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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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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:
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
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 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 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 (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.
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 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 are also dangerous to pets, containing a toxin that can inhibit movement and cause panting, weakness and swollen limbs. Best save these for yourself.
While some fruits are harmless, peaches, plums, persimmons and apple pips contain a substance that degrades to cyanide.
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
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.
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
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. 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.
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!