Caring for an Indoor and Outdoor Cat

5 Diet And Exercise Tips That May Help The Pudgy Parrot Lose Weight

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Diet And Exercise Tips That May Help The Pudgy Parrot Lose Weight

Are you a parrot owner concerned about Polly putting on some extra weight? Obesity in parrots can cause health issues and place strain on vital organs. Your avian veterinarian can weigh the bird using a gram scale to determine if your pet is indeed overweight. If the vet expresses concern about your pet’s weight, you may be wondering how to help your feathered friend get fit and healthy. Here are some helpful tips for the pudgy parrot needing to get in shape: 1. Limit Intake of Sunflower Seeds and Nuts Most parrots enjoy seeds and nuts, and in moderation these foods can be a healthy addition to supplement a balanced diet. However, when seeds and nuts comprise a large portion of the diet, health issues may be a concern. Seeds and nuts can be high in fat and calories, so it’s best to limit these as an occasional treat or a minimal percentage of the bird’s total diet. Most importantly, never feed your parrot an all seed diet, as this is lacking in important amino acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. 2. Choose Healthy Table Foods It’s tempting to give in when your parrot begs as you’re munching on a piece of pound cake or plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. However, many of these human foods, especially in larger amounts, can cause unhealthy weight gain for your bird. Rather than letting your per snack on fattening table food, offer fresh greens and vegetables, which are low in calories and provide vitamins and minerals. As a side note, never allow your parrot to consume any amount of chocolate or avocado, as these foods can be toxic to birds.  3. Offer Your Parrot an Assortment of Stimulating Toys Exercise is extremely important for your parrot. If your pet is forced to perch in a cage all day without daily exercise, your pet is likely to become overweight. Fortunately, there are many toys and play things to help you provide exercise and prevent obesity in your pet. Here are some ideas for bird toys and accessories: A Birdie Playground: To start with, purchase a parrot play stand or playground. This will help provide entertainment for your pet, but most importantly, it will encourage exercise which can prevent unhealthy weight gain. Playgrounds or play gyms for parrots are available as tabletop models or freestanding for the large species of parrot. You can purchase these from your pet store or online. Be sure to obtain the appropriate size for your type of parrot. It should have a few perches in various diameters. Many feature hooks for hanging some toys on. For easy cleaning, look for a laminate base that can easily be wiped off. A Bird Ladder: If you own a small parrot, you might be able to place the ladder inside its cage, providing there is room. Wooden bird ladders have several steps that encourage climbing. Climbing the ladder will help strengthen the leg muscles and provide exercise to help keep your feathered friend trim. Most parrot ladders are made with hooks for attaching to the side of the cage wire. You place place the ladder inside or outside of the cage. A Swing For the Cage: Many birds love to swing, as it provides relaxation and mimics the feel of a climbing...

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4 Things Chicken Owners Need To Know About Cloacal Prolapse

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Things Chicken Owners Need To Know About Cloacal Prolapse

Cloacal prolapse, also called vent blow-out, is a painful condition that can affect your pet chickens. This condition means that part of your hen’s oviduct—the tube within her abdomen that eggs travel through—sticks out of her vent, instead of remaining inside her abdomen where it belongs. Here are four things chicken owners need to know about cloacal prolapse. What causes cloacal prolapse? When a hen delivers an egg, it’s normal for their vent to prolapse. However, this is just a temporary situation, and soon, the oviduct will retract back inside the body. If this retraction occurs slowly, or doesn’t happen at all, cloacal prolapse is the result. There are many different things that can lead to this condition. Obesity or a poor diet can both lead to cloacal prolapse. Fortunately, these factors can be prevented with with good care. Feed your chickens a nutritious, well-balanced diet that consists of commercial layer feed, vegetables and supplement. This diet should be supplemented with earthworms and other burrowing insects. A good diet isn’t enough, though; your chickens also need exercise. Make sure your chickens have room to run around in their pen, and if possible, give them free range of your yard. Infections may also lead to cloacal prolapse. For example, if your chicken suffers from an oviduct infection, the tissue will swell, which makes it harder for your chicken to pass an egg. They’ll need to strain harder to pass the egg through the swollen tissue, which can cause a prolapse. Other infections inside the abdomen, like egg peritonitis, can cause problems for the same reason. If you think your chicken has an infection, seek treatment for her right away, before a prolapse can occur. What are the signs of cloacal prolapse? Prolapsed tissue is quite noticeable. You’ll see red, swollen tissue sticking out of the affected chicken’s vent. The affected chicken’s feathers may be fluffed and she may refuse to stand; these are both signs that a chicken isn’t feeling well. If you see tissue protruding from a chicken’s vent, take her to a vet immediately. How serious is cloacal prolapse? Cloacal prolapse is very dangerous for affected chickens. A major worry is that the exposed tissue can attract cannibalism. The other birds in your flock will try to peck at and eat the prolapsed tissue. To prevent this, you’ll need to quarantine your injured bird. Keep your injured bird inside a wire cage within the coop; this keeps her safe while still allowing her to socialize with the others. The prolapsed tissue is susceptible to trauma from the environment, as well. Since the tissue is swollen and protrudes from the vent, it can get caught on objects inside the coop or outside in the pen. Ensure that there are no sharp objects inside the quarantine cage to try to prevent this. How do vets treat cloacal prolapse? In mild cases of cloacal prolapse, keeping the area clean may be the only treatment that’s required. The tissue will then go back inside the vent on its own. In more serious cases, intervention will be required. Your vet will clean the prolapsed tissue and then gently push it back inside the vent. If the tissue doesn’t stay in place on its own, it may need to be stitched in place. To...

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5 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Enamel Spurs

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Enamel Spurs

Rabbits can develop a wide range of problems with their teeth, just like people can. Enamel spurs are one of the most common dental problems that pet rabbits develop. Here are five things rabbit owners need to know about enamel spurs. What are enamel spurs? Enamel spurs are sharpened pieces of tooth that cut the inside of your rabbit’s mouth. Spurs can range in size from small slivers of sharpened enamel to whole teeth. These spurs can grow into your pet’s tongue or cheeks, leading to ulceration and pain. Why do enamel spurs develop? Your rabbit’s molars grow continuously at a rate of approximately 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) per month. If your pet doesn’t have access to hay and chew toys, it won’t be able to wear down its teeth properly. This allows the tooth to overgrow and meet the opposing tooth at an abnormal angle. When the teeth are misaligned in this way, the chewing surfaces don’t wear down evenly. Over time, this uneven wear can lead to sharp edges on the teeth. These sharp edges are enamel spurs. To prevent enamel spurs, make sure that your rabbit always has access to hay. Hay provides your rabbit with necessary fiber, but since it’s so tough, it also necessitates a lot of chewing, which helps to wear down their teeth. In addition to hay, your rabbit needs access to chew toys. Provide a wide range of chew toys, like willow sticks, willow bridges, grass mats, and willow balls, so your rabbit doesn’t get bored of them. What are the signs of enamel spurs? If your rabbit develops enamel spurs, you may notice that they’re no longer interested in eating their hay. To chew hay, rabbits need to perform a sideways jaw movement, and this is painful when enamel spurs are present. If your rabbit is avoiding hay but still eating other foods like vegetables, you need to take a look at their cheek teeth. If spurs are present, you will be able to see the signs. The clearest sign is torn, inflamed tissue on their tongue or inside of their cheek, though you may also see sharp spots on their teeth as well. If you notice these signs, take your rabbit to a vet right away.  Are enamel spurs serious? Enamel spurs can pose serious problems for rabbits. Since these spurs are very sharp, they can slice into your pet’s delicate oral tissues, like their tongue or the insides of their cheeks. Obviously, this is very painful for your pet, but the pain isn’t the worst part. This torn tissue is susceptible to infections, and these infections can then spread from the oral tissues to other parts of the body. Another issue with enamel spurs is that if they aren’t treated, your rabbit may stop eating entirely due to pain. If your rabbit stops eating, their digestive system will slow down or completely stop; vets call this situation gastric stasis. Gastric stasis is life-threatening because it allows for dangerous bacteria to accumulate within your pet’s intestines. The toxins released by these bacteria can lead to liver failure. How do vets treat enamel spurs? Fortunately, the treatment for enamel spurs is quite simple. Your vet will trim the sharp pieces of enamel and then trim the teeth to allow them to wear down evenly. Medications like antibiotics or...

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Oral Care For Pets: Why It’s More Important Than You Realize

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Oral Care For Pets: Why It’s More Important Than You Realize

Good oral health isn’t just important for humans; pets need to take care of their pearly whites, too. Damaged or decaying teeth can lead to all kinds of problems in cats and dogs, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet’s teeth to ensure they stay healthy. Here are just a few reasons why caring for your dog or cat’s teeth is more important that you may realize. Tooth loss Like humans, puppies and kitten will both lose their first set of teeth, or baby teeth, during the first year of their lives. This occurrence is normal, but if they lose teeth later on, it could be a sign of oral disease that could affect their overall health. Dogs and cats need their teeth for eating and protecting themselves, so a loss of your pet’s adult teeth can be especially problematic. Sudden tooth loss can occur after an injury, but it can also happen as a result of gum disease or infection in the mouth, which can spread to other areas of your pet’s body and make them seriously ill. Bad breath If your pet has bad breath, it’s usually a sign of periodontal disease, but it can be an indicator that something more serious is wrong with your pet. Kidney disease, diabetes and intestinal cancers can all cause your pet to have halitosis. Unless you know that your pet’s breath smells bad because of something they ate, you need to have your pet examined by your veterinarian to rule out a serious health condition. Periodontal disease Periodontal disease can be a serious problem for your pet. When food and saliva combine with bacteria in your pet’s mouth, it can lead to plaque buildup, which in turn can lead to periodontal or gum disease. It can also cause your pet pain and discomfort, making it hard for them to eat. Infections in the mouth and gums can spread to the bloodstream and cause serious problems for your pet. Undiagnosed infections that spread to the blood can cause septicemia, or blood poisoning, in your pet. This can be a life-threatening condition, so it’s important that any dental health problems are properly diagnosed and treated in order to keep your pet healthy. Treatments for dental problems in pets If your dog or cat has dental problems, there are some treatments that can help improve their oral health. Prevention is best when it comes to treating dental problems in your cat or dog. Take your pet to the vet for regular cat or dog teeth cleanings, just as you would go to your dentist for your own cleanings. This can help prevent dental health problems and catch minor problems before they become serious ones. Your vet may need to anesthetize your pet in order to give them a proper cleaning, so speak with them before the checkup to make sure your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia. Brushing your pet’s teeth may seem impractical, but it is a great way to prevent periodontal disease. Your vet may recommend that you use a special toothbrush for your pet, but if your dog or cat is not willing to let you brush their teeth, you can also try giving them specially designed chew toys that help remove the plaque from their teeth.  Maintaining...

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Fires And Floods: Preparing For A Natural Disaster When You Have A Dog & How To Help After Disaster Strikes

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fires And Floods: Preparing For A Natural Disaster When You Have A Dog & How To Help After Disaster Strikes

As a dog owner, you know your dog is part of the family, so you need to make sure you include him in your disaster preparation plans. You also need to learn a few basic ways you can help your pet if he does get caught in the middle of a fire or flood alongside you. Follow these tips on what you can do now to prepare for disaster and how to help your pet if he gets caught in the midst of one.  1. Include Your Pet in Fire Evacuation Plans and Safety Drills You should always have a plan in place for your family in case your home ever catches fire. The NFPA, or National Fire Protection Association, advises first drawing a map of your home. Then, draw two escape plans from each room. One route typically involves a window, as most rooms only have one doorway that may not be safe to escape from if the fire is right outside of it.  Once you draw your plan, give a copy to each family member, and you should practice it regularly. Where does Fido fit into this? You obviously cannot expect your dog to follow a map. Instead, first simply make sure he is loose in the home during your fire drills and let him observe. Instruct family members to grab him on their way out of the home if possible (but remind them to NEVER put their lives in danger while doing so.) If he is ever confined to a crate, then tell everyone that if they cannot carry him out then to open his crate so he can find his own way out. If he does not evacuate with the family, once everyone is outside his name should be called until he comes out. Dogs are very intelligent and will benefit from seeing the family evacuating. You may be surprised when after a few drills he begins evacuating with the family every time.  It is also very important to have your dog micro-chipped, as this will help ensure he is returned to you after any disaster. Having a collar on him with your name and phone number will also help a kind stranger know who he belongs to if he does get lost or run away during his escape.  How to help if he inhales smoke: If your dog shows any signs that he inhaled smoke during a fire, such as rapid breathing, vomiting, or a hoarse cough, then the best way you can help him is to take him immediately to the nearest vet hospital. Unfortunately, there are no home remedies to treat smoke inhalation. When firefighters arrive on the scene, they may be able to give him oxygen on the spot to help him. Even if his apparent condition improves after the oxygen is administered, that does not mean he can skip a trip to the vet. A veterinarian needs to examine him to see if his airways are damaged and make sure there is no fluid build-up in his lungs.  Burns also require immediate veterinary treatment along with any other injuries he may have suffered while finding his way out of the home, such as jumping from a window.  2. Know How to Help Him During Flooding Your plan to keep your dog...

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6 Things Guinea Pig Owners Need To Know About Heatstroke

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Things Guinea Pig Owners Need To Know About Heatstroke

During the summer months, high temperatures can put you at risk of heatstroke, a severe form of heat illness that occurs when your body temperature reaches dangerous levels. However, you’re not the only one who can get heatstroke. If you’re playing outdoors with your guinea pig, your furry friend is also in danger. Guinea pigs are very susceptible to heatstroke, and if it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for your pig, too. Here are six things that guinea pig owners need to know about heatstroke. Why are guinea pigs susceptible to heatstroke? When you get too warm on a hot day, your body produces sweat to cool you down. Other types of pets, such as dogs, can pant to cool down their bodies, while rabbits send their hot blood to their oversized ears to rapidly cool their blood. Guinea pigs can’t do any of these things. They can’t sweat, they can’t pant, and their ears are too small to be an effective cooling system. If your pigs are in a hot environment, they’re completely helpless. What are the signs of heatstroke? Guinea pigs tend to hide signs that they’re not feeling well. In the wild, this helps them avoid getting picked off by predators, but for domesticated pigs, this is a problem. Your pig can suffer from heatstroke and show only minor signs, so you need to pay close attention. If your pig is playing outdoors in the sun and stops playing or lies down, you may think your pig is just tired, but these behavioral changes can be signs of heatstroke. You may also notice that your pig isn’t eating or drinking.  Is heat stroke dangerous? Heat stroke is a medical emergency and it needs to be taken very seriously. Extremely high body temperatures can damage your pet’s organs, like their heart, kidneys, or muscles. This damage can lead to organ failure and even death.  What should you do if your guinea pig has heatstroke? If you think your guinea pig has heatstroke, the very first thing you need to do is get your pet out of the hot environment. If your pet is outside in the sun, take him or her back into your house if it has air conditioning or seek shelter under the shade of a tree. Once your pet is out of the heat, wet a towel with cold water and wrap it around your pig. This will help to cool your pet down quickly. Once you’ve performed these basic first aid steps, take your pet to an emergency vet immediately. How do vets treat heatstroke? Your vet will re-hydrate your pet and replace their electrolytes. The vet can do this by giving your pig fluids intravenously or by squeezing fluids into your pig’s mouth with a syringe.  Your vet will then monitor your guinea pig to make sure he or she starts to feel better. About two hours after receiving electrolytes and fluids, your pig should be able to stand up by themselves, but it can take as long as 48 hours for your guinea pig to feel well enough to come back home.  How can you prevent heatstroke? You can prevent heatstroke by keeping your guinea pig out of hot environments. On hot, sunny days, don’t take your pig outside...

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Stressed-Out Animals: Can Life Become Overwhelming For Your Pet?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So you have a job, bills, a killer commute and 2.5 children to worry about, leading you to believe that your pet lives a life free from stress. In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth! Animals suffer with emotional turmoil just like people. If you suspect the pet(s) in your home are a little out of whack, don’t overlook stress as the cause, as it may be just the case. Why Animals Might Become Stressed Not unlike people, different animals deal with situations differently. What may seriously stress one dog out, another brushes off as no big deal. In general, though, major life changes can lead to anxiety and depression in pets. Moving to a new home, losing a human family member or having to accept a new animal around are all possible causes of stress in dogs and cats. Since most animals are territorial, introducing another pet in the home can be tricky. Cats may fight over space, dogs dispute food ownership and all vie for your attention. Sometimes, small changes may induce anxiety, such as the simple act of moving the furniture around. Since each animal is unique, it’s best to make changes slowly when possible and observe the consequent reactions. Big Feelings In Little Bodies: Pint-Sized Pets And Stress Your poor little hamster has fear coded right into his jeans, because in the wild, he’s prey to nearly everyone he encounters. This is why he will jump when he hears a loud noise, darting quickly into a tunnel or house in his cage. These little guys need quiet space where they can forget about the night owls who hunt them or the hawks and snakes who would snack on them during the day. Birds, too, tend to be nervous creatures and will squawk when frightened. The “fight or flight” instinct is severely inhibited in a cage, thus, when your fine-feathered friend is stressed, it’s very overwhelming. Without a non-eventful corner of the house to call his own like the hamster, stress may become a daily and dangerous occurrence for birds. Parakeets, finches, cockatiels and even larger parrots can even be stressed to death, as can little gerbils and hamsters. The Best Remedies For Pet Stress It’s important to recognize the signs of stress in a dog immediately, as they can become aggressive. While cats usually vacate any scene they don’t like quickly, they too, need TLC to overcome stress. If it’s feasible to eliminate the cause of stress, that would be the best course of action. However, since much of the time changes to the environment have to be accepted, try to comfort your pet as he adapts. Reassuring belly rubs and ear scratches, regular feedings and exercise and a trusted place to lay a weary head will all help your pet adjust. Gradually introducing pets to new family additions, be they human or otherwise, is also best. Since exercise is a natural remedy for stress and will help tire your pet to help him sleep, play with him more than usual during stressful times. When To See A Vet Unfortunately, and not unlike humans, stress harms animals in many ways. Their immune systems can be compromised, digestive systems may run amuck and temperaments will go awry, among other possible consequences. Additionally, since...

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Six Ways To Avert A Parrot Emergency This Holiday Season

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When holiday festivities are underway, a parrot owner needs to be aware of potential dangers that could land a bird in the emergency pet hospital. At Thanksgiving and Christmastime, you need to be mindful of holiday decor, food and chemicals that could be toxic to your feathered friend. In addition, it’s important to prevent your parrot from potential accidents in the kitchen. There are several ways to accomplish this. Why Parrots Are Prone to Holiday Incidents (and How to Prevent Them) The holiday season is a time of excitement. Family gatherings often include a flurry of activity in the home. It’s easy to become forgetful of small details that could be potentially hazardous to your pet bird. This is especially true for first-time parrot owners with little or no experience in bird care. In the midst of the holiday hustle, keep these guidelines in mind by following six rules of parrot safety: 1. Keep Your Christmas Tree Inaccessible to Your Parrot Parrots are naturally attracted to tree branches, especially live ones. Unlike in the wild, an indoor Christmas tree has potential dangers for a parrot. Allowing your pet to perch on the branches of a decorated Christmas tree could mean disaster, which is why you need to keep it out of reach. All hook-billed species love to chew, and your Christmas light cords could be a temptation. Biting through the wire could electrocute your parrot, and frayed cords could be a fire hazard. Shiny tree ornaments often attract parrots as well. A curious and powerful beak could break an ornament easily, and sharp fragments could cut your pet or become impacted in the crop. Play it safe by placing your Christmas tree in an area of the home that is off limits to your parrot. Also, don’t place a mini-Christmas tree, even an artificial one, in your bird room. 2. Say No to Mistletoe (and Poinsettia) Mistletoe and Poinsettia are common holiday plant decor in many homes. They may be pretty to look at, but if ingested, the poinsettia and mistletoe plants are toxic to birds. Holly berries, often attached to the mistletoe, may have the same toxic effect. Even a small nibble from your parrot could cause vomiting, diarrhea or respiratory issues. Ingesting a larger amount off these holiday plants may cause organ damage, seizures and death. Play it safe and keep these plants out of the home, or in a safe location where your birds cannot gain access to them. 3. Don’t Share Holiday Treats With Your Feathered Friend Those holiday chocolates may be a welcome gift, but they need to be out of the reach of your pet parrot. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, all toxic substances to birds. When ingested, these chemicals increase heart rate, and may also cause seizures or death in a bird. Also, don’t share avocado with your pet bird, as ingesting the leaves and stems may affect respiratory function or cause cardiac arrhythmia. Rhubarb has toxic effects on birds as well. Also, keep salted chips out of Polly’s reach, as excessive sodium may cause dehydration and impair kidney function. 4. Beware of Non-Stick Pots and Pans The holiday season is a time for preparing meals, but parrot owners should choose safe cookware. Overheated non-stick pots and pans will cause toxicity...

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