Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
- Wonderful cat lover gift ideas
- Tips and suggestions to personalize your gifts
- Fun cat articles and stories
- In-depth pet product reviews and recommendations
Finding the perfect cat lover gift will be a breeze!
With so many cat-themed websites out there, searching for the perfect gift might be daunting. Few of us have enough time and energy to do a thorough research.
The purpose of cat-lovers-gifts-guide.com is to simplify the whole process.
Cat-lovers-gifts-guide.com provides you with tips and ideas to help you find unique gifts for cat lovers. You will also find great pointers and suggestions to help you design your own cat lover gifts, and unleash your creativity!
More traditional medical treatments often do not help the stricken animals, but a number of home pet care remedies can be effective.
One of the common pet health questions concerning cancer is what are some signs of the dreaded disease?
A firm lump that grows and does not go away is one sign.
Another is an increased appetite but continued weight loss.
Respiratory problems are another sign and an overall weakness could indicate anemia.
Lymphona and mast cell tumors are the most common spreading cancers in dogs. Lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed malignant type in cats often secondary to Feline Leukemia Virus infection.
Another one of the common pet health question is what causes the cancer to develop:
Cancer is usually a disease of older dogs and cats with over half the deaths of pets 10 years and older.
The exact causes of cancer are unclear but there is a genetic correlation with an increased incidence in certain breeds. The number one breed of dog diagnosed with cancer is the Golden Retriever with Boxers being a close second.
Exposure to smog, herbicides, and insecticides in the environment plays a big roll.
Preservatives and other chemical additives in pet food may also cause cancer.
The next one in line for common pet health questions: is what can done to prevent the cancer?
The most important thing that you can do to prevent cancer in your pet is to examine what your pet is eating. Healing of our pets can come from within when the body is supported with the building blocks needed to maintain healthy cells and repair damaged ones.
A premium, quality holistic diet, avoiding artificial colors and using a natural preservative is the best. Some dogs thrive on a raw food diet- if you take the proper precautions, then this is a great option.
Carbohydrates and proteins cause cells to thrive but can't grow as fast with fats. Certain veterinary diets have been designed for this, but you can also make your own low-carbohydrate, high-fat cancer diet.
Simple Cancer Diet: 50% chicken/fish, 50% mixed vegetables, 1/2 tsp of olive oil per 10 lbs, salt and garlic to taste.
A supplement is the next most important thing that can be done augment your pet's diet.
The omega 3 essential fatty acids should be added to EVERY pet's diet. These fatty acids are vital in that they are great anti-inflammatories and have been shown to prevent the spread of cancer. Flax is the best source for dogs but for cats, the liquid form is the only option. They should receive it twice daily of Salmon oil or a supplement such as EFA capsules, which can be purchased from your vet.
Flavonoids are also essential for a pet’s diet. These are compounds in a class of their own. They give the bright color to fruits and vegetables. They are antioxidants as well as having anti-cancer properties. These include flavones, (apigenin), isoflavones (genistein), flavanols (quercitin). Purchase a mixed bioflavoniod product that contains polyphenols, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate), which is the specific flavonoid isolated from green tea.
Finally antioxidants have been shown to slow the growth and spread of some types of cancer. Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Selenium are the most effective ones.
There are supplements which contain Essential Fatty Acids and antioxidants, as well as a special Immune Support Blend that can help prevent or fight cancer in your dog. There is an excellent supplement listed in my bio.
When decorating your bettas home you should:
1. Take care to avoid jagged rocks and decorations because the betta fish could tear their fins on these. Stick to smooth surfaces when thinking about optimum betta care.
2. Make sure that you avoid any hard plastic plants as they can damage the bettas fins because they can be quite rough. If you are not sure about the roughness of the plants, then why not try the pantyhose test. Rub the plastic plant over a pair of pantyhose and if they snag or rip them then this means that the plants might damage the bettas fins. To be safe, by silk plants to increase betta care and happiness.
3. You dont have to use live plants but they can be a great addition to the betta fish tanks. Bettas enjoy hiding in the leaves to sleep and they can be much prettier than silk plants- and gentler on the bettas fins.
Another important point to consider when it comes to betta care is the water preparation. You should always use a water conditioner for any fish when putting tap water into a tank, and it is important to note that chlorine in the water can be harmful to betta fish. You can also let the water stand for a few days to remove the chlorine, but it is still very important to use a conditioner to remove chloramines.
When you fill your tank, you should fill it to about 80% of its capacity if it is an open top tank because when motivated, betta fish can jump over 3 inches! And you dont want your fish to leap out all over the place. you can use a mesh cloth which sits over the top of the tank so that the fish are not encouraged to jump and your can add extra water which will make the betta fish happier and can access the surface air easier. Before you add the fish to the tank, be sure to test the temperature of the water, it must be maintained at 78-82 degrees so a small heater will make this easier to do because the water temperature is often cooler than room temperature. You are now ready to add your betta fish to the tank!
If your cat misses the litter box or your dog has an accident on the rug, you dont have to live with the pungent reminders of accidents past. Pet accident on carpet and upholstery can be removed, especially if you attack them while theyre still fresh.
Start by soaking up excess liquid with a white rag or paper towels. Blot on a solution of one-quarter teaspoon of mild liquid laundry detergent and one cup of warm water. Repeat until there is no more stain transferring to your towel or rag. If needed, follow the detergent application with a solution of one cup white vinegar to two cups water. Blot dry.
Finally, cover the area with several layers of paper towels weighed down with a heavy, nonfading object. Continue changing the paper towels until the carpet is dry.
Gently scoop up excess with a spoon or spatula. Deposit into a bag that you can immediately take outside.
Blot with the vinegar ammonia solution as described above. Allow the area to soak for several minutes. Blot and repeat until the stain is removed. Rinse with cold water. Blot dry.
To remove lingering carpet odors, sprinkle baking soda on the spot. Let it sit overnight, and then vacuum. If you cant remove either stain, however, consider recovering the furniture item or replacing the carpet. This might also be a great time to consider the benefits of a good dog trainer.
Its a messy task but someone has to do it. Its handy to keep all of your litter-box-cleaning tools together near the litter box: liners (great to cut down on weekly cleanings), scooper, gloves, and bags.
Each day, scoop the lumps out of your litter box as many times a day as you have cats. (Using a clumping litter helps tremendously with this task.) For example, we have two cats so my daughter scoops once in the morning and once before bed, wearing gloves and disposing of the scoopables outside, of course.
Each week, take the litter box outside for a thorough cleaning.
First empty the contents into the garbage. Then, using a scraper, dislodge any lumps of wet litter remaining. Fill the empty box with hot water, and then add a half-cup of bleach. Allow this mixture to sit and disinfect for at least 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, allow to dry in the sun outdoors, or use clean rags to dry.
Add fresh litter.
Dogs will bark for a variety of reasons including, staking their territory, telling you what they want, alerting you of danger, when around other animals, when bored or lonely, when cooped up in a dog cage for long periods of time and when theyve been encouraged to bark by you (more common then you might think).
The majority of barking problems are because owners will actually reward their dog for barking wether they realize it or not. This can happen when you yell or get angry at the dog and give them the attention they were after. If your dog is outside and starts to bark to be let in and you respond to his wishes, then you are communicating to you dog that all he needs to do is bark and you will give in. Giving any sort of attention to your dog will encourage him to continue barking. Dont feel bad all of us have done this one time or another. The key to stopping this barking is to ignore your dog, dont give them what they want and they wont have a reason to bark. This may be hard on your ears and your neighborhood but simply let them bark until they run out of energy. Depending on the bread this may be minutes or it over an hour but as soon as you give in all of your progress has been lost. Try just walking away when your dog starts to bark, go into the other room and do your normal activities. Eventually your dog will understand that his barking isnt getting him anywhere and will stop.
If you dog is barking when the phone rings then the best thing to do is get him used to the sound of a phone and turn it into something positive. Try calling your house a few dozen times and when your dog beings to bark just ignore him. If that doesnt work then hold a treat out in front of him and say a phrase like stop or quite and when your dog is silent give him the treat. Eventually after enough training no treat will be necessary to tell your dog to stop barking.
Another common issue with dog barking it when the mail carrier or guests are at the door. Believe it or not your dog is actually barking out of love for you. He doesnt know who this person is and naturally thinks theyre dangerous. After your dog has started barking and the mail carrier goes away you dog thinks that he was the one that stopped the intruder, encouraging him to bark. The first way I recommend stopping this is by blocking your dogs view of the street or where ever the mail comes from, this can be difficult based on the lay out of your home but a dog cage can be a useful tool. If that doesnt work try associating the mail with something positive like a treat it will encourage him to stop. Either try the previously stated way with a phrase or ask your mail carrier or guests if he or she would be willing to give you dog a treat when they come by, your dog will then see new people as a friendly visitor and will await there arrival.
Remember giving any attention to your dog when he barks will encourage the problem to persist. By putting your dog into a dog cage or dog pen during common guest hours your dog wont even be aware of the guest reducing the frequency of barking.
Looking for where to find a great dog cage? Try my website PuppyHideOut.com where you can find every day low prices on dog cage and dog cage accessories.
Tartar Build Up. The most common form of canine dental disease is tartar buildup. This causes irritation of the gums around the base of the teeth (gingivitis), resulting in exposure of the roots. Ultimately, this leads to infection and tooth loss. Infection will accumulate in the mouth, resulting in gingivitis, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis (sore throat). Infection within the mouth will be picked up by the blood stream and carried to other parts of the body. Kidney infections, as well as infections involving the heart valves, frequently begin in the mouth. One of the main factors determining the amount of tartar buildup is the individual chemistry in the mouth. Some dogs need yearly cleanings; other dogs need a cleaning only once every few years.
Bad Breath and Halitosis. Dog bad breath is a common problem that makes unpleasant situation for dog owners. Bad breath could keep from enjoyable playing and getting close with dogs which upsetting for the dog too. Dog halitosis bad breathe is a particularly foul and offensive odor coming from dog's mouth. While it's unpleasant, dog bad breath can also be a sign of a serious health problem like infection or any internal health issues that releases the foul odor. Furthermore symptoms like facial swelling, pawing at the mouth, sneezing, and nasal discharge can all be signs of mouth disorders. However, even if you only observe the foul odor, it's still important to have your dog examined by a veterinarian so that the cause of your pet's halitosis can be identified and treated, preventing continuation of the unpleasant odor as well as protecting your furry friend's health and happiness.
Periodontitis or Periodontal Disease. Periodontitis is the inflammation of the structures that support teeth, the gum tissue, periodontal ligament, alveolus (small cavity) and cementum (bonelike connective tissue covering the root of a tooth and assisting in tooth support). It is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world in dogs and is caused by bacteria that make up plaque. 'Periodontal' comes from two Greek words that mean 'around the tooth.' Periodontal disease is a series of changes that are associated with the inflammation and loss of the deep supporting structures of teeth. Periodontal disease is inflammation of some or all of the tooths support structures (gingiva, cementum, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone). When compared to gingivitis, periodontitis indicates bone loss. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. Initially a pellicle forms on the clean tooth. This pellicle attracts aerobic gram positive bacteria (mostly actinomyces and strepococci). Soon more bacteria adhere forming plaque. With in days the plaque thickens, underlying bacteria run out of oxygen and anaerobic motile rods and spirochetes begin to populate the sub gingival area. Endotoxins released by the anaerobic bacteria cause tissue destruction and bone loss. Small breed and brachycephalic dogs are at greater risk of periodontal disease because their teeth are often crowded together. This results in an increased accumulation of plaque because the normal cleansing mechanisms are hindered. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress to periodontal disease which is irreversible. Periodontal Therapy is one of the treatment that controls plaque.
Mouth Infections and Stomatitis. Infection or inflammation in the mouth - stomatitis - can be caused by cuts, burns, foreign bodies stuck in the mouth, and diseases of the gums and the structures that support the teeth (periodontal disease). Metabolic diseases such as kidney failure can also cause painful stomatitis. Stick are common and potentially serious, especially those in the back of the mouth. To treat stomatitis, the cause is addressed: physical injuries are treated, foreign objects are removed, dental conditions are corrected , and any underlying metabolic disorder are controlled to prevent recurrence. Secondary bacterial infection is common, so appropriate antibiotics are almost always used.
Foreign bodies in the mouth and throat. Dogs love to chew sticks, stones, bones and other hard materials but also potentially dangerous: sticks can cause damage to the mouth and can also crack teeth, especially molars. This may lead to tooth-pulp exposure and infection. Sticks can also lodge in the back of the throat, too far for easy removal with a spoon handle. A dog with something in its throat gags, paws anxiously at its mouth, and may drool or vomit. A foreign body in the throat may cause swelling that interferes with breathing. If the object blocks the voice box, the dog chokes and faints. Treat the dog immediately for choking. For severe cases, surgery is needed. Always supervise what the dogs chew, or rather give them balls and other chewing toys instead of sticks and other not safe to chew materials.
Dog Mouth Tumors. Tumors are uncommon but can occur on the gums, tongue or roof of mouth, or in the salivary glands. When possible they are surgically removed, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Dog Oral Examination. The annual physical exam must include an oral exam to recognize problems with teeth, periodontal disease, and other oral diseases. The comprehensive oral exam begins by observing the face, recognizing that there are normal breed variations but carefully observing for abnormalities.
Diet and Chewing Behavior. Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better than canned foods at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Dogs that chew on various toys or edible dental chews may remove some of the plaque build-up.
Home Care. The owner plays an important role in the oral health care for their companion animals. We consider the pet owner and the family veterinarian as key members of our dental health care team. Out Comprehensive Oral health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT) as well as all of our services may be ineffective without the pet owner's involvement. It is important that the pet owner has interest in their pets' oral health. Regular teeth brushing are strongly recommended because it is a huge benefit for pets and it allows for close observation for oral problems
To prevent sunburn you may want to apply sunblock to your dog's vulnerable areas. You can use children's sunscreen, there are various good products available in the market and are conveniently purchased. These Sunscreens contain avobenzone, also known as Parsol 1789- a UVA blocker, and octisalate that blocks UVB rays. But be careful, you should avoid sunscreens that contain zinc oxide because accidental ingestion could lead to a serious condition called hemolytic anemia the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells with some pets.
Another effective way to counteract sunburn with dogs is to cloth your dog with a sun suit. A sun suit will cover the areas that are very sensitive to the suns UV rays. The fact that the easiest way to protect your dog's skin from the sun's UV rays is to cover up with a sun suit. Clothing that covers the skin and protects against the sun's UV rays, reduces the risk of sunburn and even worst skin cancer. Your Dog loves the sun and keeping your dog away from it can be very unfair for your dog also the fact that keeping your dog out of the sunlight is nearly impossible.
Another well-liked item that guard's a dog's face are DOG HATS. Justin Bryce owner of the DesignerDogwear sells a lot of dog hats and sun suits. This dog hat protects your dog's sensitive areas of the face from sun's UV rays. Justin's dog Fred wears them all the time and is very comfortable with it.
Long walks and fun times at the dog park is a lot of fun and are very good for your dog, but watch out of high temperatures. The rule of thumb- when it gets above 85 degrees, dog owners is supposed to be cautious when exercising their dog outdoors. For most dogs, moderate activity for 30 minutes is good. But when the temps exceed 95 degrees, it's probably best for both of you to leave out the outdoor exercises until it cools down. Throughout the summer months, aim to walk or jog in the early morning or evenings or search for shaded trails. When your dog start's to have fast or labored breathing, starts to refuse walking, or acts unhappy, your dog may be overheating. When this happens you should stop, rest, and give your dog water. This doesn't mean you should discontinue exercising just because your dog is out of breath; you need to strongly watch your pet to conclude if the panting is extreme or abnormal. When you are not sure take a break and let your dog cool down, if all else fails contact your vet for immediately.
You must consider your skill level before incorporating your dog into the mix. Several things to ask yourself : Are you able to stop quickly? Are you able to react and maneuver? Can you multitask (roll while changing leash hand to hand, then stop quickly so your dog can go potty)? Do you have hand eye coordination? Are you able to move around your dog when he runs in front of you and or scares easily from approaching cars and or other animals? Can you run in grass if you need to react quickly?
There are many circumstances to consider when rollerblading with your dog. The most important is to be confident and have control. Be aware of your dogs strength and conditioning as you dont want to run him into the ground.
The following guidelines should be considered when rollerblading with your dog :
? Keep in mind weather conditions as early or late hours are typically best for your dog (dogs perspire through their feet; if the ground is hot, he wont be able to cool down).
? Fresh water and bowl for you and your dog is essential.
? Protective equipment is always recommended for you.
? Dont forget the Poop bags.
? A leash long enough to manipulate is essential as you will need to pull in and let loose at various times.
? Its best for your dog to run on grass
? Utilize a harness.
? Keep your dogs nails trimmed short.
? Talk to your dog and offer praise
Rollerblading with your dog can be enjoyable for you and your dog. Be flexible, yet have control over your dog. Watch for hazards, such as other animals, vehicles, children, etc that could get in the way of your rollerblading experience. Have fun and happy exercising.
Being able to detect if your dog is sick quickly can mean the difference between recovery or not, in some cases. Our job is to listen to them so we can learn about their experiences and discomforts and then take appropriate action.
Begin by paying attention to subtle cues:
1. Energy levels -- watch out for changes in your animal's energy levels and behavior. I promise you, what your animal does makes perfect sense -- to them! If you notice your friend slowing down or not wanting to go as far or as fast as before, or not wanting to play anymore... this could indicate a pain problem or illness.
For instance, if your dog would happily play fetch for hours, then all of a sudden quits after only 30 minutes of play or won't bring the ball back to you, chances are he may be feeling sore or getting winded, so he doesn't want to run anymore. You might feel glad for the break! But you should also check him for other signs of distress.
2. Hiding or running away/escaping -- this can be a common management problem, such as leaving them alone too long or overwhelming them with too much stress and activity... or this could indicate something unknown, like an undiscovered abuse situation.
One dog I worked with was being teased by the kids in the neighborhood so she escaped from her yard and ran away when they were around. Then she happily came home to wait for her humans to get home from work!
3. Aggression -- growling, biting, not wanting to be touched are all signs that something is wrong. Pay attention to what areas of your friend's body evoke this kind of response, and what kinds of triggers spark the reaction.
Evasive reactions to certain areas of their bodies can mean different things. Ducking the head reaction from a dog can mean either a dominance issue problem, or it could mean they have a headache or vision problem. Sensitivity in the hips or back or shoulders can mean pain, as in "Ouch! That hurts! Stop That!"
4. Refusing food or not drinking water -- be alert for any changes with eating and elimination. Problems here can mean many things, from food allergies to kidney or bowel problems.
It could be the food you're offering them isn't good for them or it is no longer meeting their nutritional requirements, or has been contaminated in some way (remember the pet food recalls). Or they have ingested something toxic. Dogs will often impose a fasting period on themselves while their system works to clean itself up and heal. Or they could have a bowel impaction or are suffering from bloat, which can be a life threatening condition requiring an emergency vet visit. The sooner you notice and start asking them the right questions, the sooner you can take action to prevent whatever is wrong from getting worse.
5. Sad eyes -- always an indication of something wrong. Our animals grieve and feel emotional pain. They also can get depressed and sad about changes in their lives. Or they may just have a headache or other pain issue that you aren't aware of.
Do your best friend a favor and learn what to watch out for. Learning how to communicate with your animal can help you detect physical discomforts and the reasons for their behavior. Then, you can more easily correct the problem through appropriate caretaking, because you need to understand their experiences of illness and health problems. Talking with them can also help to properly prepare an animal for surgery or other medical interventions will facilitate a speedy recovery with less trauma or complications.
Catching these kinds of things early can mean the difference between life and death - literally!
Val Heart, Expert Animal Communicator, Behaviorist, Author, Master Healer -- Providing Communication, Clarity, Balance and Healing for You and Your Animal.
Are you Ready? Take a pro-active approach to improving your relationships with yourself & your animals through improved communication, energy medicine, health & balance for body, mind & spirit. Working with chronic pain, illness, trauma, training, behavior, performance, euthanasia?specializing with dogs and sport horses.
In fact, chomping on your hand is the puppy's way of checking what is your position in the pack, and what is their own position. Moreover, if the dog's line of reasoning turns up the idea that nobody at home is in charge, it will want to assume that responsibility. And a dog preoccupied with such a duty is a tense, unhappy and unpredictable house pet.
But back to the first idea of this article: you are the dog's Alpha, which means that from this point on you must teach or train the puppy not to nip or bite at your hands (or feet). Stopping puppy biting is actually doing the dog a big favor.
To get a puppy to stop this behavior, make an abrupt, loud, high-pitched voice the next time the puppy bites. Then when the dog lets go of your hand, turn away from him, and cut short the activity you and the puppy were doing prior to the incident (but be aware that some activities may indeed cause the dog to get excited and to play a mock-fight, e.g. a tug of war). After a few moments of not paying attention to him, go back to him, but this time carry along a chewie toy to distract him from making an attempt at your hand.
This sort of behavior is actually the exact reaction that the dog's littermates would also make if the puppy started playing rough with them too. Within a few days, your puppy will understand that using his teeth on his human alpha leaders make the people turn away from him.
The key to ultimately stopping puppy biting is consistency. From this point forward, never allow your puppy to get away with laying his teeth on peoples' hands or nip at any other person without the result of people moving away from the dog.
How is appropriate play behavior reinforced in a dog? The answer is in the method just elaborated upon. This is best done between two and four months of age. But the only sort of biting that should not worry you is soft biting on bare hands. Should the dog do so, refrain from sudden movements. Remain still and then redirect the puppy's attention to a more suitable chew toy.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
If you are interested in an exotic pet bird, there are a few things to consider before you settle on a specific breed. You will want to consider how much time you will be able to spend with your bird, how much noise you can tolerate, and whether of not you have enough space. The exotic bird you choose will and should depend on what your life style is as well as your personality type. You will also want to consider how much you can afford on food, shelter, toys, and Vet costs. The larger and more exotic the bird you choose the more money you can look forward to spending. Once you have decided a particular bird is right for you, it is now time to provide your pet with good food and shelter.
When it comes to food you will want to start young. Younger birds are much less picky and not so set in their ways, making them more willing to try new things. Be sure to let the bird know that what you have given him or her is food by placing it in a recognized dish. A great way to get your bird to try a new food is to mix a few sunflower seeds, cheerios, and/or raisins in with the meal. While searching for his or her beloved treat they will ultimately try the food and like it. The best time to introduce new food to your pet bird is first thing in the morning. It is instinctual for birds to forage for food in the morning so this may make it easier on you and your bird. If you are giving your pet bird vegetables you may have to do some trial and error. Some birds prefer raw, cooked, warm, cooled, and even pureed veggies. You will have to try them all to see which ones your bird like best.
When it comes to offering food to your bird, it is important to be creative. Try clipping veggies and fruits to the side of the cage in or around a play area. Weave greens through the bars of the cage for fun nibbling. Many bird owners have found this very useful for birds that will not touch fruits and veggies in their dishes. Chucks of corn on the cob can also be a favorite. Many birds enjoy not only the corn but gnawing on the cob as well. Many birds love brightly colored foods, as they seem more appealing. Try mixing yellow, orange, and red fruits and veggies in bite sizes together in a dish. When offering your exotic bird greens, it is best to wash them first and then hang the wet leaves in the cage. The water left on the leafy veggies is very attractive and can make your bird more prone to testing. You can also take a nibble of the food you are offering. Many times if your bird sees you eating a particular food he or she will want it now too. Feeding other people in the home and making a big fuss over the food will be all your bird needs to want some. You bird could also enjoy fresh seed just sprouted, as well. These are an excellent source of nutrients and can make the transition from seeds to leaves easier as well.
When it comes to shelter, you will first have to take the size of your bird into consideration. Each bird species has very specific shelter guidelines that need to be followed. There are several basics to providing your pet bird with a comfortable, safe, and convenient home. You will always want to go bigger when it comes to cage size. The requirements are the bare minimum and many birds do not thrive well in small confined spaces. Make sure the bars are in regulation for your specific bird. You do not want them too large and have your bird escape but too small can cause your bird to get his or her head stuck and cause serious harm. When it comes to cage shape never use cylindrical cages, they are very small and do not provide enough room. They can also cause your bird to feel unprotected and make them anxious. You will want to be sure that the cage you select is long and high enough for your bird to fly and play in. Birds need to have room to exercise so taller and longer is best.
A chinchilla is a small burrowing rodent that originates from South America. These small creatures are taken into many American homes today and treated as household pets. You need to know the basics about owning one of these small exotic creatures.
One of the most important things to remember about caring for non-domestic animals is that their behavior can be quite unpredictable. Therefore, if you are going to purchase a small household animal such as the chinchilla, you are advised to invest your money in one bred in captivity rather than one was captured from the wild.
Not only is the behavior of wild animals unpredictable, but they can also spread unknown (and many known) disease agents which could be harmful, especially to children and other household pets. Therefore, choose carefully when chinchilla shopping. The future of your entire household depends upon it. You need to know what you are getting yourself into when you commit to buying one of these animals.
Another aspect of owning a chinchilla involves assessing the cost of taking care of one once you bring it home. You need to make sure you can afford to feed your pet the proper chinchilla diet. The good news is, however, that chinchillas are not nearly as picky of eaters as ferrets. The most important aspect of feeding a chinchilla is to make sure that you do not give it any seeds. They do not take well to seeds.
If you want to make absolutely sure that your chinchilla is fed right and receives the right nutrients, you can feed your animal chinchilla pellets-and NOT rabbit or gerbil pellets. Food pellets created for chinchilla contain the amount of prescribed nutrients that is right for them. The best pellets created for this type of animal contain two parts calcium to one part phosphorus, with a low protein count and high roughage count. You can further check with experts to see what they would recommend. If you follow these above guidelines your animal will be most likely properly fed, however.
If you want to calculate the cost of feeding your new pet, you may want to make sure you consult a specialist who deals with exotic animals, or you can research that cost online. Pet stores that deal with chinchillas would have this kind of information as well. Talking to a chinchilla dealer about that animal's eating patterns will help you figure out if you can afford to feed your pet.
Another important factor you may need to know about your chinchilla is how to properly groom and care for your pet. For example, you may need to know how to deal with blotches of fur that may come out when you comb its hair. You have no need to be alarmed if this happens. It will grow back if it does. If you want to prevent from the hair falling out you will want to be careful not to pull too hard when coming.
Another time when you have to be aware of fur falling out is when you are handling your pet chinchilla. Sometimes they will lose fur when someone pulls on their fur too hard. If you do not want your animal to lose hair you can grab it by the base of the tail and the shoulder. This will decrease the chance of your pet losing too much fur. You will want to teach others how to handle your pet as well, so they are prepared in case the animal wants to get away.
The process of a chinchilla losing fur is a natural defense mechanism, which they use to protect themselves. If they are not alarmed by those who are holding them, they will be more likely to not lose any fur. No matter how careful you or your visitors are, however, it could still happen regardless. Either way, just do the best you cannot to startle your pet, and to teach others how to handle it properly. That is all you can do, and allow the pet to warm up to you and those around you.
For more information on what you need to know if you own or plan to own a chinchilla you can read more articles such as this one. You can also count on the advice of experienced pet owners and pet professionals to help you out. You can find these resources very quickly by searching on the Internet.
For people that are looking for something a little different when it comes to a house pet, why not consider an African Fennec Fox? Provided the local laws in your area permit the keeping of exotic animals this could very well be the pet you have been waiting for. Fennec foxes are native to Northern Africa within the desert regions, and are considered very social and well-mannered creatures. This is a very passive and relaxed canine and has been said to be the smallest in the world.
One really great aspect about the Fennec fox is that it will live between 12-16 years in captivity, making this pet a welcome addition to a home that has a small family to bond with. With the right amount of training and socialization the Fennec fox can become very much like your typical household dog. What is really interesting about the Fennec fox is that you can actually train them to use a litter box, rather than have them go outside. This is due to their tiny structure, and private nature while doing its business. You will however, want to ensure that the litter box is covered, as the Fennec fox is an active and avid digger. This will keep the litter where it belongs and not all over the house.
Fennec foxes are very curious and active animals, they can be very social and will warm up to their owner relatively quickly. The Fennec fox will even take to strangers with the right socialization and patience. Fennec foxes are very small ranging from 8-10 inches tall, and 16-18 inches long. They are very meager in weight topping in at a whopping 2-4 pounds. These tiny little canines can be very quiet yet extremely friendly and will demand a lot of attention from their owner or the family that it lives with. This makes the Fennec fox a great addition to the home, even with children involved. You will need to keep a close eye on the Fennec fox inside and outside of your home, as they are great escape artists and are more than a little curious. They are a very energetic and active breed and will surely keep you busy most of the time.
Fennec foxes are great climbers and even better diggers; there must be some form of supervision at all times when the fox is not in a pen or cage. With the speed that a Fennec fox can display, you must be very careful when taking a Fennec fox out for a walk on a lead. Should they get startled they may wriggle free from their collar and you will definitely have a chore catching the little fox? Another wonderful thing about the Fennec fox is that they are practically odorless, in comparison to other foxes. This is great for an animal that will be in your home at all times, as we all know some animals can really stink a home up relatively quickly. Fennec foxes regardless of their small size have absolutely enormous ears. The general measurement of the fox’s ears is 6 inches; this is huge in comparison to the size of their head. It is not that the fox needs those big ears to hear well, as much as it is for heat dissipation. While in the desert region in Africa the large ears allow a great measure of rapid heat loss.
The Fennec fox likes the warmer climate, yet when it gets too hot you can see them rapidly panting. If the temperature falls below 68 degrees F they will start to shiver in an attempt to keep warm. It is always best to keep a Fennec fox in a warmer climate. When the Fennec fox is most comfortable and happy, you can find it making very interesting little noises. Many times people will refer the sound to the purring of a cat, and many people find this absolutely adoring. The Fennec fox is relatively easy to feed, with eggs, fruits, vegetables, premium dog or cat food, mealworms, crickets, and wet dog or cat food being the most common elements in their captive diet. This is because the Fennec fox is omnivorous and will eat what ever it can find in the wild.
Degus are considered extremely active and curious animals, they will always explore should they be given the space to and will seldom be found sleeping during the daytime hours as Degus are diurnal. If you handle your Degu at a very young age and very often, the Degu will become very tame and easy to trust. If you do not socialize or interact with your Degu however, you will find that it will become very neurotic and aggressive. This is due to their extremely social nature. If you have been thinking about purchasing a Degu you may want to consider buying more than one as this will help with the Degu development due to their active and social lifestyles. Degus need an ample amount of exercise and should be kept active while awake so they do not become bored or lazy.
Having a lot for the Degu to explore while they are awake and alert is a very good idea, while in the wild Degus will construct vast tunnel systems in their colony much like prairie dogs. By having newspaper strips and cotton batting scattered within their home, you will encourage their digging and burrowing nature that is a major part of their make up. Aside from digging and burrowing, Degus are avid chewers and will indeed find means of escape should you opt for a wooden cage to house them in. a wire cage will be the best method of keeping them where they belong. The cage should ideally be of the larger variety, as they will need room to play, this would especially be the case if you have more than one Degu residing in the same environment. The minimum recommended cage size should be 24 inches long x 18 inches deep x 24 inches tall. This will adequately house two active Degus and you will not see size constrictions.
When choosing a cage for your Degu, or more than one, it would be best that you have a solid floor to the cage and not a wired one. This is because Degus are prone to foot problems, they can easily get their feet caught in a wired floor and could really hurt themselves. Not unlike any other smaller animal make sure that you do not use cedar or pine chips as a form of bedding as the oils in the wood can impose skin irritation and repertory tract problems. Using paper pellets or shredded newspaper works best. Some people elect to use a form of cotton batting like the type that couches are stuffed with. This will ensure that they will be comfortable and healthy. You will need to change this on a regular basis again for health reasons. A very good idea would be a nest box for your Degu and it will simply fit right into a cage that is large enough. The nesting box is very important for the Degu as it offers them a safe haven should they not wish to be disturbed. This gives the animal a sense of security and will allow the Degu to be social under its own terms and not feel forced or pressured.
Degus are in many ways like chinchillas where a dust bath is concerned. They will need to have a dust bath 2-3 times a week and this can be done at their own leisure provided you place a shallow bowl in their cage with sand or a store bought chinchilla bath dust.
Contrary to popular belief, rats are not smelly creatures, in fact they spend more time on hygiene than a dog or cat does. If you’re a good owner and clean their cage regularly you won’t find any smell with your pet rat either. In their cages they’ll even mark off where they use the bathroom. You’ll find evidence when you clean their cage that a certain part of it has a heavier weight and a different texture to the hay or pellets. If you buy rats as pets, make sure that their bedding is dust free because they will get a respiratory infection if you don’t. A dust free kitty litter works great for their home. Another big misconception is that rats on live a few months, when in fact, they will if taken proper care of, live up to three years, and some even more, if they’ve that good genes in their bloodline.
A sturdy cage should be bought because rats love to chew, and because their teeth grow it feels really good for them to chew. Whatever types of cage that you buy or make at home have a sturdy gage wire for the outside of it, but line the bottom with a heavy plastic. Rats will injure their feet on the wire cage, if you don’t. Another good thing about rats are that you can buy prepackage rat food pellets at your local pet store. That’s really all they need to survive and be happy. However, if you want to make your pet rat really happy, feed them some hard nuts or crispy fruit. Rats consider it a holiday when you take the time to go out and dig up some outside critters for them to enjoy too! Grasshoppers and fresh crickets will make your rat smile for days. In other words, some of their food is free, and the other costs a little at your pet store.
Rats don’t spread disease either as most people think, especially if you don’t bring one in from the outside. It’s not the Middle Ages anymore, and domesticated rats from pet stores or breeders are very cautious about selling rats to the general public that might have fleas. Fleas off of rats are how the plague got started in Europe and China, but today you don’t have to worry about this at all. Always though remember to buy from a reputable breeder and pet store. They can give you advice too on how to care for your new pet rat. Rats live a good while too, on average up to four years old, and are under a foot in length from the tip of their nose to the end of their hairless tails. A small child might have difficulty holding them, when they move about, but an adult will not have a problem.
You won’t be bored with having a rat in your house either. Rats will require you to pay attention to them because they are social, and a little while out of their cage is necessary because they get bored easily. When you buy a rat it’ll be good if you get two of the same sex, so you can just watch them play and interact. Any type of tunnel or rope will let them have hours of entertainment, and you’ll love watching them. When placing their toys inside the cage look at the attachments toward the top because if there’s the slightest gap because of the toy, they’ll push out the top and get lost in your house. Rats are highly intelligent animals, so be prepared for a chase if they get out.
Even though a pet rat will require just as much attention as your family dog, don’t let that stop you from buying one. They’re cute and very social able animals and they’re clean, and like to be with people once they’re trained. Having a rat in your house isn’t a scary thing, and your family will enjoy them in time.
The best way to get your first snake is by talking with and then purchasing one from a reputable breeder of snakes. They know what it takes to capture and then breed the snakes, and can tell you the correct way to handle and feed them. Some people try to go out and capture wild snakes and then breed them. This is very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing; so don’t try this at home! Wild snakes do have a nasty temper, and will bring into your house diseases and certain parasites that live underneath their scales before they shed their skin. Because they’ve lived in the wild, they aren’t used to humans interacting with them, and the snakes will bite.
Several different kinds of snakes are good to have as a first time owner. Small garters to massive pythons can be kept in captivity, but pythons are certainly not for the first time snake owner. Ball pythons and Corn snakes are two of the best types for you to have as a first time snake owner, but remember to buy it from a snake handler. Their size depends on the age, but typically they range from four feet for the Corn snake to about 21 feet for the Ball pythons. You might find when feeding a captive or trained Ball python that they’re finicky eaters. When they’re stressed or just stubborn they will not eat for months at a time. A Corn snake on the other hand will eat on a regular basis that is if it’s not sick. Both of these snakes usually have a good nature and overall feeding them in a captive environment is easily done.
Of course, all snakes in the wild kill their own food, but if you want a trained or captive bred snake you’ll have to provide its food for them. You want to feed them already killed food because they types of rodents they kill can inflict some nasty cuts and punctures. The last thing you want is to loose your snake after you’ve made a nice home, and have gotten emotionally attached to it, so feed it with dead bait. Also, you’ll find that it’s much cheaper to buy dead food than to pay for live mice or rats, and it’s a lot more convenient too. Just pop a supply into a freezer that’s kept from your food and you’re ready to feed the snake. A large local pet supply store might carry what you need, and if they don’t you can order it from them, the handler you bout your snake from, or on the Internet.
There are certain snakes to stay away from if you’re a first time owner and handler. This is very true if you’ve got small children in the home. A large Burmese python can take down any small person, or child. They’ve even been known to kill other household family pets like dogs and cats. A Burmese python can grow to over 20 feet, and weigh up toward 250 pounds. A boa constrictor is dangerous too if you don’t know how to handle them because they have massive constricting power for a smaller snake than the Burmese. Snake handlers state that having either type of snake should have two people when working with them.
Finally, there are other types of snakes that you should stay away from like any that is poisonous. Not only could someone else be fatally injured, but you could find that you’re sued in court for damages. Having a snake could be a life long commitment of time and money, so make sure you’re ready for the challenge. Read and learn what it takes to care for your new snake before you ever purchase it, and you’ll be ready for snake ownership for years to come.
Okay. So maybe you really didn’t want to hear about your pet’s sex life. However, it will be necessary for you to learn how the sugar glider mates if you are going to take care of it. You will want to research this aspect of owning a sugar glider before you invest in one. Some of the most basic facts about the sugar gliders sex life include the following:
Since sugar gliders live most of their infancy in their mothers’ pouches, they are able to breed quite easily. That period of time is approximately 2.3 to 3 months.
They attached to the mother’s nipple until they no longer need to be. If you remove them too early from the mother they will not be able to reattach themselves. This is important for you to remember during the mating and breeding process.
They breed after about 8 months, and they mate year round. When they mate they usually produce two offspring at a time, but have been known to produce at least 4 babies a year. In order for this to happen the newly weaned animals need to be removed right away from the mother.
Sugar glider females reach sexual maturity at between 8-12 months and males reach maturity at about 12-15 months.
It is suggested to leave the mother along during the birthing process. However, sometimes the males remain present during it. Then, just after the babies are born, the male steps in and helps feed them.
Infant sugar gliders are feed mostly semi-solid foods such as low-fat fruit yogurts and baby food until about three months old (along with the mother’s milk).
The process of the separation of the baby from the mother glider causes some minor stress for a few days. Female sugar gliders are usually aggressive after female young when they reach three months old and older. The males are often ignored.
If you want to breed sugar gliders and sell them, you will need a license. To obtain information about obtaining this license you can call the U.S. Department of Agriculture and ask them for more information, or you can write them. They also have a website that you can visit. Furthermore, if you want to know how to promote your business in the event you obtain a license to sell these animals you can find contact the USDA regarding that as well.
If you want to prevent your sugar gliders from producing, it will be necessary to have them spayed or neutered. However, it is not recommended to have the females spayed unless it is for medical reasons. The males, on the other hand, are very easy to neuter and done in some cases as a birth control method. The other option is to just purchase only one sex of sugar gliders if your only intention of owning one is to enjoy it as a pet.
The neutering process should only be done under the direction and care of a licensed veterinarian, with the animal under anesthetics. Usually this procedure is only performed on sugar gliders if the owner does not want to breed. If you own a sugar glider and are considering letting them reproduce you will not want to get them neutered. Most likely it would be very difficult to get this procedure reversed.
Now that you know some facts about the sugar glider’s sex life you will be prepared in the event you have a female who is pregnant, even if not planned. If you suspect that your pet is pregnant, you will want to have it checked out by a vet. In addition, you will also want to make sure your female pet receives proper nutrition so that it carries healthy babies and produces strong offspring.
After the new glider babies are weaned and are on solid foods you can begin to carry them around in a bonding pouch. You can even carry them around while they are sleeping. It is important to have as much contact with these animals as possible because they will need to be used to it, because they will be handled quite a bit in their new home.
If you want to learn more about the sexual activity of sugar gliders as pets, and you want to learn more about breeding them you can read more articles like this one. Furthermore, you can ask questions of any vet who deals with small exotic animals such as the Australia and Guinea native-the sugar glider.
Friday, September 25, 2009
You're at a show, and it's almost time to warm up for your next class. Butterflies are starting to flap up a storm in your stomach. You glance over at your horse. Is he feeling the excitement?
Nope. He's standing next to you with eyes closed and head hanging. How could he sleep at a time like this?
A comfortable bed, darkness, privacy, and eight hours of peace and quiet-that's what you need to sleep well. But your horse's needs are very different. Knowing about those differences can help you ensure that he gets the rest he needs.
"Horses have sleep patterns typical for prey species that evolved on open plains," says Sue McDonnell, PhD, head of the Equine Behavior Lab at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. There isn't a huge body of research on equine sleep, she notes. But over the past twenty years or so, she's gathered detailed data on the daily behaviors--including sleep patterns--of stabled and feral horses in a wide range of settings throughout the world. Here, she and two other equine-behavior experts will share their insights--so read on to learn your horse's sleep secrets...and what he needs to sleep best.
To Sleep, Perchance to Flee
Not every horse falls asleep waiting around at a show, but all horses can sleep standing up. Your horse has a sort of internal hammock-a system of tendons and ligaments called the stay apparatus. This system lets him lock his legs in position so (unlike you) he can relax his muscles and doze off without keeling over. Even when he's not sleeping, he uses the stay apparatus to rest muscles and reduce fatigue.
Being able to sleep standing up is a great advantage for a prey animal. If a mountain lion comes creeping through the underbrush, the horse can be off and running without wasting precious seconds struggling to his feet. Horses plan for a quick getaway in choosing resting places, too. Out in the open, they go for sheltered areas but position themselves to get out fast--butts to the windbreak, heads pointing toward a likely escape route. "They're like volunteer firemen who back their cars into parking spaces so they can pull out fast," Sue McDonnell says. In many cases, even horses in box stalls rest standing toward the back of the stall, facing the door.
Even though they're able to snooze standing, horses apparently need to lie down for rest and sleep at least some of the time. In fact, scientists think horses must lie down to go into deep stages of sleep. Like humans and many other animals, horses experience both slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid-eye-movement (REM) deep sleep. (SWS is characterized by slow, synchronized waves of electrical activity in the brain as recorded by electroencephalography. REM sleep is characterized by jerky eye movements and rapid, disorganized brain waves.) REM sleep seems to occur mostly when the horse is stretched out flat on his side, rather than resting on his chest.
People dream during REM sleep, and it seems that horses do, too. Beneath closed lids, their eyes move rapidly back and forth. Sue McDonnell has even seen some horses move their feet as if "trotting" in their dreams. But what horses dream about is anyone's guess.
Studies of herds of wild and semi-wild horses show that horses take "power naps" and use the buddy system to get the rest they need while keeping safe from predators.
If you're like most people, you need a good, solid eight hours of unbroken rest every night. If you don't get it, you drag through the following day dull, drowsy, and sleep-deprived. You might assume that your horse has similar needs. But according to Sue McDonnell, horses do well with far less sleep than people.
Horses typically spend anywhere from four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and anywhere from minutes to several hours lying down. Only part of that is actual sleep time, taken in brief naps that last a few minutes each. The daily total sleep time for an adult horse may range from a few minutes to a couple of hours. Foals and young horses, like other youngsters, sleep more, more deeply, and more often than adults.
This pattern is another plus for a prey animal: His sleep can be interrupted repeatedly by predators and false alarms, but he'll still function. Rarely does a horse suffer from true sleep deprivation, says Sue McDonnell. The minimum amount of deep (lying-down) sleep he needs is very small--perhaps an hour in many days. Still, if he doesn't get that minimum, he eventually begins to drift off into what appears to be deep sleep while standing-and buckles at the knees.
Where you want your rest in a solid block of time, horses spread theirs out in scattered periods throughout the day and night. According to Sue McDonnell, "For any horse or group of horses, there is usually a recurrent pattern of rest and other activities," such as grazing. The pattern varies with the weather, the season and what's going on around the horse. Stabled horses, affected by the activity around them, typically get much of their sleep during the evening and early morning hours.
"Horses tend to learn the pattern of the barn," Sue McDonnell says, "and their deepest rest and sleep tend to occur soon after the busy 'people day' ends."
You're probably not surprised to hear that horses sleep best when they feel safe from danger. But the factors that help them feel safe may not be what you think. When you put your horse in his stall and close the door, you know he's protected. But he likely feels isolated and confined-and for a horse, isolation and confinement can be dangerous.
As part of her work at U of P, Sue McDonnell has studied the behavior of a semi-wild herd of ponies over time. She says feral horses actually sleep more than stabled horses. They also get more down time: As members of a herd, they're able to relax because one horse acts as a sentinel, standing guard while the rest snooze. "In feral groups, all individuals tend to rest together, eat together, go to water together. The young may get additional rest and sleep during grazing, with the protection of the adults." The adults share the sentinel duty, so everybody gets to lie down.
Solitary adult horses tend to get less deep sleep than horses in groups--probably because, with no sentinel on guard duty, and no other horses to help deal with danger, the solo horse feels he has to look out for himself at all times. He startles out of sleep at the slightest disturbance. In many cases you'll see horses stabled next to each other rest standing against the two sides of their shared stall wall, Sue McDonnell says--probably to take advantage of the sentinel effect.
Acorns are seeds or nuts produced by oak trees. There are more than 60 varieties of oaks in the continental United States. The bark, leaves and acorns contain an acidic chemical commonly known as tannin.
Tannin has a bitter taste and is an astringent (contracts tissues and draws out fluids). It can damage the liver and kidneys of horses. Tannin also interferes with the utilization of protein.
All plants contain some level of tannin. Oaks contain high levels. Within the family of oaks, red or black oak varieties contain the most tannin; white oak varieties contain the least. Buds and early spring leaves have a higher concentration of tannin than mature leaves. Green acorns have a higher concentration than ripe acorns.
Live Oak Acorns
Squirrels, birds and deer eat acorns with no apparent problems. These free roaming species search out the less bitter tasting acorn varieties (less bitter means a lower tannin level). Stored and ripe acorns that have been soaked due to rain will also be lower in tannin. Tannin is water soluble and leaches out. It is important to note these animals have access to other foods which will help buffer and dilute the tannin.
Poisoning due to the ingestion of acorns is rare in horses which have access to plenty of good quality forage. An occasional acorn throughout the day should not harm a healthy horse with a digestive system full of long-stem fiber.
The ingestion of buds and spring leaves should be avoided. Make sure low hanging or broken branches are removed before they can be eaten. Providing plenty of forage will help deter horses from eating these forbidden windfalls.
Occasionally a horse will develop a taste for acorns. Such an individual would rather eat acorns than good quality forage. If your horse is one of these fanatics you will have to remove the horse from the pasture which contains the forbidden nut.
The signs of acorn poisoning can be: loss of appetite, excessive salivation, blood in the urine or manure, colic-like pain, slow or irregular heart-rate, elevated temperature, pale mucous membranes, watery eyes and a depressed attitude. In the early stages manure is hard and dark in color; the horse may be constipated. Often, in the later stage, the manure changes to diarrhea. Mouth ulcers may form; salvia may escape from the nose. In extreme cases liver and kidney failure ensues and other organs begin to hemorrhage. Some poisoned horses may founder.
Horses that are extremely sensitive to tannin or have eaten large quantities of oak leaves, bark or acorns may die.
If your horse develops acorn poisoning there is no antidote. The common treatment is supportive care. The affected horse must be removed from the source of the poisoning. Your veterinarian will probably give intravenous fluids to help flush out the toxins. Mineral oil and charcoal may be given to help rid the digestive system of the tannin. Hay and water is made available, which also helps dilute the poisonous material in the digestive system. Your veterinarian may also give pain killers to help make your horse more comfortable.
The best thing for the health of your horses and trees is to protect them from each other. Horses are hard on trees. They disturb the root system, chew the bark when bored and rub the branches. Forests or woods do not make good pasture. Fence off any trees. If the trees are providing shelter or shade erect a horse-safe structure, such as a three-sided loafing shed.
There is nothing more beautiful than a majestic oak tree and a horse - they just shouldn't be in the same picture.
Baby, it's cold outside!
Providing a comfortable and healthy environment helps ensure the horse will enter the busy spring season as healthy as possible. Nutrition, shelter and basic health are important year around, but during the cold winter months, are critical.
Water is the most important nutrient in a horse's diet. Many colic cases occur due to dehydration. Fresh, clean water accessible 24 hours a day is mandatory.
Heated water buckets, stock tank deicers or heated automatic waterers help ensure water remains unfrozen. These units must be cleaned and monitored daily.
Water and electricity do not mix! Follow installation instructions. Install ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFI/GFCI) outlets.
Have a back-up water source in case exposed water lines freeze.
Do not expect a horse to eat snow or break through the ice and remain healthy.
The average adult horse at rest requires about 10 gallons of water per day. Many horses will not drink cold water. It may be necessary to offer warmer water. The preferred temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 C).
Horses are grazers. Access to plenty of good, clean, nutritional forage (hay) is mandatory. The digestion of fiber in the hindgut generates heat and helps keep the horse warm.
In a perfect world horses would have grass hay available free choice at all times. But at least a minimum of 1.5% - 2.0% of the body weight should be fed each day; this amount will vary with individual horses and hay quality.
A balanced commercial feed that complements the forage and meets the horse's nutritional requirements should be offered.
The barn manager needs to evaluate each individual horse:
? Is the horse lacking protein? Signs are poor muscle tone over the back, shoulders, and loin area. Poor hoof quality and hair coat are also symptoms of protein deficiency. Chose a commercial mix that provides good quality protein.
? Is the horse receiving enough calories? All horses should have some fat covering the rib area. Close your eyes and run your hand over his ribs - how much pressure must you apply in order to feel ribs? If you can feel ribs without applying any pressure he needs calories - add a balanced commercial mix designed for the age, health and activity level of the horse. Follow the feeding directions. If you can't feel ribs and want to decrease calories make sure you don't short him on protein, vitamins and minerals.
? Is the horse a pregnant mare, a stallion ready to enter breeding season, a young horse starting training, a senior having a weight problem, or a horse with health problems? The hay usually will not provide all the nutrition needed for these individuals. Vitamin, mineral and energy requirements must be considered for each horse.
A common misconception is increasing or adding corn to the diet, thinking it will keep the horse warm. Corn will increase digestible energy in the diet, but will not generate internal heat. Offer more hay instead!
Most healthy horses will be fine if they are provided a windbreak and dry, clean place to stand and lie down.
Horses with special concerns such as seniors, foals or compromised health will need individual care. Observe the horse: Is he shivering? Is he standing by himself with a depressed attitude and no interest in his surroundings? This horse needs immediate attention.
Do not expect a horse to stand ankle deep in mud and remain healthy.
Horses kept in air-tight stalls can develop respiratory problems. Make sure the stalls are well-ventilated and ammonia from urine does not build-up. Avoid drafts.
Blanketed horses need to be checked daily. Make sure the blankets are clean and fit properly. Be sure the horse is not sweating.
BASIC HEALTH CARE:
Deworming - it is important to prepare horses for the stress of winter by maintaining a good deworming program. A horse supporting a large worm count will have trouble remaining healthy during the winter months.
Hoof care - it is easy to ignore the care of the hooves during the cold and often muddy winter season -- "no hoof, no horse." Horses need regular farrier work and the hooves kept clean. A horse standing in a wet dirty stall is prone to thrush and other hoof problems.
Vaccinations - a good vaccination program is important. If a horse becomes sick with a disease that could have been prevented through vaccination the recovery time can be longer during the stress of the winter months; not to mention the added work for the caretaker, who is also struggling with the routine chores.
Exercise - horses need routine exercise to maintain good digestive movement, good mental attitude and muscle tone. If the horse becomes sweaty and hot be sure to cool him out properly.
Do not neglect your horse during inclement weather. Yes, it is dark, cold and windy, but your horse depends on you.
If a horse is under-weight, it's hard to get him fat.
Whoa! It's easy; just feed him more, you say.
Well, it's not that simple
Before we start thinking about increasing feeds and making changes we need to make sure the horse is truly underweight. We are so accustomed to seeing "well-rounded" horses when we see a fit horse we tend to think he is underweight.
Dr. Don Henneke developed the industry standard for determining the condition of a horse in regard to body fat. The body condition score (BCS) rates horses on a scale of 1-9. One is a walking skeleton and nine is obese.
The desired score for most horses would be 5 - Moderate: The back is flat with no crease or ridge. Ribs are not visible, but can be felt with very slight pressure. Fat around the tail head feels somewhat spongy. Fat along the withers and over the top of the back vertebrae make them somewhat rounded. The shoulders and neck blend smoothly into the body. For more information about the body condition score chart visit www.thewayofhorses.com
A horse that is severely underweight cannot recover from disease or illness quickly, is apt to become sick, will have poor quality hooves, will not be able to maintain body heat in cold weather, will not be able to perform or recover from exertion and will not thrive.
The first steps to take in helping the underweight horse is determine why he is thin. There could be one or several reasons.
1. Have a veterinarian visit to rule out illness. A latent infection may be present.
2. Have the vet or an equine dentist check the teeth. Malocclusion (teeth do not meet properly), high points, missing teeth, infection, sores and other problems may be causing chewing problems or causing the horse not to eat.
3. Have a good de-worming program in place. Conduct a fecal exam several times a year to determine worm types and load.
4. Ask your veterinarian about the possibilities of ulcers. He may recommend scoping the horse to detect ulcers. You may decide to try the ulcer medications without a scope and see if they help.
5. Alleviate stress.
6. Is he getting enough to eat and is it of good quality? The high price of hay, cheap commercial feeds, cutting back to save money and the shortage of good pasture for grazing are the most likely reasons for a thin horse. If this is the reason the horse is thin - it's time to sell the horse.
7. The horse may be a senior horse and can't utilize the nutrients available in feeds any longer.
Once the cause of the thinness is determined how to fix it can be addressed.
Your veterinarian can help you with disease, dental problems, deworming or ulcers. Alleviating the stress, providing better quality feed and more of it, better management and commitment to the care of the senior horse is up to you.
You must alleviate as much stress as possible when dealing with a nervous horse. These horses may have high metabolisms and burn calories easily. Stall walking and weaving is not going to help maintain or gain weight.
The nervous horse may calm down if another animal is nearby. If your horse is alone try getting a goat or pony for companionship.
Providing a stall with plenty of windows, a Dutch door or stall guard so the horse can look out may help calm a nervous horse. Try hanging hay net filled with hay outside the door so he can munch on hay while watching the activity around the barn. Grabbing a mouth full of hay and running to look out the door can burn calories. Continue to provide hay on the floor in the stall so he can also eat in the natural position with his head down.
More turn-out time with plenty of forage may also help the nervous horse. If the lot does not have adequate forage you can scatter hay to simulate grazing.
If your horse does have ulcers alleviating the stress will help speed the healing process.
A major stress factor is the feeding schedule. A horse is a creature of habit. Feed at the same time every day. Small, frequent meals are best and they need to be on time. Do not feed one big meal and expect it to last 24 hours or more. Do not feed twice a day with a lapse of more than 12 hours between meals. The best schedule is three or more times within a 24 hour period at the same time each day or night. For example: 6 A.M., 1 P.M. and 8 PM, with the evening meal providing enough hay to last until the next morning.
MORE FEED AND BETTER QUALITY
Most nutrition articles about feeding horses recommend approximately two (2) percent of their body weight in forage per day. This would mean a 1,000-pound horse would need about 20 pounds a day.
This amount is not carved in stone. There are other factors to be considered. What is the quality of the forage? How much of it is edible? How many calories is the forage providing? How many calories per day does the horse require? How digestible is the hay?
Hay that is mature, full of weeds, stored improperly, soiled by other animals, made with inferior grass types or not harvested from well-maintained fields will not provide enough nutrients. If the hay does contain adequate nutrients but the horse does not like the taste of it, then it's no good, too.
It is possible the nervous horse with the high metabolism may eat as much as four or five percent of his body weight in forage per day. Even if hay is provided 24-hours per day if it is not of good quality it will not provide enough calories.
If the underweight horse is on pasture the same problems must be addressed. Is the horse expected to thrive on weeds? A good pasture management program must be implemented which includes rotating pastures. Contact your local cooperative extension office for assistance. http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html In the meantime provide good quality hay in addition to the pasture.
The bottom line is the thin horse (and all horses) should have forage available 24-hours per day.
Once the forage part of the diet has been addressed a balanced commercial diet that compliments the forage should be added.
The key to this is read the feed tag! The mix you choose should be designed for your horse based on age, activity level and forage type. You do not want a feed made for adult horses at maintenance activity level when your horse is a high-performance nervous show horse. You'll end up feeding more, spending more money (think supplements), being frustrated and not providing the needed nutrition for your horse.
Commercial mixes designed for high performance horses and horses that need more calories will contain more fat and probably beet pulp. The fat sources will be vegetable oil, flaxseed and rice bran. These products will not be cheap, but they will be balanced.
Purchasing cheap feed and then adding supplements to try to make it better will only get your mineral ratios unbalanced, create more work for you and put your horse at risk. Unless you are an equine nutritionist leave the mixing to the scientists. Take my word for it - the math calculations are not fun.
If you still decide to add supplements do lots of research. Some key points are: rice bran has an inverted calcium to phosphorus ratio - it needs to be balanced. Horses cannot digest whole flax - it needs to be ground. High fat products turn rancid quickly - they need to be stabilized or purchased fresh frequently. Oil purchased at the grocery store lacks beneficial fatty acids.
Adding a small amount of beet pulp to the diet will not hurt anything. Many horses that are picky will eat with gusto if some moist beet pulp is added to their grain.
Do not feed more than one-half percent of the body weight in grain at one feeding. So a horse that weighs 1,000 pounds should not get more than 5 pounds at a time. (1,000 pounds times 0.005 equals 5 pounds). A horse that weighs 800 pounds would not get more than 4 pounds (800 times 0.005).
THE SENIOR HORSE
The senior horse will have trouble utilizing nutrients. Tooth problems and loosing the ability to extract nutrients from feeds will cause weight loss.
Addressing all management issues can help ensure good quality of life for many years.
Do not neglect the geriatric horse - recovery from sickness, injury or malnutrition can be impossible.
Caring for horses can be expensive and time consuming. Caring for a horse that has issues is worse - if you can't make the commitment, do not get a horse�.they all end up with issues eventually.
For the most part, your pet eats the same food every day. The brand you feed is your pet’s main source of nutrition, which is vital to a long and healthy life. That’s why it’s important to look past attractive labels and clever marketing ploys when deciding which food to provide your precious pet.
Although you may think that pet food manufacturers have your pet’s best interest at mind, this is not always the case. Current pet food regulations allow manufacturers to use ingredients that you would never knowingly feed your pet. Many foods include by-products like feet, bones, and intestines, chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT, and grains like corn, wheat gluten and soy, which are often difficult to digest. These ingredients can put unnecessary stress on your pet’s system and can lead to diminished overall health.
At HealthPetNet, every food, baked treat and supplement is veterinarian formulated to help your pet achieve optimum health. Our foods and baked treats are nutrient dense and contain only the freshest, human-quality ingredients. Our diets use high-quality meat proteins, rather than by-products, corn, wheat, gluten, or soy. You can be confident you are providing your pet with the healthiest possible diet because our products are free from chemical preservatives, sugars, artificial flavors and colors.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
There are many misconceptions about rats. People think that rats are unclean and carry disease. In fact, rats are quite clean and groom themselves several times a day. These aren't sewer rats we're talking about. These pet rats, or fancy rats as they're called, have been domesticated and bred in captivity for at least 150 years. Pet rats are quite tame after living with humans for so many generations and you'll find that they are nothing like their stereotypes.
Rats are very intelligent animals. Some consider rats to have intelligence close or equal to that of dogs. Rats are capable of learning to come when their names are called. They can even be litter trained just as easily as training a cat.
If you have any experience with other rodents such as hamsters, mice or gerbils you may be afraid of biting. Although biting is common with other rodents, it is almost unheard of with domesticated rats. Unlike their rodent cousins, rats are generally docile creatures. Most of the time rats just like to lay around, especially males. Rats can easily be trained to be good lap or shoulder pets.
In the wild, rats live together in colonies and have a complex social structure. These social instincts carry over to pet rats. Pet rats tend to develop strong bonds with humans and with their cage mates. So much so that it is common for rats to become very depressed when a cage mate passes away.
There are many apartments that won't allow dogs or cats, and it may simply not be practical to have larger pets in some houses. In those situations a pet rat is the perfect solution. Cages for pet rats usually don't consume much room at all, usually just a two foot by two foot space, which makes pet rats great for small apartments.
Rats are friendly and intelligent animals and make great first pets for children. Being clean and easy to care for makes them great companions for the elderly. Go out and get your pet rat today!