Domestication of Pet Animals
Dangerous Dog Treats: What To Know Before You Treat Your Pup
What pooch does not love getting a treat or two now and then? Dog owners also love giving their dog’s treats. If you have a dog, then you have a good idea of what your dog likes to nibble on. There are so many treats available these days and they all come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and consistencies. For every great dog treat, there are those on the market that are not so good. These treats can harm your pet by being lodged in your dog’s throat or intestines. This can cause choking or worse. If you love treating your canine friend, then you will want to be aware of those treats that can be potentially harmful. Even with treats that are not usually dangerous, you need to supervise your dog when they eat.
Greenies: Most dogs really enjoy these treats. They are advertised as treats that help clean your dog’s teeth. However, you need to be aware that “greenies” can cause choking. This is because dogs eat these very quickly causes large chunks to lodge in the throat. Young puppies should not eat this treat and dogs that are prone to “scarfing” food. If your dog eats these treats, be aware of potential vomiting, bloody stools, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten this treat, seek medical attention.
Rawhide Chews: What dog does not love snacking on these chewy treats? Rawhides are good because it cleans your dog’s teeth and keeps your dog occupied. However, rawhides are dangerous, as well. Some rawhides that originate outside of the United States may actually be preserved with arsenic-based chemicals that will be ingested by your doggie when he or she chews. For this reason, make certain that any rawhide treats you purchase is processed in the United States where this preservative is forbidden. If you cannot tell where a treat originated do not buy it! In addition, you still need to watch your dog when she is munching on rawhides to help prevent choking. Make sure you buy rawhides that are the right size for your dog, too. A small dog needs the smaller sized rawhide treats.
Chocolate: Chocolate is a terrible thing to allow dogs to eat. Of course, sometimes dogs get into candy and cake without your knowledge. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, so you need to be aware of your dog sneaking chocolate nibbles, especially around the holidays. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine. This acts in the canine about the same way caffeine acts in the human. A little will make the doggie hyperactive, but a huge dose may be fatal. If your dog has gotten into chocolate, you need to look for vomiting, shallow breathing, and irregular heartbeat. A visit to the emergency vet unusually results.
Bones: It seems that it is the right of every dog to be able to crunch on a real bone from time to time. Dogs love bones of all types. However, some bones can be dangerous. Both chicken and turkey bones are especially dangerous because they are brittle. When your dog chews on them, they can easily splinter and cause choking. Some pork and beef bones can also cause the same problem. Veterinarians agree that one of the safest bones you can give your dog is a shinbone. If you must give your dog a bone, make sure you supervise your pooch and if he or she shows signs of bleeding, then you should call your vet immediately for some advice.
This is not to say that you cannot give your dog an occasional treat. That is one of the fun parts of owning a dog. You do need to watch your dog and make sure that your dog is safe when snacking. Always pay attention to what kind of treat you give your dog in case of a recall.
Domestic Cat Breeds
Have you always wanted a cat, but heard some breeds make better pets than others? Maybe you have always wanted a cat, but do not know anything about them? There are plenty of ways to learn about cats and what breeds fit your personality. The choice can come from having an indoor, outdoor or indoor and outdoor cat. The tough and smart survive in the out of doors. Small cats are often praying for birds and other wildlife and should be kept indoors. Tomcats, a mixed breed, are great at surviving outdoors and mousers. So let us look at a few breeds of cats and then you will be able to choose which one may be right for your lifestyle.
Siamese: The Siamese cat can be a fickle creature. They often require a lot of attention when they determine it is necessary. They tend to meow quite a bit and can tear up a home if left alone for too long. These are the downsides. Siamese can be great pets, especially when raised from infancy. They are often white with brown ears and blue eyes. You may recognize them from Lady and the Tramp. Those two were a little mean and not the typical portrayal of a Siamese. Siamese is generally very affectionate. They are also one of the most intelligent of the cat species. They tend to be very social, which is why they meow or “talk” a lot. A sign of attention is usually a very vocal meow much like a babies cry. Siamese typically bond to one person very strongly and are territorial of that person.
Persian: The Persian cat breed is one of the oldest cats around. They are longhaired cats with beautiful shiny coats. They are very soft and friendly; however, they are prone to health problems such as allergies. The Persian does not always play as much as other breeds, but they do enjoy a bit of fun for exercise especially in a social situation. They love to have other cats around to play with as well as have a lap available when they are in need of a lap. Persians are a variety of colors from solid black, white or a mix of white and browns around the face. A popular Persian is the Himalayan.
Manx: The Manx is known for its stubby tail, or having no tail. The downside to Manx cats is the lack of tail. Often a Manx can suffer from worms and other parasites due to improper cleaning and not having the protection of a tail. This does not mean you should discount the Manx as a breed. The Manx breed is extremely intelligent and playful. They are a lot like dogs in the play area because they can fetch when you through toys and bring them back to you. They are very social animals and depend on human care. They don’t like to be left alone for too long, so it is wise to have other cats to play with when you are gone during the day. The best home for a Manx is one filled with children.
These are just three of the more popular breeds of cats. There are over a dozen cat breeds to choose from and finding the one to fit your lifestyle is important. Cats are very social and intelligent, but some breeds can be loners. Most often, a cat chooses when the time is right and what type of attention they want at the time. The phrase “you do not own a cat it owns you” is very true.
Fascinating and Novel Pets: The Turtle
Do you remember reading children’s books with turtles as the main pet? Children adore turtles as pets. They are very interesting creatures and there are many species. When you decide to have a turtle for a pet, you will need to know the exact species for the proper care. Let us look at some turtle species you can own. There are two types of turtles, the terrestrial and the aquatic. This means the first type of turtle spends more time on the land, while the aquatic turtle needs to have a great deal of water.
Box and mud turtles are the terrestrial turtles. They require land to hibernate during the winter and sun on during the day. Most terrestrial turtles need 12 hours of sunlight, which can be provided by a UV lamp. Turtles are very susceptible to temperature changes often living in 80 degrees during the day and 70 degrees during the night. Terrestrial turtles also need water not only to drink but also to swim around in.
Aquatic turtles are sliders and painted turtles. Sliders typically live in swampy areas or near lakes with a lot of mud. They tend to basic in the sun during the day as well as swim to cool off. The painted turtle like the slider is mostly aquatic so they spend more time in the water than out sunning themselves. The painted turtle is the most complicate turtle to take care of because they require special care.
Once you have decided on the type of turtle you wish to have you will then know what size tank you need. Most turtles require a 40-gallon tank or larger to have room for land and water. You will want to have plants in the tank, but make sure they are not poisonous to your turtle because they will eat them. Your pet shop should be able to tell you the right type of plants to have. Wood chips and bark are not a good idea, not only do they harbor bacteria and molds, but the turtle can eat them. A turtle does not have a large digestive tract and therefore wood chips often cause blockages. Certain turtles can even have small rocks to burrow under along with the dirt.
Some proper food for turtles is often lettuce, goldfish, special feed sticks, berries, and insects depending on the species of turtle you own. Water is very important to your turtle. You never want to give them tap water to drink. It is also best to give them natural spring water or non- chlorinated water for swimming in. Chlorine and other chemicals of tap water can cause bacteria in their digestive systems.
Turtles can make great pets if you know a little about their habitat needs. Turtles are wondrous creatures that you can find in most warm climates walking along the roads or basking in the sun, so what better way than to give your child a great pet than to own a turtle. Keep in mind that turtles are sensitive and you will not want to handle them a lot. They do need to hibernate to live a longer life requiring you to keep the turtle somewhere little children cannot disturb them during the fall period. Turtles are both fascinating and novel pets for children.
Ferrets A Friendly Playful Pet
Ferrets, often considered a rare pet to own. Most individuals choose dogs, cats, birds, or fish to complete their family, however, a select few turn to the ferret for its social, playful, curious qualities. Ferrets love to play and explore not only with others and their owners but also on their own. For this reason, you need to know a few things on how to take care of a ferret.
First, you will want to ferret-proof your home before you introduce them as pets. They will crawl into walls, furniture, and anywhere they can get their little bodies. It is much like childproofing a home for a baby. You will want to make sure all of the dangers are eliminated when you allow them out of their cages for playtime.
Ferrets are also biters. The kits, baby ferrets, tend to bite more. You can eliminate the problem or tone it down with frequent handling. It is a sign of their behavior as mock fighting or sparring. The younger ferrets tend to bite more when they are teething and do not mean any harm. For this reason, you will want to handle the ferret or ferrets as often as possible to help reduce the biting behavior. Often those who do not take the time or patience to train their ferret end up leaving the animal in its cage and thus it has a shorter lifespan. Please make sure you are up to the task of training a ferret before bringing one into your home. Trained properly they can be as great a pet as cats or dogs.
A ferret’s lifespan is usually six to ten years, however, proper care and feeding can lead to a little longer life. Ferrets are carnivores so they require a high protein diet. Most owners decide to feed their ferret’s mice, rats, rabbit, and other raw meats such as chicken. Stores carried other types of ferret food that many owners choose over the live food. Carefully reading the label will tell you if it has the proper high protein diet. Most kitten food can be used for example because it is designed to be high protein and fat for growing cats.
While playing is an important part of your ferret’s life so is sleep. Most ferrets spend fourteen to eighteen hours a day sleeping. Part of sleeping is to rejuvenate them from the active play life they have. They love to explore and to play with toys. Many pet stores have toys for ferrets, or you might have something around the house that your ferret will find appealing.
The type of cage is important. Ferrets tend to be very smart so you will need a cage they can get plenty of air, but small enough bars they cannot break away. You will also want to clean the cage once or twice a week depending upon the number of ferrets you have, how dirty the cage looks. They are also burrows so some type of bedding is required.
Ferrets are little balls of fur that love to play and interact with humans and each other. While there are some special concessions you need to make to have a ferret the results are worth it. Proper training as a kit will give you even more joy when they reach adulthood.
Getting Your Pet Through An Animal Rescue Group
Animal rescue organizations or groups offer you a great place to get your next family pet. These groups are all different, but they do have common goals. These groups work hard to locate a permanent loving home for unwanted or misplaced cats and dogs. Many of these rescue groups rely on volunteers and donations to care for these pets while they are between homes.
When you begin looking for a rescue group to work with, you will find that most of these groups do rely on their hard-working volunteers and support from the local community to operate. You will also find a wide variety of animals available through these rescue groups. Many of these groups handle all types of animals and you will find kittens, puppies, and even older pets available for adoption. You might be surprised to learn that some groups even offer exotic pets such as reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, and even guinea pigs.
As you begin looking at pets available through rescue groups, keep in mind some of these animals have had very hard lives. You may find a dog that was abused by its owner. You may find a female cat that has just given birth. Their owners have relinquished many of the animals offered by rescue groups because they are moving or can no longer care for them. In addition, some of these groups take animals that live in kill shelters or as strays living on the streets. Some programs also offer spay and neuter release program for feral cats.
Rescue groups do a good job of screening animals before adopting them out to new homes. They also screen potential pet owners. If you find a pet offered through a pet rescue group, you will be asked to sign a contract saying that you agree to care for the pet long term. You will also be asked several questions about your home, your children and other pets you may have. This is not to be nosey—it is simply to help match an owner with the right pet. If the animal suffers from a medical condition, such as diabetes, the new owners know this up front before adopting. Having the animal’s health history at the time of adoption helps the animal find a permanent home.
You can gain a lot of personal satisfaction by adopting your next pet through an animal rescue organization. You know you have done something to help and your new pet will show its appreciation. If you are interested in adopting through one of the many rescue organization, it is easy to find one in your area. Your vet can give you the contact information for organizations near you. Most of the time, these pets are kept in private homes (foster homes) until they are adopted. This gives the animal time to be socialized with other pets, children and time to get used to living in a home. Sometimes, animal rescue groups will bring their animals that need homes to pet stores or other locations for interested people to see and meet the animals on certain weekends.
When you choose a pet in a rescue program, be prepared to go through an interview and application process. The organization wants to know these pets will be well cared for the long term. You will probably be asked about other pets you may have, the age of your children, the size of your yard and your thoughts on a cat with claws if you are looking at a cat. This is to help match the pet with the right owner. Adoption fees vary by each organization, but you can expect to pay $100-$200 for a rescued animal. These groups do not make a profit. These fees cover the cost of the animal while it was in the care of the organization. This adoption fee usually covers vaccinations, medical exams, spaying, and neutering.
Getting your next pet through an animal rescue organization is a responsible way to get your next family member. You can also find many volunteer opportunities through these organizations.
Hamsters Fuzzy Balls Of Fun
As a child, most of us grew up with hamsters or friends who had hamsters. Even our children are fascinated with the small fuzzy creatures. There are many types of hamsters, dwarf, Syrian, Russian, Chinese, and hybrid. The hamster is a burrower so they prefer to have lots of bedding to hide under as well as tubes to create little nests in. The most difficult aspect of hamsters is telling if they are female or male and being wrong. Who has bought two hamsters thinking they were the same gender and ending up with ten hamsters? I certainly have.
A lot of biologists and geneticists use hamsters and other rodents to show genetic possibilities. In genetics, we often discuss the genome and how genes are dispersed in relation to eye color, hair color, and other traits. When you have hamsters as pets you are seeing this first hand. I had one gold hamster and one white hamster. When they bred I ended up with several color traits from gold, white, black, white and black to many more. Half the fun for kids is seeing the baby hamsters grow up with different colors. It can be a great science project for school as well as having a wonderful pet.
Hamsters are relatively easy to take care of. You can feed them hamster food, vegetables, and little hamster treats to give them a good life. The bedding should be changed weekly or twice a week depending upon how many hamsters you have. The downside to hamsters is their short lives. Most live only a year or two making it difficult on the younger children.
There are lots of hamster accessories from tubes to wheels. Hamsters like other pets need to have exercise, so giving them wheels to run on or having a hamster ball to run around the house it is good for them. The tubing and cages come in a variety of colors to add to a child’s fun. You can create straight pathways to other larger home areas or curve them around to reenter the same cage. Most of the caging is plastic and your hamster will try to chew or claw there way free. You will want to monitor their activity when you clean the cage to make sure they are not producing a hole. Some hamster owners go with a metal wire cage with tiny slits to avoid the chewing escape. Your preference will determine the type of accessories you purchase.
Handling hamsters should be kept to a minimum and you should always wash your hand before and after. Hamsters can have a tendency to bite if they are not handled at least once a day or if they become scared. Be cautious with little children.
Hamsters are a lot of fun for all ages whether you have a budding scientist or just want an easy pet your child can care for. You will want to make sure you feed your hamster properly by not overfeeding them while maintaining proper exercise. When your hamsters procreate, you will want to separate out the mother and children from the rest of the crew. A cautionary note before concluding this article: Dwarf hamsters are very susceptible to infections with cedar chips because it can tear holes in their tiny mouths.
Helpful Hermit Crab Basics
Hermit crabs are fun pets to care for in your home. They used to be reserved for souvenirs from seaside vacations, but now they can be bought almost anywhere. They make wonderful starter pets for kids. They make a great alternative to the more traditional gerbils or hamsters, and they have a much longer lifespan than goldfish! Contrary to what you might expect if you are new to hermit crabs, it is possible to play with them, and they do have little personalities of their own. Do you think hermit crabs may make a great pet for you? Here are some helpful hints to get you started.
Before you get your crab, you need to get the basic equipment and supplies in place. First, they will need an aquarium for their house. Forget those teeny, tiny cages you see at the shops by the beach; hermit crabs really need a ten-gallon aquarium to be comfortable. If you are getting more than one crab, obviously you will be a bigger aquarium. A pet shop will be able to advise you on the best size for the number of crabs you will be housing. Make sure the aquarium has a snug fitting lid so your little friends do not make a run for it! Place a heating pad under the tank to keep your crabs feeling nice and tropical.
You will need something to cover the floor of the tank, as well. Three to four inches of sand works best, but you can also use crushed coral or reptile fiber bedding. If you use something other than sand, it is still a good idea to cover a portion of the floor with sand, so the crabs will have somewhere comfortable to go when they molt.
Now that you have the house and the flooring covered, you will need to get two shallow water dishes and a food dish. Shallow shells work well for this job. In one water dish, you should keep fresh water, and in the other, keep salt water, made with a marine aquarium salt solution. The dishes need to be shallow enough for the crabs to crawl into. A natural sea sponge is a nice addition to the freshwater dish, your crab will love to pinch it, and it will help keep the humidity levels up the aquarium.
The last thing you will need to gussy up your hermit crab home is some decorative wood pieces for the crabs to climb on. Coral and coconut shells also make great additions that your crab will love to play with.
Once you get your crab, to feed it, you will need to get some commercial hermit crab food. You can supplement that food with small pieces of fruit, meat, cereal, or fish. Additionally, make sure your crab gets crushed eggshells or oyster shells to boost their calcium level; it is important to keep their fragile skeletons strong. Cuttlebone is another option for this purpose.
To care for your crab, clean their water and food dishes daily, and spot the clean the tank when necessary. You will want to provide plenty of extra shells, in increasingly larger sizes, so your crab can change homes as they grow. Shells with wide openings are best. When your crab molts, remove the skin they have shed as soon as possible.
One optional, but a useful accessory to get is a tank thermometer and humidity-measuring tool. Your hermit crab will be most comfortable when the temperature is kept around 72°F – 80°F and the humidity level is between 70% and 80%.
With these helpful hints, you are ready to get your hermit crab. All that is left to do now is come up with a name for your new pet!
Indoors Or Outdoors: What is Best For Your Pet
Before you take on the responsibility of owning a cat or dog, you need to take the time to consider the living arrangements for your pet. Many people adopt pets with the idea that they will be raising an outdoor animal. How many people in your neighborhood keep their dogs or cat’s outdoors at all times? The fact of the matter is, outside is not a safe place for a cat or a dog. When you adopt a pet, you need to make sure that you are ready to allow your pet into your home.
Pets Love Being Outside
It is true that cats and dogs both will love being outside, it is their natural environment. Cats delight in chasing birds, climbing trees, and hiding in shrubs. Dogs adore barking at the neighbors, chasing squirrels, and digging. However, there are many dangers to keeping your pet outside at all times. Dogs tend to get more outside time in cats. Owners take their dogs out for walks, and in some cases allow their dogs, unsupervised access to the backyard from time to time. Cats are usually either indoor pets or outdoor pets.
It is more common nowadays, for owners to keep their cats indoors as they begin to realize the dangers of allowing their cat to live outdoors at all time. It is highly recommended that you keep your cats and dogs inside. For cats, you can help them explore their natural instincts inside by giving them plenty of places to run and play inside your home. Buy your cat a good scratching post with a high perch and install a window seat so they can gaze at the birds outdoors.
Dangers of Outside
The number one danger to your pets when they go outside is other animals. You never know when your dog or cat will encounter a stray or strange cat or dog from down the street. You know that your pet is properly vaccinated, but you do not know that the health condition of other animals outside. In addition, if your dog or cat gets into a fight with another animal. Your pet can be seriously injured or harmed. Unless you supervise your pet at all times when they are outside, you never know when your cat or dog will encounter a strange animal.
Other dangers of allowing your pet to live outside are cars and other people. A cat darting across the street late at night is a recipe for disaster. What if your dog gets loose from your yard and encounters a child? How will your dog react? You hope that your dog will be good and stay friendly. However, what happens if the child begins to taunt or tease your dog or poke a stick at him? If your dog bites or scratches another person, chances are, you will be responsible for your pet’s actions. Many pet owners have found themselves in a serious situation when their dog or cat has acted aggressively when outdoors.
When your cat or dog stays indoors, you can also help control fleas, ticks, and the exposure to heartworms. This is not to say that you should not treat an indoor pet for these problems. All dogs, whether the event indoors or outdoors, should be on a monthly heartworm preventative. Both cats and dogs should also be treated with monthly preventative. It is important to remember though, if your cat or dog lives outdoors, you will have many more problems when it comes to fleas and ticks.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should keep your dog or cat indoors. Pets that are indoor pets live longer and healthier lives than pets that live outside. This includes all pets, once you make them an indoor animal; you need to protect them from anything that might happen if they get outdoors, they now depend on you to provide a home for them.