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Pet Bucket Blog

June 2014

What to do if Your Cat Stops Using the Litter Box

 by jaime on 30 Jun 2014 |
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Litter box problems can cause even the most dedicated cat owner to rethink their pet of choice. Cats are clean and fastidious by nature, so it can be perplexing when they suddenly start urinating and defecating outside of the litter box. There are some obvious things to look out for – like making sure the litter boxes are scooped and cleaned on a regular basis – but there are also some subtler things that could be causing the problem. One of the most important things to do is to rule out any health problems. There are a number of issues that can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, and some of them can be quite serious. Male cats in particular are prone to urinary tract infections that make urination difficult and painful. Male cats can also suffer from blockages – and these blockages can be life-threatening. The first thing cat owners should do is schedule a comprehensive exam for their pets. A veterinary exam may reveal some underlying health issues that are causing the cat to not use the litter box. If that is the case, the cat should resume is previous litter box habits as soon as the underlying health issue is resolved. The location of the litter box can present problems and cause the cat to stop using it. Many cats are reluctant to use the litter box if it is in a high traffic area of the home. Others may be disturbed by scents and odors in the area. Keep in mind that cats have a far better sense of smell than humans do and can detect subtle odors their human caretakers may not notice. Sometimes moving the litter box to a quieter part of the house is all it takes to resolve problems with inappropriate elimination. Try setting up the litter box in a quiet part of the home – away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Be sure to show your cat the new location and give them time to get comfortable with the new surroundings. Some cats will object to a certain type of litter, or to a change in the formulation of the litter. If you have recently changed brands of cat litter, try going back to the old brand for a few weeks to see if that resolves the problem. If you have been using the same brand of litter all along, look for any subtle changes in texture and color that could be putting your cat off. Litter manufacturers often tweak their formulations to make them more cost effective – those changes could be making the litter less attractive to your cat. If the type of litter is the culprit, it can take some time and experimentation to find a better fit. Litter box problems can be difficult to deal with, but it is important to be persistent. Since a number of things can cause cats to suddenly stop using the litter box, the best solution is to work through each of those possibilities one by one. Once you find the source of the problem, you can restore the peace in your home and start enjoying your cat again.

5 Reasons Why Your Dog is Not Eating

 by jaime on 30 Jun 2014 |
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Many dog owners are reasonably worried when their canine companion decides to forgo its meals. Loss of appetite in a dog is not uncommon; however, it is still important to keep an eye on the situation and try to understand the reasons behind the dog’s aversion to food. The following are a few reasons why your dog may be avoiding its meals. 1. The Weather Sometimes the weather can affect a dog’s appetite. Hot weather, in particular, may render a dog less hungry than usual. Loss of appetite in heat is common in humans too. It’s important to make sure the dog is getting plenty of water throughout those hot days so that it doesn’t dehydrate. If your dog doesn’t perk up after a day or two, you might want to consider the possibility of other issues. A visit to the veterinarian might be in order. 2. Illness When a dog doesn’t feel well, it could certainly avoid its food. While one day may not cause much concern, two days or more should alert owners to possible problems, especially if the dog typically enjoys a healthy appetite. Again, make sure the dog has access to water. If the situation does not improve, and the dog appears to be more lethargic than usual, call your vet to determine if an immediate appointment is necessary. Many dogs may be sick without showing many outward signs. Lack of appetite is one sign that may surface when dogs become ill. 3. Vaccinations Many parents often find that children feel unwell after vaccinations and also lose their appetites for about a day. Dogs may behave similarly. Give them access to water and simply allow them to rest. They may not feel much like exercising either. Usually after a day, however, this situation resolves itself. If the dog continues to avoid its food by the second day, you might want to place a call to the vet to be on the safe side. 4. It Wants Something Better If you’ve been spoiling your dog with table scraps, it may snub their nose at their dog bowls in the hope of getting something better like steak or chicken. If the dog is well in all other regards, this is a situation that may work itself out when the dog becomes hungry enough to resort back to its own food. You might encourage your picky eater by moistening its dry dog food with some wet food. If you know your dog is a picky eater and not sick, you shouldn't worry. 5. Nerves If you are traveling with your dog, it is very common for them to experience a bout of nerves. In many such cases, dogs will ignore their food while trying to make heads or tails of what’s going on. While some dogs can eat anywhere and at any time, other dogs get used to their routines and may not feel comfortable eating in a brand new setting. These are some common reasons why dogs will avoid eating. Again, if their lack of appetite persists, you should schedule a check up to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong with them.  

The World's 15 Most Unpopular Dogs

 by jaime on 29 Jun 2014 |
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We all love a Labrador and are incredibly fond of a Jack Russel, but what about the unpopular breeds of dogs in the world. Through no fault of their own, the following breeds are not commonplace among pet owners - some even on the verge of extinction. 1. Chinook   Image credit   The Chinook is an American breed of sled dog. Bred from a mixture of Husky and Mastiff, it is the official dog of New Hampshire. Even so, it's a rare dog, these days mainly kept as a family pet. They are very obedient and affectionate - particularly so with children. 2. Skye Terrier   Image credit   The Skye Terrier hails from Scotland and is actually an endangered breed. The Skye is a hardy little dog with a long and silky coat that requires regular grooming. Traditionally a hunting dog, these days the Skye enjoys life as a house dog - as long as it gets a moderate amount of exercise to stay in shape. 3. Komondor The Komondor is a native of Hungary, known for its long and very distinctive corded coat. Even though it's considered a Hungarian national treasure, this powerful guardian dog is still not very popular. It's a calm and gentle dog, so is a great option for families. It's also fiercely protective and makes a great guard dog - although perhaps not suited to city living. 4. Glen of Imaal Terrier   Image credit   This cutie comes from County Wicklow in Ireland and is considered a dwarf breed. Around since the reign of Elizabeth I, these little dogs are sturdy and very muscular with an expected lifetime of 15 years. They are energetic and less vocal than other terriers, but can be quite stubborn - especially when it comes to training. 5. English and American Foxhound   English Foxhound Image credit The English Foxhound is a scent hound, originally bred to, you guessed it, hunt foxes. They are a very gentle breed that gets on well with pretty much everyone: adults, children and other animals. They might be gentle, but they are incredibly active so wouldn't pair well with a lazy bones owner! American Foxhound Similarly, the American Foxhound is a sweet and social dog, that can be quite shy around strangers. They have lots of energy so would do well in a home with a big yard to run around in and it would be essential to take them to obedience classes to curb their natural instinct to follow scents. 6. Sussex Spaniel   Image credit From Southern England, the Sussex Spaniel is a calm but clownish breed of dog. They are a great family dog that get on well with children which also makes them a wonderful therapy dog. They are really great at retrieving, but can be quite stubborn to train. 7. Harrier   Image credit   The Harrier is a medium sized hound, often confused with a Beagle and are even sometimes referred to as a 'Beagle on steroids.' This short haired dog comes in a variety of colours and has a very sweet and cheerful temperment. They are incredibly active and are fond of exploring, so best to keep them on a lead when out and about. 8. Thai Ridgeback   Image credit   The Thai Ridgeback is an ancient breed of dog that's only starting to get recognition outside of Thailand. Characterised by it's 'ridge' of hair running along its back, it's a very intelligent breed that enjoys relaxing but is prone to sudden bursts of energy. They are a loyal and loving family pet but can be agressive and/or shy when not socialised properly.  9. Norweigian Lundehund   Image credit   A small, Spitz breed of dog, the Norweigian Lundehund can move it's joints just like a human can and actually has six toes! They are a breed that dates back to 1600 when it was originally bred to hunt puffins. They are a playful and loving breed that is perfectly happy to snuggle up for hours. They are very intelligent and can be trained to take part in agility competitions. 10. Canaan Dog   Image credit   The Canaan Dog originates from modern Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan and is one of the world's oldest breeds of dogs. They have quite a primitive appearance with a harsh, short coat. They are very intelligent and make excellent guard dogs but can become easily bored and not listen to commands if things get too repetitive. 11. Otterhound   Image credit   These shaggy looking pooches come from Britain, although their exact origins are unknown. They are hunting dogs and are very hard workers. They are unique in the way they have a rough, oily double coat and webbed feet. They are very inquisitive so require lots of supervision when outdoors. They are a great family dog, but need high fences - they can jump up to five feet! Despite all this, they are endangered - with only 1000 left in the world. 12. Cesky Terrier   Image credit   From Czechoslovakia, the Cesky Terrier was orginally bred to go hunting in the forests of Bohemia. They are a muscular, hardy little dog with a silky coat. Compared to other terriers they are quiet and make a lovely family pet. 13. Lowchen   Image credit   The Lowchen or Little Lion Dog originates from Germany. It was once the rarest dog in the world. The Lowchen is a friendly, healthy and happy dog and is very intelligent. A quiet breed, they make a great companion, but don't leave them alone for long periods of time. 14. Dandie Dinmont Terrier   Image credit This cute littler terrier with an equally cute name is of Scottish origin. It has short legs and a long body and makes both a great companion and guard dog. They are very docile compared to other terriers but beware, they are quick at digging holes! 15. Stabyhoun   Image credit The Stabyhoun is a Dutch dog. It has a long and sleek coat and had a very lovely temperment. Friendly, intelligent and patient - they are wonderful around children and other pets. They can however be quite stubborn and do require a lot of exercise. 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Why do Cats Love Catnip

 by jaime on 29 Jun 2014 |
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If you've ever seen a cat go wild as if possessed, then chances are they were probably under the influence of catnip. Catnip is also known as catmint, catwort and field balm - whatever you call it, it has the power to make even the most docile or grumpiest of cats awash with total happiness and bliss - plus it's pretty amusing to witness! What is catnip? First off, catnip is not a drug. Rather, it's part of the mint family, which boasts 250 species. It originally came from Europe and Asia and it was always destined to be loved by cats as it's derived from the Latin word 'cataria' meaning 'of a cat.' Essentially when the leaves of the plant are broken a chemical and essential oil called nepetalactone is released which many cats seem to respond to in a very, very positive way. Why do cats love it? It's a bit of a myth to say that all cats love catnip. The reality is around half of all cats don't respond at all to it. It's an inherited trait, so not all cats end up with the catnip-loving gene. If you're unsure whether you have a catnip lover on your hands, you'll know by six months of age. Kittens and older cats don't respond either to it's minty goodness. Interestingly, it's not only domestic cats that can fall under the spell of catnip - big cats like lions easily succumb to catnip's powers. We wonder if keeping some catnip in your pocket would help if you came face to face with a lion out in the wild? Essentially, what happens is the chemical nepatalactone mimics a cat's pheromones causing a surge in a cat's brain that makes them want to rub up against the smell. And boy, do they go wild…   Image credit What are the side effects? Some typical reactions include:     •    Eat, lick, roll around or sniff the catnip     •    Rubbing themselves against the catnip     •    Playing with the catnip     •    Generally acting bizarrely     •    Rolling and flipping     •    Meowing or growling     •    Hyperactivity     •    Agression It is possible for cats to overdose on catnip which can lead to vomiting or diarrhea. If they've had a bit too much catnip they might also be unresponsive, twitch, make random noises or excessively drool. It that's the case, remove them from the catnip - but don't worry, catnip wears off in around 15 minutes and cats do return to their normal selves. These above reactions are all caused when a cat sniffs catnip, however, if they end up eating the catnip they may in fact become very mellow and sedate. Is it safe? Catnip is incredibly safe and bears no threat to your cat's health. It's also not possible for your cat to become addicted. However, as mentioned above, if your cat becomes a bit of a frequent user they may experience diarrhea - so you may have to make access limited.   Image credit How can it be used? Once you've witnessed what a powerful effect catnip can have on your feline - you'll soon realise that you can use it to your advantage as a trusty training tool. If you want to curb any naughty behaviours or entice your cat to use something like a new bed, a sprinkle of catnip can go a long way. Similarly, you can also make bored kitties entertained by making simple catnip flavoured toys  - try sprinkling an old sock with a bit of catnip. It's important to note that dried catnip is generally more effective and more enjoyed by cats than it's spray form counterparts which are just not as strong. You could also consider growing some in your garden, so you have a near-constant supply of the stuff. Any dried catnip that you're not using should be stored in the freezer to preserve it's potency. Can humans use it? Despite being popular with cats, catnip can also be very useful for humans too. Catnip has similar properties to chamomile so it can be made into a tea to provide calming effects. It can also be used to help sooth ailments like:     •    Mosquito bites     •    Upset stomachs     •    Headaches     •    Coughing     •    Insomnia     •    Muscle aches and pains     •    Chills     •    Haemorrhoids     •    Toothache It can be used as a:     •    Anaesthetic     •    Anitbiotic     •    Anti-Rheumatic     •    Antispasmodic     •    Astringent     •    Diuretic Please note, pregnant women should completely avoid catnip as it can induce uterine contractions. Feature image credit

Intestinal Worms in Pets

 by jaime on 29 Jun 2014 |
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Dogs and cats are prone to several types of intestinal worms. The most common of these intestinal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworms. Although dogs and cats of any age can become infested with worms, puppies and kittens are often the victims. An infected mother can pass the parasites to her litter through the placenta or milk during feeding. Kittens or puppies often exhibit a potbellied appearance when they are suffering from a worm infestation. Adult pets can also get worms from fecal contaminated soil. Roundworms Roundworms are common parasites that live in the intestines. Roundworms have a spaghetti-like appearance and can sometimes be seen in the stool. Signs and symptoms of roundworm infection other than their appearance in the stool, include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, dull coat, thinning coat, as well as weight loss or failure to gain weight. Tapeworms Tapeworms also reside in the intestines of the infected animal. They consist of a head and several segments that comprise the body. These segments resemble grains of rice. They may be seen in the stool or around the anus of an infected pet. Cats and dogs may become infected with tapeworms when they eat a flea that has eaten tapeworm eggs. Symptoms of tapeworm infection include increase or decrease in appetite, dull coat, hair loss, stomach upset, weight loss and red areas on the skin, typically around the rump and feet. A flea infestation puts pets at an increased risk of developing tapeworm. It is imperative to rid your pet and the environment of fleas. Hookworms Hookworms are a type of intestinal parasite that attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall and feeds off of the animal's blood. The eggs pass through the feces of an infected animal. Pets may ingest the eggs through contaminated soil. Hookworms can pose a serious problem for pets, especially the very young and elderly, because they cause internal blood loss in the animal. If untreated, chronic blood loss can lead to death. The main symptoms of hookworm infestation are diarrhea and weight loss. Whipworms Whipworms live in the part of the large intestine where the large and small intestines meet. Transmission typically occurs when an animal ingests an egg through contaminated soil. If a few whipworms are present, they do not generally pose a severe problem. However, if the infestation is large, they can cause severe bloody diarrhea which can lead to blood loss and dehydration. Whipworm infection is usually more severe in dogs than cats. Consult a veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have worms for a proper course of treatment. Follow your vet's schedule for de-worming puppies and kittens. Annual checkups and examination of stool samples can help provide early detection of the presence of internal parasites. It is important to use a de-worming medication regularly to prevent re-infestation. It is also important to keep your pet's environment and bedding clean. All soiled areas should be cleaned immediately and thoroughly. Always practice good hygiene when handling pets and cleaning their area, by using disposable gloves and washing hands thoroughly. Want to protect your four-legged friends from intestinal worms? Our online store stocks heavily discounted (up to 75% off) intestinal worm treatments from leading brands.  

5 Tips for Trimming your Cat's Claws

 by michele on 28 Jun 2014 |
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Unless you have an outdoor cat that requires their claws for self-defense, it is best to keep your cat’s claws trimmed every two to three weeks. This will prevent injuries caused by claws caught in carpets, clothes and other fabrics. It will also keep your cat’s claws in good condition and alert you to any issues such as ingrown claws. Many cat owners find trimming their pet’s claws a slightly nerve-racking task, but with a bit of time and patience, it will become a regular ritual that your feline friend will not necessarily enjoy, but start to accept. Follow these five simple tips, and you’ll be well on your way to claw trimming success! 1. Get your cat used to the nail trimming position The best time to trim a cat’s claws is when they’re asleep or relaxed. Start training your cat from an early age to accept having their paws and claws handled and manipulated. A good time to do this is when you are cuddling and bonding. If you're going to be trimming the cat's nails by yourself, get your cat used to sitting on its rear on your lap, facing away from you. This will enable you to hold them steady, with a paw in one hand and the clippers in the other. 2. Become familiar with your cat’s claws To access each claw, gently press each paw between your thumb and forefinger and the claw will pop outward from the toe. At the base of each nail is a pink strip called the quick where blood vessels and nerve endings lie. You want to avoid cutting too close to the quick otherwise you will cause bleeding and pain. 3. Use specially designed cat claw clippers Cat claw clippers come in two styles – either guillotine or scissor style. I personally prefer the small scissor-type of cat claw clippers as I find them the quickest and easiest to use. Most have a non-slip, rubber handle that makes it easier to hold the clipper, reducing the risk of splintering the claw and hurting your cat.     4. Trim just the tip of each claw Cut just the tip of each claw, and as you get more comfortable, you can cut closer to the quick. Slowly snip just the tips off in a straight line approximately 2 mm away from the quick. Don’t yell at your cat if they won’t let you trim all their claws. At first you may only be able to trim one or two claws at a time. Be patient and keep trying!   5. Reward your cat for good behaviour If your cat is well behaved and lets you cut all their nails, reward them with a treat that you only give them after claw trimming. That way they will come to realise that cooperating will result in a special reward.

4 Ways To Give Your Cat A Pill

 by michelle on 28 Jun 2014 |
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Administering pills to your cat may be easy for some, but for many it’s a daily struggle. Thankfully, there are several methods that can make the process less stressful both for you and your cat. 1. Special treats   image credit The best way to give your cat a pill is by using treats that are made specifically for this purpose. The treats are soft, sticky, and tasty so that your cat will have no idea they are taking medicine!   2. DIY Pill Pockets   image credit   Instead of purchasing treats, you could also try making your own. PetMd recommends forming “meatballs” out of your cat’s canned food. Make one with their pill, and a couple others without. 3. Crushing the pill image credit If your cat still refuses to take the pill, you could try crushing it into a very fine powder, and then mixing it with their wet food. Make sure you check with your vet first; some pills are not intended to be crushed.   These three methods work fine as long as your cat is allowed to have food with their medicine. In the case that they're not, your best bet is to restrain your cat and give them the pill directly.   4. The direct way   image credit Place one thumb and forefinger on either side of the cat’s face and apply gentle pressure at the space between the teeth. Once their mouth starts to open, press down on the lower jaw and deposit the pill as far back as possible. Close the mouth and massage their throat until they swallow. To make sure the pill doesn’t remain in the esophagus, give your cat a teaspoon of water from a syringe or eyedropper.   image credit   If your cat will not stay still or if you’re afraid of them scratching you, it’s probably best for you to wrap or swaddle your cat in a towel and then proceed with the previous steps.   No matter what method you use, make sure to give your cat lots of praise afterward!   feature image credit

12 Ways to Take Care of Tiny Dogs

 by jaime on 28 Jun 2014 |
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Tiny dogs are becoming increasingly popular particularly among urban city dwellers, people who live in apartments or those who don't have much space. Small dogs are compact, cuddly, transportable, fond of affection and generally more affordable than their larger counterparts. They can also be easier to look after because they eat less, produce less waste, shed less, live longer and don't need as much exercise. They are however known for having huge personalities to counter-balance their teeny tiny bodies which can of course have it's own behavioural upsets! A small dog is characterised by being sixteen inches tall or less and weigh 22 pounds or less. Tiny dog breeds include: the Maltese, Pug, Pomeranian, Chihuahua and Dachschund as well as many of the designer breeds that are now popular. Caring for a tiny dog comes with it's own set of special needs that are important to follow in order to maximise it's health, wellbeing and happiness as well as yours.   Image credit 1. Make a safe place Tiny dogs can be very sensitive, whether they easily become scared or over-excited. Having a safe place for your little one is a great idea as it's somewhere they can escape to whenever they need to. This can be a crate or cage, bed or gated area that's away from high traffic areas. This safe place means that your little pooch is off limits so make sure this rule is communicated to family, friends and visitors. Keep your dog's toys in this area along with water and a heating pad covered with a soft fabric as small dogs get chilled easily. Another great idea is to have potty pads near by this location because small dog breeds tend to need the bathroom often! 2. Diet and food Tiny dogs have tiny stomachs and tiny appetites and are prone to digestive issues like bloating and vomiting which can be encouraged by eating large portions of food all a once. It's preferable to feed your small dog two or three meals a day using high quality, antioxidant rich (to promote longevity) protein (meat or fish) based food with no fillers like ash or corn. If you have a fussy eater on your hands you can moisten dry food with warm water or add a little canned food to liven up meal time and their appetite. Small dogs are also susceptible to hypoglycaemia so frequent meals helps to regulate their blood sugar. If you are time-poor consider purchasing an automatic feeder which can dispense several small meals a day. Beware to watch portion sizes because little dogs are prone to obesity! 3. Dental care Tiny dogs are prone to dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease so you should invest in dental pads or toothbrushes specifically for small breeds. Dental treats also help keep teeth clean and freshen breath. You should clean your dog's teeth once a week to keep any dental problems from occurring.   Image credit 4. Training Small dogs are intelligent and because of this, they can become easily bored or frustrated. Training is very important to help curb any naughty behaviour from developing such as ignoring basic commands like sit or stay. Get your little dog involved in group obedience classes which helps with socialisation, soothes boredom and importantly teaches them manners! 5. Exercise They might be small, but your tiny dog needs daily exercise. Of course you won't need to walk miles like you would if you owned a larger dog so a brisk walk around the block, or an energetic ball game should be suffice. The amount of exercise will be dependent on the breed so sometimes it might take a few extra minutes of activity to wear your pooch out. 6. Offer protection Your little dog might have oodles of confidence to take on that big Labrador down at the park but the reality is their bodies are too small and even a nudge from a bigger dog could cause injury. To prevent these sort of mishaps, when out with your dog keep them or a short lead and pick them up if it looks like trouble may be brewing. Image credit 7. Extracurricular activities As mentioned, small dogs are prone to boredom, largely due to their high intelligence. One way to combat this is through extra training and agility courses. It's another excellent way to socialise your dog and who knows you may have a little award-winning champion on your hands? Keep an eye out for events like fly ball, agility trails and obedience competitions. 8. Toys Because small dogs have more energy than larger breeds, you'll need to incorporate plenty of play time and toys into your pooch's daily routine. It helps prevent boredom and stave of bad behaviour - plus it keeps them happy! Remember to replace any broken or torn toys to prevent any nasty accidents. 9. Keep them warm   Seeing a tiny dog in an even tinier coat or jacket is incredibly cute - but it serves an important purpose. Small dogs feel the cold easily because they have no winter undercoat so can quickly develop hypothermia. So when it's cold out, make sure you dress your little dog appropriately. Sweaters and coats that are snug fitting and made from soft, natural fibres are best. Also remember to clean of any snow or ice from your pup's feet to stop painful ice balls developing between toes.   Image credit 10. Grooming They might be little and spend a lot of time indoors, but that doesn't mean your tiny dog doesn't need to be groomed. In fact, small dogs should be groomed from nose to tail weekly. Use a soft brush and look out for mats of hair in long-haired breeds. Remember to also use a small set of nail clippers to clip of small bits of nail, always avoiding the quick. 11. Be affectionate This should be easy to follow because your tiny dog is so adorably sweet! However not only is it important to handle your dog throughout the day to develop a close bond but it prevents them from become nippers. Remember to always be gentle, touching ears and feet to help get them used to being handled.   12. Promote longevity   As mentioned, small dog breeds live for a long time so it's important to look after them properly so they can have a long, happy and healthy life. As stated, an antioxidant rich diet is important to keep their insides healthy. As your small dog ages you will need to start buying joint care products, heated beds and aspirin to help bring comfort if they should develop arthritis. If you notice your dog begin to loose their teeth, gradually switch over to a high-quality canned food specifically targeted for mature dogs. Feature image credit

Daycare for Dogs

 by michelle on 27 Jun 2014 |
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Just as you might enroll your child in daycare, you can also do the same for your dog. Although the reasons for enrolling are a little different, the concept is the same: You drop your dog off in the morning where he gets to play, socialize with other dogs, snack and nap, and then you pick him up on your way home from work. If you’re thinking of enrolling your dog in daycare here’s everything you need to know:   What is doggy daycare?   Doggy daycare is a great option for dogs with busy guardians who work and are not comfortable leaving their dogs home alone all day. Most are open for 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and offer half-day or full-day options. The cost can vary between $8.00 to $35.00 a day, but will depend on the provider. Privately owned daycares operated out of a home are often cheaper than a fully-staffed facility.   What are the benefits?   Not only does daycare relieve your dog of boredom and loneliness, but it also relieves you of the guilt you may feel about leaving your dog home alone. You can go to work knowing your dog is being well cared for and having a great time socializing with other dogs and people. After a long day of exercise and interaction, your dog will be nice and tired by the time you pick them up.   Good candidates   Since your dog will be interacting with other dogs all day, most doggy daycares require that your dog is healthy and spayed/neutered. Some may also require certain vaccines like the Bordetella. In terms of non-medical requirements, your dog should enjoy socializing and interacting with other dogs. For example, if your dog is a regular at the park and seems to enjoy themself there, then they’d be a great candidate for daycare. Also, younger dogs tend to adjust better in a daycare environment as opposed to older ones.   Bad candidates   Unvaccinated dogs, females in heat, and unneutered male dogs will be turned away from doggy daycare. Dogs who are undersocialized or haven’t had many positive experiences with other dogs are also not good candidates. If your dog has ever bitten another dog, or tends to be aggressive towards them, then daycare really isn’t the best place for them to be. You also don’t want to enroll a dog that tends to avoid or simply tolerate other dogs. Most likely they prefer to stay home than spend their day in the company of other dogs. Choosing the right daycare   If you’re going to be leaving your furbaby at a daycare, you want to be sure your dog is in good hands. Look for a daycare with the following qualities: clean and organized facility abundance of toys or equipment for dogs to play with a safe and comfortable place to nap knowledgeable staff with a basic understanding of canine communication staff that interacts with the dogs regularly including walking the dogs outdoors On your dog’s first day, it’s a good idea to stay and observe for a little. You want to pay attention to whether your dog seems happy or stressed out. Also look for these signs when you approach the daycare. Your dog should be happy and relaxed when approaching, not reluctant like they may be at the vet.   It’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with where you choose to leave your dog. You know your dog the best, so ask yourself if they will feel comfortable there too.     image credit

A Guide To Raw Feeding Your Cat

 by michelle on 27 Jun 2014 |
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The Raw Truth   What other felines, besides domesticated cats, consume their prey cooked? Most likely, you're drawing a blank because the answer is none! Cats by nature are carnivores - more specifically they are obligate carnivores, meaning in order for cats to thrive they require nutrition from the meat, organs, and bones of animals. In other words, cats are meant to consume and digest the entire carcass of their prey.   As you can imagine, most domesticated cats are not being served an entire rabbit for dinner. Instead, they are eating over-processed kibble and canned food that contain an unnecessary amount of carbohydrates and additives. This, along with the frequent pet food recalls, has inspired many cat owners to feed their pet an all natural diet, aka, a raw one.   Tips   There are two ways to go about feeding your cat a raw diet. You can either purchase pre-made raw food or you can make it yourself. There are multiple brands including Bravo or Feline's Pride that have already done the dirty work for you. However, if you prefer to make it yourself, here are some tips:   1. Start off slow and be patient. It's easy to get overwhelmed quickly by the amount of work that goes into prepping your cat's raw food. The best way to start is to buy some chicken thighs and cut them up into small pieces. A younger cat may go for it right away, whereas an older cat used to the taste of canned food may take some time to transition. Eventually they will get used to the taste of raw meat, and their carnivorous instincts will kick in.   2. Buy a grinder and supplements. After a week or two of testing the waters, a grinder is the next step in getting serious about a raw diet. Supplements such as Vitamins A, D, E, B-Complex, and Fish Oil are added to make up for the fact that the cat isn't actually eating the entire carcus, so they aren't able to get all the same nutrients as they would from prey in the wild. To make it easier, there are companies that sell these vitamins already mixed for this purpose.   3. There are multiple recipes for success. There are several recommended raw recipes to choose from but they all have the same essential ingredients of meat (both muscle and organ), bones, and supplements. Here's one in particular that is well illustrated.   4. Food should be fresh and warm. Most cats cannot tolerate cold food so make sure to defrost their meal in time. It's recommended that you defrost or warm the meaty bones by placing them in a ziploc bag, and then in warm water for 10 minutes. The water should never be hot enough that it will cook the meat, nor should you ever use your microwave as a method of defrosting.   Benefits   There are several benefits to raw feeding your cat, and many of them will become apparent soon after you make the switch. Cats on raw diets have a healthy skin and coat, clean teeth, and increased energy. The volume and odor of their feces changes (for the better), and allergies tend to clear up. It's also a great way to control your cat's weight, which should be monitored closely when making the switch to a raw diet.   Risks   If you're considering raw feeding your cat, it's important to know that not all veterinarians recommend it. Their main concern is the chance of animal to human disease transmission, contagions, and other food safety issues during the meal prep.   The ultimate goal of raw feeding is to give your cat the food nature intended him to eat. Deciding to raw feed your cat is both a big decision and responsibility. Do as much research as possible to make sure it's right for you and your cat. As long as you can be responsible and follow food safety guidelines, raw feeding could help your cat be the best cat he can be.    
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