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This page is dedicated to pet care titbits, as I’m passionate about the health and wellbeing of your pets too.
Vets and behaviourists agree that the right amount of exercise is essential for any dog’s physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise is the key to relieving boredom, frustration and anxiety, which can lead to unwanted behaviour if not addressed. Exercise is also essential for helping to maintain a healthy weight and to help keep joints supple into old age. Arthritis is commonly worse in overweight and unfit dogs. To find out more from the PDSA, place your paw here
It's advisable not to feed your dog right before or right after exercise, as this may predispose the dog's stomach to bloat or twist (gastric tortion), which can be fatal. Large breed or deep-chested dogs and particularly male dogs over 7 years can be at greater risk (although not exclusively). A general rule of thumb is to not feed dogs an hour before or after exercising. Read more here
While your puppy's first year is an important time for positive socialisation, the first 12 weeks are most critical, as this is the period when he is most impressionable, leaving indelible imprints. What he learns and experiences during this time will shape his personality and temperament. Socialising your puppy is the process where he will learn how to relate approriately to people and animals. It involves introducing him, in a controlled and positive way, to adults, children, friendly well mannered dogs and other animals, in as many novel situations as possible. It is important that he should feel safe in every situation. This will give him the best start towards becoming a friendly, well-balanced dog that you would be happy to take anywhere. There's no need to wait until your puppy has had all of his vaccinations, as he will really benefit from being outside if you carry him in your arms or if he's heavy, in a suitable dog carrier/pram. It's important to continue socialisation during his first year, as his confidence could regress without it. A puppy who lacks coping skills will find many things scary and he is very likely to grow up anxious. A worried, anxious puppy is more likely to develop behaviour problems, which are harder to correct as he matures. The Blue Cross have some exellent training tips here
Separation Anxiety is more common than we think. A recent survey has found that about 80% of dogs are unable to cope when they are left alone but some of the signs are not always easy to spot, especially in milder cases. The good news is that Separation Anxiety can be avoided by training your puppy. I really recommend reading the helpful advice on the RSPCA website here and their handy training guide here. If your dog already has separation anxiety you can adapt their training guide: for example, break up your dog's current routine by starting afresh in a new area of the house where he is not normally left alone and if you normally leave the radio on for company try leaving the TV on instead.
Expert Trainer, Greame Hall, recommends training your pup to sleep in a separate room asap and gradually building up your time away during the day. If you're following the 'one month old equals one hour away' method, he still only advises up to a maximum of 4 hours and if you need to leave your dog for longer he recommends using a reputable dog walker/sitter to break up their day. He also recommends leaving a dog toy designed to be stuffed with food/treats inside, as the action of knawing on this can be soothing and digestion can slow dogs down, which can help them to nap whilst you're away. Try not to look anxious when you leave, as dogs are so highly adept at reading our facial expressions they will become anxious too.
Don't give up - good training and the help of a reputable dog walker can make all the difference.
All dogs can become bored if left alone for long periods. The Dogs Trust does not recommend that any dog should be left alone for longer than four hours at a time on a regular basis.
Download a copy of The Dogs Trust’s helpful tips for beating boredom here
Weight gain usually happens slowly and will often sneak up on you. It may be easier for friends or relatives who only see your dog once in a while to notice a difference.
While a dog’s ideal weight will vary between breed-types, a healthy shape will be similar for most kinds of dog. If your dog is overweight you may notice some of the following:
If any of the above sound familiar, or if your dog has no waist, a bit of a belly and well-cushioned ribs, it may be time to take action and book an appointment with your vet.
Often owners may ask how they can tell if their dog's suffering from arthritis. As the disease nearly always causes pain and stiffness, dogs may not be as keen to exercise as they were in the past and may show lameness or obvious stiffness (especially after long periods of rest). Commonly this stiffness improves with commencement of exercise, with cold and/or damp conditions usually worsening symptoms. Some dogs may even lick continually at an underlying painful joint - occasionally causing unwanted patches of saliva staining - but rarely do joints appear hot or swollen; more commonly changes are subtle and undetectable to the naked eye. Some patients will show obvious signs of pain, whereas others may just become slower or grumpier.
Read further here
Yes, as well as being microchipped, it is still a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar and tag with the owner’s name and contact details on it when in a public place.
Find out more here
The Cats Protection recommend that for most cats, the best solution is a cat sitter. Read more here
Your cat's tail can be a good indicator of their mood. Take a little time to observe your cat's behavior and you will start to get a feel of the tales the tail tells! - read on here
Cats tend to hide their illnesses, and they even hide themselves when they're ill. But many problems are best treated when they're caught early, which means you are your cat's most important health care provider. You're the one who sees him every day and decides when he needs to see the veterinarian. Don't ignore what he's trying to tell you — or trying not to tell you. Here are just a few of the clues you should look for – more here
Sometimes you can give medication in food – but check with your vet in case it is essential to give it on an empty tummy.
Always tell your vet if you are having trouble giving tablets. Many tablets now come in nice-tasting palatable forms. There is also an antibiotic injection lasting 14 days which, although costly, may be worth it in terms of stress reduction, although it may not be suitable for use in all cases. When medicating your pet, preparation is vital. Get everything ready without your cat seeing, so that your pet does not hide. Remove the top from drops or ointments, or remove a tablet from the container. Confine your pet to one room, so that you do not have to chase your cat round the house, and then pick the animal up. It is helpful either to wrap your cat in a towel or blanket or to have a second person to hold the forelegs. Learn how to administer medication and how to care for your sick cat here
Guinea pigs are curious and like to see what’s going on, so they can be kept either indoors or out. However, they have sensitive hearing so, unless your home is quiet, they are usually happiest outdoors.
Read on here
More coming soon!