Fun Toys to Make for Pets: Projects and Ideas

Does Your Cat Have OCD?: The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Does Your Cat Have OCD?: The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

While you may be aware that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can affect humans, you may not know that it can also affect your cat. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about how OCD can affect your cat and how the condition is treated. Causes of OCD in cats While it can be difficult to identify a particular trigger which has caused your cat to develop OCS, there are some common situations which increase the risk that your pet will develop the disorder. Here are some of the symptoms: Being confined to a small space for extended periods of time Long-term illness Mistreatment by a former owner Symptoms of OCD in cats Most pet owners are usually alerted to the fact that their cat has OCD because of changes in their behaviour. Below are some behaviours and actions which indicate your cat could have OCD or an associated anxiety condition. Obsessive grooming: You may notice that your cat repeatedly licks or bites part of their fur or body, causing the area to become bald and sore. Tail chasing: While tail chasing may at first seem playful and fun, it could also be a sign that your cat is starting to perform behaviours which serve no useful purpose. Eating non-food items: If you cat begins to chew and eat fabric and other soft furnishings, this could be a sign that they have OCD. Loss of Interest: You may also notice that your cat loses interest in activities such as going outside or playing with their favourite toy. Treatment options If you suspect that your cat may have OCD, you should take them to see a vet. The vet will examine the cat and carry out a blood test to rule out any other physical causes of the symptoms, such as a brain tumour. If you cat is diagnosed with OCD, you vet will work with you to develop a treatment plan. They will explain how you can carry out behaviour modification therapy with your cat to help to break the pattern of harmful actions.  Behaviour modification therapy uses a system of rewards and desensitisation exercises which will encourage your cat to cease negative OCD behaviour. Your vet may also prescribe a sedative medication to deal with any anxiety which may be fuelling any OCD behaviour in your cat. If you have any concerns about the health and well-being of your cat, contact a vet...

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In the Dog House: 3 Dog Grooming Mistakes

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In the Dog House: 3 Dog Grooming Mistakes

Every dog owner wants their pooch to look its best. Taking the time to regularly look after and groom your dog is a great thing to do. However, when carrying out DIY dog grooming at home it is easy to make mistakes. Below we look at three of the most common dog grooming mistakes. Not Handling Your Dog You should make a habit of handling and touching your dog in ways they will be touched during grooming. This means holding their paws so you can examine their nails, lifting their ears and gentling touching the area around their ear canal, wiping their faces with a cloth and opening their mouths to expose their teeth for cleaning. You should perform these actions even when you are not grooming the dog. This will familiarise your dog with the different sensations it will experience when it is groomed. Dogs that are unfamiliar are likely to act up during grooming, making it a stressful experience for both you and your pooch. Being Inconsistent When your dog is used to being handled during grooming, you shouldn’t let them forget it. If you are inconsistent with when and how you groom your dog, it will make it much more challenging in the long run. Create a consistent routine by brushing your dog’s coat every day, regardless of whether it is needed or not. During the brushing, you should inspect your dogs ears and paws to reinforce your touch. Daily brushing is not only good for your dog’s fur and skin, it also helps to the strengthen the bond between you and your pet.  Not Being Thorough Your dog has lots of nooks and crannies hidden away that need to be washed. When grooming your dog, make sure you pay attention to its face, tail, bum, belly, teeth, ears and legs. These areas are often overlooked during home grooming but do require attention. During the grooming process you should reward your dog with small treats whenever they behave well and comply with what you want them to do. Reinforcing good behaviour will encourage your dog to repeat it. If you maintain a frequent and thorough grooming regime it will soon become second nature to both you and your dog. If you have any questions or concerns about how to groom your dog, it is best to contact a professional dog grooming service or your vet for...

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Stopping your cat from destroying the house while you are away this holidays

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Stopping your cat from destroying the house while you are away this holidays

If you have a nervous cat who tends to scratch up the furniture when you are away and make protests in the forms of smelly deposits, it makes sense to make some plans to try and calm them down. Here are some ideas that can help. Cat feeder You should get your cat feeder to come over before you leave, so that your cat doesn’t associate their presence with you leaving. Having the cat feeder’s smell in the house already can make their appearance seem like less of an intrusion and more an established part of the cat’s routine. You can also try spraying the house with synthetic cat pheromones, which are available in a diffuser, which some cats find calming. Try to get your cat feeder to keep to your normal schedule and feed the cats at a normal time. Play time Spending some time petting and playing with your cat can also calm the cat down. If your cat is nervous it can often help if the cat feeder is able to wear something that smells like you, such as placing a pillowcase you have slept on on their lap and spending some time in the house. While cats are relatively independent, they are calmed by touch. Help your cat feeder to play with your cat by showing them the style of play that your cat tends to like. Cattery   If you cannot find a way to calm your cat at home, it can be useful to take your cat to a cattery for the time you are away. Catteries are experienced in calming cats and are well set up to relax cats when their owners are away. They generally have cages with ‘safe places’ such as boxes for the cats to sleep in as well as toys and places for the cats to have some active time. They also have more regular checks on your cat than they have at home with an at home feeder, which can be useful if your cat sometimes has health issues if they are nervous such as vigorous over grooming or nervous vomiting.  If you are looking for the best solution for getting your anxious cat looked after while you are on holidays and protecting your furniture from feline retribution, it can make sense to check out your local catteries, like Welcome Boarding Kennels & Cattery, to see if they might be suitable for your...

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Understanding Dog Dementia

Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding Dog Dementia

Many people begin to show the symptoms of dementia as they get older, but did you know that dementia can affect dogs too?  So, how do you know if your dog has dementia and how can your vet clinic offer any treatment for your pet?  Read on to find out more. Dementia and dogs Elderly dogs can suffer from a condition known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), commonly referred to as animal dementia.  The signs of CDS usually begin to appear in dogs over 11 years of age and vary in intensity from minor to life altering.  Common behavioural signs of CDS include: random barking or whining, often during the night repeatedly pacing back and forth forgetting toilet-training not responding when you call their name appearing confused, staring into space or at the wall in front of them squeezing into small spaces and staying there being easily startled or displaying signs of anxiety getting lost in familiar places falling off things or struggling to climb stairs sleeping heavily during the day and being wakeful at nights losing interest in play and games Fortunately, CDS doesn’t cause your pet any pain, and unlike human dementia sufferers who find losing their independence upsetting, your dog already relies on you for food, comfort and routine. Can your vet treat your dog’s CDS? If your dog begins to show any of the symptoms listed above, you should take him to see your vet; there are other medical conditions that could cause some of these problems and it’s important that these are ruled out as soon as possible by an expert. Although there is no cure for CDS, there are drugs available that your vet can prescribe to help your pet cope with the condition and to manage it.  For example, medication is available that can slow down the progression of CDS, or manage single symptoms like anxiety or insomnia. What can you do to help your dog cope with CDS? Keeping your pet mentally active can help to slow down the onset of CDS.  It’s important to exercise your dog regularly and to engage him in gentle games.  Simple obedience training reinforced positively with treat rewards can be useful too, for example sit, stay and come to heel.  Even if your dog’s senses of hearing and sight are not as good as they once were, his sense of smell will still be acute.  You can utilise this to stimulate him by including food puzzle toys and nose-work into his playtime, like hiding treats for him to find by scent, for example. Try to keep your dog’s daily routine regular, and be careful not to startle him.  Keep visits to strange places to a minimum so that your dog doesn’t become stressed, and if possible, avoid placing him in boarding kennels.  Give your dog plenty of opportunity to relieve himself during the day, and don’t become annoyed with him if he has an occasional accident.  At night, line your dog’s bed and protect the area around it with absorbent puppy pads, (available from pet stores or from your vet), just in case of accidents.  In conclusion Although the signs of CDS in dogs can be upsetting for owners, there’s no reason your pet can’t continue to enjoy a good quality of life as he...

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How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

Good oral health is extremely important for your dog’s overall well-being, and it starts with clean teeth.  Poor dental care can result in rotten teeth and gum disease that could cause your pet discomfort and give him foul-smelling breath.  Your local mobile dog grooming service will be able to clean your dog’s teeth for you; however, it’s a good idea to familiarise your dog with the process before a stranger undertakes it. Here’s how to accustom your dog to having his teeth cleaned. The right tools for the job The most important thing to note is that human toothpaste and toothbrushes are not suitable for use on animals.  Not only are the brushes too big and unwieldy, many of the ingredients of toothpaste are not compatible with your pet’s digestive system and could make him ill. Use only pet-specific toothpaste or gel to clean your dog’s teeth.  These products come in pet-friendly flavours like liver, chicken or malt and contain special enzymes that kill bacteria and prevent the formation of plaque.  You can obtain something suitable either from your vet or from a good pet store.  Pet toothbrushes come in two forms.  A standard brush looks much like a human one, but with a smaller head and a longer handle.  Some dogs are wary of having such a strange object inserted into their mouths, and a good alternative is a finger brush. This looks like a soft plastic thimble with a slightly rough surface.  Simply pop the brush onto your finger and use it to rub your pet’s teeth. How to brush your dog’s teeth This is a process that should be introduced gradually, and you must be patient.  Use plenty of praise throughout your dog’s tooth brushing lessons, and reward him with treats so that the sessions are always fun.  Never use force to try to restrain your dog.  If your dog becomes aggressive or distressed, stop immediately and consult your vet for advice. Start by gently stroking the outside of your dog’s face with your finger.  Carefully lift up his lip for a few seconds.  Praise your dog and give them a treat.  Repeat the process as above, but this time put a small blob of toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to taste it.   The next day, repeat  step 2 and then pop some toothpaste onto your finger and very gently run it over your dog’s teeth for half a minute or so.  Reward and treat your dog.  On day three, repeat step 3. Now put some toothpaste onto the toothbrush, and very gently use it on your dog’s teeth, just for half a minute.   The following day, repeat the process but increase the time spent cleaning your dog’s teeth to a couple of minutes. Now that your dog is confident and happy having his teeth cleaned, you can ask your dog groomer to clean them as part of your pet’s regular grooming session. In conclusion It’s extremely important for your dog’s general health that he learns to have his teeth cleaned.  Poor oral hygiene can result in misery and discomfort for your dog and expensive extra veterinary visits.  Use the guide above to familiarise your dog with teeth cleaning so that you can include it in his regular grooming sessions. For...

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Total Hip Replacement In Dogs: Four Possible Complications You Should Know About

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Total Hip Replacement In Dogs: Four Possible Complications You Should Know About

If your dog shows signs of hip pain and problems with mobility, a vet may recommend a total hip replacement. Total hip replacement (THR) is a complex, invasive form of surgery, and while the procedure has a high success rate of around 95 percent, complications can arise. Find out about the possible side effects from a total hip replacement, and learn more about the steps you or your vet can take to avoid these issues. Problems with anaesthesia Your dog will need anaesthesia during the surgery, and the anaesthetist will constantly check the animal’s vital signs to spot any problems. Nonetheless, there is always a small risk of complications when a vet uses anaesthesia, particularly in older dogs. If your dog is at very high risk of problems with the anaesthetic, your vet may tell you that the surgery isn’t possible. Make sure the vet knows the animal’s full medical history, in case older issues may increase the risk of complications with the anaesthetic. Wound infection Post-surgical infections are generally rare because the surgeon works under sterile conditions. Unfortunately, if the joint develops an infection, it’s often difficult to deal with the problem, especially if the bacteria get into the bone cement, because medication cannot get to germs this deep in the wound. As such, your vet will carefully check the dog for signs of an infection before surgery. For example, he or she may take a skin sample around the joint for analysis to confirm there are no underlying problems. Your vet will also normally prescribe antibiotics to help the dog’s recovery. Even so, you should carefully check the wound site every day to spot any early signs of an infection. Early treatment can cut the risk that the infection will spread. Luxation You can’t explain to a dog that he or she needs to take it easy after surgery, and within a few days, your furry friend will almost certainly want to run around as though nothing is different. Unfortunately, over-exertion can lead to luxation, where the hip pops out of the socket. Any type of trauma can lead to this complication, which may mean your dog needs further surgery. You need to carefully control your animal for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Keep the animal on the lead and restrict exercise, especially in the first week. Ask the surgeon for advice about exercises and therapy that can help the dog rehabilitate. Pay particular attention to excitable dogs that may jump up at you at home. Femur fracture The thigh bone (or femur) connects to the pelvis and the tibia bone. Fractures can sometimes occur, particularly in the middle of the bone. Older dogs or animals that are too active after their surgery are at higher risk of this injury. Femur fractures will normally heal without damaging the hip replacement, particularly in younger dogs, but the animal is likely to need further surgery. Careful rehabilitation will help this bone gain strength, cutting the risk of a fracture. Nerve damage can also sometimes occur, but this will normally heal over time. If your vet recommends a total hip replacement for your dog, it’s important to know about some of the complications that could arise. For more advice, talk to the surgeon, and make sure you know what...

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Why You Require a Pest Management Plan to Control Garden Insects

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why You Require a Pest Management Plan to Control Garden Insects

Want to keep insect pests out of your garden? You’ll need a pest management plan that is suited to mitigating the presence of all manner of insects from your home’s garden. So, what does a pest management plan offer to both you and your garden? Preparedness against insect attacks A pest management plan, in itself, is a well-spelled-out strategy used to anticipate pest attacks in your home. In other words, the plan is a well-structured pathway to how you can detect the presence of insect incursions early enough before they can cause considerable damage to your garden. If insect pets such as grasshoppers, armyworms and squash bugs usually invade your garden every year, for example, you can act well in advance and take out plants and rubble that accommodate them. Alternatively, you can choose to apply mild insecticides when these insect pests are at their most vulnerable development stage, e.g., when they are just starting to hatch, to get rid of them. Regular look-outs for insect incursions Some garden insects are very small, and their presence can go unnoticed, at least until they have caused a considerable amount of damage to your garden crops. Therefore, regular weed control is vital, since some insect pests are first drawn by the presence of weeds in your home’s landscape before they can invade your garden and attack the crops. Maintaining a pest management plan can ensure that your home is protected against weed attacks and that the quality of crops harvested from your garden is checked through various scientific methods like odour sensing. You should expect garden crops that have been spoiled by insect pests to have odours different from those emitted from healthy, unspoiled crops. Timely decisions regarding control of garden insects The longer a crop stays in the garden, the more it becomes exposed to insect plagues. What’s more, crops that have exceeded their harvest time are more vulnerable to insect attacks and provoke avoidable garden raids. The situation is even more complex when you are dealing with soil-dwelling insects such as earwigs, cutworms, crickets, false wireworms and many others, which can even take up to few years to become recognised. Be sure to harvest crops at the appropriate times to avoid encouraging an infestation. A pest management plan will help examine your agricultural calendar and can help inform you on the best time to harvest your crops from the garden. Contact a professional pest control service to help you formulate your own pest management plan and keep your garden healthy and bug...

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