Wild Animals as Pets

It may seem quite appealing, but the practice of keeping wild animals as pets is not at all a wise thing to do – neither for you, nor for the animal. In this write-up, we will discuss the ill-effects of this practice.
TAGGED UNDER: Wild Animals

The practice of keeping wild animals – such as lions, tigers, elephants, wolves, alligators and huge snakes, as pets can be traced back to ancient times wherein keeping such wild pets was considered a status symbol amongst the rich. While the practice continues even today, it is no more restricted to the rich as it was back then. Illegal trade, backyard breeding and auction of exotic animals has made it a lot easy to keep them as pets. Right from spiders and scorpions to considerably large primates and even some big cats, the list of wild animals sought by pet enthusiasts is quite lengthy. But is it wise to keep these animals as pets? Wildlife enthusiasts are strictly against this concept, and cite several reasons to refrain from it.

Why Wild Animals Don’t Make Good Pets?

Wild animals are those species whose behavior is such that they cannot co-exist with humans, and that definition in itself is one of the most prominent reasons as to why you should refrain from keeping them as pets. It is very difficult to care for these animals as their basic requirements in terms of food, habitat or other attributes of their life, are quite high. It doesn’t take much time for the adorable young ones of these wild species to grow into large and strong adults. With their instinctive behavioral traits – such as biting and scratching, they can easily end up harming humans even when they don’t intend to do so. There have been several instances of captive bred wild animals attacking their owners or unleashing havoc in the neighborhood. Even animals which are not large in size can demonstrate destructive behavior at times. While monkeys are most sought after wild pets, you get to see a drastic change in their behavior as they start growing. In fact, they don’t even hesitate from biting you when they feel threatened.

Yet another reason to refrain from keeping wild animals as pets is their tendency to carry various zoonotic diseases i.e. those animal diseases which can be transferred to humans. Diseases like rabies, salmonella, monkey pox, marburg virus, klebsiella, etc., which these animals carry are life-threatening for human beings. Salmonella affects thousands of people in the United States alone every year when people come in contact with reptiles and amphibians which act as carriers for this bacteria. It is estimated that somewhere around 77-90 percent of the reptiles act as carriers for salmonella, thus putting humans who choose these reptiles as pets at a serious health risk. It is very difficult to determine if some reptile is carrying this bacterium as these reptiles do not show any symptoms of the same. Similarly, herpes B is quite common in pet macaques and rabies is common in foxes, skunks, raccoons, etc. While all these diseases hurt humans, improper care of this species – especially the young ones, can end up hurting these animals.

Federal Laws

The practice has been under the scanner for legal and ethical issues surrounding it for quite some time now. Even the federal laws, which do very little to restrict or prohibit private possession of wild animals, have been subjected to a great deal of criticism by animal welfare groups and wildlife enthusiasts alike. While the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) does put restriction on possession of warm-blooded animals, it does nothing to keep reptiles off the human radar. Other laws which protect animals from such animal cruelty such as Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) do exist, but they aren’t much helpful at the ground level.

While some jurisdictions allow people to keep wild species as their pets under stipulated guidelines, others have put a total ban on this practice. There also exist others which have no rules and regulations on wild pets whatsoever. In the United States, it is illegal to keep wild animals in states like Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, California etc., but the same can be done with a permit from the authorities in states like Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, etc. (Note: This is just a general outline of laws on keeping wild and exotic animals as pets, for the details on the same you need to contact your state authorities.)

If the pros and cons of keeping wild animals as pets are pitched against each other, the cons of this practice easily outweigh its pros. When people keep wild animals as their pets, it is not for companionship as in case of domesticated animals, but for display – which in itself is ethically incorrect. More importantly, we need to understand that domesticated species – unlike their wild counterparts, have evolved over the course of thousands of years to become what they are today. Wild animals will stick to their basic instincts even if you keep them in your home. At the end of the day, it is very difficult to meet the dietary or behavioral needs of these animals when they are kept in captivity, and hence, it is better to refrain from this practice.

PS: Most important of all is the fact that capturing wild animals and keeping them as pets tends to disrupt the balance in the ecosystem as the decline in number of one species has adverse effects on a number of other species dependent on it.

Taking Care of Rabbits

unduhan-8Rabbits are very popular as pets. If you want to raise them, you must have a basic idea regarding their requirements. Here are some guidelines about rabbit care.

Rabbits are widely accepted as pets. They are not fussy, but the owner must have a basic idea regarding their needs, like food, shelter and handling. Unlike pet dogs and cats, rabbits are sensitive animals. It is not difficult to take care of rabbits, provided you are aware of the proper ways.

Preparations

Once you plan to raise rabbits, choose the specific breed and color. Other pets, like cats and dogs, may pose a threat to rabbits. You have to solve this problem, before bringing the rabbits home. You must have a basic understanding about the needs of the specific rabbit breed, especially, the food requirements. Decide whether you want to keep them indoors or outside the house. The most important factor is food, as proper feeding is necessary for their health. With a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, any wrong food can be fatal for rabbits.

Rabbits as Pets

Rabbits are different from other types of pets, like cats and dogs. These animals are not good as pets for children, because improper handling is not advisable. Mishandling can break their bones or cause damage to their internal organs. Another fact about rabbits is that, they can get frightened easily. Children are notorious for making loud noises, and such noises can frighten these rabbits to death. So a home with too many kids or other kinds of pets, are not suitable for raising rabbits. They need a peaceful and secure atmosphere and a proper shelter.

Home for Rabbits

You may keep rabbits indoors or outdoors. You can use a hutch made of wire, with a solid roof and a wooden nesting box. Place a litter box inside the hutch. Traditionally, hutches were used for raising rabbits outdoors. You can make one inside your house, or keep it outdoors with some weather-proof provisions. It is not a good idea to allow your rabbits to roam around the house, as they have a habit of gnawing anything that comes their way. So if you want to keep them indoors, it is better to reserve a room for them, which is devoid of anything, especially electric wires. You can fix a baby gate to the door of the room, in order to prevent them from entering other parts of the house. A wire cage is best for rabbits, but a regular supply of water and grass hay is a must. Rabbits feed on hay, which also provides warmth to these animals. These small creatures need clean cages with sufficient light and ventilation.

Rabbit Food

As they have a sensitive digestive system, a proper diet is necessary for their healthy growth. Your rabbits must get an uninterrupted supply of hay, which provides adequate fiber to aid digestion. The preferred one is Timothy grass hay, but alfalfa hay can also be given to adult rabbits. You can include some dark green leafy vegetables such as lettuce leaves, endive, romaine, escarole, arugula, and dandelion greens. Vegetables should be given daily, in small quantities. An occasional treat of starchy vegetables, like carrots and fruits is also recommended.

However, rabbits should not be fed with potatoes, beans, bamboo, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, corn, peas, beets, onions, rhubarb, seeds, and grains. You must not feed your pet rabbits with any food meant for humans, especially chocolate, candy, or anything moldy. Ready-made pellets meant for rabbits can be used to supplement their diet. Above all, they must get a good supply of fresh water. Make sure that you change the water on a daily basis.

You can keep some untreated wooden blocks or cardboard boxes for their amusement. However, make sure to remove staples or tape attached to these items, and never use objects with sharp edges. Above all, rabbits are so fragile that you must handle them carefully to avoid fractures. Never lift the rabbits by their ears or stomach. If not handled properly, a struggling rabbit can break its bones.

Low Ash Cat Food

Feeding low ash cat food is prescribed to minimize the incidences of urinary tract problems in felines. Carefully select cat food with low ash content and high nutritional value to keep your pet healthy and cheerful.
TAGGED UNDER: Cat Food

When it comes to rearing a cat, you want the best for your pet, in terms of training, grooming, shelter, and most importantly, food. Taking the help of a qualified trainer and maintaining a clean shelter are somewhat easy to manage, as compared to feeding the cat a balanced diet. You should have a thorough knowledge about the nutritional requirements of a cat, with respect to its age, size, and others factors. After all, it is the question of keeping your pet joyful, healthy, and disease free.

Making cat food at home is a good idea. However, it is not always possible to try out homemade recipes. So, a practical solution is to feed both market sold foods and homemade versions in an appropriate ratio. You can seek advice from a qualified veterinarian regarding the ingredients that are healthy for your pet. Also, it is imperative to feed food with a low-ash content, containing correct amounts of magnesium and other trace minerals for minimizing the risk of urinary tract problems in your pet.

Benefits
First, let’s try to know ‘what is ash’ and ‘why it is incorporated in commercial cat foods’. Ash is the inorganic remains collected after incinerating organic materials. It contains trace minerals that make up complete nutrition for the cat’s health. Nevertheless, excess amount of this inorganic material causes abnormal fluctuations in the pH range of urine. And the ultimate result is problem of the urinary system, especially amongst male felines.

Precisely speaking, the risk factors of urinary tract blockages and disorders are increased with consumption of high amounts of ash. This is the main reason why, it is recommended to feed less ash and more proteins. Also, do not neglect high magnesium content, as it is one of the leading factors for causing uremic disorders. In general, it is of utmost importance to check the label of commercial products. That way, you can ensure that you are providing adequate nutrients required by your pet.

Brands Available
With the raising concerns of feline urinary tract disorders (FLUTD), most pet owners are opting for low magnesium and low ash content in the food. No doubt, you can find a plethora of types and brands in the pet stores. How can you determine the best brand for your pet? Indeed, selecting a healthy product is quite a challenging task. Some brands are Sensible Choice Chicken Meal & Rice Adult Cat Food (5.5 percent ash), Purina Cat Chow Special Care Formula (6.2 percent ash), and Nutrience Kitten Food (6.3 percent ash).

As you now know the importance of maintaining a low ash content in the diet, make a point to go through the nutritional label of the products and reviews before purchasing. Products having an ash content of about 5.5 – 6.5 percent are claimed to be healthy. It is understandable that even the best dry cat food contains a higher amount of ash than wet ones. So, in order to have optimal urine pH range, you should feed dry, moist, and wet foods in adequate proportions. Also, provide lots of water and go for regular veterinarian checkups.

Besides offering low ash cat food, there are certain aspects that should be taken into consideration while taking care of your pet’s health. Keep a keen eye over your cat’s behavior and changes in health conditions (if any). By doing so, you can identify weakness, fatigue, and disease conditions in the early stages and get them addressed by a veterinarian at the earliest possible date.

Box Turtle Food

If you have just got a box turtle home, you might be wondering about foods to be fed to these turtles. You do not have to worry anymore, as this article will give you information on the foods that should be given to them…
TAGGED UNDER: Turtles

A box turtle is one among the many species of turtles, and is also known as box tortoise. The specialty of this tortoise is that it possesses a large dome-shaped shell with a movable hinge on its lower part. The hinge helps the turtle to hide inside the shell without showing any part of its flesh. It has become quite popular as a pet in recent years. However, this has actually proved to be dangerous to their lives, because taking care of these turtles is actually a complex and difficult procedure. Most people do not have sufficient information as to how to care for their pet turtle. One of the very important factors that is ignored by many pet owners is its diet, which is extremely important for it to stay healthy for a long time. So, if you have one at home and want to know what it eats, take a look at the instructions given below.

Ideal Food for Box Turtles

Box turtles are omnivorous, i.e., they eat both animals as well as plants. Though it is said that these turtles can eat anything edible, many can prove to be very fussy eaters. The pet owner can have a hard time while feeding a pet turtle, as it may refuse to eat the food it does not like. However, it is important to feed them well-balanced meals, and there are some ways in which one can make the turtle eat properly. Before we look into the methods by which one can make the box turtle eat the proper food, let us first know about the food that should be fed to them.

Animal-based Foods
Though box turtles are omnivorous, the amount of vegetables in their diet will depend largely on the particular species and, more importantly, the age of the individual. It has been observed that hatchlings and juveniles are more interested in animal-based foods than older specimens. However, baby turtles’ food should also contain plants along with a majority of animal-based foods.

The carnivorous foods that the box turtles love to eat include earthworms, meal worms, snails, red worms, caterpillars, crickets, slugs, beetles, wax worms, etc. It is best to feed the turtle natural and fresh prey. If you have kept your turtle outdoors, it will be able to catch its own prey. However, if it is kept indoors, you can get hold of these worms from bait shops as well as pet stores. Apart from these animal-based foods, some other things that you can feed your pet turtle include cooked meat, beef heart, low fat dog food, etc. You must never feed the turtle raw meat as the chances of bacterial contamination are highest in raw meat. People also have the habit of feeding cat food to box turtles, which should be avoided, because it contains a high amount of fat, which is not suitable for turtles.

Plant-based Foods
Though animal based foods are an important part of the box turtle’s diet, if you want to provide a complete and balanced diet to your turtle, you must feed it with adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables. Experts are of the opinion that 30% of a turtle’s diet should be made of vegetables and 10% of green leafy vegetables. These foods will provide the turtle with the sufficient vitamins and minerals that it requires to have a strong immune system. These vegetables should be fed raw to the turtle, however, occasionally steaming or grating them will also do good to the animal. Some of the vegetables and green leafy vegetables that can be added in your pet’s regular diet include carrots, wax beans, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine, winter and summer squashes, sweet potatoes, etc. It is also fine to feed vegetables like lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. occasionally to the turtle. Fruits are something that box turtles love to feed on and they should make up at least 10% of their diet. The fruits that should be given are apples, raspberries, peaches, cherries, grapes, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, cantaloupes, apricots, etc. The best thing about fruits is that they can be mixed with the foods that the turtle refuses to eat, as fruits are their favorites.

I hope you will be able to chart out a complete and healthy diet for your pet turtle. If your turtle is refusing to eat, it may be because it is bored of eating the same type of food continuously. It is important to add a variety of foods to its diet. Another way of making it eat is by dipping or spraying water on the turtle. It is said that gently dipping it in water helps in stimulating its appetite. If none of these ways work and it completely refuses to eat, it may be an indication of some health problem. It would be beneficial to consult a reptile specialist to find the root cause of the problem.

Tips for Creating a Protective Pet-friendly Home

When you have a pet in your house, you must create a safe environment in and around the house for them. While doing this, you have to keep a number of things in mind. That is exactly what we are going to talk about here.
TAGGED UNDER: Pet Care

Every pet owner will agree with me that you cannot have a better companion than a pet. You love to see them doing all naughty things. They keep you happy, cheerful and relaxed all the time. Pet care is the sole responsibility of the owner. However, just providing them with food, water, bedding, and toys is not enough. Their safety is equally important. You may invite a lot of trouble if you do not create a pet-friendly home. After all, you cannot keep a constant watch on them. Rather, you should take some needful measures that can prevent any harm to your lovable pet.

Tips for a Pet-Friendly Home

You are aware of the traits of your pets. Depending on their temperaments, needs and demands, you have to make some changes in your home in order to ensure both the pet and the owner live comfortably in the same house. Here are a handful of useful tips for creating a pet-friendly home:

Create Personal Space for Them: Designate an area inside the house exclusively for your pets. Here, they can spend their lone time and relax themselves. Ideally, it should be located near the entrance door so that they do not have to roam around the entire house to reach there. Keep all such items which they need like food, water, pet bedding, and some toys for their entertainment in this area.

Keep Your Home Clean: You have to ensure that your home is free from dirt, debris, allergens, and pet hair, to keep your pet and other family members healthy. For this, regular vacuum cleaning of every nook and corner of the house is a must. The floors, especially their feeding area, should be disinfected daily. If the floors get contaminated with animal excretions, you must clean it up and disinfect the area immediately, as it can be a carrier of several germs. While selecting cleaning products for your home, make sure you pick up the one which does not have any component that can cause harm to the pets.

Opt for Pet-Friendly Home Decor: Pet owners have to take care of certain things while decorating their house too. As far as a pet-friendly flooring option is concerned, a hard surface like a concrete floor, ceramic tiles and brick flooring are preferred, as they are scratch-resistant and easy to maintain too. You can have hardwood floors, provided you do not have large dogs at home. Avoid using carpets on the floors as stains and odors are easily absorbed in them. When it comes to the color scheme for the interior walls, dark shades are a better option, as the signs of dirt are easily visible on light wall colors. Shelves and tables with a low height should not be kept in the house, as pets can access any objects kept on them.

Use Stain-Resistant Fabrics All Over the House: You know it very well that no matter how much you try, you cannot prevent pet stains. Therefore, it is advisable to use stain-resistant, washable fabric for the curtains, upholstery, slip covers, bed sheets, etc. Cover up the chairs and sofas with heavy fabric like denim or canvas. Even leather and ultra suede upholstery are quite popular among pet owners. If your pet sleeps with you, then you should use easily washable cotton bed sheets with medium or dark colors, to hide pet stains.

Secure the Windows: This holds true particularly if you live in a high-rise building. As your pet is active, it may accidentally fall from the window. Therefore, you have to take care of the safety of your pet the way you take care of a small child or an elderly member of your family. If possible, keep the windows shut. Otherwise, install a sturdy screen to secure them. Window guards can also prevent falls of large-sized pets. Do not use vertical blinds or any other window treatments with long cords, as the pet may get strangulated. Curtains and valances are the safer options available with you.

Keep Household Items Organized: You cannot afford to leave household items around the house, as your pet can make a mess in no time. They may chew up newspaper, books and plastic bags too. Pets get attracted to toys and they often break or chew them while playing with them. So ask your kids to keep the toys out of the reach of the pets. Smaller items like thread, needles, staples, coins, and medicines should not be kept within their reach. If they swallow up such objects, it can be dangerous for them. For the same reason, you should keep sharp tools and instruments away from them.

Protect Them from Poisonous Substances: Pets often get poisoned by regular household cleaners, disinfectants, paints, insecticides, fertilizers, etc. Keep all such harmful substances in closed cabinets only, so that the pets are not exposed to them even accidentally. A few houseplants such as lilies, aloe vera, and caladium are dangerous for the pets. If you have these plants at home, place them on a higher ground level.

Block Those Areas Where Pets’ Entry is Prohibited: There are some areas in your house where you do not want your pet to gain access to, like the bathroom where you keep cleaners and other such items that contain harsh chemicals. Similarly, the kitchen area can be dangerous because of the stove burner, as animals are attracted to fire. In such instances, you must keep the doors of these rooms closed and put child-proof latches on them. While cleaning a room or working in the garage, you would want to prohibit their entry to these areas temporarily, until you have finished your work. In that case, you can use a child gate.

Before you bring in a new pet into your home, or you are moving into a new house with your family and pets, it is your responsibility to make it pet-friendly, with the help of the tips given in this article. Thus, you can ensure safety and comfort for this very special member of your household.

Chihuahua Puppy Training Tips

Chihuahua or Chihuahueño is the smallest breed of canines in the world. The animal is known to be very loyal and gentle by nature. Training a Chihuahua pup involves a lot of patience and regular rewards. Once trained, this canine is the perfect watchdog.
TAGGED UNDER: Chihuahua Dogs

The Chihuahua is named after a state in Mexico. The dog breed is a popular contender for pet adoption due to its devotion to the household and highly protective, fearless nature. By nature the canine is gentle and loving, and very sweet-tempered. The breed makes excellent watchdogs and they socialize well with their own kind. They are popular companions for the owners and can get vary of strangers. This is what makes them just right for the modern home.

Training Procedures

Training the Chihuahua puppy is a very important part of pet care and needs to be addressed in time. There is no real age limit to wait for or consider the pup ‘right for training’. They learn early and maintain leads for life.

Socialization: This is a very important aspect of training. The pup needs to be introduced to members of the family, friends, and other pets as early as possible. The puppy gets well-adjusted and regular socializing will make the animal fearless and non-aggressive. Socializing is very important from the point of view that prior to commencing any other training, the unsocial animals simply becomes an unwanted liability. This puppy is not very easy to train and hence, you could help the animal to get more accustomed to new situations and everyone around you, prior to taking on the otherwise Herculean task of teaching it commands. You could invite people in your regular home environment and friends and also other vaccinated pet dogs to play with the pup.

Comfort Level: Reaching and maintaining a comfort level with the little one is important to win the animal’s love and attention. Even puppy training involves adhering to the age-old saying: “Respect begets Respect.” It should be tempered with respect to help the animal to learn self control and discipline and display the best dog behavior. Once you attain a comfort level with the animal, training sessions becomes much easier. The pup needs an ‘alpha’ and leader during the sessions and a very transparent social hierarchy. This is achieved only through developing a comfort level.

Home Training: The pup should be trained to live within the confines of the modern home. It is very essential to establish good habits like fixed meal times and defecating areas early to promote pet health. If kept for later, the training becomes very time-consuming and extremely tedious. The animal needs to be trained to adjust within the limitations of the modern home, especially one without a large back or front yard.
Fixed Meal Timings: The meal timings fixed for the animal should ideally be a little before your own. This prevents the animal from ‘begging’ for more or being around when the family is dining. The latter scenario could be damaging to the health of children and adults suffering from bronchitis or asthma.
Monitored Defecating Areas: It is also important to ensure that the animal recognizes a time and place to defecate. Leaving the toilet door slightly ajar when you are not around and toilet training the pup to use it for urination is a good idea when the pup is adjusting to apartment rules. Similarly, the pup needs to be taken outdoors at regular intervals, at least thrice a day, to defecate. If the area is fixed, it will take the puppy no time to identify one particular spot.
Reward the Good, Suspend the Bad: The pups are easy to train if the basics are first established. The reward method works best with the animal. Every time the pup obeys a ‘sit’, ‘fetch’, or ‘down’ command, it should be rewarded with a biscuit or bone or any type of pet food. You could also reward the canine with some pet product or toy. Similarly, on any contrary behavior, if the animal disobeys or shows aggression, you could shift the dog bed, crate, or dog kennel from its preferred spot or take away a favorite toy. You will be surprised at how fast your pup learns.

Chihuahua puppy training involves the implementation of the ‘praise and reward’ system, strict timings, and regular monitoring to achieve the desired level of self control.

Prednisone for Dogs

Prednisone is used for treating various medical conditions in both humans and animals. This article outlines the usage of prednisone for dogs, which includes its dosage, possible side effects and some precautions to exercise during its use.
TAGGED UNDER: Pet Medication

If you suspect an overdose of prednisone in your pet, then contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435 or a veterinarian.
Prednisone is placed under a class of drugs called corticosteroids. These drugs help manage symptoms of inflammatory conditions and suppress an overactive immune system. In canines, prednisone is commonly prescribed for the treatment of autoimmune conditions. The rest of the article tells you about the proper use of this drug in canines, its common side effects, and a few precautions you must exercise as a pet owner.

Use of Prednisone in Dogs
Prednisone is commonly used to treat the following medical conditions in canines:
• Lupus• Cancer• Anemia• Asthma• Arthritis• Severe itching• Brain swelling• Kidney disease• Addison’s disease• Anaphylactic shock• Spinal cord trauma• Inflammatory bowel disease• Autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Dosage
☛ Prednisone dosage for dogs depends on the condition that is being treated. The dosage also depends on the response of the sick animal to the treatment process. Available prednisone strengths include 1 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg.

☛ While administering prednisone to your dog, follow the exact dose and schedule as directed by the vet. Sometimes you may happen to miss a dose. If you remember that you have missed it, then give the medicine immediately. However, if it is already time for the next scheduled dose, then simply continue with the regular schedule; never double dose to make up for the missed dose. Marking the dosing schedule on a calendar comes in handy, if your pet is supposed to take the medicine on a different schedule instead of a daily one.

Stopping Prednisone
Prednisone is not like drugs which can be stopped cold turkey or abruptly. With prednisone, such actions may result in severe complications. The drug needs to be carefully tapered off. The vet would lower the doses depending on the disease your dog has, the initial doses of the drug and its duration. This process may take over several days to weeks.

Why is tapering important? – The body of humans and animals produces its own natural steroid called cortisol. Prednisone is similar to cortisol. So, when your pet starts taking this drug in large doses or for a prolonged period of time, its adrenal glands reduce cortisol production or may stop making it altogether. That is the reason why, drugs like prednisone are tapered off instead of stopping abruptly, so that the body has enough time to recover and resume its normal production of cortisol.

Prednisone Side Effects

Mostly, prednisone may trigger side effects when it is part of a long-term treatment plan. Also, the higher the doses, the greater the risks of side effects.
• Nausea• Fatigue• Panting• Diarrhea• Vomiting• Hair loss• Cataracts• Lethargy• Joint pain• Infections• Glaucoma• Weight gain• Poor hair coat• Eye diseases• Increased thirst• Increased urination• Thinning of skin• Liver impairment• Muscle weakness• Diabetes mellitus• Cushing’s Disease• Pancreatitis• Overly aggressive• Abnormal changes in behavior

Precautions
» Do not give prednisone to your dog if he has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.

» If your pet has any of the following problems, then discuss them with its vet before administering prednisone.
• Stomach ulcers• Kidney problems• Underactive thyroid• Diabetes mellitus• Hypersensitivity to prednisone
» Prednisone is not recommended for pregnant or lactating animals.

» Prednisone may interact with medicines such as salicylates, diuretics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). So, if your pet is already on these or some other medicines, then ensure to review them with the veterinarian.

» Understand that, prednisone is not an over-the-counter drug. It should be administered only after consulting a medical expert; in this case, a qualified veterinarian.

» Keep the drug away from light or moisture. Avoid storing it in the bathroom. Equally important is to follow proper methods while disposing the drug.

Short-term and controlled use of prednisone for dogs is less likely to cause any adverse side effects. In case you suspect an overdose, get immediate medical help. Keep the container of the drug and the prescription handy; it might be useful in diagnosing your pet’s condition.

Pet Care Tips for Winter

With the onset of winter, it is important to make sure that your pet stays fit and evades any kind of illness. Read this Buzzle article for some useful pet care tips for the colder months.
TAGGED UNDER: Pet Care

The sense of smell of dogs is weak during winter. Hence, never take them outdoors without a leash, as they may panic during a snowstorm or thunder, run away, and get lost.
The drop in temperature during winters is never too kind. Like we prepare ourselves for the extreme cold, taking care of our pets during such a weather is equally important. Paying attention to small details will help them fight the harsh conditions without affecting their health.

For Cats and Dogs

Keep Them Indoors
No matter how much your pet loves spending time in your backyard, keeping it outside your house for long during winter should be avoided. Outdoor exercise should be minimized. The temperatures at which your pet is safe outside should be consulted with your veterinarian.

Do Not Shave Their Coat
The thick fur coat on dogs and cats serves as a natural insulator during the colder months. Hence, avoid shaving your pet unless it is absolutely necessary. Also, do not let your pet outdoors immediately after its bath, as chances of catching a cold increase.

Cover Them in Woolens
Finding winter wear for your pet will not be a tough job. Right from sweaters to jackets and mufflers, every need of your pet can be addressed without difficulty nowadays.

Turtleneck coats that run from the top base of the tail and cover the belly are a popular choice among pet owners as they give the much-needed warmth, and are useful when you take your pet outdoors.

Make Slight Changes in Their Diet
Although there is no need for a drastic change in their food intake, try including canola oil, sunflower oil, and protein-rich food in your pet’s diet. This helps in keeping its coat healthy and thick during winter. Also, feeding frozen food should be avoided.

It is essential to make sure that your pet does not get dehydrated during this season. Use water bowls made from plastic and not metal, as it keeps the tongue from sticking to the cold metal.

Provide Warm Bedding
It goes without saying that a warm, cozy bedding is a must for harsh winters. Do not allow your pet to sleep on the floor. Beds and bedding materials are easily available at pet stores. Make sure that your pet sleeps on a carpet along with a bed, blanket, and pillow.

For pets living in a cage, such as birds and rabbits, it is advised to cover their cage with warm clothing in order to keep them warm. Here, ensure that the pet gets enough breathing space.

Keep Them Away From Antifreeze
Antifreeze is a chemical solution added to water to lower its freezing point. It is often used in the colder countries to keep vehicles from freezing. This solution is nothing less than a poison for cats and dogs. These animals are attracted to the sweet taste of this liquid that can prove fatal.

So, clean your vehicles without leaving any traces of this additive. Also, to avoid accidental intoxication, doctors suggest using animal-friendly products. And if that is not an option, keep the bottles of antifreeze out of your pet’s reach.

Clean Their Paws After Every Outdoor Visit
After returning indoors from rain or snow, be very particular about cleaning your pet’s paws and getting rid of any foreign unhygienic particles it is likely to ingest. Paw pads of cats and dogs are sensitive areas and tend to bleed because of the hard snow or ice.

Also, trim their nails and the hair between their toes to avoid snow from getting stuck. If washing their paws every time is proving to be a hassle, consider using boots during their walks.

Pay Special Attention to Mature Pets
Older dogs are prone to health problems such as osteoarthritis and hypothermia. An effective way of helping them through this season is by providing them with heating pads and blankets. Custom-made heating pads are available in the market that help them combat hypothermia and pain due osteoarthritis.

Keep a Lookout for Signs of a Frostbite
The skin of a pet with a frostbite appears whitish-gray to red and can easily peel off. Frostbite occurs to the skin of paws, ears, and the nose. Often, it is difficult to identify frostbites; hence it is advised to clean your pet thoroughly from any traces of snow as often as possible. Also, place your pet near a warm area such as the fireplace, and clean the suspected area with a moist cloth.

For Guinea Pigs and Rabbits

» The first thing to do is relocate their cage to a warm and sheltered area. This is in order to prevent the hutch (cage) from getting cold which can trap the moisture, thus, affecting your pet’s health. Also, do not place the hutch on a cold ground. Provide a thick and warm bedding for support.

» If you are keeping them indoors, then ensure that the temperature of the room remains constant as fluctuating temperature conditions can pose a serious health hazard. In case of rabbits, it is recommended not to keep them indoors for long as they tend to shed their winter coat as an immediate reaction to the warmer conditions.

» As with other pets, clean your pets regularly and check for any signs of illness. Provide them with warm winter bedding such as dry hay and straw that is covered with paper. Ensure that their hutch is dust-free and is cleaned regularly, with an easy access to drinking water. Feed them with fresh leafy vegetables and not frozen varieties.

For Horses

» Construct the horse shelter with the open end or the door against the wind. Select a location in the corner of the field but in such a way that the horse does not feel cramped.

» If the coat of the horse is trimmed, it is essential to provide a rug for warmth. Ensure that the rugs are thoroughly cleaned, dry, and waterproof. The rug has to be the size of the horse or the pony, and it should not rub against its skin causing scratches and bruises.

» It is advised that the drinking water for your pet horse should not be stagnant. Hence, if there is no natural stream flowing through the field, construct a free-flowing water supply near the winter shelter.

» Since fresh grass will be tough to provide, feed your horse with hay of the amount that it is used to. Avoid overfeeding as it can lead to illnesses like colic. Make sure that your horse is mud-free in order to prevent mud fever.

» Exercise is a must as excess hard feed will tend to make it lethargic and prone to more health problems. Hence, in order to keep its body warm, it is essential to take it for a walk outdoors.

» Here, before stepping out in the snow, cover its hooves with vegetable oil to prevent the snow from getting stuck in the depressions. After the exercise, wash off the oil and remove any traces of snow.

For Birds

» Although it is advised to keep the bird cage indoors during winter, make sure that it is not placed next to a wood or gas heater. Birds are sensitive to fumes, and inhaling the smoke can cause respiratory problems.

» Arrange for a warm bedding to keep them cozy. Covering the cage with a blanket will also provide the needed warmth. It is important to note here that you must keep a gap for proper ventilation.

These tips will definitely keep your pet off any likely trouble. The winter proves to be a harsh season, especially for the older pets. Underlying medical conditions, if any, worsen during the colder months. Giving the pets enough water, making the necessary changes in their diet, and providing them with shelter from snow can help them fight the harsh weather and maintain overall health.

How to Care for Pet Ducks

Keeping a duck as a pet is no easy task and knowing what you’re getting yourself into is what matters. If you’re ready to take on this responsibility, then the following article will give you tips on how to care for pet ducks.
TAGGED UNDER: Ducks

When you decide to get a pet, there’s a lot of thinking that goes into whether you can handle it, and if you’ll be able to undertake the responsibility of caring of one. Be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, rabbit, turtle, or any other kind of creature or animal that can count as a pet, keeping one, and of course caring for them, is as big a job as any. You have to make sure they have all they need, that they’re safe in the environment you put them in, that their health is kept in check, and so on. Therefore, be prepared to know how to care for pet ducks, because if you’re not, you’ll be backing out of it in no time and wallowing in regret.

Breeds

It is important to also know which breeds make for a good pet. From the following breeds, you can find out which one is available in your town or elsewhere, and accordingly make arrangements in your home before getting him/ her.

• Call duck• Muscovy duck• Rouen duck• Khaki Campbell duck• Pekin duck• Buff duck• White crested duck• Cayuga duck• Welsh Harlequin duck• Indian Runner duck• Mallard duck• Ancona duck• Saxony duck• Aylesbury duck• Swedish duck (blue/ yellow)

Names

The ecstatic part during the new pet phase is naming the animal that you have bought, and are ready to bring up. So before you take care of this little one I’ve put together a few suggestive pet names, that you may like.

Male Female
Sebastian
Theodore
Daffy
Furball
Waddler
Quacky
Frankenstein
Tintin
Buzz
Simon
Spike
Twinkie
Chase
Winkle
Tootsie
Daisy
Sunshine
Coco
Belle
Chariot
Twinkle
Dewdrop
Sally
Violet
Lily
Sunshine
Mumble
Peaches
Snowflake
Missy

Care

You’ll find here all you need to know about how to raise a duck as a pet of your very own, and what is involved in the process. Keep these precautionary tips and guidelines in mind and you’ll do just fine.

Lifespan is a Non-issue

Wild ducks are known to live for a period of about 20 years or more in some cases. Mallard ducks are known to be good as pets, since they can live up to 27 years at a stretch. Ducks that are domestic in nature, can live to about 15 years, and for a minimum of 10 years. Ducks cannot live on their own, since their dietary needs aren’t supervised and call for random eats that either they find on their own, or those that passersby throw. These ducks when not fed properly, live for not more than three years since their systems aren’t designed to handle all kinds of food when given by strangers.

Quick Care Tips

When taking care of a pet duck there are certain things that need to be taken into consideration like.
Making sure that they have clean drinking water at all times.
Enough of light stimulation.
Dry shelter which is kept clean on a regular basis, which they can return to after they’ve been outdoors. This gives them time to clean and preen themselves, and also waterproof their plumage to help keep skins free from harm.
Protection from any diseases that they can fall prey to.
Foods that contain all the important and vital nutrients that they require for good health.
Get more than one duck, since when kept together they can be quite social, and won’t pose as a threat to one another.
Make sure you have a water source close by, like a small pond or swimming pool that is safe for them to swim in. They require this in order to clean their beaks, and wash their food down with. Water that is chlorinated is safe for ducks, so don’t worry about that part. Just make sure they don’t get sucked into any vents underwater.
Use straw or hay when laying down their sleeping area, it works well for ducks. Also, make sure that the shelter you put them in, is spacious and big enough for them to walk around and stretch in.
Make sure you supervise ducks around kids, and don’t leave them alone without adult supervision. They can be harmless, but it is better to make sure that nipping at them doesn’t become an issue.
Feed ducks only good foods that pertain to their kind, since anything that is foreign to their system, will be rejected and pose as a threat to them. Bird feeders make for good feeding sources, and should be erected since that way you can keep it clean, and provide adequate food in one place.
Shower a lot of love and attention on your duck, since they feed off this and like it when owners and others openly show their affection.
Big No-nos and Safe Foods for a Duck Diet

There are certain foods that are all right for ducks to consume, including treats (controlled amounts), but there are some that are absolutely not safe for your duck to ingest.

Pet Duck Diet
Good Not Good
Shredded carrots Ice cream
Slugs Seeds
Hard-boiled eggs with shell Preservative based foods
Chopped lettuce Nuts
Snails Chocolate
Earthworms Cakes
Cottage cheese Crackers (painful
reaction if eaten)
Green vegetables Popcorn
Worms Sugary snacks
Tomatoes Garlic
Pellets Cookies and other junk
foods (human food to be specific)

A pet duck can be a real treat to have around, especially when watching them wobble on their two webbed feet, with their furry bottoms bobbing from side to side. I hope that your duck doesn’t give you too much trouble, although over the long haul they’ll quieten down and won’t be such a nuisance; all animals need time adjusting to their new owners and surroundings after all.

Tips if You’re Taking Your Pet on Vacation

Your pet is part of your family, so why would you want to board him, when you can take him with you on a vacation? But, here are some tips that would help you…
TAGGED UNDER: Pet Travel

Many people have pets that they consider to be valued members of the family. Yet, whenever they make plans to hit the road or take to the skies to go on a vacation, they start lining up a spot at the local kennel to house their pet, while they go gallivanting off to have a great vacation. Well, if your pet is such a valued member of your family, why not take him along with you?

Fortunately, modern modes of travel have branched out to new approaches that welcome four-legged furry passengers. Most airlines offer options for traveling with pets, either by carrying them in the cargo hold or inside the cabin of the plane. Costs for taking your pet with you on a flight can vary among airlines, and each company has its own requirements and restrictions. But don’t make any assumptions and don’t take any chances―check with your airline before you even make plans, and be sure that you have all the information you’ll need in order to make the trip happily with your pet.

Most airlines that do allow pets require that the pet carrier is small enough for you to stow beneath the seat in front of you. But this requirement doesn’t mean you can just stuff your pet inside a small pet carrier in order to meet the airline’s requirements―airlines usually dictate that your pet has to be able to stand and turn around when inside the carrier. If your pet is too large for that, then you’ll need to book your pet’s reservation in the cargo area. Make this reservation at the same time you make yours, or you might have to leave him behind or rearrange your flight, which might be expensive. Your pet’s airline ticket will probably cost about as much as yours, but you may be able to save a little money if you don’t mind leaving your pet in the care of strangers for a few hours. Believe it or not, there are flights for pets only, such as the flights offered by PetAirways. These carriers are usually less expensive than commercial airlines, and they allow pets to fly inside the cabin rather than stowing them in the cargo area.

Before you even think about making reservations, though, you need to be sure your final destination is going to be pet-friendly. Unless your pet is a helper animal such as a seeing-eye dog, you can’t assume that your hotel will welcome animals. A simple online search will help you find lodging locales that are pet-friendly, so you can ensure that both you and your pet have great accommodations. Websites such as DogFriendly have a purpose of rating hotel chains and travel destinations according to how pet-friendly they are. Also, AAA conducts surveys to determine the nation’s top pet-friendly locales and cities, based on how many pet-friendly hotels are located there. Most hotels with websites have their pet policies listed on their own sites.

If your destination is outside the United States, it is very important to contact the American embassy or consulate at your final destination to get information about the quarantine policies of that country. Animals that live in different countries may carry various diseases that they have become immune to. But whenever animals that haven’t developed those immunities are exposed to those animals in other countries, a potentially deadly outbreak might occur. As a result, there are many countries that have strict policies for quarantining animals that arrive from other countries. Even in Hawaii, if a pet doesn’t meet the import requirements set by the state, the animal may be sequestered for up to four months.

Virtually every airline around the world requires that you have documentation from a licensed veterinarian that proves your pet is healthy and has received appropriate vaccinations. Some hotels may also require this information. Be sure that you keep the information in a safe place, along with your other vital documents, to be sure your pet’s travel is not compromised. But don’t take your pet for his physical too far in advance of your trip, though. Most airlines stipulate that your vet’s statement of good health can’t be more than ten days old. Again, check with your airline ahead of time to be sure you’ve planned correctly.

Just like some people, some pets are very anxious travelers. Being shuffled around in a crate, surrounded by strangers, stowed in a cargo hold with other anxious pets, can make the trip a rough one for your pet. So you might want to consider asking your vet for a pet tranquilizer to make the journey go more smoothly. Don’t use your own prescriptions; although some human sedatives will work okay, the dosage amount is different for animals than it is for humans. But if you’re traveling by air, you might want to skip the option of tranquilizers altogether. Animals who are sedated may have trouble with breathing at the higher altitudes, especially pet dogs and cats with shorter faces such as Pugs, Pekingese, and Persians. If you do choose to sedate your pet, be sure to get the medicine from your vet, a trusted source, rather than online.

Believe it or not, the government requires that you feed and water your pet well in advance of your departure time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that all pets that travel on commercial airlines have to be fed and watered sometime within four hours of the departure time. You’ll have to sign a waiver when you check in saying that you did give your pet food and water within that time period. But be sure you don’t give them too much, because you don’t want your pet to suffer from motion sickness or anxiety from having an accident inside their crate. You may want to put some food in a bag attached to the outside of the crate, in case there is a long delay or unexpected layover, so airline employees can feed your pet if necessary.