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Fireworks Safety Tips
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FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS

While fireworks can add a lot of fun and excitement to a celebration, the bright flashes and loud noises can make it a scary time for our pets.

Check out these top tips from the SPCA on how to keep your pet safe, calm and out of harm’s way when you or those around you are celebrating with fireworks.

  • Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.
  • Keep them indoors – they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn up the volume on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs with familiar sounds.
  • Make sure that your cat or dog has somewhere safe and comforting to hide such as an igloo, box, crate or somewhere they feel safe to retreat to.
  • Put a collar and registration tag on your dog. Both cats and dogs should be microchipped and have a collar and identification tag with your contact details on it. If your pet panics and runs away, it will help rescuers reunite you. 
  • Comfort your pet – This could mean cuddling them if it helps or giving them space, depending on what your pet needs. Try to behave in a calm and reassuring manner. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets and if you know that your pet gets very stressed when fireworks are being let off then consult your vet for advice on keeping them calm.
  • Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.
  • Never punish your pets when they are scared – This will only make their fear and stress levels worse.
  • Play music to mask the noise.
  • Try a compression wrap.
  • Exercise your dog early in the day to avoid being out in the dusk and fireworks.
  • Consider the use of ADAPTIL for dogs and FELIWAY for cats that are nervous.
  • Don’t forget small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or  chickens. Have them tucked away or even inside for the night.
  • Keep in mind that for some animals this is a real phobia and should be treated with medication they should speak to their vet for options before the fireworks start.

Share these tips with your family and friends and let’s do our bit to keep our pets safe, happy and out of harm’s way.

Mealtime In A Multi-Cat Home
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FEEDING YOUR CATS

Different cats can have different nutritional needs, even if they live together. Here’s how to handle mealtime in a multiple cat home.

If you have more than one cat, you may need more than one type of feeding routine. Just as the age, lifestyle, and health of each cat can vary, so too can their dietary needs, in terms of the types and amounts of food they should receive.

Varying Diets in a Multiple Cat Home

For example, if you have an older cat, she may benefit from a senior diet that has high protein levels to maintain lean body mass, while a kitten will need a very specific diet to help her grow and thrive in her first year of life.

On the other hand, an overweight adult cat may benefit from a weight-management diet that still provides the nutrients she will need, while having fewer calories and/or more fibre than a standard formula.

How to Feed Multiple Cats

If your home has different cats with different dietary needs, you’ll need them to eat from different bowls — which will require some adjustment if they typically dine together from the same bowl.

You may want to try feeding them at the same time but in different rooms. If you feed them at the same time in the same place, be prepared to prevent them from straying and eating from each other’s bowls. After a period of time, however, they should adjust to their new eating routine with less policing from you.

Want to learn more about our fascinating feline friends and how to feed them? Check out this information here.

Information from Petcentric.com

Nutrition For Senior Dogs
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FEEDING YOUR DOG

You and your senior dog could share many years to come. Check out these tips on how best to address his special nutritional needs.

As your dog ages, you may find that he is putting on weight, even if there haven’t been any changes to his diet. Being overweight can be one of the worst things for your senior dog. Lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits can help prevent this problem from arising in your pet’s mature years.

Other pets have the opposite problem — they may lose weight even though they are eating regularly. Some dogs may benefit from a high-fibre, reduced-calorie dog food and two smaller meals a day.

In either case, it’s important to get nutritional advice from your veterinarian. Here is Purina’s take on the special nutritional needs of senior dogs.

Senior Dog Nutrition

Dogs lose lean body mass as they age. At the same time, fat mass tends to increase, while their metabolic rate decreases along with activity. This is a recipe for weight gain and the troubles that come with it.

The solution? A highly digestible dog food, with adjusted levels of nutrients, that provides for your senior dog’s special needs.

  • Higher protein. A higher protein diet (vs. adult food) helps senior dogs compensate for age associated loss of lean body mass and inefficient protein turnover rates.
  • Decreased fat. Slightly decreased fat (vs. adult food) helps to maintain healthy body condition.
  • Enhanced antioxidants. Senior dogs can benefit from enhanced antioxidant levels to support their immune systems, which may be declining.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Adequate levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and a proper calorie level support your dog’s joint function.

In addition, your dog needs these enhancements delivered in highly digestible ingredients to help support his aging digestive system. Some senior formulas may even contain a prebiotic fibre to promote digestive health.

Dogs have different nutritional needs at different points in their lives, so feeding your dog a healthy food formulated for his life stage is an important way to make sure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs. To find just the right food for your senior dog, check out this information here.

Information from Petcentric.com

Why Is Your Kitten Biting?
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Cat Behaviour

Has your kitten’s biting got out of hand? Here’s what to look out for, and how you can help your cat learn to play appropriately.

Ouch! Some gentle “hand-wrestling” with your kitten suddenly turned from playful to painful! What happened? Why is your kitten biting so hard? The good news is, your kitten is still a kitten, and this is a very common issue. The bad news is, her bites kind of hurt!

Well make sure you’re bandaged up and settled in, because we’re going to take a look at common causes of kittens biting. Just as important, we’ll cover some techniques for how to discourage and even prevent this behaviour.

Instinctively Adorable

At every turn, kittens are learning about their world, mostly by playing with whatever piques their interest. When you see them bat, chase, pounce, and even bite, you’re actually seeing early versions of their hunter instincts. It’s adorable and fascinating to watch, and even more fun to participate! Except for the biting.

Playing with a kitten is clearly a win-win scenario, but it’s best to avoid using your hands or feet as toys. Otherwise, the kitten may accidentally learn that biting human skin is an acceptable behaviour. And two years down the road, as you can imagine, an adult cat could easily leave more of a mark.

Instead of hands and feet, try using pet shop bought or homemade toys you can dangle in front of your kitten or drag along the floor. Moving objects like these are perfect for playtime, and they help kittens learn acceptable ways to use their teeth and claws.

Moulding Young Minds

If you’ve raised a kitten or are currently raising one, you know they can be mischievous, which includes the occasional ambush. But what if her adorable attack comes with a bite?

In this case, a build-up of energy may be the reason why your kitten is biting. Try increasing playtime to keep her busy with desirable behaviours. This early one-on-one interaction is really the best opportunity to teach your growing kitten what is acceptable play and what is not.

Another tip: If you’re planning on adopting a kitten, consider bringing home one or two more. Kittens naturally learn how to control their teeth and claws as they bite and scratch (and ambush) each other.

And finally, if additional playtime and playmates simply aren’t possible, interactive items like puzzle toys and bouncy door hangers are good alternatives.

The Warning

Cat experts often talk about the risk of petting cats until they are “overstimulated,” or beyond the point of enjoyment. Coming from a kitten, it’s just another example of early, instinctive communication. So your kitten’s bite may simply be her way of saying, “Okay! Enough!”

Before the bite, look for signs that she’s feeling irritated. It may be tail twitching, restlessness, dilated pupils, or ear flicking. If you see any of these, take it as a cue to slowly move your hand away and give your kitten room to regain her composure.

Talk to the Doc

No two cats are the same, which also applies to kittens. If you have questions or concerns about your kitten’s biting behaviours, talk to your veterinarian. He or she can help determine what might be causing the behaviour.

In fact, your kitten may be biting because she isn’t feeling well, which is another great reason to ask your veterinarian. Look for any other signs of illness in your kitten, such as loss of appetite, unusually low energy, or sickly-looking eyes. A prominent nictitating membrane (the third eyelid) can be a sign of illness.

Quick Recap

So why is your kitten biting? She may need more appropriate toys to play with, more playtime, less petting, or a visit with your veterinarian. Whatever the cause, it’s most likely something that you can address by taking simple steps to make sure she’s happy, healthy, and learning acceptable play behaviours. Just remember: Your kitten is a great cat in the making, and you can make it happen.

Information from Petcentric.com

Leaving Your Dog At Home
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Pet Care

By Will & Eko from Marking Our Territory

“Hi, while you’re not home I’d like you to leave an animal whose favourite activity is ‘chewing on stuff’ loose in your house.”

It sounds like an insane proposition, but it’s one that many of us accept each and every day. Thankfully, these days I have two well-adjusted pups who don’t cause any trouble while I’m gone.

This was certainly not always the case. Goodbyes used to be quite anxiety provoking for Penny, my youngest dog.

While attempting to train Penny to stay home alone, outside of her crate, we had a few…setbacks.

There was the time she turned my shoes into chew toys. Then, the mysterious case of the missing blanket… though that guilty expression told me it was hiding somewhere.

I realised the issue was that none of my training changed the basic problem – my departure was a negative, anxiety-inducing experience for Penny. So, I decided to change my training with the goal of giving my departure a positive association.

You may be asking, ‘how on earth did you do that’? It all came down to Penny’s ravenous love of food – something most dogs share. Prior to leaving I put a delicious treat in front Penny, while commanding her to “stay”. I then put on my shoes and went through my normal going-out routine, all with the treat inches from Penny’s face. Penny would tell you it was cruel and unusual punishment.

It wasn’t until I opened the front door and stepped outside that I gave Penny the “take it” command. Over time, Penny associated my sticking around with a negative feeling (the interminable wait for a treat) and my departure with the rapture and relief of finally chomping down on her sweet reward.

The new training method worked so well that these days, Penny gets exasperated when I don’t leave quickly enough!

There’s no getting around the fact we have to leave our dogs alone sometimes, but there’s certainly a way to change our pups’ perceptions of that departure.

Information from Petcentric.com

Emergency Pet Care
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Pet Care

What should you do if your pet needs urgent care after hours? We’ll help you put together an emergency pet care plan now, just in case you need it later.

It’s heart-breaking when your dog or cat is sick or injured, especially at times when a veterinarian may be unavailable. The best thing is to have a plan at the ready ahead of time, so that you can respond calmly in the case of an emergency.

Putting Together an Emergency Pet Care Plan

First, you’ll want to check with your veterinarian to see what kind of emergency services he or she offers. Some may provide 24-hour service or have another veterinarian on call for emergencies. This may be your best bet, as you and your dog or cat can get to know the person or people who may be caring for your pet in case of an emergency.

If your veterinarian doesn’t provide after-hours care, see if he or she works with an emergency clinic or can recommend one for you. If not, do a local search online for an emergency clinic in your area, and call ahead to see what services they offer, and at what cost. If there is more than one emergency clinic in your area, it may be wise to compare. Make sure you have your veterinarian and the clinic’s phone numbers handy at all times in case you need them in an emergency.

When to Seek Emergency Pet Care

If your pet has been severely injured, is choking, has heatstroke, or has gotten into something poisonous, call your veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic right away. Other signs your pet may need emergency care include: paralysis or difficulty standing, loss of consciousness, seizures, excessive bleeding, or pale gums. Any of these may be a sign of a more serious condition that requires urgent treatment.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian or clinic as soon as you notice a problem. They can help you decide whether your pet needs emergency care today, or if it can wait until an appointment with your veterinarian tomorrow.

When to Provide First Aid

Sometimes you need to help an injured or sick pet right away. If your pet is not breathing, the best option for survival is to try to perform CPR. Here’s a step-by-step guide that explains how to do it.

If your pet is bleeding a lot, it’s best to try and control the bleeding before moving him or her. Cover the wound with sterile gauze squares and apply direct pressure to the wound for 5–10 minutes. Then wrap bandages over the dressing and take your pet to the veterinarian or clinic.

If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, call a veterinary poison centre helpline and follow their advice depending on the ingested substance.

If Cost Is a Factor

No pet should suffer because of an owner’s inability to pay for care. Pet health insurance can help cover emergency services and spread out pet health care costs over time so you’re not overwhelmed with large bills all at once.

If you don’t have pet health insurance and your dog or cat needs urgent care, take him or her to your veterinarian or emergency pet clinic anyway. Your veterinarian may be willing to negotiate a lower cost for you, or you may be able to pay the cost over time. There are animal welfare organisations that may be able to help through low-cost care, loans, or grants.

Hopefully your pet will never need emergency care, and regular visits to your veterinarian will cover all of your pet’s health care needs. But just in case, be sure to put an emergency pet care plan together ahead of time, and don’t delay.

How about today?

Information from Petcentric.com

What Can Dogs Feel?
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Dog Behaviour

Dogs bring out many emotions in us, but are they experiencing the same feelings?

It was once thought that dogs, and all animals, were essentially organic robots that didn’t feel emotions; they simply followed their instincts like a machine follows its programming. But contemporary science has discovered that dogs go through similar chemical and hormonal changes as humans when experiencing emotions. The difference is dogs experience them on a more basic level. A common comparison is that a fully-grown dog has the same emotional capacity as a two and a half year old child. But as a human’s emotional range develops for several years, a canine reaches emotional maturity at around six months, depending on the breed.

So, what emotions do they feel? Scroll through and see below!

Joy

It’s written all over their face. Dogs are filled with joy when doing their favourite activities, from chasing tennis balls at the park to cuddling on the couch. No matter where they are or what they’re doing, dogs find a way to enjoy themselves!

Surprise

Dogs tend to be excitable and easily surprised, which can make for some hilarious moments. They have a healthy appetite for new experiences and different ways to play.

Disgust

Just as your dog has the ability to feel intense joy, he has the capacity to genuine disgust and distress. If your dog gives a look of wholehearted contempt, don’t worry! It’s just means he has a healthy emotional range (and may appreciate a little warmer water).

Fear

Fear is a familiar emotion for canines, and an essential survival mechanism. It tends to be provoked by scary sounds and stressful situations, but the amount of fear a dog experiences depends on how it was raised and individual personality. Guilt is a common emotion associated with dogs, but there is some disagreement among dog experts about whether canines feel guilt or if it’s just fear of being punished.

Sadness

This is a very real emotion for dogs, partly because it’s a common emotion among people. Dogs can sense your sadness and will often try to cheer you up by giving you attention, or show empathy by feeling sad along with you.

Anger

For better or worse, anger is a natural emotion for dogs. Anger or aggression can be caused by protective instincts, territorial issues or even genetics. However anger comes about, it’s important to protect yourself and your dog. It’s natural for dogs to feel this way from time to time, but you should note situations that tend to make them testy so these can be avoided in the future.

Curiosity

Dogs seem to have an endless interest for the world around them. They use their sense of smell like a fun-detector, and when they sniff something funny or strange they want to know more!

Love

This one’s no surprise; dogs are very capable of experiencing love. And they’re very good at showing it, too! No matter how big or small, dogs seem to have super-human hearts!

Honourable Mention:

Confusion

Many scholars insist that confusion is not an emotion, but a combination of fear and anger. And canine experts attest that dogs aren’t capable of experiencing such complex emotions.

Conclusion:

Although dogs don’t have the same range of emotions as we do, they are dynamic animals who have real feelings. They can even sense what people are feeling! Complex emotional states may be out of reach for our furry friends, but they’re experts at expressing the most important one, love.

Information from Petcentric.com

Adopt a Senior Cat
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Pet Adoption

Adopt a Senior Cat

Wondering what type of cat is the right addition to your family?

When looking to adopt a new pet, consider a senior cat. Read on to learn all the benefits of adopting an older pet.

While no one will dispute how adorable a young kitten may be, there are so many great reasons to adopt an older cat. Their generally calm and gentle demeanour makes them wonderful companions. While kittens may be more frisky and playful, older, more mature cats are generally known to be calm, sensible and much more independent. They are also more likely to be litterbox trained, alleviating some of the burden of training a young kitten. Older cats are wonderful pets that will bring a sense of fun and joy into your home.

Making your senior kitty feel at ease

  • Is she an indoor or outdoor cat?
  • Where was her litterbox previously located?
  • Does she like kids? How is she with strangers?
  • Was a special diet involved, or any special treats?

All of these little pieces of information will help your senior kitty transition purrrfectly into her new home.

Once home, a great way to bond with your new senior cat—and keep her coat healthy and shiny—is with weekly, or even daily brushings. This can reduce stress (and hairballs), while also improving your kitty’s circulation, and keeping her looking young with a nice sleek and healthy coat!

Tips for caring for your older pet

When considering a senior cat, it’s also helpful to keep the following things in mind:

  • Keep her in shape and properly fed in order to maintain good health
  • Consider a cat food designed for older pets
  • Be sure to immediately alert your vet of unusual physical changes, such as growths and bumps, excessive drinking, weight loss, or behavioural changes, like hearing loss
  • Six monthly check-ups at the vet can also help maintain your cat’s longevity

These extra precautions are a small part of senior cat adoption. A senior kitty can provide years of companionship, while requiring less effort and training than a young kitten. Cats can live beyond 20 years, so remember that some of her best years may be her golden years.

So if you are feeling ready to welcome a new furry family member into your home, consider adopting a gentle, loving senior cat from a local shelter. If you already own a senior cat, be sure to show her a little extra TLC! Every cat, no matter her age, deserves a special, loving home.

Information from Petcentric.com

Dangerous Food For Dogs
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Feeding Your Dog

Did you know that a number of foods that humans eat are dangerous to dogs?

When it comes to food, one of the most important things you need to remember is that some of the food you eat is not suitable for your pooch. In fact, many food items are downright dangerous and some can be lethal.

Read on to see what you should avoid feeding your dog at all costs.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an ingredient, not an actual food. Xylitol can be found in a lot of human food, including pretty much anything that’s sugar-free (cookies, gum, jam, etc.). If ingested by a dog, this sweetener can cause low blood sugar and liver failure, if ingested in large amounts. If you’re on a diet, keep your sugar-free food safely tucked away inside a cabinet.

Onions

Onions can do worse than just give your dog bad breath. If ingested in large amounts, they can cause Heinz Body formation, which weakens red blood cells and can lead to anaemia, kidney damage, diarrhoea, vomiting, and rapid heartbeat. Chives, garlic, and scallions can also cause this type of anemia. A dog that has consumed a large quantity of onions might need a blood transfusion and a long stay in the vet clinic to fix the problem.

Grapes

Grapes (and raisins) are only dangerous to some dogs, but not to all. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell which dogs can have a reaction to them, so it’s best to keep them out of reach. A 4.5kg dog that ingests over 85 grams of grapes can suffer kidney damage, and over 14 grams of raisins in a 4.5kg dog can also cause kidney damage. If larger amounts are ingested, the dog may suffer kidney failure and death. Remember, foods like Christmas cake and hot cross buns often contain raisins, so make sure they aren’t an ingredient in anything you are going to let your dog near.

Chocolate

A lot of people already know that chocolate and dogs are not a good combination, but did you know that dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate? Smaller dogs are at a much higher risk of problems including tremors and seizures from ingesting chocolate. To make matters worse, the fat content of chocolate can also cause pancreatitis in dogs that ingest a large amount. Chocolate ingestion can be a serious problem for any dog, so be sure to keep it safely stowed where no pups can get into it.

Alcohol and Coffee

These are both toxic for dogs. While a lap or two of coffee will not be fatal, ingesting coffee grounds or more concentrated forms of caffeine can cause hypertension, nausea, vomiting and even death in dogs and cats.

Avocados

Avocados contain persin; while toxic to many animals, dogs and cats are not severely affected by ingesting persin. Very large amounts may cause a stomach upset though and the stone, if ingested may cause a blockage, so err on the side of caution and keep avocados away from your pets.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are also dangerous to pets, containing a toxin that can inhibit movement and cause panting, weakness and swollen limbs. Best save these for yourself.

Fruit

While some fruits are harmless, peaches, plums, persimmons and apple pips contain a substance that degrades to cyanide.

General Foods

Some foods while not toxic, are just unsuitable for a dog’s unique diet. Sweet corn cobs for example, can cause blockages in the small intestine and may need to be removed surgically. Fatty foods like pork crackling, chicken skin, sausages and other fatty meats can also lead to intense pain due to pancreatitis.

If you suspect your dog ate something on this list, call your veterinarian or rush them to the nearest vet clinic. Your veterinarian might induce vomiting or try something more aggressive, such as a gastric lavage, to get rid of as much of the food as possible before it’s absorbed into the bloodstream.

The best option, of course, is prevention. The next time you’re cooking or eating ‘people food’, don’t let your dog have a taste, no matter how sad his eyes may look. He’ll be much safer and happier with his species-appropriate diet — and so will you!

Information from Petcentric.com

Does My Cat Love Me?
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Cat Behaviour

You love your cat with all your heart, but does your cat love you back? Get the facts on how cats show affection and easy ways to tell if they love you back!

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to ‘prove’ love exists, whether it’s between you and your cat or between two people. With that said, there are plenty of ways that cats show affection and compelling evidence that they feel love toward their owners.

Cat relationships vs People relationships

Cats are often labelled as unattached and aloof, but really they’re just particular about how they show affection. So when they don’t come when you call, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It just means they’re happy where they are. In that way, they’re more like people than dogs. A good way to think about it is how a kid will wriggle out of his mother’s grasp as she tries to kiss and hug him – not because he doesn’t love his mum, but because he’s had enough mushy stuff for the time being.

Signs your cat loves you

Despite their ‘couldn’t care less’ reputation, many cats develop strong relationships with their owners. You can tell a cat has a strong relationship with someone when they become physically and emotionally engaged with them, like rubbing against their leg, kneading and being affectionate. Some other signs your cat loves you are following you around the house, purring when you pet them, bringing you their toys, and wanting to sleep in the same room as you (even if they want out halfway through the night).

You can also tell if your cat loves you by how they act when you’re not around. In cases of extreme or abrupt separation, it’s not uncommon for cats to show signs of distress and anxiety – like refusing to eat or hiding. In extreme cases, cats have been known to travel hundreds of miles to reunite with their families. Like in 2003, when a cat in Florida in the USA named Holly walked nearly 200 miles to find her owner.

How to show your cat you love them

Always be ready to pet them on their terms. As we said, cats can be very particular when it comes to giving and receiving affection, so be patient and embrace them when they’re in the mood. Also, pay close attention to what your cat doesn’t like. Cats, just like people, have pet peeves. Whether it’s having their ears scratched, having their paws or tail held, keep an eye out for their annoyances and be sure not to trigger them.

Conclusion

Science may not be able to prove cats love people, but we do know that devoted owners have devoted pets. So never hesitate to invest your heart in your feline relationships. Remember, love increases the more you give it away!

Information from Petcentric.com

Why Is Your Dog Barking?
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Dog Behaviour

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

Enthusiasm

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.

Socialisation

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.”

Vigilance

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.

Loneliness

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:

  • Cats
  • Other dogs
  • Doorbells
  • Dogs on TV
  • Vacuuming
  • When it’s time to eat
  • When they want to go outside
  • 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

Feeding Your Puppy or Kitten
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Feeding Your New Pet

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:

  • Establish a routine so that your puppy or kitten is fed at the same time each day. For a proper feeding schedule, follow the feeding instructions on the puppy or kitten food package and always measure.
  • Don’t keep opened canned food for longer than 24 hours or leave uneaten wet food in your pet’s bowl for longer than 20 minutes. Throw away the leftovers and wash the bowl thoroughly.
  • Only feed your puppy or kitten food that’s especially formulated for puppies or kittens. Keep in mind that while your pet will grow to look like a full-grown dog or cat on the outside, your pet will need the extra nutrition puppy or kitten food provides until he or she is one year old (or up to 2 years for giant breed puppies).
  • Don’t feed dog food to your cat or cat food to your dog. Every Purina product is specially formulated for a dog’s or cat’s unique nutritional needs.
  • Also, resist the temptation to feed your puppy or kitten table scraps. Give in, and your new pet might become a finicky eater who never wants to return to his or her regular food. Table scraps also tend to be high in calories and may cause unwanted weight gain.
  • If you use your new pet’s name while feeding, it can help them learn their name while associating you with a pleasant activity.

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:

  • Puppy Chow® Complete contains great taste and texture and provides the nutrition that lays the foundation for a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Pro Plan OPTISTART is a complete and balanced dry food especially formulated for puppies and is available in varieties for small and mini dogs, medium dogs and large dogs. 

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:

  • Pro Plan® kitten with OPTISTART food contains real chicken and all the nutrition your growing kitty needs.
  • Purina ONE Healthy Kitten formula has real chicken combined with other high-quality ingredients to support optimal health, inside and out.
  • Kitten Chow® Nurture encourages a healthy appetite while fuelling healthy brain and body development.

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

Does My Pet Have Heat Stroke?
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Pet Health

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.

Heat Stroke

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:

  • Excessive panting and salivating
  • Obvious discomfort
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

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

How Adopting Enriches Your Life
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Pet Adoption

Enriching Your Life

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.

Uniqueness

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. Many studies have shown that children who grow up with pets have increased empathy and compassion toward others.

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.

Guide to Pet Friendly Holidays
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Guide To

Pet Friendly Holidays

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.

Air Travel

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!

Pet-Friendly Destinations

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.

North Island

South Island

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!

Signs of Stress in Pets
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Signs Of

Stress in Pets

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:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Excessively licking lips
  • Shaking to dry off when there has been no contact with water
  • Trembling
  • Avoiding or hiding

For cats, keep an eye out for these signs:

  • A drop in energy or activity level
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • A change in appetite
  • Withdrawal
  • Aggression
  • Inappropriate elimination or spraying
  • Trembling
  • Excessive grooming leading to loss of fur and excessive meowing

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.

Senior Pets

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!


Growing up with Bear Bear

01. Hello
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Hello!

Meet Bear Bear

It has been an exciting few weeks making sure everything is ready for Bear Bear as we welcome her into our family. Our friends at Purina have been giving us tips to help introduce Bear Bear into her new home. We are going to share all the tips that we are learning along the way with you! We are so excited and so are Mum and Dad. Thanks for following us!
02. Deciding to Get a Pet
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Deciding to get a pet

Hi everyone, Max and Izzy here. Bear is all settled in to our home and we are having lots of fun together! We thought it would be great to tell you all about why we wanted to get a pet and how we ended up choosing Bear. To begin with, Mum and Dad both grew up with dogs for pets and they loved having them around. They said pets make people happy and they had lots of fun, so they wanted the same for us too. Also, we like to do lots of fun outdoor activities as a family and we wanted a pet that would be able to join in with us. We decided the first thing we should do, was to look for breeders and information online. The breed selector tool on the purina website was a huge help because we were able to see all the dog breeds available in New Zealand and learn all about them. Mum and Dad said this was important as some dogs require a lot more attention than others and may require more training to be a good fit for a house with children. Using the breed selector tool, we took turns in picking dogs that we thought were cute, then learning all about them and deciding whether or not they would be a good fit for our family. Our friends at Purina NZ say there are a lot of things to consider before getting a new dog so we made sure we had thought about why we wanted a pet and what kind of pet would be suitable for our lifestyle. We read all about them and it all went from there! Well that’s all for now! Talk to you soon, Izzy and Max
03. Choosing the Breed
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Choosing The Breed

Hi everyone, Max and Izzy here. So after searching and searching, we eventually came across the Hungarian Vizsla and it was love at first sight! Mum and dad researched everything from temperament to what Vizslas were originally bred for and we could see that it was the perfect breed for our family. Also a family friend had a Vizsla and had always described it as a ‘Velcro’ dog; always wanting to be with you and in contact with you, which we thought was perfect. One big thing that we considered was how much hair the dog had and whether they would be moulting. After all, Mum and Dad just found us a new home and really wanted to keep the carpet clean! Normally dogs have an overcoat and an undercoat, but Hungarian Vizslas don’t have any. They still have hair just don’t shed as much, so that was a big ‘thumbs up’ from Mum and Dad. If your pet moults everywhere here is a trick we learnt! Mum and Dad did lots of research online and we quickly found that dogs like Bear were in high demand. Mum and Dad wanted to find someone we liked and were happy with. Eventually we found a family in Wellington who bred Vizslas for hunting! We phoned them and spoke to them and luckily they had the perfect dog for us! Our friends at Purina had some great tips and questions that you should ask yourself before buying a pet. So we thought we should share these with you: 1) Think about the care and training you will need to provide How can you prepare your home to be a comfortable and safe place for your new dog? What toys and supplies do you need? How much time will you need to set aside for training? Good planning will ensure a smooth transition and the chance to establish a healthy bond right away. 2) Establish your family’s roles There’s something for everyone in your family to do when it comes to looking after your new dog. Just ensure that all family members have a clear understanding of their roles in the care-taking and that they all treat the dog in the same consistent manner. 3) Plan for costs You’re going to want to plan ahead and budget for all the care your dog will need, including visiting the veterinarian, taking training classes, toys and food. There really is a lot to think about! You can read more here. Well that’s all for now, we hope you learned some great tips! Talk to you soon, Izzy and Max
04. Introduction to New Home
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Introduction To New Home

Hi guys, Izzy and Max here! This week’s blog is all about introducing Bear to her new home. We had talked about getting a dog at home for a long time, but weren’t sure when it was going to happen. We had our fingers crossed leading up to Christmas! Finally, Mum and Dad told us on Christmas day that we were getting a pet! We were so excited. We picked Bear up in January and prepared ourselves for our big journey ahead with her. When we first took Bear home, she was a bit scared because everything was all different. We gave her treats with positive commands so she would follow us and explore her new home so she could be happy and get used to her new surroundings. She slowly became more comfortable and once she saw the cool space we have outside for her, she started running around and enjoying herself, sniffing and exploring and having fun. Now Bear is very happy in our home and we all spend as much time with her as we can. We couldn’t take her to doggy day care til she was 3 months old, so we had to wait to take her out to see other people and families. During this time Bear became really comfortable around all of us and she has settled in very nicely. Thanks for reading! Izzy & Max
05. The Family & The Puppy
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The Family & The Puppy

Hi guys, This week, we are going to tell you all about how Bear Bear is getting on with the family. Everything is going perfectly! Bear seems very happy and we love playing with her and giving her cuddles. We haven’t had any issues with Bear, she is pretty well behaved! She does like to nip and bite things but we learned that this is just normal it’s part of teething and is her way of learning to control her bite. When she nips a little too hard, the best thing to do is say ‘no’ and ignore her. That way she knows that is naughty and not ok. We all take turns feeding and walking Bear and Mum and Dad take her to bed at around 10pm when they go to sleep. Before we got Bear, Mum and Dad told us that looking after her would be a shared responsibility and that we would have to help as much as possible. We are helping with everything from feeding to toilet training and we are learning a lot about what it takes to look after a pet. It is definitely a harder job than we thought! We spend lots of time walking Bear to the beach and park, and training her to respond to commands. Hanging out with Bear on the couch is definitely our favourite thing to do. Training Bear is not finished yet. She is getting used to hearing her name and becoming more obedient. If Bear isn’t listening to us, we usually don’t worry as she is still learning. If it is in a serious situation though, like asking her to sit before we safely cross the road, we give her a helping hand if she doesn’t obey. That is important because it teaches her what to do in that situation from an early age. Well, that’s all for now. Talk soon! Izzy & Max
06. Transition to Purina ONE
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Transition to Purina ONE

Hi Guys, This week we thought we would share with you how we helped Bear change her food to Purina ONE. When we got Bear she was being fed a different food. We followed the guidelines online and gave her a small amount of Purina ONE with the food she was eating. We then slowly increased the amount of Purina ONE and reduced the old food we gave her until after about 10 days she was only eating Purina ONE. We used to feed her four times a day, but now we feed her twice a day, which is way easier! Our friends at Purina have asked us to share some tips for feeding your pet, so we have chosen the ones that helped us the most: • Recommendations for your dog will vary depending upon your dog’s age, breed, activity level, metabolism and your own schedule. Whether you feed your dog once or twice daily, make sure to feed him at the same time each day and provide fresh drinking water at all times. • Follow the feeding guide on the back of the pack, but remember the guide is only there to give you an idea. Every dog is an individual, so the most important consideration is to feed enough to maintain a lean, healthy condition. Always provide a bowl of fresh drinking water. • If you feed biscuits or treats, remember to reduce your dog’s main meals accordingly. Treats should never be more than 15 per cent of your dog’s diet. • Look for a bowl that will resist tipping over and is easy to clean. Separate bowls for food and water will help keep your dog’s feeding area tidy. You may want to buy a smaller bowl when your dog is a puppy, and upgrade to larger ones as he grows and needs more food. You may also want a standard 250ml measuring cup so that you can feed your dog the amount recommended on the bag. • Some dogs can develop the habit of eating too quickly which can cause stomach issues. For a great tip to slow down your dog’s eating, check out this video. Well that’s all for now! Thanks for reading, Izzy & Max
07. New Dog, New Tricks!
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New Dog, New Tricks!

Hi guys, This week’s blog is all about tricks! We haven’t started to teach Bear any hard tricks yet. She is still learning easy things like sitting, coming when we call her name and hopping in and out of bed. Also, she is learning to stay at the bottom of the stairs until we call her up. As we talked about last time, we started rewarding Bear’s good behaviour with treats and praise from when we first got her. When you are teaching your dog tricks you have to be really patient with them and not expect too much too soon. Learning can sometimes take them a while and you always need to make sure you keep giving your dog rewards with treats and lots of praise. We haven’t really kept track of how long it takes Bear to learn a new trick, but she is definitely getting better every day so we are very proud of her. One important thing we learned is to be treat-wise when you are rewarding your pet. This means being careful with what treats you give your dog, and how many. Dogs eat some different foods than we do and some things that are good for people to eat can be really unhealthy for a dog. Our friends at Purina have told us that when you are choosing treats for your dog, you should think about the size of your dog, their caloric requirements for the day and their weight. Treat your dog sensibly and remember to reduce the amount of food you give them on a day that you have given them treats, because you might overfeed them and make them gain weight. A fat dog is not a healthy or happy dog. Learning new tricks can be lots of fun and helps you bond with your dog. Reward your dog with treats and praise and always be patient and loving with them. Thanks for reading! Izzy & Max
08. Life’s a Beach!
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Life’s a Beach!

Hey guys! We have been having heaps of fun with Bear and she has started to really enjoy going to the Beach. On our trips there, we have seen lots of dog owners and so have decided for this week’s blog we will talk about something called beach etiquette. Beach etiquette to us means making sure you and your dog are behaving in a good way at the beach. This means thinking about the area, and the other people and dogs at the beach and making sure you follow any rules. To have proper beach etiquette, you need to be in control of your dog all the time. It is important that you keep your dog on a lead and that they know how they should behave at the beach. Oh and don’t forget to pick up after any toilet stops! For us, we knew Bear was well behaved, but because the beach is such an exciting place for a dog, we thought there was a chance she could try to run away and go up to people and other pets. When we first took her to the beach, we kept her quite close and used commands to let her know when she wasn’t doing the right things. She learnt quite quickly that she needed to be on her best behaviour here if she wanted some more freedom to wander around. Our trips to the dog park also helped to teach her this too. We have seen some bad beach etiquette on our trips to the beach. Some people let their dogs off the leash without proper training. We have also seen dogs run across people’s towels, jump on strangers, chase other dogs and not come back to their owners when they are called. We think it is up to the owner to make sure their dog is behaving properly. The owner needs to let their dog know exactly which behaviour is good. This is really important for the dog’s safety and the safety of other people at the beach. Thanks for reading! Izzy & Max
09. The Busy Season
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The Busy Season

Hi guys, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year, but for mum and dad they say its guests, stress and time away, so we thought we would talk all about how this can affect your dog. When you are going to have lots of people in your home it can be quite scary for your dog. Bear doesn’t get scared when new people come home, but she does get very excited. She can be over-friendly and wants lots of attention from new people. This is okay to start with but can get a bit annoying so once the person has said hi to Bear, we tell them to ignore her until this over-friendly behaviour stops. That way, Bear learns what amount of attention is okay for her to ask for. We have socialised Bear quite well, so she is used to having quite a few different people around her. Dad says if your dog is not used to being around lots of people, it is a good idea to introduce them to more people gradually, not all at once. If you have not done this and think you are going to have lots of people in your house for Christmas, it is a good idea to shut your dog in a quiet room where you can visit them away from the noise and they will not be stressed. Christmas can also mean time away, either for short shopping trips, or for long holidays. To get Bear used to being alone and entertaining herself, we leave her at home for small periods of time. She is okay when we come home and she has not been barking a lot or left a mess so we know she has not been too worried or stressed out. We are also lucky that we have family and good friends who are happy to look after Bear if we go on holiday. This is great as we feel good knowing that she will have someone she knows looking after her if we go away and we can’t take her with us. Here are a few tips from our friends at Purina for helping your pet through the holiday season: 1. Prepare a quiet hiding place for your pet to retreat to and feel safe – you may have visitors to the house that your dog is not used to and the dog may become frightened or overexcited. 2. Reward your dog for being calm so he or she knows this is the behaviour you want. 3. Maintain their routine to ensure a sense of ‘normal’ around the home. 4. If you have any concerns about how your dog may react, talk to your vet or pet care specialist in advance. There are even some products which can help calm a nervous dog which they can advise about. And make sure that as well as preparing your dog for your guests, you prepare your guests, who may not be familiar with dogs, for how to behave around them. Thanks for reading, Happy Holidays everyone! Izzy & Max
10. Our New Lives
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Our New Lives

Hi guys, Izzy & Max here! After a busy holiday period and lots of time away with Bear, we thought we would talk to you all about how Bear has improved our home and changed our lives for the better. Firstly, we have had to become much more responsible! One of the main conditions for Mum and Dad letting us get a dog was that we would help with everything. We have to make sure we are feeding Bear regularly, that she is clean and that she gets enough exercise and most importantly, make sure she is healthy and that we go with her on trips to the vet. All of these jobs have made us become more organised ourselves so that we can make sure Bear is getting the attention that she needs, so we definitely think that has made our lives better. The next reason is that Bear has made us much more social! We love taking her to the dog park every weekend and we have met lots of new friends there. Bear has made lots of doggy friends there too so we are always talking to other families with pets and sharing our positive experiences with them. It has also made us more social with each other as we get to share the responsibilities and work together to make sure Bear is happy and comfortable in our home. Another great change is that we have become much more active as a family! All of our trips to the dog park, to the beach to take Bear for swims and even just playing fetch with her in the garden bring our family together to exercise and we have a lot of fun. Mum and Dad say they feel much healthier too with all of the running around! And last but not least, we are so happy. Bear makes us laugh and smile and we consider her one of the family. She is always there to cuddle when we have had a long day or to keep us snug when we watch movies together on the couch and we are so glad we found her and welcomed her into our home. Talk to you next time, Izzy & Max

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