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Holidays for Pets

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:37:48 PM EST by Cam Day

Holiday Care for Pets

Holidays are complicated when you have pets. What are you going to do with them? Do you take your pets with you or leave them behind?This car is packed for a good time

Preferably you won't do what some irresponsible holiday makers do. Those who lack commitment find a pet too much inconvenience and think nothing of  dumping their cat or dog before they go away.

Leaving your pets unattended at home is also not an option. Such lonely animals often escape when the boredom of solitude hits. These stray pets often suffer injuries from accidents and they can become lost. However, most people are very responsible and want to ensure their pets are safe while they are away.

What are the options for holiday care of pets?

Many folk couldn't bear to be without their pets when they go off for some rest and recreation. If you can take your pets with you then they will enjoy the change in routine as much as you.

Be careful if you are going camping and save embarrassment.  Many camping grounds are National Parks where pets are totally prohibited.

Look for a book produced by  Life - Be In It called Holidaying with your Dogs.  It lists a variety of camping grounds and accommodation alternatives which allow dogs. The book sells for about $16.00.

Boarding Your Pet

If you are intending to book your dog or cat into a boarding kennel, then ensure you do so months before. Many boarding kennels and catteries book out for the Christmas and Easter holidays months in advance. Other holiday periods are almost as bad.

I always advise pet owners to view their pet's potential accommodation to ensure the facilities are clean and well managed. Boarding kennel owners are usually happy with this but you may have to arrange the visit with them beforehand. In a boarding kennel, there are certain times of the day when the owners cannot allow visitors through due to the potential of noise from the dogs barking and the disturbance visitors may cause to other scheduled duties.

If a kennel owner flatly refuses, then I would go elsewhere.

Home Visit Services

Several organisations offer a home visit service for pets. With such services, the pets are left at home and the care-giver visits during the day to feed and exercise the pets. They will water your plants and also provide other services. For pets with the right temperament, this is a good alternative.

However, be aware that your pet will still be alone for most of the day and many pets will not tolerate this. If your pet is very attached to you it may be not be content if you are gone for a long period and another alternative may be better.

House Sitters

Many folk will have a house-sitter stay in their home when they are away. The pets often enjoy the new face and the small change in routine. Naturally, the house-sitter needs to have good credentials.

A Holiday With Relatives

Alternatively, having your pets cared for at the home of a friend or relative is a good idea. If this is your preference, check that the fences will prevent your pet escaping. Why not take your pet to visit this friend a few times before the holiday so it can acquaint itself with their house and garden?

Lastly, no matter the system of care you use when you are on holiday, be sure to fully identify your pet with tags or a microchip. Should your pet roam while you are away, identification will assist in its return to you otherwise, you may never see it again.

Holiday Health Care

Remember that your pet will need to have its vaccinations up to date before being admitted into the kennels. For your pet's protection, its vaccinations should be given at least 10 days before the date of boarding as the vaccines won t cause immunity immediately.

Have your dog vaccinated with the C5 vaccine as this covers your dog for both of the germs that can cause Canine Cough and those that cause Distemper, Parvovirus and Canine Hepatitis virus. Canine Cough is a contagious upper respiratory condition that can be a problem wherever dogs group together - especially in kennels.

For cats, the F3 vaccine is the minimum needed but you may also like to ask your vet about some of the new vaccines that are now available for diseases such feline leukaemia and feline AIDS.

This is also a good time to have your dog or cat wormed with an all-wormer tablet and to check that their heartworm preventative is up to date.

There are many alternatives for your dog's heartworm preventative, but my advice is to consider the Once-A-Year Heartworm Injection which you can have done at the same time that you have your pet's annual vaccinations.

Don't forget a bath or at least a good flea treatment is essential and if your pet is on medication of any sort, for example for arthritis or anxiety disorders, now is a good time to ensure you are well stocked with medication.

With a little forethought, you and your pets will have a happy holiday and you won't be dogged by the hassles that hound many others.

Back to Holiday Care Pet Pick

 

DrCam_Help_Button

Confinement for Cats

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 5:54:01 PM EST by Cam Day

Cagey Cats

Confinement options for bored cats

male-cat-behavior268Is your cat being belted up by the local moggie - the gnashing neighbourhood nasty? Or are you concerned because you live near a main road and your cat likes playing 'chicken' with the local hot-rod by strutting down the middle of the white line as the hotrod approaches? Perhaps your cat is attacking the local wildlife and you are having trouble stopping it from doing so.

Well the solution to all the above could be to confine your cat to your house or yard. While that's easy to do with dogs, achieving the same with cats is not so easy.

To confine your cat, the approach I advise is the creation of a Fantastic Feline Fun Park.

Where Can I Confine My Cat?

It can difficult, although not impossible to consider enclosing your whole yard. However, some cat owners are successful in confining their cats to a room or two inside the house while others choose to allow their cats to roam the whole house but do not allow them outside. However, most cats will be happier if their housing includes a Fantastic Feline Fun Park on a balcony or veranda, or in a purpose built Fun Park in the back yard.

Cat looking out windowWhat your cat  really wants is a semi-outside area where, via a cat door,  it can have access to you and an outside environment, without becoming totally free. This is the theme of a Fantastic Feline Fun Park. 

There are several companies on the market that do a good job.  The Cat Max system is built from soft, but strong, nylon netting that is flexible enough to enclose anything from verandas to whole garden areas, including the trees! The Cat Nip system is constructed of modular cages.

Cats don't need aerobic exercise to the same extent as dogs. In fact, unlike dogs, cats mostly exercise isometrically rather than aerobically - that is, by stretching, jumping and climbing rather than running long distances. Most cat owners will vouch for the fact that cats are downright lazy and will sleep 90 percent of the time. When they are active, they are often intensely so, but for only a short period. By being wise and cunning, you will easily cater for this 'wind in the tail' time, while still keeping your cat in its Fun Park

How Do I Ensure My Cat is Happy in Its Fantastic Feline Fun Park? Image from Funkycat.com.au

Once you have given your cat areas for feeding, resting, toileting and exploration and have added regular  stimulation, change and challenge you have given all that's needed to make your cat happy.

Cats need elevation rather than length. They are superior creatures and enjoy looking down on their world from lofty heights. A Fun Park should therefore be at least two metres high and have a minimum floor area of 2.5 square metres.

Resting areas are important and you should provide several at different levels. These can be hammock beds attached to the walls of the Fun Park, perhaps made from shade cloth, or can be wooden shelves covered with pieces of carpet. If you can spare it, cats love wool to sleep on and adore sheepskin. They will particularly like to sleep on your black woollen dinner suit or evening gown, but this might be going a bit far. You will find carpeted climbing, sleeping, scratching and resting units in most pet shops.

Exploring the Options

A pigeonhole style shelf unit is an ideal sleeping and exploration area for cats.  You should cut holes in the partitions between each pigeonhole so that Puss can explore from one to the other. Cover some pigeonholes but provide 'peep' holes in them, and leave some open.

You can further satisfy your cat's need for exploration by making an 'arboreal aerobic area'. Do this by placing a thick, branched tree trunk against one corner of the Fun Park. Choose one with vertically striated bark to stimulate claw sharpening. Strategically placed branches will help your cat use the tree as a climbing frame. Arrange it so that it spans across to the sleeping hammocks and the pigeonhole play area. Add some carpet to the trunk to help your cat to learn that the trunk is a scratching post. (Some cats prefer using carpet to bark).

Cats snugglingIf you want your cat to like being in its Fun Park, there is no better way than to feed it there. Still, you can do more than just throwing it a bowl of food.

As well as its normal diet, hide titbits of food in the various levels of the Fun Park. Hidden food treats such as dry cat biscuits or freeze dried fish, quartered, tasty vitamin tablets, or pieces of kabana in limited quantities stimulate the need to hunt. Raw chicken wings or chicken necks are wonderful for cat's teeth and fit well with this theme too.  Just be sure that the tidbits do not add excessively to your cat's caloric intake.

For another idea, cut the end off a two-litre plastic milk bottle, throw away the base and keep the end with the cap. Smear vegemite, Anchovette fish paste or liverwurst in the cap and screw the cap back in place. Puss will have fun sticking its head inside the bottle trying to lick the smeared treats.

Giving your cat two litter trays will cater for its toileting needs. I prefer to place small amounts of litter in two separate trays rather than a large amount in just one tray. Using this method, the cat has another tray to use in case the first is dirty. Some cats will soil outside the tray when it is dirty and provision of two often solves this problem.

Having two trays also allows you to experiment with two types of litter to find out which your cat prefers.  You can also purchase litter tray 'hutches' if you prefer not to have the litter visible, or if you wish to control any odour that the trays may produce.

For some added excitement and change, consider placing a small pond in the Fun Park with a fountain in it. Cats will often find this fascinating and will play with the splashing water. Adding fish is not advisable, as they will usually not last long. Speaking of fish, an aquarium with a secure lid is often a very useful addition. Cats will watch the fish for hours just like kids watching television but the lid will keep the fish safe.

Finding Cures for Frantic Furballs

Confinement issues can be complex and managing a cat's behaviour when it is being tormented by local cats is difficult. We deal with problems like that on a day to day basis. Click here if you need personal help.


Santa Claws is Coming!

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:45:38 PM EST by Cam Day

Santa Claws Applause

If you need a Christmas gift for your favourite pet lover, or even for your favourite pet, the choice this Christmas is bigger that it's ever been. Use this list to get your Santa's sack bulging.

Groomed for Success

Woman and catAs pet owners, we love the look and feel of our pets. So, why not give your favourite pet person a real treat and have their pet professionally groomed? See your local grooming parlour for a gift voucher. Picture this! You could go a step further and have the pet's portrait taken and present the framed photo to the owner for Christmas.

Health Enhancers

Without doubt, one of the best things you can do for a pet-lover is to ensure their pet is healthy and happy. The pet's vet is sure to have a gift voucher that would, for instance, cover the cost of having the pet's teeth cleaned or having the pet vaccinated and while you're at it, ask the vet to add a Once-A-Year heartworm injection into the gift.

Hamper the Pet's Health

A Christmas hamper for the pampered pet is a wonderful idea and the local pet shop or veterinary surgery will help you to select the right goodies.

Consider a flea preventative such as Frontline Plus or Advantage and a good quality hypo-allergenic shampoo. For itchy pets, try an oatmeal shampoo. Add some pet toothpaste and a toothbrush, and a new lead and collar with a whiz-bang, engraved name tag and then throw in a bag of liver treats and you will be forever popular - the pet will like you too!

Better to be Better Behaved

When a pet misbehaves, the turmoil caused by that behaviour is a constant worry for any pet owner.

So, solving that behaviour means a better lifestyle for the pet AND the owner.

Now, you can give your relative or friend the gift of a well-behaved pet! (Or be selfish - give yourself the gift - just don't let anyone else know!)

If your mum or dad or your daughter or son has a problem pet, the best thing you can do is to get personal assistance from Dr Cam to have that problem zapped away.

Leading the Way

If your pet-person has a pooch that is impossible to walk on the lead because the pooch pulls too much, then ask Santa to give the pooch's owner a certificate for an obedience course. A little training goes a long way!

When its being walked, perhaps your friend's dog resembles a cross between as runaway freight train and a turbo-charged yo-yo after a caffeine hit. Well, lead them to success by giving a Gentle Leader as a present. These devices are like a head-halter used on horses. Attach a lead to the Gentle Leader and it operates on the principle that where the head goes, the body must follow. No more freight-train Fido foibles!

We all know dogs are not allowed to exercise off lead in public but an extendable lead is a good alternative. Extendable leads are similar to a builder's tape measure. The lead is housed in a canister from which it extends when applicable or springs back if the dog needs to be short-leashed when passing pedestrians or other dogs.

Tons of Toys

Honey sitting with the Wobbler

There is no end to the range of toys you can buy for pets. For puss cats, there are motorised toys a plenty that will keep a cat

 

 

amused, including the Cat and Mouse. This is a motorised plush mouse that scampers inside a circular maze.

There are many versions of cat teasers that resemble fishing rods with feathers or plush toys attached to the end of a string, or you can make your own from a bamboo garden stake, piece of cotton and a cork with two feathers attached.

If you haven't yet caught up with the rang of self-feeding dog toys such as the Kong Toy, the Giggle Ball or the Buster Cube then you are really behind the times. Most dogs delight in the puzzle that such toys provide and they are great brain fodder for bored dogs that are left alone during the day.

If you prefer to make your own dog and cat toys, then search for information on my No Bored Dogs and Cats routine on www.pethealth.com.au.

Lightening Lightning Fear

If your favourite pet person has a dog with noise fears, I have just the present. My Frightful Noises Audio CD and its sister the Frightful Noises E-book. These resources will make light work of thunder, lightning and fireworks fears.

The audio CD contains more than one hour of sound advice on solving noise fears with dogs. The Brain-E-book has over 50 pages of advice and also includes the Fear Factor Calculator that helps to assess how serious a dog's noise fears are. It also links to a variety of useful video clips on my web site.

Give a Dog A Bone

The simplest things are often the best. So, this Christmas, why not "give your dog a bone"?

A raw meaty bone, such as a piece of ox tail to suit the size of your dog, a marrow bone (cut in half width-ways not lengthways, so the fatty marrow is not available), a chicken wing or neck or a lamb shank, makes an ideal treat. A bone will alleviate boredom and will also help to keep your dog's teeth clean. Chicken wings and necks and the smaller ox tails are ideal for cats too.

A bone doesn't have to be messy. Rawhide chews and pigs' ears are suitable for those pets that bring their bones into the house.

Boredom Blasters

Honey sniffing WobblerBoredom is the modern scourge of dogs and cats. The Christmas boredom-blaster that tops my list is the Kong Toy. Kongs are cone-shaped, rubber toys that resemble the Michelin man. They also have a hole through the middle into which you can hide a variety of healthy food treats. Give this to your pooch when you leave for work and it will have something to entertain it for the day.

A Roller Ball or Treat Ball is a similar idea. These balls are hollow and have a submarine-like hatch that allows you to place dry food inside the ball. As your pooch pushes the ball around, the dry food falls out and provides an instant reward for your dog's efforts. My hairy hound loves her Treat Ball. Similar versions are also available for cats.

Other boredom-blasters that are new this Christmas include a range of chewable toys which incorporate movement-activated, computerised noises. Some make the sound of a fire engine, others make the sound of a telephone and there are many other stimulating noises to bowl Rover over.

Bored puss-cats have not been forgotten. There are many motor-driven toys that will drive your cat crazy. Some have a plush mouse that circles around inside a chamber. Paw holes allow your cat to attempt to catch the mouse as it circles.

Also examine the range of carpeted climbing frames and scratching poles that are available. With hiding holes and bouncing attachments, these are a cat's dream.

Litter Perfect

Now down to man's business. Guys, if you're the sensitive, new age type, for a really romantic present for your cat-fanatic lady, why not give her a Litter Maid reallycutetabbycat200- an automatic, self-cleaning cat litter tray. So considerate!

While you mind the fur-ball for a short period (when the footy's on), your dearly-beloved will find it is so much easier to clean the litter tray. This intelligent litter tray uses a motion detector (!) knows when the cat has visited and automatically activates a cleaning comb ten minutes later. The comb moves through the clumping cat litter and scoops the soiled bits out and deposits them in a disposable waste container.

Yup - now that you've mastered the toilet seat bit, you can even help with the cat's toilet manners.

Speaking of entertaining a puss-cat, look for a new device called a Kitten Mitten. Being a caring cat owner, I have bought my Hair Ball one and he thinks it is so much better than the old "Mouse-on-a-Rope". A Kitten Mitten is a glove with extended fingers tipped with cat nip bobbles. It resembles a mutant cross between Edward Scissor Hands and a Joker's Hat. Place the mitten on, wiggle your fingers and your cat will become a fascinated flipped-out feline.

Fish and Tips

For those who are considering an aquarium, I am really taken by the Eclipse systems. These aquariums are much better-looking than the normal square glass tanks. They are made from attractive curved glass, and come complete with a coloured hood, flourescent light, and a bio-wheel power filter and the total package costs around $180.00.

Bird-brained Presents

buzzLet's not forget our feathered friends. If you are feeding your birds a standard seed mix, your fussy feather-face may pig out on its favourite seeds, thus selecting a diet that is not balanced.

The answer is to feed your bird prepared food pellets, much as we do nowadays for dogs and cats. There are many varieties, but the product, Nutriberries, is one variation. This clever product provides an excellent source of nutrition for birds. It combines essential seeds and vitamins, thus providing a balanced diet with each mouthful. The feathered folk think it is wonderful.

Twinkling Teeth for Christmas?

If you have a friend whose pet has 'death breath', give them a big hint by presenting their pet with a toothbrush and toothpaste for Christmas. Your vet and pet store have a pet tooth brush that fits over the end of a finger and a tube of toothpaste that goes with it. The toothpaste comes in unusual flavours like malt and poultry! Essence of postman is the next flavour on the list, especially for Rottweilers and Dobermans!

For cats and dogs, there are a variety of dental chew treats, including Greenies. Rawhide chews are available for dogs and fish base chews for cats.

For pooches and puss cats that are young or for those that are lonely at night why not try a Snuggle Pet? These plush, furry pets come equipped with a vibrating heart that gives off a comforting and rhythmical beating sound that mimics the heartbeat of a companion.

Happy shopping!

 

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