Month: December 2016 (Page 2 of 24)

Bath Time! (Tips for Bathing Your Dog)

Most dogs don’t mind being dirty—in fact, they enjoy it! Depending on your dog, bath time can be tricky. Some dogs, even water-loving breeds, are not fond of baths.

Here are some tips for making bath time easier for you, and your dog.

How often?

The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every 3 months, and veterinary dermatologists recommend it even more frequently, as often as once a week. Figure out what works best for you and your dog based on factors like how much time they spend outside and any skin conditions they may have (bathing more frequently is better for dogs with allergies).

Before the Bath

  • Make sure you have a shampoo and/or conditioner that is especially formulated for dogs. Find what will work best for your dog—a Pet Supermarket associate would be happy to help you with recommendations.
  • Brush your dog thoroughly before getting him wet.
  • You can put a cotton ball in your dog’s ear canals to prevent water from getting inside—just remember to take it out after you’re done. Some dogs may benefit from the use of an ear powder after bathing. The powder helps absorb any excess moisture.
  • If you’re bathing your dog at home in the bathtub, putting a non-slip surface on the floor of the tub or a bathing tether can help relieve anxiety by giving your dog more traction and security.

Splish Splash

  • Now that you’re ready for the bath, it’s time for positive reinforcement. Offer treats, toys and affection to get your dog excited for the bath, and anytime he does anything that’s helpful during bath time. Stay calm and assertive—if you are anxious or angry, your dog’s actions will reflect your energy.
  • Use warm water, not hot. If your dog is anxious about baths, adding the water to the tub before he gets in may help calm him.
  • Start shampooing at your dog’s neck and work your way down to the tail and the toes. Use a damp washcloth to wash your dog’s face. Offer praise and treats along the way.
  • Once your dog is sudsed up, rinse with clean, warm water. If your dog is still dirty, you can repeat shampooing and rinsing as needed. If you’ll be using conditioner, you can massage it into your dog’s fur and then rinse well.

Drying Off

  • Have towels ready for drying—three is a good amount. One can go on the floor, one for drying your dog’s face and ears, and another for drying his body and feet. Some dogs don’t mind blow dryers if you’d prefer to go that route, just make sure it’s on the coolest setting so as not to burn your dog’s skin.
  • Don’t let your dog outside until he’s completely dry, or he might undo all of your hard work!

Pet Supermarket carries a large selection of shampoos and grooming supplies to make your dog’s bath a success!

Cat Drool

Cats rarely drool like our canine companions do. A little saliva isn’t cause for worry, but if you notice your cat drooling excessively, it is most likely a sign of an underlying medical problem. As a rule, if your cat is drooling or foaming at the mouth for no obvious reason, drooling persists for more than half an hour, or there are other signs of illness simultaneously, it’s time to call the vet.

Some causes that might be behavioral or fairly benign include:

  • Salivation from fear or excitement
  • Car sickness, caused by motion or fear
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting a hairball
  • Sometimes a cat will drool with pleasure while being petted – the drool of happiness!

Some of the worrying causes of drools:

  • Dental disease—more than 80% of adult cats will develop periodontal, gum or other oral diseases that cause pain and may induce drooling.
  • Poison ingestion (or of a foul-tasting substance)—common plants like tulips, lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can make your cat drool, as well as make her sick.
  • Oral cancers—these can be very aggressive in cats and cause a large amount of drool.
  • Respiratory infection—drooling can signal an infection of the nose, throat, or sinuses.
  • Organ disease—as cats age, they’re more likely to get sick. Liver and kidney diseases can cause drooling. Annual checkups can help diagnose and treat these diseases early.
  • Foreign object or tumor in the mouth—some common objects that may get stuck in cats’ mouths include string, sticks, bones or fish hooks.
  • Rabies—it is a rare diagnosis, but if the cat has not been vaccinated against rabies and begins drooling and behaving unusually, it must be considered.

When in doubt, check with your veterinarian for an examination to rule out underlying causes for excessive drool. While normal for most dogs, our elegant feline friends aren’t fond of drool.

Pet Bird Happiness

Birds are smart creatures—some species of parrots have been shown to have the emotional complexity of a 5-year-old-child. It’s important to keep these intelligent animals happy and healthy. By knowing the basics of your bird’s needs—just three major elements—it can make it much easier to keep them content and healthy.

Keep them healthy

  • Good nutrition and variety is important to a bird’s diet. Offer seed, pellets, and treats to keep your bird healthy.
  • Daily access to unfiltered sunlight—birds need access to UVA and UVB rays direct sunlight or full-spectrum lighting to synthesize vitamin D necessary for bone health. Window glass blocks necessary UV rays.
  • Grooming—your bird should be given regular opportunities to bathe. A bird bath and even bird bath spray can be found at your local Pet Supermarket.
  • Temperature regulation—protect them from extreme heat or cold.

Appropriate accommodations

  • They need a spacious cage, big enough to accommodate perches, bird toys and several food dishes; as well as allowing for exercise—maybe even short flights from one perch to another. The larger, the better.
  • Make it fun. Include natural perches (set up as they might be in the wild), foraging opportunities, and adequate nature—safe, edible plants and non-toxic wood.
  • Add indoor plants if possible. These increase oxygen flow and help clean the air indoors, and also provide privacy, which can alleviate some behavioral problems, such as feather plucking.

Spreading their wings

  • Social time. By nature, birds are social creatures and enjoy the company of other living beings. If it is an only bird, make sure to spend quality time with your bird. Place multiple perches throughout your house so your bird can “hang out” with you.
  • Daily exercise. Your bird needs out-of-cage time at least once a day to allow for sufficient physical and mental stimulation, preferably including free-flying in a safe, supervised environment.
  • Offer a variety of toys and enrichment activities, or work on teaching your bird a few tricks. This will have the added benefit of strengthening the bond between you and your bird. For maximum benefit, rotate toys periodically.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer

As the weather warms up, the natural tendency is to want to spend lots of time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. While spending more time outdoors can be a great source of exercise and fun for your dog, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion. Here are some tips for keeping your best friend cool and safe this summer.

  • First and foremost, keep your dog hydrated. Dogs will need more water than usual when the temperatures rise, so make sure to keep the water bowl full of fresh, cool water, and take water for your dog with you on any walks. If a dog gets dehydrated, it can turn into heatstroke quickly. Signs of dehydration include dry nose, dry mouth and gums, excessive panting, and vomiting or loss of appetite. If your dog has a few of these symptoms, see your vet immediately.
  • Don’t let the temperature fool you. Dogs can overheat in temperatures as low as 80 degrees. Add in humidity and exertion, and it gets dangerous quickly.
  • Change your walking time. Avoid the hottest parts of the day by going for walks in the early morning and late evening, after the sun has set. If possible, avoid hot surfaces like sand or asphalt, as your dog’s paws are sensitive and can burn easily.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a closed car (even with the windows cracked); on a warm day, the temperature inside can rise to over 150 degrees within minutes.
  • Go for a swim! Swimming is the best activity for a dog in the summertime. It’s not only great exercise, but it can be an opportunity for bonding while the two of you cool off together.

By following these tips, you can make sure you and your dog both have a safe, fun summer.

Kitty Hydration

Keeping your cat hydrated is always important, but especially so during the warm summer months. Depending on their weight and diet, your cat should be drinking two to four ounces a day.

If your cat is a picky kitty, you may need to try a few things to keep them properly hydrated.

Sparkling Clean H20

  • Refresh your cat’s water every day. Water that sits for a few days can get stale or contaminated.
  • Offer filtered water rather than tap water, which has minerals and chlorine.
  • If your cat eats dry food, make sure fresh water is always available. If you decide to add water to their food, make sure to dispose of it as soon as they are done eating to prevent spoilage.
  • If your cat is on a wet-food diet, they will need less water, but feel free to add a little to their food bowl.
  • Refill their water to the same level daily. This will make it easier to notice any changes in her water intake.

Water Bowl Protocol

  • Wash their food bowl often and rinse all traces of dish soap, which can burn their tongue.
  • Your cat might not like having their water close to her food source. In this case, a double feeder bowl with food and water next to each other would be a turn off. Try separate bowls instead.
  • Glass or stainless steel bowls are preferable as plastic may leave an unpleasant taste.
  • Some cats don’t like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl when they drink. Give them more room with a wide, shallow bowl.
  • If your cat prefers to drink running water, get them a water fountain. A water fountain can provide a continuous flow of fresh, filtered water for your cat. It could be a source of water and play!

Keep the fresh water flowing for a healthy cat and be sure to monitor their water intake. If they are drinking more or less than normal, they should see a vet to be checked for any potential health issues.

Protecting Your Bird In Summer Heat: Safety Tips For Monitoring & Regulating Body Temperature

Summer heat safety tips for your pet bird.

Although most types of pet birds are native to tropical habitats, warm summer weather can still be a threat to their health. Birds handle heat better than cats and dogs because their normal body temperature is around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. But because they lack sweat glands, any increase in body temperature can cause heat exhaustion. Heat stress in birds is a serious concern and must be treated immediately. Here are some tips for protecting your bird in the summer heat.

  • Make sure cages are kept away from direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the sun changes direction throughout the day and the cage’s location may need to be altered accordingly.
  • Air conditioning and ceiling fans are useful options for keeping your bird cool. Even if the air being circulated is warm, it will help pull heat from the bird’s body. Be careful not to direct the airflow directly at the bird, however. Gel-based freezer packs in a Ziploc bag can be placed in the cage to help cool down the air.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables will be a welcome addition to your bird’s high-quality seed-based diet. Your bird’s preferences may vary, but fresh apple pieces, parsley, cucumber, and moist lettuce leaves are great options to offer as treats. Food spoils more quickly in the heat, so for this reason make sure to remove any uneaten food after a couple of hours.
  • Make sure there’s an abundant supply of clean, fresh water—for both drinking and bathing—in separate containers. Your bird may also enjoy being spritzed with cool water from a water bottle. Besides cooling them down, it also keeps the feathers in condition, helps grooming and enhances coloration. Just take care not to startle your bird with the misting.

By following these tips, you can ensure your bird stays cool and healthy in the summer heat. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the signs of heat stress. One of the first signs that your bird is not feeling well is the lack of preening or grooming, usually followed by fluffing up in a ball and being very quiet, or sitting at the bottom of its cage. Another signal of heat stress is your bird panting with an open beak and its wings spread away from the body. If you notice any of these signs or your bird’s behavior changes suddenly, contact your vet immediately.

How Long Should You Walk Your Dog?

How long should I walk my dog?

The amount of exercise a dog needs is dependent on several factors. A dog’s age, size, breed and overall health are all taken into consideration when determining how much exercise is sufficient. Generally speaking, for most dogs, a leashed 10-minute walk isn’t enough.

Dogs in the hunting, working or herding groups—labrador retrievers, collies, shepherds, hounds—require the most exercise. If your dog is in one of these groups and in good health, they should be getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise (Frisbee, soccer, agility courses) several times a week in addition to their daily walks.

For other breeds, pay attention to their signs to determine how much exercise is enough. If they’re still walking at full speed after 20 minutes, add another 10. Observing your dog’s behavior should give you clues to when they’re well-exercised.

Some additional tips:

  • Limit your dog’s outdoor activity in extreme weather, including temperatures higher than 85º F.
  • Older dogs, younger dogs, and dark-haired dogs are more sensitive to heat. Walk your dog in morning or early evening to avoid heat extremes.
  • Protect your dog’s paws in cold weather. In the winter, avoid salted paths—they can cause chemical burns on their foot pads.
  • On long walks, don’t forget to bring water for your dog.
  • Even toy and small breeds need outside exercise and daily walks. Pugs, for example, are prone to obesity, so they require exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

Enjoy this daily routine with your dog—walking your dog is a bonding activity, in addition to enriching your dog’s life and health (and yours!).

All About Cats’ Eyes

All about your cat's eyes.

Cats’ eyes are fascinating! Here are some interesting facts about how your cat sees the world.

  • Cats see very well in low light (but not total darkness).

Compared to most humans, cats have poor vision. However, they can see things we can’t. They give up the ability to see fine detail and rich colors in exchange for being able to see in the dark.

  • Cats don’t see intense colors.

They’re not completely color-blind, but they see less colors than humans, and the ones they do see are less-saturated. Scientists believe that cats see blues and yellows fairly well but they can’t distinguish between reds and greens.

  • Cats’ vision is sharpest 2-3 feet from their face.

Many researchers believe cats are farsighted because their lens doesn’t change shape to compensate for focusing close up, so they don’t see fine details that we might see.

  • Domesticated cats have vertical pupils.

This allows them to open and close faster than the round pupil humans have. This helps them adjust to light changes rapidly, and to quickly detect sudden movement. Interestingly, lions and other big cats have the same round pupils that humans have.

  • In addition, the pupil also indicates emotional state.

A narrow pupil can indicate anger or irritation, while a wide open pupil is indicative of fear or excitement.

Why You Shouldn’t Release Snakes into the Wild

Why snakes shouldn't be released into the wild. (Corn snake)

Releasing pet snakes into the wild has increasingly become a big problem in the US. Sometimes snakes grow too large, become too expensive to feed, or too dangerous to handle. And for some, releasing the snakes into the wild seems like a viable option, and is done with good intentions. But releasing a captive snake into the wild can be cruel, as well as illegal.

Having been raised by humans, these reptiles have little to no survival skills and can succumb quickly to the harsh environmental elements that are foreign to them. They can wind up dying—from exhaustion or starvation, getting hit by vehicles, or being killed by a predator.

If the snake does survive, it can become known as an invasive species, if it’s in a non-native environment. This can have serious implications for the greater ecosystem. Invasive species can cause problems by preying on native plants and animals, competing for limited resources, or by introducing parasites and diseases not normally found in the area.

So what are the alternatives?

  • Find a reptile rescue shelter that can care for the snake and find it a home
  • Contact the store or snake’s breeder to discuss returning it or having them help you find a home
  • Talk to local zoos—they may be able to house the snake
  • Search online for people looking to adopt a reptile
  • Contact your vet for recommendations or assistance

Choosing one of these alternatives will protect your local ecosystem and the native species in it, as well as helping your snake live a long, healthy life.

Tips on How to Prevent & Remove Ticks

How to prevent and remove ticks.

Ticks are not only a nuisance, they can transmit diseases which can seriously harm your dog. Depending on your location, your dog could be subject to ticks year round, or at minimum three seasons of the year.

The four species of ticks and their active seasons are:

  • Brown Dog Tick – active all year
  • American Dog Tick, Deer Tick, Lone Star Tick – only present in spring, summer and fall

To keep your dog healthy and safe from tick-transmitted diseases, prevention is key. You must be aware of the environments where ticks can be found: on your dog, inside your home, and outdoors. Products like K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus are topical treatments for preventing ticks from attaching to your dog. An indoor spray or fogger is a good option for treating your house—it will keep ticks and fleas away for up to 7 months. For treating the outdoor areas of your home, there are sprays you can attach to your water hose that will kill fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other insects.

If a tick ends up on your dog, removal is quick and easy with a product called Tick Key. It’s the only tick removal device that uses natural forward leverage to remove the entire tick, including the head. Tick Key is 99.9% effective on the safe removal of ticks from dogs as well as people.

Here are some other tips for removing ticks:

  • Don’t remove ticks with your fingers. The tick will most likely be carrying pathogens to diseases which are dangerous to pets and humans. Avoid getting tick saliva or blood on any parts of your skin.
  • Don’t squeeze, crush or squash a tick. Doing so can get the tick’s bodily fluids on the host.
  • Don’t attempt a “home remedy”. Using petroleum jelly or other substances in an attempt to smother the tick will be unsuccessful, as the tick can live without air for long periods of time. Using a lighter, fingernail polish remover or other repellents to try to force the tick to remove itself will also not work. In fact, it could cause the tick to vomit onto its host, which could end up transmitting the diseases you were trying to avoid.

How to Help Your Fat Cat Become a Fit Cat

Putting your fat cat on a diet.

Keeping a cat fit is a challenge, since they live mostly inside and love to sleep all day. So it’s no surprise that more than half of the cats in the United States are overweight. While an overweight cat may seem cute, their excess fat can cause more serious health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease. With all of this in mind, we have some tips to share for helping your cat to get—and stay—in great shape.

  • Food quality: Cat’s bodies are designed to process a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Feeding a cat solely dry food and processed treats contributes to their weight gain. Dry food tends to be higher in carbohydrates, while wet food is generally protein-rich. For a little variety, Pet Supermarket offers a large assortment of delicious canned foods as part of your cat’s healthy diet.
  • Food quantity: Find out how much food your cat actually needs, which can vary based on age, breed and activity level, and limit their daily intake to that amount. If you “free feed” them, they’re much more likely to overeat.
  • Skip the milk: Despite popular belief, milk is very bad for cats. They lack the necessary enzyme for breaking down the lactose found in milk. Instead, provide plenty of fresh water in a bowl that’s cleaned daily.
  • Keep playing: Increase your cat’s activity level by playing with them more frequently. Laser pointers and feathers are examples of toys that most cats love and will chase, helping them to burn off more calories. We have an outstanding selection of cat toys that will keep your cat mentally stimulated and motivated to play.
  • On the hunt: Give your cat a challenge and get him moving by hiding his food in small bowls around your house. Not only will he get moving trying to find it, it will also engage him mentally as he “hunts” his “prey”.

With some awareness and a little bit of time, you can turn your fat cat into a lean, mean purring machine.

How & Why to Bathe Your Bird

Bathing birds

Unlike most other pets, birds actually enjoy taking baths. Bathing is important for birds, as it not only removes dirt, but also helps to maintain skin moisture and the insulating properties of feathers. While figuring out what works best for your bird can take a little time and effort, it is important to your bird’s health and therefore necessary.

  • There are a few simple rules that apply to bathing for all birds:Use a bird bath spray or plain, clear water—no soaps or shampoos. Birds produce a special oil that they preen their feathers with, and soaps can strip the feathers of this essential oil.
  • Bathe your bird during the warmest part of the day. Wet birds get easily chilled, which is a serious health hazard. Make sure there’s enough time for their feathers to dry before the temperature drops. Some larger birds may allow you to wrap them in a towel to help them dry.
  • Use lukewarm or room temperature water. Water that’s too hot or too cold can shock your bird’s system, not to mention burns or other problems that could arise.
  • Never soak your bird’s feathers. In the wild, a bird would only become saturated with water in extreme circumstances. This can lead to loss of body heat and flight impairment.
  • Never use an electric hair dryer on your bird. It can quickly and seriously burn your bird, and may even emit toxic fumes.

Some birds enjoy bathing every day and others only occasionally. Initially offer the bath once or twice weekly to figure out your bird’s preference. Where to bathe your bird depends on its size. Smaller birds can bathe inside their cages, while larger birds may need to be bathed in the shower, kitchen sink or bathtub, or with a spray bottle or mister.

How Dogs Show Affection

How your dog show's affection

They are called “man’s best friend” for good reason. Dogs are affectionate creatures, and it’s because of their unconditional love that we keep them by our sides.

Here are just a few of the ways dogs show affection for their humans.

  • Tail Wagging
    Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of happiness, a wagging tail signifies pure joy. If the mere sight of you prompts your dog’s tail to wag, that’s a pretty sure sign that he’s very fond of you.
  • Leaning
    A dog leaning on you means they consider you someone who can protect them and keep them safe, as well as a way of showing their affection by wanting to be close to you and seeking attention.
  • Cuddling
    It’s no question that dogs are motivated by food. But the thing your dog does immediately after eating is a telling sign of what’s important to him. If your dog cuddles with you right after eating, that’s a good sign of puppy love.
  • Sleeping in your room or in your bed
    Regardless of how you feel about your dog sleeping in your bed and whether you allow it, if your dog has the option to sleep near you and chooses to do so, that’s a display of affection and loyalty.
  • Following you around
    Dogs are social creatures, so they want to be with their pack. If your dog follows you around, he is clearly devoted to you and wants to be wherever you are.

According to studies, dogs can sense your love for them, which they return to you. The dog-human bond is indeed very special.

Which Common Plants are Poisonous to Cats?

Learn which plants are poisonous to cats.

If your cat has ever ingested a dangerous substance, you know how scary it can be. Luckily, most of these scary situations are preventable.

To help keep your cat safe, here is a list of some common plants that are known to be poisonous to cats.

Autumn Crocus: can cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, or even heart arrhythmias. Although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, the toxicity is highest in the bulbs.

Lilies: the tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese lilies are highly toxic to cats. One bite of a leaf, or even just the pollen from a plant in the lily family can cause lethargy and vomiting within 12 hours of ingestion. If not treated, your cat may go into kidney failure.

Corn Plant: (also known as cornstalk plant, dracaena, dragon tree or ribbon plant) contains saponin, which is toxic to cats. If the plant is ingested, vomiting (with or without blood), appetite loss, depression and/or increased salivation can occur. Affected cats may also have dilated pupils.

Azalea: even ingestion of just a few leaves of Azaleas can cause oral irritation with subsequent vomiting and diarrhea in cats. In severe cases, ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure, coma and death.

Daffodil: although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, it is the bulb that is the most toxic. Ingestion of any portion of a daffodil can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, arrhythmias, convulsions, and a serious drop in blood pressure.

Sago palm: also known as the Coontie Palm, or the Cardboard Palm, the Sago Palm is an extremely poisonous plant to cats. When ingested it can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding disorders, liver failure and death.

Aloe: (also known as medicine plant or Barbados aloe) is a common succulent containing aloin, a substance toxic to cats. The bitter yellow substance is found in most aloe species and may cause vomiting and/or reddish urine.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the plants above, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see if symptoms appear, because in some cases of poisoning, by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save the animal.

How Do Fish Float?

How do fish float?

Fish can provide countless hours of entertainment and relaxation for their owners just by doing something that comes very naturally to them: swimming.

They live in a three-dimensional environment that requires them to move not just forward, backward and side to side, but up and down as well. But how are they actually able to do this?

For an object to float in water, it requires air or anything lighter than water. Fish are able to float because they have an air-filled space in their body-called a swim bladder-that makes them lighter than water. However, a fish doesn’t always want to be at the top of the water, so for this reason, fish need to be able to control their swim bladder. If the fish wants to go deeper, it releases gas. If it wants to float higher, it takes more gas into the swim bladder.

There are two main types of swim bladders, while some fish, like tuna, have no swim bladder at all. That means these fish can’t float; they always swim near the bottom. The two main types are:

  • Fish that have a connection from their esophagus to the swim bladder-they swallow air to inflate their swim bladders
  • Fish with an extensive system of tiny blood vessels in the walls of the swim bladder-the vessels regulate the amount of gas within the swim bladder

Some fish, like pet goldfish, may have trouble regulating their swim bladders. They are part of the first type, whose esophagus is connected to their swim bladder. Due to human feeding techniques, it is common for their esophagus to become clogged. We feed them dry foods that expand as they get wet, which can block the duct when swallowed by the fish. When they can’t inflate or deflate their swim bladder, it will cause them to become stuck and unable to swim to the top or bottom. While there are other reasons that a fish might float, like viruses, bacteria or diet, a clogged esophagus is the most common and is easily preventable.

There are three key things you do that will help prevent your fish from having trouble floating due to a swim bladder problem:

  • Keep the tank’s water at a high quality
  • Pre-soak food
  • Change to a gel-based food

These tips will also help your fish stay healthier overall.

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