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Speaking Pet: Instinctual Rabbit Behavior

Sept_2012_1Because they are a prey species, rabbits show behavior that is mostly dictated by instinct. Read on for a list of the top instinctual behaviors you’ll see from your rabbit and our tips.

Instinct 1: Digging – Rabbits love to dig holes and burrows as safe havens. The key to handling this behavior is to channel it away from your rugs and carpet and onto items meant for bunny digging. Your rabbit will enjoy scratching at and chewing untreated grass mats and tunnels, like the Hide-A-Way Hut.

Instinct 2: Burrowing – Your rabbit is a natural burrower and loves to create cozy spaces underground. Recreate an underground environment with grass tunnels for your rabbit to run through and relax in. We also suggest offering a large nesting area using a Giant Igloo.

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All About Cats’ Tails

Mar_2014_2Your feline can be aloof and mysterious, but there’s one way to decipher her mood… by watching her tail. Your cat’s tail has both physical and emotional uses. It’s up to you to learn how to read the signals.

Your cat’s tail is used for…
Balance – Like a counterweight, her tail helps her balance when she walks, jumps or sits, especially in tight spots like window ledges. It also helps her make sharp turns when she’s running.

Communication – One of the best ways to judge your cat’s mood is to watch her tail. Here are a few signals your cat may give you with her tail:

  • A tail held straight up in the air shows confidence, excitement or contentment.
  • If your cat holds her tail high with a rounded hook at the end, she’s likely feeling friendly or playful.
  • Your cat is focused and getting ready to pounce if she slowly swishes her tail back and forth.
  • If her tail whips side to side quickly, however, she is likely annoyed or fearful and may get aggressive.
  • When your cat assumes the classic Halloween pose—an arched back and a spiky or fluffed up tail—she’s facing a perceived threat.
  • A tail tucked under her body shows fear or submission.

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Jet Set Fido: Traveling with Dogs

Dec_2014_1If you’re planning to take to the skies this summer, consider taking Fido along for a fun family experience.

There will be a few limitations when traveling with him, but our tips will help you prepare.

Check the Airline’s Rules
Traveling by plane isn’t extremely comfortable for humans OR pets. If your pet isn’t small enough to be carried on or taken in the cabin, be prepared for extra steps and concerns. First, check the airline’s rules for bringing your four-legged friend on board. American Airlines, for example, will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs, due to possible breathing complications.

Book as Early as Possible
Very few pets are accepted on each flight, so book as early as you can. Also, be sure your dog can get on the flight before you book your own tickets.

Get the Vet’s OK
Before taking off, take your pooch to the vet for a checkup. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and be sure to get a health certificate within 10 days of your flight. It’s mandatory for air travel.

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Tips for Keeping a Fish Tank

March_2013_1As a hobby, fish keeping is relaxing and rewarding. But if you’re just starting out, it’s best to start small. Begin your new hobby with a small aquarium of 30 gallons or less in size. This will allow you to learn proper fish care. You can later transfer your knowledge to a larger tank.

How do you take care of a small aquarium? Here are some tips that will help you create a healthy fish environment.

Start with a Kit
Aquarium kits are a great choice for beginners because most come with filtration, lighting and heating systems included. Just add gravel and decorations, which you can get with the help of an associate in your local store.

Pick an Appropriate Space
Although your aquarium may look magnificent on a table behind your sofa, this may not be the best location. Remember, even a small, 12-gallon aquarium will weigh more than 120 pounds when filled. Instead, choose a stand designed to accommodate the weight of a tank, as well as the humidity it will produce.

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Different Types of Cat Toys

Dec_2013_3Is your bored cat getting into mischief? Like people, cats need to stay active both physically and mentally. Various toys will encourage your cat to use her natural instincts, like stalking and chasing prey.

Here are a few toys that will get her moving…

Balls
While “fetch” is not in your cat’s vocabulary, a ball is sure to be one of her toy favorites. A rolling ball looks too much like a running rodent. How can she resist chasing it? To make it even more fun, buy balls stuffed with catnip or other enticing aromas, balls with bells inside or balls that light up.

Wands
Wands are one of the simplest cat toys, yet one that promotes the most activity. A wand is a stick with a piece of fabric, ribbon, yarn or even feathers hanging from it. To encourage your cat, wave, flutter, twitch and circle the wand around her. She will instinctively want to pounce on what looks like a bird or insect.

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Fighting Fleas Indoors & Out

Mar_2014_1The battle against fleas has begun and this battle can’t be won unless you treat your home and yard as well as your pet.

Here are our top tips for products that fight fleas at home…

Fighting Fleas Indoors

Your best bets for the indoor battle are carpet sprays, upholstery sprays, foggers and good cleaning. Kill adults and flea eggs with indoor sprays. These sprays work to kill fleas in two stages of the flea life cycle. They contain adulticide flea killers, which kill adult fleas shortly after contact. They also use insect growth regulators to target flea eggs and pupae. The adulticide has a residual effect that kills emerging adults for a few weeks as well. For the best results, use sprays on floors, carpets, rugs, and along baseboards and walls, as well as on upholstered furniture, drapes and pet bedding. Once the application is dry, it’s safe for pets to be in the treated area.

For severe home infestations, foggers are best. Foggers also use adulticides and insect growth regulators to kill fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs (not to mention ants, roaches and other pests), but can last for up to seven months. All people and pets must be out of the home for one hour while the fogger is spraying. Air out your home for two hours afterwards.Don’t forget to clean before and after. While these products are effective, it’s important to clean and vacuum frequently and wash pet bedding as well to remove as many fleas and flea eggs as possible. Repeat the entire spray and clean process again in two weeks to be sure you catch fleas that have hatched since the first spray.

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How to Keep Your Ferret from Biting

Mar_2014_5Does your ferret bite during play? Nipping or play biting is natural when ferrets play together, especially among young kits. But when playing with humans (who have thinner skin), they don’t realize it can hurt.

Ferrets bite for various reasons: out of fear, to get attention, to initiate play or because they’re not socialized. It’s your job to train your ferret out of biting and socialization, good training and consistency are key. Use one or more of these methods to train your little friend.

Scruffing

This is the easiest way to show your displeasure. Pick him up by the scruff or skin on the back of the neck and say “no” firmly. This is how mother ferrets pick up their babies and it will show your dominance. There are few nerve endings in this area, but you should still be firm and gentle.

Distract with a Substitute

Another method is to use a toy to distract him when he starts biting. Get him to bite or wrestle the toy instead and help him learn the difference between toys and your fingers. A young kit will almost always bite while playing, but you can show him not to bite unless he’s just mouthing your skin or lightly nipping it.

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The Wonders and Dangers of Spring for Cats

Mar_2014_2  The warm weather and longer days of spring are around the corner. It’s time to take some precautions to ensure your cat avoids spring dangers, even if she doesn’t venture outdoors.

Check for Antifreeze

Even a small amount of antifreeze can endanger your cat. Make sure that all traces of antifreeze are put away and inaccessible. Common places to check include in and around your garage and near your driveway.

Spay or Neuter

With spring comes mating season and if your cat isn’t fixed, it could lead to some mischief. Help control the cat population and be sure to have your kitty spayed or neutered.

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Tips to Help Your Dog Cope While You’re At Work

Mar_2014_1Tips to Help Your Dog Cope While You’re At Work

If only we could cuddle with our pups all day long. We all have to go to work, but your dog may not understand why you’re leaving and this can lead to separation anxiety and stress.

Try these tips to help your pup cope while you’re at work:

Tire Him

While some breeds are perfectly content with sleeping all day (the greyhound is famous for being a couch potato) others are not. High-energy breeds, like border collies, West Highland Terriers and others like to be active. If yours is active, keep him out of mischief by tiring him before you head out the door.

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Understanding Guinea Pigs

guineapigGuinea pigs are fun pets, but it’s safe to say most pet parents aren’t familiar with their pet’s sounds and behavior at first. Do you understand your guinea pig? Here’s a short guide on guinea pig sounds and behavior you’ll want to know.
Wheeking
“Wheeking” is another name for the squealing or squeaking sounds of your guinea pig. She may seem like a quiet animal, but you’re likely to hear her squeal quite often. She might use it to get attention or to beg for her favorite food. A high-pitched squeal, however, could be a sign of fear or pain.

Purring
Similar to cats, guinea pigs purr when they’re relaxed and content. Pay attention to the tone however. A deep purr is a sign of contentment. A high-pitched one can signify annoyance or fear.

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