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Pet Bucket Blog

October 2015

Introducing a New Cat to Your Existing Ones

 by petbucket on 29 Oct 2015 |
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Getting a new cat is an exciting time for everyone. Yet there can be challenges posed if you are introducing the new pet into a house with other cats. It is a myth that cats are solitary animals, but their social groups have complex rules of hierarchy. This means the introduction of a new cat can be disruptive and can lead to fighting or spraying. To avoid the worst of this, you can make the introduction easier by following this basic plan.   Before you get the new cat, your first task should be to choose a room and set it aside for them to live in temporarily. This should be a spacious room and one where you can spend plenty of time with the new pet yourself. You should also not use a room where your other cat's food or litter tray is located. Equip the room with the things the new cat will need; food and water dishes, a litter tray, and toys. Your new cat will live in this room at first, so ensure it has the required comforts.   Once you have your new pet, bring him or her home and put them straight into their room. There is no rush in making introductions, so the first thing to do will be to get the new cat acquainted with the room. Let them explore, smell things, show them where their food and litter tray are, and so forth. The cats may sniff at each other around the door, which is a good start for an introduction. Letting them get used to the smell of each other is an important early step in the process.   Your next step will involve first contact between the pets, but it is still constrained. Open the room's door by a couple of inches, enough to let a cat stick the tip of her nose through but denying passage. The cats should now seek to say 'hello' to each other, and should sniff at each other. There may be some growling, hissing, or attempted hitting, but this is not a problem at this point. Your aim is not a perfect first impression, it is to create the conditions for a happy life together. Some hostile incidents can be part of that without problems arising later. Close the door after a few minutes, and make sure you give the cats on both sides some personal attention.   You must use your judgment for when the time is right for the next steps, reviewing how your cats are coping. The whole process can be done in hours or it might take several days. When you feel both are ready, take one of your existing cats and place them in the room with the new one. You should be quite hands off here, and only intervene if a serious fight breaks out. Let them explore, say hello properly, sniff around at things, or even avoid or ignore each other. This first full contact will only last a few minutes. You should let the new cat have a rest before introducing the next cat, if you have more than one. Repeat this process after perhaps an hour, and increase the amount of time spent in contact.   Finally, when all your cats seem comfortable with each other, you can let the new one go free to run around your home. It may still prove wise in the first few days to keep them apart if nobody is home or when you are asleep. There could still be some conflict in the early days as the cats work out a new social hierarchy. They may also compete for places of comfort and security. Yet, with the above introductions made, it is likely to go far better than otherwise.    Remember, though, that each cat is an individual with their own personality. Some may be friendly and introductions will be complete within hours. Some may be much more hostile and it could take much longer. The cats may never form a close friendship, but as long as they can tolerate each other, that will not be a big issue. Remember also that this advice is much less relevant to young kittens. They will usually form quick friendships thanks to their lack of adult cat sensibilities.

Safety Guidance for the Inside Pet

 by petbucket on 23 Oct 2015 |
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Pets are often compared to children, with affectionate names like "my babies" or "my fur-children." To be sure, there is nothing quite like a fuzzy companion (or even a scaly or feathery one!) to warm hearts and make a house truly a home. That said, like children, pets require a lot of supervision and attention. Any cat owner knows drinks should not be left unattended, nor chords left uncovered, lest a curious paw, nose, or tooth get into places it shouldn't. Similarly, parents of puppies become aware very quickly that no food is safe, not even that meatloaf on the counter -- especially not that meatloaf on the counter.      But there are other dangers every pet owner needs to look out for, far more threatening than damage to precious snacks or electronics. Animals are by nature exploratory and tenacious, making them excellent candidates for a dozen or more close-calls: open dryers, unattended chocolate, sharp pork pones, and doors left open just a crack are only some of the anxieties pet owners are up against.       If your animal is strictly an "inside" dog or cat, and is not allowed to go outside off leash or harness, you have already avoided several potentially deadly risks, such as traffic, wild animals, and, unfortunately, unfriendly neighbors. You also avoid your pet getting lost, or injured on fences, broken glass, or other human-made hazards. Gone are many of the chances for your baby to find poisonous snacks outside and gobble them down, or for them to contract diseases from contact with other wandering animals.       But it is by no means safe to assume that simply bubble-wrapping your pet up cozily inside your home is enough to keep the stubborn pet from getting into mischief. There are plenty of health risks in the average home that need to be monitored in order to keep your fur-baby safe, happy, and healthy.       One such potential problem is your kitchen garbage. Most pet owners have experienced their pet robbing the garbage for treats at least once, and often the main frustration is in the mess created, or perhaps a tummy ache for the offending animal. But did you know that these incidents are cause for concern based on more than simple bad table manners? We humans throw away a lot of hazardous materials, all things considered. What may seem to us to be merely a bunch of gone-by grapes can be a rush to the vet for a curious canine, and a tempting pork-bone can become a sharp splinter of bone lodged in an unsuspecting animal's throat or stomach.        If you plan on discarding bad leftovers, or disposing of chicken bones or other byproducts from your meals, it is vital to practice awareness. What are you putting in the can? Is it accessible to sneaky pets? A garbage can lid can go a long way in preventing cats from rolling in the leftovers, but more stability may be needed to disuade stubborn ones, or larger animals such as dogs. Consider acquiring a large, sturdy box to keep your can in, or a heavier metallic can with a tight-sealing lid to conceal tempting odors. It is also wise to keep your garbage can in a cupboard, or even behind a pet-proof door, such as in the laundry room or a closet.        In the vein of edible dangers, table-scraps given directly to your animal can also have harmful effects. Even if you don't feed your pets human food, it's important to be aware of who in your household might. If you have animal-loving guests over, young children, or anyone vulnerable to puppy eyes, take a moment to let them know how important it is that nothing unusual is given to your pet to eat. Preventing your dog or cat from being fed raisins, chocolate-chip cookies, or a "taste" of coffee or beer can go a long way in protecting their health. Looking up lists of seemingly innocent human foods that can hurt your animals is a wise choice. Consider sharing your findings with family and friends as well, for the safety of your own animals, as well as theirs.        Another common complaint of many owners is the destruction of electrical chords, if not the entire gadget its attached to. Of course this behavior is annoying, and can damage your belongings, but it can also damage a playful kitten or puppy. Electrocution should always warrant precautions.        One simple but effective way of keeping your pets from taking too much interest in the tempting, dangling, swinging and chewy chords around your home is to take away their most interesting features to "hunting" kittens or puppies: tape them down. This won't get rid of the fun chewy texture, but it will keep them from swinging in the animals' faces when in use, causing an incredible need to tackle in most cats.         You may also wish to consider purchasing a cord sorter. There are several kinds available on the market, many of which only help humans to differentiate one cord from another for easy device hooking up and unplugging. But soft wrap-around protectors can also be bought, which keep the cords from tangling with each other, and, most importantly, with any kitten claws or puppy teeth. This tactic removes the texture temptation, as well as making them heavier, and less fun to bat around or pull on.          If you live alone, this next risk is minimal, but will still apply from time to time when guests are over. Those pet owners who share space with other humans have a risk that's ever-present, but rarely discussed: handling by others. If you have animals small enough to pick up, it is vital that everyone who has a chance of doing so is aware of the correct way to handle your pet. If someone wants to hold your animal, ensure that they first are shown how to lift, hold, and pet your animal. Households with small children have special challenges in helping the young ones to learn the best ways to touch a pet without hurting it. Enforce gentle petting only, with removal of the animal from the child's reach if the rule cannot be followed properly.          Don't leave your young child alone with a dog or cat, even if they are always kind to it. A well-meaning child may accidentally "love" an animal too hard, pulling ears, pinching, squishing, or poking. This can effect both the physical well-being and the animal's ability to feel safe. Likewise, it is always smart not to leave an animal and small child alone lest the child get hurt, whether from a bite, scratch, or something as simple as getting knocked over during play.          Finally, temperature can be crucial for the well-being of all animals, though perhaps particularly non-furry ones. If you notice your animal shivering, and you feel chilly yourself, try cuddling with the pet, or constructing a blanket nest for them. If they are panting excessively, or lying splayed out on the kitchen floor in the summer, they are likely too hot, and may appreciate a cool, damp towel to lie on, a bowl of fresh water, or an electric fan blowing gently on them. Don't leave your pet home alone in extreme weather of any kind. At best, they may be frightened by stormy weather, at worst they can become overheated or chilled, which can lead to illness.         While it is true that outside, or outside-inside animals (those who spend time both outdoors and in the home) are subjected to more risks than their strictly inside cousins, it is vital to remember that having four walls around your pet does not promise they will not find danger. Keep an eye on your little ones, and remember that a good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn't allow your baby to live in the environment your home creates, it's time to baby-proof. Lock away the cleaning supplies, remove all access to human food unsupervised (even for creative trash-burglars), and don't give opportunity to play with toys that are not meant for them.         Being a parent, whether of a human child, or a furry friend, is a full time job, riddled with worry, and with joy. Every pet parent needs to do their part to ensure the longest, happiest time together a furry baby and their parent can have

3 Simple Rules for Selecting a Better Dog Food

 by petbucket on 15 Oct 2015 |
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A dog's diet is one of the biggest influences on its health, longevity, and overall quality of life. Making better decisions about what you feed your dog has never been more important than now. With regular recalls on national brands, and associated pet casualties, dog owners should know more about what they are feeding their pets and have a responsibility to their best friend to choose wisely on their behalf.    With the variety of brands, package sizes, and promises, it can easily become overwhelming to select a food that is worthy of your dog. Turn those packages over, and locate the ingredient panel. This is all you need. Finding the perfect food to fit your budget and keep your dog happy and healthy can be a little less daunting the next time around if you keep these three simple rules in mind while reading those labels.  1. The First Ingredient: Meat is a Must A savvy consumer can easily weed out a handful of unworthy brands in a hurry, using the very first ingredient listed on the package. Meat should always appear first on the list. The position of an ingredient on the list tells you how much of it is contained within. The higher the position it holds on the list, the higher the content of that particular ingredient there will be.    If you select a lamb based food, the first ingredient should read "deboned lamb", or simply "lamb". If you select a chicken variety, the label should read "deboned chicken", or "chicken". 2. No Corn, Wheat, or Soy. Ever. This is very straight forward. Corn, wheat, and soy are all unnecessary fillers. They are attractive raw materials for dog food manufacturers because of their low cost. Don't select a food with these products listed anywhere on the label. Dogs may experience a host of problems, including seizures, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal issues if kept on a diet consisting of these ingredients.    Some food brands advertise soy as an extra source of protein in their product. While a seemingly attractive claim, a true quality feed will be rich in meat protein.  3. Avoid By-Products If any sort of "by-product" appears anywhere on the label, do not buy it. Remember that "by-product" is a fancy term for "garbage", and you don't want to feed that to your best friend.    While it's a priority to get your pup eating a better diet, it's also very important to always switch a dog to a new food slowly. Start by introducing small amounts of the new food into the dog's old food, mixing it in. Gradually increase the ratio of new food to old daily over the course of several days or longer. Taking time to make the switch will help to avoid potential gas, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort. When switching to a higher quality food, it is even more crucial to introduce the new food gradually, as quality foods are richer, higher in protein, and are more likely to be symptomatic if a change is made too rapidly.    Always check with your veterinarian if you have concerns over possible food intolerance, allergies, or weight management issues that may need to be addressed with a specialized diet. For further reading, be sure to check out this awesome best dog food review and buyer's guide by our friends at The Daily Shep. 

Common Diseases in Dogs

 by petbucket on 08 Oct 2015 |
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Numerous diseases can affect your pet dog. Some are more serious and contagious and some are preventable, so it's important for owners to understand the symptoms and clinical signs which could point to their dog suffering from a common disease.   Kennel Cough   Many bacterial infections (e.g. bordetella, parainfluenza, adenovirus) cause kennel cough. It's called kennel cough because it's commonly found among dogs living in kennel environments, such as boarding and rescue shelters. Fortunately, vets can treat it, but it's still important to catch it early enough to prevent the cough from progressing and making the dog seriously ill.   Signs that your dog has kennel cough include a hacking cough, phlegm, a high temperature, sneezing, gagging and vomiting.   Your vet can administer a simple nasal spray vaccine each year. Many boarding shelters won't allow a dog to stay with them unless they've had this vaccine.   Allergic Dermatitis   Allergic dermatitis is a disorder of the skin caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites, food, pollen or shampoos. To treat allergic dermatitis, you must find and remove what's causing it. Antibiotics are necessary for treating bacterial infections and in severe cases your dog will need a corticosteroid injection.   Signs of allergic dermatitis include dry, flaky skin, persistent itching, chewing at their feet and tail, hair loss, lumps and bumps across their skin, open wounds and excessively waxy ears.   It's important for a vet to check your dog if it has any of these signs so you're sure to administer the correct treatment.   Dental Disease   Dogs must have their teeth cleaned and checked as often as humans do. Dental disease is extremely common among dogs, especially those kept on an unhealthy diet and fed lots of "bad" treats such as "human food".   Some common signs of dental disease include bad breath (halitosis), stains on their teeth, build-up of plaque and tartar, loose or broken teeth, bleeding gums and abscesses and infections around the mouth.   Rotting teeth can lead to abscesses if you leave them untreated, and the infection can enter the bloodstream, leading to more severe conditions such as kidney disease.   Gastrointestinal Disorders (a.k.a. GI Disorders)   Dogs are scavengers, often eating something they shouldn't and getting intestinal problems as a result. However, GI disorders don't only occur when your dog eats something bad -- they can be an allergic reaction to their normal diet, a secondary infection due to bacteria or a virus, or even caused by a blockage. It's vital to get any GI symptoms checked by a vet to make sure there's nothing more serious going on.   Symptoms of GI disorders include vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, a high temperature, blood-streaked stools, flatulence and weakness and lethargy   If you catch them early enough, GI symptoms are treatable. You can help prevent intestinal problems by making sure your dog is fed a well-balanced diet, with access to plenty of fresh water and regular exercise.   Urinary Tract Disease   Urinary tract diseases are extremely painful and can lead to severe infections. Crystals or stones form in either the kidneys or the bladder, then pass into the urinary tract and cause an infection. Just like in humans, a crystal or stone that gets stuck in the tract can cause severe pain and become dangerous. Dogs can also suffer from idiopathic cystitis, which means the problem is caused by reasons such as stress.   Common symptoms of urinary tract disease include frequent urination or the inability to pass urine, straining to urinate (arching their back while urinating), bloody urine, vomiting and a high temperature.   Urinary tract diseases are fairly common and easy to treat. However, some blockages require a simple removal procedure under local or general anaesthesia.   Kidney Disease   Your pet's kidneys remove waste and toxins from their blood and regulate fluids. The kidneys can get infected or diseased, leading to the dog showing symptoms ranging from mild to severe. A bacterial or viral infection can cause kidney disease. Sometimes it's a secondary infection due to an underlying cause such as rotting teeth or abscesses.   When a kidney infection occurs, your pet may experience loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, the inability to urinate, a high temperature, flaky skin, vomiting, depression and lethargy.   Kidney diseases and infections are fatal if left untreated. Ask your vet to check if you see any of these symptoms and treat the condition immediately.   Obesity   Obesity is one of the most frequent problems seen in dogs. Common causes include overfeeding, pampering and a lack of exercise. However, some medical conditions can also lead to obesity, such as an imbalance in hormones. Obesity can lead to weakness in the joints, diabetes and heart conditions.   Some of the common symptoms of obesity include excessive appetite, dramatic weight gain and a reluctance to exercise.   Many veterinary clinics hold 'Weight Watchers' clinics to encourage dogs to lose weight. These also serve to help owners understand the problem and correct their own behaviour!   It's important to keep your dog healthy to prevent disease. Make sure your pet has their yearly vaccines, you regularly treat it for parasites and you feed it a balanced diet with plenty of fresh water. Add regular exercise to make sure your animal companion lives the best life possible.

Golden Retrievers: Blessed With Great Genetics

 by petbucket on 01 Oct 2015 |
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Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. In fact  it is the third-most popular family dog breed in the United States, the fifth-most popular in Australia, and the eighth-most popular in the United Kingdom. Not only do Golden Retrievers look stunning, they also have lovely personalities and are very easy to train. The breed’s friendly and cheerful nature has made it to be one of the finest family pets. While Golden Retrievers may not have good guarding instincts, they make good watchdogs. As the name denotes, they are the best at retrieving shot games as well as filling the roles of a hunting dog and assistance dogs for the deaf and blind. In this article I will discuss what it is about the breed’s genetics that makes them so irresistibly adorable along with the awesome personality traits they share. Love all, loved by all: The golden looks this breed is blessed with attracts admiring looks by everyone. Their charm and playfulness make them extremely lovable. Strangers stop to pet them and kids want to hold them. Even the adults can’t remain indifferent in their company. Not only are they loved by all, golden retrievers also love people. They tend to blossom and flourish when they are in the company of people. Whether it is the family, kids, other dogs or even strangers, Golden Retrievers share the tendency of being affectionate around everyone.  They are highly social and have a deep yearning to be around people. They feel comfortable around everyone and bond with them easily. They are well built and athletic enough to handle rough hugs and do not mind the screaming and running of children. These traits make them a kid-friendly dog. They do tend to bark at strangers, but it is more of a welcoming bark rather than aggressive. Obedient and submissive: Golden Retrievers respond to leadership. They are easily trainable and very enthusiastic and eager to please their owners. Training during the early years is required to instill manners. One needs to train them to respond to basic commands such as heel, sit, stop, stay and come. Goldens tend to have an adaptive nature that allows them to adapt and submit to the new environment and people. Behavioral traits such as, rolling on their back, lack of fighting, ears and tail down and submitting to command are common among this kind of breed. Energetic: Golden Retrievers were originally developed to be a working retriever. They fall under the sporting breed. This means that they require a high level of activity or exercise in order to vent their energy. Activities such as jogging, running, swimming or playing fetch on a daily basis are some of the ways to channel their energy through constructive ways and avoid hyperactivity. Tolerates both, cold and hot weather: Your Golden has the genetics which make it tolerable to all kinds of weather.  They are commonly known to have a high tolerance to cold weather. However, if exposed to such weather for too long, they are likely to fall under the weather. These personality traits of the Goldens and their playful yet sensitive attitude make them to be a wonderful pet. However, assuming these personality traits based entirely upon the breed’s genetics is not wise. Dogs, like humans, are individuals and have individual personality traits, even if they mostly tend to share similar traits as their breed. author bio: Brian Stephenson is an animal lover and loves to write about cats, and dogs. In his free time, he plays with one of his dozens of pets and also shares his experience and knowledge in the form of blogs.
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