Tag: bunnies

Growing Pains – How To Raise A Happy Pet

Growing with your pet can be an amazing experience. Kittens, puppies, baby bunnies – whatever your style watching them grow and learn is a real treat! On occasion though, two different species coming together, each trying to learn about the other so they can co-habitat in harmony, can cause a few growing pains. So what can you expect to struggle with from your new young pet? Check out our list of common growing pains!

What Traits Do You Need To Help Your Growing Pet?

Patience – No matter what kind of pet you’re raising up for a companion the key virtue you need to have is patience! Growing pets need thoughtful discipline and the only way to achieve thoughtful (as opposed to “in the moment” discipline is to understand that your pet has no way of understanding the concept of how much that shoe they just ruined cost, or what a big deal it is to stain the carpet. They have to learn that there are unacceptable behaviors, but one thing they DON’T need to learn is to fear you.

Growing kittens need patience!

Consistency – While training a growing pet it is of the highest importance that you are consistent. This applies to both disciplining them consistently for wrong behavior, rewarding good behavior, and being on a regular schedule. It can be hard to train a puppy to do their business outside when you leave for random long periods of time and know one is there to tend to them. When you get a new pet, it’s important that your life is stable so they learn your routine. If you can’t be there to attend to you growing pets needs, make sure you can higher a pet sitter or have a willing friend who can.

The Value of Distraction – While with some pets implementing a regular, consistent discipline is ideal, other pets don’t respond to that well at all. Rabbits are one of those pets that you just can’t discipline. Due to their nature as a prey animal instead of a predator (like most other pets) they are much more sensitive. They don’t perceive punishment as “discipline” but rather as “danger”, and they will learn to avoid you as a threat. With rabbits, your best method of approach is to distract them from their bad behavior. If they are nosing around where they aren’t supposed to be, lure them with a treat somewhere else! provide them with plenty of toys and areas to act out their natural instincts.

Understand your pets nature – Puppies and bunnies have an urge to chew, kitties need to scratch things. These are simple facts of having a pet. Don’t set your pet up for failure by leaving expensive shoes or electronics around for little teeth. Limit your pets roaming area, keep them under careful watch, and make sure that you have provided them with an environment free from as many bad temptations as possible. Make sure your new pet has toys and areas to act out their instincts, free from admonishment. Remember, you’re supposed to be the higher intellect.

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Tick Diseases In Your Pet – How To Spot Them

With the first day of summer just over a month away, in some parts of the country tick season is well underway. Spring is an especially vulnerable time for pets as pet owners who let flea and tick prevention lapse over the winter may fail to pick it back up again in time to prevent those first few tick bites of the season. Aside from being an irritant to you and your pet, ticks carry all sorts of deadly diseases that are easily transmitted to you or your pet. Do you know what the diseases are and how to spot the symptoms in your pets?

Identify Ticks here:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ticks/article_em.htm

Common Tick Diseases and their Symptoms

  • Lyme Disease- A particularly deadly tick disease that may be hard to spot in pets until well after they have been infected. The main symptom is a general malaise in your pet. Fatigue, loss of appetite, and lameness in one or more legs are all earmarks of this very serious sickness. If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms and you have any reason to believe they may have suffered a tick bite within the last few months, be sure to as your vet to test them.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever (RMSF) – This sickness is typically carried by what is commonly known as the “dog tick” and can result in pretty severe sickness for at least a couple weeks, sometimes resulting in death. Don’t let the name of this disease fool you either while it is more frequent in the Rocky Mountain states, it has been found country-wide. Symptoms in pets for this tick disease include stiffness and/or difficulty walking due to neurological effects, blood in the urine or nose bleeds, swelling of the limbs, and lethargy. This sickness usually results in pet hospitalization and treatment.
  • Anaplasmosis – This disease comes from the same ticks that transmit Lyme Disease. There are actually two different variations of anaplasmosis with similar symptoms. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, nose bleeds, and high fever. If your pet tests positive for this tick disease, it can be treated with antibiotics and your pet should start improving in 2-4 days!
  • Ehrlichiosis – This tick disease can vary in severity, affecting your pet’s quality of life for a few weeks, months, or even years. In very severe cases, pets may require blood transfusions. Symptoms include weight loss, pain in joints, depression, coughing, vomiting, and fever.

What better reason do you need to stay on top of your pets flea and tick prevention this year? Ticks don’t limit themselves to dogs or cats either. Any pet that spends time outside should be treated regularly. Be sure to use treatment specific to your pet though. What works for dogs can be very dangerous for rabbits or ferrets!

Some tick-borne illness can affect humans too so keeping your pet tick free ensures the health of the whole family! Remember, if your pet is acting out of the ordinary always be sure to have your vet consider these tick borne illnesses before the disease is allowed to progress into something very, very serious!

Superstitions and Your Pet

Animals have played a big role throughout human civilization, so it’s no wonder we have so many superstitions surrounding pets! While a lot of superstitions may seem crazy, there are actually practical reasons for others. Check out our list below to find out what sort of old-world beliefs may have affected your pets life!

Pet Superstitions

  • The Black Cat – A black cat is probably one of the more widely know superstitions. A black cat crossing your path is a foreboding omen of bad luck to come. Black cats aren’t always a bad sign though! In England if a black cat crosses your path on your wedding day, it’s a sign of a lasting union. Keeping a black cat on board a ship was seen as good luck. Maybe because it kept the rat population down…
  • Looking For Rain? – Keep an eye out for dogs eating grass or rolling in the dust! A sure omen for rain.

  • Don’t Say Pig At Sea – Due to their cloven feet sailors believe that pigs are cohorts of the Devil. They believe that even uttering the animal’s name on board a ship is bad luck!
  • The Dog Test Of Character – Dogs are said to have the supernatural ability to smell out people that are up to no good. Superstition holds that if a dog growls or is constantly uneasy around someone, they are a person of bad character.
  • Dog Licks For Good Luck – The Romans and Greeks held superstitions that dog saliva had the ability to heal wounds. It’s also not uncommon to hear about the belief that if a dog licks a newborn baby, it will be a quick healer!
  • Grey Horses For The Wedding Day – Seeing a grey horse on the wedding day means the bride and groom will have good luck!
  • Just Talking About Rabbits Is Lucky – In Britain an old superstition holds that before going to bed on the last day of the last month, one should say “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”. Upon waking the next morning and the first of a new month say, “hare, hare, hare” and you’ve just secured yourself a month of good fortune!
  • Good Luck Spider – Contrary to most all humans instincts, spiders are always good luck!
  • Toads for Burglars – Old thieve’s superstitions hold that carrying a toad in your pocket will keep you from getting caught. Maybe moving gently to keep from squashing the toad makes you stealthy?
  • Dogs and the Afterlife – Many old cultures believe that dogs help guide humans to the afterlife, taking them on the path to heaven. Killing a dog would mean there would be no path to heaven.
  • Cats And Cradles – There are two dominant superstitions here. The most common holds that if a cat gets into a cradle it will steal the babies breath. In Russia, however, keeping a cat in the cradle helps to scare off evil spirits!

Are animals superstitious too? Check out this to see how pets develop their weird behaviors – and it may be your fault!

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April Is National Pet Month – Celebrate With Us!

April is National Pet Month! You may be asking yourself, “What does that mean exactly?” Well it’s not just a month for pet pampering, but also for raising awareness about pet related issues! April is the month to be reminded of all the amazing ways pets impact our lives and how we can make theirs better. Below are some ways you can participate in the National Pet Month. Do you have your own April ritual to celebrate pets? Share it with us!

April Pet Awareness!

  • Support pet adoptions – Do your best to raise awareness for pet adoptions and provide loving homes to many abandoned and abused animals looking for a “forever home”. Can’t adopt one yourself? Many shelters struggle to make ends meet under growing population of homeless animals. April donations of food, treats, toys, and medicine can mean a lot toward ensuring that these pets get the best care when they are in the worst sit
  • Volunteer! – April 12-18 is also National Volunteer Week. Ask your local pet shelter if they could use some extra help with Spring cleaning or other duties! Sometimes the regular staff could use a little extra help or some much deserved time off.
  • Support pet responsibility – Help prevent overpopulated shelters by being an advocate for spay and neuter! Go one step further by raising awareness about the cost and responsibility associated with pet ownership. Informed people are less likely to get in over their heads with a pet and more likely to understand their pets unique needs!
  • Pay tribute to service animals – There are many charities out there that pay tribute to service animals; animals that were injured in the line of duty, or have reached the age of retirement. Consider donating or volunteering at one of these facilities. Service dogs range from those that help the blind to dogs that accompany firemen or police officers. Their dedication to humanity is something that deserves recognition all year long, not just April!
  • Promote the benefits of pet ownership – pet ownership has many medical and social advantages, even for those who don’t require service dogs! From lowering blood-preassure to helping build responsibility and self-esteem in children, pet ownership has tons of benefits.
  • Pamper your pet! – When you’re overworked it can be easy to get frustrated with the responsibilities associated with taking care of pets. Take this month to reflect on what a positive impact your pet has on your life. Remember not to take them for granted! Give them extra treats, make time to hit the dog park or schedule play dates! If you’re too busy, consider getting a Pet Nanny to spend some extra time with your pet! Remember, you’re their whole world!

Has a pet made an impact on your life? Share it with us on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear your story!

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Neighbors and Pets – How to Keep Harmony

The American poet Robert Frost once said that “good fences make good neighbors”. That has never been more true than when dealing with pets in a residential community. If you’re like most pet owners, your pets are like your children and you take great offense when someone complains about them, or even worse, tries to hurt them. If you have neighbors it’s important that you consider them when it comes to taking care of your pet. A few considerate actions can ensure good relations between you and the folks next door, as well as you and your pet.

Tips To Protect Your Neighbors And Your Pets

  • Fences – No matter what kind of pet you have, if it spends anytime outdoors at all, a good fence is truly going to be your best bet. Fences help to keep your pet contained to your property and neighbor’s pets out. Make sure it’s tall enough to keep your pet from jumping out. Also, if you’ve got a digger like a dog or even a rabbit, be sure to line the inside of your fence with decorative rock’s or bricks – something to keep them from tunneling under easily. Walk the length of your fence occasionally to check for half dug holes or weak points.

  • Lunge Lines – If you can’t build a fence and have an outside dog, your next best option is going to be a lunge line. These attach to your pets collar and allow them to roam freely within a set radius. Remember though, this does not substitute for a walk! Lunge lines get a bad reputation because some people tend to hook a dog up to one and then forget about them. Your pet will need just as much attention and play time out of their “zone” as any other pet. Be sure that the radius is large enough for your pets size and free of obstacles for them to get tangled on. Just like with a fence, make sure they have access to shade at all parts of the day and plenty of food and water.
  • Good Leash – Good leashes make sure you’re in control when taking your pet for a walk. A good leash is strong enough to contain your pet, especially if they are trying to chase another animal. It will also allow you to easily prevent your pet from crossing into yards that it doesn’t belong in. Remember – cats, rabbits, ferrets, and other pets can be leash trained too!
  • Minimize Barking – Probably the number one complaint about neighbors pets has to do with a barking dog. Sometimes owners can grow desensitized to their pets barking. This can be very worrying for a good relationship within your residential community. If your dog is outside all the time make sure they have everything they need to keep comfortable and have stimulus such as chew toys to keep them occupied. Dogs will often bark when they are uncomfortable or bored. If it’s still a problem see about investing in dog silencer. These are high-tech little machines that detect barking and release a tone similar to a dog whistle that discourages the behavior. They can usually be found for under $100 – cheaper than most community noise ordinance tickets…
  • Vacation Planning – If you can’t take your pet with you on vacation, make sure that you have a pet nanny or someone to check on and spend time with your pet daily. Lonely pets can make a lot of ruckus.
  • Cat owners, tame that killer instinct! – We addressed this in one of our previous blogs – it’s very important to make sure that your cat is not wandering into neighbors yards and hunting birds or other wildlife that your neighbors may enjoy. When you’re cat is outside playing try to be out there with it. See other tips here.

If someone in your community approaches you about your pets behavior, do your best to be understanding and accommodating. Remember, these tips are for your neighbors peace of mind, but also for your pets safety and your wallet. Frustrated neighbors may use pellet guns, throw things, or call the police. Even if your neighbor is fine with your pet, they may not be as diligent as you about keeping poisons and hazardous materials out of reach on back porches or in open garages. At the end of the day, you are the one entirely responsible for your pets behavior and how it effects others!

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Spring Threats to your Pets – Beware! – Pet Nanny

The clocks have sprung forward and spring is in the air! With each changing season comes the need to change your routine with your pet. After a hard winter sometimes it can be difficult to remember the dangers and precautions that spring brings. It’s not all about sunshine frolics in the park! Check out our list of spring threats and feel free to chime in with a comment about any of your spring-time precautions!

Spring Threats to your Pets

  • Pet Allergies – Spring brings pollen and pollen means allergies. Some pets can be affected by pollen just as much as their humans. Pets don’t always exhibit pollen allergies with runny eyes and lots of sneezing. Some do so by scratching and biting themselves. Pollen gets embedded in their fur making it a skin irritant. Be sure to brush and wash them regularly. Doing this will also help you get a start on the upcoming shedding…
  • Window Screens – Warm breezes and pretty days mean lots of open windows. Be sure that all the windows you open are fitted with secure screens free of tears. This is important to keep an over-excited dog from jumping through one in pursuit of you, or a lounging cat from rolling out.
  • Flea & Tick Protection – If this is something you let lapse over the colder months, get a head start now by in acting your yearly, vet recommended preventative treatments and procedures. Depending on your area’s spring, these buggers may be out and about before you thing. Don’t wait until it’s a problem!
  • Cleaning Threats – Spring cleaning can pose all sorts of risks for household pets. Remember to keep cleaning supplies out of pets reach! Also, if cleaning out closets or old cupboards, be on the look-out for mouse poison that may be swept out and left in the trash. Spring cleaning also means lots of furniture moving. If your pet’s a chewer, be aware of exposed cords and keep your pets locked up elsewhere until they are hidden again!
  • Buzzing Bees – Pollen’s handy ally in the assault on pets! Taking your pet out to sniff the flowers could result in a bee sting on their curious snouts! Check out this handy article “What to Do When Your Kitty of Puppy Gets a Bee Sting”  to prepare yourself for any necessary first aid required!
  • Fertilizer – Everyone can’t wait to get outside in the spring and jump into gardening and lawn care! Be extra cautious about letting your pet out to play on a fertilized lawn though. Both cats and dogs like to eat grass and if that grass is covered in fertilizer, it could seriously harm your pet. Refrain from using any in areas of heavy pet activity.

With spring also comes Spring Break! Planning a family vacation? Don’t forget to reach out to a local pet sitter if you can’t take yours with you. Pet sitters are a great alternative to pricey lodging, and can provide your pet some one-on-one personal care while you’re away!
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Memory in Animals – How Does Your Pet Measure Up?

Have you ever wondered how good your pets memory is? Does your pet seem to be a repeat offender when it comes to misbehavior? Do they seem to recall some things (like the sight of the bag of treats) with an amazing ability and then completely blank out with other things (I didn’t know that was a no-no…)? Animals, unlike humans, tend to remember things that are triggered as important to their survival. In the wild, an animal may always remember the way back to a popular watering hole, but  show no recollection of a recent event. As a result, when considering the memory of a pet, it has to be divided into what they remember in the short-term, and what they remember in the long-term.

The short term memory span of a rabbit is four minutes!

Like most animals, dogs have great long-term memories, but are unable to keep track of time and specific events like humans can. Their long-term memories for remembering their training or tricks, are created not by remembering specific episodes, but by connections that are formed in their brain during the training which result in memory “impulses”. So that their reactions to certain stimulus become second nature to them. It’s important to have an empathetic understanding of animal memory when you decide to take on a pet – even more so when you decide to train one!

Their lack of a short-term memory is the reason why disciplinary action must be taken immediately after a bad behavior occurred. If your pet tore up the house and made a mess while you were away, by the time you get home, it’s too late to punish them and expect any effect except other than making them scared of you for a little while. Lasting training and discipline with most pets must come in the form of immediate cause and effect – you go into the brier patch and get scratched or you touch something hot and get burned. Committing a “pet crime” and then getting punished a few hours later is seen as nothing more than abuse by your pet, not punishment. It will result in no change in your pets behavior other than making them less trusting of you, and trust is a key factor in successfully training a pet.

 Interesting facts and statistics about animal memory:

  • Fish can remember where for is for up to twelve days! On the down side though they probably have no idea who you are. Their short term memory span is about three seconds.
  • Dogs short-term memory maxes out at about two minutes – no punishing if it’s been longer than two minutes!
  • Chimpanzees will forget trivial information in about 20 seconds, but have a visual memory far superior to humans allowing them to recognize other chimpanzees and places.
  • Sea lions can recall frivolous things they were taught for up to a decade.
  • Ravens remember faces and voices for their entire lifetime.
  • Cats memories are said to be much better than dogs. Cats are believe to have a short term memory of about sixteen hours – maybe it’s that slow pace they’re known for!
  • A rabbits short-term memory is about 4 minutes.
  • Hamsters have terrible memories. The poor little buggers will occasionally forget what they were doing moments after starting!

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Millennial Generation and the Pet Industry

What does the millennial generation have to do with the future of pets in America? A lot apparently. The American Vetrinary Medical Association (AVMA) has recently released a report about their predictions for how the next generation will cause a decline in pet ownership. They regularly study generational effects on their industry. A smart move considering that simple financial statistics show an increasing amount of money spent on pets annually. If pet ownership declines, this would certainly effect the industry as a whole. A decline in pet ownership also means pet shelters at full capacity… But why are millennial’s less likely to own pets in the future?

Pet Ownership & the Millennial Generation

  • More time spent in college – With a tougher and more competitive job market out there, younger people are spending more time in college working on better degrees. Having time for a pet while your working on a degree can be difficult – not to mention pet ownership on a college budget.
  • Nomadic lifestyles – A whole generation of Americans will find home ownership an unrealistic option. Not owning a home means they are less likely to have roots. The millennial generation is more likely to move frequently in pursuit of new opportunities and lifestyles.
  • Renters – Not being able to own a home means a whole generation of renters. Renters are more likely to be confined by lease agreements that exclude pets or charge hefty deposits for them…
  • Reptile friendly – Millennials, more so than the generations before them, are favoring reptilian pets over the furry and friendly kind. This leaves dogs and cats out in the cold…

So what can be done to make sure that shelters don’t fill up and that the new generation realizes the enjoyment of committing to a furry companion for the long-term? Plenty! Millennial’s are coming of age in a different world than the generations before them and they have some great virtues that could offer some relief for pet shelters. The new generation is compassionate when it comes to affecting change and as shelters fill up, many millennials feel compelled do something to help! They are great social media activists and their ability to passionately spread the word about neglected pets in need of forever homes is having a great impact on abandoned pets across the nation! If they can’t own a pet themselves, they are still likely to put forth effort to encourage others who can, to adopt. Those millennials who do embrace pet ownership are also more likely to splurge on their pets than the previous generation. While they may not be big pet owners, at least they make sure the ones they have are well taken care of!

Expanding even more on millennials desire to affect change, this is the generation that is likely to get succeed in demanding more transparency and higher standards in the pet care industry. From dog groomers and pet sitters to food and toy makers, they want to know that their money is going to a quality product or service that is conscientiously produced. This is great news for pet owners who have concerns over unhealthy additives and a lack of quality nutrition in pet foods.

Are you a millennial (born between 1980-2004)? Tell us how you feel about pet ownership and what effects your choices for pet ownership and pet care?

 

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Shedding: How To Deal With Pet Hair

It’s getting to be that time of year again… No longer needing their thick coats for warmth, pets begin shedding. Even for those lucky enough to not have allergies can be subject to sneezing fits and itchy eyes when the season of shedding begins. The back seats of cars, your carpets, furniture, and clothes are usually he biggest victims. How to cope? Here are some great tips, tricks, and devices to help get pet shedding under control!

How to Conquer Shedding this Spring

  • Brushing – It may sound obvious but frequent brushings cannot be recommended enough! While once a week may be good for most of the year, we suggest once a day during peak shedding season! Try using a specialized brush with rubber teeth to really grip the hair. Two top rated such brushes are the Kong Zoom Groom Dog Brush and the FURminator.
  • Conditioner – When bathing your pet be sure to include a conditioner. Not only will this help to keep dry skin at bay but the sleeker your pets coat the easier it is to remove loose fur during a brushing.

Shedding nightmares!

  • Air Filters – This may not help with shedding but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Make certain that all the filters in your house are checked frequently and either cleaned or replaced until shedding season is over. Don’t forget the vacuum filter to maximize its usage!
  • Lint rollers and rubber gloves – These are two common household items that can work overtime in the spring! A damp rubber glove run over furniture picks up pet hair wonderfully! A lint roller can be used on more than clothes too! From car seats to mini blinds their uses are plentiful!
  • Launder – Wash pet bedding daily if possible. Don’t leave clothing where your pet can recline on it. Keep your pet off your bed or be prepared to wash your bedding several times a week! Don’t give pet hair a chance to build up on anything!

Do you have your own tried and true tips for dealing with a shedding pet? Share it with us!

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Presidential Pets – Pets of the White House

Your pet probably plays a pretty big role in your life. Pets that have had the privilege to belong to presidents have had the opportunity to play a big role on a national level too! On several occasions throughout history presidential pets have softened the rough edged of their owners to the public eye. Some of the more exotic pets were often gifts from foreign leaders – one leader even gifted a whole herd of elephants! There have been approximately 256 presidential pets that have called the White House home. Here is a look at some of the noteworthy mentions!

Presidential Pets

  • Theodore Roosevelt had the most pets of any president with a total of 39! His large collection included: 5 guinea pigs, 2 ponies, a hen, lizard, blue macaw, garter snake, 10 dogs, a bear, rat, badger, pig, rabbit, 2 cats, a hyena, barn owl, and a one-legged rooster!
  • George Washington had 3 American Staghounds, 4 coonhounds, 2 horses, and a donkey. His wife Martha had a parrot
  • John Quincy Adams, the 6th president kept silkworms
  • Martin Van Buren kept two tiger cubs for a while
  • James Buchanan had a pet eagle and once received a herd of elephants from the King of Siam – one of which he kept at the White House!
  • Abraham Lincoln once joked that his cat Dixie “is smarter than my whole cabinet”.  He also kept a turkey, two goats, two dogs, a horse, and a rabbit
  • Andrew Johnson kept no pets, but would feed the mice he found in his bedroom.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes kept 8 dogs and was the first president to own a Siamese Cat.
  • Benjamin Harrison kept two opossums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection
  • Calvin Coolidge had 26 pets. Among these were 12 dogs, 2 raccoons, a donkey, 2 canaries, a goose, bobcat, cat, 2 lion cubs, a black bear, duiker (miniature antelope), wallaby, and a pygmy hippo!
  • Herbert Hoover kept 2 alligators

You can read more about presidential pets and a few of their roles in their owners claim to fame here, at the Presidential Pet Museum website.

photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks. via photopin cc

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