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Household Pets

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Household Pets: Problems faced during Litter Box Training

Not all owners are good trainers, but all of them do put in effort to
discipline their pets and face certain challenges. The biggest problem is faced
during litter box training. If there is a problem with the pet, it should be
handled with care and the habit should be positively reinforced on it.
Basically, the point is that the training method should be fun for the owner as
well as for the pet.

If the animal excretes outside the box, it meant that the pet has a disliking
for the box. The disliking can happen if the litter box is small, unclean and
filled with litter most of the times. The box should be cleaned regularly and
disinfected; otherwise an unpleasant odor will fill the area. Care must be
taken that disinfectant doesn't have a scented smell. If the smell is too
scented or strong, the owners can switch to air fresheners and cleaners that
have a mild smell. Another reason for disliking the litter box is because of
its texture. Most of the pets like litters boxes not made out of hard clay but
made out of a more fine grained, soft material.

Any good pet store will have a wide range of litter box collection. The owners
can choose the most suitable one depending on the nature of their pet. If there
is adequate place at home, an alternative to the litter box can be found. A
particular corner in your lawn can be filled with soil, sand or wood shavings.
The wood shavings shouldn't be of coca husk or cedar as it can be harmful for
the animal. Another good option for litter is laying down chicken feed. And if
size is a problem with the pet, the owner should obviously get a bigger one.
Usually the size preference will develop when the animal is growing big in size.

Some animal have surface issues, that is, they prefer surfaces with a specific
texture. The preferable surfaces are clothes, carpet, bed and anything soft
along with using the litter box sometimes. Pets which have been declawed can
also develop surface issues. For such animals, the litter box can be replaced
with a towel. It would be lot better than the animal excreting in beddings and
blankets. And if the animal has already soiled places other than the litter
box, those places should be cleaned with an intense enzymatic odor remover,
because if the animal smells its pee, it will be going to use the object or
place again to pass.

Pets can even have location preferences. In this case they won't care about the
surface provided to them. This is a lesser problem, because the pet won't ignore
the litter box and the litter box can be placed in his preferred location.
Usually the reason behind this preference is because of the place being too
cold or hot, or cut off or too busy but some places are unacceptable, as it can
be unhygienic for the other family members and also that place will be filled
with odor from the pets excreta. If the pet has a fancy to use a particular
room, the owner can keep the door shut for that particular room. It should be
denied access to that area. If the area is open, it can be disinfected by a
very strong smelling cleaner. Commercial repellants meant especially for the
pets are available in the market. Scat mats can also be used to cover up that
area.

Pets can be very fussy sometimes. Some won't like to urinate and excrete in the
same litter box. If this is the case, they should be provided with two different
boxes. Owners must try to reward the animal with food or toys, when it uses the
litter box properly. This gives it more encouragement. Sometimes the animal can
even have a urine marking problem. This condition can be successfully treated
with the help of medicines. These medicines are used to alter the behavior of
the animal. A good vet can be consulted in this regard.

Even after all these efforts, if the pet still insists of using the same
location for passing, an acrylic blanket which is easily washable can be sewn
with a waterproof material at the other side and can be placed. Disposable
housebreaking pads are also available at most of the pet stores. This is even
easier as once it gets soiled it can be simply disposed.

All you want to know about vaccinating your pets

Timely vaccinations are very important part of pet's health. Different types of
vaccine shots are to be given at different times. Some people are against
vaccination and some are in favor of vaccination, but the assertion is that
there are risks involved with both. A firm statement cannot be passed on a
broader level, instead the rules vary from one individual animal to another
depending on the needs and tolerance levels of the animal. There are certain
factors based on which the decision must be taken.

Young ones which have been separated from their mothers before six weeks and
are bottle-fed are at a higher risk of getting diseases. This is because the
animals, which feed on their mother's milk, get maternal antibodies, which
protects them until their own immune system has been fully developed. The
development of immune system can differ on the basis of amount and type of
viruses they are getting exposed to, the potency of the virus and the body's
ability to face the virus attack. Diet and nutrition also plays an important
role in preventing diseases.

Animals, which aren't exposed enough also needs to be vaccinated so as to alter
the system and help develop it, without causing illness. The quantity is also
important, because a little more virus can actually infest the disease in the
animal. The amount can be determined by analyzing whether the animal has a weak
or strong resistance to the virus.

Age is also another important factor. Animals, which are older in age, react
differently. One of the reasons is that the system will be obviously weaker
because of the daily activities, when compared to the younger ones. Sine their
immune system would have undergone different conditions; there could be a
possibility of deposition of toxins in the body. Sometimes the healthier older
animal won't be requiring vaccination at all if it has received adequate shots
before.

Before vaccinating an animal, its history should be checked. The number of
times a particular vaccination has been given should be checked against the
records. There are breeders who give a weekly dose of vaccination to their
animal, which is for sure an over dose. This leads to many problems such as
thickening of blood because of the protein complexes released from the immune
system. This can also damage other internal organs and might even result in the
failure of the immune system. In worst circumstances, it could even lead to the
death of the animal.

Pregnant females react differently to the vaccines when compared to their male
and female counterparts. The pregnant females should never be injected with
live virus vaccines or even exposed to other animals that have recently
received them. Animals, which have been injected with dead-virus vaccines, are
safe for the childbearing animal.

Animals, which are already suffering from a disease, should be examined more
carefully, so that the vaccination doesn't aggravate the problem. Genetics also
plays an important role. If the animal stands a chance of getting a disease
because of hereditary reason, vaccinations can create an adverse reaction.

The environment also plays a major role. If the animal is kept in a sanitary
and clean place, it is exposed to lesser viruses, which lowers it's chances of
getting diseases. A dirtier environment not only spreads viruses and bacteria
but also affects the immune system and other systems adversely as toxins begin
to deposit in the body. The vaccination plan should be designed after analyzing
the lifestyle of the animal.

Another major reason for difference in the quantity of vaccination is the
improvement in the vaccinations itself. They have become safer and more
efficient. No tests have proved the affective period of the vaccinations. Every
state and country has different regulations about vaccination. Vaccination
testing cannot only risk the life of the animal, but as well as that of a
human. For example, if a dog, which is being tested for rabies vaccination,
bites a human, it can lead to the death of the human, in extreme circumstances.
Many states in United States demand vaccination when owners try to get permit
for exotic animals. The facility vet decided which vaccines should be given and
which should be exempted for the safety of the animal.

Leash Training for your Pets

Initially pets don't like to be held by anything; exception can be when they
are being fed they will allow to be held against. If they are held by force,
they will retaliate by biting, spinning, clawing or jumping. One of the reasons
can be that because they weren't used to such kind of affection, this alien
action will actually scare them. Another reason can be because of the lack of
trust; they won't let a stranger hold them.

During this period of time it would also be difficult to put leash on the pet.
They will be very restless and will try to get away. Adding to this, they will
be quite young and playful. They will look at the harness as a hanging toy and
will play with it. And even if the owner is successful in leashing his pet,
there will be more challenges waiting ahead. When the animal feels the tug of
the leash, it will jump, try to bite the leash or claw it, roll over its back,
etc. In the beginning, the animal can feel short of breath, at such times, the
animal should be given a break from walking. He should be also shown affection
by patting its back or stroking its fur. It helps the pet to accept things more
easily and early.

With the progress of time, the number of breaks will decrease so will the
struggle with the leash. But actually holding the animal in the arms will take
a longer time than him getting trained to the leash. For this the pet should be
lapped and held regularly. During the whole process, the owner can get bruises
on his arms a lot. A prevention that can be taken is that the pet can be
wrapped in a blanket and then held in the arms. The owner should let go till
the animal completely until it calms down. After that it should be patted on its

Frequent fondling and lapping of the animal should be done when it is young and
small in size as the task will become almost impossible once it starts getting
bigger. But once this initial bond is formed the next step would be to actually
hold the animal when it is wearing the leash. Again there will be struggle, as
the situation will be completely different. The pet should not be held tight by
the hands, instead the leash should be held very near to the harness. After the
animal gets tired and calms down, he should be released. By this the animal
will learn that the only way of getting released is by holding still. After
sometime, the pet won't struggle at all, when being held in arms wearing the
leash. The time period of holding the pet can then be increased slowly.

Leash training is very essential part of overall pet discipline. Also, since
the animals have the natural instinct of roaming freely in the wild, they need
to be taken out on regular walks, in order to maintain their physical balance.
And when pets meet other strangers on the street, it should be trained not to
get anxious. Also leash training helps in ensuring that the pet is not lost or
stolen when you take it for a walk or to market.

Operant Conditioning and Pet Training

The species of the animals, their history, and their upbringing plays a vital
role in personality development of the pet. The characteristic of a specific
species cannot be generalized, although some habits can be common. It is
therefore recommended that the characteristic of the individual animal should
be studied before designing the training plan for it. But some basic principles
can be applied along with the designed training plan. The training plan can be
equipped with training equipments, reference training book, etc.

Operant condition is the most important and basic thing to concentrate upon
during training. Operant condition explains the effect of the training
technique on the behavior of the animal. For example, the pet will understand
that if he uses the litter box properly it will get a treat. And he can avoid a
punishment by not jumping on a sleeping person in the middle of the night. A
human learns that if he works hard, he will be able to get good grades and if
he touches the flame of a burning candle he will burn himself. All these are
example of the outcome of operant conditioning.

The categories of operant conditioning are reinforcement and punishment.
Reinforcement is the repeated force of behavior out of the animal using
something. They are repetitive behavior, which can be positive or negative.
Punishment is the consequence of a bad behavior, which shouldn't be repeated
again. Punishments can be either negative or positive, but they help to
decrease the repetition of the behavior. They can be further divided as
positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative reinforcement and
negative punishment.

Good behaviors are behaviors, which should be repeated again and again. And the
result of the good behavior should also be good, which is known as a reward. For
example, if the dog does an expected action upon hearing the command, it knows
that it will get a treat as a reward in return. If the animal doesn't pounce on
the human and instead pounces on the toy, it should be rewarded with a pat or a
hug. All these are known as positive enforcements.

Negative enforcements are repeated behaviors, which will stop something bad or
which will help in getting rid of something. This term should not be confused
with punishment. For example, if a dog is trained to bark upon sighting a
stranger in the house, it will make the intruder run away, this is negative
enforcement. The subject does something so as to stop the occurrence of
something unpleasant.

Positive punishment is given when the animal does something bad very rarely
which results in something undesirable. Since the animal is punished, the
animal will learn from it and there will be lesser chance of repetition. For
example, if the puppy is sprayed with water when it pounces on the human, this
is positive punishment. The puppy will foresee the punishment before pouncing
again.

When the animal does something and something good is snatched away from it,
this is known as negative punishment. For example if the dog tries to snatch
the food right out of the hand of the owner, it will not get any food.

These basic principles depict the learning traits of the animals. Based on
these training techniques are developed. The owners can develop unique training
programs for each of their pets, individually.

How Do Dogs Communicate?

Dogs are one of the intelligent animals among the domestic pets. They have the
ability to communicate with humans, other dogs and even other animals. They do
this by using body signs and different vocals. The signs are made with the help
of body movement involving eyes, ears, eyebrows, head, mouth and tail. Different
vocals include barks, howls, growls, whimpers and whines. Dogs do gestures whose
meaning can change depending on the situation. Like if a dog pants, it can mean
that the dog is feeling hot or the dog is happy or anxious.

Confident and higher ranked dogs have a high held tail. Dogs have the feeling
of submission and dominance in them. This is because the dogs live in packs, in
the wild. They have hierarchy within the group. The weaker dogs submit
themselves to the stronger dog. That is the reason why dogs lower their tail
when they feel insecure. When the dogs fight for dominance, the fur on their
tail stands up. They and even other animals, do this to increase their size in
front of their enemy.

When the dog is in a confused situation, it wags its tail slowly. They are in a
process of figuring out whether they should accept the situation or time or
else, they have still not accepted the situation completely, but are in the
process. Excited dogs wag their tails very fast. If the hip moves along with
the tail, it means the dog is ready for submission to a dog of higher rank.

When the dogs get aggressive they show their fangs. If the teeth are visible,
it indicates that the dog is ready to bite or attack. They also show teeth when
they smile and this is an indication of submissiveness. Observing the number of
teeth on display can differentiate a smile. Smile reveals only the front teeth,
but when the dog snarls, all his teeth and gums can be seen. Ears are good
indication about the attention levels of the dog. When the ears are erect and
forward facing, means the dog is concentrating. But when the dog fears
something, it lays down its ears. Some dogs hold the ears in forward and
horizontal direction when they are happy.

In majority of the cases, barking is done to scare away stranger and to make
the owner aware of an intruder. They also tend to bark while they are playing.
They use to even convey emotions such as pleasure, fear, stress and suspicion.
When the dog is excited or is playing, the barks are sharp and short. When they
are stressed out or anxious, they bark repeatedly in a high pitch tone. They
also bark to communicate with other animals such as cat, deer, squirrel, fox
and other dogs. But the sound of barking is different.

Growling is done to threaten or to show superiority. Dogs howl when they make
long-range communication. A dog yawns when it is bored and needs to be left
alone. It also yawns when it is sleepy, stressed out or confused. When the dog
pants with a full open mouth, it is happy. When it pants with a slightly open
mouth, it needs to be played with. Dogs lift one forelimb up, when it wants to
play. It will stamp its front limbs when it is excited. They scratch objects
they want. Domestic dogs are trained for handshake, like human beings. They
hold out a paw forward and exchange a handshake. If the dog tilts it's head in
a particular direction, it means that it is trying to concentrate and recognize
an unfamiliar sound.

Dog Shows

Dog shows, breed shows or conformation shows are competitions where the judges
examine dogs of a specific breed or sometimes dogs of all breeds, to see
whether it meets the breed standards or not. Kennel clubs and breed clubs
conduct such kinds of shows. Shows where only specific breeds are examined are
known as specialty show.

The standards are set prior to the show by the judges of the show. During the
show, they choose dogs, which match the set standards. This task is extremely
difficult because the judgments made should be completely subjective. Not only
is one dog compared with the other, but the comparison of the dog to the
judge's image of an ideal dog which meet the breed standard almost perfectly.
The objective of each dog show is to select a winner dog, which matches the
breed standards.

The breed standard is jotted down in a long list, which is called a
conformation point. All the judges get together and frame the conformation
point. Conformation point can vary from one competition to another, but there
are certain requirements that are general. The fur is the most important
factor. The pet's color, pattern, length, type and quality are observed
carefully. The distribution, quality and quantity of the markings are observed.

Healthy skin with no pigmentation is also one of the important criterions. The
shape and color of the head is also taken into consideration. The general
attitude and temperament is noted down for each breed of dogs. The jaw-line and
the structure of the teeth and how they align when the jaw is closed are
compared. Shape and color of the eyes and shape and set of the ears are
observed. The sizes and the ratio of the length and height are also compared.
The style of walking and gait is compared. The shape of the tail and feet are
closely observed. The dogs, which enter such competition, should be well
groomed. Some even check for skin wrinkles and measure the flews. The name of
each participating dog should be registered. Every dog's name is attached with
the breeder's kennel name. Every dog can have a registered name as well as a
call name. The kennel club uses the registered name and the owner to refer to
the pet uses the call name.

There are many dog shows conducted on various levels. There are local shows and
national shows, which attract competitors from different parts of the country.
Usually dog shows are hierarchical competitions. The winners earn certain
points in each show and each level, which makes them eligible for the next
show. And the dog which wins shows that are at the highest level is declared as
a champion. 'Ch.', for example Ch. Tony, appends the dog's name. Such shows are
called as prestigious shows.

These shows allow pets, which have already won championship in other shows.
These shows aim to choose the best in the breed. Such shows make the reputation
of the dog, breeder and kennel higher. The price of the puppies of that
particular dog is sold for a surprisingly high price. This is because other
people want to buy a pet, which resembles the champion. The popularity of the
breed increases rapidly. There are two such prestigious shows, The Crufts in
the United Kingdom and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the United
States.

Keeping Cats as Pets

Cats are low maintenance pets when compared to many other domestic pets. They
are also attention seekers. They like to get lots of affection from their
owners. If all the family members work full time, another cat should be brought
in the family so as to provide company for the first one. Especially, young cats
should not be left alone for long periods as that will affect the psychological
growth of animal. Cats can also get bored easily. They always want a companion
to play with.

Cats should be left outside. They are very inquisitive by nature and like to
wander outdoors. Cats, which are kept indoors, develop obesity and tend to eat
more out of boredom. But according to a research, cats that are kept indoors
all their life have a longer life span. This is because they are not at all
exposed to germs, dogs, cars, or other cats, which can harm them when living in
wild habitat. Cats shouldn't be let out unsupervised. Before doing so, the
dangers should be evaluated. Some cats even go into the neighbor's plot and dig
out soil or flowerpots. They can even litter and the owner can be fined for that.

Cats that are allowed outside frequently should be checked regularly for any
injuries or scratches. They can even receive bites from stray cats, if they get
into a fight. The injuries should be treated immediately otherwise the infection
can spread to other areas of the body and become dangerous. Cats, which have
been declawed or have some kind of disability, should never be allowed to go
outside alone. An individual should always accompany the cat, since they have
lost their weapons of natural defense, they cannot protect themselves in case
of an attack.

Cats are carnivorous and need high amount of proteins that too from meat.
Commercial food is available in the market, which can be given to the cat, with
consultation from a veterinary. There are many diets designed for them depending
on the needs of the individual cat. Along with food, water should be available
to them all the time. Cats that have long hair need to be groomed everyday to
avoid the hair getting matted. Cats with short hair can be brushed once a week
to remove shedding hair.

Before a cat is bought as pet, they should be vaccinated and neutered. Cats
that aren't neutered show some behavioral problems. Cats that are weaned are
the best choice. But cats that are as young as one day or one month old should
be cared off otherwise their health will be endangered. The young ones need to
be fed every four hours and should be kept warm. Cats whether big or small are
fond of warmth and that is the reason why they cuddle up and sleep.

The kitten must be taken to the vet when it turns two weeks old. They should be
given their first shots and even checked for parasites. Booster shots should be
given to them from time to time. Litter box training can be given to them when
they grow two weeks old, because young cats learn really fast and easily. A
small box can be filled with litter at first. Whenever the kitten starts
scratching the surface, it can be left in the box and that is how it will
understand that it has to use the litter box when nature call comes.

A problem for many of the cat owners is that they scratch the furniture around
the house. They do it to sharpen their claws and they even react to the owner's
scent coming from the furniture. The cats, which are made to stay indoors most
of the times, develop this problem as the cats which live outdoors most of the
time can claw on tree bark, fence, etc. Cats that have this problem can be
provided with a scratching post or even with a log of wood. Cats get really
attached to the family members. The more it is fondled and played with, the
easier it is train, put in crate, give medicines, etc.

Declawing Cats

Declawing is a surgical procedure involving removal of claws and should not be
mistaken for pedicure. Declawing puts the pet in great pain not only during the
surgery but also after it. Although it is practiced widely in many countries, it
is still considered as an unnecessary mutilation and is illegal in some
countries. Another drawback is that this surgical procedure isn't reversible.

Before getting this surgery, owners should understand many aspects of it. The
claw is very different from a toenail as it is attached to the bone. The last
bone and the joint are removed along with the claw, during declawing. Nature
has designed the body in a way such that everything is used to balance its
movement, agility and grace. The main purpose of claws is to defend an enemy
and to get proper grip while walking. By amputating the joint, the whole walk
is altered. Other than walking, even other behaviors like eating, hunting,
grip, etc. also gets changed. They can no longer enjoy climbing trees and tall
objects which also means that they cannot jump from heights. Declawing changes
the life of a cat. Some owners have even sworn that the whole personality of
the animal is changed after the procedure. Although medical science hasn't
reported any side effects, but there are physical and emotional complications
in the animal. The recovery is also full of pain and the pet can aggravate the
situation by walking and scratching the litter box.

Unlike other animals that walk on their paws, cats step on their toes. And when
the last bone and joint are imputed, the animal steps on its hind quarter, which
can make them lose balance. The shift of weight can also affect the front
quarter muscles. The imbalance can be very disturbing for the cat. Some cats
even develop secondary contracture of the tendons. Claws are the primary
defense for animals. When they loose the claws, they do not go outside a lot
because of the possible threats and the feeling of insecurity. And even if they
do, there are chances that they will hurt themselves or even get lost. It will
develop a tendency of biting. It can get distressed and not only bite strangers
but also familiar people and even owners.

As a natural instinct, cats have a tendency to scratch after they pass urine or
stool. When the claws are missing, they get an uneasy feeling, making them to
pass on rugs, soft furniture and filling the house with odor. Another thing
which actually aids this habit is the fact that it experiences pain when it
scratches the hard litter box, so it will choose to do it on a softer surface.

There are many options to declawing. Firstly, the owner should understand that
scratching is a natural instinct of cats. The act of scratching is nothing but
exercise for the animal. It exercises the front quarter muscles and they also
gain pleasure out of the whole act. Nail caps are available in the market,
which need to be filled with adhesive and slipped on the claw. The structure of
these nail caps is very soft and animals can hardly feel the foreign object. The
home furniture can be saved from further cat scratches. The claws can also be
trimmed, but it should be done carefully. Only the tips should be clipped and
not the whole claw especially the opaque part, as those are the tissues and
cutting them can lead to bleeding and pain. In the market, many different types
of nail trimmers are available depending on the animal and its size. Before
trimming the claws, the animal must be made comfortable by massaging its paws
so as to not to raise suspicion.

Also the animal can be provided with a scratching post and there are many
options available at the local pet stores. But the animal should be trained to
use it and it should be done from an early age. Usually animals like rough
surfaces which it can shred to pieces. A tree stump can do a great job, but
scratch posts are available with a familiar texture.

Insurance for Pets

Insurance is taken for pets to cut down on the veterinary costs, especially in
case of an accident or when the pet is ill. Other than this, insurance is also
available to pay incase the animal is stolen, lost or dead. Insurance is a
must, especially in a situation where the condition is serious and the money is
less. Such unexpected conditions are known as economic euthanasia. Veterinary
expenditure is extremely huge and the bill is really big which might not be
easy to pay.

Since pets are being adopted on a large scale and the cost of veterinary
medicine are increasing by the day, more and more pet owners are now opting for
pet insurance. There are insurances with different policies and schemes. Some of
them pay the complete amount, while the others pay a partial amount. In the
United Kingdom, majority of the pet insurance pay the complete amount and in
United States, pet insurances pay only eighty percent of the fees. In case of
an injury or illness, apart from taking care of vet fees, other expenses such
as prescription medicines, surgery, and lab tests are also dealt with.

Usually, the pet owners pay the vets their fees and then send a claim form to
the insurance company, who then sends back the reimbursed amount. But if the
bill is very big, some vets also give the leniency of paying the fees after the
money has been claimed from the insurance company. Some insurance companies have
policies wherein the vet is paid directly, if it is according to the vet
agreement. Such types of pet insurance are known as Direct Line Pet Insurance.

Most of the pet insurances do not pay for preventative veterinary care and
elective veterinary care, for example vaccination, neutering and declawing.
They pay for unseen costs and these costs are already known in advance. But now
some insurance policies are reimbursing for routine care treatments such as
annual teeth cleaning. Insurance cannot be also bought for an already existing
medical condition. If the pet is already sick, the insurance policy will
certainly not cover it. So the best time to buy a pet insurance for the animal
is when it is young and free of any kind of illness.

Other than health issues, pet insurances exists which give money for boarding
cost. In case, if the animal is lost, the insurance company pays for finding
the animal as well as it pays for the reward after the pet has been found. Some
insurance policies even pay money if the owner has cancelled a trip because of
the pet's ill health or if the pet has died.

Third party liability insurance is also available. Suppose if the pet is the
reason of a car accident, in which one car damages other car, insurance
companies do pay for the repair of the damage car. Global Pet Insurance is
tailored pet insurance plan, where the pet owner can select desirable plans.

Every insurance company has a different plan. Before deciding over a particular
insurance policy, all the other available policies in the market should be
studied carefully. Some policies give a list of selected vets, while others
give the freedom of choosing any vet from the trade. Pet insurance can be
bought for dogs, cats, birds, apes and many other exotic animals.

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Pet sitters are like baby sitters, who are employed to take care of a pet
within the home. Usually, pet owners hire them on a contract basis when they go
out on vacations. They can also be employed for a short duration like for an
evening. The advantage of hiring a pet sitter is that the pet is taken care of
within its environment.

The problem faced by segregating the pet out of its environment is that they
become stressed out. In case of travelling before reaching the new owner they
can also experience travel trauma. Vaccinations are administered to the pet
after studying their lifestyle. Chances are that they can become ill because of
exposure to parasites, as that situation wasn't considered during the time of
vaccination.

It is a very good idea to conduct a pet sitter interview, before hiring them
for the job. The interview can be arranged on phone or in person. It is better
if the interview is taken at home as the ability of the pet sitter can be
tested with the pet. The pet sitters should be qualified and must have
completed an educational coursework. The coursework should include pet care,
nutrition and health along with business and office procedures. It is a bonus
if they have taken care of animals similar to the pet you have before because
not all pet sitters can take care of all types of pets. Every pet sitter is
specialized with certain types of pets. It is very rare that a pet sitter has
knowledge about all kinds of pets. They should have good experience in the pet
care industry.

The pet sitter should also be insured or bonded in case of accidents. The
insurance card and coverage should be checked out for this purpose. They can
even be asked for references. The pet owners, whom they have worked with
earlier can provide clear picture. The payment terms should also be discussed
beforehand.

The pet sitter looks after the food and water needs of the animal. They
maintain the normal routine of the animal. They also give medicines to the pet,
if it is on medication. Some even provide special services such as injecting
insulin; administering subcutaneous fluids, and checking blood pressure and
glucose levels. In such cases, the knowledge of the pet sitter should be
assessed with the vet of the pet.

Some pet sitters also provide pet walking services. This service is availed by
people who are old or are having some kind of disability and are not able to
provide the adequate exercise to their pet. They also drive the pet to the vet,
groomer or trainer. Pet sitters also pick up pet supplies such as food and
medicines. All the additional services are optional and not provided by all pet
sitters. They also play with the pet and maintain the litter box.

Pets such as dogs, cats, snakes, rabbits, ferrets, lizards, guinea pig, fish,
and hamsters can be having a complete stranger also as a pet sitter. But some
of the exotic animals are very fussy and shy. They accept pet sitters whom they
are familiar with. In such cases, pet owners must try to develop familiarity
between the pet and the pet sitter beforehand, in their presence. The most
common method of bonding with the animal is by bottle feeding them. After the
initial bond is formed, the pet can be left alone with the baby sitter.

Selecting a Vet for your Pet

The best proven method to select a veterinarian is to visit one and then
decide. A prior appointment should be taken and the staff should be informed
before bringing the pet along. A little bit of information can be also taken on
the phone about the profile of the veterinarian. The owner can even ask to talk
with the veterinarian directly, and if he is busy doing a surgery, a message
can be left to contact back. Another good method is to consult other friends
who are pet owners. Since they will already be having more experience in this
regard, they can be of good help. If there isn't familiarity with such people
the local humane society, catteries and kennels can be contacted. Sometimes the
price can be a problem for many people. Such people can approach veterinarians
who are working in a blue collar locality.

Veterinarians are people who usually are very compassionate about pets. But
some of them can lack communication skills in spite of being highly qualified,
but they still will be specialized in their fields. A good veterinarian would
stand close to the owner, like less than three feet. He will maintain constant
eye contact and will address the pet by its name. While talking, he will smile
and run his fingers through the fur of the pet. Disinterest and hurrying to
finish the examination are bad indications. And if the veterinarian is really
busy, it is better to opt for a veterinarian who can give more time.

The interiors of the office are another clue about the veterinarian's nature.
The office should be clean and odor free. The waiting room can also give lots
of input about the vet. Flyers and displays can divulge whether the
veterinarian is part of any community and social organizations. Notices which
say that payment is supposed to be paid after examination and fine will be
placed if appointment is not cancelled before hand aren't good indications. In
the examination room, the equipments and instruments should be disinfected and
organized neatly. The selection of staff also should be observed as the
veterinarian will select staff which has similar nature as his. If the
receptionist doesn't talks well, so will the veterinarian. Not only should the
talking be good, but she should have a good attitude. She should look up when a
person enters the room and give him a smile. Her telephone conversation can also
say a lot of things. The number of staff members should also be considered. If
there is a larger staff, it shows that the veterinarian is really busy and
cannot give adequate time to the owner and his pet.

After the veterinarian is chosen, the next step should be bond creation.
Appointments can be taken for routine physical examination which can give time
to interact with the veterinarian and knows about the pet in depth. Emergency
visit leaves very little time for in depth communication. It is always
recommended to bring in only one pet at a time and not the whole lot.
Otherwise, the veterinarian won't be able to give individual and detailed
attention to one animal.

Mornings are the best time to get appointments as the veterinarian will be
having lots of free time on hand with less number of patients to see at that
time. Another thing to be kept in mind is that a family member should accompany
the pet who is more informed and usually makes visits to the veterinarian. He or
she should be familiar with the history of the animal; otherwise it can create
great confusion. This family member can maintain his own personal log and can
note down questions about the pet prior to the appointment. Before going ahead
with the treatment, the estimated cost should be discussed with the staff and
the vet.

It is a very good idea to get the pet examined by the vet before deciding to
buy it. Appointment can be made with the vet and seller. The vet can not only
determine the health conditions, but also the nature of the pet. This is a
great help which can facilitate owner's decision.

Sports Pet

Many animals are adopted and trained for the purpose of participating in
sports. The animal can be completely or partially involved in the sport they
are trained for. The most popular sports animals are dogs and horses. Some
sports called the blood sports also exist which are very harsh and they put the
life of the animal at risk. Many organizations are against such kind of cruelty
and also it is against the law in many countries.

Animals were first domesticated for the purpose of hunting in the beginning.
This necessity later turned into a sport, but the animals were still involved.
This sport was meant for the rich people and the royal family, in the medieval
period. Hunters rode horses and dogs accompanied them. The sport was sometimes
dangerous when lions and other exotic animals were hunted. While the horses
chased the animal, the dogs and hounds were trained to actually attack the
animal. But now hunting is banned in almost all the countries.

The most common sports involving pets is horse riding. In some events a human
rider mounts the horse and in others the horse competes without the human
being. This modern sport is a derivative of the chariot race which was held in
the Roman and ancient Greek times. Dogsled racing is another racing event
involving dogs. It is a timed winter sport, where dogs are tied to sledges,
which pull it, while the driver stands on the sledge. They need to run on a
marked course and whichever team finishes first is declared as the winner.

Greyhound racing is also another animal sport. Actually, in the 1800s,
greyhounds were brought from Europe to the United States to control the
increasing hare population. Breeders then thought of involving this animal in
racing and hence, this was how greyhound racing started. Also, there are camel
races involving camels. But this race is sometimes objected because the riders
in such races are small kids. Pigeon racing is a not so popular sport,
involving trained racing pigeons. The pigeons are taken away from their loft
and then they are made to race. Whoever reaches the home first wins the race.
Beatle races are also popular in Asia.

Jousting sport was developed in the fourteen century, where knights ride on the
back of the horse and compete with each other. Horses are also trained for the
sport polo. There are two teams, which compete with each other. The competitor
rides the horse and at the same time hits the ball with the help of mallets.
The team, which makes the highest score, is the winning team. As the start of
the twentieth century, polo involved elephants and it was considered as a royal
sport back then. Pole bending involves a horse and a horse rider. The horse has
to run on a serpentine path, which has six poles in one line. If the horse
knocks down any of the pole, the rider and the horse are immediately
disqualified.

Show jumping also involves horses. The horse has to jump over fences with the
jockey on their back. Horse ballet is another sport involving horses. Dogs are
given training to participate in sports such as dog agility, and sheepdog
trails. Dogs also participate in dog shows. It is a competition where dogs of
certain breed compete with each other. Things such as looks, intelligence,
grace, etc, of the individual dog are considered. Sports involving animals,
which are cruel are bullfighting, camel wrestling, cockfighting, and cow
fighting.

Mellowing down a Wild Pet

Orphaned animals which have been rescued from the wild will have wild natural
instincts, no matter what their age is. Even when they play, it's rough which
involves lots of biting and clawing. The same is true with exotic pets. They
will have a more wild side when compared to the domestic ones. It would be
unfair to generalize this principle for all, but it is true in most of the
cases. The biggest challenge faced by the new owner will be limit the usage of
teeth and claws by the pet. Teeth are the more dangerous of the two, because
wild and exotic pets bite really hard, even while playing, until they aren't
given proper training. Even if the owner tries to pat the pet, it will show its
affection by biting. The owner must not consider this act as an aggressive one,
but it should be amended in early stages otherwise this habit will turn into a
permanent one.

The owner must never consider declawing, defanging as the first resort or even
as the last resort. The pet undergoes a lot of pain during and after the
surgery. Many owners swear that their pets had undergone total personality
change after declawing. They also turn violent as their means of natural
defense is lost. And no quantity and quality of training can undo this
negativity. Also, it certainly doesn't mean that the animal will not bite after
its canines have been removed. Even after defanging the animal, it can still
bite and hurt with its molars.

A very easy and recognized method is slightly tapping on the nose of the pet
when it bites really hard. But this won't apply to all and worst of all it can
even encourage the animal to bite even more. They take it as a challenge and
make more rough play. It will back off for a while and then sneak attack. But
it does work for some pet owners and above all there is no harm in practicing
this technique. It should only be practiced till the positive outcome is
achieved. If negative results begin to come, the practice should be stopped
immediately. Whenever the pet bites, hold that body part still. This will bore
the cat and it will treat it like a toy to play with.

When the pet prepares to attack, another easier thing which can be done is
raising up the hands. The pet will bounce off and will give up at some time,
seeing the disinterest of the person. But it would be a mistake to over react
to the situation like making noises, yelling or pushing the pet. The pet will
assume that the person is enjoying the play and participating in the act and
will increase its enthusiasm even more. Animals play rough games and getting a
rough response from the owner makes them assume that they are participating in
their rough act. Other tactics like pinning down the pet or grabbing will just
aggravate the pet's wild habits.

Biting can also be stopped by giving a toy to the animal which they can chew
upon instead of hurting the family members by pouncing on and biting them. Most
of them like toys which are squishy, rubbery, soft and easily chewable. The toy
can then be tied to a rope and wiggled and the animal cannot only pounce on it
but also chew it. The toy can be carried along all the time and when the pet
prepares to attack any family member, the toy can be wiggled at him and he will
pounce on the toy instead. But extra care to be taken in this regard is that
some animals can tear up the toy and eat it. Those pieces can block up their
intestines which can make them ill and sometimes might even lead to death. The
animal will sometimes vomit or excrete the foreign objects, but sometimes it
will require an expensive surgery. Pets should be constantly supervised when
they are playing with toys.




Giving Crate Training to your Pet

Crate training can be very difficult as the first feeling of the pet towards it
will be loathsome. One of the reasons is that the animal's movement becomes very
restricted. Pets which are kept in a crate, will also find it difficult as the
size will be even more limited when compared to the cage. Things will be even
more complicated for pets which are habituated to roam freely in the home and
as well as outside, like in a back yard.

In this case, experts suggest classical conditioning. This approach consists of
counter-conditioning and desensitizing. The cat must be made familiar with the
environment within the crate. This is known as desensitization. And to alter
the pet's negative attitude to a positive one is known as counter-conditioning.

A very simple method is to place the crate in or near the pet's living
quarters. At meal time, the food must be placed inside the crate, so that the
pet will go inside the crate to eat the food. If the pet seems hesitant, the
door of the crate can be left open with the food placed inside the crate. There
are chances that the animal will go inside and eat it after some time. And if
the pet doesn't eat food even after many hours, the owner must remove the food
from the crate and feed the pet near the crate. Gradually the distance between
the crate and the food must be decreased, finally till the pet starts eating
the food inside the crate. Also when the animal starts entering the crate
willingly, the care taker must try to use a cue word when he places the food
inside the crate. Words such as 'crate', 'food' or 'come in' can be used while
opening the door of the crate to place the food inside.

The pet can get scared that the owner might lock him up if it enters the crate.
If this is the case, the owner, after placing the food within the crate, should
leave that area and go far away. This way the pet will feel safer and
comfortable to approach the crate. Once the pet gets habituated to eat within
the crate, the owner must try to come closer at least by a foot every week,
till he can stand near the crate.

After the pet gets adjusted to all these, the next big step is to shut the door
of the crate, not altogether but for just a short period of time. Once the
animal gets familiar with this, place only small quantity of food inside the
crate and make him enter the crate in the presence of the owner. After it
enters the crate, the door must be locked with the pet inside. When the pet
finishes the food which was placed inside the crate, the rest of the food must
be fed through the crate bars. The pet will not only feel comfortable about
entering the crate but also being locked within it. In the beginning the food
must be fed immediately through the bars, at once. Then the food should be
divided and time gap should be given in between each feeding session. The gap
should be at least of five minutes or even more.

The pet can sometimes but very rare have a grudge against the material or size
of the crate. In such cases, the crate must simply be replaced with the choice
of the pet. Once the pet gets trained with food, it can also be provided with
toys inside the crate. The owner can use a toy to lead the pet near and then
inside the crate.

Pet Training and Classical Conditioning

The science of associating something with an activity is known as classical
conditioning. The best example is the experiment conducted by Pavlov. Whenever
he served food to his dog, he used to ring a bell. In the beginning, the dog
used to salivate by looking at the food. Later he began associating the bell
with the food and at a point of time, he used to salivate at the sound of the
bell. This doesn't mean that the actual noise of the ringing bell made him
salivate. The dog associated the ringing of the bell with the food and that
food or even the thought of it made him salivate.

Classical conditioning cannot actually make the dog to sit or jump at the
command, but it does change the way the pet feels about a particular situation
in which it is right now. Classical conditioning gives explanation about the
behavior relating to a particular place, object or event. It explains how the
emotional response is developed. The responses can be developed in the animal
either wontedly or by chance. Also the trainer must remember that the change in
the behavior is irreversible most of the times.

One of the most common behaviors dealt with in conditioned emotional response
is fear. The fear can be instinctive, learned or unknown. For example, if a cat
gets scared upon seeing a dog, this is instinctive fear. If the cat backs off
upon seeing a raised hand, this is learned fear. This can happen in the case of
an abused cat. If there is fear because of lack of exposure to a particular
situation before, this is known as fear of unknown.

The conditioned emotional responses, which are dislikeable, can be reduced with
the help of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning further has two
concepts namely desensitization and counter-conditioning. Desensitization is
reducing the sensitivity of the animal towards a particular unavoidable
situation. The bad situation is created again and again until the animal
becomes insensitive or doesn't feel about it any more. For example, if the
animal is given crate training, it is locked inside the crate again and again,
till he gets used to staying locked inside the cage.

In counter-conditioning the animal is exposed to a lower degree of extremity.
The intensity is less and as well a positive thing is presented to the animal.
By doing this pet begins to like the nasty situation. The pet is made to
respond in such a way, which contradicts the current or previous reaction. For
example, a pet doesn't like to be locked up in the crate all the time. But this
undesirable situation can be made to look pleasant if the pet is fed with a
treat from time to time as long as it stays calmly inside the cage.

Negative counter conditioning is another technique, but it is used very rarely.
For example, if the cat likes to bite the hand of the owner very frequently, the
person can rub something distasteful on the hand. When the animal bites the
hand, it will taste the distasteful substance and then associate the bad taste
with the hand and will not bite again, if done repeatedly.

Classical conditioning is used to alter the way of reaction of the animal in a
particular situation. With classical conditioning it can be made to like an
unpleasant situation and even dislike a pleasant condition.

Pet Allergies and their Causes

People can become allergic to pets because of proteins from animal hair, urine
or saliva. Pets which can cause allergies are dogs, cats, chicken, mice, rats,
cows, horses, hamsters, guinea pig and birds. Allergic reaction can attack the
respiratory system, eyes which can result in hay fever, urticaria, asthmatic
symptoms, eye symptoms or eczema.

Hay fever makes the patient develop itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezes.
Asthmatic symptoms are wheezing, prolonged expiration, rapid breathing, over
inflated chest, and fast heart rate. Urticaria, nettle rash, hives or uredo is
a skin condition where the skin develops raised red welts. They can appear on
any part of the body. The welt can badly itch, burn or even sting. Eye symptoms
include watering and itching of the eyes. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is an
atopic skin disease. Young children are more prone to getting this disease. The
skin becomes hypersensitive when the allergens touch the body parts and becomes
flaky and starts itching very badly. It also turns red and can also get further
affected with bacteria.

Allergens from pets are proteins. They either contact the skin directly or also
by breathing in. This contact triggers an allergic reaction and makes the body
to produce histamine. This histamine irritates and swells the airways, which
results in asthmatic symptoms and hay fever. The condition can worsen if the
person is exposed to tobacco smoke, polluted air, car fumes or environmental
allergens. Some people can also be allergic to the food the pet eats. The
allergy worsens when asthma worsens; symptoms include insomnia, cold, and ear
infections.

The allergens come from direct contact with an animal, or even from people who
have been in direct contact with the animal. In most of the cases, people are
allergic to pet because of hereditary reasons. Also kids having asthmatic
bronchitis and which grow with pets such as cats are more prone to be allergic
to cats as adults. Furless cats produce low allergens.

People allergic to pets should be extra careful when renting a new house. There
can be a possibility that the previous occupants have had pets. The allergens
present in the environment can trigger allergic reactions and it will take more
than a year to reduce the effect of the pet allergens. If a person suspects
allergic reactions because of pet allergens, they can test it by staying away
from home for more than two weeks. If the symptoms still continue, pet
allergens aren't responsible. Also a doctor should be contacted immediately who
can conduct test and diagnose the condition. Blood and skin tests should be
taken to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor can then prescribe medicine for
controlling the allergy. Patients can also take vaccination against the
allergen.

Pet owners should also participate to help other people with pet allergies.
They should bathe their pets regularly. They should be dried completely after
that. Researches have proved that monthly baths decreases the pet allergens in
the house. Guinea pigs and rabbits have allergens in their urine. These animals
should be shifted outside, if they have been living within the house.
Anti-allergen filters are also available in the market which helps to purify
the air of allergens. Pets should be strictly kept out of bedrooms so as to not
to be become pet allergen carriers, pet owner's can wash their hands soon after
contact with the animal.

Household Pets: Peafowl

Peafowl belongs to the Phasianidae Pheasant family. There are two species of
peafowl, the Green Peafowl and The Indian Peafowl. The Green peafowl is native
to Myanmar, Thailand, and China and the Indian Peafowl or blue peafowl is
native to India. The males, called Peacock, especially are famous for their
glamorous tail and the crown on their head. The females are known as Peahen and
are grey and brown in color.

Green peafowl are on the verge of extinction because of the massive hunting and
depletion of their natural habitat. They further have three subspecies called P.
M. muticus, P. M. imperator and P. muticus. Some breeders say that there are
more subspecies of Green Peafowl. Green fowls are more expensive as they are
not available on a large scale and they are very temperature sensitive. The
Indian peafowl are hardy and are less expensive. They are also famous with
breeders and are also found in North America.

When in full plumage, the tail of the peacock is a beautiful sight. It does
this to attract females and they also call out to the female in a unique vocal.
The feathers of the peacock are sold all over the world. The bird is also
fancied for its meat. But when turkeys were domesticated for meat, peacocks
were only kept as pets. They were kept as pets first in China and after few
years in Europe, as exotic pets. Peacocks have been symbol of pride and gook
luck for many.

Pet owners who have bought the peahen just because of their display of their
beautiful tail, they should certainly pair it with a peahen. In only that case
they will spread the tail. Peacock has a plumage or train which is green or
blue green colored. The Green peafowl have a plumage of more brilliant green
and golden color, but the upper feathers are short. The upper feathers are very
elongated and there are series of eyes which look very beautiful when the tail
is fanned. Peafowl are very easily to maintain. They do not develop diseases
easily because they have natural resistance to many diseases. But peafowl
certainly cannot be kept in extreme temperatures like below zero. They are
habituated to live in temperate climates. They should also be saved from
extreme heat exhaustion in hot months.

Peafowl are omnivorous and feed on mixed grains, flowers, green leafy
vegetables, and game bird crumbles. In the wild peafowl are known to hunt and
eat insects, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods. When on a healthy diet they
can live for many years. They usually are allowed to roam in an open garden.
For a healthier breeding, they should be given freedom of movement. They can be
even kept in pens with closed tops. In captivity, they need lots of room to roam
about, which is a kind of exercise for them. Another reason is that they are
inquisitive pets, so they need lots of space to kill their curiosity. The pen
can have facilities for warming and it should be insulated, incase if
temperature drop. Peafowl should be left on their own with minimum human
interference. They can be mixed with other poultry as they are very safe pets.
They do not attack any bird, animal or human. But cats and dogs can attack the
peafowl.

Peahen nests on the ground, although they stay on low raised braches most of
their lives. Peahens take care of the peachicks for only sometime after which
they drive them away. The peachicks can then be brought up in an electric
brooder like any other poultry. Because of their hardiness and intelligence,
when compared to other bird pets, they are very easy to be bred and raised.
Peafowl are also known as urban guard dogs because they make warning cries when
they see strangers approaching the premises. But their high pitched vocals can
sometimes be disturbing in a closely inhabited area.

Pets for Seniors and Physically Handicapped

As people get too old, they find it difficult to even do daily chores at home.
Such people especially, require a helping hand. Animals can be trained to
become great domestic help. Along with helping they also can provide great
companionship. The most preferable pets are dogs. Cats are kept as pets to
provide company to people like senior citizens who are stressed out or are
heart patients, blood pressure patients, so as to help them beat stress. Even
exotic pets such as capuchin monkeys are trained for this purpose. Not only are
they big help for senior citizens but as well as for the physically handicapped
such as blind people and quadriplegics.

Service dogs are dogs are specially trained dogs for patients with
disabilities. The hearing dog is a special kind of service dog which are
trained to help the hearing impaired and deaf people. They help by alerting the
disabled when it hears important sounds such as phone rings, doorbells, alarm
clocks and smoke alarms. They are of great help not only within the house, but
also outdoors. They alert the handler when someone calls out the person's name,
approaching sirens, and forklifts. Hearing dogs can be recognized by the bright
orange leash and collar they are made to wear. Sometimes they even wear a
jacket or a cape which can be of any color.

Some service dogs are also trained as mobility assistance dog to help a
physically handicapped person. They are trained to open and close doors, pick
up things, and even turn on and off the switches. Dogs with larger build are
also trained to pull patients in wheelchairs. They do this with the help of a
special harness which facilitates them to pull objects.

They are also trained as walker dogs, which are also nicknamed as living canes.
They help patients with Parkinson's disease and other disorders. They assist
their owners with the help of their gait and also provide balance while
walking. Incase the handler falls off, the dog helps to regain position by
acting as a brace. All kinds of mobility assistance dogs are allowed in areas
where pet aren't allowed, like in public places and transportations.

Dogs are also trained for assisting people with Type 1 diabetes. They are
service dogs trained to smell the odor changes in the body which helps to
determine hypoglycemia or low blood glucose. Another type of service dogs is
seizure response dog. They help patients with epilepsy or seizure disorder.
They help to seek help in case of emergency, block the handler with absence
seizures, pull dangerous objects away from the body, and wake up the
unconscious patient. They are also trained to use a pre-programmed phone. They
also provide physical and emotional support and also carry information about
the patient's medical condition.

Service dogs are also trained to help people with psychiatric disabilities such
as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder,
autism, and post traumatic stress disorder. They alert the handler to take
medicines, and also help people having hallucinations, paranoia or alerting
behaviors. They also act as a brace and help to retrieve objects. Dogs which
help the visually impaired people or blind people are known as guide dogs. They
help the handler to walk around obstacles. But the disadvantage here is that
dogs are partially color blind. They cannot see red and green color, so they
cannot help the blind with traffic signals. They even cannot be trained to
interpret street signs. Guide horses are also employed to help people who are
blind and who do not prefer guide dogs. The horses are miniature horses. Some
people prefer horses because they live longer than the dogs. Some are also
allergic or scared of dogs. But the advantage of keeping a guide dog is that
they can live within the house, but the horse needs to be kept in a barn. Also
horses cannot travel on public transportations like a dog.

Capuchin monkeys are also trained by some organizations. They help the
quadriplegics or patients who have paralysis in all their four limbs. Initially
they should be brought up with people with no disabilities and then after
reaching a certain age; they can be given intense training and then transferred
to the home of the quadriplegic. They can perform tasks such as opening bottles,
microwaving food and they even wash the face of their owner. They are also very
friendly animals and are safe for kids, too.

Pet Passport and P.E.T.S.

Pets require a passport when they travel from one country to another. The
passport has official information about the animal in picture. Pet Travel
Scheme or PETS, is a scheme which allows the easy obtainment of the pet
passport with out going through quarantine. The animal can easily travel
between member countries. Even the issue of passport is expedited through this
scheme. They issue passport for even transport of pets. Some of the member
countries are countries of the European Union along with the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has been famous for rabies control in the past and that is
the reason why they require six month quarantine period for imported animals.
PETS' scheme was introduced on October 1st, 2001. The scheme has also been
rolled out in countries like the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and
Canada. Pets travelling to countries other than the member countries require a
valid passport and rabies vaccination.

The pet passport has multiple forms which are in a small blur booklet or on
pink A4 sheet. The passport contains the tattoo number of the animal or a
microchip. A certification too is included, which has information about the
rabies vaccination, which is signed by a veterinary surgeon that is officially
approved. People usually confuse the passport with a purple colored small
folder which is a folder that has records of the pet's complete vaccination
history.

Some countries accept this passport alone and others ask for supporting
documentations relating to the procedure that needs to be followed. All the
documents are checked at the time of boarding and upon arrival, too. The pet
can only be taken as cargo or excess baggage and not as a checked baggage.

There are different requirements for different countries. The rules also differ
for import and export of the pets. But there are certain specifications which
are common. The pet should have a microchip implant beneath the skin. The chip
should be according to the ISOP specification. Also, there should be a rabies
vaccination certification. And there should be a proof that the vaccination is
working, this can be done by taking a blood serology test, which shows that the
pet is presently rabies free.

Some countries demand that the pet should be treated for fleas, tapeworms, and
ticks. It should be done within forty eight hours. The government
certifications are documents which have information about the export of the
animal. A letter should also be taken from the vet from whom they confirm the
pet's fitness for travelling. Each individual carrier also has their set of
regulations about the export and import of the animal.

Before travelling, the owner should thoroughly research the regulations of the
arrival and departure points. The destination's government website should be
checked out because some countries ask for separate certificates for proof, to
see whether the pet meets their requirements or not. The county's consulate
should also be contacted for details about the formal procedures. The travel
crate should also be approved prior to the travel. The crate should have the
appropriate food and water containers.

The owner can apply for the pet's passport soon after it gets the vaccination
certificate. If the rabies vaccination is out of date, the new vaccination must
be given, but this will delay the passport procedure. In some cases, booster
vaccination can also be given. While travelling, the pet shouldn't be sedated,
because heights can have an adverse affect on medication. Even most of the
carriers do not allow sedated animals. The charges of every carrier vary on the
type and size of the animal. Also, animals might not be taken by a particular
route because of adverse temperatures as that can risk the health of the
animal. The authorized travel route must be taken, in this case.

If the required documents are missing the pet will be refused entry o the owner
will be asked to put the pet for at least six months in quarantine.

Intestinal Blockages in Pets caused by Foreign Objects

Playful pets tend to eat a lot of things which they find it difficult to
digest. Sometimes these foreign objects can block their intestines and if
immediate action isn't taken it can even lead to death of the animal. Usually
in serious cases, the foreign object needs to be taken out surgically.

Animals such as dogs, cats, mouse, have the habit of chewing loose chords,
especially that of the computer. Other things which get chewed are plants, wool
strands, plastic bags, shoes, toys, purse straps, vinyl objects, leather
objects, baskets, furniture, and bed frames. Though prevention can be taken and
the house can be made pet proof, but still there are chances of such accidents.
Some animals either pass these objects through stool or vomit it out. Such
incidents can happen anytime and the animal cannot be lucky every time. The
objects can still remain in the body even after pooping and vomiting.

Vinyl and leather materials get stuck to the walls of the intestines. This
condition is hard to be determined immediately as the animal doesn't stop
breathing or starts feeling dizzy. But by close observation if it is noted that
the animal isn't eating properly as it used to before, doesn't excretes and lies
dull on the bed whole day long, means something fishy is going on. Since the
animal isn't in serious condition, the owners need not panic. An x-ray and a
blood test can explain the situation and the veterinarian can get a clear idea
of what to do. If the blood test comes out normal, it indicates that the animal
still has time on hand and the foreign object can be removed with the help of
some laxative. And if there is an indication of an infection in the blood, a
sonogram or a barium x-ray can be done. The very last resort is surgery, and
this should be done only when the animal refuses to eat anything. In situation
vomiting should be induced as this could aggravate the condition. If the animal
vomits by himself, it is good.

Heavy duty materials block the intestine completely. Other than blocking or
sticking to the walls of the intestines, some plants can also be toxic to the
animal. The owners can restrain from planting such plants in their yard or home
garden. Instead, most of the pets like to play in grass, so grass, especially
oat grass can be grown for the animal to enjoy. Plastic bags also pose a big
threat to the animal. But the rustling noise can make the plastic more
attractive and enjoyable for the pet. Objects made out of plastic such as
purses, wraps, and purses should be kept out of reach. Another precaution that
can be taken is that the objects which the animals enjoy chewing can be made
unattractive by spraying with bitter apple spray. They can be even cleaned with
a disinfectant with a strong odor but be careful the type of disinfectant you
use as they can be poisonous too to our pet.

Most of the pet owners do not buy leather product such as shoes and purses any
more as they are expensive and get easily ruined by pet's chewing them. Shoes
can be stored in high shoe racks, drawers, chest or even better, in walk -- in
closets, along with the purses. Some pets do not watch where they are going.
There are chances that they walk straight into the objects. If objects made out
of glass fall from a height, it will immediately break into pieces. This is the
most dangerous, because if consumed can lead to on the spot death. The broken
glass pieces can wound the organs internally, which can lead to sever bleeding.

Even if the animal undergoes the surgery, it would still take him a lot of time
to recover from it. Along with the expensive surgical procedure, comes pain.
Various pet owners deal with the situation in their own way and no one way is
recommended as the official one. But the best way is to immediately rush the
pet to a veterinarian who has a good experience treating animals similar to
your pet.

Finding lost Pets

Different species of animals behave differently when they are lost and also in
most of the situations, owners also panic and search frantically all over the
place. What people don't realize is that they shouldn't take any action in
haste but should put in some thinking. And in such critical situations, time
cannot be wasted. If smart tactics are used, the animal will itself come
walking to the owner.

The first thing to do is to call out the name of the animal very loudly.
Usually the owners call out the name of the animal at meal times. So the pet
will associate the name calling with food and will come out of the hiding for
food if they are in vicinity. Also, the dry food treats, which are given to the
animal, can be put in a can and covered with a lid. Then the can should be
rattled. Hearing the noise the pet will come rushing to have the treat, no
matter where they are hiding. They will get tempted to have their treat. This
technique is also known as conditioning response and is very effective.

Very rarely will a pet come out of the hiding in broad daylight. The owners
must wait till dusk and then start the search of the animal in the
neighborhood. But they should not waste time during the day and it should be
utilized to inform the law enforcement about the present situation, because in
most of the states, it is a must to report a lost animal within an hour. And if
this time limit is crossed the owner can be heavily penalized and even get
arrested. All the legal requirements should be documented and all the names of
the involved people should be noted down. This will help in providing a proof
later.

Portable torch or spotlight can be used to search around at night. This is also
an effective technique because the animal will be looking straight at the human
and also its eyes will reflect the light and shine in the dark. If the animal
has escaped from the premises, every house in the neighborhood should be
knocked and people should be shown pictures of the pet. Also, contact
information should be left in case if they find the pet they can contact you.
There can be a great possibility of someone spotting the animal. And if someone
does see the animal, it will give the direction in which the animal is
proceeding.

The animal can be in big risk if it declawed or de-fanged. It will not have the
basic means of self-defense. If in a dense area, it will hide till dark and then
wander around in the night. Also the animal cannot hunt for food, it will be
very hungry and tired. Again here the rattling of the can with dry food can do
the trick. Even its favorite toy, which makes noise, can be used. Any familiar
sound will encourage the animal to come out of the hiding. The recognition of
the rattling of the can and noise of a toy should be part of the training,
which will be useful in such situations. In fact, the animal should be made to
hear this sound everyday. But a person should carry out this practice, which is
close to the pet. The same person should try this trick when the animal is lost,
as the pet will not come to an unknown person.

Even after all these efforts, the pet isn't found; flyers should be distributed
in the neighborhood. The flyer should have a picture of the pet, its
description, owner's contact information and a reward if any. The idea of the
reward, even if it a small amount, will catch the attention of many and some
might even become proactive members of the search team. If budget allows, do
print the flyer in color, as the picture will be more easily recognizable. It
is very important to mention that if any one sees the animal, do not try to
catch it, instead the owners must be contacted immediately.

Also, medium sized boards similar to advertising boards can be put up within a
radius of two miles. The words 'lost pet' and telephone number should be
written in big and bold font. Other details can be written in smaller font.
When the animal is found, the signs should be saved for future use.

Animal Languages

Animals to communicate with humans use animal language. The animal language is
a modified version of early human language itself only that animals lack
complexity and are less expressive. Great ape language is a means to
communicate among apes such as bonobos, orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.
Humans communicate with these animals using sign language, lexigrams, yerkish
and physical tokens. Jacques Vauclair, Francine Patterson and David Premack are
well-known researchers in great ape language.

Humans have used sign language since a very long time. One of the important
sign language used by humans is American Sign Language. Animals also use signs
to express their feelings and for communication sake. Vocabulary words have
been taken from American Sign Language to communicate with the apes. Lexigrams
are symbols, which represent something. The symbols are laid down on a flat
board called the lexigram board. The lexigram board has three panels with three
hundred and eighty four keys. These boards are especially used to communicate
with chimpanzees and bonobos. Yerkish also involves keyboard with punch keys,
which have the lexigram symbols. It is actually an artificial language.
Computer keyboards are also used to aid animals as most of them can be easily
trained for keyboard operation.

Plastic tokens are also used for communication with apes. The apes select a
specific token when they want to communicate something. The animal is given
training to select the right token. Tokens have symbols or pictures. Not all
the apes learn this method of communication properly. During the training, the
animal is made to learn by rewarding them upon an achievement.

Although animals lack vocal cords and speech organs like humans, some animals
have vocals of their own. Wild apes are known to talk to each other to make the
other aware of a possible danger. Animal language does not have discreteness
like human languages. In human languages, discrete units are combined together
to make a new word with a meaning. So signs or sounds, in animal language,
cannot be combined to form another sign or sound, which means something. But
researchers have proved it that the animal language does meet certain
requirements. But the validity is still disputed upon by many and that is the
reason why animal language hasn't been given the status of a true language.

People have questioned the practice of great ape language. The researchers try
to understand whether the usage of this language aid the animals to solve the
problem better. Also, whether the teaching experiences with a primate can be of
use when human children are taught. This is because, there is without doubt a
difference in the ability of the animal and a human, while they may be similar
at some level. Some say that the apes do not actually understand the language,
but instead do a clever trick to get a reward. Also some researches say that
the signed gesture do not make a grammatically right sentence. The
arbitrariness is sometimes missing, that is, there is no clear relationship
between the signs or sounds.

Many animals have behaviors, which is similar what we speak. They can
understand the language, they can also use it to reflect their thoughts and
communicate with a human. Other than primates, animals such as sea lions and
dolphins also use sign language and vocals to communicate with human.

Domestic Fish-keeping

Fishes are kept at home in aquariums and ponds. The hobby of fish keeping is
divided into brackish, saltwater, and freshwater fish keeping, out of which
freshwater fish keeping is the favorite. The fishes which are popular for fish
keeping are angelfish, goldfish and guppies. Different species of fishes can be
kept together and sometimes fishes of the same species are kept together for
breeding purpose. With breeders, the popular fish species are guppies, mollies,
catfish, killifish, cichlid, and characin.

Fish keeping was started centuries ago. At that time fishes were bred for food.
Also, due to religious reasons, fish was eaten on days when meat wasn't allowed.
The Chinese and Japanese traditions included fish keeping for food purposes. But
later the kings began keeping goldfishes and koi, because of their attractive
colors. They were kept in ponds and when guests used to arrive, the fishes were
shifted indoors in fish bowls. Romans were also known to keep lampreys in pools
with salt water. Ancient Egyptians kept fishes from Oxyrhynchus in temple pools.

Saltwater or marine fish keeping is more difficult and expensive. Usually
experienced fish keepers or aquarists are into this hobby. This is certainly
not for beginners. But it sure is very attractive with colorful and attractive
fishes along with different types of corals. Brackish fish keeping involves
both freshwater and saltwater fish keeping, because the salinity of the water
is in between that of seawater and freshwater.

Fish keepers which are into this hobby also focus on the aquatic plants. Some
hardcore aquarists even attempt to grow coral reef with the help of living
rock, worms, and calcareous rocks with algae growth, sponges, and worms. When
the corals begin to grow echinoderms, crabs, mollusks, and shrimps are also
added to the aquariums, which are also called as reef tanks.

The aquarium should have ecology which is similar to the natural habitat of the
occupant fishes. This is an extremely difficult task. Also, it is important to
maintain the predator prey relationship balance. Also more than the volume of
the water, the surface volume is important. This is because, more the surface
volume, more the oxygen levels in the water. Air pumps also are used to
increase the dissolved oxygen in the water. This is part of the nutrient cycle,
which should be maintained and controlled for the well-fare of the fishes.
Larger aquariums are more preferable and they make things easier, for example
the event effects are diluted easily and the systemic shock is absorbed well.

Other factors to be controlled are nitrogen cycle, dissolved gases and balanced
food supply. The salinity of the water should be checked regularly depending of
the aquaria being maintained. The pH level should be checked to test the acidic
nature of the water. For freshwater aquarium, most of the aquarist use tap
water, which is a mistake as it contains chlorine. Chloramines should be used
in tap water to make it chlorine free.

Depending on temperature, the aquarium can be differentiated to have tropical
and cold water. For tropical aquarium, the water should be warm and the
temperature should be nearly seventy-seven degree Fahrenheit. For cold water
aquarium, the water temperature should be less than room temperature. For this
purpose, a refrigeration device called chiller can be used.

Plants and certain organisms can be introduced in the aquarium which
metabolizes the waste, especially nitrogen. But more the number of organisms
added to the fish tank, the more difficult it is to maintain. The needs of all
the aquatic organisms must be considered. Introducing many types of species in
an aquarium is known as biological loading. Two important factors should be
considered which include filtration process and oxygen levels. Aquarists
interested in fish breeding should be more careful. Firstly, they shouldn't mix
many types of fishes together. They should also develop special conditions
called spawning triggers for proper breeding.

Artificial ponds can be also made in the garden. It is very similar to
freshwater keeping, except that they are big and out in natural conditions.
Tropical fishes are a good choice for such garden ponds. But where the
temperatures are cold, goldfishes, orfe and koi are good options.

Goldfish Maintenance

Goldfishes were first among the fishes and also the most common fishes that
were kept as pets. They are popular because they are inexpensive and long
lasting. They can even survive in ponds covered with ice, until they have
sufficient supply of oxygen. Many types of goldfishes are available in the
market. Because of selective breeding, different types of goldfishes are
available which differ in color, shape, eye and fin configuration. Some of
these fishes cannot survive in the wild and must be kept only in the aquarium.
This is because of their attractive colors. Thanks to mixed breeding, the body
of some fishes have been modified which is an obstruction in natural breeding.
Such kinds of fishes are hand bred, but this procedure is very risky and has to
be executed very carefully.

Goldfishes can be kept in aquarium with cold water. According to the popular
perception, goldfishes should have to be kept in goldfish bowl. But what people
do not realize is that the decreased water surface area provides lesser oxygen
to the fishes, which can result in difficulty in respiration. The fishes also
die very quickly because of ammonia or nitrite poisoning. Hence, goldfish bowls
have been banned in many countries. Also goldfishes that are kept in bowls have
a shorter lifespan. One medium sized goldfish need minimum of ten gallons of
water. Goldfishes intoxicate the water very quickly with their feces and the
chemicals released from their gills. The water should be cleaned regularly
otherwise the fishes can die in a short period. The water surface area should
be considered when introducing new fishes to the aquarium, because more the
water surface area, more the diffused oxygen. The water can also be aerated
with the help of filter or water pump. Goldfishes cannot survive sudden water
temperature shifts. This usually happens in winters, when the heating is turned
on.

The goldfishes shouldn't be touched because it would result in slimy coating on
its body coming out, which exposes the skin to bacterial infection. This is very
dangerous to the health of the fish. Goldfishes, when kept in dark will loose
their color. This is because they have pigments in the cells, similar to the
pigments in human, which causes it to become tan. Therefore, lights should be
installed in closed rooms. A full hood can be used to provide adequate light.
But if the aquarium has water less than thirty gallons, then the room lights
will do the job. Also the aquarium can be placed in natural light, if it is
available.

Goldfishes are opportunistic feeders, that is, they will eat whenever food is
provided to them. The more the food given to them, the more the waste created.
They should be given food only twice a day and the quantity must be only that
much which it can finish in couple of minutes. The food should have high
carbohydrate and low protein, as the fish will be unable to digest proteins
well because of the lack of stomach. Other than the commercial food flakes and
pellets, they can also be given bloodworms and green leafy vegetables. If the
fishes are overfed, it could lead to the bursting of their intestines.

The goldfish can grow up to twenty-three inches and can weigh up to ten pounds.
There are known to live for twenty years, but in captivity they live for eight
years. Goldfishes although are good in aquariums, they can also be kept in
ponds. The depth of the water should be more than thirty inches, so that the
water doesn't freeze in winter. Plants should also be added to the pond as they
will filter the water and even increase the oxygen amount in the water. Along
with that, filters should also be used to the clean the pond water. Ponds are a
good place to breed goldfishes. Water surface should be one square foot for each
inch of fish's length.

The goldfishes kept in the aquarium and as well as in the ponds should not be
mixed with tropical fishes or any other kind of fish. Since most of the
goldfishes are hybrid variety, they are more prone to attacks. Some fishes not
only attack the goldfishes, but also suck on their wounds.

Petting Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are small animals with spines all over their body. They belong to the
Erinaceinae's subfamily. Hedgehogs have habitations in New Zealand, Asia, Europe
and Africa. There are sixteen known species of hedgehog, out of which Algerian
or African pygmy hedgehog, Indian long eared hedgehog, four toed or white
bellied hedgehog and Egyptian long eared hedgehog are kept as domestic pets
.They are also known as furze pig, hedge pig, and urchin.

Since they have been domesticated from the past few years, somewhere in the
1980s, they still have their wild instincts such as predator fear. This fear
also makes them to fear humans. Therefore, it is highly recommended to buy a
hedgehog which has been bred in captivity and has been bred by an experienced
breeder. Because of the domestication, hedgehogs have been developing new
colors which have resulted in pinto and albino hedgehogs.

They are nocturnal animals. In the wild they do not hibernate in the winter,
but in captivity, they hibernate if the body temperature lowers drastically.
This is an extremely dangerous situation. Their bodies are extremely sensitive
to temperature changes. The temperature of the surroundings should be more than
seventy-two degree Fahrenheit.

By Nature, hedgehogs are insectivorous and feed on insects majorly. They are
also opportunistic feeders and can become obese easily. Their body is designed
to extract chitin which is within the insect's exoskeleton. Chitin can also be
substituted by fiber. In captivity, they can be fed with cat food which is low
in fat and high in proteins. The fat content should be less than twelve
percent, protein content must be more than thirty percent and fiber should be
more than ten percent. The owners are advised to read the nutritional facts to
give food rich in proteins and not carbohydrates. Cat food made out of meat and
its byproducts are also recommended. Chicken food also can be given.

Their diet can also be supplemented by vegetables, fruits, unseasoned cooked
meat, mealworms, crickets, and wax worms. Commercially food is also prepared
specifically for hedgehogs which have insect components in them. Chitin
sprinklers are also available which can be sprinkled on food. Baby food can be
given as treats. Sugar shouldn't be added in any of the meals. They can also be
given insects directly, but care should be taken that these insects shouldn't be
sprayed with insecticides. Hedgehogs can put on weight easily and this is the
case fat should be cut down and exercise activity should be increased. Exercise
is also important to keep them away from liver problems.

They can be kept in cages. Hedgehogs travel very long distances everyday, so
they should be provided with ample room for this purpose. A room or an isolated
corner is a must; otherwise the pet will develop eating and sleeping disorders.
The cage should be approximately five feet in both length and breadth.
Multilevel cages give them extra space to walk. But care should be taken
because hedgehogs have poor eyesight. They can climb easily, but they can fall
while descending. Wheel, specifically bucket type wheels, should also be
included so as to encourage them to exercise. Tubes such as toilet paper
cylinders can also be kept inside the cage for them to play. Their bed should
be made out of vellux blanket material. They can also be mingled with other
pets such as dogs and cats.

In most of the countries, it is illegal to have a hedgehog as a pet unless a
license has been taken to own them. The permit can be difficult to obtain,
sometimes. Hedgehog lovers can communicate with the animal control agencies to
keep them as pets. There are no laws in Europe against domesticating or
breeding hedgehog. In some countries, it is strictly against the law to keep
hedgehogs as pets. And in some countries, a specific species of hedgehog are
allowed to be kept as pets. People are not prone to develop allergies directly
from hedgehog, but they can develop allergies from their bedding and food.






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