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postheadericon We like to take our pets on daily walks

We like to take our pets on daily walks. After all, we are concerned with their health and should want them to remain in good shape. But beware of the unseen health risks to your pet that can be associated with the summer heat.

Presently I have 4 dogs in our kennel that are being watched this month. They range in age and their general health conditions vary, and each must be considered when taking these dogs for their walks.

The current makeup consists of 2 puppies only 3-4 months of age, an 8 year old but overweight German shepherd, and a 13 year old mix breed.

A single walking session shows the effects that summer plays on each dog’s individual condition. The two puppies are young, vibrant and full of energy, and do not hesitate at the prospect of a 20 minute walk through the woods. The 8 year old shepherd and the 13 year old mixed are also looking forward to the same walk.

Within a few moments of walking into the woods, (the woods are about 100 yards from the kennel), you can notice a considerable change form the harsh daily sun to a much cooler shaded area of the woods. At this point each dog is holding their own on this simple and short walk.

At the halfway point, now 10 minutes of walking, we take a momentary rest, more for my sake then that of the dogs. Each dog is panting quite regularly at this stage. None of them look at all tired, and none have stopped to drink any water from my bottle.

Due to a recent rainstorm the night before, we have come across an occasional puddle or two for them to wade in. This has helped them stay a little refreshed.

As we head past the 3-quarter mark of this trail, there is a considerable difference in the overweight shepherd’s desire to lead the pack. At this point, the older 13 year old mixed dog, is actually keeping a stronger pace then the young puppies, even though the puppies have stopped a number of times to rest and take on water.

By the time we reach the stretch of trail back to the kennel area, the fours dogs are showing signs of being both tired and thirsty. The last 10 feet lead straight to a waiting pool filled with fresh cold water. The older dogs take a few moments to grab a quick drink while the puppies play and splash around happily. All four dogs are taking a well deserved rest.

By and far they all show some signs of being tired. But keep this in mind that they each have reacted differently to the same walk, under the same conditions. The puppies did tend to pull more on their leashes, which will cause them to put additional stress on their collars and breathing. The overweight 8 year old, while younger showed more signs of fatigue then the older 13 year old. The mixed dog is not carrying around a lot of excess body fat. The extra weight and fat is putting additional stress on the larger dog’s legs, chest and his heart.

Be careful of walking your pets in the hot summer months. Take then out during the early morning or later evenings when it is cooler. Make sure to take water with you, for the pets and yourself, if you’re going to be walking any kind of long distance. When they get back, give them fresh clean water from a hose or kiddies pool. They have thick fur coats and only cool down through their tongues so please let them relax in the shade and take a break during the walk to make sure they are not getting to overheated.

Be careful to avoid heat strokes or other conditions that can be avoided with a few simple steps. Bottom line is that you should not risk your pet’s health simply because it is the summertime and you went for a walk.

postheadericon Hydrotherapy or water therapy is great way to provide a low impact exercise for your dog, with or without joint pain

Hydrotherapy or water therapy is great way to provide a low impact exercise for your dog, with or without joint pain. For dogs with joint pain and arthritis, regular exercise like running or walking can be painful due to amount of weight that your dog’s joints must support. Exercise in a pool, a lake or the ocean can be a great alternative since the buoyancy of the water takes much of the strain off the joints that is normally caused by their body weight. Swimming can help your pet with range of motion, strengthening, endurance and general health.

Exercise has been proven to help pets by reducing joint pain and stiffness while increasing flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness and endurance. It can also help with weight reduction which can be a cause of some joint pain.

Talk to your veterinarian if you think your pet may benefit from this type of exercise. Hydro therapy may not be an option for dogs that have a fear of water. It is also not recommended for dogs with certain fractures and open wounds.

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To read more stories like this visit the FlexPet Blog for pet health advice, stories from customers and even FlexPet special offers.

postheadericon After you have successfully kept a discus aquarium for a while, you may find yourself turning your attention to the idea of breeding discus fish

After you have successfully kept a discus aquarium for a while, you may find yourself turning your attention to the idea of breeding discus fish. For some people, the discus fish has a reputation as being hard to breed, but it can actually be quite easy once you have figured out how to keep the water quality at optimal levels in the aquarium. Failure do pay attention to this need is the cause of most breeding failures.

The first essential to breeding discus fish is to obtain a suitable pair. Since discus are hard to sex, putting at least six specimens together when they are young is the best way to ensure at least one couple pairs off. Also, try to mix discus fish from  different sources so that some variety is kept in the genetic pool.

Once a pair of discus have decided to mate, they will become territorial and aggressive toward other fish. When you notice this, it’s time to either remove all the other fish or move the discus to a separate breeding aquarium. A small 20-30 gallon tank with a vertical spawning surface and a couple hiding spots will suffice when breeding discus fish.

As mentioned earlier, water conditions are especially important when during the breeding period. The nitrogen waste levels must be kept as close to zero as possible. You should do a partial water change every day in the breeding aquarium. Make sure you test the water every time and keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. The recommended water temperature is 86 degrees F.

Balanced nutrition, and making sure your fish are actually eating is also critical to the success of breeding discus fish. Feeding is also directly related to water quality, as poor water quality can cause poor appetites. If you choose to feed live food, make sure that you are not introducing disease and that your fish are receiving all the necessary vitamins.

So, as you can see, water and to a lesser extent food are the two essential elements for breeding discus fish successfully. Specific advise from an experienced breeder is also recommended if you’ve never breed discus fish before, because you will be able to learn from their practical experience. Have fun and good luck with your breeding!

postheadericon Dogs dig because of a number of reasons and to put an end to your dog’s destruction of your backyard requires that you understand why your dog is digging in the first place

Dogs dig because of a number of reasons and to put an end to your dog’s destruction of your backyard requires that you understand why your dog is digging in the first place.

Digging For Prey:

Some dogs dig to root out prey such as snakes, gophers and even bugs. When they do this, they are acting instinctively and not out of a malicious desire to upset you. Some dogs will even try to dig out buried trash and dead animals and proudly present you with the results of their “hunting”.

Due to their keen senses of smell and hearing, dogs can detect things underground and a good indication that your dog is digging for prey is if the dog is digging by the roots of a tree or in a specific area.

Dogs that dig to get at some coveted “buried treasure” can be persistent and putting an end to this type of digging can be quite difficult. If your dog is digging to root out gophers or moles, your best option is to get rid of the prey. Ask your local garden shop for advice on how to get rid of grubs as these are a mole’s favorite food. If you get rid of the mole’s food source they will eventually move away. Never try to poison these animals or your dog may end up ingesting the poison.

If getting rid of garden pest isn’t a feasible option you should consider fencing off an area of the yard to restrict your dog’s access. Try to provide the run with a concrete or wooden floor to prevent your dog from digging his way out of the run. Always make sure you give your dog ample exercise before placing him in the run. Taking your dog on daily walks will not only provide him with the exercise he needs, but it is also a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated.

Digging For Shelter:

Some dogs dig to make a shelter for themselves. Dogs are originally den animals and digging a shelter is a natural thing for them. You can usually differentiate prey digging from shelter digging by the size of the hole. If the hole is large enough for the dog to lie in this generally means it was dug for shelter purposes. Dogs will dig a hole to lie in during hot weather. They seek the cool, moist earth to escape intense heat. In winter dogs will dig to provide themselves a shelter from the wind and rain. If your dog is digging a shelter you should provide him with an appropriately placed dog house. The dog house should be placed close to the home in a shaded place. In cold weather areas the doghouse should be insulated to provide sufficient warmth for the dog. Some dogs dig shelters even when  provided with a doghouse and this usually means the location of the doghouse is unsuitable. For example a dog that digs under a porch does so because he wants to be as close as possible to his owners, if this is the case then placing the doghouse closer to the home may prevent further digging.

If you live in a hot part of the nation you should provide your dog with sufficient shade. An insulated doghouse in a shaded area near the house is an ideal location for your doghouse. Provide your dog with a wading pool filled with fresh water. Water loving dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Newfoundlands will especially appreciate a wading pool. Always make sure fresh, clean drinking water is freely available for your dog.

postheadericon The burmese is a relatively modern breed of cat to europe and the united states of america

The Burmese is a relatively modern breed of cat to Europe and the United States of America. Nevertheless, it is one of the most popular breeds. The Burmese is playful, affectionate, active and talkative, which makes the breed a real winner among cat owners.

The Origins of the Burmese

The breed comes from the country formerly known as Burma, now known as Myanmar. In its native Myanmar, the Burmese is known as Copper Cat and for hundreds of years the cat was worshipped in Burmese temples. The breed is also referenced in The Cat Book of Poems, published in Siam (now Thailand) between the years 1350 and 1767. Therefore, the Burmese cat had established itself as a firm favorite in the East centuries before it was introduced to Europe and North America.

In fact, it was not until 1930 that the Burmese was brought into the U.S. by retired naval doctor Joseph Thompson. During his retirement, Thompson spent time living in Tibet, as a Buddhist monk, where he became captivated by Eastern cats. Thompson bred a Burmese cat with a Siamese to distinguish the Burmese as a breed in its own right, rather than a variant of the Siamese.

Consequently, today, all of the Burmese living in Europe and North America are related to one common ancestor, Wong Mau, who was introduced to the Western world by Thompson. To begin with, he had trouble getting the Burmese accepted as a genuine breed, because Siamese breeders felt that the cat was merely an oddly colored Siamese that would pollute the gene pool. After being recognized as a breed by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, in 1936, the recognition was later rescinded, in 1947, only to be reinstated in 1953.

How to Recognize a Burmese

One of the most striking features of the Burmese is its strong muscular bulk, which leads some to describe it as a ‘brick wrapped in silk’. This also refers to the breed’s very soft, silky coat, which can be solid in color or pointed. A pointed coat has patches of color on the legs, ears, face and tail, similar to that seen on a Siamese.

There are three different types of Burmese:

Contemporary (the most popular)

Traditional (is most similar to the original Myanmar)

European or ‘Foreign’ (slimmer than the other two types of the breed)


The character and temperament of the Burmese is one of the principal reasons for its popularity. Typically, a Burmese cat is very affectionate, playful, intelligent and loyal. Unlike some breeds of cat, the Burmese is not particularly independent and enjoys the company of humans. Therefore, it is not advisable to own one if he, or she, will be left alone for extended periods during the day.

According to owners of the breed, the females tend to be more adventurous and active, whereas the males are more mellow and laidback. Like Siamese, the Burmese cat can be very noisy with a range of calls, cries and meows. However, typically, the sounds are not as loud as a Siamese’s are.

Potential Health Problems

There are not many health issues for a Burmese and one, which occurs in kittens, is easily fixed. Cherry eye, which is an issue with the cat’s third eyelid, can be a problem for Burmese kittens, but simply surgery can rectify the issue.

The only other common health problem in Burmese is gingivitis. Owners should, therefore, be prepared to ensure that their cat receives preventative dental care. Less common health issues are cranial deformities, weepy eyes and breathing problems, which can arise in the Contemporary Burmese, but does not seem to affect the Traditional and European breeds.

If you like the sound of the Burmese cat, ensure that you do some further research on the breed before welcoming one into your family. It is also wise to seek out a reputable breeder or adopt a cat through a local rescue center.