Choosing the Best Dwarf Hamster Cages

Hamsters are fun animals that can entertain and comfort pet owners.  Dwarf hamster are especially playful and clever. Keeping them in a nice cage is one of the ways of expressing how much you love them. With a myriad of dwarf hamster cages, you need to know the factors to consider when buying one so that you buy the best dwarf hamster cages that will make the animal to stay comfortable and safe. Get all the information that you will need to make the best selection. Consider the comfort of your hamster, the longevity of the cage and the safety that the cage is going to provide to the hamster.

Materials Used in Making the Cage

This is very important because it not only determines the safety of the hamster but also the longevity of the cage. If it is made up of metal, it should be well coated to prevent it from rusting. Rusting might ruin the color of the hamster especially when it is white in color. People should understand that plastic dwarf hamster cages are safe to the hamster, but the only problem is that the hamster can start chewing the cage making it to degrade in quality very quickly than anticipated.

How Easy Is It to Clean

Cleaning is something that you will be doing on a daily basis, and you need to ensure that you choose a cage that it will be easy for you to clean. Some cages are designed in a way that the feces of the hamster are going to drop on to the ground. This will make it easy for people to clean the cage without interfering with the comfort of the hamster. Choose a cage that is excellent in quality so that you don’t need to replace any parts regularly.

Ventilation ad Size of the Cage

The aquarium is known to be easy to clean and maintain which is why many people go for them. Ventilation is important for your hamster because it will not suffocate nor get tired living in its place. You need to ensure that you get the best cage that will always make them the hamster to feel comfortable. Sicknesses might come along if you don’t provide the best cage for your hamster which is why you must always find a spacious cage.  Big size cage provides a sufficient playing place for your hamster which is why you need to ensure that you make the best selection.

Make sure that you make the best selection of the cage for better living of your hamster. You will always need to ensure that you clean the cage to add comfort to your hamster and prevent it from contacting diseases. This is the best way to ensure that you promote an excellent living for your hamster. Choose a material that the hamster will not chew because wood dwarf hamster cages can be destroyed the moment you start using them through chewing. The coated metal ones are nice not only because they are durable but because they can’t be chewed by hamster which is why many people love them.

Non Toxic Animal Toys: Dangerous Chemical to Avoid in Toys

The safety of kids and pets is in jeopardy because they are unknowingly playing with toys, which contain toxic components such as lead and chemicals, derived from petroleum. Most of these toys found to contain toxins, come from the following countries: China, Taiwan, and India.

In humans, some of the components in these toxic products have been attributed to the progression of asthma, lung impairment, skeletal defects, and reproductive system disruptions. In a sad case back in 2006, one kid died in Minnesota after swallowing a charm made of lead.

Dogs are at a high risk of being poisoned easily from toys.  We already know what to watch out for in pet food.  But agencies have been more lax in their regulation of pet toys. In addition to this, more risks exist as revealed by a study by Healthy Stuff, which showed that the linings of canned pet foods had the toxic chemical BPA, commonly found in plastics. Healthy Stuff is an organization dedicated to testing toxic chemicals in every product, especially toys.

A Reason to Be Worried of Chemicals in Toys

So far, random tests on cat and dog toys have indicated that most contain toxic components. Some chemicals found to be contained include arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium lead, and mercury.  The substances can enter the animal’s body after they chew on the toys. Other times, they diffuse after the animals come into contact with the products or when they breathe contaminated air.

Specific Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Animal Toys

PVC

In full it is known as polyvinyl chloride, a chemical associated with allergic reactions such as asthma, cancer, and reproductive problems, among other conditions. Polyvinyl can release dioxins, which can be inhaled or ingested. PVC is currently used in pipes and other plastic products. For dogs, it can cause lots of complications.

Lead

It is among the most dangerous components in toys that have never been replaced. In the past, lead was added to paint and caused problems as the painted surfaces flacked. In humans, it has been attributed to mental conditions, kidney damage, blood pressure, and anemia. If you want to ensure that you have animal toys than are non toxic, you can buy a lead testing kit.

Formaldehyde

It is a known carcinogen in human and equally poses a risk to dogs. It also causes eye, skin and respiratory irritation.

Phthalates

Like the other chemicals, phthalates lead to liver and kidney damage, reproductive damage and other conditions. They are responsible for making plastics soft and are in virtually all plastic products. In addition, the chemical is added to cosmetics, paint, varnishes and an array of other products. Toys with phthalates are dangerous to dogs since they chew on the products.

BPA

A few years back, most plastic child bottles contained BPA. They were later banned due to concerns that it can negatively influence the brain development in infants and children. Despite being banned in infant products, some animal toys may contain BPA.

Animal Toys Non Toxic

Animal owners have to take full responsibility for their friend’s health. Products made using plastics or questionable materials from faraway lands (China, Taiwan, etc.) should be given a second thought. Aim to animal toys non toxic made closer home or from reputable countries. Still, opt for products, which use certified products such as rubber, wood, and those free from BPA or phthalates.

Remember, dogs are continuously chewing on toys. It is good to research thoroughly before selecting any product.

A Guide to Pet Food: Valuable Information for Pet Owners

Veterinarians agree that pets are living longer, healthier lives since the use of commercially prepared pet foods became widespread. Decades of research have gone into the development of pet food to make sure the special nutrition needs of pet dogs and cats are met.

What does “complete and balanced” mean?

Unlike most foods for people, many pet food products are designed to be the sole source of nutrition for a pet dog or cat. Products that are labeled “complete and balanced,” as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), have been tested to make sure they meet the complex nutritional requirements of a healthy dog or cat.

What does it mean on a pet food label that a product has been tested using animal feeding trials?

There are two ways a pet food company can test the nutrition of its products. One method is the use of standardized animal feeding trials, designed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), to make sure their products meet the complex nutritional requirements of dogs and cats. The animals in these tests are fed the food for six months and are closely monitored to make sure they stay healthy. A product using this test will have language similar to the following on the label – “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Nancy’s Food for Dogs provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.”

What other tests are done to make sure the pet food is good for my dog or cat?

In addition to feeding trials, many companies also use the nutritional profiles developed with the help of feeding trials to make sure their products meet the requirements of dogs and cats at their various stages in life. A product using this test would have language similar to this on the label – “Nancy’s Food for Dogs is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.”

Just like food for people, pet foods must be correctly labeled. In addition to a product name and specifying whether it is food for dogs or cats, pet food labels are also required to describe the product, list the ingredients in the food, and list the guaranteed analysis of the product.
All pet foods are required to have a specific brand and will also have the name of the company that made the food and usually a telephone number for consumers to call with questions.

Can I feed cat food to my dog?

Dogs and cats each have special dietary needs and should be fed the appropriate pet food. Cats should not eat dog food because it does not provide all the essential nutrients a healthy cat needs. In short, dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of a dog and cat food is designed to meet the needs of a cat.

When a pet food label says it contains “beef” or “chicken” how much of the food is beef or chicken?

The ingredients in pet food are listed in descending order by weight from largest to smallest. For example, if chicken is the first ingredient on the label then the pet food contains more chicken than any other ingredient.

Are fillers used in pet food?

Every ingredient used in pet food is there for a reason. Decades of research have gone into making pet foods that meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. The makers of pet food do not put in anything that’s not needed.

What is ingredient “splitting?”

Some people incorrectly believe pet food makers split up ingredients to give the illusion that some ingredients are at higher concentrations than others. Pet food makers are required to carefully label their products according to stringent government regulations. Just as the case with food for people, pet foods must clearly state what ingredients are included in the product. Each ingredient in pet food is there for a reason and to serve a nutritional purpose.

What does the term “guaranteed analysis” mean?

“Guaranteed analysis” is a regulatory requirement for pet food that refers to minimum or maximum values of key nutrients, such as minimum protein and fat, as well as the maximum fiber and water content.

How can I tell how much of an ingredient is in my pet food by just looking at the label?

Pet food labeling rules are much more strict than are those for human foods. For instance, a “Blueberry Pancake Mix” for people would probably have only a handful of blueberries in it. A dog food that says “Beef Dog Food” must be 95% beef. A pet food label that says “Chicken Dinner” or “Lamb Formula” only needs to have 25% chicken or lamb, while a “Duck and Potato Dinner” must have 25% of the food made of those two ingredients, with at least 3% being potato. A pet food label that says “…with beef (or “with” any ingredient(s) must have at least 3% beef (or any other named ingredient) in the formula. And finally, if a label says “Chicken flavor”, then there only has to be enough flavor so that pets can pick out that it tastes like chicken to them…people don’t have to be able to tell the difference. It doesn’t matter what the ingredient is, if the label mentions it, the contents must meet these rules.

Pet food is one of the most highly regulated of all food products. Pet food is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the states through their feed laws and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). This multi-layered regulation and the industry’s commitment to research and education help ensure that pet food products continue to be safe and nutritious for pet dogs and cats. The pet food industry in Canada is self-regulated; for more information on Canadian pet food, click here.

What is AAFCO and why is it listed on pet food labels?

“AAFCO” stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is a group of made up of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. For example, AAFCO defines the ingredients that can be used in pet food, establishes nutrition profiles for dogs and cats and sets the approved practices for conducting feeding trials.

Why do I need to follow the feeding directions on a pet food package?

The feeding directions on pet food have been developed specifically for a particular food, taking into consideration a pet’s breed, age and activity level. Feeding more or less based on experience with other products may not provide proper nutrition for your pet.
Pets, like some people, may eat too much if given the opportunity. Pet food feeding amounts are designed to prevent a pet dog or cat from eating too much food. Over consumption, like in people, can make a pet overweight and lead to health problems.

Do some pet food companies want consumers to feed more or less food to their pets?

Each pet food company conducts research to make sure their products are fed in the proper amount. Pet food feeding guidelines may vary from product to product based on its formulation as well as the amount of energy or nutrients in the food. A consumer with questions on how much pet food to give his or her pet should contact the product manufacturer or consult their veterinarian.

Can I feed my dog table scraps?

Since pet food is designed to be the sole source of nutrition for a healthy dog or cat, supplementing a pet’s diet with leftovers or with other foods for people is not necessary and may cause health problems. Many leftovers contain too much sugar, salt, fat or other ingredients that are not good for pets. Some foods, like chocolate for dogs and onions for cats, can actually make a pet very sick.

What is the best way to change my pet’s food?

If you decide to change your pet’s diet, veterinarians recommend you do it slowly. Rapid changes in diet can cause upset stomach and other problems. When changing pet food, start by mixing some of the new food in with your pet’s regular food. Over the next three to five days, gradually increase the amount of new pet food. After this transition, your pet should be more adjusted to the new food.

How do I know if my pet is overweight and should be fed a special diet?

The best way to determine your pet’s overall health, including whether or not your dog or cat should lose weight, is a visit to your veterinarian. If your pet needs to loose weight, your veterinarian might advise a new pet food or reducing the amount of pet food you feed. Also, to avoid an overweight pet it is advisable to avoid feeding table scraps that might contain a lot of fat and sugar.

How can I learn more about good pet nutrition?

In addition to asking your veterinarian, many pet food companies offer customer service numbers on their products. If you have questions about a product, a call to this number might help. Also, a number of pet food companies have websites that describe their products and research in pet nutrition. Visit the Pet Food Institute for a list of member company websites.

Pet food manufacturers use a wide range of agricultural ingredients. These products include meat, poultry, seafood, feed grains and other agricultural products and products produced during food processing for human consumption.
Vitamins, minerals and preservatives are added as needed to assure that products provide total nutrition and remain wholesome during distribution and on the shelf. All ingredients used in pet food are approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the same agencies that regulate human foods.

Are the artificial colors used in pet food and are they safe?

Yes, artificial colors are used in some pet food products. Just like those used in food for people, the artificial colors used in pet food are approved as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What are by-products?

By-products, simply put, are the parts of animals people do not normally eat.For example, if a chicken were raised for its white meat then the remaining meat would be considered a by-product. The by-products used in pet food are an important source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Like all pet food ingredients, by-products from animals or grains are safe, nutritious and approved for use in pet food by federal and state government agencies.

What are rendered meals and are they safe?

As with all ingredients in pet food, the use of rendered meals are safe and are approved for use in pet food. Rendering is a process used to reclaim proteins and fats. The rendering process involves cooking ingredients at very high temperatures. At the end of the process a fine, protein and mineral rich “meal” is made. This meal is an important source of nutrition for use in pet food.

I heard on the news that calcium carbonate is dangerous for dogs. Is this true?

Calcium carbonate is a common pet food ingredient and is completely safe. Calcium carbonate is an important source of calcium in pet food. Recently there have been some news reports that calcium carbonate is dangerous, this is not the case.

I read that there might be rendered cats and dogs in my pet food. Is this true?

Absolutely not. Pet food companies take great care to formulate products that meet the needs of pet dogs and cats. They understand the great affection we have for our pets and have gone to extreme measures to make sure no ingredients from dogs and cats go into their products.
Pet food companies have exacting specifications and work closely with their suppliers to make sure they receive only the ingredients they specifically request.

I heard that raisins and grapes can be bad for dogs. Is this true?

Yes, grapes and raisins have been linked to kidney failure in dogs. Veterinarians are not sure how many grapes or raisins it takes to be a problem or if they only cause problems in some breeds of dogs. Just to be safe, raisins and grapes should be avoided. However, grape pomace should not be confused with grapes. Grape pomace is source of antioxidants in some pet foods and is safe ingredient.

Are horses used to make pet food?

Horses are not raised for food in the United States so they are not generally used in commercial pet foods.

What preservatives are used in pet food and can they harm my pet?

The same preservatives are used in food for people and pet food. They are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, are safe and are used in very small quantities. Pet foods contain preservatives for the same reason food for people does – to keep it fresh. Preservatives keep food from spoiling. Eating spoiled food can cause illness in pets just as it can in people.

A Sheep Dogs First Exposure to Sheep

A dog’s first exposure to sheep can be quite a wild ride and we want owners to have an idea what’s happening.

Keep a Sheep Dog on a Leash to Begin With

It’s best keep your dog on leash when he’s not actually working the stock. This is important for the safety of the dog and the stock. Your perfectly obedient dog will become quite a different creature when tempted by sheep and not many of us are fast enough to catch an exuberant youngster out of control and chasing sheep all over creation.

If it’s not your turn to work, it’s best to keep your dog in a crate, in the car, somewhere he can’t watch other dogs working. You may think he’s just watching, but he thinks he’s working even if he’s tied to a fence post and can’t do anything but stare. It’s hard on the dog and creates problems when he does get his turn to work. You want to get the most out of your dog, so don’t let him spectate.

Most beginner dogs are started in the small round pen and will be handled initially by an experienced trainer. This is necessary to evaluate the dog and how it is going to react to the sheep, and for the protection of the sheep. A very rough young dog, an owner who doesn’t know what to do and sheep flying around in a small space is a recipe for disaster. An experienced trainer can keep a better handle on the situation. The trainer will evaluate the dog and get the owner in the pen handling the dog as soon as it is possible and safe to do so. The goal is to show you how to work your own dog, especially since you need so much more training than your dog at this point.

The First Loose

What should you expect of your dog when he’s turned loose in the round pen with the sheep —

This varies from dog to dog. Some dogs will go in and just sort of softly float around the sheep, gently pushing them away from the fence and bringing them quietly to the handler, balancing them right at the handler’s feet. Most of us will never see this dog! It’s very rare, even with a trained dog, that things are quiet and calm in a round pen. It’s generally too cramped of a space for things to be quiet and easy. An experienced trainer can make it look easy, but only because he or she knows how to control the situation.

Initial reactions to sheep

Different dogs react differently in their first exposures to sheep. Many, especially the younger ones, will go in and not react to the sheep at all. This is almost always a very temporary state. A minute or two of sniffing around, eating sheep manure, looking over at mom, and all of a sudden the dog says “SHEEEEEEEP” and turns on as if someone had flipped a switch. These dogs are usually fairly easy to work after they’ve switched on, though they can be pretty darned exuberant once they’ve heard their calling. These dogs should probably be limited in their exposure, as again, most of them are young dogs. The session should be kept short and upbeat.

Other dogs will go in barking, hackles raised, sounding very tough. This is usually a reaction to just the opposite of what one might think – the dog is intimidated by the sheep. Again, this is usually a temporary reaction though the change is not as dramatic as with the first type of dog. This dog needs to be allowed to have a good bit of fun on the sheep to figure out they’re not something to be frightened of. He’s already feeling worried about sheep so he sure doesn’t need a trainer fussing at him too. Within reason, this dog should be allowed to run around and generally boss sheep, biting and darting here and there and everywhere, always being encouraged to get in there and take charge. This is also the way to handle other dogs that are a little intimidated by the sheep, ones that aren’t “acting tough”. You can’t force these dogs to feel brave, but you can encourage them into getting past their fear. Then you can start trying to control them a little at a time, always watching their countenance and building up their confidence.

Another type of dog is the one that goes in and bites hard, but not because he’s afraid of the sheep. This is just a tough, hardheaded kind of dog and probably couldn’t be stopped from working with a 2 by 4. This dog just needs to be shown that he can work without grabbing and ripping and tearing at sheep. You’ll hear this dog described as “a lot of dog”. While he can be tough to get started, this dog can go a long way in training. He’ll make you glad you’ve got the round pen to keep everything close! He doesn’t suffer from any lack of confidence usually. Rather he thinks he knows just exactly how to do this stuff and wishes you’d get out of the way. The mission with this type of dog is to explain that you are indeed the one in charge.

There are many different ways dogs will react to sheep in their first exposures but these are some common ones. The “why” is much more important than the “how” in determining how to proceed with your dog. Most dogs just need gentle guidance in understanding the “rules to work by” and to have their confidence built up. Dogs without the confidence problem generally just need some guidance. Overconfident dogs might need to be taken down a peg or two but also need to be shown how this all works and what is and is not allowed and expected.

What are we after from the dog in the round pen

What we want the dog to do in the round pen is actually very simple. All we want is for the dog to work the sheep to the handler.

What does it mean to say we want the dog to work the sheep to the handler? We want the dog to always be bringing the sheep toward the handler, always trying to turn the sheep so that they follow the handler’s movements. Most dogs do not go in the round pen thinking about bringing sheep to the handler. They’re excited by the movement of the sheep, they’re chasing them around and around grabbing a mouthful of wool here and there, they’re circling around the sheep and the handler at the same time, they’re cutting between the sheep and the handler, it’s all total chaos. The handler is far from foremost in the dog’s mind. We might let a dog fly around doing silly stuff for a short time just to get his interest up, but we will begin setting “rules to work by” pretty much from the start.

The first and foremost “rule to work by” is that the dog should be on the opposite side of the sheep from the handler. The dog must be over there or he cannot bring the sheep to you, which is our goal. Many dogs will start out circling everyone and everything in the round pen, orbiting around sheep and handler. You stop this basically by stopping it. That sounds odd, but you just don’t let the dog do it. Step in front of him and block him, force him to stay over on the other side of the sheep. Other dogs will circle the sheep, moving between them and the handler, and ignore the fact that there is a person anywhere in the pen. Again, you stop this by stopping it. Cut the dog off and don’t let him do it. Both of these situations are symptoms of the same problem – the handler doesn’t exist right then for the dog. The first dog thinks you’re just another sheep and the second one thinks you’re a ghost! Fortunately this problem is easily fixed by dealing with the symptom. Just assert yourself and the dog will realize you’re part of this too. This is the main goal to be met in the round pen – make yourself part of the picture for the dog so he brings you sheep. If the dog isn’t bringing you the sheep, you can’t move to a larger area or the sheep will just escape. For dogs with enough drive and confidence, this can be accomplished very quickly.

What we are after from the handler in the round pen

Here’s the hard part. If you’ve never done this before, it’s going to probably feel like someone tossed you into a whirlwind. Your foremost goals are to keep things calm and to keep the dog on the other side of the sheep. But there are lots of things that can make this easier or more difficult.

You need to be moving constantly in the round pen. You have an inexperienced dog and if things come to a stop, he doesn’t know what to do. Chances are he’ll create something to do by grabbing a sheep and making things very exciting! An experienced dog will settle and wait for things to get going again, but the inexperienced one doesn’t know how to deal with inactivity. He also probably won’t be able to deal with you moving backwards in a straight line for more than a step or two or three. He’ll end up right under the sheep and again it’ll get pretty exciting! You must keep moving and turning so the dog has something to do.

How you turn in a round pen is important. You will be backing up so you can keep an eye on the dog and sheep. The trick is to always turn squarely, not to arc around the pen. If you quickly turn 90 or 180 degrees, the dog gets to go and “gather” the sheep toward you. This is good, the dog is getting the basics in how to work sheep and you’re starting right away at building toward those magnificent 600 yard outruns we see top BCs do. You should turn quickly and try to “leave” the sheep behind so the dog gets to bring them to you. If you walk backwards in a gentle arc, never making sharp turns and leaving the sheep for the dog to bring to you, you are only frustrating the dog and not teaching him anything at all, except perhaps how to follow sheep around. We don’t want the dog following; we want him in charge and telling those sheep what to do! Pay attention that you are turning both directions too, so the dog learns to go to either side. You will not be able to keep yourself in front of the sheep by moving faster and faster. Rather, you have to turn and leave the sheep so the dog can gather them up and bring them to you. This is important – if you feel like you’re trying to out-run the sheep and dog, start turning squarely.

If the dog is working too close to the sheep, either behind them or as he goes around, the sheep are going to be very jittery and things are going to be moving really fast in that round pen. You may need to “push” your dog out further from the sheep, probably with a PVC pole and with your presence. Your dog should be turning out to go around the sheep but may need help in understanding this. Some dogs are more naturally “square” than others. Basically in such a small space, your dog should never move directly towards the sheep, except from behind. This is another “rule to work by” that you need to keep in mind. As you turn, you may need to push your dog out further from the sheep.

If you’re moving and turning and pushing your dog correctly, this is going to all feel pretty good. There’s a flow to it and you won’t feel like you’re going to get run over by the sheep.

Chances are, we’ll be working on building the confidence of most dogs in the round pen so there are certain things we’ll look for to quietly praise or just to gauge how the dog’s confidence is doing. Many dogs are a bit frightened to move between the sheep and the fence. Considering the round pen is a lot of fence in a small area, this can become an issue. We need to quietly praise a dog for doing something that is hard for him, so we might quietly say “good boy” as he sneaks through that space, even if he flies through and grabs a bit of wool on his way. Chances are next time he’ll feel more confident and do it just a little more nicely. A dog that is very intimidated by sheep might get praise for biting a sheep if it’s not a vicious sort of grip, just so he feels a little “bigger”. All praise should be very quiet, not loud or excited or exuberant. The dog is working very hard on figuring out the rules and we don’t want the praise to be distracting. Every single time a dog works his way through something that is hard for him, his confidence grows. But we can’t force it.

There are certain signs that indicate a dog’s confidence is shrinking or he’s becoming less keen on his work. Avoidance behaviors include running to the gate, sniffing, eating sheep manure, urinating or defecating in the pen, looking away from the sheep, running to the handler. We have to be careful to “read” the dog and make sure his experiences are positive ones. Many times the avoidance behaviors pop up if too much was asked of a dog too soon so we just have to make him feel good again. It can be something of a tightrope, especially with dogs that are fearful, but it can be worked through with care and patience.

In Conclusion

A round pen, an inexperienced handler and an inexperienced dog can make for a wild scene! If you can remember some basic rules it’ll be easier though. Most important is to keep the dog on the other side of the sheep. Do what you have to do to block him from coming around, but do it! Every time he “beats” you he is rewarded for it so just decide it’s not allowed. If he was running for the street and a car was coming, you wouldn’t worry about what method you used to stop him, you just would. So approach this the same way -it’s just not allowed. You can make it easier for him and you by moving and turning appropriately, the same way you could make it easier to stop him before he got to the street if you’d taught him to come instantly on command. Don’t expect him to do it right if you don’t help him. And make sure to read your dog, pay attention to what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, what’s going through his head. Help him when he needs it, fuss at him when he’s wrong, and tell him he was a brave boy when he was. The whole idea is to mold what you’ve got.

Remember – Training a herding dog isn’t so much about teaching him anything. It’s all there in the dog already. You’ve just got to figure out how to ask for it in a way he can understand and listen to him when he’s trying to tell you something. It’s all about teaching you and opening that two-way communication between you and your dog.

The Basics of Elderly Pet Care

Adding adorable and dependable pets as a member of the family will always be a great decision for most households. You will have a companion and a source of joy at the same time. But as an owner of older, you must also guarantee the healthy state of both body and mind of your pets and you should make sure that their happiness gauge is always full.

You must take care of your elderly pet to the best of your ability. You must ensure the best health and longevity for your cats, dogs, etc. And with this, we suggest giving older pets wholesome nutrition and avoiding unneeded exposures to particular types of vaccines, heartworm, and flea and tick preventives. You must as well avoid chemicals which can include fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

Together with the smart advises of a few experts we have prepared prepared the following to help you keep the best condition of your elderly pets.

Fresh diet

You’d probably know about this but remember to give a fresh diet to your elderly pets often. You can feed them a variety of whole, fresh and nutritionally dense foods. The best diet always includes properly prepared and balanced raw food diets which may consist of fresh, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. This of course depends on the type of pet you have.  But a diet that includes homemade, cooked diets as well as premium grain-free and gluten-free commercial foods.

Nutritional Supplements

In addition to ensuring the best health for your pets, include good nutritional supplements on their diet as well. It is essential to intake proper amount of fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6 and other vitamin/mineral mixture often, along with prebiotics and probiotics. In case you have cats at your home, know that they need more taurine and not too much iodine, unlike dogs.

Both humans and animals produce cellular, harmful free radicals every day, and supplements stated above can help lessen it since they provide crucial antioxidant effects. Taking a good amount of such supplements can minimize the risk of chronic tissue and cellular stress, infections, and even cancers.

Proper Vaccination

Do not over-vaccinate elderly pets as per the advice of vets, and it should have proper timing to do core vaccinations. It is very important for your adorable pets to have initial vaccines for core diseases to ensure they’re properly protected throughout their lives. This particular shouldn’t be done at a very early stage before six weeks and not until 8.5 to 10 weeks for the reason that the puppy or kitten’s leftover maternal immunity will most likely neutralize the vaccines.  For older pets it might not be a bad idea to skip most vaccinations. You really should consult your vet.

Possible Vaccination Hard to Elderly Pets

There were damaging effects to other vaccines such as killed vaccines since this can have some components and preservatives like mercury, fetal calf serum, and additives. You should also depend on the exposure risk level of the place you live in and your overall lifestyle to the decision of getting other non-core vaccines for your pets. Don’t get easily swayed by a few news and media hype. Rabies vaccines, on the other hand, are vital and your pets should take it as early as 12 weeks or as late as 24 weeks as said by the law.

If your puppy or kitten had been truly immunized, then annual booster vaccines were not that necessary to avoid having over-vaccinated pets. In order to determine the level of your pet’s immunities, it is advised to make it take serum antibody vaccine titers through a blood draw.

Energetic Mind for the Elderly Pet

Your pets should also have an active mind since physical activities and mental stimulation are both essential for humans and animals. Always add a few tasks, praise and a basic training every time you’re doing a regular exercise or playtime with your pets. With our current busy world and society, it is understandable that you won’t spend a lot of time with your pets, so whenever you’re leaving them alone at home, leave the TV open or make a playlist of good music for them. You still have the weekends to make up for your lost time so make sure to do activities together.

Grooming

Grooming of older pets is very important.  They may not have the energy or ability to do it themselves.  For dogs we recommend a gentle dog clipper. For cats or other animals a soft grooming glove a couple of times a week should be more than sufficient.

Holistic Approach

You should go with natural approaches and products, and avoid chemicals. You must also do some research to determine the most natural and safest options for your pets. Most vets recommend an integrative and holistic approach when it comes to ensuring the best medical care and health for your loved animals. We suggest seeking the professional service of a vet to further guarantee the best condition of your pets.

 

Pet Lover’s Guide: Dog Shock Collar Reviews

There are arrays of dog shock collar type, models, and brands that are offered in the market today. There are times that choosing the ideal shock collar for your dog can be confusing and time-consuming. In this dog shock collar reviews, we will try to highlight some of the best products that will give you your money’s worth.

The Best Dog Shock Collar Reviews

Whether you are looking for a product that will help you keep your dog in the yard or control the persistent barking of your pup, here are some of the best products that made it to our list of best dog shock collar reviews.

PET998DRB PetrainerBest Dog Shock Collar Reviews

Perhaps the products offered by Petrainer are some of the most popular items of today. It is impossible to create a list of dog shock collar reviews without their products. The PET998DRB is the top choice of the professional trainers and pet owners. It has a maximum range of 330 feet so the owner can guarantee that there will never be a connectivity issue when they use this gadget. The range would be sufficient enough to allow your dogs roam around your backyard. The size of the collar is quite flexible; it allows the user to adjust it to up to 24 inches that will perfectly fit a dog weighing more than 15lbs. The LCD screen that comes with backlight will be super convenient to use on dark areas.

PetTech

In case you are looking for a dog shock collar that is easy-to-use, then the PetTech is your best solution. According to different dog shock collar reviews, the PetTech has a range that can reach up to 400yards. This is quite massive when compared to the standard type of shock collars. For the pet owners who usually bring their dogs in a large park, you will definitely need this. Aside from its impressive range, the collar can also fit to any dogs regardless of their weight and size. The unique, shocking technology helps the owners to control and corrects the aggression, sitting, leash training, barking and walking of their pets.

PET998DBB by Petrainer

PET998DBB is another product manufactured by Petrained that should definitely be included in our dog shock collar reviews list. The unit is made from high-quality materials and equipped with the RF434MhZ tech that grants its 330yard range. If you have more than 1 dog, then this is an ideal choice. It allows you to train your dog simultaneously using a single remote. You will have the complete control on the shock level, vibration, and intensity.

PetSpy 1100The Best Dog Shock Collar Reviews

This list of dog shock collar reviews will not be complete without the product from Anpro. For those looking for a budget-friendly shock collar, then this is especially made for you. The PetSpy is designed for the fundamental training. You will have the option to choose from different modes such as light, beep, vibration, and shock. With 1100 yards range, you will be able to allow your dogs roam around your property or at the smaller park.

The needs of your dog are different compared to the needs of other dogs. When choosing a shock collar, pay attention to the features that we mentioned in this dog shock collar reviews to reach a better decision.

How to Help Fearful Dogs

Are there a lot of fearful dogs out there or am I just noticing them more? Since Sunny landed in our living room, and settled into the corner, my “shy dog radar” seems to have been fine tuned.

At the pet shop recently a young woman was browsing the dog treat section, her black and white dog, a young adult, was doing the same. When I turned to speak to the woman, making small talk about “kids in candy stores” her dog took one look at me, ducked his head and stepped back, his eyes locked on my face. I’d seen that look enough to know that I should not return the stare and immediately turned my head. The dog resumed his sniffing of the various dried, animal body parts available to him.

“A bit shy isn’t he?”, I remarked.

“Oh he scares himself,” his owner replied, “Someone looks at him and he looks back and gets scared and starts barking.”

I tried to follow her line of reasoning (he scares himself?), but knew better than to spend too much energy on the task. The list of explanations that owners make regarding why their fearful dog behaves the way it does, and why the owner responds the way s/he does, is long, and might be funny, except that dogs are suffering.

While researchers and scientists may not agree on how animals experience emotion or which emotions those might be, it is accepted that dogs feel fear. Not only is fear biologically advantageous (do something or die), dogs that are afraid behave in ways that look a lot like the ways humans behave when we’re afraid.  We startle, we cringe, we turn away, we run, we scream, we shake- you get the picture.

When I was seven years old I jumped off of a high diving board for the first time. My family was on holiday and the hotel we were staying at had a pool. I watched other kids climb up the ladder, walk out to the edge of the board, leap off into space and plunge into the water below. My father asked me if I wanted to try it. Together we climbed up the ladder and as soon as I got to the top I turned and headed back down, weaving past the line of kids following us up for their turn. My father did not force me to continue.

Back in the pool I watched the other children jumping off and again my father encouraged me to give it a try. This time he said he’d stay in the pool and get to me after I splashed down. For some reason this made me feel more inclined to try it, so again I climbed the ladder, got to the top, walked out to the end of the board and lept off, keeping my eyes on my father in the water below. I wasn’t in the water for more than a few seconds before I felt his hands on me, giving me support while I caught my breath from the excitement of it all. From that day on I have been a fan of jumping off high diving boards, rope swings, boats, ledges you name it, so long as I’m going to land in deep water.

I don’t share this story just to fill you in on my personal recreation habits or my childhood, but because it is full of lessons on how to work with a fearful dog. Two important components of this scenario which are applicable to the work we do with our scared dogs are these-

1. I had a trusting relationship with my father.
2. I had the skills needed to succeed at the task.

The person encouraging me to do something that scared me was my father. I trusted him. Believe me if a stranger had offered to take my hand and lead me up that ladder I would have been wide-eyed in terror, I might have even reacted the same way if it was my older brother. My father said I’d be alright and I believed him. He was not in the habit of putting me in dangerous situations and I trusted his ability to protect me from anything, in the way that only little girls can (and probably should) feel about their fathers. He had taught me how to swim and for years I had been jumping off the docks and piers a few feet above the surface of a lake where we spent our summers. I had the skills and experience to climb that ladder and launch myself into the deep end of a pool, I just hadn’t done it before.

Stand a 6 month old baby on their feet and let go of them and they don’t start walking, they fall down. Their brains have not developed the intricate and remarkable circuitry to control their movement and their bodies don’t have the physical strength. Someday though they’ll be able to, unless they never get the chance to practice (or have a physical or mental disability). Many dogs, especially puppy mill and pet shop dogs don’t get the chance to practice the skills necessary in order for them to be able to handle the social interactions, the delicate balance of acting and reacting, that a pet owner expects of them.

Some of them, with gentle guidance and coaching, in the hands of someone they trust, will be able to catch up and learn to enjoy being around the things that once made them uncomfortable (or flat out horrified them) but others will not, not ever. The damage was done, there’s no making up or repairing some brain development. All may not be lost, but for the average pet owner a dog like this is never going to be the dog of their dreams (unless they’ve dreamt of having a dog that prefers to live in the closet).

We humans tend to be an impatient bunch and rather than proceed slowly with our dogs, keep trying to make them stand up when all that happens is that they topple over, again and again. Some dogs will begin to actively resist our efforts, growling or snapping, others will give up. Though they may comply with what they are being forced to do, they are not enjoying it. And they are establishing negative associations with the experience, and the human forcing them into it.

It is possible to change how a dog feels and behaves around the things that scare them. And even a dog that isn’t exactly the dog of someone’s dreams can have a good life and provide their owner with companionship and joy. But making this happen usually means changing how we think about our scared dogs. It means questioning the things we’ve been told about dogs and how they learn new skills. It means that we stop tossing them off the high board and into the deep end and expect them to thank us for it.

Why Does My Dog Chew Everything?

Why does your dog chew everything?  There isn’t a single answer to that question.  Dogs chew for a variety of reasons.  Some just seem have an an inborn need to chew. They find it pleasurable.  Others seem to chew only if they are bored.

Is there a difference between “Chewing” and “Destructive Chewing”?  I suppose it’s up to the beholder.  When you get right down to it, chewing is destructive by its very nature!

Your dog has strong jaws full of sharp, pointy teeth.  Puppies especially have very sharp teeth, and a strong chewing instinct.  Just about anything your dog starts to chew on is probably going to show the effects of it inside of a minute.

As a point of clarification, when we say “destructive chewing” we usually mean “inappropriate chewing”.  You know, chewing up your possessions, your furniture, your shoes, as opposed to chewing on designated toys and dog chews.

3 Main Reasons Dogs Chew

There are three main reasons why dogs chew:

  • Chewing is a natural desire. It’s fun, it passes the time, and it’s a self-rewarding, self-reinforcing activity.  As example would be chewing on something that tastes good.
  • Chewing is an outlet — especially for a nervous, bored, or lonely dog. The repetitive act of chewing is actually quite soothing to your dog.  It’s the doggie equivalent of comfort food.
  • Chewing burns up nervous energy and gives your dog something to do. This is especially true in the case of dogs who don’t get enough exercise.

How To Stop the Chewing of Household Items

So, how do you keep your dog from chewing up your prized possessions?   The secret to that burning question is in the list of reasons why your dog chews in the first place!  Here are three tips:

  • Give your dog something tasty to chew on.
  • Make sure your dog has other activities, or playmates, to help prevent boredom.  Dogs will usually chew when they are left alone, or when you are sleeping or otherwise ignoring them.
  • See to it that your dog gets plenty of exercise to burn off that energy.  If your dog is exercised properly, chances are he will be tired and ready for a nap rather than ready to chew up everything in sight!

Act Early to Stop Puppy Chewing

Of course, one final word of advice:  If you can’t lock your prized possessions safely away from your dog, then confine your dog when you cannot watch her.  It isn’t good for you, your things, or your dog to launch into punishment mode when the situation could have — and should have — been avoided in the first place.

In order to stay on friendly terms with “man’s best friend” take the upper hand early on.  Your dog looks to you for guidance and leadership.  Preventing your dog from chewing up your things in the first place is your best bet.  It’s easier to prevent the habit in the first place than it is to break it later.

How much Does a Dog Cost per Year?

It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you adopt a dog. Costs vary a lot depending on your location, what size/type of dog you have, the dog’s individual needs, etc.

The consensus when asked how much a dog costs per year is somewhere around $1000-1500. Some areas of the country/world have higher/lower vet costs, and many expenses are discretionary. Very active/athletic/high-energy dogs will cost more for any number of reasons.

A typical but minor emergency vet visit (dog ate something he shouldn’t have, allergic reaction to a bite or something ingested, cuts or minor injuries, etc.) in my area will usually run $200-600, depending on tests. Things like these will happen.

A serious injury, planned surgery, significant illness, etc. can be $2000 and up.

Plan and be prepared for the higher range of expenses so you’re not left scrambling and resentful when something comes up

How Much Does a Dachshund Cost Per Year?

I can speak with experience about having a dachshund. My wire haired pointer is still pretty much a puppy, so the jury is still out on her.

I used to have is a 16 lbs. dachshund who was extremely tough on toys and got bored with the few he didn’t destroy.  He also took a lot of training (which means a lot of treats) and had seasonal allergies. His budget looked something like this:

  • license: $20 per year.
  • food: $13 per month.
  • treats: $15-$25 per month.
  • chews [predominantly bully sticks]: $20-$40 per month.
  • toys: $25-$75 per month.
  • poop bags: $20-$30 per year.
  • flea/tick/heartworm prevention: $125-$150 per year.
  • annual exam: $40.
  • vaccinations: $100-$200 depending on what he’s due for that year, if anything.
  • cytopoint injections: $100 per visit [exam fee plus medication cost], currently planning for every six weeks during the spring/summer/fall but may be more or less frequent.
  • irregular vet costs such as bloodwork before beginning new medication, emergency visits [he’s been attacked by other dogs], etc, have typically ranged from $300 to $800. we haven’t had any major medical emergencies/surgeries/etc.
  • irregular minor costs like new harnesses/collars/leashes/tags, sweaters/coats, beds, shampoo/conditioner, etc, usually add at least another $100 to the yearly total.
  • irregular not-so-minor purchases, like his fitbark and cleverpet, have added another $400 or so to the last couple of years combined.
  • regular costs that don’t usually stand out can can easily add another couple hundred to the yearly total. for example, gas and parking to take him for walks in various parks, typically within a 30 minute drive from home, to keep things interesting for him.

So on our average he was at least $1000/year, with some years being upwards of $2000.  Dachshunds are much smaller than many breeds, and things like vet costs may vary based on location.

How Much Does a Big Dog Cost Per Year?

Ignoring all the vaccines you will have to pay for the first year, and their reminders, and all the one time purchases (crate, bed, initial health check ups, name tags, license fee, dog sitter for vacation) here is the monthly breakdown for a big dog:

  • Food: $800. $50 – 70 a month sounds like a lot to me but I’m told it’s typical for a big dog.
  • Vet visit fee: $65 (this is just a fee that you pay to the vet every time you go, and you pay for medication on top of this)
  • Heart worm: $15
  • Flea and ticks: $10
  • Classes: $120 since I go to two clubs — these are drop in rates for advanced classes at both, basic obedience classes are a bit more pricey. Yearly member ship fee at clubs: $100
  • Treats: varies, but about $130-$200
  • Toys or new leashes: $80 but varies
  • Books (If a first time owner): $25
  • Online classes: $65 per class, but each class lasts a few months
  • Grooming: varies, but roughly $75 every few months. If you have a longer haired dog and fancier poodle it can go up to $200, and you may need a mutli-day appointment for very elaborate hairstyles. We do a basic puppy cut so it’s cheaper.
  • Chews: $20-30
  • Insurance: $30-40
  • Dog sitter: $45

Expect to spend at least $1,500 for a big dog each year.

Pet Ownership Is a Big Responsibility

Our pets are more like us than you might think. People seem to think that the term “dumb animals” means “stupid” – when it actually means mute. Even then, it’s an untrue statement. Animals can communicate, the question is, can you understand them when they do?

It’s important to remember that your dog or cat has emotions too.  Our pets need the know that they are loved and cared for. In return, they show their love for us in a variety of ways. Cats will often purr, rub their heads and bodies against you, and even kneed you when they are feeling content and happy.  Dogs will rub or lean against you and lick you (or give you doggie kisses!).

Taking Proper Care of Your Pet is an Important Responsibility.

Taking proper care of your pet is an important responsibility of pet ownership. Unfortunately, it’s often the overlooked aspect of pet ownership. Proper pet care takes time, patience and money. But, it shows our pets that they are important to us.

Proper care of your pet begins with feeding and grooming and includes regular visits to the veterinarian.

There are plenty of resources available on pet care, so there really is no excuse for not providing proper care for your pet. You can rent or purchase videos, check books out from the library or purchase them and, of course, you can ask your veterinarian for advice.

Simple but essential tasks you can address at home for your cat or dog include regular baths. A great idea is to made this a general at-home wellness check, by checking their paws and ears, and trimming their nails at the same time.

Cleanliness and Sanitation of Pets

Cleanliness and sanitation plays an important role in your pet’s health and well being, and can even affect your own! Don’t just keep your pet clean, but also follow the same rules you would for yourself. Do you clean your pet’s dishes? You clean yours.  I would wager after every use! Why should your pet’s bowls be any different?

Another important thing to stay on top of with your pet is fleas and, depending on where you live, ticks may also be a common problem. Flea and tick bites aren’t just annoying, they can also cause health issues. Many pets are allergic to flea bites, and will lose their hair during the worst of flea season is they become infested. Even if your pet isn’t affected that that extent, flea bites itch and are irritating to your pet. Be sure to use a good flea deterrent year round — not just in the summer — so that your pet’s fleas don’t get out of hand. You might want to consider making that a flea AND tick deterrent to solve both problems with one topical solution.

Don’t Forget Dental Care

Dental care is another essential — and often overlooked — part of pet care. You can and should brush your pet’s teeth regularly at home. And, if you have a small breed dog, I highly recommend getting regular dentals done by your veterinarian to preserve your pet’s teeth. It is the rule, not the exception, that most small dogs have big dental problems. Taking care of your pet’s teeth will prevent gum diseases or other health conditions that you might not suspect would be related to poor oral hygiene.

Pet Proof Your Home

Finally, proper pet care at home includes keeping dangerous household products out of reach. Look at being a pet owner the same way you would look at being a parent and pet-proof your home. It only takes a moment for your pet to ingest something lethal.

Pet Ownership Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

Pet ownership shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a big responsibility. The average life span for a cat or dog is anywhere from 8 to 15 years. Make sure you are ready to make a long-term commitment before bringing home that little bundle of fur. But, if you’re up to the job, I can promise you this: you’ll be rewarded with a love like no other from your furry companion!

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