Friday, October 30, 2009

Can dogs watch TV?

Many claim that their dogs watch TV. A lot of these dogs will actually follow the movement of objects moving around the screen and may also bark. However, the dog does not interpret the television the same way we do. The dog can’t determine what any object on the screen actually is. For example, if we can see a video of a dog running around a field, your dog will see a dark object moving around the screen and this may grab his attention and make him "watch". The sounds of the television are also likely to gain the attention of the dog, and because they can pinpoint the directional origin of any sound they hear, they will naturally look at the TV. Most dogs, however, will differentiate between the sounds of, a dog barking on TV and a real dog barking. Although unapparent to us, there will be a distinct difference which will render the TV version unimportant to your dog. A dog's most important sense, smell, is not present in television and may affect his reaction to stimuli such as the TV that is lacking scents.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don’t lay an egg!

There are several triggers to egg laying in cockatiels - possibly the most important being daylight hours. If the bird detects a lengthening of the daylight hours then this will trigger her to start laying eggs. You can help suppress this by keeping your bird covered or in a shaded/darkened room for at least 12 hours a day. Also, since your bird is more inclined to lay eggs when feeling safe and secure, she may feel less comfortable if there are frequent but subtle changes to her habitat, such as moving her cage furniture around. It is quite common for cockatiels to lay eggs. They will normally lay a clutch of 3-5 eggs at 48 hour intervals and then depending on how maternal the bird is feeling they will normally incubate them for one to three weeks before accepting they are not going to hatch. Make sure that she has a good supply of calcium as well as protein, vitamins and minerals to replace those that have gone into the egg production and ensure that she gets plenty of exercise between hatches to keep her fit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Alone…

I would rather suggest friend or relative pop in and check on your hamster while you are away/take your hamster in for the length of your vacation. This is the best option as it will avoid the undue stress of travelling and the possibility of your hamster overfeeding on the food left for it and then running out. Its not recommended leaving a hamster on its own for longer than three days. Rather just take him with you then. Take a cover for the cage while in the car and don't place it near the air vents, an open window or in direct sunlight. Things will move around a bit in the car even with the best driving so don't put anything in the cage that could harm your hamster. For example, use a water bottle and scatter a little bit of food around the floor rather than water/food bowls. A quiet background level of music will be fine but your hamster will probably be trying to sleep so wont appreciate anything very loud.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is chomping on the lawn ok?

Rabbits have a unique digestive system, which best suits a high fiber, low protein, and low energy diet. A high fiber diet, as well as being essential for digestion, also helps your rabbit to keep his or her teeth trim. All a rabbit really needs is a good quality rabbit mix containing cereal grains, minerals and vitamins, a constant supply of fresh hay, fresh water and small quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, in the wild they eat grass and graze on vegetation, as a result, it is not a problem to let your rabbit nibble on the grass in your yard unless the grass is chemically treated. Be absolutely, absolutely sure that nothing has been used on the grass within the last 6 years or so i.e. pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Some chemicals can remain in the soil for that long and may have an adverse effect on your pet’s health and well-being.

Monday, October 26, 2009


There are a couple of methods to check whether your horse is dehydrated. So use these methods regularly so as to build up knowledge of your horse’s condition, and to make sure your horse gets enough fluids. The first method is to test the "capillary refill time" by parting the horse's lips to expose the gums. If you press gently and briefly on the upper jaw with your thumb you will see the blood is forced from the gum. Count how long it takes for the gum to return to its normal colour. If it is longer than 2 seconds your horse may be either dehydrated or might have a circulatory problem. Secondly, pinch the skin on your horse's neck just in front of the shoulders. If the skin does not return back to its normal position quickly, this may indicate dehydration. This is an easy test for you to do frequently to build up a picture of your horse’s relative hydration from day to day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dog vs. Cat

If you are introducing a new dog to a home that already has a cat, your cat will need time to gain confidence around the new arrival, even if you've picked a breed with a better reputation for getting on with cats. Cats will normally react to dogs by hissing or swatting with their paws, and will try to escape by running or hiding. They may also spray to mark 'their' territory. With time and patience feline-canine harmony should be achievable. Don’t leave the two unsupervised until you can completely trust them to behave in your absence. Kittens usually love dogs, whilst dogs find kittens unthreatening. Just like adults, they need to time to adapt to the new arrival. Introduce kittens gradually and never leave them alone together until a pattern of good relations has been established. Some adult dogs will carry kittens around and young kittens will accept this attention, but it's probably best to gently take your kitten away from the dog to avoid injury. Don't worry if they never really get along. Cats are naturally independent, so as long as each has their own space, things will work out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Worming around!

Most puppies are actually born with worms, so one of the first things you'll need to do is treat both the puppies and their mother for the condition. Roundworm and tapeworms (picked up from flea eggs) are the most common variety of infestation, but hookworms may also be lurking. Roundworms can be identified as spaghetti-like shapes in the vomit or faeces. Tapeworm is rice-shaped. The latter are particularly hard to spot and you are more likely to see them around your dog's bottom. Fortunately, worm infestations are easy to control and treat, as long as the condition does not progress too far. If you suspect that your dog has worms, talk to your vet. In some circumstances you may be advised to take in a stool sample, the vet will look under the microscope for worm eggs in the sample. It's a good idea to dispose of the stool when your dog goes to the toilet outside. This will help to prevent re-infestation, and will also protect playmates as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sick Pup!

It's not always easy to detect illness in your dog, so you'll need to look for a range of subtle signs that may indicate a potential problem. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, don't rely on books or websites for a diagnosis. Contact your vet immediately!
If your dog has persistent constipation or diarrhoea that lasts for longer than 48 hours, visit your vet, and, if possible, take a fresh stool sample with you.
Persistent sickness or choking when eating is a concern. Vomiting can be a sign of a developing allergy, or a more serious infection, particularly in older dogs. Kennel cough can also be a serious illness. For a range of reasons your dog's eating patterns may occasionally become irregular. But if your dog refuses food for a day or more, consult your vet. If for any reason your dog just isn't his or her normal, healthy, active self, it's worth taking a closer look. Like humans, dogs can just look unwell, and even if there are no obvious clues to what's wrong, a trip to the vet is a good idea if symptoms persist.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Welcoming your new feline friend!

Firstly choose a name for you kitty. Serve fresh food and water every day in clean plastic, ceramic or stainless steel dishes.

Next to the food and water, place kitty’s litter tray. Kittens function best when they have a choice of at least two trays, which are easy to access and nearby. Attach an ID tag and bell to warn you (and the birds) when your kitten is around - or trying to get out! Also speak with your vet about microchip insertion in case your kitten gets lost.

Choose a bed for your kitten and a variety of sturdy kitten toys. Dangle them from a string tied to a stick to keep your kitten active and interested. Cats don't need to be bathed on a regular basis, but brushing or combing your cat's coat could become a happy habit!

And finally, find a reputable veterinary practice that you can trust as this relationship may last 15 to 20 years!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Losing Your Best Friend

The sorrow associated with the recent or impending loss of a pet can be overwhelming, but there are ways to help you cope with the loss of your beloved pet. When your pet - sometimes your best friend - dies, even close friends may not know how to help you or what to say. Those who don't own pets often find it hard to comprehend the loss of the relationship you enjoyed so much. Time, of course, is the great healer. Creating a memorial can help give you closure when dealing with the loss of your pet, like holding a small remembrance service in your garden or planting a tree or plant. Talking to someone who has been through a similar experience is also a great comfort! And don’t feel silly! The sadness you may experience is valid and real. It might also help to talk to, or read books written by, those who have experienced a loss or who have professional training in this area, or scour the internet for articles that provide support on this topic.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Destructive Dog!

Chewing is a natural part of a puppy's development as they begin to explore their surroundings. Punish only if caught in the act otherwise this is pointless. Ignore any mess and clear up and remove your puppy from the situation until calm. Redirect your puppy's natural desire into appropriate chewing such as food balls or toys and praise when you see your puppy using these toys. Do not give articles of clothing etc to your puppy to chew as this may confuse it.

If you think your dog's destructiveness is a way of seeking attention then be aware that pets soon learn that they will be rewarded with owners undivided attention when they chew something. You must make sure that you give your dog attention even when it is being good and quiet so that it doesn’t resort to attention seeking behaviour.
Ignore any attention seeking chewing and redirect your dog towards appropriate chewing behaviour and praise any positive behaviour.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pet Training

Whether you have just brought home a new puppy or a rescue dog, training should begin straight away. Your dog can pick up bad habits if allowed to get away with certain behaviour when settling in that you later feel will be unacceptable. For example you allow your puppy to sleep in your room for the first few nights as he is crying, a few months down the line you cannot shut your dog in the kitchen at night because he barks the house down! So decide on the ground rules before your pet arrives and stick to them. You will need patience and a willing pet. You will also need a small, tasty treat to reward your dog with and a quiet room with no distractions to enable you and your dog to concentrate. It can be very helpful to join a training class for guidance and socialisation or work from a reputable dog-training book. Ensure that you have suitable training aids or equipment to hand such as clicker, harness, lead etc. Once your dog is performing a certain task reliably you can start to ask them to do this in a 'real' situation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What to do when puppy needs to pee at night

When very young, puppies often need to eliminate every 3 to 4 hours. To prevent them from getting into the habit of eliminating in the house, you can use a puppy pen or indoor kennel. Indoor kennels can be useful in toilet training as they don’t like to go to the toilet in their bed and feeding areas. Don’t put your puppy in the kennel if it doesn’t like it, or as punishment or just to keep it out of the way of the comings and goings in the house. The kennel should be large enough for the puppy to stand up in, lie flat out in and turn around in. Put puppy’s bed, water bowl and toys in it. Encourage your puppy to go in there by giving it attention and treats while in there, your puppy will learn that this is a safe place to go whenever required. When puppy’s happy to go in there and sleep with the door open, start to shut the door for short periods until it is comfortable with this. Ensure that puppy is tired when in the kennel so that it will just want to sleep and is not full of beans!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Bang!

Loud firework bangs and flashes in the sky can be particularly terrifying to animals. In order to keep your pet safe during firework displays, follow these tips:

  • If your pet is particularly sensitive to loud noises, ask your veterinary surgeon for advice on medication. There are some homeopathic remedies available to relieve stress.
  • Provide a litter tray for cats if they are used to having garden access.
  • Remember to secure doors and windows.
  • If you are having a firework display, warn neighbours in advance so they can take precautions. Ideally go to your local community display.
  • Ensure your pets' identification is current so if they do get away local authorities are better able to help return them to you.
  • You pet may find toys and treats comforting and distracting so ensure you have a supply.
  • Put your pet inside and draw the curtains, and put the TV or radio on to drown out noise.
  • Never let off fireworks near any animal!

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to wean your kitten

Kittens can usually be started on the weaning process at three weeks of age and should be fully weaned by 6-8 weeks of age. Canned food can be mashed up and mixed with water to form gruel. Smear the gruel around your kitten's lips to encourage your kitten to lick the food off his/her lips. Some kittens will take the food as a mash but make sure there are no big chunks in the food and water mixture. Dry food can also be soaked and used to make gruel. Feed small amounts to your kitten and as often as your kitten requires and as your kitten gets older start adding less water to the mixture. Many kittens will eat dry food without it being soaked by 10-12 weeks of age while most will manage a canned kitten food at 6-8 weeks. So the key is just to be patient with your kitten and make sure that they get enough food, frequently.

Friday, October 9, 2009

So how do you get started?

Like any kind of training, start in an environment that your dog is comfortable and relaxed in. Begin to associate the click with a reward by click-treat-click-treat-click etc holding the clicker out of view. Your dog will eventually begin to associate the clicker with a reward until the click becomes a reward in itself. In obedience training you give your dog an idea of what is expected and then when he does it right you can reward him. For example tempt your dog into the sit position by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose and move your hand back over your dogs head. As he tries to keep the treat under his nose his bottom will automatically hit the floor, at this stage you can then click and treat. As you repeat this only give treats intermittently and introduce a command. Allow your dog time to work out what you want him to do and be patient.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clicker Training?

Clicker training is a simple and effective method of training based on a positive reinforcement reward system. The clicker is a simple plastic box with a metal tongue. When compressed it emits a double 'click' sound. The clicker is used to reward a specific behaviour and works on most dogs’ willingness to want to please their owners and earn their prize. The positive aspect of the clicker is that it is specific to the behaviour your dog is displaying at the time that you want to reward. Praise such as "who’s a good boy!" is not as effective in teaching your dog what is going to get it its reward and so it will take longer for your dog to learn. As the click is sounded as the behaviour is happening, there can be no doubt about what the dog is being rewarded for. Clicker training uses your dog’s own natural desire to learn and obtain a reward without having to use any force or punishment. If your dog does not do what you are trying to train, it will not get a click reward and so will try harder to do what you want to gain recognition.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to prevent your cat from spraying in the house

Firstly, distinguish between spraying and urinating: spraying is a deliberate act of communication, which will be done on a vertical surface such as a wall. Urinating is the normal passing of urine onto a horizontal surface like the floor. Spraying can be a sign of serious upset but is usually a normal marking behaviour in un-neutered cats and in most animals out of the house. Some of these apparent toileting problems can have a medical basis so if you are unsure always get your vet to check your cat.
For any kind of spraying/urination, cleaning the area properly is very important to prevent recurrence, try the following:

1. Clean the area with a 10% solution of a biological or enzymatic washing powder / liquid.
2. Wipe area down with cool clean water and dry.
3. Spray area with a low-grade alcohol such as surgical spirit through a plant mister.

Pheromone sprays can be obtained from a vet to make your cat feel more settled but the area must be properly cleaned first. The longer this problem continues the more difficult it is to stop.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby Behaviour Training

Once you’ve identified the behaviour that needs changing, before your baby arrives, sincere training should start. Cats and dogs of all ages have the capability to learn new tricks; it is all about rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour. If you catch your pet acting inappropriately you can use a negative reaction e.g. making a noise when they jump on the couch. This reaction however has to be consistent. It takes between three and five days for a dog to follow a new set of rules, and a cat can take between a week and ten days. So consistency is key to creating a new routine and a new set of rules to ensure that your pet will be prepared for the arrival of your new born and that they are well trained to deal with the new addition to the family, and essentially their territory!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love at First Sniff?

Pets seldom happily welcome the newborn baby in the house and it is often forgotten that your pets, too, need to be prepared for the new arrival. Preparation of the arrival of a baby should begin as soon as you know you’re pregnant: use a baby doll to determine how your pet may react to a real infant. While your pet’s watching, hold the doll in your arms and place it on the floor. If you don’t like your pet’s reaction you have to teach him/her how you like them to behave, by using the doll. You should consider that your pet’s general behaviour may need to change. Your pet won’t instinctively know to change its behaviour just because a baby is in the house. It is important to remember that your pet is not being naughty or stubborn but is just doing what it has always been allowed to do. So nip any behaviour you consider inappropriate around an infant, in the bud before your baby arrives. You need to teach your pet new rules; otherwise they are bound to make ‘mistakes’.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Midnight Snack…

Most dogs have the uncouth habit of snacking on faeces. Here are a few ways to put an end to this nasty habit: The pineapple method suggests that you put small (and keep it small as your pet may start vomiting from too large a piece of pineapple) pieces of pineapple into your pet’s food. This will give the faeces a bitter taste. The courgette method proposes that you cook courgettes in a small amount of olive oil, until soft. Give a small dog 1 to 2 teaspoons, or a large dog 1 tablespoon of the courgettes with each meal. The best way to correct this habit is to restrict access to faecal material. Clean up your dog’s mess as soon as possible! Rewards go a long way, so reward your dog when they behave well, and withhold treats when caught chomping on pooh. Also, provide your pet with enough chew toys and spend quality time with him/her.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to deal with puppy’s separation anxiety

Separation anxiety may manifest itself through barking, toileting, chewing or self-mutilation. A traumatised pet, be it a new puppy or an established pet, may display these symptoms and a vet check-up may certainly be in order then! Here are a few guidelines to help them (and you) deal with their anxiety: For young dogs, gradually familiarise them with long periods of time alone. Precede these periods with quality time. Don’t make a big issue out of coming in and leaving the house. Leave your pet with something desirable, that it may only have on its own, such as toys or food balls. Always be sure to reward good behaviour. Most damage is done during the first ten minutes of you leaving, so change your routine to dispel your pet’s anxiety. Don’t punish your pet unless it has been caught in the act of doing something wrong. Punishment may increase your pet’s anxiety.