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Dogs bark. It’s what they do. But why? Does it mean they’re happy, bored, confused or just talkative? Get the facts on why your buddy barks!
Dogs use barking to express themselves and what they’re thinking. It’s a versatile tool, used by domesticated dogs in many different ways. It’s important to keep in mind that barking is not inherently good or bad. It all depends on the situation, and individual dog.
Many breeds have highly evolved vocalisations that help them to do specific jobs, like being guard dogs or tracking game. As a result, certain breeds are more inclined to bark than others. Personality also plays a significant role: each dog is unique and may have their own distinct reasons for barking.
Common Reasons for Barking
When you get home and your dog goes crazy, barking ecstatically, it’s their way of saying, “I’m so happy to see you! I can hardly contain myself!” They may also bark if they see you pick up a favourite toy or grab the leash because it means fun is sure to come.
Along with body language and smell, dogs also use vocal cues to socialise. Depending on the interaction, they could be saying, “Let’s be friends!” or “Sorry, you’re not my type.”
Dogs are attentive, and love putting their superior senses to work. When they howl in the middle of the night or bark at the bushes during a walk, they may be alerting you to an unfamiliar presence nearby.
If left alone too long, a dog may bark to get attention. So, if you have to be away from your buddy for an extended amount of time, look into doggy day care or leave him with a trustworthy friend.
Here’s What You Said
According to a number of pet owners, these are some of the main causes of barking in their dogs:
If you’re still having trouble figuring out what’s causing your dog to bark, start by putting yourself in their paws. When you take time to consider your dog’s daily environment and unique temperament it becomes easier to identify potential causes of barking.
Barking is normal, but if it gets excessive, use it as an opportunity to understand what your dog is going through so you can improve their quality of life.
Information from Petcentric.com
Are you looking for just the right puppy or kitten food for your new furry friend? Check out Purina’s recommendations and some helpful feeding tips.
Getting a new puppy or kitten is an exciting time for any family, and choosing the best food for your new pet is one of many important decisions you’ll make over his or her lifetime. You’ll want to consider the nutritional needs, size, and taste preferences of your own puppy or kitten.
The first year is critical to your new pet’s development. During this time, your puppy or kitten needs special nutrition to promote strong bones and teeth, proper development of body systems, and a healthy coat.>
Basic Puppy & Kitten Feeding Tips
Feeding time should be a happy, healthy experience for your puppy or kitten. Here are some tips to help keep it that way, day after day:
Purina Recommended Puppy Food
At certain times during this period of growth and development, your puppy will need considerably more nutrition than adult dogs. For example, at six to eight weeks of age, he or she requires almost three times the adult caloric requirement per pound of body weight.
All Purina dog dry food ranges have puppy food options. Here are a couple to consider:
Purina Recommended Kitten Food
It’s important to feed your new kitten a food optimised for her life stage. Nurture your kitten with lots of love as well as kitten food that’s rich in flavour, protein, and other nutrients kittens need — like those found in mother’s milk.
Here are a few of Purina’s kitten food recommendations:
Want more help in finding just the right formula for your growing puppy or kitten? Check out our website here or call 0800 PET VIP to speak to our Petcare Advice Team.
Choosing the best food for your puppy or kitten is an important part of ensuring they will be a healthy and happy member of your family for years to come.
We hope these tips will help!
Information from Petcentric.com
Heat stroke is a serious condition for pets as well as people. Learn how to prevent heat stroke and what to watch for in your own pet.
Summertime is for sun and fun, but it’s not without its dangers. While the warmth may feel great on your skin, it can also lead to heat stroke — a common and dangerous condition for dogs and cats as well as people.
The normal temperature for a dog or cat is around 38.61 °C. Heat stroke is caused when your pet’s core temperature rises to 40.56°C or higher. Pets — especially cats — are notorious for hiding their discomfort. They don’t have the means, motivation, or ability to complain like people do. So it’s our responsibility to look out for them and watch for signs of their discomfort.
Behavioural Signs of Heat Stroke
Dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to heat stroke because their furry bodies cannot sweat to dissipate heat. Instead, they pant or breathe rapidly to cool themselves. When they are unable to effectively cool themselves, their core temperature rises rapidly. This can lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications including seizures, organ failure, and clotting problems.
Any animal suspected of having heat stroke is experiencing a medical emergency and must receive immediate veterinary treatment. If not promptly treated, heat stroke can lead to loss of consciousness and death, so it’s important to keep an eye out for the symptoms:
What to Do if Your Pet Has Heat Stroke
The Veterinary Information Network recommends first aid for hyperthermia in pets. If your pet has become overheated, move your pet to a shaded and cool environment, and direct a fan towards him or her. If possible, determine the rectal temperature and record it so you can share this information with a vet.
Begin to cool your pet’s body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region. Make sure to change the towels regularly for fresh cool wet towels as if left they can get warm quickly and cause your pet to overheat even more. You may also wet the earflaps and paws with cool water. Then transport your pet to the closest veterinary facility immediately.
Even if you are able to remove your pet from the hot environment and initiate first aid, he or she will still need to be treated. Many of the complications from heat stroke do not begin to appear until several days after the incident — but prompt veterinary care can potentially prevent or treat some of these complications.
Safety and Prevention
Keeping your pet hydrated is key so make sure they always have access to plenty of clean, cool water. Pets can suffer heat stroke from exercising too much on hot, humid days, or if they’re stuck in the sun without shade for too long. Some dog breeds — like Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apso’s and Boston terriers — are predisposed to heat stroke. Because their noses are short, these dogs have airways that are not as efficient at cooling when they pant.
Overweight or obese dogs are also prone to heat stroke, as are dogs or cats with other airway problems. Cats are often subjected to heat stroke by sneaking unnoticed into parked cars or hot attics, then becoming trapped. It is important to account for all your animals after spending time in an area that could be a heatstroke trap.
The most common cause of heat stroke is still the unthinkable — leaving a pet inside a parked car, with or without the window opened. Leaving a window opened is never sufficient protection, as the temperature can still climb quickly inside a car even on moderately warm days. Learn more about why you should never ever leave your pet in a car, along with other ways to keep your pet safe in the summer heat.
Have fun this summer, but have it safely — and don’t forget the sunscreen for yourself!
Information from Petcentric.com
Adopting a pet in need is a wonderful thing. Not only are these animals given the chance to lead happy and fulfilling lives, they also enrich the lives of those who adopt them. Here are just a few ways in which adopting a pet can change your life for the better.
Saving a Life
One of the best things about adopting a pet is the rewarding feeling you get for having saved a life. Each year, New Zealand’s 46 SPCA centres nationwide receive over 60,000 animals. Knowing you have played a part in rescuing one of these animals is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Taking an animal out of a bad situation and giving them a loving home not only makes you feel great, but it brings immeasurable joy to your new pet, some for the first time in their lives.
A New Best Friend
Finding a new and beloved companion is one of life’s greatest joys. Many adopted pets have had difficult lives, lacking love and support. By rescuing a pet and showing them this love and support, they can transform from shy animals to ones that are overwhelmingly loyal and affectionate. To many shelter pet owners, there is nothing more special than snuggling on the couch with their new companion, comfortable in the knowledge that they have created a special and lasting bond together.
Many shelter pets are mixed breed. When you adopt a young shelter pet, it can be difficult to know just what you might end up with when they are fully grown. Many adopters have remarked on the comments they receive as their pets grow, receiving compliments about their pet’s cuteness and unique features.
A Reason to Explore
Pets are great in that they give us a reason to leave the house and experience the great outdoors. Many shelter pets have not had this chance and when they are adopted, have a tremendous will to explore and discover the wonder and beauty of the world. Sharing this discovery with a shelter pet is a beautiful thing. Not only do you grant your new companion these experiences, you also get to leave your comfort zone and become more active and inquisitive yourself. Weekend hikes, trips to the beach and even just walks to the local dog park are great ways to let off steam, immerse yourself in nature and meet lots of new two and four-legged friends together.
Teaching A Child
Lastly, adopting a pet can provide valuable lessons in kindness and compassion for a young child. Growing pets need love, support and assistance. Involving a child in this process can help to teach them the importance of caring, of being loving and gentle and an understanding of the level of care required to raise a living thing.
These are just a few of the ways in which adopting a shelter pet can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. To learn more about the adoption process and how you can find a new furry companion of your own, visit the SPCA website here.
It’s an age-old dilemma for pet owners — you want to go on holiday, but you don’t want to miss and worry about your pet while you’re gone. The good news is, there are more pet-friendly accommodation options than ever, so you can have your holiday and bring along your furry friend, too!
To help get you started planning a great holiday with your pet, we’ve assembled all our best tips and tricks in this handy guide.
Let’s start with the basics.
Preparation and Safety
Wherever you decide to travel, you’ll want to be sure you and your pet are prepared and safe at all times.
Before You Go…
First things first, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, and that he or she has a collar and tag — or microchip — with your contact information on it. You’ll want to ensure that your pet’s carrier or harness fits properly and comfortably as well. Be sure to bring a carrier or crate that your pet has become used to by allowing him or her to explore it while still in the house. Familiar toys, a pillow, or a blanket can also help.
If you have a cat and want to take her on walks during your trip but haven’t already trained her to wear a harness and walk on a leash, start practicing now. You never know when an unfamiliar sound or animal will startle your cat and make her want to run for cover.
Training Your Pet for Car Travel
The best way to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable on car rides is to train him or her to love the car ahead of time. Dogs don’t usually have as much trouble with cars as cats, but cats tend to be creatures of habit, so you’ll want to help your cat adapt to the car gradually before you go anywhere.
On the first day, allow her to sit with you inside the car and become familiar with the surroundings, then bring her back inside. Do the same thing the next day, eventually working up to a short drive with your cat in her carrier, even just around the block.
If possible, start when your cat is a kitten, and try to make your training runs happy experiences for her. In other words, making your cat’s first car ride a trip to the veterinarian is probably a bad idea.
Pet crates or carriers should be large enough for your dog or cat to turn around inside. Some dogs are too big for a crate. Large dogs can travel by car with a special harness clipped with a safety belt in the car.
Of course, you should never leave a pet in the car unattended.
Airlines usually require pet carriers that are non-collapsible. Some pets — especially those who spend most or all of their time indoors — can get very stressed while traveling, but tranquilising or sedating your cat for air travel can be dangerous. Sedation reduces the internal heat production of the pet and its body temperature can get dangerously low during a long trip. Instead, we recommend providing familiar blankets and toys, and getting your pet used to his or her carrier before going on any long journeys.
In deciding whether to fly or drive, consider that flying is faster, but more stressful for your pet. Driving takes longer, but your pet may be more relaxed in a car.
Keeping Well-Fed and Hydrated
Be sure to pack enough pet food for the duration of your trip, and make sure to include plenty of water, some kind of water bowl, and even some extra snacks for your pet. There are a whole range of products for your thirsty pet, from collapsible fabric bowls to pet water bottles that hang from your belt or backpack.
If your usual pet food is a dry kibble, think about switching to wet food while you’re on the road. Wet food can contain up to 70 percent more moisture than dry food, which can do a lot to keep your pet hydrated. Of course, you should start making the transition to wet food a week or two before you leave the house so your pet’s digestive system can get used to the change.
Stretching All the Legs
Remember that your pet will probably need to stretch every couple of hours. If your traveling companion is a cat, let her out of her carrier with the car doors closed so she can stretch inside the car, but make sure you’ve stopped first. There’s nothing more dangerous than a cat hiding under the brake pedal!
At the Hotel
Once you check in, never leave your pet alone in a room. If you must leave your pet alone in a hotel room, place him or her in a carrier or crate and post a “do not disturb” sign outside the door.
Now, on to all the places you can go!
There are many great pet-friendly hotels to consider. Our friends at Pets Can Come Too have compiled a list of pet-friendly accommodation in New Zealand. View the list here.
Trip Advisor have also made finding pet-friendly accommodation a breeze, with their lists of the top 10 pet-friendly hotels in the North and South Island. View these below.
Traveling together is a great way to bond with your pet. We hope these resources and tips help you plan a fun and safe holiday with your pet full of rewarding experiences and memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Happy traveling!
We know that spending time with pets helps reduce stress in people, but how can we de-stress our pets? Read on to find out!
Pets offer amazing stress-reducing benefits to people. One study found that when people took care of dogs for just three months, they showed significant drops in blood pressure and reactivity to stress. Another study, conducted over a 20-year span, found that people who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die from a heart attack.
Those are some pretty dramatic results! It’s only natural that we should give back to our pets.
“Dogs and cats have broken down the walls of our hearts,” says leading veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker. He notes that when pets and people interact, there’s a corresponding release of oxytocin, prolactin, and dopamine, and a decrease in cortisol. “It’s a reciprocal biochemical spa treatment.”
Signs of Stress in Pets
Your pet’s body language can say a lot about how relaxed or stressed they feel.
“We’re naturally attuned to stress in other people,” Dr. Becker says. “We know what a happy dog looks like, but what does a stressed pet look like? Stress increases cortisol, the fight or flight hormone, which over time can lead to long-term metabolic conditions.”
Major indicators of stress to watch out for in dogs include:
For cats, keep an eye out for these signs:
Fortunately, some of the stress your dog or cat experiences is perfectly natural, like when they play, since it can keep your pet engaged and stimulated, allowing him or her to feel new sensations and learn new things. But chronic stress can lead to health issues. If you see any of the symptoms above, check with your veterinarian right away to eliminate any medical problems.
De-stress Your Pets These Holidays
Much of the stress pets experience can be reduced or avoided with a little TLC. Dr. Becker notes, “The key is to reduce anxiety triggers.” If you have a vet visit, for example, “Don’t get the carrier out the night before.” Give your pet a few days to get prepared. If they’re nervous alone or when travelling, play soothing music, or close the curtains. The less stimulus pets receive from the outside world, the less anxiety they’ll have about events outside their control.
Here are some common causes of chronic stress, along with some ways to help manage your pet’s anxiety.
Changes at Home
Dogs and cats are sensitive to their environments, and constant changes in the home can make your pet feel like he or she is out of control. If you move, make repairs, or renovate, try to keep as many things as possible tidy and consistent. If you have a cat, make sure she has unobstructed access to food, water, and the litter box, as cats like to have convenient escape routes handy at all times.
Changes to Social Circle
Have you adopted a new pet or had a new baby, guest, or significant other join your household? The loss of family member, or even a child heading off to college, can also stress out your pet. You can help by adding more play and exercise to your pet’s day. When introducing pets and/or people, meet on neutral territory, where nobody feels territorial. With people, give them a treat to feed your pet. With other animals, time and patience are key.
Seasonal and Temperature Changes
Although your pet may live inside, he or she is still very in tune with the weather. Changes in the seasons — and temperature differences — can greatly affect your pet’s overall stress levels. It can be very helpful to increase the frequency of playtime during winter as pets are likely to be less active outside. Also, make sure your pet has blankets to snuggle in for warmth. On hot days, make sure they have plenty of fresh water and cool hideouts where they can relax.
Boredom and Overstimulation
Energy varies between breeds, says Dr. Becker. “Greyhounds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and other active breeds have unfathomable energy.” He continues, “Wolves spend 80% of their time awake, moving. With cats, there’s not such an exercise requirement,” but providing outlets for play at home is still crucial. For both cats and dogs, he recommends food-dispensing that “recreates the hunt,” and puzzle feeders that engage your pet’s “body and mind.”
Boredom can be a big problem for cats, too, but so can overstimulation. Because cats have such sensitive hearing and skin, excessive noise and touching can cause a great deal of stress. If there are any signs of discomfort, give the touching a rest. Communicate with any children or other people in your home so they keep this in mind, too. Try to keep your TV and music at a volume that’s comfortable for your cat.
Everyone loves a new puppy or kitten, but — like people — a pet’s needs change with age. They may be less active, preferring a leisurely stroll to a rollicking tug-of-war, so adapt to the changing needs of older pets as best you can. Keep up to date with their veterinary care, and ensure your old friend remains a healthy and happy member of your family.
When looking for ways to de-stress your pet, always try to view things from his or her point of view. With a little work on your part, your pet is sure to reward you with a happy, wagging tail or contented purr!