Tag: pet health care

Teach Your Kids To Respect Animals – Top Tips!

Animals all have their own unique “languages”. Just like learning to talk it’s important to teach children how to communicate with all the critters they may meet. Why is this important? Because animals are awesome and being good to them makes you pretty awesome too; among many other good reasons far too numerous to mention! So, how do you go about teaching your kid about the language of animals? Here are some top tips!

How to Teach Your Kids to Respect Animals

  • Teach them to be humble. Kids have a way of seeing something they want and just grabbing it for their own purpose and amusement. When around another living creature, encourage them to control that urge. Some animals are crazy and will bounce all around a kid scaring them, but sometimes it’s the kid doing the bouncing and grabbing. Teach your kid to be patient and let the animal approach them on their own terms.
  • Teach them to be gentle. Soft touching and no grabbing is key to animal respect. Sure, there will always be amazing pets out there that don’t mind your toddler dragging them around by their tail, but do they really enjoy it? Best to advise your child how to stroke them gently and carry them comfortably.
  • Teach them to be calm. Pets can be just as rambunctious as kids sometimes. It’s important that your kid learns not to lash if they get annoyed with them. No hitting, kicking, or biting!
  • Learn more! Find a full list of awesome ways to teach your child to respect animals here.  From visiting animals shelters to reading books about them there are a million (or at least 21) ways that you can increase your child’s empathy and ensure they have lots of happy relationships with pets in their future!

Chocolate, Candies, and Flowers – Keep Your Pet Safe!

Whether this Valentines Day finds you committed or single, your pet loves you unconditionally! The way they are always happy to see you, always up for snuggles, and the affectionate ways they bring you gifts or help you out with your grooming make up for not sending you chocolate once a year.  All the more reason to ensure your celebrations aren’t putting them at risk.

The Chocolate Factor and Others

  • If there is a holiday more associated with chocolate, we don’t know what it could be! You may know that chocolate can kill your dog, did you also know it’s bad for cats too? Chocolate causes abnormally high heart rates in animals. It’s super important to make sure your pet never has access to it! Since chocolate can cause cardiac arrest, make sure you know how to perform CPR!

 

  • How about those flowers delivered to your door? They look beautiful and smell great but could also be toxic to your pet! Lilies are especially toxic to cats and many other flower varieties can cause upset stomachs and vomiting. Even if the flower itself is not toxic to your pet, many floral arrangments are sprayed with chemicals to enhance their look and extend their life.
  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean pet-friendly. Xylitol is often found in sugar-free chocolate and candies (Gum too!). This ingredient is especially toxic to pets. It’s in you and your pets best interest to keep all sweets out of reach!
  • Ribbons, bows, and candles. You’ve done great making sure those chocolates are out of reach (or gone already…) but what about the box? Delicious smelling candy wrappers, bows, and ribbons can pose choking hazards for many pets, and potentially cause intestinal blockage if consumed. And how about those candles that set the mood for a romantic evening? Make sure their not where a pet can know them over!

photo credit: DaPuglet Valentine Pug via photopin (license)

Paws for Thought – Caring For Your Pet’s Feet

Pet paws, with their fuzzy and sometimes thick and leathery pads seem pretty tough to us. Our pets go tromping across terrain that we need a pair of hiking boots to even consider approaching! They might be tougher than our bare feet but they still need cared for properly. Do you know what threats, remedies, and precautions you need to take to protect your pet’s paws?

Caring For Your Pet’s Paws

  • Claws – Some people don’t realize how important keeping a pet’s claws trimmed is. It’s not just for your comfort or aesthetic reasons. In the wild, many animals claws will be worn down naturally by digging and making their way across rocks. In the domesticated world this natural “trimming” often doesn’t occur as often, or even at all. When trimming you have to be careful about trimming too short and cutting the “quick” in the nail. This can hurt your pet and cause bleeding. If you’re not comfortable regularly trimming your pet’s nails be sure to ask your vet at your next appointment!
  • Frostbite – Pets exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time can experience frostbite, which is a damaging of the tissue, often leading to the tissues “death”. It can be very painful, and also very dangerous if left unrecognized and treated. Paws are a common place to see frostbite on pets since they are less insulated and in direct contact with ice, snow, or water. Check out the common symptoms and treatments here.  If you’re taking your pet out in very cold weather, keep it brief and keep their paws dry – or consider a pair of booties!
  • Burns – Summertime can make your pet at risk for burns on the bottom of their paws. Asphalt that has baked in the summer sun all day and even rocks or sand can cause damage. When taking your pet for a walk ensure they have grass, dirt, or some other alternative to hot surfaces to walk. You can also plan your walks for early morning or late evening.
  • Thorns & Cuts – Never ignore your pet if they seem to be favoring a paw either by limping, or paying extra attention to it with their tongue. Outdoor adventures, even within an urban environment can lead to cuts, splinters, or even thorns. Left unattended these can fester and become a much bigger problem for your pet.
  • In Rabbits – Rabbits, especially those who have cages with wire bottoms or hop around on smooth surfaces frequently are prone to a special paw ailment – sore hocks. Sore hocks occur on the back feet of rabbits and can be very dangerous if left untreated. They begin as bald spots on the bottom of the foot that wear away to open sores and infections. Keep a sharp eye on your bunnies hind feet to spot the symptoms!

Neosporin is a great treatment for many mild foot ailments. It is safe for use on most pets (including rabbits). Remember to regularly pay attention to your pet’s paws and see your vet regularly!

photo credit: Mic the otter spotter, going slow Pixie paws via photopin (license)

Ear Mites 101 – Keeping Your Pet Mite Free!

Has your furry friend by doing a lot of unexplained ear scratching lately? It might be a good idea to check them out for the dreaded ear mites.

Ear mites are a highly contagious eight-legged parasite that infects the ear canal of pets. The icky creatures feed on the oils and waxes in your pet’s ear. While pets of any age can get them, they are most often seen in young animals, and more frequently in cats. If you suspect your pet has contracted an infestation, look for these tell-tale symptoms:

Symptoms of Ear Mites In Pets

  • Excessive scratching of the ears and head shaking
  • Scabs, raw patches, and scratches in or around your pets ear
  • A “coffee ground” looking debris in your pet’s ear

While a case of ear mites isn’t a huge deal, it does need to be treated promptly. If you catch it early, many times you can treat your pet at home using over-the-counter products that you swab your pet’s ears with. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to your vet to get a proper diagnosis though. Other more serious conditions can mimic ear mites and it’s important to rule these out first.

While ear mites themselves can be easily treated with the proper medicine, the scratching your pet does can result in serious infections that require further treatment. Severe scratching can also lead to blood vessels rupturing, something that may require surgery. Be sure not to take this condition lightly.

If your pet has contracted a case be sure to check any other pets you have who may have come into contact with them. Since ear mites are so contagious it’s likely that if one pet has them, they all do. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash all your pets bedding and clean the areas the frequent most!

photo credit: hannemiriam via photopin (license)

Lessons From a Pet – What Can Your Child Learn?

Every step of life has its lessons that can be learned. Kids who often pine after a pet frequently see them as an interactive toy. If a parent takes note, however, pets can be a great opportunity for teaching children many life lessons. Check out our list of lessons below to see how getting your child that pet they’re after can work in your favor!

Lessons From A Pet

  • Respect & Control – It’s instinct to grab and cuddle anything small and furry. Small and furry creatures have feelings and preferences too! Many will recoil, runaway, or even act hostile if approached while they’re not in the mood. Teach your child how recognizing and respecting an animal’s mood and needs can be rewarded by a lasting bond.
  • Self-esteem – Pets simply don’t have the ability to judge you like fellow humans. If your child is self-conscious, spending time with a pet can help them come out of their shell. Kids frequently spend time reading to their pets or telling them secrets and stories. All these things help build your child’s skills for larger interactions.

  • Outdoor Fun – These days it can be hard to get children away from a screen. Ipads, T.V’s, and phones keep kids distracted all the time. A pet is a great way to inspire them to put the electronics down. Pets cultivate outdoor time and physical activity.
  • Coping – This is one of life’s hardest lessons. Your child will suffer grief at some point and losing a pet is a way that you can coach them through the process and help them develop coping skills.
  • Responsibility – Feedings, waterings, baths, walks, cleaning… the list goes on! With a pet comes lots of chores! Helping your child understand the connection between getting something they want, and then taking care of it is an important lesson. A word of caution though: just because it’s your child’s responsibility doesn’t mean it’s not yours too. As the parent, it’s important that you make sure the animal is being cared for properly.

photo credit: Grattino ♥ via photopin (license)

Accessories For Your Pet – Awesome Things You Need!

Pet accessories  cost American’s over $60 billion dollars in 2016. While we may feel a little ashamed, we still can’t help but want to spoil our furry little friends! It seems like every day some new, clever item is being introduced to the market. It can be a bit overwhelming… Below we’ve compiled (yet another) list of some great new products that are sure to make life with your pet better! Got a “must-have” item of your own? Tell us about it and share your find with others!

Pet Accessories to Have Now

  • Quilted Pet Cover – Got a problem with your pet getting on the couch leaving fur and damaging it? This awesome microfiber quilted pet cover should put an end to battles over the couch!

  • Retractable Pet Safety Gate – Tired of pet gates that don’t go as far as you need them to? Or are too big for your space? This accessory offers a solution for spaces up to 55 inches wide. That’s 4 1/2 feet!
  • Emergency Pet Cards – Do you live alone with your pet? Have you ever worried what would happen if you found yourself in an emergency and couldn’t get home in time to care for them? Invest in one of the Pet Care Cards. They notify emergency personnel that you have a pet at home alone and provide a contact for them to notify on your behalf!

  • They Gulpy Water Dispenser – The size of a water bottle, this little dispenser eliminates the need for you to carry around a bottle and a water bowl for drink breaks. Ideal for walks, hikes, and road trips!
  • The Bike Leash – Want to take your dog along on your bike ride with you? Check out this awesome Bike Tow Leash! Approved by the American Pet Association, this leash keeps your pet safely right  along with you!

Millennials – The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership

A badge once held by the baby boomers, millennials have taken the lead for most pet-loving generation! Loosely defined as those born between 1980 to 2000, millennials have given pet shelters (and the pet industry) a renewed hope after earlier reports put pet ownership rates down among the Baby Boomer generation. According to the 2015 Global Pet Expo 35.2% of millennials own pets, up a few percentage points from where baby boomers now range.

Early last year reports surfaced that many millennials while being pet lovers, may not be the best pet owners for a variety of reasons:

  • They are more likely to rent and not own, making them subject to lease agreements regarding pets and more likely to have to give up a pet due to a move.
  • 38% of millennials believe that pets can stay safely in shelters until adopted out.
  • They are more likely to be impulse buyers meaning they hit pet shops instead of shelters and frequently end up unprepared for all the duties of pet ownership.

So where do millennials excel as far as pet ownership goes?

Millennials – A Positive New Generation of Pet Owners

  • Social Media – This is a generation that has largely grown up with social media and the internet. They love networking! Shelters should be sure to have a strong presence with informative posts.
  • Social Causes – Millennials are very socially minded and they like to be a part of things that represent the world they’d like to see. From buying things for a good cause to investing in shared economies. Millennials, while they may have a reputation as impulse buyers, they are also conscious buyers and care about where their investment goes. Make sure they know they are doing good when they adopt!
  • Spending – Pet spending has increased steadily over the years and it doesn’t look set to decline anytime soon. Millenials spend more on pets (both spoiling and on medical care) than previous generations.
  • Tech -savvy – Pet owning now is easier than ever with all the great new innovations this tech-savvy generation has pioneered. Micro-chipping, tracking collars, thousands of pet apps and services all make it easier to care for your pet!

Want to know more ways this new generation is defining pet ownership, check this out!

Pet House Repairs – ‘Tis the Season!

Do you need to do some pet house repairs? We may be in the heat of summer but that cold weather is right around the corner! Now’s the time to assess your pets living situation (especially if it’s outdoors!) and make sure that their home is up to snuff for all the environmental challenges of the changing seasons. Here are some tips to make sure your pet is warm and cozy this coming fall!

Pet House Repairs

  • Assess the space around the pet house. Sometimes limbs may need trimming to prevent a falling hazard during ice or heavy winds. Do they have enough shade for summer or a wind break for winter?
  • Make sure the home is tight! Some pet houses will be fiberglass, some will be wood, and others plastic. Inspect the house for cracks and make sure the roof is solid with no leaks! Go a step further and make sure the pet house door isn’t facing the bitter north wind!
  • Check for hazards! If you have a heated floor for your pet, ensure that it’s in good condition with no exposed wires or dangerous wear. Also, make sure there are no jagged edges, exposed nails, or anything else that could harm your pet.
  • Make sure it’s dry. Ensure that moisture doesn’t pool under, in, or around the house. If it does, look into drainage options or relocating it all together. Furthermore, do a quick mold inspection and make sure that pet house is dry with good ventilation.
  • Replace the bedding. Make sure that your pet has fresh clean bedding regularly, especially in the winter. Hay is a great insulator, cheap, and good to stock up on!
  • Dress it up a little! Give it a new (non-toxic) paint job, plant some greenery around it (unless you’ve got a digger) and add a cute nameplate!

 

photo credit: full view of custom dog house via photopin (license)

Food Labels and Your Pet’s Needs

Food labels can be confusing – whether they’re for you or your pet! Do you know what your pet is eating?  Keep your pets fit, healthy, and trim by understanding those sometimes tricky labels!

Know Your Pet Food Labels!

  • Know the right quantity – Different pet food has different nutritional values. Talk to your vet and be sure you know what your pet needs for their breed and size, then follow the serving sizes accordingly!
  • Real vs “Flavored” – Know the difference between brands that contains real meat, vs meat flavor. Wording on the bag will let you know approximately how much meat it actually contains, thanks to AFFCO regulations. Food that contains 100% meat is easy to determine – it will say so! Wording gets a little foggier though as that percentage drops. If it drops to around 25% it will often be advertised as “Chicken Dinner” or “Beef entree”. Around 3% will be described as “contains” or “with”, and none at all will say “flavored”.
  • Know how to read the ingredients –  Lots of people don’t know that the order ingredients are listed in (this goes for people food too!) is important!  Ingredient lists are designed to start with the largest quantity, by weight, with the first item listed being the main ingredient and the last item listed being the smallest. The first three ingredients should be the top sources of protein. Most ingredients that come after “salt”, make up less than 1% of the food.
  • Dry vs Wet – Most adult pets eat a dry kibble, but you should know that there is a greater difference between dry and wet food than just the texture! This handy infographic will help you understand:

You are what you eat, and that goes for your pets too! Make smart choices and know your pets unique needs.

Aggression – Causes of Your Dogs Behavior

Dog aggression isn’t something that’s fun to talk about. It’s also something that can’t be ignored if you expect to have a happy and healthy relationship with your pet. Aggression can be treated with medical care, proper training, and working alongside a behavioral expert. First, you need to understand the root cause:

Causes of Aggression

  • Pain or sickness – this is the most common form of aggression and can be one of the easiest ones to deal with. Remove the source and you remove the aggression. If your pet is suddenly asking aggressive for no apparent reason, be sure to call your vet ASAP. Some medical conditions can cause aggressive behavior too; if your pet is in pain, they are likely to be irritable and act out.
  • Fear – If your pet perceives a threat to themselves, you, or their puppies aggression will frequently be apparent. It is important to socialize your pet and yourself when they are young so they are not afraid of strangers approaching or touching them or you. Dogs frequently read our signals too. If you’re acting intimidated or threatened, don’t be surprised if your pet acts aggressively toward the perceived threat.
  • Genetics – A much-debated topic, the simple fact is that some breeds of dogs are far more likley to behave aggressively than others. Some varieties have been genetically engineered for fighting or protection. Make sure you understand your dog’s breed as well as any adopted pets history before bringing them home. It is especially important to focus on training and control with dogs who are genetically predisposed toward it.
  • Learned aggression – Sadly, some dogs are not only bred to be aggressive but taught as well. While it’s not impossible to re-train a dog, it does take time, dedication, and caution to remove triggers. Before taking on such a task, be sure to consult a veterinarian or training professionals.

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