian recommends.

When you are treating these ear infections, it’s important that you not only tackle the secondary bacteria and fungi, but that you treat the primary cause. If you don’t, the infection is likely to recur. Depending on the type of infection, your vet may prescribe tablets instead of ear drops.

Ear mites can be eliminated by using Revolution, a liquid that is applied to the back of your cat’s neck once a month. It has the added benefit of killing fleas, heartworm and intestinal worms too.

Polyps may need to be surgically removed if they are causing ongoing irritation and inflammation.

Allergies can be managed in several ways. If your cat has a food allergy, you can control it by doing a food trial to identify what he’s allergic to, then keeping that off his menu. If he is atopic and is reacting to environmental dusts and pollens, then a course of desensitising injections can help him to better tolerate the allergen. A third option is to give him medication such as anti-histamines or corticosteroids to stop the allergic reaction happening in his body.

HOW TO PREVENT FELINE EAR DISEASE

In a normal healthy cat, there isn’t anything you need to do on a regular basis to prevent ear disease. If your feline family member enjoys the great outdoors and is likely to come into contact with other cats with ear mites, then regular use of Revolution will keep these little creatures at bay.

For those cats that suffer from allergies, the only way to prevent ear infections is to keep his allergic symptoms well under control. In spite of your best efforts, he may still have the occasional flare up of otitis that needs veterinary care.

EAR DISEASE IS NOT A DO-IT-YOURSELF ISSUE

Inflammation and infection in the outer and middle ear are not as common in cats as in dogs, but they are still a reasonably frequent cause of pain and discomfort. It’s a good idea to examine your cat’s ears regularly so you can recognise when there is something wrong with them. This will allow you to have them treated quickly so your cat recovers sooner.

Don’t be tempted to treat your cat’s ears yourself. Without an accurate diagnosis, your treatment may not help and may in fact make things worse. Always have your cat checked by your veterinarian before putting anything in his ears.

The post Ear Infections in Cats appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·a day agoText

Along with kitten cuteness, comes great responsibility… for her guardian!

Caring for a kitten is about more than providing food, warmth, and a comfy bed (although this is important). You must also love her and provide preventative healthcare (vaccination, deworming, and parasite control) along with meeting the kitten’s emotional and behavioral needs.

The payback is a well-adjusted kitten that grows into a fit and healthy cat that will be a fur-friend from many years to come. But we all know cute kittens are extremely distracting, so to help you focus, we’ve put the information in one place, so you can cover all bases without taking too much time out from playing with the new addition.

Settling In

First impressions count, so let the kitten settle in slowly and don’t overwhelm her.

Bring the kitten home to a quiet room set up for her comfort, with her own food and water bowls, bed, hiding places, litter box, and toys. Take her out of the cat carrier and place her in the litter tray so she knows where it is. Then let her explore at her own pace.

Sit quietly on the floor and let her explore. If she wants to hide, then that’s fine let her do so. Hiding is a coping mechanism and once she’s sussed out that her new home is a good place to be, she’ll come out to play.

See some more details on how to handle the first night at home with your kitten in our article: First Night Home with a New Kitten: What to Expect.

A Kitten’s Behavioral Needs

Play: Eat: Poop: Sleep: Repeat: What’s so complicated about that!

OK, so a kitten’s basic needs are straightforward, but to raise an adult cat that is friendly and well-adjusted, takes a little extra thought.

The key to working out a kitten’s behavioral needs is to think about an adult cat’s behavior in the wild. These include natural actions such as scratching with claws, scent marking, hunting, and defending territory; and all these instincts are still present in the house cat.

For example, if you don’t show the kitten where she’s allowed to scratch her claws, then she may choose the furniture instead. Plan ahead with a youngster and teach her how to use a scratch post, along with giving her safe outlets for all her other instincts such as climbing. Ignore these needs and risk her developing bad habits.

Scratch Posts and Scratching

Give your kitten a couple of scratch posts (minimum). Chose one that lies flat on the floor and one that’s vertical, to see which one she prefers. Put one of the posts beside her bed, as cats like to stretch their claws and toes when they wake up. If you are feeling abitious and wnat to try to make one, we have a good article on how to make your own scratch post.

Make the post irresistible by wiping her paws on it and spritzing it with Feliway (a synthetic form of feline pheromone). This spreads her own scent which is then amplified by the Feliway, making it her go-to place to scratch ….saving the carpet and furniture

Litter Box and Toileting

Get the litter box right and you’ll avoid problem toileting in the house. Start out using a cat litter she is used to. Locate the tray in a quiet corner, away from food and water, and where she won’t be disturbed by other pets passing through or machines that make a noise (so avoid a tray next to the tumble dryer.)

Keep the tray clean by pooper scooping daily, after all no-one likes using a dirty toilet. Some more advanced techniques are discussed in our article on toilet training your cat.

Toys and Play

Kittens love to play, which is all about practicing their hunting skills. Provide a range of toys that allow her to pounce, swat, toss, and chase. But remember, cats are sprinters not marathon runners, so play with her for 5-minutes at a time, but regularly through the day. This gives her vital exercise and prevents boredom. Also, make sure that the toys you got for the kitten are safe.

Sleep and Safety

That baby cat has a lot of growing to do and needs her sleep. Provide secluded places (such as a cardboard box lined with a fleece) for her to snuggle down in safety. Don’t disturb her whilst sleeping, and wait for her to come out to you for playtime. Kittens need lots of sleep, so don’t be surprised if they spend a lot of their day snoozing. For more information about how often your kitten should be sleeping, we recommend this article on how much should your cat should be sleeping.

Climbing and Perching

Cats have a reputation for getting stuck up trees, which is because they love to climb. Provide an outlet for this urge by giving kitty a tall cat tree, preferably one with several raised platforms for her to perch on. This will save your curtains from being climbed, and satisfy her natural urge to be up high.

Kitty Socialization

Vets dread them…the cat that was poorly socialized as a kitten. These cats are fearful of strangers and new places, which make them hiss, spit, and lash out to protect themselves. Unfortunately, it’s not just the vet that comes a cropper, but the owner may never see their scared kitty (because she hides all the time) or the cat may be liable to lash out at children.

The trick to avoiding this is to handle the kitten lots in those early weeks. Invite different people round to play with the kitten, and expose her to the vacuum, hair dryer, car journeys…and as many different experiences as you can think of.

Of course, this needs to be a good experience for the kitten (or the opposite will happen and she’ll learn to fear strangers.) So keep the meetings low key and praise kitty when she is brave. If she’s in two-minds about a stranger then have them sit quietly on the floor with their eyes averted (a direct stare is an aggressive signal to a cat) with some tasty treats in front of them. Then quietly praise the kitten when she comes out of hiding to investigate. We have a more detailed overview of the power of socializing your kitty.

Socialize the kitten on a daily basis, and she’ll grow into a confident, cuddly, well-adjusted adult cat.

Basic Physical Needs

On a more mundane level, the kitten’s physical needs must be met, such as providing food and caring for her coat.

Feeding

Dry food or wet? Adlib or mealtimes?

These are deceptively big topics, with arguments for and against the different options. The decisions are largely one of personal choice and which suits your kitten and your lifestyle best. Let’s take a quick look at the major pros and cons.

Wet Cat Food

  • Contains a high percentage of water, which promotes good urinary tract health
  • Highly palatable, so kitten is likely to eat it
  • Spoils quickly when left out in hot weather, and can attract flies
  • Often produces smelly poop!
  • The sticky texture encourages plaque and tartar formation on the teeth

Dry Cat Food

  • The dry texture has a slight scrubbing effect on teeth and reduces the risk of dental disease
  • It’s convenient and can be left out without spoiling
  • Easier to store
  • More concentrated calories, which can lead to weight gain in greedy cats
  • Linked to urinary tract problems in some cats

Ad Lib

  • Leaving kitten’s food out all day for her to graze on mimics eating behavior in the wild.
  • Cats are ‘snackers’ rather than ‘feasters’, so small snacks regularly suits their metabolism better
  • Bored cats with access to food all day long are prone to overeating and weight gain
  • Some cats are poor at judging their portion control and are prone to overeating

Mealtimes

  • Allows you to measure out the food and control portion size
  • Some cats binge eat their meals, and no longer listen to their internal calorie counter
  • Cats learn to nag their owners for their next meal, who mistakenly believe their cat is hungry
  • It’s less convenient for an owner who works long hours

Grooming

Introduce your kitten to a brush and comb from a young age. Allow her to play with the grooming tools, so she becomes used to them. Then gently stroke the cat with the tool, whilst praising the kitten. Again, do this for a short time regularly, and your kitten will grow up loving the attention.

Tooth Brushing

Yes, you really can teach a cat to have her teeth brushed, especially when you start young with a kitten. The secret is to purchase pet toothpaste. The latter tastes scrummy to the kitten who thinks it’s great that you’re spreading yummy pate in her mouth. Get her used to the taste first, then slowly introduce the toothbrush.

And yes, daily brushing is the gold standard if you want your kitten to grow up with perfect pearly whites!

Health Care

Last, but certainly not least is healthcare.

Once the kitten has settled in, get her checked by a vet. They will thoroughly examine her to make sure she is healthy (and is indeed a girl…It wouldn’t be the first kitten named Lily who turns out to be Billy.)

This is also the moment to start her preventative health care regime.

Deworming and Parasite Control

Even indoors kittens and cats need regular deworming. This is because they acquire worms’ eggs from the mother’s milk and pick up worms from fleas. There are many options for deworming ranging from pills to spots ons, so speak to your vet about which is best for your kitten.

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, or ear mites are unwelcome visitors on any kitten, but more serious still is the potentially deadly heartworm parasite. For outdoor cats then year round protection is required, and for indoor kittens and cats, speak to your vet who can risk assess the individual for a tailored parasite control strategy.

Vaccination

Again, even indoor cats need protection against viruses which you can walk in on your shoes.

Vaccines are divided into ‘core’ or essential and ‘non-core’ or optional, and which to give is based on a risk assessment of each individual cat.

  • Core vaccines include rabies, cat flu, and feline distemper
  • Non-core includes feline leukemia and chlamydia.

Vaccinations should start from 6 – 8 weeks of age, and be repeated every 3 – 4 weeks, until the kitten is 16 weeks old. This initial course will needs  boosting in a years’ time, and then at intervals after that (as recommended by your vet.) We also prepared a more in-depth look at the cat vaccines.

ID chip

A microchip injected under the skin between the shoulders is an invaluable way of permanently identifying your cat. Then, if she escapes and gets lost, she can be scanned and reunited with you. The chip can be implanted at the time of vaccination or when she’s under anesthetic for neutering.

Neutering

Neutering, spaying, desexing, call it what you want, but this should be done preferably before the kitten becomes a mature adult who could have kittens. The timing varies, from 10 – 12 weeks for some rescue kittens to around 5 ½ months for home-grown kittens.

Play on Prescription!

That’s a lot of information to take in.

Above all, don’t forget to play with your kitten. Not only is this great fun, but it teaches kitten co-ordination, alleviates boredom (and therefore bad behavior) and helps socialize her. All-in-all, play is definitely what this vet prescribes!

The post How to Care for a Kitten: Kitten Care Basics appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·a day agoText

Cats can become aggressive for any number of reasons, and even if the aggressive display only happens occasionally or suddenly, it can seriously impact the relationship that owners have with their cats. Have you ever had your cat attack you out of nowhere?! It happens to the best of us. So, what are some of the types of aggression in cats and how can this aggression be managed? 

In this article we look at the types of aggression that you can find in cats and also provide cat owners with a few tips that will help them manage their feline’s aggression. Unfortunately it’s not a one size fits all solution, as most of you may know, all cats have unique personalities and solving their aggression problem may be a slightly different scenario depending on the cat involved. 

What is aggression in cats all about?

Aggression is a type of behavior exhibited by cats that is meant to warn or threaten other animals or people. In short, aggression is one of the ways that cats communicate with others. 

aggressive cat

Your cat’s aggression may be in defense of territory or offspring, in an attack stance, or the aggression can be fear-based. In some cases, it can take hours or even days before a cat relaxes again after a bout of aggression. Felines are very sensitive creatures! 

What does an aggressive cat look like? 

When a cat is exhibiting aggressive behavior, he may growl, yowl, or hiss at the subject. The hair on his neck may stand on end and his tail may appear puffy. 

cat with puffy tail

Most aggressive cats keep their tail on the ground, and while fearful cats tuck their tails under them, others might swish their tails back and forth in a quick manner. 

Ears may rotate backward slightly or may be pulled back and down against the head. 

Cat with ears back

A cat’s body may be turned sideways so that they appear physically bigger, and aggressive cats in attack mode will try to swat and scratch with their front paws. They may also try to bite the subject. 

Aggressive cat

Types of feline aggression

Fear-based aggression

Cats who cannot escape from something that is scary or frightening may develop fear-based aggression. The signs may start out very mild such as flattened ears, tucked tail, and crouched posture. More intense stimuli may increase the severity of signs, and so these cats may start to hiss or spit and swat or scratch with their front paws.

Some cats may be genetically predisposed to fear-based aggression. Other cats learn from previous experiences or may be influenced by factors in their environment. To help with fear-based aggression, you can choose to eliminate the stressor altogether. However, if this is not possible, training can help change this behavior. 

afraid cat
Source: Giphy 

Redirected aggression 

Redirected aggression occurs when a cat is agitated by someone or something that he cannot reach so he directs the aggressive behavior towards a person or an animal that is nearby. The redirect could occur right away or some hours later.

An example of redirected aggression is when a cat sees another cat or a different animal outside of the window. He may feel threatened but cannot interact with that animal because of the window, and so he channels this aggression into the attacking of another pet or person in the household. 

redirected aggression
Source: Giphy 

Intercat aggression

When cats develop aggressive behaviors towards another cat in the household, this is known as intercat aggression. Sometimes, signs of intercat aggression can be very subtle. The aggressor cat might stare down the victim cat until one or the other eventually walks away. In more serious cases, aggressor cats might also attack the victim cat. 

An aggressor cat might not have a specific reason for bullying the victim cat, although sometimes the aggression occurs due to lack of socialization or because of something unpleasant that happened to the aggressor cat when the victim cat was present. It can happen between cats of different sizes, sexes, and personalities. 

intercat aggression
Source: Giphy 

Play and predatory aggression

Play aggression is usually seen in cats younger than two years of age. It involves some of the mannerisms that are considered predatory such as stalking, pouncing, fighting, attacking, swatting, and biting. This behavior can be directed at other animals but is mostly directed at people. It is especially likely if the cat was weaned too early or orphaned as a kitten. 

Encouraging this kind of rough play can contribute to continued behavior that often intensifies. If your cat exhibits play or predatory aggression, stop play immediately if it gets too rough, especially when your cat is the one who initiated play. By initiating play yourself and keeping boundaries, you minimize this kind of aggression. If it is difficult to stop play, try making hissing sounds or use a deterrent like a spray bottle. Keep a variety of toys handy for safe play, and keep a journal that notes the times of day where aggression is at its most intense.


Source: Giphy 

Territorial aggression 

Cats can become aggressive when they feel that their home or neighborhood has been invaded. This kind of aggression is mostly targeted at other cats but can be directed at other animals and people in some cases. A cat may start to rub his chin on things or spray urine in inappropriate areas, all efforts to mark the cat’s territory. Territorial aggression typically manifests when a new cat has entered the home, when a kitten already in the home approaches two years of age, or when there are changes in the home or outdoor environments. 

To help avoid this kind of aggression in multi-cat households, make sure to gradually introduce new cats or kittens. It could take days or weeks to adjust. You can also feed the cats separate from one another so that they do not become territorial over feeding dishes. You should also have at least one litter box per cat plus one additional box, e.g. you should have at least three litter boxes if you have two cats.


Source: Giphy 

Petting-induced and pain-induced aggression 

Sometimes, excessive petting can cause aggression in cats. This may be due to pain or sensitivity like in senior cats who have arthritis, or it may be due excitement or arousal. Static electricity may also be a factor. You might observe tail-twitching, quick biting, and then running away. 

aggressive cat
Source: Giphy 

How to manage aggression in cats

Calming products such as Feliway 

For cats who are generally anxious, calming products can make a big difference. Feliway is a product that contains pheromones similar to the ones produced by a mother cat, so it has a naturally calming effect. Feliway is available in sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes, and collars. Supplements such as Composure Pro and Zylkene rely on ingredients like tryptophan and alpha-casozepine, respectively, that have naturally calming effects without inducing drowsiness.  

Training and behavior modification 

Cats can be a little more difficult than dogs when it comes to training and behavior modification, but it is not impossible! Desensitization is a training technique that involves gradual or low levels of exposure to a stressor to the point that the cat does not respond negatively. For example, playing thunder sounds at low volumes for cats with storm phobias and then gradually increasing the volume will help the cat acclimate to the sounds. 

Counter conditioning is another training technique that is meant to change the cat’s feelings about the stimulus. If a cat becomes stressed with visitors to the home, associating something positive with visitors like a favorite treat will change the cat’s perception of visitors. 

Don’t forget to consult your vet about your cat’s aggression 

Calming products and training can help with some feline aggression problems. However, remember to keep in mind that owners can make mistakes when it comes to training, and you should contact your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist if your training isn’t working for your cat. 

If a cat’s aggression and anxiety are so severe that they cannot learn or be trained, anxiety medication may be necessary to help relax the cat.

The post Aggression in Cats Explained appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·a day agoText

Taking your furry friend out for a leisurely stroll can turn into a tug-of-war if your companion has no leash manners.

Naturally your dog wants to forge ahead and go where he pleases, so unless you want to race from lamp post to tree sniffing everything in sight while your dog checks his ‘pee-mail’, it is time you took back control of the lead.

We’ve all seen those wonderful well-behaved dogs that walk next to their owners. However, behind that comfortable, care free walk is an owner who has put in some time into training them properly. All it takes is some short training sessions and consistency. With the following guide and 5-10 minutes of training each day, you will soon be enjoying a more relaxing and pleasant walk with your canine companion.

Why is Heeling Important

Pulling on the lead is not only uncomfortable for you, but also for your dog. While your arm is getting pulled from its socket, your dog’s neck is suffering. And while harnesses are slightly better, they do allow your dog to pull with their entire body weight. In the absence of a sled to ride on, harnesses do not help you get back in control of your destination.

Choke Chains are a No, No

Choke chains are very traumatic to the neck, so please avoid them. If you do want a ‘cheat’, invest in a halter-style lead such as theGentle Leader® or Halti®, that fits around the muzzle and back of the head. As the lead is attached underneath the chin, your dog will soon work out that he needs to walk next to you in order to walk in a straight line.

Halti Style Collar
Image Source: https://ift.tt/2EPMHvZ

Time to Sniff

Try to combine leash-walking with some off-leash time so your dog has some time to enjoy sniffing and going at his own pace. He then knows that when he is on the lead it is time to behave. If your dog doesn’t reliably come on command, find some off-leash dog parks in your area to enjoy.

Before you Start

  • Ensure you have somewhere to train where your dog is not distracted, you can even start in the house or backyard.
  • Keep training sessions short, so that neither of you get frustrated. Training for 5-10 minutes a day is perfect.
  • Find some treats your dog really likes that you can easily carry with you. Train him when he is a little hungry.

You can find some more general training tips in our article on basic dog training.

Steps to Success

  1. Ask your dog to sit next to your left leg, with his shoulder in line with you.
  1. Hold a treat in your hand to get your dogs attention.
  1. Step off with your left leg, while saying ‘heel’.
  1. As soon as he takes off ahead turn around and start walking in the opposite direction.
  1. As soon as your dog catches up and reaches the correct position next to your left leg say ‘heel’ and get his attention with a treat.
  1. Repeat the turn-around each time your dog surges ahead and correct him by saying ‘heel’.
  1. Initially reward him each time he is in the heel position and walking by your side, it also teaches him to look to you for direction. As he progresses, get him to walk for a longer period beside you before he gets the treat.
  1. Enjoy your walk and continue intermittently rewarding your dog for paying attention and walking with you. Once the behavior is established rewards can be in the form of treats, play or just simply a ‘good boy’ when he is doing the right thing.

Check out this great video from the Guide Dogs for the Blind channel. It provides a very practical demonstration of the steps and techniques we have outlined above.

Key Points

  • Keep training sessions short, 5-10 minutes is perfect.
  • Initially train somewhere with few distractions.
  • Use rewards not punishment, and initially reward the correct behavior immediately with a treat.
  • Remember to enjoy yourself and celebrate the progress you are both making by combining leash-training with some off-leash time.

The post How To Stop Your Dog Pulling On The Lead appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·2 days agoText

Having pets and children can be like combining chocolate and peanut butter or peas and carrots, whichever you prefer.  Both parties can really benefit and learn from each other as long as responsible measures are taken.   Kids can play a huge role in taking care of pets as long as you teach them how to properly care for their critters.  However, keep in mind that being a pet owner is a for-life project.  It requires daily attention to a family pet that can’t be ignored even for one day.

Loving the Hand That Feeds Them

Let’s face it, most animals are very food driven (most humans are too!)  Pets take on a special admiration for the people that provide their meals so you might as well make that person your child.  Taking over the feeding and watering chores provides your child not only with the opportunity to be put on a pedestal by their pet, but also can teach time telling and measuring skills.  If you have your pet’s meals more or less on a schedule at the same time each day, teaching your kid about that schedule will help them learn how to use a clock.  Pets are also great tellers of time too, so they will remind your child if dinner is being served a little late.  Pet feeding can also become a lesson in math as pet’s food should be measured out each time and can help your child learn their fractions.

Don’t forget about watering your pet.  Your child can easily be in charge of making sure the water dish is never empty.  This can help teach awareness and paying attention to other creatures besides themselves.  All of these pet chores can be presented as a science lesson when you teach your child the importance of why a body needs food and water.

No Better Exercise Buddy

Who better to provide exercise for your pet than your child who is a ball of energy?  School children are great at dog walking and younger kids would love to play fetch, throwing the jingle ball for your kitty, or even placing the hamster in the exercise wheel.  Not only is this a great bonding time between your children and pets, but it can also help teach your kid’s how to live a lifelong healthy, active lifestyle.

Don’t just put your child in charge of exercise; having them play with their critters is a great activity as well.  Playing is not only enriching for your pets, but is also a great way for your child to use their imaginations and dream up new activities.  I’ll bet making an obstacle course for their goldfish to swim through is an activity that they will never get exposed to without having pets around.  Play also increases that animal human bond that creates a friendship like no other.

Making Them Look Their Best

This goes for both children and pets.  Giving children the responsibility of cleaning up after their pet will help teach them how to clean up after themselves.  Also, giving your child some of the critter grooming responsibilities will help children understand that it is important for them to freshen up their appearances as well.

Kids can be in charge of washing food and water bowls, changing bedding, and cleaning litter boxes, the yard, etc.  It definitely isn’t the glamour jobs of pet owning, but it presents a realistic side that taking care of anything requires some dirty work.

Children can also be responsible for brushing or bathing pets.  This will help them pay attention to details such as making sure the feet and ears get cleaned during a bath or that Fluffy’s tail gets brushed out along with the rest of her body.

Knowing When Something Isn’t Right

Children can also alert you when something isn’t right with your pet which, in turn, could be important to the animal welfare.  If they are spending time with your critters, they will be the first to know when your pet’s behavior is off which could mean an illness or other issue.  Always take their observations seriously and talk to them about what they think the cause of this change could be.  They may be able to fill in some of the gaps if your animals does become ill or injured, such as reporting a tipped over garbage can that the pet may have gotten into.

Before the Pet Chores Begin

Having your children become involved in your pet’s lives is a great way to teach responsibility and create a lasting friendship.  Before giving your child any of these responsibilities, you should make sure that both child and pet are ready for it.  Don’t send your four year old out for a walk with a dog that tends to chase cars or let your six year old bath a kitty that hates water.  It will take some training on both sides.

Also, pets that are fearful of children or children that haven’t learned to handle animals with care aren’t good candidates for these experiences.  Again, this may take some time to get both parties on board or may have to happen with different critters or at a different time.  Always use your best judgment before assigning any pet care responsibilities for your child and make sure that you’re a good role model of responsible pet ownership.  It is best if children can understand why the chore needs to be done and how they are helping out their pet.

Pets and children can be a great combination.  They can create a friendship that lasts a lifetime and many memories that will never be forgotten.  Teaching your kid responsible pet ownership will help further develop responsibility for other aspects of their life, just make sure that both child and pet are ready for these new experiences.

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dogandcatpet·2 days agoText

Golden hamsters make delightful pets. Solitary but affectionate, they are well-suited to pet parents who are most active at night.

Golden hamsters are small, nocturnal rodents that are best kept by themselves. Unlike mice, hamsters do not enjoy the company of their fellows, except to produce more hamsters. A related animal, the dwarf hamster, may be kept in groups in places where they are legal pets.

Hamsters like to sleep the day away and then have a heavy aerobic workout during the night. If you’re a night-owl type, a hamster might be your ideal companion. Hammies are reasonably easy to care for, they are friendly, and they don’t even make much smell. In fact, if you can smell your hamster, his cage is far past due for cleaning.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

Hamster “habitats” composed of interlocking plastic tubes are very popular. Unfortunately, the tubes tend to be too narrow for a Golden Hamster. As a result, hamsters sometimes get stuck inside. Also, the tubes are very difficult to keep clean.  Therefore, ignore the coolness factor, and buy a cage that will be comfortable for your pet.

A much better choice of hamster home is a wire cage with a solid plastic bottom. The plastic should extend up the walls for several centimeters in order to contain the bedding. The wire walls and ceiling allow for plenty of ventilation. Anything above 22C (~72F) is increasingly risky for hamster health. On very hot days, a block of ice in one end of the bedding might be needed to keep your hammy safe.

Your hamster will also need a hamster wheel. Be sure it is big enough for a golden hamster. If your hammy will need to curve his back to use it, the wheel is too small. Solid plastic wheels are safer than the old-fashioned wire wheels.

A sippy water bottle for the side of the cage and a couple of ceramic bowls will do nicely for dishes.

You have many choices for bedding in hammy’s cage. Avoid clumping litters and softwood shavings. Clumping litters will cause digestive problems, and the oils from pine and cedar cause respiratory disease. Bedding made from paper products are your safest bet for bedding, and shredded paper is easily available.

Hamsters enjoy having a place to burrow and hide. There are many “hamster homes” readily available without tube components, and any of them will be fine.

EXERCISE

Hamsters are perhaps best known for their love of exercise wheels. They will amuse themselves for extended periods of time by running on their wheels. The wheel must be big enough that the animal does not need to arch its back. Also, the wheel should be made of a solid plastic construction. The old-fashioned wire wheels are dangerous, and they have led to many injuries over the years.

FEEDING

A good hamster pellet, ample grass hay, a bit of seed mix, some fresh veggies, and the occasional treat (such as a piece of “milk bone”) will keep your hammy well-fed and healthy. A clean stick of fruit wood will provide hours of chewing fun, and will also help keep his teeth healthy. Being a rodent, those teeth grow constantly, and he needs to wear them down.

Hamsters love to stash food, which makes it difficult to judge how much Hammy has eaten. Stashes of fresh vegetables become moldy quickly, particularly in warm weather, so be sure to root those out when you clean the cage.

As with most pets, a constant supply of fresh clean water is crucial.

GROOMING

Hamsters normally keep themselves well-groomed. If your hamster has long fur, you’ll need to help the little critter with a soft brush.

HOME ENVIRONMENT

The main thing to remember about the home environment for hamsters is that they are nocturnal. They will be active at night and sleepy during the day.

Also, hamsters are prey animals. For the hammy’s peace of mind, keep larger animals away from the cage.

TRAINING

There isn’t much training needed for your hamster. Handle your hamster gently, and let him sleep through the days, and you’ll have a friendly, affectionate pet.

WHERE TO NEXT?

Do these little guys sound like the right pet for you? Are you awake at night, with time to give your pet the attention he needs? If so, the next step is to set up a hamster home, and stock up on food and bedding. Then, find a local veterinarian who treats rodents.

The post Hamster Care Guide appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·3 days agoText

It is normal for a dog to defecate anywhere between 1 and 5 times a day. However, the amount your dog may defecate on a single day depends on several factors.

These include how much they have eaten in the last 24 hours, fiber content of the diet, individual variation, age of the dog (puppies tend to defecate more frequently than adult dogs). Chances are that if your dog is maintaining a good weight, and the feces are of normal consistency (i.e. not loose or hard) and your dog isn’t having trouble with bowel movements or straining to defecate, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

If your dog is defecating very frequently, especially if these motions are loose or contain spots of fresh blood or mucus, there may be a medical problem such as colitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Ensure your dog is wormed regularly as well.

If your dog doesn’t have bowel movements daily then it could be due to constipation, although other signs would be expected such as straining to defecate or the passing of dry, solid feces. If your dog hasn’t eaten much then this could be another reason and it should be determined why your dog is off their food. Try not to be concerned if your dog doesn’t pass feces just on one occasion, as it may just be a daily variation. Watch for the passing of normal feces over the next 24 hours.

There are also medications that can change the frequency of defecation. Opioids tend to slow the bowel and your dog may defecate less frequently than normal. If you dog is on a medication then check with your vet if this is one of the known side effects.

Feeding your dog a good quality dog food will help improve the consistency and frequency of their stools. If your pet is suffering from an upset tummy, including flatulence, diarrhea and weight loss, PAW DigestiCare 60 can restore intestinal balance to aid recovery.

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dogandcatpet·3 days agoText

The technical term for eating feces is ‘Coprophagia’ which sounds about as unpleasant as the act itself can be.

This rather undesirable behavior can be normal in puppies. Young dogs often go through a stage of exploration and as part of this put lots of different things in their mouths to chew. Puppies simply love to chew everything! And sometimes this can include things that are even less desirable than your shoes!

There is also some evidence that the high levels of deoxycholic acid in feces may help with their neurological development, however a balanced diet will completely eliminate any dietary need for feces. The most important tip for puppies exhibiting this behavior, is not to punish the act, but rather offer alternative things to chew and play with.

Positive reinforcement of good behaviours always sticks with your dog better than punishment of the bad. This has been proven in many dog behavioural studies. Punishment (either for eating feces, or doing feces in the wrong place) can also confuse dogs into thinking they actually need to ‘hide’ the feces – and you guessed it, the best way to do this is to eat it!

There can be a few other reasons for coprophagia, such as simple boredom or the fact your dog likes the taste. Addressing the boredom with regular exercise, toys, digging pits and lots of affection can sometimes solve the problem. It can also be due to behavior problems such as attention seeking behavior, a rare compulsive disorder condition or generalised anxiety.

Medical problems such as anemia, malnutrition or malabsorption, endocrine disease and bowel conditions are rare cause of coprophagia, and usually your dog will be perfectly healthy. Dietary deficiency is another rare cause and most commercial pet foods are balanced for the needs of your pet.

Dogs that are on medications that can increase appetite can also lead to the problem of coprophagia.

Always ensure your dog is wormed regularly both to avoid the problem starting and to treat GI parasitism that can result from regular coprophagia.

The post Why Does My Dog Eat Cat Poo? appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·4 days agoText

It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, cats don’t seem to discriminate when it comes to a good cardboard box. I wouldn’t be so silly as to suggest that I have cats figured out (who could possibly understand what goes on in a cat’s mind?). But I have come up with some suggestions.

  1. It is instinctive. Cats are king of the jungle and they like to stalk their prey. A secure hiding spot is attractive and a cardboard box gives them a vantage point from which to watch the world around them (and have the occasional swat at an ankle that passes by).
  2. It makes them feel safe. Inside a cardboard box they can only be approached from one side, so there is no possible surprise attack from behind.
  3. It is a great spot for a snuggly sleep. Considering cats sleep something like 18 hours a day, I’ll trust that they know what they’re doing and a cardboard box is the best spot they have found (for when they lose that sunny spot on the end of the bed).
  4. It is cool and dark. It is the perfect hang out spot to try to beat that summer heat that is closing in on us.
  5. Boxes are tons of fun. You only have to watch your cat with a box (or find the million YouTube videos that are out there) to see just how awesome a cardboard box is. They can jump around, pounce on things, climb on it, or even chew on it. Sounds a bit like the sort of fun we had with boxes as kids, so I kind of totally get it.
  6. Boxes are as cheap as a cat toy/bed/hangout spot can possibly get, and they’re in seemingly endless supply. There are boxes everywhere, and they are all different kinds. Who wouldn’t love something that offers so much variety?
  7. While cats probably aren’t fussed, they are also the most environmentally friendly cat toy/bed/hangout spot that you can get your hands on. Fully recyclable? Surely you get brownie points somewhere for that.

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dogandcatpet·4 days agoText

Frogs make truly amazing pocket pets but keeping them happy, healthy and content requires the right home environment and diet.

Having wriggled their way into our hearts with their huge eyes and goofy grins, frogs are popular and endearing pets. They’ve come a long way from the bullfrog races and practical jokes of nineteenth-century schoolchildren. Now, it is almost easy to produce a comfortable and homelike frog habitat in a terrarium in your own home.

Cleaning the terrarium and feeding the frog are not so easy, but if you choose your frog carefully, your pet can live with you happily for more than twenty-five years.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

Setting up a wonderful habitat for your first frog is easy these days, because the pet supply houses have come up with everything you need:

  • Glass terrarium with canopy (cover) and light. For many kinds of frogs, you’ll be looking for a terrarium that opens in the front and has a secure latch. For some other types of frogs, a tank that opens at the top, and has two sections (one for water and one for land) is the way to go. The two-section tanks can be made from a regular aquarium: fit a piece of glass inside as a divider, and secure with clear aquarium caulking. Sand the top of the divider so that it has no sharp edges, before sliding it in. There are a few pet frogs that are entirely aquatic, and a large fish tank will do nicely for them;
  • Artificial lighting, which should fit into the canopy of the terrarium. Many kinds of frog require some ultraviolet-B (UVB) light, in addition to regular light.
  • Substrate materials: aquarium sand or gravel, mulch-like material, pebbles, or peat moss. The best kind of substrate will depend on the kind of frog you are planning to house. Treefrogs will need mulch and sand, for example;
  • Water dish, if the frog is not entirely aquatic;
  • Plants, rocks, and branches – real and fake – for shelter and climbing;
  • Water filter, if there is more than a dish of water being used;
  • Thermometer and hygrometer (it measures humidity, not needed for entirely-aquatic frogs);
  • Submersible aquarium heater and/or under-tank heating pad (necessary for some frogs, not needed for others);
  • Water pump and fake water fall, or ‘mist maker’ (optional for some species, and vital for others);
  • Housing for the frog’s food;
  • Hidey-huts; and
  • Critter-carrier, for vet visits, quarantines, and a place to put the frogs while you clean the main tank.

EXERCISE

There should be enough room in the terrarium to allow the frogs to jump around, and enough items to climb to keep the little creatures busy. That said, some types of frog will sit like the proverbial lump on a log between feedings. If the terrarium is set up correctly for the species and number of individuals living inside, don’t worry about how much exercise they are getting.

FEEDING

Fresh, clean water needs to be available at all times. The same places that sell terrarium supplies carry an assortment of perfect water dishes and ‘wading pools’ for frogs. Buy at least two, so that a clean one can be in the terrarium while the other one is being washed. A bottle of water conditioner is useful for neutralizing some of the common chemicals in tap water.

Generally speaking, frogs are carnivores (meat-eaters) that eat their food while it is still alive. Crickets, various types of worms, caterpillars, moths, and fly larvae are all standard fare. Some of the larger frogs also eat mice, other frogs, and fish.  For some species of frog, the rule is: “If it is alive and fits in the mouth, it is lunch”. Many pet stores sell worms, crickets, and so on. They can usually also provide the enclosures, substrates, and food for these creatures.

GROOMING

Cleanliness is vital when dealing with frogs. They absorb substances through their skin. For example, if you have lotion on your hands, it could poison your frog. Always, always, always wash your hands before handling your frog, and have an extra rinse after you think the soap is gone.

For your own sake, wash your hands after handling your frog, and after cleaning the terrarium, too.

Your frog will slough (shed) skin from time to time. If he seems to be having trouble or if it takes longer than usual, consult your vet.

HOME ENVIRONMENT

Pet frogs spend most or all of their time in their terrarium. The terrarium must be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep it away from the kitchen, because certain of the fumes from cooking can hurt your frog. Likewise, if anyone in your family uses aerosol products (spray paints for hobbies, hair spray, and so on), keep the terrarium away from the areas where these are used. Other than that, frogs can live quite happily in any home.

TRAINING

It isn’t really a good idea to handle frogs much. Handling them is hard on their delicate little bodies. These pets are the kind you watch, rather than the kind you play with. Therefore, training isn’t needed.

REGULATION & LICENSING

Some states might require a license to own a pet frog. Make sure to check the laws and regulations before you decide what kind of frog is legal to own in your area.

If you considering a move interstate in the future be sure to check the license restrictions for keeping frogs in your destination state. The classification systems vary significantly between jurisdictions and a frog that is legal in your home state may not be legal or require a very different license type in another state. The last thing you want is to have to say goodbye to ‘Frogger’ because you are no longer able to keep him.

WHERE TO NEXT?

Now that you’ve decided that a frog is the right pet for your family, what is the next step? Go to the licence site that was mentioned above, and check out the requirements. Then read about the kinds of frogs that are legal with a beginner’s licence. Choose a variety of frog, start setting up an enclosure, and track down a local vet who treats frogs.

Get ready to bring a frog into your family.

The post Frog Care Guide appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·5 days agoText

Vaccination is a routine part of preventative health care for all dogs, but it can be confusing. There are a number of vaccinations available for dogs and a range of vaccination schedules. Learn which vaccines your dog needs and how often.

Your dog’s immune system is an amazing thing. It is designed to keep him healthy by destroying the bacteria and viruses that can make him ill. It also has a very good memory, and this is why vaccination is so effective.

When your dog is vaccinated, he is injected with the actual organisms that cause disease. These organisms have been killed or modified to make them less infectious. Some vaccines don’t contain any organisms but instead contain structural proteins that have been isolated from them.  Even though the vaccine won’t cause disease, your dog’s immune system will respond to it. Should your dog ever become naturally infected, his body will quickly mount an immune response and is more likely to be able to fight the disease.

Here is a summary of the recommended schedule for vaccines (Note, note all of these vaccines are necessarily required for your dog and a veterinarian should be consulted for what is recommended in your area)

vaccine schedule

CORE AND NON-CORE VACCINES

The vaccines recommended for dogs can be divided into core and non-core vaccines.

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

The core vaccines are those that should be given to all dogs because they protect against serious and potentially fatal diseases that affect animals all around the world. They include:

The DAPP, DHCP, or C3 Vaccine – Different names for the vaccine that includes:

  • Distemper – a viral disease that causes a runny nose, vomiting, and diarrhea, and twitching. It is often fatal and dogs that survive usually have ongoing health issues for the rest of their life.
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis – this too is a viral disease that causes fever, bleeding disorders and liver disease.  It is highly contagious and the virus is able to survive in the environment for months. It can also be shed in the urine of recovered dogs for up to 6 months, which can spread the disease throughout a neighborhood.
  • Canine Parvovirus – Commonly known as parvo, this virus causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and death in dogs of all ages. The organism is very difficult to kill; it survives freezing and hot temperatures and can remain infectious in the ground for up to 7 months.

Rabies Vaccine:

  • Rabies – This is a fatal disease with 100% mortality.  Worse is that it can be transmitted to humans.  Many states have a legal requirement for the rabies vaccine so it is important to check with your vet to make sure your dog is current.

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs:

Non-core vaccines protect dogs against diseases that may not be life-threatening but still cause illness. They are usually only given to dogs that are at risk of those diseases, either because of their physical location or their lifestyle.

  • Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. These two organisms are responsible for causing kennel cough, a contagious respiratory illness that can last for several weeks. It spreads readily where dogs congregate. If your dog is going to places such as dog parks, obedience clubs or boarding kennels, it’s worth protecting him against it.
  • Leptospirosis. This isn’t a common disease, but when it occurs, it can make a dog very ill with kidney disease. It can occur where there are large numbers of wild rats, and dogs are exposed to rat urine. Dogs that live on sugar cane farms or other places with large rat populations may benefit from being vaccinated for leptospirosis.
  • Lyme. Lyme disease is a disease acquired from ticks.  It is a lifelong disease in many cases and there are places where it is more common than others.  People can also catch Lyme disease from Ticks.  For more information about Lyme disease, check out the CDC Website.

VACCINATION SCHEDULES

How often you vaccinate your dog varies with the type of vaccine and the manufacturer, but there are some general guidelines to follow.

Puppies acquire antibodies to disease from the colostrum, or first milk, so they have some level of immunity from a very young age. However, these antibodies vary in both their level and duration, so you don’t know when your pup is no longer protected by them. If there are high levels of these antibodies in your pup’s bloodstream, they will reduce his response to the vaccine and it won’t be as effective.

To take this into account, pups need to be vaccinated two to three times between 6 and 16 weeks of age.  A booster vaccination is given one year later.

Core vaccines generally only need to be given every 3 years, but non-core vaccines often need a yearly booster to maintain your dog’s protection. This doesn’t mean that you should only take your dog to the vet every 3 years when his shots are due. A yearly health check will catch any medical conditions before they become too serious, and it will give you a chance to chat to your vet about any issues that are concerning you.

VACCINATION SAVES LIVES

Vaccination is important in controlling a number of serious, contagious and potentially fatal diseases of dogs. All dogs should be vaccinated with the core vaccines, 2 to 3 times as a puppy then 3 yearly as an adult. Whether or not your dog should be vaccinated against non-core diseases is something to be discussed between you and your veterinarian.

The post Dog Vaccines: When to get them and which ones you need appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·5 days agoText

Many pet owners are surprised to find that vegetables are an important part of a dog’s diet. Unlike true carnivores that only require meat in their diet, domesticated dogs are omnivorous, which means that they require meat-based and plant-based foods. Dogs can derive many essential nutrients from the vegetables that they eat. 

Most commercial diets are balanced with the right blend of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Depending on your pet’s situation, vitamin supplementation is discouraged because it is possible to over-supplement, especially when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. However, it is okay to offer veggies as a treat for your pup! And if you’re offering vegetables to your dog it’s important to know which veggies are safe and those you should avoid. 

Vegetables that dogs can eat! 

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only a safe treat for your pup, they are also an ingredient in a lot of today’s commercial diets. Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber which promotes a healthy digestive tract. They are also a carbohydrate which helps to fuel the body – the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and heart all benefit from the carbs contained within sweet potatoes. 

Sweet potatoes can be served roasted or steamed, and if they are fed raw, they should be chopped up into smaller pieces to decrease the risk of choking. Dogs who are overweight or have diabetes should avoid them because carbohydrate intake needs to be limited with these conditions

Peas 

Snow peas and sugar snap peas make for great low-calorie treats for dogs. Peas are an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc, which helps regulate thyroid gland function and the immune system. Peas can be served up steamed or even raw but be cautious when giving pea pods to smaller dogs and puppies.  It is best to avoid giving them to dogs with urinary or kidney issues due to their high purine content. Also, avoid giving canned peas due to their high salt content. 

peas for dogs

Brussel sprouts

Another high-fiber vegetable, brussel sprouts also contain vitamin C and magnesium, which is important for muscle function. They can be served boiled or steamed, and if you plan on feeding them raw, make sure to cut them up into smaller pieces to minimize the risk of choking. You should also avoid feeding brussel sprouts that have been cooked in oil or seasoning. Feeding too many brussel sprouts can cause bloating due to gas, so give these very infrequently!  

Zucchini 

While technically a fruit, the nutritional content of zucchini is similar to that of vegetables. They are a crunchy, low-calorie snack that can be served raw in small pieces or slices. Zucchini can also be steamed which makes it easier for small breed dogs and puppies to eat. Be sure to avoid seasonings!    

Carrots 

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetable treats for dogs. They contain a compound called beta-carotene which is used in the production of vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for a well-functioning immune system and for vision. Without vitamin A, dogs (and humans) can suffer from night blindness. 

Carrots can be served steamed or boiled, and raw carrots make for a nice crunchy snack that can also help minimize plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth. Small dogs should only have raw carrots that are one to two inches in length to minimize the risk of choking.  

Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of fiber and vitamin C which promotes a healthy immune system. However, too much broccoli (more than 10% of their daily food allotment) may cause irritation to the lining of the stomach and the esophagus. Raw broccoli is a nice crunch treat but should be given in smaller pieces, and cooked broccoli can be tolerated by many dogs. 

dog with Broccoli

Kale and spinach

Spinach and kale are dark, leafy greens which have earned the moniker of “superfood” because they are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on this list. They are a great source of vitamins A and K plus iron and calcium. Iron is essential for red blood cells so that they can carry oxygen to the entire body, and calcium is important for bone health. 

Kale and spinach can be served raw or steamed, whole or cut up into smaller pieces. Avoid any seasonings and oils. You might avoid giving these to your dog if he has bladder stones or other urinary issues because too much calcium in the diet can be problematic

Green beans 

Green beans are another high-fiber and low-calorie treat for dogs. Green beans are even considered safe to give to dogs with diabetes, though you should always have a conversation with your veterinarian if you would like to start giving them to your diabetic dog. Green beans can be served steamed, boiled, raw, and chopped. Avoid giving canned green beans for the same reason as canned peas.  

Pumpkin 

Like zucchini, pumpkin is technically a fruit because it is the flowering part of the plant, but from a nutritional standpoint, it is a vegetable. Pumpkin has a very high fiber content which makes it useful for dogs with diarrhea or constipation. For the former, it can bulk stools, and for the latter, it can make it easier for stools to pass. Pumpkin also contains pepita oil which contains omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Cooked or canned pumpkin are safe to give your pup. Avoid pie-filling varieties which are very high in sugar content. Also avoid giving your dog pumpkin seeds. 

dog with pumpkin

Vegetables that are bad for dogs 

Garlic and onions

Members of the Allium family include onions, garlic, shallots, and chives. These are very toxic for dogs because they cause red blood cells to break apart, resulting in life-threatening anemia. 

Asparagus

Even when cooked or steamed, asparagus can be very hard to chew and could become a choking hazard for your pup. It is best to go with other green vegetables instead.  

Mushrooms

There are thousands of species of mushrooms, and the majority of them are toxic to dogs. They can cause gastrointestinal upset and severe neurologic symptoms. Mushrooms purchased from the grocery store are generally safe, but since there are so many other safe veggie options, it is best to avoid these.

Vegetables are a treat, not the main course

There are lots of different vegetables that are safe for your dog to snack upon! 

Always remember that vegetables are treat for dogs and should only make up about 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. If you’re not sure if a treat is safe for your pup, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about it first.

The post Do Dogs Need Vegetables? appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·5 days agoText

Do you know the chinchilla has the softest fur on earth?

This is just one of the reasons these small mammals make such appealing pets, alongside their friendly nature and cute, squirrel-like good looks.

Indeed, the chinchilla is a fascinating creature and one that’s definitely worth getting to know. If you’re looking for a sociable pet that’s a little bit different then a chinchilla may well be right for you.

However, right at the start you should know these cuties can live up to 20 years, so before falling head over heels for these fluff-balls, be sure you can commit to a life-time of care.

Fascinating Facts about Chinchillas

Chinchillas are similar to rabbits in that they are most active at dawn and dusk, and their teeth grow throughout their life. But in the wild, chinchillas hail from dry, cool environment of the South American Andes Mountains. This means they have evolved to cope with low temperatures and find heat difficult to deal with.

Here are some home truths about chinchillas it’s as well to be aware of:

  • Chinchilla fur is kept clean with dust baths. Water and chinchilla fur is not a good mix
  • If a chinchilla feels threatened they may shed or ‘slip’ their fur in large patches in order to escape
  • Chinchillas are sociable creatures and best kept in pairs to avoid loneliness
  • Chinchillas can have babies from just 8 weeks old, so best keep those boys and girls apart from a young age.
  • Like other rodents, chinchilla teeth are open-rooted and grow all the time.

Intrigued by chinchillas? Let’s find out more about how to care for them.

Setting Up a Chinchilla Home

Think of a chinchilla as a ground-dwelling squirrel and you begin to appreciate why they need plenty of space. You’ll need to provide roomy living quarters that allow the chinchillas to run, scamper, and climb.

For a pair of pet chinchillas (remember, a lone chinchilla is a lonely chinchilla) the minimum chinchilla cage size is:

  • Floor space of 1 m x 1.5 m
  • Minimum height of 1.3 m
  • Shelves at multiple levels

Essential cage furniture includes:

  • A dust bath
  • Enclosed beds with comfortable bedding
  • One snuggly bed that can accommodate both chinchillas together

PLUS

  • Separate beds for each chinchilla for when they need “Me” time
  • A heavy ceramic food bowl or dish that is hard to tip over
  • A sipper water bottle
  • A chinchilla marble. This is a slab of marble that can be popped in the fridge and then in the cage to provide a cool surface in hot weather
  • Toys
  • Branches to chew on
  • Deep bedding material, such as shredded paper, to cover the floor

Bear in mind that chinchillas are chewing machines, so the cage needs to be made of metal and have a wire bottom or solid bottom to avoid escapees. You should place the cage in a draft-free spot, since chinchillas easily catch chills.

Chinchillas are clean creatures but be sure to spot clean the cage every day, and remove and refresh bedding once a week.

Healthy Eating for Chinchillas

In their native South America, chinchillas dine off grass, tree bark, and low growing greenery. This provides a high fiber diet, rich in calcium, which makes for healthy teeth and bones.

Chinchilla eating

To mimic this, provide good quality green (Timothy) hay for the chinchilla to snack on 24/7 as the mood takes them. In addition you can give snacks of fresh fruit and veg; but give these in moderation as the high moisture content can cause diarrhea, bloating, or colic.

Providing a moderate amount of chinchilla pellets is also a good idea, for a balanced diet. However, avoid the ‘muesli-mix’ foods as the chinchilla is likely to pick out the tasty parts and leave the wholesome stuff behind, which leads to a poor diet (just like us snacking on biscuits whilst leaving the wholemeal bread).

Instead, opt for extruded or pelleted chinchilla diets, where each nugget looks identical. This prevents selective eating and promotes a healthier diet.

Talking of healthy, be careful with high fat or high sugar treats, such as sunflower seeds or dried fruit. Yes, the chinchilla will love to eat them, but they are the equivalent of candy or chocolate and will lead to obesity and bad teeth, so feed only in moderation.

Chinchilla Coat Care

That super-soft fur doesn’t like water. Instead of bathing a chinchilla in water, you should provide a chinchilla dust bathe in order to keep the coat in prime condition.

Chinchilla in person's hands

Chose a tray or bath that is large and deep enough for the chinchilla to have a satisfying roll in. Fill it to a depth of about 10 cm with special, fine grade chinchilla sand. Pop the tray in once a day for around 20 minutes. This allows the chinchillas some grooming time, but leave the bath in longer and it will become soiled and they’ll refuse to use it.

Once a week, tip out the old sand, clean the tray, and refresh with new sand, in order to keep the chinchillas bathroom facilities hygienically clean.

Chinchilla Health Care

Chinchillas are sensitive and can become sick as a result of drafts, heat, stress, or poor diet. Here’s what to watch for:

Heat Stress

The sweet spot for chinchillas is a temperature range 15 – 25 Celsius. Above this and they may experience heat stress or heat stroke. Signs include red ears, lack of movement, shaking, and salivation.

In hot weather, provide a fan and/or chilled marble slab. Also, keep the cage in an air conditioned space.

Sore Heels

Lacking of bedding can lead to sores and ulcers on the chinchilla’s heels. These can become infected and be a real problem to sort out.

Prevent this happening by providing deep bedding to cushion the chinchilla’s feet from the floor

Overgrown Teeth

A poor diet and lack of opportunity to chew leads to overgrown teeth and dental abscesses. Signs of this include teeth grinding, poor appetite, a wet chin, and weight loss.

If you suspect dental disease, take your chinchilla to an exotics vet. They may need an anesthetic in order to x-ray the jaw for root abscesses and file down the teeth. Prevention is better than cure, which means providing a hay rich diet for its ideal blend of fiber and calcium.

Respiratory Infections

Chinchillas have a delicate respiratory tract and irritation from ammonia (from urine) can quickly lead to a chest infection. Signs include rapid shallow breathing, poor appetite, or a runny nose. See a vet immediately.

Again, prevention is preferable with regular spot cleaning of the cage to avoid ammonia buildup.

Fur Chewing

A stressed, bored, or anxious chinchilla may pull out their own fur. This is often a sign the chinchilla is unhappy in some way. Take a long hard look at the chinchillas living conditions, diet, and opportunities to play and socialize in order to correct any problems that are triggering stress.

Also, get the chinchilla checked by a vet for parasites or pain, since these can also cause coat condition to fail.

 And Finally…

With the right care and attention, chinchillas make delightful pets. Just be sure to give the chinchilla plenty of love and play, including time outside of the cage each day. When you do things right, you will share many years of pleasure with your chinchillas.

The post Chinchilla Care Guide appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·6 days agoText

An average of somewhere around 1 to 2 hours per day of exercise is right for the majority of dogs. But variables such as breed, age, and overall health make it necessary to tailor an exercise program to your dog’s specific needs.

Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you. Ensuring your dog gets the right kinds of exercise will go a long way to keeping your dog in top shape.

It’s often said that dogs are a lot like people. That’s absolutely true – in more ways than one. A sedentary lifestyle is bad for people, and it’s bad for dogs too. Exercise can ward away illness and disease and keep your dog looking and feeling great. In fact, exercising your dog is so important that some animal welfare organizations have proposed laws requiring dog owners exercise their dogs on a daily basis. If you’d like to include your dog in your exercise routine, read our tips before starting a routine.

And just as there are proper and improper ways for you to exercise – the same is true for your dog. Planning a proper exercise program for your dog will help to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your pet.

Walking

Walking is one of the healthiest and most effective forms of exercise, both for humans and canines. It’s also easy, enjoyable, and requires no special equipment.

And you’ll benefit just as much as your dog. In fact, you can consider dog walking to be one of the great perks of dog ownership. In 2008 the Health Promotion Journal of Australia reported that dog-owning families had only half the risk of childhood obesity compared to families without dogs. And researchers at the University of Western Australia have found that 70% of dog owners get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week, while only 40% of non-owners get an equivalent amount of exercise.

To get the best benefits of a walking program for both human and pet, plan on at least 30 minutes per day of walking. And try to make it a daily routine. If you walk at the same time every day, your dog will come to expect it. If you get lazy and try to slack off, your furry friend will give you a nudge!

Swimming

Dogs are natural swimmers; every dog is born with the instinctive ability to swim. But that doesn’t mean that your dog will like to swim. Some dogs are wary of water, while others (particularly of certain breeds) are drawn to the water.

If your dog likes to swim, be glad – it’s a great form of exercise. Swimming offers great aerobic conditioning, but without the impact stress of running. The low-impact exercise of swimming can be particularly beneficial for elderly dogs that may be suffering from arthritic joints.

Be careful, though, of where your dog swims. Lakes or ponds that exhibit lots of algae growth or dead fish floating on the surface may contain bacteria that could be harmful to your dog (and to you). And if your dog swims in a chlorinated pool, there’s a chance that the chlorine will irritate its skin. A quick rinse-off with a hose after swimming will eliminate that concern.

Interactive Activities

While the same can’t be said of people, for most dogs any type of exercise is fun. But if the exercise involves the dog’s best buddy (that would be you), the exercise is extra-special.

Activities like fetching a ball or Frisbee offer the benefits of great fun AND great exercise for your dog. These activities also offer great bonding opportunities, and can be just as an enjoyable experience for you.

Not Too Little, Not Too Much

Just like people, dogs can get too much of a good thing. But too little exercise is a bad thing. How do you know if you’re hitting the sweet spot with your dog’s exercise program? Watch for these indicators that your dog is getting too much or too little exercise.

Too Little

  • A pudgy pooch
  • Hyperactivity, including
  • Improper elimination can be related to lack of exercise

Too Much

  • Your dog starts to lag during exercise, or suddenly stops to lie down
  • Excessive panting, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Visible signs of distress or agitation
  • Signs of lameness

Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs, for example, are far less tolerant of aerobic exercise (running, swimming, walking) than long-snouted breeds like retrievers and collies.

And just as the exercise needs of an 80-year-old human vastly differ from the needs of an 18-year-old, so too does the age of a dog affect its exercise needs. In general, an adult dog needs and tolerates more exercise than an elderly dog or a young pup.

Keep in mind that temporary factors such as a day’s heat and humidity can also impact the amount of exercise your dog can tolerate.

It’s Mostly Common Sense

Your dog is a unique individual, just as you are. So it’s important that you tailor an exercise program that’s suited specifically for your dog. Take into account your dog’s condition, too, when beginning an exercise program. If your dog is overweight or out of shape, it’s important to start slow and ease into the program gradually. It’s all about common sense.

Just Do It!

When it comes to exercising your dog it helps to remember the old Nike adage: ‘Just do it!’ A happy and healthy lifestyle awaits both you and your canine companion.

The post How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Everyday? appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·6 days agoText

For dog owners diarrhea can be a relatively frequent occurrence and knowing when to worry, when to treat at home and what to look for can be important. We run through what you need to know.

For many diseases diarrhea may be the only warning sign and some early intervention can save your pet discomfort and save you from a complete smelly mess. In these cases early treatment can actually save you money. On the other hand, rushing your pet to the vet every time you see some soft faeces is not practical or necessary.

The types of diarrhea that do need a visit to the vet

  • Diarrhea that is very watery that has been going on more than 48 hours (can lead to dehydration).
  • Diarrhea with vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Abdominal pain -sitting in the praying position with abdomen stretched out, panting excessively, vocalising when touched or pacing.
  • Bloated or obviously distended abdomen.
  • Black faeces – can indicate digested blood.
  • Large amounts of fresh blood (a small amount just once is okay).

When not to worry

If your dog is bright and happy, the diarrhea has been going on for less than 48 hours and none of the above has occurred, you probably don’t need to worry…yet. It is quite likely your dog has just eaten something that has upset his gastrointestinal tract, whether it be a rich food, something fatty or perhaps something a bit stinky at the park.

What to do at home

  1. Avoid giving any human medications to your pet without veterinary advice. Many medications have a different effect on dogs compared to humans, so it is best to err on the side of caution. For dogs that are well (and not very old or very young), the best thing you can do is fast your dog for 24 hours. Do not feed anything at all, just water. If your dog is vomiting, is old and debilitated or is a young toy breed, perhaps ask for veterinary advice first before doing the fast.
  2. After the 24 hour fast, hopefully your dog has stopped defecating quite so much and things are settling down. At this point it is likely the intestines need some recovery time. Feeding a bland diet of cooked lean chicken and white rice in a 50:50 ratio is easy to digest and gentle. Feed this for 5 days, then gradually introduce your dog’s normal food over a further 7 days. Sudden diet changes are usually not great for dogs. Your dog may also need some probiotics to repopulate the gut flora appropriately. Avoid the use of yoghurt in pets, as the ‘good’ bacteria would not survive the trip from the stomach anyway. You are better off with a proper dog formulation such as fortiflora.

Chronic diarrhea

If your dog has intermittent diarrhea that has been going on for weeks, not just days, visit your vet. For the price of a consultation fee, they can provide some advice on what to feed and advise you as to whether any further tests are required, or if money is short often a treatment trial is recommended.

Bringing in a relatively fresh faecal sample is also a great idea and at least saves you having to describe what the diarrhea looks like. Your vet will also want to know how frequently your pet is defecating, whether there is blood or mucus, whether there is straining and what you feed your dog.

Your pet may have a simple food intolerance or allergy, in which case the bland diet may work or a low allergen food (like Hills Z/D or Royal Canin Hypoallergenic). There may of course be something more serious going on, like a pancreatic problem or infection, so the sooner you get a diagnosis the happier everyone will be.

Wash your hands

Remember that some of the causes of diarrhea like coccidia, giardia and E.coli are infectious to humans to. Make sure you wash your hands after cleaning up any messes, after handling your dog and before eating. Any surfaces can be cleaned with a 20% bleach solution and for carpets, using an enzymatic cleaner is more effective for biological smells and stains.

The above discussion about diarrhea is intended to help you decide whether your pet needs immediate veterinary attention and is not a substitute for a proper medical consultation. If your pet is lethargic or unwell, please ring your vet for advice, or ring one of the after-hours emergency centres in your area.

The post Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·7 days agoText

If your holiday travel includes bringing your furry family, you might want to invest in a little extra preparation and planning to make the trip smoother for both you and your pets.  Each method of transportation presents with different obstacles, but careful planning can help you negotiate those obstacles with cookie cutter precision and reindeer fast speed.

First of all, no matter how you plan on getting to your destination, the most important initial step is making sure your pup or kitty is properly and even overly identified.  This means microchipped, collared and tagged and even travel tagged with your destination address and phone number.  Make sure the collar is adjusted properly, so not too loose and also not too tight.  Double check that your critter’s microchip is still readable and correctly positioned.  This can be performed by most veterinary offices or animal shelters.

Show your veterinarian a little Christmas cheer by getting your pet in for a wellness check that includes vaccinations if necessary.  This is an important step especially if you are traveling by air or crossing state or country lines.  Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with any relevant paperwork for these occasions.  It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel.  If you think traveling is stressful, just imagine what it can be like for your little pals.  We all know that stress can trigger illness, so making sure your pooch or cat don’t have any underlying health concerns before dumping on the stress will make everyone’s sleigh bells ring.

Hitting That Wide Open Road

If your furry friends are taking the backseat on a road trip this winter, it’s going to take more than just loading them up and taking off.  Make sure they have a safe and comfortable area free from loose luggage, holiday treats, presents, etc.  These not only possess an ingestion risk but also can topple over on them when taking those curves.

If your pet is an inexperienced passenger, a well-ventilated crate would be the best answer.  This prevents Rover or Fluffy from roaming where they shouldn’t be (the driver’s seat) and also protects them from falling objects.  Some more anxious animals may be more comfortable in a crate, especially if it contains their normal bedding and toys.  Help ease them into traveling by taking them on several short trips in the months and weeks leading up to your vacation so that they can get their ‘car legs’ underneath them.

More experienced canine riders may prefer a pet seat belt rather than crate.  This will provide them with a better vantage point of the winter wonderland and may make them a more jolly passenger.  Again, if your pet is new to the seatbelt, a few practice runs earlier in the season will make using it easier for you and him. We have also prepared a guide on how to select the right dog restraint.

Pets can also travel safely in SUVs or hatchbacks by using a pet gate that keeps them confined to the back of the car.  The pet gate needs to go from the floor of the car all the way to the ceiling to properly corral them.  If this is your preferred method, don’t stack any luggage back there with them as things can shift during transport.

Whatever your method, it is best to never leave your pet free to roam in your car, no matter how experienced they are.  With longer trips and winter driving conditions sometimes being unpredictable, a loose pet can cause unwanted disturbances as you go on your merry way.

Also, pack an emergency kit for your pet, just as you would yourself.  This should include food, water, and extra blankets for bedding or warmth.  That way if your trip ends up taking longer than expected or you encounter car or weather troubles, your critter will be safe and cared for.

Taking to the Skies

If air travel is on your list this holiday season, nothing can be more helpful than speaking with your airline prior to the trip.  They will identify the exact paperwork and crate specifications your little buddy will need to quickly clear that holiday security line.

If your pup or kitty is riding in the cabin with you, make sure he is confined in a safe and proper crate or carrier.  You don’t want to be chasing as escapee through a crowded airport.  Also, make sure your crate has proper and easily viewable identification on it in case it somehow gets separated from you.  Keep your pup on a leash whenever he’s out of the crate, which should only be for potty breaks.

If your pet is too large to fit in the cabin, please consider leaving them at home.  In most areas of the country, it is too cold to have pets in the cargo area and most airlines won’t accept them.  If leaving them home is absolutely not an option for you, make sure you have a proper crate that is large enough for your critter to turn around in and sturdy enough to protect him from other luggage.  Provide him with absorbent, warm bedding.  You can also provide water by freezing some in a dish.  This helps prevent spillage and your animal might enjoy the entertainment of licking the ice cube.  Over-identify your crate with your personal information as well as your destination’s information.  You should also mark ‘Live Animal’ on there so airport personnel know to handle with care.

Pet Hotel versus Traveling

Finally, if you are traveling but leaving your furry family at home, there are a few things you can do to make this transition easier.

If your pet is going to a boarding facility, make sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations.  This will help prevent contagious illnesses they may come in contact with.  If your pet is new to this type of vacation, consider boarding him for short stays prior to the main event to get him more comfortable.  It’s a good idea for you to check out the situation beforehand as well.  This will help you make the choice between a stand-alone boarding facility, veterinary clinic, or someone’s in-home facility.

If boarding doesn’t seem to be your cup of hot chocolate, you can always have someone come into your home.  This let’s Rover and Fluffy maintain their at-home comforts while still being cared for on a daily basis.  Make sure you find someone you trust and that comes well referenced.  Again, a trial run prior to the trip is never a bad or naughty idea.

Make the most wonderful time of the year even more wonderful and stress-free with careful planning.  If you are traveling with your beloved pet this year, it is especially important to plan to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely and joyfully.  Planning ahead means visiting your veterinarian and knowing the paperwork guidelines for clearing airline security.  It also means practicing to make sure your pet can make the trip as comfortably and merrily as possible.

The post Pet Travel Safety appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·7 days agoText

Servings:

Makes approximately 20 balls

Description:

Many dogs have food intolerances and allergies to chicken, so turkey is an excellent option for these pets. Sweet potato has long been regarded as a superfood and in particular provides high levels of vitamin A, great for night vision. Sweet potato also has a low glycaemic index and adds a slightly sweet flavour to food. These balls are ideal as an accompaniment to your dog’s regular diet. On their own they are not a complete balanced food, but they provide the recommended ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Serve up 3-5 balls with your dog’s regular food for some tasty variety. You can also experiment with other meats and vegetables.

Ingredients:

500g lean turkey mince

1 egg

1 medium sweet potato

250g frozen peas, thawed

1 Tbsp olive oil

 Equipment:

Steamer, baking tray and oven

 Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel and slice sweet potato into 1cm rounds and steam for 7 minutes.
  3. Mash the sweet potato, then mix in remaining ingredients.
  4. Roll mixture into small balls, a little smaller than golf balls.
  5. Place balls onto a baking tray, sprayed with non-stick oil.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Freeze in small portions and reheat until steamy. Allow to cool before serving.

The post Dog Food Recipes: Turkey, Sweet Potato and Pea Balls Diet appeared first on VetBabble.





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dogandcatpet·8 days agoText

Things to Know Before Going on Your Trip

  • Is the campsite pet friendly? This is especially important for campsites located within national parks as you can face significant fines for taking your dog with you.
  • Is your dog up to date with vaccinations? While there may not be other pet dogs at the campsite, many areas are accessible to feral dogs, and they may carry unwanted diseases. So it’s important to ensure that your pooch’s immunity is high!
  • Has your dog had their flea, tick and worming treatment? When camping out in the bush, you’re sharing your space with wildlife, who are the natural hosts of many ticks.
  • Do you know where the closest vet and emergency vet are? Just in case – hopefully you won’t need this!
  • Are your pet’s microchip details up to date? This can be checked at your local vet, and will help ensure that if your dog gets lost, they can easily find their way back to you.
  • What is the weather going to be like? If you are likely to see extreme cold or heat during your trip it may be better to forgo taking your furry friend along with you.

Packing Checklist

  • Lead and collar (with identification tags). A strong durable lead is a necessity for camping as you will need your dog to be on lead most of the time, and you need a lead that won’t break if your dog were to try to chase after something, e.g. a rabbit or possum. A multifunction dog leadis perfect for camping as you can adjust from long to short lead and hands free walking (for well behaved dogs)!
  • A long lead and stake or a portable fenced pen, so you can contain your dog
  • Food and water bowls
  • Food and clean water. Taking bottles of water for your dog is also advisable so they can rehydrate as you travel/explore.
  • Bed and blankets. A trampoline bed to get them off the cold ground is ideal.
  • Poo bags, loooots of poo bags!
  • Towels
  • Treats and toys
  • Doggie sunscreen, especially for white dogs or dogs with thin fur around their bellies and nose
  • Warm coats. Believe it or not, but not all dogs are bred to withstand a cold night.
  • Booties. While you may feel a bit weird putting boots on your dogs, this is an excellent way to protect their feet from burning hot sand and ants!
  • Glow sticks. This may sound unusual, but if you do not have a dog collar that lights up at night, attaching glow sticks is a great way to keep an eye on their location at night (especially if they somehow get off lead).

Basic first-aid supplies

  • Wound-Gard or analogue – an antiseptic spray that helps prevent infection and discourages licking
  • Tick twister, for those nasty parasites. Make sure you know what to do if you see a tick on your dog.
  • Pressure bandage
  • Salty water, to clean any wounds
  • Any medications your pet is on. If your pet has a medical condition and you are worried about taking them camping your vet is only a phone call away!
  • A sickness kit. Include baby wipes, plastic bags, paper towels and air freshener. Many dogs can suffer from car sickness on long car trips, with these amazingly simple tools you will be prepared.
  • Sock and masking tape, to put over a leg/paw if they get injured to stop them licking their wound on the way to the vet
  • Some moisturizing balm, to protect their paw pads in dry and cold weather
  • Ear and eye cleaner

Options for Camping During the Day

Most campers do spend some time relaxing at the campsite, and ideally you don’t always want to be attached to the lead! A long lead and stake is a great and simple way to anchor your dog at the campsite and allows them to explore their surroundings.

If you have multiple dogs it’s best to space them out so your relaxation time doesn’t become untangle-the-dog time! Alternatively you can take along a portable fenced pen, just make sure your dogs aren’t likely to escape from it. A sheet or fly-mesh can be used to make a breathable cover for your fenced pen, providing both shade and a deterrent for escaping.

If you choose to keep your dog contained while at the campsite, it is important to ensure they always have access to shade, somewhere to toilet, bedding and water.

Safety tip: tents, like cars, can get very hot very quickly no matter what season it is so you should NEVER leave your dog unattended in a tent. If you cannot guarantee that you can take your dog everywhere with you then it is best to organise a pet sitter or boarding.

Options for Camping at Night

The easiest, and generally the option that provides most peace of mind for campers, is to let the dog sleep in the tent at night. This also allows you to take advantage of their body heat for warmth! Simply put their bedding in the tent next to your sleeping bag and snuggle up.

If you would prefer that your dog is outside, taking along a collapsible crate would provide the safest option for your pet. Place it in a secure area that’s preferably shielded from the elements (if you have a tent with a front section this would be a great place). Ideally you want to avoid keeping your dog tied up at night as dogs can easily tangle themselves, and there is a higher risk that they could escape when they see a possum or other nighttime creatures roaming about.

Wherever you choose for your dog to sleep it is important that they are warm during the night.  A trampoline bed within the crate will allow your dog to be up off the cold ground and extra blankets are always helpful. For dogs which do not have a heavy coat you may want to take a jacket for to sleep in. If it’s going to be super cold at night, inside the tent is the ideal place for them to be, and if not you may want to consider relocating to dog friendly accommodation or cutting your holiday short.

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