Foods and Treats for Your Pet Hedgehog

There are so many options to keep as a pet. But if you are one who prefers to have a small pet buddy and are considering to have a hedgehog at home, you need to understand what your future pet will need to be happy and live healthy and longer. One of the most important elements that will keep your hedgehog healthy is proper nutrition. As a soon-to-be-owner of an unusual pet as a hedgie, you might be wondering, “what food does a small animal like a hedgehog eats?”

Foods and Treats for Your Pet Hedgehog

Foods Hedgehogs Eat

In their natural habitat, hedgehogs eat almost anything although they are considered insectivores. They can survive with almost anything that is available for them to consume while in the wild. When they eat insects, they gorged on the whole thing, including the hard exoskeleton of the insect. They do prefer softer bodied insects, such as centipedes and millipedes, even snakes, though. They are also observed to soft fruits, vegetables, even seed. But their small digestive tract is not designed to digest plant matters.

Like us, these mammals need a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water to maintain their overall health.

When planning your pet hedgehog’s meal, consider these recommendations: for the average healthy hedgehog, protein content should be greater than 20%, for nursing moms and growing babies, you can use about 28-35% protein sources. (more…)

Pet Disaster Plan

Do you have  a pet emergency preparedness plan?

Why is it important to prepare for a disaster with a pet disaster plan? The obvious answer is that disasters kill people and animals with equal devastation. Natural disasters come in all different ways including fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods.  Man-made disasters include toxic chemical spills, oil leaks, pollution, and other bio-hazards. Often, there is little advanced warning of these dangers, resulting in quick evacuations of homes and entire communities are to get people and pets out of harm’s way. If you are unprepared and without an emergency action plan, your opportunity to save yourself and your pets greatly diminishes.

Protect your entire family with a pet emergency preparedness plan.

When you get prepared with a pet disaster plan, you and your pets have a much better chance of surviving should a natural or man-made disaster.

Your pet emergency action plan starts with you
!

Your first step in preparing for an unexpected disaster is to have a emergency action plan for the human members of your home. If you are unprepared  to take care of yourself, you are reducing the chances you will be able to care for your pets too. Three basics steps can save your life and the life of your pet 1. Plan2. Prepare, and 3. Practice! Don’t put off getting started, your life could depend on it!

Create a pet emergency preparedness plan.

Once you have your “people” emergency action plan finished it’s time to start on your pet disaster plan. The two most important elements of your emergency response plan checklist are to:

– Move them safely. Determine how you can safely evacuate all your pets in a controlled manner.
– Find emergency shelter. Know in advance where you are going to house your pets temporarily.

If you have an abundance of pets, or if your animals tend to be on the larger size, these first two actions can be very challenging, which is all the more reason to develop your pet emergency preparedness plan today! Some disasters allow a little time with advanced warnings to get you and your pets to a safe location. If a voluntary evacuation order is issued by public safety officials, it’s the time to kick things into gear. It may be too late to reach safety if you wait until the evacuation order becomes mandatory. Being forced to leave pets behind because you delayed taking action is not a situation you want to be in.

A well designed emergency response plan checklist will guide you through gathering the information and supplies you will need to evacuate quickly and safely. Start your plan with window alert stickers displaying “Animal(s) Inside” to let emergency personnel know there are animals in the home that need to be rescued. You can always make these labels yourself by printing on single sheet label paper from your nearby office supply store. If you have these stickers posted on your house and you evacuate your animals during an emergency or disaster, write on the sticker Animals Removed plus the date. After the disaster is over you will then have to replace the sticker.

One of the most critical components of your pet emergency preparedness plan is to determine how to safely and securely move your pet out of harm’s way to an emergency shelter.
Prevent your pets from getting hurt during an evacuation, here are some thought starters to transport them safely:

– Birds – use their own cage whenever possible. If it is too large to move or transport use a smaller secondary cage.
– Cats – use pet carrier or an EvaSak or similar
– Dogs –  use a pet carrier or a leash
– Fish – use their  own bowl or tank if it is small enough to move.  Remember to cover the top to keep the water and fish in.
– Pocket  Pets like HamstersGerbilsGuinea Pigs, or Mice – use their own cage, or a smaller pet carrier
– Rabbits –  use a transport cage (not a cardboard box or it can chew its way out)
– Reptiles – use their own cage or a smaller transport cage
– Turtles – use their own container or a smaller secondary carrier

Large Animal Evacuation
The best way to evacuate large animals, such as cows, goats, horses, pigs, or sheep is with a horse or stock trailer. If you are like many people out there without one of these specific trailers, then you must include finding alternative safe transportation for your large animals in you pet emergency preparedness plan.

Your pet rescue plan needs to include an emergency shelter or location that accepts pets and animals. Understand that most if not all human evacuation shelters do not allow pets or animals. Your emergency action plan must include locations unaffected by the disaster where your can temporarily keep your animals. The best pet emergency action plan will have more than one safe haven location as a backup in case you cannot get to you primary destination.

If you are caught unprepared without a pet rescue plan, DO NOT leave your pets behind assuming that you can come back for them later. In a declared evacuation area, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to return home to retrieve your pets until the disaster is cleared for a safe return. Your disaster plan should include someone who can reach and retrieve your pets in the event of a disaster in case you are not at home. Offer to provide the same services to your neighbors. If someone watches your animals while you are on vacation, talk with them about pet disaster plan to be used to evacuate and care for your animals in your absence.

Temporary pet housing options to consider in your pet emergency preparedness plan. Here are some locations to consider for housing your animals temporarily:

– animal rescue groups
– animal control
– humane society
– SPCA
– animal shelters
– boarding kennels
– pet dog and cat clubs
– dog parks
– pet day-care centers
– equestrian centers
– fairgrounds (for larger animals)
– grooming facilities
– pet friendly hotels
– veterinary clinics with boarding space
– nearby family members, friends, or co-workers.

How to Protect Your Pet in a Flood

Pet Disaster Plan: How to Protect Your Pet in a Flood

All too often when planning for our families in the case of a flood, we forget to have a plan for our pets. Unfortunately, if we don’t plan ahead for our pets, they may get left behind in case of a flood evacuation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when putting together your pet disaster plan.

Having a suitable carrier on hand is one of the most basic, yet most important, steps you can take for protecting your pet in case of a flood. Often, families are forced to leave their pets behind because they do not have a carrier to transport them in. A carrier can be picked up at almost any pet supply store, as well as large retailers like WalMart or Target. They are relatively affordable and an incredibly important part of any pet disaster plan.

In addition to a pet carrier, have a pet care kit ready if you think a flood evacuation may take place. Be sure to include a bowl, pet food and extra water, as well as any medications your pet may be dependent on. If necessary, have a leash and collar on hand as well. Keep in mind pets that may not normally run away could react differently under the stress and may need to be leashed.

If water rises quickly, keep in mind flood safety tips. Flood water that is shallow enough for an adult to walk in may carry away children and pets. It is not safe to drive a car through deep water. If your area floods, get to higher ground as quickly as possible and try to get in touch with a local rescue service. Depending on the area you live in, there may be a pet rescue service that can help keep your pet safe. Additionally, there are stickers you can put near the entrance of your home to inform rescue workers of how many and what types of pets you have. If for some reason you and your family are forced to leave your pets behind, something like this could help save their lives.

Since our pets can become such a special part of our families, having a pet disaster plan in place in case of a flood is important and can save your pet’s life. Always keep in mind the importance of keeping your family safe and complying with local authorities in any disaster situation.

Dog Spaying Tips

The Importance of Spaying & Neutering Your Dog

What is the importance of spaying and neutering your dog? According to the Humane Society, approximately three millions dogs or more are euthanized each year. Remanded to shelters because they have been abandoned or because their owners can no longer care for them, the over-population of dogs in animal shelters has reached major proportions.

While the aforementioned statistic is hard to imagine, it is nonetheless true. This is why animal advocates constantly remind the general population to have their dogs spayed or neutered. There are other reasons why this method is recommended.

Dogs have an innate desire to breed. It’s just a fact. More importantly, however, spaying and neutering can prevent cancer. In addition, neutered male dogs will less likely want to run away or engage in rough-housing with other male dogs. Male dogs are inherently territorial. If he isn’t neutered, then he will use his dominance over other dogs particularly when a female is involved.

Spaying and neutering your dog does not mean they will become lazy, gain weight, or have a personality change. All the procedure does is to prevent your dog from seeking out other dogs to mate with. According to the Humane Society, “…. in six short years, one female dog and her offspring can give birth to hundreds of puppies.”

Imagine if you will that there are millions of pet owners. Now imagine if each pet were not spayed or neutered and the offspring were thrown in garbage bags, left by unscrupulous owners to fend for themselves, or bred in puppy mills to make a quick buck. There have been countless incidents which bear out these facts.

Unless you are a breeder, there is no reason not to have your dog spayed or neutered. The result would reduce the number of homeless dogs lying in wait for someone to adopt them, reduce the number of dogs roaming the streets for scraps, and reduce the likelihood that dogs will attack pets.

Owning a dog comes with a responsibility to ensure the pet is happy, safe, and lives in a welcoming and caring environment. Conversely, a dog that is put to sleep due to over-population could have been someone’s life-long companion. This is why adoption is preferred.

Although puppies are the first to be adopted in shelters, it is often the case that adult dogs can only be kept for a certain amount of time due to the over-population of dogs in this country. Thus, they face a grim future.

In an effort to reduce the number of dogs, a spaying and neutering program has begun in some cities and has resulted in a 30%-60% decline in euthanasia.

While this is good news, it is up to all individuals across the nation to not only spay and neuter their pets, but adopt them as well. What other choice do we have?

Choosing a Dog Breed

Things to Look For When Deciding on a Dog Breed

There are certain things to look for when deciding on a dog breed. Let’s examine what those things are.

Choosing a breed that compliments you and your personality is one factor. If you are choosing a dog as a family pet, ensuring the dog gets along with children is another. Selecting a breed based on the type of group it falls into is another consideration.

For example, are you looking for a small dog, such as a Pekingese, Poodle, or Terrier? Or perhaps you’re looking for a Bulldog, Chow Chow, or Bichon Friz? No? Maybe a Beagle or Basset Hound is more to your liking.

The point is that a dog’s temperament does play a role in deciding what type of dog you choose. In addition, you may wish to ask yourself these questions before deciding.

  • Do you want a dog that is large in size?
  • Will the dog fit in with my lifestyle?
  • Would you prefer a short haired or long-haired canine?
  • What type of facial features are you looking for?
  • Do you want a dog that is feisty, dependent, or one with a playful personality?
  • Would you prefer a show dog?
  • Will your dog remain indoors or would you prefer a dog that resides outside?
  • Do you wish to have a guard dog?
  • How much time and attention can you devote to the dog?
  • Do you like a dog that listens and follows your commands?
  • Would you prefer a dog that is independent and can be left alone?
  • Is a mixed breed more to your liking?

Once you have answered these questions, another decision has to be made. Do you wish to adopt a dog from a shelter, or acquire a specific type of dog from a breeder?
If you choose the latter, there are certain steps you can take.

For example, let’s assume you choose a Bichon Friz. They are great with children, have a playful personality, are very loving, and can readily be found through a breeder online. The first step is to contact the person and determine if the dog is available. Some Bichon Friz are highly prized as show dogs. You can easily check online to trace their pedigree. This will give you a clear indication that there has been no cross-breeding and their lineage is intact.

Another way to acquire a dog is from a pet store. Be careful here, however, because most pet stores carry dogs that come from puppy mills and may not be purebreds. Some of these pet store owners are an unscrupulous lot who may not give you details as to the health of the dog either.

Before choosing a specific breed, locate the type of dog you would like and then spend some time with the dog. Bring the children along so that you can watch the interaction between the children and the dog. Find out as much information about the breed as you can. In this way, you can make an informed decision.

If you find a dog that totally fits your lifestyle either in a single household or family unit, then you will feel comfortable to either adopt or purchase the dog without having any future concerns.

Socialize Your Dog

Tips to Help Your Dog Get Along with Other Pets

Let’s assume you have a Bichon Friz at home and have decided to acquire another one as a companion.  Here are some tips to help your dog get along with other pets.

Before we get into the whys and wherefores, it is important to remember that any new member of the pet family will encounter a rigorous and sometimes jealous stance when a new pet arrives.  If you think about it, some children who are presented with a newborn baby tend to become upset because they have to compete for attention for the first time.

Dogs are very territorial.  Some even resent other pets being around their masters.  When a new pet is brought into the home, whether it’s a parakeet, cat, or turtle; the dog asserts his dominance and after awhile all is well.  However, when another dog is brought into the home – you may experience the following behavior:

Your dog not only asserts his dominance as the alpha male, but may fight with the new dog; eat his food; and generally play in a rough manner.  This is normal and should not be interfered with.  The new dog will have to play a subordinate role until he is fully accepted by the alpha male.

In order to keep things from getting out of hand, you might want to separate the dogs for a period of time.  Your pet will know there is another dog in the home by his scent.  Create an atmosphere that is conducive to them getting to know each other.

When they finally meet, try not to favor your pet over the new dog.  Treat them both equally.  It will take time for the new dog to acclimate to his new surroundings, and it will take your pet time to acclimate to the new arrival.  If necessary, keep the new pup in a kennel until they both become comfortable with each other.  The same holds true for cats as well.

Take your pet out for a walk.  Let him know that you are still there for him and you have not changed his routine simply because there is another dog in the house.  If he acts out against the new pup, call to him to come to another room.  Play and interact with him.  Use constant praise when he listens and offer a treat when he obeys your commands.

Put out dishes of food and water for each dog, always giving preference to your older pet.  Remember, he is the alpha male and deserves respect.  This is more for the young pup that for you.

Establish a routine that involves both pets.  Try not to favor one over the other but treat them equally.  If you give one dog a treat, ensure you give the other dog a treat.  If you buy dog toys, they may fight over them for awhile until the new pup gives up.  They’ll work it out.  Do not feel you have to intercede in everything they do.

The only time you should become involved is if they constantly fight.  Eventually, a bond will form and they will become the best of friends.  However, try not to leave them along for long periods of time, especially in the beginning.

No matter what other pets you may introduce to your dog, remember that it will take time, patience, love, attention, and a lot of aspirin – (for you, not the dogs!)

Discount Pet Medications Safety

Are Discount Pet Medications Safe?

Let’s assume your pet contracts tapeworm or any one of a host of illnesses that needs to be treated.  Should you check online to find the appropriate medication?  If you find a specific type of medication that seems a bit costly, do you look further to find a cheaper brand?  Are discount pet medications safe?

Due to the high cost of prescription drugs for humans, we are sometimes forced to purchase generic drugs to save money.  Does this mean the drug is not as effective?  Does it mean that it is less safe?  With any drug, there may be side effects, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective.   Moreover, there are always safety factors to consider when taking a drug for the first time.  Unfortunately for most of us, it boils down to trial and error.

While there may also be cost considerations when purchasing medications for pets, do we use the same methodology in determining the effects and safety of discount medications?  Certainly; and just as we consult with a doctor regarding our own health, we consult with a vet to ensure that the medications utilized are safe and effective at the same time.

The question as to whether or not discount pet medications are safe is a valid one.  If your pet becomes ill, the vet will prescribe appropriate medication.  If the medication is too expensive, you have an opportunity to ask if there is a less expensive medication available that is just as effective and safe.  It should be a medication that has very few side effects when administered over a long term.

So what’s the point?  Sometimes in our endeavor to help our pets when they are sick, we may think that by researching the various medications online and finding one that is not only appropriate but inexpensive; that we are saving money in vet bills and the more expensive medications the vet may prescribe.

The problem is that every pet is different; that medications prescribed by a vet depend on age, breed, and weight.  Can we honestly make the same judgment on what type of medication is best for our pet based on price?  Do we want to take the chance that the medication chosen is the correct one?

If we assume that discount pet medications are safe, then it would be perfectly fine to choose among the many online companies who offer these medications.  The question is whether or not we, as pet owners, are qualified to make such a diagnosis and administer the medication to our beloved pets.  If, on the other hand, a vet recommends a discounted medication; then it is appropriate to do so.

Just as there are unscrupulous sellers throughout the world who sell prescription medications online that are tainted or consist of placebos, so too, shopping for discount pet medications without the benefit of the expertise of a vet can be a regretful experience.

Talk to a qualified vet to determine what type of illness has befallen your pet and then discuss the medication options.  Discount pet medications may be safe, but they may not be practical.

Animal Poison Control Common Calls

The most common reasons for Calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

As a piece of continuing efforts to support animals in need, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center plays a critical part in the ASPCA’s round-the-clock lifesaving efforts to promote pet health. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the most unique facility of its sort, dispensing emergency lifesaving advice to pet parents and veterinarians from throughout North America, and across the globe. Currently the support includes 28 veterinarians, a full many board-certified in toxicology, aided by dozens of certified veterinary technicians and assistants, together with students from the nearby College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, where the call center began not quite 30 years ago.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has a immense quantity of knowledge on a multitude of varying toxins.  They counsel people who promote pet health and participate in pet first-aid classes to keep the animal poison control number (888) 426-4435, your vet’s phone number, and the local 24 hour emergency animal clinic information nearby.

Because the animal poison control service is not funded by state or federal grants, as human poison control centers are, the ASPCA must charge a $55 payment to counterbalance costs in most cases. While it may appear like a lot of money, it may be the phone call that saves your pet’s life and keeps your pet healthy. The center provides you a considerable amount of follow-up and follow-through with both you and your vet.

Here is a list of the common reasons for calls to the animal poison control center.

  1. Pills and other people medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies, and dietary supplements
  2. Insecticides useful for exterminating fleas, ticks, and other insects
  3. Mouse and rat poisons
  4. Pet medicines, such as heartworm preventatives, arthritis relievers, and nutritional supplements.
  5. Household cleaners, such as bleaches, detergents, and disinfectants
  6. Herbicides.
  7. Plants, such as lilies, rhododendron, azalea, sago palm, kalanchoe, and schefflera
  8. Chocolate – foods like chocolate can be toxic to animals, especially small pets.
  9. Home improvement products, including  paint, solvents, and glues.
  10. Lawn and Garden fertilizers
  11. Anti-Freeze – As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a pet cat; one to two tablespoons can kill a 10-pound dog.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center maintains updated files exceeding one million individual cases and an constantly expanding catalog of more than 60,000 potential toxins, ranging from pills and pesticides to household cleaners and non-pet friendly plants. There noteworthy database allows the ASPCA to supply effective knowledge when time is critical to save your pet’s life.

Keep the phone number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center-(888) 426-4435 along with that of your local vet or clinic in a easy to find location. For more details and additional pet health tips regarding poison prevention, go to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center online at www.aspca.org

Healthy Pet Foods For Senior Pets

Healthy Pet Food: The Benefits for Senior Dogs & Cats

How beneficial is natural pet food for your elderly dog or cat? We stock a wide variety of organic cat food, natural organic dog food, holistic pet food, healthy treats, vitamin supplements and accessories to help put the natural pep back into their steps.

In fact, natural pet food is highly recommended for your pet to help him or her live a longer  life. Why? Because healthy pet food is what your pet needs to feel his or her best during the senior years.

Natural pet food can be organic pet food. It can be holistic pet food. Or it can be both organic and holistic.

Natural Food is the right prescription.
Healthy pet food, supplements and treats, as well as natural pet food are recommended because our senior pets can develop very human-like symptoms. We both get older. We both get aches and pains. So we both have some trouble getting around as the years go by.

Some of the products we recommend include:

•    Senior natural pet food is healthier and lower in fat than regular pet food, with low sodium, increased fiber, plus more vitamins and supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy joints and cartilage.

•    Holistic foods contain proteins, vitamins, grains and minerals to provide your pet with skin and coat excellence, stronger bones, and an antioxidant system to promote a healthy immune system.

•    Herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements with natural compounds and multi-vitamins/mineral supplements provide antioxidants to maintain your pet’s physical well-being.

•    Organic pet treats like Hip Chips™ Jerky Treats for dogs and chicken-liver flavored Hip Chips for cats contain Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sultate to help combat arthritis joint pain.

•    Medications may help your pet walk through their pain. These can include steroids, aspirin and non-specific anti-inflammatory drugs.

•    Pet stairs, a pet step, a dog cart or pet wheelchairs to help your pet who has lost some mobility.

Pet Obesity and Pet Health

Obesity has not only become a pandemic among humans, but pets as well.  Weight gain can be attributed to over-eating, lack of exercise, genetics, and health conditions.  Obesity in pets is more than a problem, it is becoming a lifestyle.  To combat the effects of obesity in pets, here are some suggestions.

Pets that are obese can develop a myriad of problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and skin conditions.  To determine the appropriate weight for your pet, visit your vet.  He can ascertain the ideal weight for your pet based on breed, bone structure, and type of body.

Once you have these facts, you can then begin a regimen of diet and exercise.  A diet consisting of a low fat and high fiber is the first step.   Refraining from giving your pet treats is another way to reduce weight.  Experts also advise that at dinner time, do not allow your pet in the dining area as he will inevitably want some of the scraps.

Do not leave any food around the kitchen or living room area.  Oftentimes when we are watching TV, we tend to have a snack or two.  Try to refrain from offering this type of temptation to your pet.

As with humans, pets can also become sedentary.  The more weight they gain, the harder it is for them to adjust to a healthier lifestyle.

In addition, there are certain breeds that are more vulnerable to weight gain than others.
For example, a beagle is first and foremost a hunting dog.  Most owners keep their beagles outdoors.  They exercise the beagles daily and are usually taken to open fields on the weekend so they can run and do that which is natural for them.

Conversely, there are beagle owners who keep these dogs indoors.  While they may take them for daily walks, the beagle grows accustomed to the sedentary lifestyle.  While beagles can range in size from 13 inches to 16 inches, the more they gain weight, the more they become sluggish and lethargic and lose the energetic flair they are most noted for.  The lifestyle they lead under these conditions is contrary to their nature.

Let’s face it; you put food in front of any pet, especially a dog, and they can swallow the contents of an entire bowl in seconds.  Even then, they are not fully sated.  Pets that are especially pampered and not given a daily routine can become obese.  One day they are running around and the next day they can hardly walk.

Prevention is the first step in assuring your pet maintains a healthy lifestyle.  They need to burn calories, and exercise can achieve that.  If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, but are met with folds of skin; it’s time to take put your pet on a diet.

In addition to daily walks, take your pet to the park on weekends or arrange a play date with other pets in the neighborhood.  The more active they are, the less likely they will develop health problems.  Feed your pet the same time every day and refrain from leaving out a bowl of food for them, however, do leave out the dish of water.  This is necessary for hydration and can alleviate their pangs of hunger.

Pets rely on us for everything.  Too much food, and the instant gratification it offers, would be the ultimate disservice to them.