Choosing The Right Pet For You Most individuals have an idea just what type of pet they want; however, the maintenance of a pet can cause some concern. Knowing how to choose the correct pet for you may be easy. You may have had several pets as a child and know you need a companion for your own home or you may have always wanted a pet but been told you could not have one. Whatever the case you may need to take into consideration some key points to pet care when deciding what pet is right for you. First some pets take more care than others. Dogs are very needy animals. They are very sensitive towards their owners. I am sure most of you have heard of dogs tearing up a house when left along all day. Dogs can get bored even when they have other dog companions and toys. They need the human interaction. Most dog owners take their dogs out for a walk before work and after work for the exercise and play time. Other owners who work outside will often let their dogs come to work with them to keep them out of trouble. Cats on the other hand can amuse themselves and as long as you put your valuables on a shelf, they cannot reach and keep a clean house they will sleep, look out windows, and play with toys while you are away. Fish are another type of pet that is typically low maintenance except for cleaning the fish tank. Pet care is very important when you own a pet. They need attention from their owners, positive reinforcement, training, and love. Fish are usually excluded from this statement, as they just need food, proper tank maintenance, and a few plants to sustain life, however the point is proper pet care is required when you own any pet. The decision will be yours to make in choosing what the right pet is for you. Above I mentioned three types of pets and little about their care, now I am going to look at it a little more. While dogs are high maintenance and require the most training they are also one of the best pets to own. They can alert you to danger, alert you to someone at the door, and give unconditional love back. A dog only asks in return for proper care and a great deal of attention. If you cannot be home all the time, you will want to make sure the dog has a roof over their heads in case of inclement weather, and a huge yard to play in. Some dogs can jump fences so it may be best to have a dog run in the yard so they can move about, but not escape. Cats on the other hand can be high or low maintenance depending on breed as well as personality. Some cats require hours of people attention while others shirk attention. Some cats belong to a one pet household. They do not like to share their owner's affections and will become upset if not mean towards the infiltrator. Others need the playmate's attention to live happily. It will be hard to determine just which type of cat you own when you first buy them as kittens as their personalities are just developing. Pet care is the most important factor when you are deciding which pet is right for you and your home. You will want to consider all the pet care needs of the animals you are looking at as well as the breed you are looking at to determine if they will have a happy place in your home. The Importance of Pet Vaccinations When you were a child you had to have vaccinations at certain points in your life such as measles, tetanus, and other shots. This is important for your pets as well. We will specifically look at dog vaccinations, as they are a very common pet to have. Keep in mind during some of these shots are required for cats as well. Dogs need to have vaccinations to guard against disease. When your dog is a puppy they will need a distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and corona combination between six to eight, nine to eleven, twelve to fourteen, and sixteen to seventeen weeks. They will also need these shots again every twelve months. The next vaccination is a bordetella administered at fourteen weeks and every six months. Rabies must be given at sixteen weeks and again every twelve to thirty- six months. Vaccinations protect your dog and other pets from human diseases as well as other problems that could arise. Make sure you visit your pet on a regular schedule. A few more vaccinations are the giardia at fourteen and seventeen weeks, with a yearly dose. Lyme is another type administered at fourteen and seventeen weeks as well as yearly. Occasionally state regulations will require a different administering chart. It is best to speak with your vet to gain the proper knowledge for your breed of dog as well as the correct vaccinations. Dogs are "man's best friend" and thus it is important to give proper care that includes treatments. Other care besides vaccinations can be proper baths, toenail clipping, and feeding your dog properly. Most health problems arise in a dog that is either genetically susceptible or environmentally exposed to human food. Human food because of its greasy qualities can block a dog's artery. So proper nutrition is often found in dog food or cooking meals for your pet per vet guidelines if your dog has health issues. Dogs also require a lot of attention and exercise. Breeds such as the Huskies or golden retrievers require special care. Huskies are breed as working dogs. They need to have a lot of exercise as well as play time with their owners. Golden retrievers are social animals, will feel lonely, and rejected if left alone for too long. Other breeds though social may not react in the same manners of the latter two. Other breeds can be content with a large yard and runner as long as they can play and eat. Part of owning a pet, especially a dog is to provide it with love and attention just like you need. Proper care is very important on a day-to-day basis like having a routine feeding time or visiting the vet for the proper vaccinations. Vaccinations can determine the longevity of your dog just like a proper diet and exercise. While your vet has spent a lot of time, going to school for the proper care of animals it is always a great idea to be knowledgeable about your pets care. Vaccinations when not administered properly can harm the animal. I would stay away from ordering medications and vaccinations online if you are not familiar with the products and how to give them to your dog, this may cause some medical problems. Any pet deserves the care we would give ourselves and with today's world, we are finding better ways to make going to a vet easier. Picking The Right Food For Your Pet Pets are wonderful creatures to share our lives with, and they need just as much care as humans. All pets need to be fed properly, though we always have the question of what that might be. There are individuals who give their pet's human food, while others strictly give pet food. We will concentrate on dogs, cats, and rabbits for proper feeding. Rabbits How many times have you heard that rabbits like their vegetables? This is true. Most rabbits need a steady diet of rabbit food that includes lettuce and carrots. Most of the time we raise our rabbits on pellets, however, this may not be fibrous enough and can cause obesity. A steady diet of hay, vegetables, and pellets will lead to a healthy rabbit. Dogs Is it wise to feed your dog human food? Most dogs are related to the wolf family a very carnivorous bunch, which means they need to have meat in their diet. This does not mean human food is the correct food for them. It is best to find a dog food product where the first ingredient is meat. Make sure it is real meat and not some processed substitute. Feeding your dog human food is a bad idea because it can be too greasy for them and block their arteries. Dogs have very sensitive digestive tracks so they are susceptible to diarrhea and upset stomachs if you change their food. It is best to find a dog food you prefer and that is healthy for them. You also want to keep them on the same food. Changing food can cause problems. If you feel you need to change food, you should slowly integrate the new food with the old until you have fully replaced the old. This should take two weeks or a little more. Dogs when full grown should be fed once a day at the same time. Cats Cats are great hunters if you let them explore the outdoor world. They will often find mice, birds, and other animals to gain protein. Like a dog, your cat needs a consistent diet. You should find a cat food that has the proper amounts of protein. Cats can also have a very sensitive digestive system. Finding the right food may be difficult and take a few tries. If they have a smelly litter box, you will need to change their food. This is a sure sign they are not receiving a proper diet. When you change their food you will want to integrate it slowly over two weeks. Cats also need the vitamins from milk, though our processed milk can be too rich for them, they do sell milk for cats in the pet stores. Another idea is occasionally giving them a small piece of cheese to help with their dietary needs, however you should try and find pet food that fits all of their needs. Grass is also available for indoor cats and may be a needed to get rid of hairballs. Cats eat grass when they have an upset stomach. The grass will allow the cats to rid themselves of the problem and can help them cough up hairballs. Picking the right food for your pet will often mean not feeding them human food, but checking the ingredients of pet food found in the stores. You want to keep you pet just as healthy as you would want to keep yourself. Proper nutrition for any animal is important to having your pet around for many years. Some types of pets are more susceptible to disease, like dogs with heart problems, but they can be monitored through proper care. Getting Your Pet Through An Animal Rescue Group Animal rescue organizations or groups offer you a great place to get your next family pet. These groups are all different, but they do have common goals. These groups work hard to locate a permanent loving home for unwanted or misplaced cats and dogs. Many of these rescue groups rely on volunteers and donations to care for these pets while they are between homes. When you begin looking for a rescue group to work with, you will find that most of these groups do rely on their hard working volunteers and support from the local community to operate. You will also find a wide variety of animals available through these rescue groups. Many of these groups handle all types of animals and you will find kittens, puppies, and even older pets available for adoption. You might be surprised to learn that some groups even offer exotic pets such as reptiles, pot bellied pigs and even guinea pigs. As you begin looking at pets available through rescue groups, keep in mind some of these animals have had very hard lives. You may find a dog that was abused by its owner. You may find a female cat that has just given birth. Their owners have relinquished many of the animals offered by rescue groups because they are moving or can no longer care for them. In addition, some of these groups take animals that live in kill shelters or as strays living on the streets. Some programs also offer spay and neuter release program for feral cats. Rescue groups do a good job of screening animals before adopting them out to new homes. They also screen potential pet owners. IF you find a pet offered through a pet rescue group, you will be asked to sign a contract saying that you agree to care for the pet long term. You will also be asked several questions about your home, your children and other pets you may have. This is not to be nosey -- it is simply to help match an owner with the right pet. If the animal suffers from a medical condition, such as diabetes, the new owners know this up front before adopting. Having the animal's health history at the time of adoption helps the animal find a permanent home. You can gain a lot of personal satisfaction by adopting your next pet through an animal rescue organization. You know you have done something to help and your new pet will show its appreciation. If you are interested in adopting through one of the many rescue organization, it is easy to find one in your area. Your vet can give you the contact information for organizations near you. Most of the time, these pets are kept in private homes (foster homes) until they are adopted. This gives the animal time to be socialized with other pets, children and time to get used to living in a home. Sometimes, animal rescue groups will bring their animals that need homes to pet stores or other locations for interested people to see and meet the animals on certain weekends. When you choose a pet in a rescue program, be prepared to go through an interview and application process. The organization wants to know these pets will be well cared for the long term. You will probably be asked about other pets you may have, the age of your children, the size of your yard and your thoughts on a cat with claws if you are looking at a cat. This is to help match the pet with the right owner. Adoption fees vary by each organization, but you can expect to pay $100-$200 for a rescued animal. These groups do not make a profit. These fees cover the cost of the animal while it was in the care of the organization. This adoption fee usually covers vaccinations, medical exams, spaying, and neutering. Getting your next pet through an animal rescue organization is a responsible way to get your next family member. You can also find many volunteer opportunities through these organizations. Indoors Or Outdoors: What is Best For Your Pet? Before you take on the responsibility of owning a cat or dog, you need to take the time to consider the living arrangements for your pet. Many people adopt pets with the idea that they will be raising an outdoor animal. How many people in your neighborhood keep their dogs or cat's outdoors at all times? The fact of the matter is, outside is not a safe place for a cat or a dog. When you adopt a pet, you need to make sure that you are ready to allow your pet into your home. Pets Love Being Outside It is true that cats and dogs both will love being outside, it is their natural environment. Cats delight in chasing birds, climbing trees, and hiding in shrubs. Dogs adore barking at the neighbors, chasing squirrels, and digging. However, there are many dangers to keeping your pet outside at all times. Dogs tend to get more outside time in cats. Owners take their dogs out for walks, and in some cases allow their dogs, unsupervised access to the backyard from time to time. Cats are usually either indoor pets or outdoor pets. It is more common nowadays, for owners to keep their cats indoors as they begin to realize the dangers of allowing their cat to live outdoors at all time. It is highly recommended that you keep your cats and dogs inside. For cats, you can help them explore their natural instincts inside by giving them plenty of places to run and play inside your home. Buy your cat a good scratching post with a high perch and install a window seat so they can gaze at the birds outdoors. Dangers of Outside The number one danger to your pets when they go outside is other animals. You never know when your dog or cat will encounter a stray or strange cat or dog from down the street. You know that your pet is properly vaccinated, but you do not know that health condition of other animals outside. In addition, if your dog or cat gets into a fight with another animal. Your pet can be seriously injured or harmed. Unless you supervise your pet at all times when they are outside, you never know when your cat or dog will encounter a strange animal. Other dangers of allowing your pet to live outside are cars and other people. A cat darting across the street late at night is a recipe for disaster. What if your dog gets loose from your yard and encounters a child? How will your dog react? You hope that your dog will be good and stay friendly. However, what happens if the child begins to taunt or tease your dog or poke a stick at him? If your dog bites or scratches another person, chances are, you will be responsible for your pet's actions. Many pet owners have found themselves in a serious situation when their dog or cat has acted aggressively when outdoors. When your cat or dog stays indoors, you can also help control fleas, ticks, and the exposure to heartworms. This is not to say that you should not treat an indoor pet for these problems. All dogs, whether the event indoors or outdoors, should be on a monthly heartworm preventative. Both cats and dogs should also be treated with monthly preventative. It is important to remember though, if your cat or dog lives outdoors, you will have many more problems when it comes to fleas and ticks. As you can see, there are many reasons why you should keep your dog or cat indoors. Pets that are indoor pets live longer and healthier lives than pets that live outside. This includes all pets, once you make them an indoor animal; you need to protect them from anything that might happen if they get outdoors, they now depend on you to provide a home for them. Keeping Your Pet Safe In The Warm Weather Months The hot summer months can pose a real threat to pets. Cats and dogs simply cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. As a responsible pet owner, you need to make sure that your pet is safe during these warm weather months. Here are some tips to help you and your pet. Never leave an animal in a car: All pet owners should know the dangers of leaving any pet in a hot car, even if it is just for a few minutes. This especially applies to dog owners. Dogs love riding in the car and it is very tempting to let your dog ride to the grocery store with you. However, pet owners should never leave cats or dogs inside a car during hot weather. Even with the windows open, a car parked in the hot sun can reach sweltering temperatures. Pets left in hot cars can die within minutes or can suffer from severe dehydration. The best rule of thumb is the leave your pet at home in the cool air conditioner during the hot weather. You should also know that if you are a dog owner that allowing your dog a ride the bed of a truck could be very dangerous for a dog at any time of the year. One jolt can send your dog flying out of the bed of the truck, resulting in injury or worse. Even putting your dog unsupervised in the bed of a truck in a public place can be a recipe for disaster. Be extra careful with your pet during traveling. If you must travel with your dog or cat, secure your pet in the car and leave the air conditioning on at all times. Let your pets take frequent breaks on long trips and give them a chance to get a drink of water. Be Careful Walking the Dog: There are many areas where the temperatures soar in the warm months. In places where the temperatures reach an all-time high, it is a good idea to walk your dog either in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are lower. During the summer, temperatures will be at the highest during midday. You should refrain from walking your dog during this time. Not only will you and your dog become hot and dehydrated, the hot concrete can burn your dog's sensitive paws. When you do walk during hot weather, take along water for your dog and stop frequently to let your dog drink. Your dog will thank you for this. Practice Proper Pet Grooming: It is always a good idea to keep your pet properly groomed, but it is especially important during the summer months. If your dog has very long fur, it is like wearing a fur coat in 95-degree weather. It is not comfortable to your pet. Also, keep an eye out for pets that have much of their fur trimmed off, such as poodles. Longhaired dogs can quickly overheat in the high temperatures. Poodles and other breeds with short cuts can get sunburned. Sunscreen does not protect dogs. With long haired dogs, regular brushing also helps remove the winter undercoat and can help your dog better regulate body temperatures during hot weather. Regular clipping of long hair can also help keep your dog cool. Even longhaired cats can benefit from a summer clipping. Longhaired cats are easily overheated, even if they do stay indoors. Watch for Insects: Insects can be bothersome to your pet during the warm, summer months. Spring and summer are when fleas and ticks are the highest. Mosquitoes are also out during this time of year. It is always a good idea to make sure your dog and cat are getting their monthly flea and tick preventative. Your dog also needs to stay current on heartworm preventative, as mosquito bites can cause heartworms. Also, keep a first aid kit on hand for bee or wasp stings. Outdoor safety: Summer is often when people spend a lot of times outdoors. Whether it is working in the yard, visiting the lake or swimming in the pool, you need to take extra caution when your pets are with you outside. If you mow your yard or put chemicals on the grass, be sure your pets are indoors and away from the dangers. Also, if your dog enjoys the water, keep a close eye on your pet. Most pets can swim instinctively, but it is always a good idea to watch. If you enjoy taking your dog out boating, you can buy life preserver vests for your dog to wear. You can never be too safe when it comes to your beloved furry friend. The Advantages Of The Microchip For Your Pets Every pet owner wants to keep his or her beloved cat or dog as safe as possible. You do everything you can do make sure your pet is well cared for and healthy. If you have an indoor pet, you may not think that keeping identification tags is important, but it is. What if your fuzzy feline accidentally slips out of the door at night and you search to no avail? What do you do, especially if your dog or cat has no identification? Placing a collar with an identification tag is important, but collars sometimes become lost. When you consider the fact that many animal shelters only keep dogs and cats for seven days, you want to make sure that your pet is properly identified. That is where the microchip comes in handy. The microchip is the newest way to identify lost pets and helps ensure that your lost pooch or feline finds his or her way back home. The technology of the microchip has become so popular that most animal clinics and animal shelters have the ability to scan a cat or dog for microchip identification. If you opt for the microchip, you should know that it is a painless procedure for your pet. Your vet will insert a tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice directly under your pet's skin using a hypodermic needle. The microchip is usually placed behind the neck. The microchip contains special digital number that has been entered on a national microchip database. That information will give the person your contact information. When you pet is lost, a veterinarian or animal shelter can use a special scanner to retrieve the microchip information. It is that easy. Pet owners love the idea of the microchip because it is permanent. You cannot remove the microchip and unlike a collar or tags, it cannot be lost or destroyed. This is one of the best features of pet microchip, especially for cats. If you place a collar on a cat, more than likely it will be a breakaway collar. If your cat climbs a tree, or is caught on something, the collar breaks off. If your cat does not have a microchip, it will be very difficult to identify your cat if it is found. There are a few important things to remember about pet microchips. First, if your pet gets lost, you should never just sit back and wait for a call, even if your pet has a microchip. Not all veterinarians and shelters are equipped with this technology. You need to take the time to call around and place "lost pet" flyers around your neighborhood. In addition, you need to make sure you take the time to update your contact information should you move. It does little to no good to have your pet implanted with the microchip if the information on the national database is incorrect. Your veterinarian can give you information on how to update this information. It is important to get your pet implanted with the microchip at a young age. Puppies can have the microchip at age six weeks. Even small breeds of dogs can handle this procedure. Kittens can also undergo this procedure at six weeks. The insertion of the microchip is not painful and feels like a regular vaccination shot. You can have your pet implanted with the microchip at your veterinarian office and can expect to pay between $30 and $50 for this service. Teaching Kids And Pets To Co-Exist Peacefully It is possible for children and pets to coexist in the same household, peacefully. Many people mistakenly think that as soon as they start having children that their pet needs to head to the local shelter. They fear that the cat or dog will not get along with the new child and it will result in biting or scratching. This is not always the case and if you take the time to introduce your pets to your children properly, your kids and pets can live in harmony. One of the biggest concerns that new parents have when it comes to pets in the home is how it will react to a baby. Many of the old wives tales such as cats sucking the breath out of babies simply are not true. In fact, many cats and dogs readily accept a new child into the home and become fiercely loyal and protective over the baby. When you bring your baby home from the hospital, you should introduce your pet to your new baby. Of course, these introductions need supervision. Allow your cat or dog time to sniff your child at his or her own pace. Make the introduction pleasant for your cat or dog. In most cases, your cat or dog will not give your baby a second thought. Allow your pet to adjust to the new situation on his or her own terms. When a baby comes to the house, it is an adjustment for everybody. The other thing that you might want to consider doing when you bring a baby into the home is to make sure that your cat or dog is properly groomed. This includes trimming your dog or cat nails. Your dog may want to put a paw on your baby. If his or hers nails are long and sharp, your dog may accidentally scratch your infant. While you can never eliminate pet hair from your home, if your dog or cat clipped and brushed it will certainly help your home stay a little cleaner. Many new parents also worry about allergies. The fact is, many studies have shown that children who are exposed to pets from a very young age, actually have less pet allergies than children who are not exposed to pets. Another good idea is to make sure that your pets do not have access to your baby's room during naptime or at night without supervision. While your pet probably means no harm to your child, pets are naturally curious. A cat may jump into your infant crib, or in large dogs could easily a knock bassinet or cradle over. You should always supervise your pet when it is around your new baby at all times. Most of all, you should try to make sure that you are still spending quality time with your pet when possible. This especially pertains to dogs, which are used to playing in the backyard and going for walks. As your child grows, you need to begin teaching your child proper pet etiquette. If your dog or cat has learned to respect your child, then your child also needs to learn to respect your pet. Teach your child from a young age that they should never pull or yank a cat or dog's tail or ears. Your child can learn proper pet etiquette even at a very young age. You will also want to teach your child to respect your pet's space. This includes making sure that your child understands that he or she should never wake a sleeping pet. This could cause your pet to become startled and could result in biting or scratching. In addition, you will want to make sure that your child understands to stay out of your pet's food, water and litter box. Your child will be naturally curious, so it is always best to give your pet some private space away from your child. There are many things you can do to make sure that children and pets coexist peacefully. Your children and pets need to learn to respect each other from the very beginning. There is no reason to get rid of your cat or dog just because you have a child in the home. Domestic Cat Breeds Have you always wanted a cat, but heard some breeds make better pets than others? Maybe you have always wanted a cat, but do not know anything about them? There are plenty of ways to learn about cats and what breeds fit your personality. The choice can come from having an indoor, outdoor or indoor and outdoor cat. The tough and smart survive in the out of doors. Small cats are often pray for birds and other wildlife and should be kept indoors. Tomcats, a mixed breed, are great at surviving outdoors and mousers. So let us look at a few breeds of cats and then you will be able to choose which one may be right for your lifestyle. Siamese: The Siamese cat can be a fickle creature. They often require a lot of attention when they determine it is necessary. They tend to meow quite a bit and can tear up a home if left alone for too long. These are the downsides. Siamese can be great pets, especially when raised from infancy. They are often white with brown ears and blue eyes. You may recognize them from Lady and the Tramp? Those two were a little mean and not the typical portrayal of a Siamese. Siamese are generally very affectionate. They are also one of the most intelligent of the cat species. They tend to be very social, which is why they meow or "talk" a lot. A sign for attention is usually a very vocal meow much like a babies cry. Siamese typically bond to one person very strongly and are territorial of that person. Persian: The Persian cat breed is one of the oldest cats around. They are longhaired cats with beautiful shinny coats. They are very soft and friendly; however, they are prone to health problems such as allergies. The Persian does not always play as much as other breeds, but they do enjoy a bit of fun for exercise especially in a social situation. They love to have other cats around to play with as well as have a lap available when they are in need of a lap. Persians are a variety of colors from solid black, white or a mix of white and browns around the face. A popular Persian is the Himalayan. Manx: The Manx is known for its stubby tail or having no tail. The downside to Manx cats is the lack of tail. Often a Manx can suffer from worms and other parasites due to improper cleaning and not having the protection of a tail. This does not mean you should discount the Manx as a breed. The Manx breed is extremely intelligent and playful. They are a lot like dogs in the play area because they can fetch when you through toys and bring them back to you. They are very social animals and depend on human care. They don't like to be left alone for too long, so it is wise to have other cats to play with when you are gone during the day. The best home for a Manx is one filled with children. These are just three of the more popular breeds of cats. There are over a dozen cat breeds to choose from and finding the one to fit your lifestyle is important. Cats are very social and intelligent, but some breeds can be loners. Most often, a cat chooses when the time is right and what type of attention they want at the time. The phrase "you do not own a cat it owns you" is very true. What To Do About Litter Box Accidents There is probably nothing more frustrating to a cat owner than litter box accidents. In fact, habitual litter box accidents are the number one reason why cat owners give their cats up to animal shelters. When your cat refuses to use the litter box, there is usually an underlying reason. Before you become exasperated by your cat's inability to make it to the litter box, here are some common causes for this problem. Litter Box Woes One of the main reasons why a cat begins to refuse to use the litter box is because their own litter box is dirty. Many cats are extremely fussy about the condition of their litter box, while others will use it no matter how full it looks. If your cat has a litter box accident, the first place you should check is the litter box. Some pets prefer that their litter box cleaned out after each use. While this is time consuming for you, it may be a simple fix to this problem. You should start a daily routine of cleaning out your cat box and you may find that this solves your problem. Another common problem related to the litter box is there are not enough litter boxes for the number of cats you have. For example, if you have four cats in your home, and you should have at least one litter box per cat. Cats like to have their own space, and this is especially true when it comes to their litter box. In fact, many veterinarians recommend that even if you have only one cat, you should have at least two litter boxes. In addition, when it comes to litter box accidents, look at the type of litter you are using and the size and shape of the litter box. If you have a tray litter box without a lid, maybe your cat would feel more secure in a closed box. If you have an older cat, or a young kitten, you cat may have a difficult time getting in and out of a closed top box. Watch your cat carefully when he or she uses the litter box. If you find that, they are having a difficult time getting in and out of the litter box and consider getting a different box. Also, look at the type of litter you use. Your cat may be extremely fussy about the smell or texture of the litter. Many people preferred using the scoop away litter; however, many cats will not use this type of litter, because it sticks in the paws. You may also find that the litter you use causes a lot of dust that is disagreeable to your cat. Health Issues Your cat may be refusing to use the litter box, because of health related issues. If you have tried all the above tips and nothing seems to be working, then it is time to visit your veterinarian. Cats that have bladder problems, urinary tract infections, kidney failure and diabetes are more prone to litter box accidents than healthy cats. You need to take your cat to the vet and have a thorough health exam performed to find out if your cat is suffering around an ailment. If this is the case, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your cat. Habit and Your Cat's Territory If your cat has been ill or have stopped using the litter box for any of reason, you may find that your cat returns to their old ways out of habit. It is extremely important that when your cat has a litter box accident, that you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any odors that may remain. In addition, your cat may have not stopped using the litter box at all but instead, your cat is marking his or her territory. This is especially common in multi-cat households or when you bring in new pet into the home. This is also more common in males than females. Even male cats that are neutered can mark their territory by spraying urine. When you determine why your cat is having litter box accidents, you can find a solution. It takes time and patience; however, this is much more preferable than getting rid of your cat. Understanding Why Cats Fight If you have a household with multiple cats, you know that cat fights do happen. Even if you cats generally get along, at times, they can still fight. While humans may not completely understand why their kitties are fighting, cats have their reasons for fighting. Some of these reasons are similar to the reasons that humans have disputes. Cats express their discontent with other cats by picking fights. The reasons why cats fight can help you determine how to prevent your cats from fighting in the future. Fighting for their territory: Many cats fight because of their territory. One of the reasons that cats fight is because they feel like an unwanted cat has invaded their territory, even if it is a cat that has lived with them for a long time. Cats are much more territorial than dogs and the gender of the cat has very little to do with it. Contrary to what many people believe, female cats are sometimes just as territorial as their male counterparts are. If you have two cats in your home, you might notice that one cat hisses and swats at the other whenever he feels his territory has been invaded. This can also happen if you bring a new cat into the home. They are simply defending their territory. Social ranking: Either male cats frequently threaten and fight with each other for social ranking or despite what you may think; even neutered males may do this. If you have multiple cats, especially more than one male cat, one cat is usually considered the "alpha male" and will be at the top of the cat hierarchy. Two cats might posture their bodies, then begin howling and screaming at one another. If one of the cats walks away or backs down, then the catfight is usually avoided. However, if neither one wants to throw in the towel and surrender, then one cat will attack the other by jumping forward and attempting to bite the neck. The other cat will fall on his back and tries to bite or scratch the attacker with its hind legs. The two cats might go through this several times before walking away. There are usually no injuries sustained in these kinds of fights. You may even notice that kittens or young cats play with one another this way. Most of the time, you will not need to interfere. Aggression: Cats also fight as a result of some kind of redirected aggression and this is quite common, especially with indoor cats. Your cat might be looking outside the window at another cat or dog crossing the yard. Your cat begins to feel territorial and aggressive at this cat, but since this other cat cannot be reached, he may instead attack the other family cat. Another example is if you are giving your cats treats. One cat may reach the treat first and begin eating. The other one wants a bite, but the cat that is eating may become aggressive over the treat and begin to swipe or yowl and the other cat. If you find your cats fighting occasionally, you should know that this is common and quite typical of cats. Most of the time, you will be able to tell whether or not your cats are fighting for "blood" or just playing around. The time to stop a fight is when it gets nasty otherwise; allow your cats to work it out themselves. If you feel the need to stop a catfight, then you should do it carefully. Even the most loving cat can bite or scratch you in aggressive passion. To stop a fight, you should make some kind of loud noise, such as a handclap. Since cats are startled by loud noises, they will both stop to see what is making the noise. You can also spray water on them to interfere with the aggressive behavior.. When you find your cats fighting, it is best not to punish the cats for their fight. Cats do not understand punishment and fighting is a natural instinct in cats. The best thing to do is only interfere when necessary. If you find your cats are fighting more than they should, it is time that you find out why. Do they fight over a litter box, a food bowl or a prime window location? Make sure each kitty has his or her own "things" and a place to retreat when they feel overwhelmed by other pets in the house. This will go a long way in preventing real catfights. Can Feral Cats Be Tamed? Feral cats are different from stray cats. Stray cats are usually the product of a person's irresponsibility. Irresponsibility could be defined in two ways when it comes to strays: dumping a cat to fend for itself and/or neglecting to spay and neuter their cats. Stray cats can be timid, but are often easily tamed. Feral cats are cats that were probably born to wild parents and are wild themselves. Feral cats have had no human interaction and are very difficult to tame. Because feral cats are difficult to tame, thus making them undesirable indoor pets, there are many rescue organizations that are dedicated to the trapping and spaying and neutering of feral cat colonies. Many times, these organizations trap the cats, have them spayed and neutered and then release them near where they were originally found. Then, they dedicate themselves to providing food to these colonies. Feral cats are everywhere. You can find feral cats in rural or farm areas, abandoned buildings and even parks and alleyways. You might catch a glimpse of them, but chances are that you would not be able to catch them easily. After all, they have not been around humans so any contact would make them shy away from you. If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, you may wonder whether these animals can be kept as pets. Taming a feral cat can be a difficult proposition simply because they are not accustomed to humans. Depending on the level of their interactions with humans, some cats might be classified as semi-feral, total feral or even a converted feral cat. Depending on what your cat is classified dictates your potential success in socializing it. In addition, it takes a lot of time, love and patience to tame these cats. If you find a cat that is has been feral for a years, chances are that there is little to no chance of socializing it. With no human contact at all, these cats are overly independent and would never depend on a human for food or companionship. You might have better success with a cat that is semi-feral. In these instances, they have had some limited human contact. A converted feral cat would probably have the best chance at a normal life as someone's pet. These cats were once domesticated, meaning that they probably started life as a pet and then was abandoned. The converted feral cat will more than likely eventually respond to human interactions such as love and affection. If you want to attempt to tame a feral cat, remember that it can be hard work reaching out to the feral cat and getting them to trust you after being on their own. Sometimes, your efforts will not pay off for months, especially with older cats. If your attempts are a success, the rewards are well worth it because a strong bond can develop and loyalty and love is the reward. If you believe you have the time and the love to attempt to tame a feral, there are some things to remember. First, these cats see you as an intruder and are very likely to spit, hiss, bite and claw. This is a normal response as they are defending themselves against a perceived predator -- you. If they manage to get in a few bites or scratches, you should apply first aid immediately. After you have successfully trapped a feral cat, your very first step is to get it to the vet for spay or neuter and to check for any diseases it may carry. This is a necessary step and an absolute must if you have other pets in the house. After you have arrived home with your cat, you need to let it adjust to you and the surroundings by giving it a small, safe place to stay. Allow the cat to stay in a small bathroom or laundry room, where it does not feel overwhelmed. You will need to take time every day to spend time with the cat and allow the cat to adjust to you. Remember, not all feral cats can be socialized; however with love and patience, your time and efforts may be worthwhile.
Training Your Cats or Kittens With Positive Reinforcement. Pets make our home more complete by being there to greet you after a hard day at work or snuggling up to you while you sleep. Cats have been termed the most fickle of creatures; however, they are sweet lovable creatures if you raise them from infancy. Most cats recognize their owners by the sound of their voice, the car they drive, and who spoils them the most. Like dogs, cats can be trained. A cat can be trained to come to your call, to bring their toys when they want to play, as well as more domestic issues such as using a litter box. The key to training a cat or kitten is reinforcement. Reinforcement starts at any age, but it is typically wise to start out with a kitten. Cats cannot distinguish words, but they are very astute in distinguishing tones of your voice. They will know they have done something wrong just by the tone of voice you use. This is why it is important to use your upset voice when they have done something wrong, otherwise they will become confused. Let us go back to reinforcement. Reinforcement is either positive or negative. Water is a negative reinforcement for a cat or kitten because they typically despise being wet. Some positive reinforcement can be hugs or fully body petting, treats, or play time. To train your kitty to come to your call is to repeat their name while they are looking at you. Look them in the eye while you are using a nice tone of voice. Another way to call your cat is to have another sound, like snapping fingers, or clicking noises with your tongue. These typically gain the attention of your cat or kitten so they learn to come when you call. Litter box training is perhaps the easiest part of having a kitty in your life. It is best to keep them confined to one room, the room you will have the litter box in to train them. They will learn by you putting them in the box and allowing them to familiarize themselves with the smell. Cats by nature understand the feel of litter associating it with dirt. You may have to pick them up when they first begin to go if they do not understand the litter box and place them inside. Occasionally a cat does not like the litter you use. They show their displeasure by using the floor. This is a time to try something new. Most female adult cats will train their kittens so it is important they do not leave their mother's care to quickly. Food works in much the same way. Once you show them where their food bowls are they will continue to go there. Cats are creatures of habit. Habits are how you will train your kitty to bring you toys. Some cats will simply meow when they want to play and casually bat their toy, however if you give them positive reinforcement every time they carry a toy mouse or stuffed toy they will continue to bring the toy without the reinforcement of a treat. For an example my kitty, Spooky, is two. She brings me a stuffed animal every afternoon or evening when she wants to play. She lays it down near the end of my couch and meows until I recognize the good deed and begin to play with her. Cats are trainable, perhaps not to the degree; a dog is trainable with voice commands, but they you can succeed in training them in some ways. Cats will enliven any home and given a lot of positive reinforcement, they can be just as much fun if not more fun than other pets. Especially when they give you comfort by stepping on to your lap kneading and purring. These moments can take away a bad day at work within a few seconds. Tips For Bathing Your Cat Cats normally do not need help getting and staying clean. They are fastidious about their cleanliness and spend much of their day primping and preening. Cats learn from a very young age to stay clean, as the mother always teaches their young the art of bathing. Cat owners rarely need to give their cats a bath, however, there are some situations where you may find it is time to bath kitty. You never know when your cat will get so dirty that they need a little extra help. If your cat is afflicted with skin allergies or has a flea infestation, you might need to bathe your cat. Sick and older cats may have a difficult time keeping clean, too. You will find that your cat probably resists getting a bath, but you can do it if you are prepared. Get Your Supplies The best place to bath your cat is in a small, enclosed room. If you have a sink in your laundry room, that would work perfectly. A deep bathroom sink would also do the trick. The idea is to get your cat in a small area to help him or her feel safer during the process. Another idea is to use a baby tub and place it inside your own bathtub. This might cause an aching back on your part, but may be just the thing for your cat. In addition, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need on hand before you begin. It will be almost impossible to stop what you are doing with a struggling cat to run and get a towel or shampoo. You will need several old towels, mild, non-irritating shampoo such as baby shampoo or pet shampoo, and a cup for rinsing. You might even consider using a turkey-basting tool to reach under the chin, around the neck and between the legs. In addition, if your cat's fur is matted, you might want to consider cutting these mats away before beginning. Get the Bath Ready When you have gotten all of your supplies where you need them, you will want to prepare the bath. Your cat will not like very hot or very cold water, so lukewarm water works best. Think of the temperature you would use to bath an infant. That is what you need when you wash your cat. Next, fill up the tub or sink. You do not need a lot of water when you bath your cat--just enough to rinse the cat off. It is also a good idea to place a non-skid mat or folded bath towel in the bottom of the sink or tub before you begin filling it with water. This prevents the cat from slipping around on the bottom of the sink or tub. Ease your Cat into the Water It is now time for the hard part. You have to get your cat and ease him or her into the water. This may sound easier than it is. Some cats may struggle with you more than others may. Only you know your cat's personality. The best way to go about doing this is to lower your cat into the water. Do this by placing one hand under the cat's belly and one hand firmly, but gently on the cat's back. Lower the cat from its hind legs into the water. If your cat is still struggling, you might want to wrap a towel around your cat to prevent scratches. You might be surprised by your cat's reaction. Some cats will sit there quietly and let you work. Others will be scared and will try to run from you. You will get wet, but you may think about holding the cat's body close to your own while bathing so he or she feels more secure. Never raise your voice or move too fast, as this can send your cat into a frenzy. Begin the Bath After your cat is somewhat situated in the water, you can begin to bathe. Work quickly, but gently. The best method for bathing your cat is to start with the head and work your way down. Be careful not to get water or shampoo in your cat's ears or eyes. You will only need a very small amount of shampoo. If you get too much, you will have to rinse longer. If you are treating fleas, then you will want to follow the directions on the flea shampoo at this point. You can use vegetable oil if you need to remove sticky substances from your cat's fur. Use this sparingly because this will leave an oil residue on your cat's fur, although it is harmless. The Toys Cats Will Love Do you walk through the pet store, see the many toys available for your cat, and wonder if the expense will be worth it? Cats can be fickle creatures, but a good time can be found with almost any toy. Cats are like children they go through stages and sometimes need age appropriate toys and can get bored very easily. Some suggestions for toys include the cat towers, stuffed mice, small amounts of catnip, stuffed animals, ribbons, and plastic balls. From an early age, kittens learn to pick up things in their mouths. It is an instinct, just like using their claws. When a cat plays, they like to grab and bit their toys. Let us look at the toys listed above. A cat tower is a great way to teach you cat where it is appropriate to climb. It will keep them off the blinds or curtains while giving them hours of fun. There are many styles of cat towers from the two story towers to the ones rising to the ceiling. The answer to your question is, the more levels they have the more fun and enjoyment they will receive out of a cat tower. A cat will use the tower for play as well as sleep. They like to bat at ropes and other items dangling off the tower as well as going through little tunnels up to the next level. If you have two cats you will have fun watching them give chase to the top often trying to knock the other off. A cat tower can be practical because they will scratch at it rather than your couch. Stuffed mice are also important to any kitty's playtime. Not all mice are the same; most cats prefer the small leather mice with the multi colored fur and long tails. These mice come in twelve packs or three packs, and believe me if they are anything like my kitty they will tear them apart. Cloth mice are typically second during playtime. If you find your kitty to be uninterested in mice you might want to check the type of mouse you have bought them. Catnip toys are very popular. Catnip will cause your cat to be more rowdy, which can be a plus because they wear down faster. Catnip before bedtime is a great way to get your cat to sleep for quite a while and leave you to slumber. Catnip should be given out sparingly. You do not want to give your cat catnip everyday because it can have adverse affects to their behavior. They can start to depend on it and have mood swings. I have found the best toy may just be your old stuffed animal lying around the house. My kitty, Spooky, will bring me a stuffed animal when she is ready to play and she has stuffed animals in her toy basket. There is nothing more amusing than watching my kitty brings me a stuffed animal bigger than she is and proceeds to toss it in the air and pounce. Cats like the feel of certain things in their mouths that is why they chew on paper, plastic and even your blankets. The feel of the material in their mouths allows them to clean their teeth or when they are teething help reduce the pain. The stuffed animal can work in much the same way and keep them away from harmful products. To answer my above question you do not have to go to great expense to entertain your cat, however when you spend a little on toys you keep your kitty from getting bored. You may even decide to hide a few toys and reintroduce them after a few months to keep from purchasing new ones all the time. Just make sure it is not the favorite toy of your pet or they may find other ways to entertain themselves that you do not find amusing. Caring For Your Diabetic Cat If your cat has just been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be afraid of what the future holds for your beloved pet. The good news is that cats can live long, healthy lives after being diagnosed with diabetes. The trick is that you, as a pet owner, must be dedicated to care for your cat during his or her illness. Diabetes is not a death sentence for pets. Here is some information to help you understand what you need to do to help your diabetic cat. Regular Medical Care: After your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative that you visit your veterinarian on a regular basis. Your cat will need regular checkups to check the blood sugar levels and to make sure that he or she is receiving the right amount of insulin. When your cat goes in for a check up, the vet will ask that you do not feed your cat twelve hours part to the checkup. While your cat is at the check up, your veterinarian will draw blood and check blood sugar levels. People that have diabetes are able to check their blood sugar at home. However, this is not possible with cats unless you buy a glucose monitoring system. Your will probably ask that you bring your cat in every three months for this type of checkup. Getting your Cat Insulin: When your cat has diabetes, it is your responsibility to make sure that your cat receives the proper dose of insulin twice a day. The amount of insulin that your cat will need will vary according to your cat's individual condition. Most cats will receive between three and five units of insulin to times per day. It is important that you establish a routine for your cat. Your cat needs to receive insulin 12 hours apart. Most people that have diabetic cats will give their cat and insulin shot at the same time every morning and at the same time every evening. It is not difficult to learn to give your cat insulin injections. Your veterinarian will walk you through the process, and then you can repeat this at home. Usually your veterinarian will recommend that you give your cat injections between the shoulder blades in the scruff of the neck. With patience and practice, your cat will barely feel the injections. In fact, most diabetic cats know when it is time to get their injection and they may actually remind you by meowing. Stocking the Right Supplies: It is important that you have the right supplies on hand to help treat your diabetic cat. You will need a vial of insulin as prescribed by your veterinarian, syringes and alcohol swabs. It is always a good idea to order your insulin when you are about halfway empty. It may take a couple days for your veterinarian to order your insulin. Your veterinarian might also recommend getting your diabetic cat vitamin supplements and seating him or a special prescription diet such as Science Diet W/D. You must be able to see your cat immediately after he or she receives their injection. It is also a good idea to have some numbers to your veterinarian into at least two 24-hour emergency vet clinics available with you at all times just in case your cat needs help. Many people who owned diabetic cats worried about the costs that this condition incurs. It certainly does cost money to take care of a diabetic cat. A vial of insulin will cost you approximately $85 and will last you about two months. A box of 100 Syringes will cost about $30 and will last you 50 days, as you should use a new syringe for each injection. Prescription food will cost you about $40 for a 20-pound bag. However, it is important to remember that your cat is a part of your family. Most pet owners do not hesitate spending this kind of money on their pets. Patience and Love: Above of all when you have a diabetic cat, you need a lot of patience and a lot of love. It is not always easy to care for sick and ailing cat. However, with the right care, you can expect your diabetic cat to have many more years of happy life. Dangerous Dog Treats: What To Know Before You Treat Your Pup What pooch does not love getting a treat or two now and then. Dog owners also love giving their dog's treats. If you have a dog, then you have a good idea of what your dog likes to nibble on. There are so many treats available these days and they all come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and consistencies. For every great dog treat, there are those on the market that are not so good. These treats can harm your pet by being lodged in your dog's throat or intestines. This can cause choking or worse. If you love treating your canine friend, then you will want to be aware of those treats that can be potentially harmful. Even with treats that are not usually dangerous, you need to supervise your dog when they eat. Greenies: Most dogs really enjoy these treats. They are advertised as a treats that help clean your dog's teeth. However, you need to be aware that "greenies" can cause choking. This is because dogs eat these very quickly causes large chunks to lodge in the throat. Young puppies should not eat this treat and dogs that are prone to "scarfing" food. If your dog eats these treats, be aware of potential vomiting, bloody stools, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten this treat, seek medical attention. Rawhide Chews: What dog does not love snacking on these chewy treats? Rawhides are good because it cleans your dog's teeth and keeps your dog occupied. However, rawhides are dangerous, as well. Some rawhides that originate outside of the United States may actually be preserved with arsenic-based chemicals that will be ingested by your doggie when he or she chews. For this reason, make certain that any rawhide treat you purchase is processed in the United States where this preservative is forbidden. If you cannot tell where a treat originated do not buy it! In addition, you still need to watch your dog when he her she is munching on rawhides to help prevent choking. Make sure you buy rawhides that are the right size for your dog, too. A small dog needs the smaller sized rawhide treats. Chocolate: Chocolate is a terrible thing to allow dogs to eat. Of course, sometimes dogs get into candy and cake without your knowledge. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, so you need to be aware of your dog sneaking chocolate nibbles, especially around the holidays. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine. This acts in the canine about the same way caffeine acts in the human. A little will make the doggie hyperactive, but a huge dose may be fatal. If your dog has gotten into chocolate, you need to look for vomiting, shallow breathing, and irregular heartbeat. A visit to the emergency vet unusually results. Bones: It seems that it is the right of every dog to be able to crunch on a real bone from time to time. Dogs love bones of all types. However, some bones can be dangerous. Both chicken and turkey bones are especially dangerous because they are brittle. When your dog chews on the, they can easily splinter and cause choking. Some pork and beef bones can also cause the same problem. Veterinarians agree that the one of the safest bones you can give your dog is a shinbone. If you must give your dog a bone, make sure you supervise your pooch and if he or she shows signs of bleeding, then you should call your vet immediately for some advice. This is not to say that you cannot give your dog an occasional treat. That is one of the fun parts of owning a dog. You do need to watch your dog and make sure that your dog is safe when snacking. Always pay attention to what kind of treat you give your dog in case of a recall. Rabbit Care and Tips Pets complete a home for single people and families. Children often desire pets more than adults do as they think animals are cute and fun to have. Adults of course know the work required. Like any pet, rabbits need care. They need to go to the vet, get feed daily, and have their domain cleaned. When you decide to purchase a rabbit, you will need to know exactly what is required of you. Before we get into your rabbits needs, you will want to know a few of the species available. Most common are cottontails, dwarf, and lop eared rabbits for pets. The dwarf rabbit is small and best kept indoors, while the cottontails are not as sensitive to the weather and can be housed outside in moderate climates. The lop eared rabbits like the cottontails grow to be a good size and have long floppy ears. The type of rabbit you wish to have for a pet will in part decide on the care. First like cats and dogs, rabbits require shots from the vet to keep them in good health. People carry diseases that can harm animals if we do not wash before and after we handle our pet. Rabbits can be susceptible to worms and other dietary parasites so it is important to take your rabbit for its vet visit when needed. Speak with a vet about your rabbit's care and any questions you may have before you complete your purchase. Rabbits eat pellets, hay and vegetables. Most rabbits like to munch on carrots or lettuce. You want to feed your rabbit everyday to ensure they are receiving the proper amount of food. Unlike cats that eat when they are hungry, a rabbit can over eat and become over weight. Some commercial feeds for rabbits contain nuts; however, these are typically not good as they are high in fiber. You can feed your rabbit fruit as a treat, but you should not do so daily. Housing for a rabbit can be in your home or if you wish to keep them outside a wooden cage will work. Most outside cages are designed to let the waste fall through so they are not sitting on it or laying on it. The cage should be built large enough to house an adult rabbit with bedding spread out to make a nice little home. They should be given plenty of water and have it changed out daily. Having a backyard for your pet rabbit is a great idea. They can roam for a little exercise, which all pets need. You will want to clean their cages out at least once a week or more depending on how messy or smelly it becomes. Your rabbit needs a clean environment just like you to eliminate the possibilities of disease. An important factor in having a long living rabbit is their environment. Most rabbits live 5 to 10 years. Rabbits with their fuzzy cottontails or floppy ears are just some of the cutest pets you can own. They are a medium maintenance pet with proper feeding and environment care you can have your rabbit for years. Your children will enjoy showing off their pet rabbit to all their friends and beg you to take him to show and tell. Pets are needed to complete a family and provide enjoyment for everyone. Training Your Pet Parrot Parrots are wonderful pets. You will quickly find that these birds extremely smart and their ability to learn make them fun to train. Keep in mind that any animal that shows signs of high intelligence can easily get bored, so your job is to train your pet parrot and spend the time it takes to make your bird into a wonderful pet. It takes time and patience to train a parrot, but with the proper training, your parrot will provide you with many years of friendship. You can train your parrot when you follow a few steps. Whenever "school is in" for your parrot, it is always best to remove your parrot from his or her cage and train in a small quiet space. Your parrot is more likely to remain attentive and retain information when it is in a new environment. The next thing you will want to do, eliminate all distractions in your home. If your parrot becomes distracted during training, it will not learn well. That means that you need to turn off the radio, television and perhaps even the telephone. Also, remember that parrots are a lot like children. They have short attention spans, so short training sessions are recommended. In addition, try to plan your parrot's training time around their schedule, not yours. After mealtime is always, a good time for training because your parrot will be content and will pay attention. Your parrot will also appreciate plenty of praise. Even if you find that you were not very successful, do not let your parrot see your stress levels rise. This makes it an unpleasant experience for your bird and you will have a harder time getting your parrot interested in learning in the future. When you are ready to teach your parrot a new trick, your pet parrot will respond well to treats and praise. Remember that all animals respond better to praise than punishment. Try to avoid punishing your parrot, even if he or she is acting naughty. Ignoring this behavior is your best bet when training your pet parrot. Parrots do not understand punishment or negative reinforcement. In fact, if you respond to your parrot's bad behavior, your pet may actually see this as positive attention. Keep in mind that while your parrot will love food treats as rewards, try to accentuate the positive and encourage good behavior with lots of praise and play time. Otherwise, your parrot may only perform the tricks you want them to when some kind of food reward is available. Repetition is the key to successfully training your pet parrot. Repeating these basic steps repeatedly until your pet "gets" the trick is the best way to train your parrot to perform. This works well for basic commands and advanced tricks. If you have just gotten your pet parrot, start out with very simple tricks, such as teaching your parrot to sit on your finger on command. Find a word for each trick and use it every time you train. Most of all, never force your parrot to train. If you find your parrot is tired or uninterested, then stop and try again another time. As your parrot learns more command and tricks, you can begin moving your training session closer and closer to the bird's cage. As they get better at their new skill, they will feel comfortable performing in his or her cage and in the hustle and bustle of your household. Birds learn quickly in most cases, and sometimes just by listening when not in training, which may cause embarrassment to you if they learn something inappropriate. Training a parrot takes a lot of time and patience. You must love your bird and have a lot of time and dedication to make this partnership worthwhile. With patient training and love, you end up with a fantastic and well-behaved pet that will be with you for a very long time to come. Helpful Hermit Crab Basics Hermit crabs are fun pets to care for in your home. They used to be reserved for souvenirs from seaside vacations, but now they can be bought almost anywhere. They make wonderful starter pets for kids. They make a great alternative to the more traditional gerbils or hamsters, and they have a much longer lifespan than goldfish! Contrary to what you might expect if you are new to hermit crabs, it is possible to play with them, and they do have little personalities of their own. Do you think hermit crabs may make a great pet for you? Here are some helpful hints to get you started. Before you get your crab, you need to get the basic equipment and supplies in place. First, they will need an aquarium for their house. Forget those teeny, tiny cages you see at the shops by the beach; hermit crabs really need a ten-gallon aquarium to be comfortable. If you are getting more than one crab, obviously you will be a bigger aquarium. A pet shop will be able to advise you on the best size for the number of crabs you will be housing. Make sure the aquarium has a snug fitting lid so your little friends do not make a run for it! Place a heating pad under the tank to keep your crabs feeling nice and tropical. You will need something to cover the floor of the tank, as well. Three to four inches of sand works best, but you can also use crushed coral or reptile fiber bedding. If you use something other than sand, it is still a good idea to cover a portion of the floor with sand, so the crabs will have somewhere comfortable to go when they molt. Now that you have the house and the flooring covered, you will need to get two shallow water dishes and a food dish. Shallow shells work well for this job. In one water dish, you should keep fresh water, and in the other, keep salt water, made with a marine aquarium salt solution. The dishes need to be shallow enough for the crabs to crawl into. A natural sea sponge is a nice addition to the fresh water dish, your crab will love to pinch it, and it will help keep the humidity levels up the aquarium. The last thing you will need to gussy up your hermit crab home is some decorative wood pieces for the crabs to climb on. Coral and coconut shells also make great additions that your crab will love to play with. Once you get your crab, to feed it, you will need to get some commercial hermit crab food. You can supplement that food with small pieces of fruit, meat, cereal, or fish. Additionally, make sure your crab gets crushed eggshells or oyster shells to boost their calcium level; it is important to keep their fragile skeletons strong. Cuttlebone is another option for this purpose. To care for your crab, clean their water and food dishes daily, and spot the clean the tank when necessary. You will want to provide plenty of extra shells, in increasingly larger sizes, so your crab can change homes as they grow. Shells with wide openings are best. When your crab molts, remove the skin they have shed as soon as possible. One optional, but useful accessory to get is a tank thermometer and humidity-measuring tool. Your hermit crab will be most comfortable when the temperature is kept around 72°F -- 80°F and the humidity level is between 70% and 80%. With these helpful hints, you are ready to get your hermit crab. All that is left to do now is come up with a name for your new pet! Hamsters Fuzzy Balls Of Fun As a child, most of us grew up with hamsters or friends who had hamsters. Even our children are fascinated with the small fuzzy creatures. There are many types of hamsters, dwarf, Syrian, Russian, Chinese, and hybrid. The hamster is a burrower so they prefer to have lots of bedding to hide under as well as tubes to create little nests in. The most difficult aspect of hamsters is telling if they are female or male and being wrong. Who has bought two hamsters thinking they were the same gender and ending up with ten hamsters? I certainly have. A lot of biologists and geneticists use hamsters and other rodents to show genetic possibilities. In genetics, we often discuss the genome and how genes are dispersed in relation to eye color, hair color, and other traits. When you have hamsters as pets you are seeing this first hand. I had one gold hamster and one white hamster. When they bred I ended up with several color traits from gold, white, black, white and black to many more. Half the fun for kids is seeing the baby hamsters grow up with different colors. It can be a great science project for school as well as having a wonderful pet. Hamsters are relatively easy to take care of. You can feed them hamster food, vegetables, and little hamster treats to give them a good life. The bedding should be changed weekly or twice a week depending upon how many hamsters you have. The downside to hamsters is their short lives. Most live only a year or two making it difficult on the younger children. There are lots of hamster accessories from tubes to wheels. Hamsters like other pets need to have exercise so giving them wheels to run on or having a hamster ball to run around the house in is good for them. The tubing and cages come in a variety of colors to add to a child's fun. You can create straight pathways to other larger home areas or curve them around to reenter the same cage. Most of the caging is plastic and your hamster will try to chew or claw there way free. You will want to monitor their activity when you clean the cage to make sure they are not producing a hole. Some hamster owners go with a metal wire cage with tiny slits to avoid the chewing escape. Your preference will determine the type of accessories you purchase. Handling hamsters should be kept to a minimum and you should always wash your hand before and after. Hamsters can have a tendency to bite if they are not handled at least once a day or if they become scared. Be cautious with little children. Hamsters are a lot of fun for all ages whether you have a budding scientist or just want an easy pet your child can care for. You will want to make sure you feed your hamster properly by not over feeding them while maintaining proper exercise. When your hamsters procreate, you will want to separate out the mother and children from the rest of the crew. A cautionary note before concluding this article: Dwarf hamsters are very susceptible to infections with cedar chips because it can tear holes in their tiny mouths. Ferrets: A Friendly Playful Pet Ferrets, often considered a rare pet to own. Most individuals choose dogs, cats, birds, or fish to complete their family, however a select few turn to the ferret for its social, playful, curious qualities. Ferrets love to play and explore not only with others and their owners, but also on their own. For this reason, you need to know a few things on how to take care of a ferret. First, you will want to ferret proof your home before you introduce them as pets. They will crawl into walls, furniture, and anywhere they can get their little bodies. It is much like childproofing a home for a baby. You will want to make sure all of the dangers are eliminated when you allow them out of their cages for playtime. Ferrets are also biters. The kits, baby ferrets, tend to bite more. You can eliminate the problem or tone it down with frequent handling. It is a sign of their behavior as mock fighting or sparring. The younger ferrets tend to bite more when they are teething and do not mean any harm. For this reason, you will want to handle the ferret or ferrets as often as possible to help reduce the biting behavior. Often those who do not take the time or patience to train their ferret end up leaving the animal in its cage and thus it has a shorter lifespan. Please make sure you are up to the task of training a ferret before brining one into your home. Trained properly they can be as great a pet as cats or dogs. A ferret's lifespan is usually six to ten years, however proper care and feeding can lead to a little longer life. Ferrets are carnivores so they require a high protein diet. Most owners decide to feed their ferret's mice, rats, rabbit, and other raw meats such as chicken. Stores carried other types of ferret food that many owners choose over the live food. Carefully reading the label will tell you if it has the proper high protein diet. Most kitten food can be used for example because it is designed to be high protein and fat for growing cats. While play is an important part of your ferret's life so is sleep. Most ferrets spend fourteen to eighteen hours a day sleeping. Part of sleeping is to rejuvenate them from the active play life they have. They love to explore and to play with toys. Many pet stores have toys for ferrets, or you might have something around the house that your ferret will find appealing. The type of cage is important. Ferrets tend to be very smart so you will need a cage they can get plenty of air, but small enough bars they cannot break away. You will also want to clean the cage once or twice a week depending upon the number of ferrets you have, how dirty the cage looks. They are also burrows so some type of bedding is required. Ferrets are little balls of fur that love to play and interact with humans and each other. While there are some special concessions you need to make to have a ferret the results are worth it. Proper training as a kit will give you even more joy when they reach adulthood. Fascinating and Novel Pets: The Turtle Do you remember reading children's books with turtles as the main pet? Children adore turtles as pets. They are very interesting creatures and there are many species. When you decide to have a turtle for a pet, you will need to know the exact species for the proper care. Let us look at some turtle species you can own. There are two types of turtles, the terrestrial and the aquatic. This means the first type of turtle spends more time on the land, while the aquatic turtle needs to have a great deal of water. Box and mud turtles are the terrestrial turtles. They require land to hibernate during the winter and sun on during the day. Most terrestrial turtles need 12 hours of sunlight, which can be provided by a UV lamp. Turtles are very susceptible to temperature changes often living in 80 degrees during the day and 70 degrees during the night. Terrestrial turtles also need water not only to drink, but also to swim around in. Aquatic turtles are sliders and painted turtles. Sliders typically live in swampy areas or near lakes with a lot of mud. They tend to basic in the sun during the day as well as swim to cool off. The painted turtle like the slider is mostly aquatic so they spend more time in the water than out sunning themselves. The painted turtle is the most complicate turtle to take care of because they require special care. Once you have decided on the type of turtle you wish to have you will then know what size tank you need. Most turtles require a 40 gallon tank or larger to have room for land and water. You will want to have plants in the tank, but make sure they are not poisonous to your turtle because they will eat them. You pet shop should be able to tell you the right type of plants to have. Wood chips and bark are not a good idea, not only do they harbor bacteria and molds, but the turtle can eat them. A turtle does not have a large digestive track and therefore wood chips often cause blockages. Certain turtles can even have small rocks to burrow under along with the dirt. Some proper food for turtles is often lettuce, goldfish, special feed sticks, berries and insects depending on the species of turtle you own. Water is very important to your turtle. You never want to give them tap water to drink. It is also best to give them natural spring water or non- chlorinated water for swimming in. Chlorine and other chemicals of tap water can cause bacteria in their digestive systems. Turtles can make great pets if you know a little about their habitat needs. Turtles are wondrous creatures that you can find in most warm climates walking along the roads or basking in the sun, so what better way than to give you child a great pet than to own a turtle. Keep in mind that turtles are sensitive and you will not want to handle them a lot. They do need to hibernate to live a longer life requiring you to keep the turtle somewhere little children cannot disturb them during the fall period. Turtles are both fascinating and novel pets for children. Cavy Care: Is A Guinea Pig Right For You If you are thinking about getting a pet for your home, you might want to consider a guinea pig. Guinea pigs, also called cavies, are lovable furry little critters that will bring you a lot of joy. In addition, guinea pigs can be a perfect first pet for children because they are easy to care for and more cuddly than a hamster and or fish. Here is some more information to help you determine whether a guinea pig is the right pet for you. If you are thinking about getting a pet for your home, you may a first consider a dog or cat. These animals are perfect for homes if you have a lot of time to dedicate to owning a pet. Dogs and cats need a lot of attention and a lot of space. Guinea pigs on the other hand are just as cute as dog, cats, and they do not require near as much space or care. Many people love the idea of guinea pigs as first pets for children because they live a lot longer than hamsters or gerbils. In fact, a well cared for guinea pig can live up to eight or nine years. Once you own a guinea pig, you will be hooked by these cute, sweet natured critters. When you go to the store to get a guinea pig, it is always a good idea to look at them carefully and choose them by their personality. Each guinea pig has his or her own personality. Some are more reserved in nature, while others are more outgoing. If you are choosing a guinea pig for your child, you want to make sure that your guinea pig can tolerate being held and petted. Guinea pigs are not known to be aggressive or to bite, but your child will have no fun with a shy guinea pig. Guinea pigs are also should social animals, and they enjoy the company of other guinea pigs. If you are planning to get a guinea pig, you might want to consider getting two guinea pigs at the same time. Male guinea pigs get along quite well with each other when you get them when they are babies. Male guinea pigs will fight with each other. If you introduce them after they are grown. Female guinea pigs can also get along well with each other. It is not recommended that you get a male and a female, unless you want to breed guinea pigs. When looking at guinea pig cages, you need to find one that will allow enough room for movement and play. Guinea pigs like to stay hidden when they sleep, so make sure that your cage has a place where they can hide. A plastic or wooden structure inside the cage is always a good idea. You will also want to add some sort of betting to the bottom of your guinea pig cage for easy cleanup. Cedar chips are not recommended. You also want to include a large water bottle for your guinea pig. If you have, two guinea pigs consider getting two water bottles. Guinea pigs love to drink water, so make sure that you give them plenty of fresh water every day. Some experts recommend adding vitamin C drops to their water. This works well for some guinea pigs. However, some guinea pigs do not like the taste and will not drink the water. If you do decide to add vitamin C drops to their water, make sure they are staying hydrated throughout the day. If you choose not to include vitamin C drops with their water. You can supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Guinea pigs love fresh vegetables and fruits of all kinds. Just make sure that you are not overfeeding your guinea pigs and use fruits and vegetables as treats. As far as food is concerned, you will want to feed your guinea pigs specially formulated guinea pig pellets available at pet stores. Guinea pigs also needed daily supply of Timothy hay to help aid in digestion. Guinea pigs are great pets for all types of homes. When you get your guinea pig young, you can work with it to social it. You and your children will enjoy these adorable pets for many years to come. Reptilian Pets: The Snake Every Boys Dream Pet Most girls and moms have an adverse reaction to having a snake or any other dangerous animal as a pet, however with proper care and the correct selection even those with aversions can become quite fascinated by the snake as a pet. The key is to do a lot of research when buying a snake. Most pet shops will sell the harmless snakes and teach you how to feed them. If you always wanted a snake as a pet when you were a boy, you might choose something a little more exotic. Tips to finding the right snake for you or your child can come in handy when you are faced with the task. First you will want to research snakes in general. You have your garden-variety snake that is very common and not dangerous. Then there are pythons, kings, and boa constrictor snakes. Keep in mind if this is for a child you probably want a harmless snake that will not grow to large. The larger snakes mentioned above take more care and larger aquariums and are not suited for smaller children. The species of snake you chose will have a special diet. Most species have different diets. You may have seen a pet snake in the pet store eating mice while other snakes do not. It is important to choose a snake you can provide proper food for at all times. You also do not want to keep a wild snake, as they tend to carry diseases and stress with the change in environment. It is best to shop at a trustworthy pet shop or snake breeder. Most king snakes and gopher snakes tend to eat mice and need to have plenty of water to drink. You may have a little pond in your aquarium with a tree branches, rocks, and dirt for your snake. Like food most snakes require a special environment. You will want to research that snake before choosing the environmental accessories. Snakes are often tropical in nature so they require heat as well as moderate temperatures in the evening. You have heard of the desert being cold at night. Snakes are proliferating in the desert areas and rainforests. Being able to provide the proper environment will ensure a long life for you new pet. Touching on food again you also need to have a feeding schedule. Some snakes do not have to eat every day. In fact, gopher snakes will not eat every day. If you are getting a pet snake for you child you will want to make sure they understand the feeding schedule. Most young adults can handle having a pet snake while little children will need you to take care of the snake. Handling the snake is also important. The more a snake is used to human contact the more contact the more domicile they tend to be. This means those that are dangerous can be held given proper training and handling. I recommend staying away from these snakes when you first have a pet snake. It is important to take small steps when you have a pet snake to get used to their special needs. Snakes can make great pets if you take proper care of them. Many young boys and even girls are fascinated with snakes. They have pretty colors and just the lure of a little danger can add to the interest. Make sure you are prepared for the requirements needed from you to have a pet snake before giving in to a child's demand.
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