Nov 292011
 

The seasons have changed, and with the mercury is 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 delicious and very toxic.

It’s getting darker earlier, so don’t forget to wear something reflective when taking Foxie 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 most 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.

One of the biggest changes for your dog, and a big challenge for you,  is their new winter coat (and not a mink one). This is a time for shedding, as their summer coat falls out. They also tend to shed some of the winter coat, since their bodies don’t need the insulation inside. Keep up the fiber and enzyme supplements to help prevent hair impaction, and brush frequently with a de-grooming brush such as the FURminator to remove loose hair. 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. Let their short summer coat grow out, and, if they have really short hair to begin with, when it gets colder get them a great sweater to stay warm.

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.

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.

Rabbits: 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 beddings such as shredded aspen can be used as mulch, protecting plant’s roots. Paper beddings 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 feeding of fertilizer, loaded with nitrates and ammonia. It’s great for indoor plants, too.

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 bromating, a form of hibernation. Make sure that they have been eating well and defecating normally. You can perk them up and keep them active by increasing the wattage of their heat bulbs.

Birds and parrots: For a lot of parrots, fall can trigger a molt, 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, and add some vitamins to seed-only diets. 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!

Nov 182011
 

With the holidays arriving, it’s time to plan for your trips. Part of the planning is care for your favorite pet.

We’re honored to board small animals, reptiles, and birds. Spots do fill fast, so book as early as possible. Want to save some time? Download the new boarding form here and fill it out at your leisure and bring it in with you. For the owners of all birds boarding here (except for finches), we must have a valid psittacosis test from your vet  on file before boarding (these take two weeks to get , so call your vet early). Call us for more information or to book your reservation.

Nov 162011
 

The weather has changed and we’re all breaking out of our winter doldrums and getting outside! But with the heat comes some special considerations for our pets. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Walk your dog in the early morning and evening, when the temperature is cooler.
  • Provide plenty of shade and fresh water for dogs outside, and consider bringing them in when the
  • weather gets really hot.
  • To help cool down a dog, splash their paws with water. Take alcohol wipes on walks and wipe pads. This
    will help them shed excess heat.
  • Give your dog a new do! A shorter haircut right now will do a lot to help keep them cool.
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car. Even with windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can
    reach fatal levels quickly (in many states, it’s illegal to leave a dog in a car, and in some people can break
    windows to rescue distressed animals.)
  • Some dogs get very frightened during these big thunderstorms we have, or during firework displays on
    the 4th of July. Consider trying the Thundershirt. The Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has been
    shown to help calm dogs that are fearful, anxious, or over excited.

With a little care and forethought, you can keep your dog both safe and happy during the great summer months.

 

Download this care sheet (pdf)

Nov 102011
 

Cats are, originally, desert creatures, and do not have a big “thirst response”. They are not generally big water drinkers, having evolved to obtain most of their moisture from their prey items. Fast forward to today, where we keep our cats indoors and feed them a diet mostly of dry kibble. A lifetime of this diet can slowly dehydrate them, eventually leading to an older cat with kidney problems.

There are several things that you can do to help prevent these problems later in life. Use a cat water fountain. Cats are much more likely to drink water that is in motion – we’ve all seen cats drink from faucets. Moving water tends to feel colder, and cat drinking fountains have built in filters to help it stay cleaner than still, stagnant water. It’s a great time to invest in one: our Cat-it Fresh & Clear Drinking Fountain is on sale this month! Check it out here.

Place several water dishes around your house. Cats are more likely to drink when there are multiple sources. Wider water dishes can get your cat to drink more, as they hate to have their whiskers touching anything, even the side of their dishes.

Add water, or something tasty like low sodium chicken or beef broth, to their dry kibble. Allow it to sit for a few minutes for it to soften. The bowl should be picked up after a few hours to prevent the food from drying out and going bad. This is a good way to get fussier cats to eat, as it adds some flavor and the moisture releases the aroma of the food.

Better yet, switch them to canned food, as this contains higher levels of moisture. There is an old wives tale that can food is bad for your cat’s teeth. Your cat’s teeth are actually sharp and angled, having evolved to shear meat, not flat to grind dry kibble. In fact, when cats eat dry food, they are actually breaking up the kibble with the roof of their mouth.

By far the best diet for your cat and hydration is raw food. This food is the closest thing to their natural diet. It has not been altered with heat or friction, which preserves the innate vitamins and minerals, along with essential amino acids and enzymes (processed kibbles have these added back to the food after cooking them out.)

Cats are about 60% water, and they must have continual hydration to maintain this level. Symptoms of dehydration in cats are lethargy, dry gums and eyes, and skin that stays peaked when you lift a fold. Severe dehydration is a matter for your vet to address, as intravenous fluids may be needed. Giving fluids in a more natural way can help keep your cat well hydrated and out of the vet’s office. Try offering water in a variety of ways; your cat will definitely let you know what they like!