Facts & Tips
Having a dog as a pet is not just about getting love and affection, it is also about giving!
Dogs need constant care and attention; neglect can be disastrous. A dog is one of the only animals on the planet who will do just about anything for its owner. But like humans, dogs too tend to sulk and get depressed if they feel neglected or left out. Before getting a dog as a pet it is important to be prepared for the responsibility. A dog should never be given as a gift, especially if the receiver is not fond of pets. So my advice is, please find out how a person feels about having a pet before surprising them with one. Its not fair to the animal or the person, if neither of them is prepared for the responsibility ahead. Soon after bringing a new puppy home it is important to introduce it to your local vet. Certain vaccinations and de-worming medication needs to be given to ensure good health. Dogs also need to be trained, either by a professional or by the owner. Most dogs are intelligent enough to learn tricks that can prove helpful around the house. As many people already know, certain dog breeds are also used for security and companionship. So choose your breed depending on what you would like it to do and the kind of space and amenities available for its upbringing. Also note, sometimes stray dogs make better pets than their pedigree counter-parts, so dont shy away from adopting one.
Cats are affectionate, entertaining and extremely independent animal, though, like any other pet, they too need proper care. Since cats do not need to be walked everyday they can easily live in-doors and make ideal pets for people living in the city. They also make good pets for children and the elderly.
Before getting yourself a cat please check whether you or anyone else in your home is allergic because cat hair is known to aggravate asthma. But before you panic, please note that there are certain drugs available that can help overcome this minor hurdle.
Like any other pet, a cat or kitten needs to be introduced to your local vet as early as possible to check for vaccinations etc. Cats also need to be trained but please do not expect them to bring you the newspaper. They tend to be very inquisitive about the kitchen tops due to their natural instinct to be on an elevated surface. This behavior, if not appreciated, needs to be discouraged from the beginning and an alternative high-perch should be arranged. Cats are disciplined animals; hence they expect their food on time and their litter tray and sleeping area to be cleaned regularly. Also note, a vegetarian diet would not be appropriate for you cat. There are a number of wet and dry cat food brands available in the market, choose whichever your pet enjoys most.
Birds have been popular as pets for several thousand years. Today, there are a number of different species available in many homes and farms. But before adopting a rare bird, please make sure it is not illegal or endangered as keeping such a bird could get you into trouble.
Of all the bird species the ones that are most popular as pets are finches, parrots and budgerigars. They are easy to care for in terms of food and housing. Apart from parrots, most other birds do not become tame and need to be caged appropriately. A large cage is always preferred, although smaller versions can also serve as effective homes as long as there is space to fly. Birds primarily feed on seeds, fruit, greens and small invertebrates, all of which are available at pet stores. Always ensure that top quality feed is given to your birds and cages etc. are kept clean. This will help avoid any illness.
Birds also need to be regularly checked for disease and lice. If you notice any change in behavior, be sure to inform your vet. Always be careful when handling a sick bird as the infection may get transferred to humans. It is advisable to wear gloves when attending to them.
During cooler months, additional heating and light may be required by some species of birds. Nesting birds need to be left alone, else they neglect their eggs
Help your Cat and Dog become friends
In most households where there are multiple pets, the dogs and cats get along just fine. So whats the trick? The following tips can help your pets live harmoniously together.
First, remember that obedience training is the key to getting your dog or puppy to comply with any rule. In this case, its no cat chasing. Work with your dog on simple obedience training commands such as sit, stay, and down on a regular basis. While doing this with your dog, make sure the cat and dog are isolated from each other, allowing your cat to wander around the house. Cats love to roam and this will make her scent scattered in your home. After doing this, lock your cat in one room and let your dog wander around the house sniffing for the cats scent. This will make your dog acquainted to your cats smell and train the dog that the cat is part of the household.
Once youve done this for about a week, its time for them to see each other physically. This part requires that you have someone to help you. Have someone who can hold your cat safely and that knows how to react quickly and get your cat to safety if the dog is showing aggressiveness. Your part is to be able to restrain your dog and making sure that if he starts lunging for your cat, youll be there to stop him.
Dogs usually start barking whenever they see some other animals in their territory, hoping to scare them away. They wont really lunge at something immediately. Once he starts barking, this is where the obedience part starts to come in. Say no and make him realize that the cat is also a pet.
If your dog starts to calm down when in the presence of the cat, then its the time to let him sniff the cat. Once your dog starts to decide not to bark at your cat you know that youve done the introduction part successfully.
The final step is making sure that both pets have the time to coexist. This part is usually the cats fault. Cats have the tendency to be aloof and stay away from the dog and other people. Its not because they are afraid of the dog but more because its their nature to be alone. Be sure that your dog sees your cat as often as possible. If you keep your cat in your bedroom and he only comes out occasionally, then when your dog sees him, hes likely to react excitedly, Oh my goodness, A Cat! If they see one another all the time, your dog is more likely to think, Ho hum, there goes the cat again. You can allot some time nightly where you can do some activities with both your cat and dog. This will allow them to play with each other and youll have the confidence that they wont start fighting when theyre unsupervised. With enough practice, constant coexistence, and the use of obedience, your cat and dog can soon get along nicely, and may even begin to play or snuggle together!
First AID Tips
If your pet is behaving strangely, not eating, unusually lethargic or has trouble moving and breathing please call your vet immediately. These tips can help in case of an emergency when your vet is not available. But please be aware that they are by no means a permanent solution. You vet will always be able to give you better advice since they know your pets medical history better.
Open wounds and cuts
Any kind of open wound should be first washed and disinfected using a disinfectant like Savlon or Dettol (in India) or any similar product. In case of bleeding, apply ice to the area to help control the bleeding, dry the area, apply an antibiotic ointment like Soframycin or Betadine and tie it with a bandage. If a disinfectant is not available, wash the wound with clean water. If the wound continues bleeding and the animal seems to be in excessive pain, take it to a vet immediately.
Dog bites or bites from other animals
In case of a bite wound, be careful when approaching any animal. They may not realize your good intentions and may react as if being attacked again. Use a sheet or muzzle, if required, to hold the animal in place before starting treatment. Wash the wound thoroughly with warm water, clean the area and tightly bandage the open wound to prevent excess bleeding. Once your animal is slightly calmer, rush it to your nearest vet for further medication. Bite wounds usually become infected, so it is very important to have a vet evaulate any bite wound because even the most innocent bite wound has potential to become seriously infected.
If an animal is choking, it will be in severe distress, salivate, paw at the mouth and have difficulty breathing. Carefully, try to open the animals mouth and peek in to check what is obstructing their throat. It could be a number of things like, toys, bones, or other household objects. Depending on the object and your access to it, try to reach into the animals throat with your fingers, forceps or long nosed pliers and pull out the object. If the object is a chicken bone, please DO NOT try to remove it via this method as it may tear the walls of the gullet causing internal bleeding and possible death. You may also use quick but gentle chest compression in an attempt to force air from the lungs to dislodge an object. By placing your hands on opposite sides of the chest and cautiously but quickly compressing the chest to mimic a cough you may be able to expel an object lodged at the larynx. Before doing any of this, CALL YOUR VET
If the animal is not breathing and the airway and mouth are free of objects, lay it down on its right side. Check for a heartbeat by listening to the chest where the elbow touches the ribs. If there is no heartbeat, you can start chest compressions with the flat of your hand as well. To breathe for the animal extend the neck so that there is a straight airway, close its mouth; place your mouth around its muzzle and blow air into the nose until the chest expands. Be sure to keep the neck out straight, not flexed. You should be able to see the chest expand with each breath… don’t over-do forcing air into the lungs. This should be performed every 5 seconds. If chest compressions are required to stimulate heart contractions, place one hand on each side of the chest in the area of the heart about 5 to 7 ribs back from the base of the neck. Compress every second and stop occasionally to force air into the lungs. Compressions with the thumb and forefinger of one hand may be all that is needed for cardiac stimulation in very small dogs or in cats.
In case of vomiting, check the vomit to make sure there is no blood present. If blood is present, call your vet before giving any medication. If the vomit is normal and the animal seems unfazed and active as usual, keep an eye on it to make sure there is no change in behavior, avoid any giving it any food for 12-24 hours but give it water in small portions. Beware that small breeds can suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if food is unavailable for longer than 18 to 24 hours. After the vomiting has ceased for 4 hours, you may give them something light like apple juice, curd water or small amounts of water for 12 hours. If vomiting has not resumed, slowly increase the amount of water and food again over the next 24 hours. If the animal is not interested in food, vomits repeatedly, or seems cramped or in pain, call your vet.
Diarrhea is the frequent and repetitive passage of loose, watery stool. Bloody diarrhea with severe straining may be an emergency, especially for cats and small breeds of dogs. Diarrhea along with vomiting can be a sign of serious intestinal obstruction that may even need surgery. Weakness, pain, vomiting, or agitation is serious signs that the pet needs medical attention. A pet with diarrhea but few other signs of distress may sometimes be treated at home but it is best to call your veterinarian regarding the situation.
How to Handle early years
House training can be one of the most daunting processes in pet care but a little extra effort in the beginning can be extremely helpful in the long run. Pups are like babies who need to relieve themselves frequently; take your pup to his/her spot after every meal, a game or a sleep, or when he/she moves towards the door. Be observant; you will soon learn when your pup “feels the need” – certain actions, certain times of day etc. Take it outside and be there to praise it after it performs. Avoid getting annoyed over mistakes, and NEVER rub his/her nose in it.
Teach your dog to empty his bladder or bowel on command by gently repeating key words like “do” or “hurry up”. When he does so naturally, praise him. He will soon associate the word with the action – once this happens you can make sure he uses his spot before you go out or take him on a long drive or flight.
Always carry a poop scoop or plastic bag just in case, and USE IT! Local bylaws are in effect in most places and they apply to YOU and YOUR DOG. Whether bylaws are there or not, its the responsible thing to do.
Elementary obedience starts on the day you bring your pup home. ALWAYS USE FUN NOT FORCE, and always reward you pet with treats or just love, after basic training. Your dog needs to know his name and commands like, “no”, “come”, and “sit” and later “down”, “stay”, and “heel”. A few place words can be useful too – “in the car”, “on your bed”. To stop him getting confused, keep your commands simple and make sure everyone in the family uses the same words in the same way. Keep training sessions short, teach one thing at a time and use plenty of rewards – toys, tidbits or praise. If you don’t know how, hire a dog trainer who will teach both of you.
Never allow your pet to become a nuisance. Not everyone loves dogs – some could regard your pet as an “affliction” not with “affection”! You know he’s being friendly, but other people may be afraid of his “bouncing”. You go out in your dog walking clothes, but others may not want footprints on their best jacket. If in doubt, keep him on a lead.
Make sure your dog has a collar with an ID disc attached. Another important ID gadget is a Microchip that is inserted in the top layer of the dogs skin. This is a painless process and is extremely helpful if your dog is lost.
Road safety with a dog is essential. Teach yourself (yet again), your children and your dog basic road safety. Your dog should automatically stop whenever he reaches a turning or crossing and not move on until you give permission.
Form habits that will last a lifetime by getting him used to being handled and brushed while he is still young. Grooming should always include a check of ears, eyes, teeth, gums, claws and skin as well as fur. You may also wish to clean his teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Know his body and what is normal for him. Look for signs of injuries or infections and for foreign bodies (moving or otherwise!) As well as keeping you aware of potential problems, this helps your dog to be relaxed and unafraid during veterinary examinations.
Keep your dog fit not fat! A growing puppy needs plenty of food but once he is adult he no longer needs the calories that were being used for growth and he may need to eat less. Neutering may also alter his metabolism and call for a further reduction of food. Remember that the amounts on the dog food packet are just a guide – experiment a little with the amount until you find what suits your dog.
Be careful about what your dog eats and be just as watchful as to what comes out the other end. Check that your dog does not have an upset stomach due to the family’s left-over food or a “bug” needing veterinary treatment.
Take your puppy to the vet for a check up and to arrange de-worming and vaccination programmes as soon as possible after bringing him home. Follow this up by remembering his yearly booster injections and – most important – remember to de-worm him at least twice a year.
Check with the vet about canine “Family planning” to avoid adding to the already large number of unwanted puppies
The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership
While owning a pet can be a very rewarding experience, there is also a downside one must consider. This will protect the pet and owner from any nasty surprises.
The point isn’t that pets are horrible hassles; it’s that pets need to be chosen, purchased, and handled with care. The millions of animals that are abandoned and euthanized every year in shelters are testament to the fact that whimsical or badly motivated pet purchases can cause great suffering for the animals, the families, or both. That means that no matter how insistently your child begs for a certain pet, it’s you who has to decide if the pet is truly right for your particular family. If, after reading this, you still think you can handle the responsibility, then, go for it!
Pets will always make you feel loved and wanted. In fact they are great for children and adults with personality issues and are known to help people cope with depression, blood pressure and anxiety
Caring for animals can teach you many things, like gentleness, responsibility, empathy, nurturing, and, in the best of cases, interest in and compassion for all living creatures
Pets can be wonderful playmates and confidantes for children. They are a great source of entertainment and encourage playfulness and fun among all members of the family
Most pets have a 6th sense and can warn people of oncoming danger, be it medical problems with a family member or natural disasters or even burglar warnings.
Most pets are soft and cuddly. They tend to be a great help when youre feeling low. Nothing compares to the unconditional love and affection your pet can give you
It is not that difficult to make your dog or cat happy, all you have to do is play with it or pet it. However, humans are harder to please and generally we are not that quick to forgive and forget. Pets, on the other hand, do not pass judgments and if you care for them, they repay you with unconditional love
Pets tend to be a great conversation starter, as it is something numerous people have in common with one another. Many people meet and click while taking their dogs for a walk
Having more than one pet is even more fun
Pets are like another member of the family and hence demand attention and also a considerable amount of your time, energy, and money. They need regular grooming, veterinary visits, training etc., which can get expensive and tiresome
Most pets create some kind of mess, whether by soiling carpets, scratching furniture, or creating dust bunnies during shedding season
If left alone for long periods, pets can get depressed and bored. This can lead to illnesses and destructive behavior like messing on the bed, destroying valuables etc
Some people are scared of animals and do not share the same love and enthusiasm you might have towards them
These soft and cuddly pets also shed at least twice a year, if not all year round. Be prepared to have fur all over your clothes, bed, furniture etc. (though there are products that can help you fight this problem)
Pets also carry some kind of infection and hence need to be vaccinated, cleaned and groomed regularly
In case of traveling to places where you cannot take your pet, arrangements need to be made for its daily food, water and exercise requirements
And more responsibility. Also consider that the new-comer might not get along with the old one especially if the first one is not used to company.
How to bathe a Cat
Most cats absolutely hate water, so why would someone want to bathe their cat? Cats can get just as dirty or flea infested as dogs and although most cats are excellent at grooming themselves, there are times when there is just no other option besides giving your cat a bath. As long as you do not bathe your cat more frequently than once a month, you will not damage his hair or skin.
Before you begin bathing your cat, you will need to gather a few supplies. At the minimum, you will need two absorbent towels, a cat safe shampoo, a cat safe conditioner, a sponge, and a sprayer attachment for your sink or bath. If you don’t have a sprayer attachment, you should have a jug that you can use to scoop clean water over your cat’s body. Ideally, you should also have a non-slip mat to help your cat feel more secure.
Place your non-slip mat in the bottom of the sink or bath. Add two to three inches of warm water and gently place your cat in the bath. Talk to him quietly and reassure him. He will most likely settle down within a few seconds. Once he is calm, begin to wet him down. If the sprayer attachment scares him, you may have to pour water over him using a jug. Do not pour water on his head. You will clean his face later.
Once your cat is wet, squeeze out a palm sized dollop of shampoo and thoroughly massage the shampoo into his coat. If you use slow, calming motions, he may even actually relax and enjoy this part of the bath. You could even use a rubber curry brush to gently brush out loose fur. Doing this while shampooing helps spread the soap evenly and easily.
After the shampoo is sufficiently lathered, it’s time to rinse your cat off. Be sure you get the entire shampoo residue out, as it can really irritate his skin if it isn’t removed.
Now, work a palm sized dollop of conditioner into your cat’s coat and then rinse it out. This step is actually optional if the cat has short hair. However, conditioner will not hurt a short haired cat, so, if he is not too upset, you may still want to use it.
Once your cat’s body is clean, dampen your sponge and use it to carefully wipe down his face. Pay close attention to the area under his eyes.
Finally, wrap your cat in one of the towels and blot most of the water from his body. Replace the wet towel with your other dry towel and continue to blot his coat dry. After the second towel is damp, your cat should be dry enough to finish the job himself. If you have a longhaired cat, you may want to see if he will tolerate a hair dryer on the lowest setting. However, be sure to keep the dryer moving constantly so you do not burn his skin.
- Always do a little homework before choosing a pet. Although cute, they are also a huge responsibility.
- Choosing the right pet is important. Check traits like temperament, size when fully grown and medical history of the breed.
- A good pedigree can cost you a bomb.
- Think of why you want to keep a pet. If the answer satisfies you, then go for it.
- If you cannot provide your pets with essential care and the environment they need, then dont bring them home.
- Caring for a pet can be costly and time consuming. Make sure you are ready for it.
- Pets do not know the concept of toilets, they need to be trained.
- Toilet training your pet can be frustrating, only persistence pays off.
- Keeping a pedigree is good but mix-breeds or strays can be just as loving and fun.
- Decide between a male and female. Males can be harder to train but respond well when trained. Females tend to be more loving towards their human family but they also come into season twice a year, which can be hard to manage. But every animal, like humans, is different in terms of personality and there are no hard and fast rules.
- Be sure to create the right environment for you pet.
- Take your pet to the vet as soon as you bring it home to check for any vaccinations it may need.
- Also, introducing your pet to the vet can make life easier when you really need it.
- Pets need de-worming. Check with your vet for options and timing.
- Nutrition and feeding is an important part of caring for your pet. Make sure you are feeding them on time and the amount recommended.
- Over-feeding can be just as harmful as starving your pet.
- There is a huge range of pet food available in the market. Choose the brand that suits your pet.
- Do not keep changing the type of food you give your pet. For e.g. if you and your pet are happy with one brand then stick to it.
- Home food is also a good option but check for poisonous foods. Some food that is good for humans can be fatal for pets.
- Do not feed your pet chicken bones or chocolate. Ever.
- Grooming your pet is good for keeping them healthy and infection-free, and also a great way to bond.
- Training is an essential part of pet keeping. Check for the best options of trainers
How to avoid poisoning due to neglect
Be aware of plants you have in your home and yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, sago palm, or yew plant material by an animal can be fatal. Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, and some other lily species can cause kidney failure in cats.
Never allow your pets to have access to the areas in which cleaning agents are being used or stored. Cleaning agents have a variety of properties; some may only cause mild stomach upset, but others can cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach.
When using rat poison, cockroach medicine etc, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your pet. Some poisons contain sweet smelling ingredients that can attract your pets and prove fatal if consumed.
Never give your pet medication without consulting your vet. Many medications that are safe for humans can be deadly for animals.
Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of your pet’s reach, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins and diet pills are all examples of human medications that can be lethal to animals, even in small doses.
Many common household items can be hazardous to pets. Mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee, homemade play dough, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent, batteries, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, and loose coins could be dangerous for your pet.
Human food and seemingly innocent items that can be dangerous for you pet include, chocolate (even if they love it), grapes, onion, garlic, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, potato peelings, green looking potatoes, cigarettes, tobacco, cigars, broccoli and raisins.
Automotive products such as gasoline, oil and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat weighing seven pounds.
Before buying a flea product, make sure it is safe with regard to the age and size of your pet. Ask your vet for a recommendation.
Read all of the information on the label before using a product on your pet or in your home. Always follow the directions.
If a product is for use only on dogs, it should never be used on cats and vice versa.
Make sure your pets do not enter areas in which insect repellant or house sprays have been used for the period of time indicated on the label. Birds are more sensitive to inhalants. Always check with your veterinarian before using any spray product in your home if you own pet birds or fish.
Make sure your pets do not go on lawns or in gardens treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides until they have dried completely. Always store such products in areas that are inaccessible to your pets.
If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, ask the manufacturer and/or your veterinarian for instructions.