Tag: pets

New Puppy Diet Tips – Feeding Them Right!

 

 

Got A New Puppy? Learn All About Feeding Your New Pet! 

One of the most exciting times in life is when a new member joins the family, be it a human or a pet. Puppies have a special place in our hearts and can send our loving instincts into overdrive, so how to make sure your new puppy gets the nutrition that’s scientifically right for them?

Firstly, it’s important to remind ourselves that human food isn’t suitable for dogs, and may even be harmful – especially for puppies. So while there are some safe foods to share with your dog, try to resist those puppy dog eyes, and don’t be tempted to feed from the table as it will only encourage bad habits and can lead to health problems.

How often?

Guidelines say that just weaned puppies can safely have puppy food they can access throughout the day left out because they are unlikely to overeat at a young age. Just make sure that wet food is replaced before it can go off – dry food tends to be OK. And please don’t forget the water! Pups can dehydrate quickly in warm temperatures, so a clean source of water is as important as nutritious food. Alternatively, consider feeding your new pet four times a day, and switch to three times a day when they reach 4 months of age.

How much?

How much to feed your dog will depend on the breed and the weight they are likely to reach as an adult – females tend to be lighter than males. Overfeeding your dog can lead to dangerous complications, as can the wrong combination of food and supplements. Best to stick to a breed specific puppy food brand, and check out some expert guidelines on feeding your new puppy. If you can monitor their weight with a reliable set of scales, this will be enormously helpful at this stage.

Growing up fast

By the time your dog turns 6 to 12 months, you can feed them twice a day and some puppies will start to switch to adult dog food. Again – check their breed, as larger breeds take longer to reach their full adult size and you’ll still wish to control your pup’s calcium intake to avoid bone problems later on. As dogs grow, you’ll want to start training them and they’ll burn off much energy through walks and exercise, but bear in mind safe levels for feeding and ensure they get dog treats that are right for their breed and age.

Emotional eating isn’t good for humans or dogs

There are plenty of ways you can show your love and praise to your dog that don’t involve food treats, which may be unsuitable or lead to weight problems. Praising your new puppy with cuddles, petting, an enthusiastic voice or simply giving them your full attention is just as effective, if not more, than stuffing them with useless calories.

Keeping those simple rules in mind should give your dog the best start in life, and help you enjoy a long and healthy bond with your beloved pet.

Cost of Owning A Pet – Managing Pet Expenses

How much do you spend on your pet each year? It’s not uncommon to be surprised by the number. Many pet owners underestimate the lifetime cost of these expenses. Depending on the pet variety and breed, expenses can range from $21,000 to $45,000 over a ten year period. Thats a lot of money! It’s enough that budgeting, proper care, and financial planning should be an important part of pet ownership! Need help getting your head around some things you can do to get a leg on expenses before they get on top of you?

Managing Pet Expenses

  • Invest in preventative care. When you first get your pet don’t skip out on those initial healthcare costs. If you’ve adopted your pet from a shelter, there is a good chance some of this has already been done. Ask your shelter about your new pets medical history. Have they been spayed/neutered? What about early life vaccinations and booster shots? If you’re buying from a breeder or pet shop these steps should be your first priority to starting your pet off on the right track! An unexpected litter can quickly send those pet costs skyrocketing, as can issues with heart worms, Parvo, etc.
  • Keep your pet healthy. We know that cheaper pet food seems like a great way to save a few bucks each week, but it may lead to higher vet bills later. Invest in your pets health by ensuring they are getting the key nutrients they need. Ask your vet and do your research so you’re buying the appropriate food. Don’t underestimate the benefit of keeping your pet active too! Obesity can lead to later life issues so regular walks and play sessions are great for their physical and mental health!
  • Insurance or a savings account. If you don’t feel like springing for Pet Insurance then at least start a savings account for unexpected emergencies. Be sure to contribute to it monthly. Just think of it this way – if you need it, it’s there, and if you don’t you can spend it on something else. It’s better to be prepared!
  • Budget and shop smart. Keep an eye out for sales and consider ordering your pet supplies online. Places like Petco offer a discount if you sign-up for repeat delivery. Buying in bulk can be helpful but not if your pets food or other items are going to go stale or otherwise deteriorate over time. You can also treat your pet and cut back on costs by making your own pet treats and toys! Pinterest is a great tool for all sorts of inspiration!

Got any of your own tips for how you keep pet costs down without sacrificing your pets quality of life and health? Share them with us!

 

photo credit: kdee64 Brandy (2001-2017) via photopin (license)

Pet Damage to Your Home? Learn How To Stop/Prevent It!

There is a reason why landlords require extra pet deposits! Pet damage to homes and their content is a given. It may be given but it doesn’t mean you should give up! There are lots of ways you can minimize or even prevent any real damage from occurring.  Pets are a responsibility. Part of that responsibility is properly training them for their environment and helping them channel their animal instincts in a non-destructive ways. Let’s take a look at what you can do to…

Prevent Pet Damage To Your Home

  • Know Your Pet – Are they a chewer? A digger? A pee’er? A scratcher? All the above? Identify what your pet’s damage of choice is. You also need to understand that many of these issues will be harder to control the younger your pet is. Be prepared for this and nip bad habits in the bud!
  • Stimulate Them – Pets get bored. Especially young ones. It’s important that you invest a lot of time in playing with them.  It’s also important that you give them toys and an environment they can entertain themselves in. If you don’t provide one, they’ll create one themselves. Chew toys, scratch posts, digging boxes – all these can help your pet burn their energy up and stay stimulated!
  • Do They Have Separation Anxiety? – Dog trainer Allison Cipolli says,”When the owner leaves, the dog goes through a stress-panic and to comfort themselves they will grab the owner’s belongings and chew, chew, chew.”To determine if that’s the problem, Cipolli recommends putting out a special treat that your dog rarely gets, then leaving the house for a few minutes before returning.”If the dog didn’t eat what they normally would while you there,” she said, “that’s usually a telltale sign that they’re going through separation anxiety.”So what can you do about pet damage caused by anxiety? Try leaving your pet for small, yet increasing, increments of time. This allows them to adjust to the seperation. She also suggests not greeting your pet when you get home if they overly excited and have behaved poorly in your absence. Doing so just rewards them for their poor behavoir. Instead ignore them until they have calmed down, then great them and give them attention. They will learn that calm and good behavoir gets the results they want.
  • The Pee Bandit – All young pets will have issues with this until you have had time to properly train them for a litter box, puppy pad, or to go outside. Until you’ve achieved this, limit their roaming and keep a close eye on them so you can catch them before the act and redirect them. If your pet is older and exhibiting this behavior it may be territorial and can often be corrected by getting them spayed/neutered.

Earth Day 2017 – Green Pet Tips for Wallet & Planet!

Happy April! Stuck inside due to April showers? Take some time to evaluate you and your pets carbon footprint. April 22nd is Earth Day – a great reminder to keep the planet in good shape for all the fuzzy (and not so fuzzy…) critters, including you! So what steps can you take in preparation for Earth Day? Find out below!

 Green Pet Tips in Honor of Earth Day

  • Spay & Neuter – Every new critter your critter produces is four more little carbon footprints! Prevent accidental litters by making sure your pet is spayed or neutered. Got that taken care of? Consider donating to a local animal shelter or charity that offers free or discounted spay & neuter clinics for shelter animals.
  • Buy Reusable – Often times it can be a bigger upfront investment, but over time reusable pet items not only help the environment, but they save you money too! Here are some often overlooked reusable options for pets:
    Replace cat litter with a Cat Genie!
    Instead of use-once puppy pads, consider switching to a washable version
    Get a pet bed with a removable cover that can be washed, or replaced
  • DIY Toys – While the toy aisle may be tempting, don’t waste your money! Most pets are happy with bags, boxes, or other household items! This awesome list from Barkpost will help you recycle your old clothes and water bottles into eco-friendly toys your pets will love! Make up several and gift them to friends for Earth Day!

Avoid Clay-based Litters – Clay-based cat litters are created by strip mining sodium bentonite out of the ground. Its acquisition leaves long-term damage to the environment. Grist.com has a great list of reviews for some of the top non-clay based cat litters out there. Find one that suits your needs and try it out!

  • Avoid Vinyl, Phthalates, and BPA – These are all potentially toxic and/or petroleum based products. Most plastics (food/water bowls) and leashes are made out of these materials. Consider investing in metal dishes and buy collars and leashes made from cotton or hemp!
  • Be A Minimalist – Every year we’re informed about the booming pet industry – 62 billion dollars in 2016. Our pets are frequently a lot lower maintenance than we make them out to be. Instead of doling out money on things they don’t need – be a minimalist. Take that money and invest it in services, training, a savings account, or pet charity!

photopin (license)photo credit: N’Grid Snif Snif via

Dental Care – The Do’s and Don’t’s For Your Pet!

While dental care may be a priority to you, sometimes our pets chompers can be overlooked. Do you need to get down on their level with a toothbrush daily? How about floss? Lots of pet owners can be a little confused or clueless when it comes to dental care for their pets. Let these do’s and don’t’s guide you along the right path!

Dental Care Do’s and Don’t’s!

  • DO talk to your vet regularly about your pet’s dental health! They will be your greatest source of information about how you should or shouldn’t care for your pet.
  • DO make sure your vet checks for broken or damaged teeth at regular check-ups. Sometimes there is no telling what our pets get up to without us and a broken (and painful) tooth may go unnoticed by pet parents.
  • DO brush your dog’s teeth!
  • DON’T use human toothpaste! Get a specially formulated toothpaste for animals.
  • DO consider teeth cleaning chew toys and treats. Just make sure they aren’t hard enough to cause tooth damage (i.e. some bones…) Never give your cat or dog something to chew on that you would find too hard for yourself. Their jaws may be stronger, but their teeth aren’t!
  • DON’T ignore bad breath. Yes, your pet’s breath may not always be minty fresh, but don’t just dismiss an unpleasant dental odor as “doggy breath” or “kitty breath”. It can be a sign of a more serious issue that can lead to kidney or heart disease if left unchecked.
  • DO feed small animals like rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters fresh timothy hay regularly. Not only does this keep their digestion on track, it also helps to wear down their ever growing teeth, which can be a real problem!
  • DO talk to your vet about periodic professional teeth cleaning – with anesthesia!
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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)

Diabetes and Your Pet – Know the Dangers!

Did you know that diabetes isn’t just a threat to humans? Thousands of pet are diagnosed every year. November is Diabetes Pet Awareness month so read on to find out about your pet’s risk factors and what to do!

Diabetes Risk Factors

Weight is likely the largest factor for both pets and humans. An overweight pet is far more likely to develop diabetes as they age than a fit pet is. A great incentive to measure your pets daily food and limit treats. Animals that eat a high carbohydrate diet are also at greater risk. Did you know that dogs don’t actually need carbohydrates? Yet most pet foods are primarily composed of corn or wheat. When buying pet food choose the option with the highest protein & fat content, and lowest carb content.

Two other genetic risk factors show that female dogs and male cats both have higher rates of diabetes than their opposites.

Symptoms of diabetes in pets

    • Weightloss
    • Vomiting and Dehydration
  • Excessive drinking & urination
  • Loss of Appetite

Pretty generic symptoms that are applicable to lots of different issues. If these are combined with any of the risk factors we already listed, be sure to ask your vet.

Living with a diabetic pet

Unfortunately once diabetes has been diagnosed, daily insulin injections become part of the routine. Your vet should be able to direct you on how to give the daily shot and store the insulin. It may be necessary for you to track your pet’s glucose levels throughout the day to help better understand when they rise and fall so you can adjust their insulin dosage accordingly. Sometimes you only need to do so until you’ve established a routine, while some pets may always need this service. Dietary changes will need to be made too. Since each animal is different your vet will need to direct you on these. Frequently you will need to feed your pet more often, but in smaller quantities.

Be sure to share your pets specialty needs with your pet nanny, pet sitter, or any other person who may care for them in your absence.

 

Struggling? See if you can find a diabetic pet support group nearby or online to help support you and your pet!

Spay or Neuter Your Pet – The In’s and Out’s!

Spaying or neutering your pet is a very important aspect of pet ownership. Doing so helps to keep your pet healthy and keeps the population down at animal shelters. Here are a few bits of spay or neuter information you need!

Age

While there is some variation on what the best age to spay or neuter a pet is, the average seems to be about four months. Some vets advocate two months as being old enough and encourage this since younger animals can heal faster, while others think one should wait until six months. Both cats and dogs can become capable of reproduction around five months. It’s important to be aware of this if you plan on waiting till the six-month mark.

Can I spay if my pet just had babies?

You should not spay or neuter you pet while they are nursing. They can become pregnant again during this time though. It is important for you to keep your pet away from unneutered males until their babies are weaned. This can be 5-6 weeks for kittens 4-5 for puppies.

Spay or Neuter Cost

Spaying and neutering isn’t’ free so it’s important that you factor this into pet costs before you commit to bringing one home. Prices will vary from place to place. Because this procedure is so important many areas offer low-cost clinics. Check out the ASPCA website here to find a low-cost clinic near you!

Other reasons for spaying and neutering

This procedure can help with several territorial issues pet owners may deal with. Territorial behaviours can be as unpleasant as spraying to mark turf, or as dangerous as aggression toward both you and other animals. Spaying or neutering can also help to keep your pet from wandering. The term “catting around” is based on the likeliness of male cats roaming far from home while looking for mates.

What is the recovery time?

Fourteen weeks seems to be about average. This may vary based on your pet’s age and other variables specific to them. It’s important to follow all your vet’s instructions post surgery!

 

 

Paws – Amazing Facts About Your Pet’s Paws!

Paws, what do we know about them? Aside from most pets having four of them, not much! Did you know that your pets paws are a big part of how they experience the world? Check out these awesome facts and cultivate a broader appreciation for your pets feet!

Facts About Pet Paws

  • The size and shape of your dog’s paw shows the type of climate they were made for. Large, wide paws are often found on breeds that come from cold climates with lots of snow. These large feet act like snowshoes!  Furthermore, water breeds like Retrievers have webbed toes!
  • Did you know that cat claws grow from the bones in their foot, not a nailbed like the human fingernail? This is why declawing is bad for cats!
  • Both dogs and cats walk on their “toes” instead of their heels like humans do
  • Some agile dog breeds have “cat-like” feet, with high arches and a narrow width. This allows them a better range of quick movements. Dobermans and Greyhounds are two breeds with “cat feet”.
  • Cats have unique fingerprints too! Cat paws have unique grooves that leave unique prints. Did you know you can use your cat’s paw to unlock your iPhone?!

  • The thick foot pads which make up the “paw” are actually made of fatty tissue deposits. This acts as an insulator allowing your pet to run around on snow or warm surfaces that would burn our sensitive feet. Please note though – while pet paws are better insulated they can still get frost bitten or burnt from hot asphalt!
  • These thick foot pads also act as cushions and shock absorbers in cats, and help keep their steps quiet while hunting!
  • People often say dogs don’t have sweat glands. Not true! Dogs have sweat glands on their noses and paws!

 

photo credit: Ifor’s baked bean paws via photopin (license)
photo credit: Mika Feet via photopin (license)

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)

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