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postheadericon Summer is when dogs are most at risk of being affected by heatstroke

Summer is when dogs are most at risk of being affected by heatstroke. A dog’s normal body temperature is 100°F to 102.5°F but, unlike humans, dogs do not have sweat glands throughout their skin.  Their only methods for cooling include limited sweat glands on the pads of their feet and nose, and panting. Both of which are inefficient at cooling their body temperature in extreme situations. If a dog cannot effectively dissipate heat, their internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature exceeds 104° damage to their body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible. With heatstroke the cells literally cook.

Have you ever said to yourself “I’m just going to run into the store for a minute, my dog will be fine in the car?”  Well, including the time to walk to the store from your car, shopping, and checkout, a minute is never just a minute. A study by the Animal Protection Institute showed that even moderately warm outside temperatures can quickly lead to deadly temperatures inside a closed car. In just a few minutes the internal temperature of a car can easily reach 40° higher than the outside temperature even if parked in the shade with the windows cracked open. Being left in a car is the number one cause of heatstroke in dogs.

Although exercise is essential for a happy and healthy dog, be sure to choose a time of day, during hot months, that is safe for heavy activity and pay close attention to how your dog is responding. Owners with breeds such as Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers need to be especially attentive to their pet’s needs, as they are less tolerant of heat. When you are playing and exercising outside, always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh cool water and access to a shaded area at all times.  Be sure to take frequent breaks and allow your dog to cool down before resuming activity. If you take walks, try to go in the early morning or in the evening and remember to take water with you.

How do you know if your dog may have heatstroke? Some of the symptoms include:

–          A rectal temperature over 104 ° F (needs immediate veterinary attention)

–          A rectal temperature of 106 °F or greater (dire emergency)

–          Excessive panting

–          Bright red gums and tongue

–          Gums feel dry to the touch

–          Thick saliva

–          Excessive shaking

–          Staggering

–          Lying down and refusing or unable to get back up

What to do if you suspect your dog may be affected by heatstroke:

–          Remove your dog from the hot environment

–          Immediately get a rectal temperature if possible

–          DO NOT Submerge or saturate your dog with cold water or ice!! (This may make internal damage more severe).

–          Place cool, wet rags or washcloths on major blood vessels such as the jugular vein (along the neck) and the femoral artery (inside the rear leg). Replace often.

Slightly dampen your dog with lukewarm water and place directly in front of a fan to safely wick away heat- Do not soak!

–          Offer your dog cool water to drink but do not force water into the mouth

–          Most effective treatment is with IV fluids and medications administered by your veterinarian!

–          Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).

Some dogs can fully recover from heatstroke if it is caught and treated early by a veterinarian. Prognosis of treatment for heatstroke is significantly affected by how high the body temperature reaches, and the length of time the dog was exposed to dangerous levels. A delay in treatment for two hours may result in a 70% chance of death. Sadly, many dogs affected by heatstroke do not survive. Prevention is the key to keeping your dog safe during the warm weather.

postheadericon Small in stature, chihuahuas are relatively fragile dogs

Small in stature, Chihuahuas are relatively fragile dogs. It is thus, important for owners of Chihuahuas to be equipped with proper knowledge and tips for caring for their Chihuahua pups. Care for Chihuahua pups covers many aspects and includes socialization, safety, nutrition and health. Responsible Chihuahua owners make a checklist on these aspects in order to ensure the overall well being of their Chihuahua pups.

As lively animals, Chihuahuas tend to come into constant contact with their owners, family members as well as other pets that its owner might have. It is necessary for Chihuahua owners to start socialization with their Chihuahua pups before they turn full grown. This is to ensure less aggressive behavior in the future when the Chihuahua pup turns into a full grown Chihuahua. Chihuahua owners should spend time familiarizing their Chihuahua pups to the surroundings and their living environments by letting the pup roam freely around the house and facilitating interaction with the family as well as other pets in the house. This would allow the Chihuahua puppy to adapt easily into its new living environment, preventing aggressive behavior in future.

Safety issues are a necessary area for Chihuahua owners to look into. Appliances around the home such as electrical outlets, cables and vases can present potential dangers to Chihuahua pups. Electrical outlets should be switched off and covered with plastic guards when not in use to prevent Chihuahua puppies from licking these dangerous areas. Cables should be shortened if possible, and kept when not in use to prevent the Chihuahua puppy from tripping over them. This is to prevent objects such as radios from crashing onto the puppy should it trip over such wires. In general, unstable objects should not be placed around the house to prevent death and injuries.

Chihuahua puppies should be given adequate nutrition with two meals a day. Dried dog food is preferable as it prefers tartar and plaque from accumulating in the young puppy’s teeth. Plenty of water should be given to ensure sufficient hydration and unfinished food should be disposed off after each meal to prefer the growth of bacteria and germs which might potentially cause illness to the Chihuahua pup. Sufficient nutrition is necessary in order to prevent illnesses and ensure healthy gum, skin and coat. Never ever feed your Chihuahua puppy with chocolate. Chocolates are harmful to Chihuahuas in any amount and may prove fatal if given in large amounts. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting and excessive thirst. Do not hesitate to bring your Chihuahua puppy to the vet if such symptoms are observed.

Chihuahua owners who have a personal preference to feed their Chihuahua puppies with home cooked food should keep in mind that all food has to be cooked and should consist of a meat protein, carbohydrates and a vegetable. All food should be fully cooked and cooled before feeding. Popular meat choices include beef, lamb, chicken and pork while vegetables include carrot and peas. Grain choices vary according to culture. Popular choices include potatoes or rice.

Chihuahua puppies should be taken to regular visits to the vet. This is to ensure that the puppies are in good health, receiving adequate nutrition as well as for vaccination against illnesses such as Parvo. Relatively inexperienced Chihuahua owners should also get advice from the vet with regards to their Chihuahua pups well being. Regular walks are also necessary to ensure healthy development of the puppy’s limbs as well as to prevent obesity.

Raising a Chihuahua requires effort and commitment. While not an easy task, the process of doing so would definitely result in wonderful memories in time to come.

postheadericon African grey parrots’ food must not be only seed, however

African Grey parrots’ food must not be only seed, however. Such an incomplete, imbalanced diet is likely to cause illness. Seeds are high in fat and carbohydrates, and your African Grey will probably pick out its favorite seeds, making the diet even less balanced.

Most parrot experts agree that an African Grey parrots’ food needs can only be met with a formula diet supplemented with a variety of other foods.

Organic Pellets

What is a formula diet for an African Grey? Organic pellets. I say “organic” pellets because many of the conventional pellets have unhealthy ingredients. Some have even been noted as containing potentially toxic ingredients.

African Grey parrots’ food should never contain menadione. If the pellets you are considering for your African Grey list menadione as an ingredient, read on. The FDA requires a warning on every bag of food that contains it. That warning must read, “Person who handles needs to wear protective outfit, gloves, mask, and glasses.”

Menadione may be added to give your African Grey additional vitamin K. A better option is to provide full spectrum light for your parrot. An African Grey will get vitamin K from the light, just as it would if living outdoors.

Organic pellets also let your African Grey avoid the high quantities of sugar in colored pellets. Most African Grey parrot owners care enough about the bird in which they’ve invested so much money, that they don’t want to give it a diet that is high in sugar.

African Grey parrots’ food that is based on organic pellets will be free of contaminants that might be found in other pellets. In the U.S., government regulations force companies making organic parrot food not to use pesticides or other contaminants.

In addition to a basic, formulated pellet food, African Greys need many of the same food you eat.

1. Fresh vegetables: Offer your African Grey a wide variety of vegetables, raw or cooked. Think bright, deep colors for the most nutrition. Most vegetables that offer high nutrition to you and your family will be good for your parrot as well. Cooked legumes such as beans and lentils are good. Sprouted seeds are also good. Your African Grey will love them. To avoid contaminants such as pesticides, you may want to use organic vegetables for African Grey parrots’ food.

2. Fresh fruits: In the wild, African Greys eat fruit freely. The trick is to keep your parrot from filling up on its favorite food and neglecting pellets and vegetables. As with vegetables, choose bright, rich colors in fruit for the most nutrition. Also, purchase organic if possible.

3. Other supplemental foods: African Grey parrots enjoy cooked eggs and small amounts of yogurt now and then. African Greys are more prone than some parrots to calcium deficiency, so you may leave the egg shell on the hard boiled egg, if you wish. You should not need to give your parrot calcium supplements if you are using a good organic pellet food. You may give a few seeds as a treat, but go easy on them.

No, Thank You

African Grey parrots’ food dishes should never contain avocado, chocolate, or rhubarb. They should not contain any human junk foods or processed meats either. It should go without saying, but your African Grey should never be given anything containing caffeine or alcohol.

Water, Please

Remember, when thinking of your African Grey’s dietary needs, that it should have fresh, clean water in its cage at all times.

Helpful Tip

For healthy African Greys, be sure you clean the food and water dishes every day. If your parrot decides on an impromptu bath, wait until it is done, wash the water dish, and give it a fresh supply of water.

By: Anna Hart

postheadericon Household pets are susceptible to a multitude of dangers lying around the house and even some in their own bird cage

Household pets are susceptible to a multitude of dangers lying around the house and even some in their own bird cage. Like all other pets, pet birds are also subject to a number of risks. This is mainly due to their small size, sensitive respiratory system, fast metabolism and in the case of parrots, their curiosity to explore everything around them with their beaks. Owners are responsible for their pets safety and should take the necessary precautions to prevent any accidents. Here is a list of the top dangers faced by household pet birds. Starting with the most obvious, birds have a special dietary need and cannot digest most food processed by other pets and humans. High sugar or salt concentrations are inappropriate. Fatty foods are also discouraged. Chocolate is to be avoided at all costs as it is toxic not only to birds but also to other pets in general. Water is the preferred beverage choice. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks are very dangerous!

Because of their sensitive respiratory system, birds are extremely sensitive to poisons and toxins. Some dangerous contaminants from cleaners, industrial fumes, and pesticides are fatal for birds. Strong and aromatic odours can also kill birds. Aerosol body sprays, Nail polish, cigarette smoke, and paint fumes are to be avoided. If, as typical, one dedicates a special spot for his bird cages inside his car garage, he should take care not to start his car inside the garage as carbon monoxide can lead to respiratory diseases. One should make special mentioning of non-stick coatings, which emit particular fumes that are toxic to birds when overheated. These coats are usually found on non-stick cookware, irons, space heaters, blow dryers and more. As many birds chew on many things small enough for their beaks, one must place safer bird toys, which are made from sanitised and toxin-free plastics or woods like eucalyptus and manzanita in order to avoid poisoning from ingesting or biting the toys.

Birds, which are left, to roam around the house are also at a risk of falling into sources of open water such as in toilets, sinks, buckets and water bowls. Even worse, they can fall into hot pots of water sitting on stoves in the kitchen, so it is generally preferred not to let birds out of their bird cages in kitchens. Ceiling fans pose a major threat to flying birds and have been the cause of several serious injuries and fatalities. Birds tend to get very agitated and nervous with moving things above them and may become stressed out of a ceiling fan running close to their bird cage. Other electrical appliances, which might not pose a direct threat to a bird, might have an exposed electrical cord. As most birds explore with their beaks, electrical cords can pose a danger if bitten. Cords should be concealed as much as possible using corrugated plastic tubing for example.

Even bird toysspecifically designed for parrots and other birds may not be totally safe. Apart from being made out of toxic materials, toys can be broken down by bigger parrots and parts swallowed. Remember that even if a particular toy looks pretty durable at the time of purchase,bird toys don’t last forever and should be checked from time to time. Rope toys can also cause birds to get tangled up in them and get strangled as a result. Finally, birds are rarely known for social interaction with many other pets and birds, especially cats. They can attract the predatory instinct of other animals and if attacked, any bites or scratches can become fatal to a bird. Therefore, cats or dogs around the house can be a risk to pet birds even if they are in their bird cage.

Shop and buy small, medium, or a large bird cage for you pet parrot and pet birds. All types and sizes of parrot cages and bird toys for your pet birds – http://www.birdcagesrepublic.com/

postheadericon Senior pet tips: simple things you can do to make your senior pets more comfortable

Senior Pet Tips: Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Senior Pets More Comfortable

As our beloved companions get older they begin to slow down and many suffer from the same age-related wear and tear as we humans do. Arthritis, gastric upsets, diminished senses, sensitivity to extreme heat and cold are just a few. Below is a list of tips you can use to make your senior pet more comfortable, happy and healthy.

Feed the best diet

Feeding your pet high quality food not only makes them feel better, but can reduce the chances of illness and disease in the future. Raw food, home-cooked meals or premium commercial food will go a long way in keeping your pet happy and healthy. And don’t forget to add variety to your pets diet. By rotating what you feed you are insuring that your pet gets a more balanced array of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, how would you like to eat the same thing day after day year after year. Be careful, however to introduce dietary changes gradually to avoid tummy upset and diarrhea. Begin by adding in 1/4 of the new food to what you currently feed for between 5 to 7 days. The second week feed 1/2 new food to 1/2 the current diet and so on until you have made a complete change. Once your pet gets used to more variety they will more easily tolerated dietary changes.

Consider adding supplements

Adding natural vitamins and supplements can also be of great benefit to our pets, especially seniors. My personal “Holy Trinity” is a good Mulit-Vitamin, EFA’s (essential fatty acids) and a Plant Enzyme and Probiotic Supplement (such as Animal Essentials). A good multi-vitamin will ensure your pet receives adequate daily amounts of necessary vitamins and minerals. EFA’s do more than keep skin and coat healthy. EFAs are the building blocks for prostaglandins, which work to regulate hormones, immune and nervous systems and cardiovascular function. People and pet’s bodies cannot make them and so they need to be added to our diet. Enzymes and Probiotics help enhance your pet’s health by promoting the proper balance of good intestinal flora and by supporting the digestive systems that aid in the assimilation and utilization of vitamins and nutrients. Enzymes combine with food and water to aid in the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Even if your dog or cat is not displaying signs of arthritis you can help prevent or slow the onset by starting them on a natural supplement designed to promote joint and cartilage health. Look for supplements that contain ingredients such as glucosamine, chrondroitin, MSM, vitamin C, white willow bark (not for cats), boswellin, yucca powder, manganese ascorbate, bromelain, selenium (especially in conjunction with vitamin E), vitamins C, A, and E. In addition, Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils has shown promise in treating arthritis in animals and humans.

Buy an orthopedic pet bed

Beds made out of convoluted foam offer greater support for sore achy joints and muscles. Soft fluffy beds may look and feel appealing to us, but as anyone with back problems will tell you, a nice firm bed is much more comfortable. The same is true with our pets.

Raise your pet’s food and water bowls

Raise your pet’s food and water bowls to provide the height that your dog (or cat) needs for healthy eating and drinking. Raised feeders minimize neck strain and reduce air ingestion making them ideal for senior and large breed pets.

Be aware of diminishing sight and hearing

Don’t drastically rearrange rooms and furniture as your pet has probably learned to navigate his/her environment quite well and sudden changes can lead to fear and confusion. When approaching your older pet make sure they can see or hear you coming. A pet with sight or hearing loss can become very startled by an unexpected touch. Clapping your hands or making some other loud noise can help alert pets of your approach. The vibrations created by walking heavy-footed also work well to alert pets that someone is coming.

Just like people, our pets become more sensitive to extreme heat and cold

Provide pets with a warm place to lie and sleep in the winter, away from drafty windows and doors. Consider buying a heated bed or insert to keep them cozy. In the summer, make sure outdoor areas have plenty of shade and cool fresh water available at all times. Indoors, make sure they have a cool spot away from direct sunlight.

Ramps and special harnesses can make life for seniors much easier and less painful

They can help them climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles, rise from lying down and provide extra support while standing or walking. Cats can greatly benefit from portable stairs that aid them up and down from the bed, couch or other favorite cuddle spot.

Don’t forget about exercise

Your older pet still needs to get out there and be part of the world; drinking in the fresh air and soaking up some sunshine. It’s just as important for them to keep moving as it is for us when we age. Be aware, however that you need to adjust the length and strenuousness of their exercise. Shorter distances and less challenging terrain may be needed. And, definitely be careful in any extreme weather, as older animals cannot tolerate extremes like when they were younger. Also, make sure you always have an ample supply of clean water for you and your pet.

Christine Mandrake is the owner of WellBeings.com, a site that is dedicated to providing information and resources about caring for senior pets.