Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Treat Pets as Gifts

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Are you considering giving a pet as a gift this holiday season? Well, think again. Your so-called act of kindness may not turn out to be very kind for the animal. Here are a few reasons why animals shouldn’t be treated as gifts.

They’re Likely to End up in a Shelter
Statistically speaking, a lot of cats and dogs that are given as gifts tend to end up in shelters. You see, taking care and raising a pet isn’t child’s play. In fact, it’s as hard as raising an actual child. Only this time, the “child” cannot communicate with you, making it much harder.

So, the person receiving the pet as a gift might be excited, but if they don’t truly understand the value of a pet, then it’s the animal that’s going to get hurt.

More importantly, as the one giving the gift, you need to be more aware of the fact that you’re handing over a living, breathing, sentient creature over to someone as if it were a toy. Don’t make that mistake.

Possible Cruelty
Giving pets as gifts to children can look adorable when you shoot the whole thing and put up the video on social media. But things aren’t that perfect in the real world. In fact, not all children like or know how to handle pets.

The charm eventually wears off and children can lose interest. What’s worse is that they can, knowingly or unknowingly, be cruel to the pet. There are plenty of cases where children have tormented and caused physical harm.

In some cases, it might just boil down to indifference, which leads to the animal being left in the shelter or just outright abandoned.

There’s Rarely a Happy Ending
Animal shelters already face a hard time trying to accommodate the many abandoned animals out there. If you’re wondering where most of those animals come from, take a wild guess? If you guessed “former pets”, you’d be a 100% right.

Of course, the reasons for abandonment can vary. However, pets that turned out to be unwanted gifts make up a fair portion of that group.

Once again, animals are not novelty items. These are beings that are capable of experiencing emotional distress just like humans, especially when they are abandoned. So, be kind and think twice or even thrice about giving a pet as a gift.

Having said that, it may not always be a wrong idea. If the gift is to your own spouse, partner, children and more importantly, if it’s something that has been discussed and agreed upon, a pet as a gift might not be a bad idea.

But, to be on the safer and kinder side, just avoid the whole “pets as gifts” concept.

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Do Cats Need Attention?

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At first glance, it may seem that cats have no need for attention. This is not at all accurate. The kitties do not belong to those animal species which you only have to feed to keep them healthy. They actually require more attention than comparable mammals like mice, rabbits, and hamsters. As a cat owner, you must do more than filling up its food and water bowls. Cats require stimulation, like exercise and a chance to refresh their hunting instincts every day. In short, cats need to socialize.

Do not be misled if your cat is not compatible with your other pets. Sometimes, a cat may not gel with other cats too. This does not mean your cat dislikes the company. Since each cat is unique, it depends on a specific cat as whether it craves for attention or a slight pat on the head will do.

Indoor cats

You will not be surprised to listen that indoor cats need more attention than those felines who roam around everywhere. This is as outdoor cats automatically get more attention than indoor ones. The attention can come from neighbors or other humans who love cats. Your outdoor cat may also get its attention from other cats. Your indoor cat, in contrast, can only get attention from you. It is your responsibility to give it maximum attention.

If you are not present at home, then things could get quite lonely for your indoor cat. If you travel a lot, get a second cat for companionship. If you do not want to spend more on kitty maintenance, then be prepared to pay more attention to your cat.

Need for attention

Before you jump in to give your cat attention, try to comprehend whether your kitty needs your love at that time or not. The meaning of cat behavior depends on the context. To give an example, your cat will purr when it is happy and it will purr when it is injured or anxious as well. It is possible to understand whether your cat seeks attention if you carefully follow its behavior.

A number of reasons exist when it comes to your cat seeking attention. The feline may feel sick and trying to tell you it is not well. It will meow constantly if it is hungry and it wants you to give it food. The list of other reasons includes of it being bored and you are the only entertainment source available. It may also be possible that your kitty has excess energy and wants to play with you. Another reason is that your cat could simply be an attention seeker. If you feel tired at the end of the day, consider investing in a few cat toys.

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Curious Facts About Cats’ Legs

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The paw of your cat is not like your feet. Yes, in some ways they are similar. Like your feet, the paws of your cat helps it to stand. The difference between you and your cat in terms of this appendage is that the paws of your cat are engineered for predatory functions. The proportion of cat’s legs is much larger than humans. If human legs were built as our kitties’ the feet would be as long as the shins. Cat paws are also much cuter to look at.

Digitrade

Do understand that your cat, like all other cats, walk on its tiptoe. The feline is a digitigrade walker. It means your car does not walk on the balls and heels as you do. It walks on the feet balls and on fingertips. Since its paws are small, and her pads soft, your cat can move soundlessly on any terrain. The paw pads are both tender and tough. The cat’s skin pads are adequately robust to provide protection from punctures when it walks on hard terrain. The problem is that the pads are no protection against the extreme temperatures. The paws are made for hunting and come with touch receptors which permit it to evaluate location, liveliness, and texture of prey. Acute sensitivity present in paw pads mean it can swiftly detect how hot the surface or how cold it is. Cat claws are not like fingernails. The claw actually grows out of bones.

Oil secretion and sweat

The cat paws contain glands between the paw pads. These secrete oil. The latter has a scent which can be detected only by felines. The scent gets deposited when the cat scratches any surface like a tree or a couch or a scratching post, a few tiny drops of her scent gets deposited. This is the cat equivalent of a human scratching a name on furniture like “Bill was here!”. Do remember that cats sweat via their paws. This is more pronounced if your cat is nervous. The sweat becomes so much that marks are made on the surface. The function of the sweat glands is to regulate the body temperature of the cat and keep it balanced. These glands sweat maximum when the cat becomes extremely nervous.

Paw pads come in a number of colors. The pigment of the cat pad is the same as its skin. Black pads are observed in black cats. Graying pads are seen in gray cats and orange pads are to be found in the orange case. The cat pads could take any color when it comes to multicolored cats. Many cat owners have found to their amusement that their multi-colored cat has different colored pads on each of the four paws.

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Caring For A Chihuahua: Basic Tips

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If there’s one breed that can be described as “fragile”, “microscopic” or “dainty”, it’s the chihuahua. Don’t get us wrong, these feisty little munchkins should not be underestimated. They’re known to have quite the temper and at times, even a nasty attitude.

However, like all dogs, they do have needs that are specific to their breed. So, if you’re planning on getting a chihuahua, here are a few basic care tips that you should be aware of.

Grooming
Now, chihuahua’s come with two types of coats. Some have the long coat while others have the short coat. The latter is smooth and shiny while the former is curly and soft. The short coat requires some brushing every now and then. The long coat, on the other hand, needs to be brushed more often – around thrice a week. This is done to remove all the loose hair.

Similarly, chihuahuas need to have their ears cleaned regularly. Due to the larger size, their ears tend to accumulate more debris and foreign bodies. The nails need to be trimmed quite often too because chihuahua’s have fast growing nails.

Baths don’t have to be regular. Chihuahuas tend to stay clean if they’re indoors all the time.

Lastly, make sure your brush your little friend’s teeth to avoid dental issues.

Health
Chihuahuas can live up to the age of 18. They need very little exercise. In fact, they don’t need to step out at all for exercise. These are extremely small dogs and moving around the house is enough activity for them. To make things a little more intense and enjoyable, you can throw in a toy or two. You can also take them out for walks if you feel its necessary.

Now, chihuahuas are susceptible to certain health conditions more than others. This includes patellar luxation, hydrocephalus, keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, and hypoglycemia. They’re also prone to Molera, which is a condition characterized by a hole in the skull.

So, to keep your little chihuahua hale and hearty, make sure you carry out regular visits to the vet and are updated on vaccinations.

As for dietary needs, talk to your vet for a clearer idea.

No Collar Leashes!
As stated in the introduction, chihuahuas look fragile and the truth is, they are. This is exactly why collar leashes need to be avoided for this particular breed. Collar leashes can lead to a collapsed trachea, which can cause breathlessness and severe discomfort.

You see, collar leashes can end up creating focused pressure on the windpipe when tightened, which is what happens when the dog pounces or pulls on the leash. The focused and concentrated pressure can end up causing the trachea to collapse.

However, a body harness distributes the pressure across the chest, back, and shoulders. This is a much safer and more convenient option.

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Can Dogs Eat Fish?

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You may have noticed your dog looking longingly at the fish you eat. Since fish makes an excellent protein source, you may wonder whether you will offer it fish. The answer is yes, dogs can eat fish and it is perfectly okay to provide your canine with a bowl of fish. The species can be the center point of your dog’s nutritious and healthy diet. You can serve cooked fish to your dog.

Fish is good for your dog

A wide number of fishes are perfectly safe for dogs. The list of commonly available fishes which you can unhesitatingly feed your dog includes herring, flounder, salmon pike, and ocean whitefish. You can steam, grill, or bake the fish before you give these to the dog. Do not include extras like seasoning. Your dog has no taste sensation for pepper and salt and there is no compulsion to make the fish tastier for the canine’s consumption. Do not add greasing options like oil sprays, butter, and oil. Keep the fishes simple and plain. Always buy boneless fillets. No bones must be present in the fish which will be presented to your dog.

Long-lived fishes like swordfish and tuna fish have heavy metals accumulated in their bodies. These could lead to health concerns due to the specific presence of mercury. It is a wise decision not to give your dog any long-lived fish species. Provide only fishes having shorter life-spans. If you are undecided as to whether you will give your dog raw fish or cooked ones, opt for the latter. There is a chance of parasites getting entry into the dog’s body through eating raw fish. Other than the dog, such germs may negatively affect your health and other humans’ health too.

Healthy and balanced meal choice

Fish can be an excellent sustaining healthy meal and nutrition source for your dog. The corollary in this respect that it must be cooked properly. The species makes for a superb protein-rich source, having abundant quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of fish will decrease inflammation. It is excellent for dogs suffering from food allergies.

Fish is not a common staple in standard canine food. It is an excellent alternative source of protein to turkey, chicken, and beef. Give your dogfish it suffers from nutritional allergies. In case your veterinarian prescribes a fish diet, follow it exactly to the letter. Not doing so will result in multiple nutritional deficiencies. In case you cook the food yourself, make sure the recipe is in accordance with a board-certified nutritionist. Allow your dog to eat as much fish as it wants to consume. The fish makes a balanced and complete diet. Other than protein, you must also include ingredients having antioxidants and vitamins. This is why a balanced diet is needed.

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Ways To Get Rid Of Cat Hair And Furballs

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Unless pet owners have a leather sofa, there are chances that their furniture will end up with pet hair and fir deposits. It’s not just furniture, but any kind of fabric such as curtains and tablecloths are sites for cat fur to get stuck. Leather furniture can be quite expensive and thus cat owners need to have efficient ways of getting rid of their pet hair. One of the first things that pet owners can do is to ensure that there is enough ventilation in the room and the humidity levels are not significantly low.

Removing cat hair from furniture
Removing cat hair from various kinds of furniture such as sofas and upholstery is best done with a pair of damp rubber gloves. By simply running the gloved hand over various surfaces, hair can be easily collected. Once the glove is covered with hair, one needs to simply rinse it off and repeat the process. In case rubber gloves are not available one can also use a wet sponge in its place. Another easy tactic is to spray a combination of water and fabric softener on the furniture and fabric and then start wiping it off.

In order to remove cat hair from wooden furniture, a soft cloth with furniture polish can be easily used. Alternately one can also use an anti-static dusting spray. Using such anti-static sprays eliminates static charge and the fur comes off the surface easily.

Removing Cat Hair from Carpets and Floors
One of the best ways to clean those tough to dig fur and hair deposits from the carpets is to use a pumice stone. Using a pumice stone is advantageous as it not only collects the hair efficiently but also doesn’t damage the surface of the carpet. For wooden or laminated floors one can use electrostatic mobs or one of those microfiber wipes. Using a vacuum is not very effective in these cases as it loops the hair around instead of sucking it in. If the cat owner wishes to vacuum the carpet, then it is advised to go twice over hair-infested areas in alternate directions. This will ensure that the hair is properly disengaged from the carpet fabric. There are special vacuums available which especially cater to pet hair, these come equipped with filters and powerful suction which pulls off hair effectively.

Throwing floor mats and tablecloths in the dryer along with a dryer sheet or a spiky dryer ball is an effective way of automatically removing fur from them. Brushing and grooming cats with long hairs every day and those with short hair once a week, is a preventive measure against fur deposit. Timely grooming leads to a fur-free house.

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Bringing Up a Husky in Warm Weather: Tips

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The Siberian Husky is a breed of dog that was bred by the Chukchi people in Siberia. These dogs were the perfect companions to the Chukchi people, pulling their sleds across miles in sub-zero weather conditions. In fact, they’re still used as sled dogs to this day.

Now, anybody with an ounce of dog knowledge knows that huskies aren’t meant to live in hot weather. Ideally, they shouldn’t ever be living in such conditions. However, some of us love huskies way too much to not have them as pets and we’re probably going to have to bring them up in a hot or tropical climate.

At first, it may seem inhumane to bring up a husky in such an environment. However, the good news is that huskies are pretty tough and under the right conditions, it’s not hard to bring them up in a region with warmer weather.

Here are a few tips for those considering bringing a husky home.

Do Not Get Rid of the Coat
There’s a misconception among some people that huskies find warm weather more tolerable once their coat is shaved off. This is completely wrong. The hairy coat actually insulates their bodies from both, heat and cold.

A husky needs the coat in order to regulate its own body temperature. Removing the coat will only expose the dog’s skin to the heat and that’s when the troubles start. So, don’t get rid of the coat. In fact, make sure you maintain it by brushing it as often as possible.
This will clear out all the stray and dead hairs, keeping the coat healthy.

Exercise Away from the Sun
Huskies are an active bunch and they definitely need a lot of exercise. However, exercising under a hot sun isn’t good for them. So, make sure you have an exercise schedule that’s tuned to this requirement. Ideally, you should take them out for walks early in the morning or after sunset.

Also, try to regulate the intensity of the exercise, especially for puppies. Rather than one long walk, try to give two short walks a day.

Keep Her/Him Cool
Never leave your husky out in hot weather. They need to be indoors, preferably in an air-conditioned environment. Also, make sure they stay hydrated. Give them cold water straight from the fridge or drop a large chunk of ice and let it melt throughout the day. This will ensure that there’s a continued supply of cold water. You can also freeze some of the dog’s treats.

Watch Out for Signs of Dehydration and Overheating
Make sure you know what the symptoms for overheating and dehydration are. Symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, poor skin elasticity, dry gums, and dry nose. As for signs of overheating, look for excessive panting, noisy breathing, disorientation, collapse, discolored gums, and convulsions.
If you notice these signs, head to the vet ASAP.

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Why Your Dog Should Be Encouraged To Chew

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Dogs have an innate need to chew things. They’ll chew anything that they can get a hold of. This can be your shoes, a piece of plastic and pretty much anything that’s chewable. Now, there seems to be a misconception among people that dogs shouldn’t be chewing at all.

Well, this is obviously wrong. The need to chew is innate in dogs and it’s there for a reason. As long as they’re chewing the right things, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, here are a few reasons why your dog should be encouraged to chew.

Healthy Teeth
Make sure your dog has something to chew on, such as bones or chew toys. You see, chewing helps your dog develop and retain healthy teeth. When they chew on a toy or a bone, the action actually scrapes the plaque off their teeth.

Just as it is with humans, plaque buildup in dogs can cause a lot of trouble. Apart from giving them really bad breath, plaque can also cause severe dental problems. When plaque is left uncleaned, it can harden by mixing with the saliva. This leads to tartar, which further leads to periodontal disease.

But it won’t happen if your dog is chewing on something, especially hard bones. You’ll actually be saving your dog from developing major dental problems

Keeps Them Busy
Pups that are given the space and the time to chew on bones are likely to become more independent. They tend to learn how to occupy themselves and won’t develop separation anxiety. So, make sure your little pup gets her/his fair share of meaty bones or chew toys with food stuffed in them.

Stimulates the Growth of Teeth
Apart from keeping teeth clean, chewing on bones and bully sticks also stimulates the proper growth of teeth. While the action aids the whole growth process, chewing on a hard substance also reduces the discomfort a pup might experience when the teeth push through the gums during the growth phase.

Teething can actually cause some discomfort in pups. However, you can help by placing the chew toy in the freezer. The lowered temperature will minimize the pain that your pup is experiencing. The teething phase in pups can last up to 6 months.

Prevents Destructive Chewing
By encouraging your little one to chew on toys, bones, and other treats, you actually prevent destructive chewing. It’s simple really – if your pup/dog has something to chew on, it isn’t going to hunt for shoes and other objects around the house.

However, some training will be required. Start when they’re young; around 6 to 8 weeks old. Teach them what to chew and you won’t have to deal with problems later on.

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How to Make Sure Your Pets are Safe When You’re Not Home

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You wish you could take your pet with you everywhere, but unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. When you go to work for the day, you may have to leave your pet alone at home. The thought of leaving your furry friends all alone isn’t pleasing, but there are some steps you can take to help ensure their safety while you’re away. Following these steps to make sure your pets are safe when you’re not home will definitely put you more at ease:

  • Have enough food and water kept out for your pet
    Before you leave your home for work in the morning, make sure your pet’s food and water bowls are filled. Also, always make sure that they are kept in an easily accessible location. You don’t want to keep your pet hungry for the whole day. Not only is this unhealthy for them, they will become extremely anxious when they are hungry and left unfed. This often leads to them acting out in ways which are harmful for themselves and cause damage to your house as well.
  • Make sure your home temperature is moderate throughout the day
    If you often have to leave your pet alone, consider buying a thermostat for your home, if you don’t already have one. It’s important that your home doesn’t get too hot or too cold, especially if you live in an area with extreme temperatures during summers and winters. You need to make sure that your pet spends their day in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Have security cameras installed at home
    Having a CCTV camera installed in your home is one of the best to ensure not just the safety and security of your pet, but your entire house as well. These are your eyes at home when you’re not around. They give you the peace of mind you deserve when you leave your canines and felines at home all alone. Plus, if anything goes wrong, you will be notified immediately so you can always call 911 or a neighbor for help.
  • Keep away items which may be dangerous for your pet
    Certain items in your house may not be safe for your pet. For instance, many human foods aren’t meant for pets, or sharp objects such as knives and blades. Make sure to keep these away from their reach. Also, make sure that you keep your bins in an enclosed space, such as under the sink inside a cabinet.
  • Attach a GPS device to your pet’s collar
    To make sure that you know where your pet is at all times, you can have a GPS device attached to their collar. This way, even if they wander off somewhere, you always know where you can find them.

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Everything You Need to Know About Canine Parainfluenza

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Canine Parainfluenza refers to a virus that is responsible for causing kennel cough in dogs. The infection is usually contracted from other infected dogs, especially at close quarters. It’s called a kennel cough because it’s commonly found in dogs that share kennels.
The condition isn’t a severe one and will clear up in a matter of days with the right kind of treatment.

Symptoms
The symptoms of canine parainfluenza can vary from dog to dog. However, there are a common set of symptoms that you can refer to. Also, there can be variations in the intensity and severity of the symptoms, especially with age.

On of the first symptoms you’ll notice is coughing, which can be described as dry or even moist, at times. There may also be some blood produced as a result of the constant and intense coughing.

Other than coughing, a low-grade fever, mucus discharge, and pus can be present. Look out for a decrease in energy and appetite as well.

Types
There is only one type of canine parainfluenza virus. However, the virus itself is a component of other infectious respiratory diseases that typically affect dogs. Apart from being part of the etiology for kennel cough or acute tracheobronchitis, the virus is often coupled with Bordetella bronchiseptica Canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2)

Causes
The pathogen is viral in nature and is communicated through interaction with other infected hosts. As stated earlier, it receives its name due to the fact that the condition is common among dogs that share kennels, especially at shelters and canine race tracks.

Puppies and elderly dogs are at most risk due to their weaker immune systems. The infection can be transmitted via air 2 weeks after the infected host has healed.

Toy breeds and puppies can end up with complications, such as pneumonia, as a result of the thick secretions produced in the throat.

Treatment
If you suspect that your dog has contracted the canine parainfluenza virus, the first thing you need to do is take your dog to the vet. Though it might be a moderately-risky condition, there is no need to assume that immediate medical attention isn’t required.

Your vet will diagnose your dog to determine whether or not it is canine parainfluenza. If the diagnosis is positive, your vet will prescribe some medication (antibiotics) to get rid of the infection. To ease the symptoms, he/she will suggest steam inhalation or a warm shower. This will help reduce much of the discomfort.

The infected dog should be kept away from other animals and should not be exposed to any irritants.
As for prevention, there is a canine parainfluenza vaccine. If your dog isn’t infected already, get the vaccination done immediately.

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