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Pet Ownership

Selecting the perfect pet plus pet ownership!

Pet Ownership

Thinking about something petty?

If you are considering enhancing your lifestyle with a pet then you are about to enter into a relationship that will give you constant delight. Once you have experienced pet ownership, you will wonder how you survived without your new buddy.

We get something from our pets that we just don't seem to get from any other source, not even our fellow human beings, but how do you select the perfect pet and what is pet ownership like?

All the good oil is here!

Good Luck!!


Dr Cam's Information on Pet Ownership!

pawprint  Pets - Why own them?

pawprint  Buddy Pets

pawprint  Health Enhancers

pawprint  Diseases you can Catch from your Pets

pawprint  Choosing a pet

pawprint  The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

pawprint  Oh Baby!

pawprint  Kids and Pets

pawprint  Pets for the Elderly

pawprint  Selecting and Raising a perfect Pup

pawprint  Crying Wolf

pawprint  I Hate My Cat

pawprint  The History of Cat Domestication

pawprint  Poultry as Pets

pawprint  Reptiles as Pets

pawprint  Rat Tales


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Pets for the Elderly

'I've no yard that's why I can't have a pet' exclaimed Mrs Wilson sadly.

Her children had 'fled the coop' years before, her husband had passed away several months ago and she had little to do nowadays. Elderly folk have the time for pets and have lots of love to give but many are in units, retirement villages or hospice accommodation and pets are often not encouraged - sadly.

A pet, though, is so important for such people. Are there any answers? You bet!

Small DogsSmall Yorkie on White

What about dogs? While small lap dogs can cope with living totally inside, most people find dogs difficult to manage without a garden. However, if you have a suitable place for a dog to use as a toilet, and can exercise it one two to three times daily by taking it for a walk, a dog like a Chihuahua, Fox Terrier or a Poodle may be a consideration. Many forward thinking nursing homes have a resident pooch that is always popular.

Cats

Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SMLYou may find that a cat is a better alternative. Rag Doll and Persian cats are more sedate than others and generally adapt well to being in a house or unit.

Cats are clean creatures and will usually use a litter tray. You can buy a 'hooded' litter tray with a cover that looks like a hutch. The hood also reduces the odour of the excreta. Purchase a scratching post and some good cat toys, including a Kong Ball, to ensure you have a contented kitty. Don't forget to play with your cat and give it things that it can climb on and hide behind, too.

Birds

Birds are popular with the elderly. Cockatiels, Love Birds, Budgies and Canaries and any of the other small parrots will suit the bill. Cockatiels and Green ParrotBudgies can be good conversationalists too, and, in time, you could teach your selected feathered friend to come out of its cage and to fly around your unit.

Keep in mind that birds have those funny things call wings on the side of their bodies. They allow birds to perform a unique and unusual behaviour called flying. They can't do that in a small cage so allowing them freedom is quite important. Just be sure the windows are closed and the stove is not in use. Boiled budgies or flame-charred finches do not make good pets.

Aquarium Fish

An aquarium of fish is another consideration. The graceful and fluid movements of a school of marine or tropical fish are very pacifying. Once it is established and the water environment has stabilized, an aquarium is easy to maintain and not that expensive. Don't skimp on the quality of your filter and other equipment though. There is an element of creativity with an aquarium. The placement of the plants and rocks in the aquarium and the selection of fish for their attractive colours makes fish keeping an absorbing pastime.

Fish are not that cuddly, though, and they don't seem to respond well to commands such as 'sit' and 'stay' although many fish are very good at 'play dead' if the tank is not managed properly.

Mice and Rats

What about mice and rats? Many people would think that these are not appropriate pets for elderly people but I know of a really hip granny who has a pet rat and adores it too. Personally, I think that rats make much more entertaining pets that mice. They are more cuddly and I feel they have more character.

Rats are easy to keep and are not expensive to buy. Their housing is cheap too. A rat's enclosure must be kept clean as it will smell if neglected. Best of luck if you are trying to convince a nursing home that you should keep one though!!

Cheating with Pets!

Even if you are in a home or a hospice that does not permit pets, you can cheat a bit! Native animals that are living freely around you can certainly be encouraged to visit.

Nothing is more rewarding than planting a garden and then watching native birds dropping in for a nibble and a natter.

Planting native trees and shrubs will help but you can also install a bird bath and a feeding table - just remember to keep them clean. Establish a feeding routine by providing tucker early in the morning or late in the afternoon. In that way you can probably create a 'system' that the native birds will use to get a snack or two.

Eucalypts and acacias will encourage all types of native birds but if you want to encourage seed eating birds, plant casuarinas, native conifers and ornamental grasses as well.

On the other hand, tea-trees, and melaleucas will encourage insect eaters; and grevilleas, banksias, callistemons, kangaroo paws and hakeas will encourage nectar feeding birds.

To encourage kookaburras and magpies, soak some dry dog food and mix with some hard-boiled eggs and cheese. They will also be particularly pleased if you offer them minced steak or finely cut pieces of red meat. If you do this, you should add some calcium carbonate powder.

Don't go overboard feeding native birds though. They must be able to browse on their natural foods and should not become reliant on human handouts that are usually not a balanced diet.

Possums can be encouraged too. You can make them a 'possum palace' by placing a suitably sized box in trees around your flat or unit. Feed the possums small quantities of fruit cake, bread and jam and, of course, soft ripe fruit. Remember though - don't go overboard.

Last but not least are lizards. A few hollow logs or terra cotta pipes filled with dry grass will provide hidey-holes for them. You could make a lizard lunch from sweet juicy fruits and some hard-boiled egg in limited quantities. That may lure the lizard to languish lazily on your lawn.

 

Get help from Dr Cam!