Pet Microchipping – 5 Reasons You Should Have Done it Already

355973_2711There’s nothing worse than losing a loved one. Let alone a loved one who doesn’t have a cell phone or really any clue on how to find their way back to the family they love. Unfortunately, that’s the reality you’re facing ever time your 4-legged friend hits the ground running outside. If you were to step back and ask the question – what can I do to offer the best chance that my pet finds his way back home in an emergency – and sure, not spend a ton of money in the process – your answer would be microchipping. So – without further delay – let’s look at 5 Reasons why you should have already microchipped your four-legged friend.

1. It’s a Lifetime Safety Net For Your Pet’s Security

You can’t really say that about anything else! Microchips are permanently embedded in your pet’s skin and made to last 25 years. That’s longer than any collar or tag, and it’s not about to fall off when your little escape artist crawls under that chain-link fence. The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year – make sure you and your loved ones are prepared.

2. It Doesn’t Hurt Much

Your pet is used to vaccinations – and microchipping feels similar. Your veterinarian will simply use a needle to insert a small, grain-sized chip between your pet’s shoulder blades. A shot for a lifetime of security is a fair tradeoff.

3. Microchipping Works – We Have the Stats to Prove It

The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted a survey that said stray dogs at shelters WITHOUT a microchip were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time. That number increased to 52.2% when the dog was microchipped. To put that another way – it went from a 1 in 5 chance to greater than a 1 in 2. Similarly, cats without microchips were only returned 1.8% of the time, while cats WITH microchips were returned an amazing 38.5% of the time. Again, a 1 out of 50 chance changed to a 1 in 3. Microchipping has been so successful, that both England and Scotland have recently made it mandatory.
Dogs Returned Home With Microchip

4. It’s Inexpensive

Compared to the other costs associated with owning a dog a microchip is barely an expense at all. In fact, many animal rescues, clinics, pet stores and veterinarians offer low-cost microchipping services all of the time. Not to put a cost on a lifetime of security and peace of mind, but you’re really only looking at $10 to $40 dollars per animal. In addition, though you should check the chip from time-to-time, they do not require batteries and have a lifespan of 25 years. This means there’s little to no upkeep cost. Awesome!

5. There’s No Better Feeling Than The Love Of An Animal!

As if you needed any more encouragement – here are a few amazing videos of pets being returned to their owners because of microchipping. Warning – you may want to have tissues handy!

Sources & Resources

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Microchipping-of-animals-FAQ.aspx

https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/lost-and-found-dogs/why-microchip/

Need to find a veterinarian near you to get your pet microchipped? – check out – https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/hospital_search/default.aspx

 

Top 5 Easiest Classroom Pets

It’s hard to believe that summertime is practically over already and school will soon be back in session! For all of you teachers out there, a classroom pet can be a great way to add interest and variety to your lesson plans. Besides keeping the kids entertained and engaged, classroom pets can help to teach responsibility and appropriate pet care techniques. But before we get to the fun part, there are a few important details to examine.

 

Before You Buy

First and foremost, build yourself a budget! Find out if your school is willing to cover any of the expenses and if not, decide how much you are willing to spend yourself. Make sure you will be able to afford the upfront cost of setting up your classroom pet along with upkeep costs like food, bedding, and possible vet visits. You could also apply for an educational grant from Pets in the Classroom, a nonprofit organization that helps teachers with limited funding.

Next, find out if any of your students have pet related allergies or have a compromised immune system. Allergic reactions to specific animals, bedding, and even their food can be fairly common. By finding out this information before choosing a pet, you can save yourself the hassle of dealing with an unwanted situation later. If your school doesn’t already have guidelines setup for classroom pets, here is a sample school pet policy that may be a helpful resource.

 

Top 5 Pets

While many “best classroom pets” lists are based around your typical cute & fluffy animals, that may not always be the best way to go. Taking into consideration overall costs, time available for maintenance, and how your students will interact with their classroom pet should be the most important decision makers. The following pets have been chosen based on being low maintenance, easily handleable or strictly hands off, and their overall cost.

 

Praying Mantis

Estimated Setup Cost: $25    Estimated Monthly Cost: $10

If you’re looking for a great short-term pet with dreamstime_m_6826541lots of learning potential, praying mantises are the best way to go! The most common type of mantis kept in classrooms is the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis). These mantids have a life cycle that lasts about 8 to 12 months from egg to adult, which students can witness in its entirety if your timing is just right. You can usually purchase an ootheca (egg case) from many scientific or educational suppliers between Janurary and June. If you’re lucky enough to live where mantids are in abundance outside, you may even be able to find an unhatched ootheca attached to the branches of a tree or other outdoor plant. Place the egg case in a vented plastic container and keep it in the fridge, this will keep the eggs dormant until you are ready for them to hatch.

Mantids can be very low cost pets, depending on how you wish to keep them. Plastic deli cups and/ or plastic terrariums are usually the best housing options. Their food will consist of live flies or other feeder insects of various sizes. The only other supplies you need are a spray bottle for drinking water/ humidity, and maybe some feeding tongs too. Mantis care is very simple, just daily feeding and misting with weekly cleaning is really all you need. For more detailed care information, check out the extensive Chinese mantis care guide from mantidforum.net.

 

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Estimated Setup Cost: $25    Estimated Monthly Cost: $5

Now I know what most of you are probably thinking;
Eww, gross! Right? Well, if you can look past the ick factor, these guys can make amazing classroom pets. The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) is one of the largest species of cockroach and can live about 2 to 5 years. They are very hardy insects that can thrive with minimal care and withstand moderately rough handling without fear of injury. Keep in mind though, that your school may be less than enthusiastic about the idea of roaches breeding in your classroom (even though hissers breed quite slowly, and are not a pest species. Only about 1% of all roach species are). You can avoid this issue completely by purchasing only male hissers. Males are very easily identified by the distinct “horns” that grow on their protonum (the plate like structure on the thorax). Correctly identifying males can be difficult with younger insects, so choose at least half grown individuals if you’re picking them out yourself.

Hissing cockroaches are omnivores and will eat a variety of different foods. Fruits, vegetables, and pelleted foods (like turtle, dog, or cat food) are all good options. Housing for your hissers can be as simple as a 10 gallon aquarium with a secure lid. For an added security measure against any escapees, you can apply a 2 inch tall layer of petrolium jelly around the inside of the tank, just below the top. This keeps the roaches’ feet from sticking to the glass and stops any escape attempts.

Hissing cockroaches are extremely low maintenance. Feed and mist them every other to every 3 days, cleaning out old spoiled food when necessary. This along with a monthly thorough tank cleanup is more than enough to keep your hissers clean & happy. Read more on hissing cockroach care here.

 

Betta Fish

Estimated Setup Cost: $50    Estimated Monthly Cost: $3

As far as fish go, bettas are by far the easiest betta_male Veiltailto care for. Also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, bettas (Betta splendens) are tropical fish that are originally from Southeast Asia. They may not be the most exciting of classroom pet options, but they can be one of the most cost effective ones. If a betta’s habitat is maintained regularly with partial water changes, there is no need for filtration. On the other hand, setting up a tank with filtration and plants can be more rewarding and interesting for students to care for. Whichever way you decide on, you should ideally use a habitat that is at least 3 gallons or more. Besides the fact that your fish will have more space to swim in, more water means less fluctuation in water quality when performing routine maintenance. This will help prevent any stress related illnesses, and keep your fish healthy.

For their bare minimum requirements, you need an appropriately sized enclosure, gravel or sand for their substrate, a few plastic plants or other decorations, pellet or flake food, and a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other heavy metals in tap water. You can read our betta care guide for more in depth detail on betta care, and our aquarium setup beginners guide for setting up a tank with filtration.

 

Corn Snake

Estimated Setup Cost: $150    Estimated Monthly Cost: $10

Here’s another great classroom pet that is OkeeteeCornSnake5 (1)largely misunderstood. Contrary to some popular belief, corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) can be very docile and easily handled without biting once accustomed to regular human interaction. In most cases, snakes will only bite out of fear or if you smell like their food. That being said, choosing a baby corn snake may not be the best option unless you plan on fully taming it before allowing any direct interaction with your students. When young, they can be more jumpy and apt to defending themselves if they feel threatened. The bite from a baby corn snake is often barely noticible, but a frightening experience may cause some children to be overly wary or frightened of snakes indefinitely.

Ideally, snakes should only be handled at least 24 hours or more before or after being fed. This greatly reduces the liklihood of them regurgitating a meal and undergoing unnecessary stress. A snake may regurgitate a meal from time to time for various reasons. If this happens, just give them a week off from eating to allow their stomach to “settle down” and recover.On the other side of things, don’t allow a snake to be handled if you know they are overly hungry. Accidental bites are more likely when an animal is excited about eating and just grabs for the first thing they see.

Corn snakes may cost a little more than any of the previous animals listed, but once they have been set up are reletively inexpensive to care for. One approprietly size meal every week to two weeks (depending on the snake’s size and age) is more than enough to keep them happy. Most snakes can be conditioned to eat frozen-thawed already dead prey items, which for most people helps with the “ick factor” of feeding. With weekly or bi-weekly feedings, snakes tend to only go to the bathroom once every week or so as well. Spot cleaning their cage weekly and a thorough cleaning monthly is really all they need. Take a look at our corn snake care guide for more detailed housing and care tips.

 

Bearded Dragon

Estimated Setup Cost: $260    Estimated Monthly Cost: $15

Last but certainly not least is a very popular 152927_3609reptile pet. Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are one of the most personable lizards you could have. From a young age they tend to be very active and inquisitive, never missing what’s going in and outside of their habitat. These lizards do well with gentle supervised handling when small, and become incresingly calm and “durable” as they grow. That being said, they are the most expensive to initially set up. Like most pet lizards, bearded dragons need both heat and ultraviolet lighting to keep them healthy. They require UV rays to produce vitamin D3 and properly use the calcium in their diet, the same way humans do. Their lighting and temperature needs change from day to night, so using a light timer is ideal in a classroom setting. With their lights programmed to turn on and off automatically, there’s no need to worry about them over a weekend or short holiday.

After the initial cost of setting up a habitat, supplies and food are not overly expensive. Bearded dragons are omnivores, eating both insects and veggies/fruit. When they are still young and growing, insects will be the main portion of their diet with a small amount of leafy greens, veggies, and fruit. As they grow older and reach their adult size, the majority of their diet should be dark leafy greens, veggies and fruit with supplemental insects here and there. Overfeeding with insects when their metabolism has slowed can cause unnecessary weight gain and eventually health problems.

Being a desert animal, bearded dragons don’t require much water. Either use a small water dish, or give them time in a container of water outside their tank on a regular basis. The second option works best if your dragon tends to make a mess of his water dish. Another advantage to not using much water is that their droppings are not overly messy. Spot cleaning the enclosure as needed can be made extremely easy with a litter scoop or sand scoop depending on the type of substrate you use. Their enclosure should be thoroughly cleaned monthly, and the substrate replaced when it becomes too dirty. For more specific care and habitat information, please read our bearded dragon care guide
 
Making a well informed decision when choosing your next classroom pet is the most important thing you can do. Hopefully this guide makes your choice a little easier and your next pet venture a successful one!

 

A Note on Salmonella

While salmonella is associated most often with reptiles, any animal can carry this harmful bacteria. Salmonella infections are easily avoided by following simple cleaning procedures. Make sure that hands are thoroughly washed after handling any pet or cleaning their enclosure. Additional information on salmonella risks and prevention can be found here.
Sources:
http://http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/
http://www.mspca.org/programs/humane-education/resources-for-educators/animals-in-education/school-policy-on-classroom.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
http://mantidforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=31349
http://bugsincyberspace.com/Roach_Care_Sheet.html

Assistance Dogs: Facts & Resources on These Amazing Animals!

Assistance Dog
It’s no secret that dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. On a daily basis our dogs (cats and other furry & feathered friends, too!) provide us with unconditional love and loyalty thus making a positive impact on our lives. The therapeutic and healing benefits of a canine’s companionship are next to none, simply petting a dog can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This trait, along with their amazing trainability is what makes them so successful at being assistance dogs and aiding those with disabilities. With the help of hardworking and devoted assistance dogs, individuals with physical, emotional and mental disabilities are able to experience an enhanced quality of life.
 

3 Types of Assistance Dogs

While formal training standards for guide dogs have been established for over 70 years, the use of assistance dogs alongside individuals with physical and mental disabilities is a more modern concept. Nevertheless, hardworking assistance dogs of all types significantly impact their partners’ lives in many ways every single day.

Guide Dog

Guide Dogs: For individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In public, a guide dog can be identified by a harness and U-shaped handle which promotes communication between the assistance dog and their partner. In this team, the human’s role is to provide verbal commands, while the dog ensures their partner’s safety by avoiding obstacles, signaling changes in elevation, locating objects, negotiating traffic and so on.

Hearing Dogs: For individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Hearing dogs assist by alerting their partners to household sounds, such as doorbells, alarm clocks, smoke alarms, a crying baby and more. They are trained specifically to make physical contact and lead deaf partners to the source of sounds.

Service Dogs: Service Dog is a broad term for canines who support partners with disabilities other than those related to vision or hearing. These dogs can be specially trained to handle a multitude of situations related to improving their partner’s well-being. Service dogs can work with wheelchair bound individuals, those with autism and also those with other medical concerns to perform potential lifesaving duties. Service dogs can also aid those seeking emotional support. A veteran may find that an assistance dog has a huge, positive impact on their quality of life by providing them with stability & comfort after returning from overseas.

Among many others, here are a few tasks specially trained service dogs can help with:

  • Retrieving out-of-reach items
  • Pulling wheelchairs
  • Opening & closing doors
  • Turning light switches on & off
  • Barking to indicate assistance is needed
  • Providing balance & counterbalance
  • Seizure alert & response- Dogs trained to operate push button device to call 911, etc.
  • Alerting to other medical issues, such as low blood sugar- Dogs trained to fetch insulin kit or respiratory assist device if necessary.

 

Assistance Dog Standards

service-dog-1396291Assistance dogs, their trainers, partners and associated programs are held to a high level of standards that are crucial for defining what an assistance dog is. After completing screenings for emotional soundness, physical health and working ability, the dogs must complete labor-intensive training plans which include obedience and task work, such as retrieving, carrying, nose nudge and harness based tasks among many others. Once training is complete, assistance dogs are matched to best suit the needs of their partner and must show they are capable of performing the tasks deemed necessary to alleviate their partner’s disabilities. In turn, assistance dog partners must be able to provide their assistance dog with a secure living environment as well as take responsibility for the dog’s emotional, physical and financial needs.

While many service dog programs use Golden retrievers and Labradors, there are many other examples of breeds that have been successfully trained in aiding individuals with disabilities. The partner and their type of disabilities is a large deciding factor in what type of dog they will be matched with. Breed, size, shape and color aside, a good service dog is very people oriented, not protective or overly active and is confident, but not dominant or submissive.
 

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, training an assistance dog or helping to educate others about these specially trained animals, check out the resources below.

  • Assistance Dogs International
    ADI is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations. If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, you can find resources from Assistance Dogs International to locate programs in your local area.
  • Celebrate International Assistance Dog Week
    This website is a comprehensive resource about International Assistance Dog Week (August 2nd through the 8th). Locate events in your area to help celebrate & raise awareness about assistance dogs.
  • Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
    Do you know an organization or individual who could benefit greatly from some therapy dog interaction? KPETS, out of Lancaster, PA, is a network of therapy teams that provide therapeutic and supportive benefits to those with disabilities through human to animal interactions. These services are provided to organizations and/or individuals in need free of charge.
  • Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA
    Interested in training an assistance dog? Phoenix Assistance Dogs is a community program created to locate and train puppies to help those in need. PAD can also help individuals in finding and training their own assistance dog if they wish.

Sources:
http://www.iaadp.org/tasks.html
http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/
http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/
http://www.assistancedogweek.org/
http://www.kpets.org/
http://padcentral.org/

Images:
Service Dog © Found Animals Foundation | Flickr
Service Dog with Wheelchair © betta5 | freeimages.com
Guide Dog © Leonardo Tote | freeimages.com

 

Pet Friendly Hotels in Lancaster, PA

If you read our past blog Pet Friendly Destinations in Lancaster, PA you may be wondering where you and your pets can stay while visiting these awesome attractions. Here are some hotels, motels and campgrounds that will gladly accommodate you and your pets!

Sources:
http://www.bringfido.com/
http://www.gopetfriendly.com/
Image © Flicker | Tony Faiola

 

12 Pet Friendly Vacation Spots in the Mid-Atlantic

Summer is in full swing and many of our readers may be looking for dog-friendly vacation spots. Read on for a list (which is by no means is comprehensive) of pet friendly stops near Central PA. Whether you’re looking to spend a few days hiking the trails with your furry friend or just a day trip in the summer sun your family is bound to enjoy these fun summer destinations.

dog-648170_1280

  • The Amish Farm & House
    This site exists to provide the public with a quality educational experience reflecting both the historical and contemporary Amish culture in Lancaster County. You will see the farmhouse, built in 1805, the 15-acre picturesque farm with many of the historic buildings remaining, and a 1775 operational bake oven. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome on the grounds and most of the buildings.
  • Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park
    The newly renovated dog park, which Lancaster, PA resident Angela Bauman’s 2012 winning entry helped inspire, features an array of amusement park-themed elements, including: a 40-foot-long roller coaster bridge; custom-designed splash pads for large and small dogs that feature fun spray nozzles; an expansive deck for relaxing; a tennis ball tree, among many other exciting features. In honor of Bauman’s four-legged playmate Beau, the City of Lancaster renamed the dog park Beau’s Dream Dog Park.
  • Cape Henlopen State Park
    Located on the Delaware seashore you can take Fluffy for a dip on non-lifeguarded beaches as long she is kept on a leash 6 ft or shorter. No dogs are permitted on the lifeguarded beaches, sailboarding beaches or shorebird nesting areas during peak season (May 1- September 30).
  • Deep Creek
    Deep Creek Lake is the perfect vacation destination for people looking to travel with their dogs. We consider our pets part of the family, so why leave them behind? Booking a dog-friendly rental home is the ideal solution – don’t leave your furry friend back home at boarding facility, let him/her experience the fun activities at Deep Creek Lake along with you! With quiet streets, pet-friendly businesses, a wide open lake and miles of hiking trails, Deep Creek, Maryland is a dog’s heaven on earth.
  • Elm’s Beach Park
    Located on the Chesapeake Bay there are 476 acres of pet-friendly fun. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash.
  • Flag Ponds Nature Park
    Another park located on the Chesapeake Bay, you can enjoy both short and long hikes through freshwater ponds areas, forested heights, and sandy beaches with your dog. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • John H. Downs Memorial Park & Dog Beach
    also situated on the Bay, Downs offers paved and natural trails and a dog beach. On the dog beach you can even let your dog off leash if you’d like.
  • Kitchen Kettle Village
    You’ll enjoy this quaint shopping village which has all the hand-made items you would expect in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. You’ll find quilts, leather goods, home decor, meats and cheeses, baked goods, a jam and relish kitchen, homemade ice cream, and kettle corn. There is also a petting zoo and carriage rides. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome to join you on the grounds and and on the carriage rides.
  • Knoebels Amusement Resort
    With no admission fee, this pay-as-you-ride amusement park is popular with the dogs, too! Dogs are permitted inside the park but must be kept on a leash and you pick up after your pooch.
  • Lake Erie: Presque State Park
    A bit of a distance from Central PA, but the pristine beaches may be worth the drive. Pooches are allowed on all non-lifeguarded beaches with a 6 ft or shorter leash.
  • The Landing Restaurant (New Hope, PA)
    A rare occurrence in our area: a restaurant where you can dine with your furry best friends. Dine on The Landing’s riverside terrace where your pet is treated like a guest, not a pest. Be sure to say hello to Fred, the Burmese Mountain Dog who mingles with guests on the terrace.
  • Long Beach Island, NJ Dog Parks
    Long Beach Island has two dog parks. Barnegat Light’s dog park, on the north end of the island, has a double gated entrance for safety. Long Beach Township’s Dog Park has installed dune fencing so that the dogs can go from the beach to the water in relative safely. All licensed and well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Be sure to take plenty of water, treats, toys, and don’t forget bags to clean up after the dogs! Plan ahead if you think you would like to spend the night. There are many hotel chains that are becoming pet friendly, but some have restrictions of the type or number of animals you may have with you while others charge an additional pet fee.

If you have a favorite dog friendly destination spot, be sure to leave it in the comments, we’d love to try out some new doggie vacation spots!

 Sources:
http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/dog_beaches  
http://www.whenandwhere.com
http://www.bringfido.com/
http://www.gopetfriendly.com/

Water Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Summertime is full of opportunities for most of us to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. But as we all know, that searing summer sun can be intense and in the search for some reprieve we often find ourselves poolside, in local stream, river, lake, or on the beach. If you’re like me, you likely have your pet along too. My pup is a water-lover; if there is a way for her to get wet she will be. While it’s always fun having her along to play or go for a swim, it’s also important to keep any pet’s safety in mind while on, in, or near water.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you splash through summer with your favorite four-legged companion.

 

Does Your Pet Like The Water?

The first thing to think about (especially if this is the firstdoesyourpetlikewaterseason you’ll be taking your pet in or near water) is that not all pets can swim, swim well, or want to swim. While some dogs seem like they were born to swim and take to it immediately, others struggle with fear of the water, panic in the water, or even find themselves in peril due to their own physiology. In my experience, toy breeds tend to be less than enthusiastic about water. I’m sure there are exceptions to my observations, but in general they have no interest and may even tremble at the sight. Likewise, breeds and mixes with thick bodies, short legs, cropped/short tails, and short snouts are prone to being terrible swimmers. Though they may be interested in swimming, you may find that it just doesn’t work out for them without a little help and constant supervision. You may consider purchasing a life vest to help to keep your pet afloat. Never force your dog into the water. Allow them to approach and investigate on their own under close supervision. If he or she seems anxious or scared, water play may not be for your pet, and taking them into the water may only increase that fear or anxiety.  Some pets like to take a quick dip, others may stay in the water all day if you let them. You can usually tell when it’s time to take a rest just by the way your pet is holding himself. Know when it’s time to wrap up play time, especially when the temperatures soar to avoid over exertion.

Other conditions may also make it hard for pets to partake in water activities. Small dogs and dogs with little or no fur can become cold quickly, even in warmer water. Older dogs and dogs with pre-existing heart, joint, ear or skin conditions could have flare-up after going for a swim.
 

Check Your Surroundings

My pet and I tend to seek out freshwater rivers, streams,checksurroundings and lakes to cool off. When you take your pet somewhere
to swim (no matter where) be sure to look around the area.  Posted signs such as “no swimming” signs should not just apply to you, but to your pet as well as there may be unseen safety hazards.  Avoid bodies of water that smell bad or may be prone to farm waste, roadway runoff or other contaminants that may be harmful to you or your pet.  Also be aware of potential hazards in the shallows or on the shore such as broken glass, fishing line/hooks, sharp rocks or branches, and other potential hazards.  Be sure the area you choose has slow current and areas where he or she can reach the bottom or the shore easily to take a breather.
 
 
If you live near the coast, you may be lucky enough to take your dog to the beach for playtime. It’s particularly important to pay attention to wildlife and water condition warnings at these locations. Strong tides, waves and undercurrents can pull your pet under or carry them out into deeper water. Jellyfish and other sea life (such as toxic pufferfish), alive or dead, may be washed onto the shore and can make a pet sick or inflict other injuries.
 

Boat Safety

Some pet owners even take their pets boating. Pets should boatsafety
be acclimated to traveling on watercraft before you embark.
The motion of the water rocking the boat may cause them to feel unstable and nauseated and it may cause nervousness and anxiety. The sound of the boat motor may also frighten some pets, so make sure your pet isn’t alarmed when the motor is started or changes pitch. Once they’re accustomed to the new sounds and sensations, be sure to observe the same boat safety for your dog as you do for yourself and other passengers. Invest in a pet life jacket in case your pet jumps or falls overboard.  Keep tackle and other potentially harmful objects and materials out of the dog’s reach to avoid injury or ingestion. Provide plenty of fresh cool water and a place for your pet to get out of the direct sun. Sunscreen for pets and eye protection such as doggles or a doggie visor are also recommended supplies,
especially for repeated or longer trips.
 

Pool Precautions

Some of you may have a pool in the backyard. If you allowpoolprecautions your dog to take a dip on hot days, teach him how to get out of the pool on his own by helping him up the stairs or ladder a few times. Make sure he knows where the way out is and that he can get out on his own!  Keep fresh-chlorine free water near the pool on the deck or patio so he doesn’t take to drinking to pool water. The chlorine and other chemicals that keep the pool crystal clear can give your pet quite a tummy ache.
 
 
 
 
 
 

When Playtime is Done

When your day of fun is done, rinse or shampoo your dog toplaytimedone remove pool chemicals, salt and other residue from his skin and coat.  Take care to clean and dry his ears to avoid ear infections. Even a well-conditioned swimmer will be sure to sleep well after a day in the water, your pet may even be a little stiff and sore if he doesn’t have a workout like that often. Rest assured that in a day or two he’ll be ready for his next swim session!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Common Pet Parasites and Pests – Warm Weather Worries

Parasites can afflict pets any time of the year, however during the spring and summer months, they tend to be more prevalent. Our pets spend a lot more time outside when the weather is warm, and parasites breed more readily. Even if your pets spend all or most of their time indoors, it is possible for parasites to find them whether carried in on our clothes or by crawling through our screen doors. Here are some common parasites to look out for and ways to combat them this summer. Read More »

Rabbits Vs Guinea Pigs: Which is Better For Kids?

Hi Pet Blog Readers,

Hope you had a great weekend.  Let’s get the week started with an article from guest blogger Melanie.  She has a post for us that should help you out if you are trying to decide between getting a rabbit or a guinea pig.  Each of these small pets have their own characteristics and behaviors and their care may suit your personal situation better than the other.  Melanie’s outline of pros and cons should be able to help make your decision a bit easier.  If you have a preference between a rabbit and a guinea pig or if you have a question or comment, please let us know in the comments section below.  Thanks!

 ________________

A first pet is a very important right of passage for your child. Not only does it make a very cute contribution to your family, it teaches your kids responsibility and to love and respect the animal kingdom. That said, having a pet isn’t always easy. They take looking after, feeding, exercising and immunising.

 

If you’re thinking of getting a pet for your child, it’s always good to start with something small and manageable. Two great examples are either guinea pigs or rabbits. Both of these animals are relatively low maintenance and your children should be able to take care of most of the responsibilities involved.

 

Below you will find the pros and cons for each animal, which should help in deciding which to get.

 

RABBITS

Photo uploaded to Flickr by user Robobobobo.

PROS

  • They are small in size and can fit in your children’s hands.
  • They are gentle and not intimidating for children.
  • They feed on dry food, grass and vegetables which is easy to find.
  • They require little or no vaccinations.
  • They are independent and do their own thing.
  • They can exercise in their cage or indoors.
  • They show affection to their owners.
  • They can be litter boxed trained.
  • They can be left to roam.
  • They live 812 years, slightly longer than guinea pigs.

 

CONS

  • They are stubborn animals and training takes time.
  • They can be smelly. Hutches need to be cleaned frequently.
  • They chew everything they come into contact with so home roaming can be a problem.
  • They are susceptible to exposure and in extreme weather may need to stay inside.
  • Finding veterinary help for rabbits can be difficult as it’s uncommon.
  • They poop a lot and everywhere.
  • They will wee on you if given the chance.
  • They are very quick and can be hard to catch when returning them to their cage.
  • They are rapid breeders so be careful if you have more than one.

 

IMG_3686GUINEA PIGS

PROS

  • They are small in size and can fit in your children’s hands.
  • They do not bite and are even more gentle than rabbits.
  • They don’t smell.
  • They don’t breed as quickly as rabbits.
  • They are independent and do their own thing.
  • They can exercise in their cage or indoors.
  • They make adorable squeaking noises.
  • They are very easy to take care of.
  • They live 5 – 8 years, more than smaller rodents.
  • They love to be held for hours and are easy to catch.
  • They have a great temperament.

 

CONS

  • They can be shy at the beginning and run away from you.
  • They require largish cages.
  • Cages need to be cleaned frequently.
  • They can be noisy so best kept outside.
  • They aren’t as simple to feed as rabbits. They need a variety of vegetables, hay, and high quality pellets that you might have to order online.
  • They poop and pee without warning.

 

Author Bio

Melanie is a pet lover and very keen blogger. Over the last few years Melanie has contributed numerous articles on pet care and products.  Melanie is currently working on a new pet blog that should be released soon.

 

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Hydrated – Cheers to Hydration Month!

Water is Essential to Our Pets' Health It’s no secret that your pets need fresh clean drinking water every day for optimum health. It’s also no secret that cats and some dogs are very finicky about, well, pretty much everything! With the warmer weather approaching I want to talk about your pet’s drinking habits.

Water is an essential ingredient to life. All animals need it to help flush out toxins and to keep organs hydrated. Cats especially need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney problems, most notably kidney stones and kidney failure.

How Much Water
Does My Pet Need?

The amount of water that your pet needs to drink daily depends on his or her weight, activity level, and diet. Dogs are generally pretty good about regulating their water intake. As long as fresh, clean water is provided they will usually drink the amount their body requires. Keep in mind that with the warmer temperatures around the corner, your dog should also be drinking more to stay fully hydrated.

Cats get most of their water intake from their food. In the wild this is not much of an issue since raw meat contains up to 70% water. Dry food, on the other hand, only contains about 10% moisture. Some cats will supplement their food with extra drinking water and others are a little pickier.


Symptoms of
Dehydration in Pets:

    • Sunken Eyes
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Dry Mouth
    • Depression

Any sudden change in behavior can be cause for concern. Contact your vet if your pets’ drinking habits change suddenly; if they starting drinking an excessive amount of water, or stop drinking it altogether it could be a sign of a serious illness.

What if I Suspect
Dehydration?

      • Perform the skin test: Gently grab a fold of skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades & release. If the skin snaps back into place, your pet should be okay. If the skin slowly returns to place, your pet could be dehydrated.
      • Have your pet checked by a vet.
      • Provide fresh, clean water daily.
      • Monitor your pet’s water intake, especially in the hot summer months.


Tips for Keeping
Your Pets Hydrated

If you are having trouble getting your pet interested in water there are a few things you can try.

        • Change the type of pet bowl. Some prefer ceramic (lead-free glazed, of course) over metal bowls and vice versa.
        • Try a pet fountain. Clean, fresh, running water might be more enticing for your pet, while others will appreciate the water being filtered (thus tastier) and kept cooler.
        • Change the location of their water dish. Be sure it is far from the litter box and/or out of direct sunlight.
        • Consider adding a wet food to your pet’s diet, or add water to their dry food. Wet cat foods usually contain around 80% water. Just be sure to adjust your portions of dry food to ensure you aren’t over feeding your pet.

Pet Hydration Infographic & Resources Referenced from PetSafe: http://www.petsafe.net/learn/pet-hydration-month

5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

4153580157_7000b383d1_mAccording to leading veterinarians, pet obesity is becoming an epidemic and should be a top health concern for pets. It is estimated that 54 million cats and 34 million dogs in the US are clinically obese. Many pet owners struggle with keeping their pets at an ideal weight.

We’ll admit, it can be sometimes hard to deny those puppy dog eyes and we just want our pets to be happy, right? So why can’t they have a few extra treats if they want them? Unfortunately, a few extra pounds can be detrimental.

The excess weight on our pets can cause a variety of other health problems, the same way obesity can have adverse effects on human health. A few extra pounds on a dog may not seem like anything to worry about, but the added weight can exacerbate arthritis, cause joint and bone issues, and it can greatly increase the possibility that your pet will develop diabetes or cardiac/respiratory disease. Thier immune systems can be diminished, making their ability to fight off other illnesses and disease.

It’s best to learn how to prevent pet obesity before weight related complications arise, because even if your pet loses weight, the damage may be irreversible.

Is My Pet Obese?

The easiest way to tell if your pet is overweight is to feel the ribs. If you can feel the individual rib bones easily your pet is most likely not overweight. The Healthy Weight Calculator from PetMD.com is also a great tool that can help you determine your pet’s proper healthy weight.

 

11273378_177099ccde_mCauses of Obesity

There isn’t just one cause of pet obesity; there are quite a few factors involved! Our pets rely on us to feed them properly and give them the proper amount of physical activity to stay fit. They don’t think about what they eat, if they are overeating and how it may effect their health. If your dogs are like mine, they will accept any treat or table scrap offered without hesitation.

Most pets, including cats, need a fair amount of physical activity each day in order for them to stay fit; a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor nutrition is the number one cause of pet obesity. When deciding what and how much to feed your pets, keep their activity level in mind. The amount of food listed in the instructions on pet food labels may contain too many calories for your pet, especially if they aren’t very active.

Many pet parents ‘free feed’ their animals, in other words, their animals have constant access to food throughout the day. Some pets, though few and far between, are good at self-regulating and stop eating when they are full, while others will scarf down food whenever it’s available. It’s important to measure out the amount of food that your pets eat in a day (including treats and table scraps!), so you can monitor their intake.

Some specific breeds may be more susceptible to obesity. These breeds may be predisposed to conditions including naturally slow metabolism and hormonal disorders that make them more likely to gain weight.

Having a pet spayed or neutered also causes metabolism to slow, and after the procedure many pets gain weight, but the benefits of spaying and neutering your pets far outweigh the negatives.

 

5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

1. Know Your Pets’ Caloric Requirements

The average human needs a 2000 calorie diet to maintain their weight and receive adequate nutrition, our pets need far less. Refer to the following chart to estimate the number of calories that your pets’ require. For a more accurate estimate of your dog’s require caloric intake, visit the Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Calculator.

2. Portion Control7362339338_b348e6b8ec_n

Use a smaller scoop and a smaller food bowl. Studies have shown that the size of your pet’s bowl and food scoop affects the amount of food that you feed your pet. If you have a Chihuahua and you are using an 8 inch bowl, you are probably going to overfeed Chico quite a bit. It all has to with how much food you perceive is in the bowl. If you used a small dish, you would perceive that you were feeding more food. If you are trying to help your pet lose weight, using a smaller bowl and a smaller scoop will go a long way towards helping them reach their goals.

3. Keep Track of Snacks

Many people are feeding the right amount of kibble for their dog’s appropriate weight, but they might also be feeding them a dozen milk bones or bites of “people food” throughout the day. Don’t forget that the treats and snacks that you feed your pet throughout the day should also count towards their daily calorie intake. That includes treats used for training! If you pet isn’t a picky eater, try using carrot sticks, apple slices or celery as a substitute for high calorie treats. They’re natural, whole foods and low in calories, and most pets love them.

4. Several Smaller Meals

If you feel that your pet seems hungry throughout the day, try dividing up your pet’s meals into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Before you schedule your pet for 4 meals a day, a word of caution: your pet has probably trained you into feeding him when he does something specific. For example: Bear knows that if he sits next to the treat jar looking sad, I will probably hand him a cookie or if my cats meow at the top of their lungs for an hour, I’ll provide them with a scoop of kibble or two. My pets are likely not actually hungry, but they are repeating behaviors that in the past has been rewarded with a treat or extra meal. Try not to give in, redirect them with a game or go for a quick walk if they’re particularly relentless.

3835373704_1db968f4ff_m5. Veggies!

Supplementing meals with fresh or frozen vegetables or low calorie fruits can be a big help. The added fiber in the vegetables will help your pet feel fuller, longer. Don’t feed your pet foods that may be toxic, like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, garlic, avocados, raw or green potatoes, grapes, raisins, or any pits, stems or seeds from fruits. I also tend avoid corn, since it is a common pet allergen.

You should always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a special diet or exercise program. The first, most important and often most difficult step is is to control the amount of food your pet is allowed to eat. If you cannot excercise your pet as often as necessary or if your dog has a condition that hinders activity and natural weight maintenance, your vet can often make recommendations to help with your situation.

A slow and steady approach is the healthiest, just as with people in the same predicament. Make slow changes to your pet’s diet and exercise regime. Your pet shouldn’t lose more than 1-2% of body weight per week.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle will help you keep your pet at it’s happiest and healthiest for years to come!

Scroll To Top