The seasons have changed, and with the mercury dropping we have to make some changes – longer shirts, pants, light jackets. We thought it was time to go over some tips for our pets, from the common sense to a few things you may never thought of (and not just for dogs, too).
Dogs: No pet should stay outside indefinitely. For dogs that spend time outside, provide plenty of water and a shelter
where they can get out of the wind.
As we prepare our cars for the cooler weather, be very careful to not leave any antifreeze accessible to the dog. It is both very tasty and very toxic to dogs and cats.
It’s getting darker earlier, so don’t forget to wear something reflective when taking Ramses for a walk.
Since autumn is the time when many people make home repairs and preparations for winter, it’s a good time to go over your dog’s equipment. Check their leashes, collars, and harnesses for wear and tear, replacing anything worn or broken. Check all fences and runs for loose spots or holes, before Wrigley gets out in really bad weather.
Fleas and ticks can be very active in the fall months, as they look for hosts to get them through the winter. Be sure to keep up your spot treatment, check for ticks after long walks, and wash bedding and vacuum pet areas frequently to stop them from wintering inside your house. See our complete series Understanding Pest Insects and Treating and Preventing Pests for more information.
One of the biggest changes for your dog, and a big challenge for you, is their new winter coat, as this is a time for them to shed their summer coat and grow a thicker one. There are a few things to do to help keep it under control and stop all the hair all over your house. Frequent brushing, especially with a de-grooming brush such as the FURminator, helps remove the loose hair before it falls out. Add fiber to their food, and digestive enzymes – the enzymes break them down any hair they swallow and the fiber helps push it out. For more info, check out our Preventing hairball care sheet here. Many of our customers will schedule a visit to their favorite groomer to have their dog’s coat blown out and cleaned up in preparation for the season.
The new season can be harsh on their skin and coats; Salmon oil, like Grizzly Salmon Oil is your best friend, as it helps sooth dry, irritated skin, and those Omega-3 fatty acids make their new coat beautiful.
Dogs are not the only animal friend sharing our lives. Here are some tips for the rest of our friends:
Cats: Outdoor cats will often climb into the motors of cars to stay warm. If cats tend to roam your neighborhood, bang on the hood or honk the horn before starting your car.
Don’t forget they’re shedding their summer coats, too, so add some fiber and digestive enzymes to their diet, and give the frequent brushing to help them shed their hair easily and to help prevent hairballs. They can also benefit from some salmon oil in their food. For more info, check out our Preventing hairball care sheet here.
Cats also face the same problems, especially with fleas. Be sure to use the appropriate treatment for you cat, as dog medications can be quite toxic to our feline friends. See our complete series Understanding Pest Insects and Treating and Preventing Pests for more information.
Bettas: While your little betta buddy has been doing great all summer, you may start to notice him slowing down and getting lazy. Adding a small, shatter proof heater to his bowl will help keep him warm and active – they are tropical fish and are healthier with the heat.
Small animals: If you keep your rabbit in a hutch outside, be ready to being them into a sheltered space, like a garage, when the weather turns bitterly cold. Provide plenty of hay and bedding for them to burrow into to stay warm. If you have a rabbit or guinea pig, be eco friendly by using their soiled bedding as mulch and compost. Wood bedding such as shredded aspen can be used as mulch, protecting plant’s roots. Paper bedding can be used as mulch or composted; rototilling it into the ground next year gives you great soil. You can soak soiled bedding in water overnight, strain, and then use to give plants their fall feedingof fertilizer, as it is loaded with nitrates and ammonia. It’s great for indoor plants, too.
Hedgehogs originated from the deserts and steppes of Africa, and tend to want to slow down during winter months. Unless they are properly fattened and prepared for hibernation, it can be dangerous for them to try to hibernate. Counter this by adding a reptile heat lamp to their cage.
Reptiles: This time of year many reptiles may slow down, eat very little, and sleep all the time. Reptiles can respond to the decrease in the amount and intensity of light by brumating, a form of hibernation. Like hedgehogs, unless they are prepared for it and fattened up, brumating can be dangerous, as they’re expending energy even as they are dormant, so unless you’re an experienced hobbyist, prevent them from doing this by increasing the wattage of all their heat bulbs. Make sure that they have been eating well and defecating normally.
Birds and parrots: For most birds fall is the second big molt of year, where new feathers grow and push out old ones. This is the time of year we hear how surprised Polly’s parents were when she flew right off their shoulders! Bring them in for a wing (and nail) trim before you get a surprise, too. Help reduce the irritation the pin feathers cause by misting your bird. It’s especially important to be sure their cage is out of any cold drafts.
The decrease in sunlight at this time of the year can be a downer for us, but imagine what it’s like for your tropical bird! Adding on a UV bulb in a dome can help regulate your bird’s mood and feeding schedule. It can help alleviate depression and regulate their mood, so if Nacho is not playing with her toys, consider bringing the sun inside. Placing the light on a simple timer is an easy way to make sure your bird gets plenty of those needed rays.
With a few special considerations, you and all your pets can safely enjoy what some feel is the
best time of the year.
Aquascaping, the planning and decorating with plants, rocks, driftwood, and decorations in your aquarium, is one of the most enjoyable things about keeping fish. Some prefer to go for a natural look, while others prefer something fun and whimsical. Plants are an important part of your tank; besides making your tank look beautiful, they provide shelter for fish, helping reduce stress and protect babies. One of the earliest decisions you need to make is whether to use real plants or artificial ones.
Artificial plants versus live plants? They both have their pros and cons:
Artificial plants are the simplest and easiest option – since they don’t grow they do not need any maintenance – no cutting, no leaves to prune, nothing to trim. There are many styles and brands now, many of them looking incredibly realistic and life-like – and plenty in fun, whimsical colors if you want to add some pop to your tank!
Artificial plants also do not do anything for your water quality, so you need to do more frequent water tests to keep an eye on your parameters. Algae can be more of a problem when you have artificial plants in your tank, especially if water changes are not done on a regular basis, so you may occasionally have to remove them and wipe off any algae that has built up on the leaves.
Placing in your tank: most artificial plants have a weighted or bucket style base. Simply dig them under or fill them with gravel and you’re done!
Live plants help water quality by soaking up ammonia and nitrites, using them as a fertilizer to grow. This helps prevent ammonia spikes, balances water chemistry, and will starve algae out of the nutrients they need to grow, keeping your tank more attractive.
Real plants grow, so they do need some maintenance. Periodically you’ll have to cut the plants down so they don’t over take and crowd out your tank. Leggy plants (where they have long stems without any leaves), should be shortened and
replanted. Any dropped leaves and dead plants need to be removed so they do not disturb your water quality. Many bunch plants can be cut, and the cuttings rooted in the gravel, where they’ll keep growing.
When first starting to decorate your tank, don’t go crazy with plants. As they grow, they’ll begin to fill in the empty spaces; if you have too many in the beginning, as they grow the tank will get more crowded, and you’ll find you’re doing more maintenance and will have to eventually remove some.
Create a layered effect: plant the shortest plants at the front, medium size plants in the middle of the tank, with the tallest toward the back.
There are a wide variety of plants available for the aquarium, but some need more intense lights than most of us have in our tanks. Some of our favorite plants are:
How to plant: Because they’re alive, some care needs to be taken with planting live plants to allow them to thrive. Bunch plants, like wisteria and hygrophila, should have their base gently tucked into the gravel. The metal weight can be left on or removed and the plants spread out to create a more full look. Plants with rhizomes should not have their base buried; plants like anubias work well if the rhizome is tied to rocks or driftwood. Plants in pots should stay in their pots; it helps protect the roots while letting water flow through. Moss balls and banana plants are the easiest to place – just drop them in! Plants with root systems like Amazon swords should have the roots tucked gently into the gravel, making sure the crown, where the leaves emerge, is above the substrate.
Many of our customers will blend both real and artificial to get the benefits from both. They’ll have live versions of the hardier, low light plants, and use artificial version of the more delicate and sensitive plants. It makes it easy to have a beautiful and elegant aquarium that looks great in your home.
Your dog can rest in comfort and style with our fantastic beds, with styles and prices to match every household!
“Your pet’s quiet time has never been so well supported as this – because nothing supports your pet’s body as well as our Quiet Time® e’Sensuals® Orthopedic Nesting Beds. It’s their fully researched orthopedic design that does the trick – with foam molded in that remarkably cushioning, protective convoluted “egg crate” configuration.
Besides the incredible support they provide, these ingenious nesting beds come in enough sizes and colors to complement pretty much any décor. They’re easy to keep looking good, too, since their covers can be unzipped, removed, and safely machine washed and dried.”
Available in 5 sizes and 5 colors.
“Our team of in-house designers ensure our beds reflect the latest trends in home decor. Our original, stylish and practical designs have become the gold standard in the industry. Bowsers beds are manufactured in Canada, allowing us to maintain a superior standard for quality and workmanship. Our beds are designed with zippered covers for easy care. We use only the highest quality
materials, such as YKK zippers used in the luggage industry, high memory virgin polyester fibre and Eco-Tex Certified upholstery grade fabrics.”
If you do not see one you like in the store, check out their fabric and style book – they can custom make your bed and ship it out fast! And with tons of beautiful fabrics, patterns, and styles of beds, you will find just the right one to fit your home!
The importance of clean ears
It’s one part of our dog’s grooming routine that we frequently forget – what with bathing and nail trims – is cleaning out their ears. Cleaning your pup’s ears on a regular basis will help prevent serious problems down the road. Over cleaning their ears can also be a problem, as it can disrupt the natural balance, leading to irritation and infections. Usually cleaning once a week is sufficient to keep them healthy – but your vet can recommend how often would be best for your particular dog.
Even though we keep mentioning dogs, all of this also applies to cats, and although cats rarely have ear infections, it’s still possible. A regular schedule of examination and routine cleaning will help keep them free from pain and problems.
All dogs build up wax and dirt in their ears, but for dogs with floppy or hairy ears (as this allows moisture to accumulate in their ear), or dogs that spend a lot of time in the water, this can lead to further problems. Diet and allergies can also play a part in infections; allergies lead to inflammation of the intestines, which throws off the entire body’s immune system. Some dogs are more sensitive to any yeast products (like brewer’s yeast), or from diets high in starchy ingredients, which support yeast growth.
If you see any of the following in your dog’s ears, it indicates an infection and they should be seen by their vet immediately:
Never attempt to treat an infection on your own; infections can be very painful, and if not treated properly can lead to permanent damage and hearing loss.
Inspect the ears first, looking for wax and dirt buildup, like in the picture. Use cotton balls to clean their ears; Just like with us, do not use a Q-tip inside the ear canal, only on the external , as it can both push debris further down into the ear canal, or even puncture the ear drum.
Homemade cleaners made with 50% water and 50% vinegar or hydrogen peroxide are very effective for dogs that have chronic yeast or bacterial infections. If you’re looking for something a little stronger while still being effective and gentle, check out our top products:
Vet’s Best makes two excellent ear cleaning formulas. Their Dog Ear Relief Wash uses carefully formulated, natural ingredients (chamomile, yucca, and clove oil) to control odor, itching, and discomfort. Vet’s Best Dry Dog Ear Relief liquid solution turns into a soft powder when dry, and uses unique, carefully formulated, natural ingredients (calendula, aloe vera, and clove oil) to control odor, itching, and discomfort in between your dog’s baths. Ear dry is great for dogs known to be predisposed to ear infections (like those with floppy ears), to help keep them dry and infection free. Both formulas are alcohol-free and non-stinging.
ZYMOX® Ear Cleanser provides an effective, non-toxic way to manage dirty ears. The addition of Lacoperoxidase, Lactoferrin and Lysozyme, which have natural bio-active properties for mild microbe control, plus gentle cleaning surfactants, makes ZYMOX® Ear Cleanser perfect for cleaning dirty ears. Does not contain harsh chemicals or cleaners to irritate sensitive ears. Leaves ears smelling fresh. Zymox ear solution is an over the counter remedy for treating mild ear infections, using the same ingredients as the wash, but with a glycerin base to soften debris and 0.5% hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation.
How to clean their ears.
Clean your dog’s ears in a mud room, outside, or a bathroom. They’ll most likely shake their head, and you want a space easy to clean. Place a small amount of your preferred cleaning solution in your dog’s ears and massage the base. Let them shake, as this will help loosen debris. Wipe the ear out with a cotton ball, repeating as often to remove the cleaner.
You can make ear cleaning even easier by using an ear cleaning wipe instead of applying a cleaning solution and removing it. Our favorite products are:
Nootie Ear Wipes gently removes daily dirt & odor when used for routine ear cleaning in a healthy ear. Helps eliminate ear odor. It may be used for dogs and cats of any age. It is infused with the delicate scent of Sweet Pea and Vanilla. Ingredients: Purified Water, Propylene Glycol, DOSS, Benzoic Acid, Salicylic Acid,
Pro·Sense Plus Ear Cleansing wipes help maintain clean ears and reduce irritation by providing a gentle, soothing Aloe Vera formula. These wipes are suitable for dogs of all sizes and the enzymatic formula helps Remove Dirt, Debris and Wax
While cleaning ears is really a simple task for most people, it’s important enough that, if you cannot do it yourself, they be taken to their vet or favorite groomer to have it done there.
Our newest treats from Stella & Chewy’s! Help your dog thrive by feeding him a wholesome diet similar to what his ancestors enjoyed in the wild.
These Stella & Chewy’s Wild Weenies Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats are made with real meats right here in the USA and contain zero grains, gluten or artificial ingredients. Each tasty treat is made up of 97% muscle and organ meat and serves as a high-protein reward that will have your canine companion drooling with delight. So, give your pal a treat that you both can feel good about with the wholesome ingredients that Stella& Chewy’s has to offer!
Available in 6 tasty and protein rich flavors:
Grass-Fed Beef Recipe
Cage-Free Chicken Recipe
Cage-Free Duck Recipe
Grass-Fed Lamb Recipe
Red Meat Recipe
Game Bird Recip
Caring for our exotic pets can be a bit of a challenge. Exotic Nutrition specializes in exotic pet feeds, and cage accessories, and make it easy to meet the emotional and dietary requirements of our unusual pets.
Silent Runner Wheel – Exercise is just as important to your exotic pet as it is for you, and the new Silent Runner wheel is a great way to provide it. This wheel is truly silent, with dual ball bearings to make sure it runs smoothly and quietly. The heavy duty stand provides a secure running base while giving just enough to prevent joint pain. The textured tracks provide excellent grip for your pet while they run, and no center axle means their fur or tail cannot get caught.
Pet nails can grow to be long and sharp. Not only can this be uncomfortable or even painful to you as an owner, it can also cause your pet to frequently get stuck on fabrics, like pouches or clothing. Switch out the basic track with the Sandy Trimmer track for one to two days each week; the soft, abrasive surface will help keep your pet’s nails naturally trimmed. Switching out the track is quite simple, as the wheel disassembles in moments, which makes it easy to clean, too.
Great for hedgehogs, hamsters, sugar gliders, and rats.
New, tasty diets for your special exotic friends.
Hedgehog complete – This animal-based, high protein diet is combined with mealworms and fortified with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber, and digestive enzyme to meet all their nutritional needs in a tasty form. This veterinarian-approved formula is 100% natural with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and is made entirely in the US.
Exotic Nutrition’s HPW formula is a trusted formula fed to sugar gliders the world over. Instant HPW is based on the same homemade formula in an easier, mess-free, pre-mixed form using dehydrated ingredients, and then fortified it with Glider Booster (multivitamin) and Glider-Cal (calcium supplement) for added nutrition. Just add water to make a pudding like consistency and feed as a sole diet or mix with their Complete diet for variety and excitement. The natural ingredients of honey, eggs, bee pollen, ZooPro high protein supplement, flaxseed oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals means they love the taste while getting the complete nutrition they need.