Animals thrive on routine because there is comfort in knowing what to expect from life. Uncertainty and unpredictability bring stress so, as far as possible, implement regular and consistent feeding times, greeting routines, exercise, play, training and grooming times.
Thunderstorms and your pet
• If possible keep pets indoors, preferably with human companionship, when thunderstorms are expected.
• Close all windows, curtains and doors where possible to block out flashing lights and sounds.
• Provide toys, treats and other distractions to keep pets occupied. A frozen treat like a chicken stock popsicle is advised.
• Try to stay home with your pet if thunderstorms are expected.
• Make sure your pets are micro-chipped or appropriately tagged for easy identification if they become lost.
• Speak to your pet’s vet about supplements and medication available for managing anxiety caused by loud noises
How to keep an anxious or scared pet calm
• Turn on music or the TV to muffle the sounds of thunder.
• Don’t fuss over or punish your pet if it becomes agitated with the sounds; doing so only makes the behaviour worse.
You really love Phoebe – she is your best and most beautiful feline friend ever, bringing ample joy to your life … Until she got into a fight with the neighbourhood’s ginger meanie and needed some stitching up. And as we all know, vets aren’t cheap and the whole procedure cost you a pretty penny. For many of us, pets are part of the family. That’s why pet insurance is so important – it gives us the comfort of knowing that, if a pet is ill or injured, we can claim for the costs involved. Remember to do proper research before you choose a medical aid. A few options to look into: www.hollardpetinsurance.co.za; www.hollardequinedirect.co.za; www.mypetkzn.co.za/pet-cover; https://paws24.co.za/; http://insurance.rogz.com/; http://solverpetinsurance.co.za/
Taking the perfect photo
Forget about sharing blurry, unflattering photos of your pet with these easy tips!
Get on their level – Don’t feel awkward lying directly on the floor. You want to be at eye level with your pet for adorable up-close photos and a cute, unexpected perspective.
Bring bait – If your pet is treat-motivated, use that to your advantage.
Catch their character – If you have a lazy cat, show it yawning; if your animal is of a playful type, show it in action performing its favourite trick.
Trick – One of the most difficult things is to get your pet to hold still. An easy trick is to let it play quietly and, once you have everything ready, let someone call it or whistle. This will surprise it and catch its attention, and you will have a few seconds to capture it in a nice alert posture.
Brighten up – Wherever possible, avoid using a flash for a number of reasons ranging from ‘red eye’ problems to the possibility of scaring your pet.
Diabetes in pets:
• Like humans, pets display symptoms such as lethargy, excessive thirst and frequent urination. If your pet is showing these signs consult a vet immediately for a professional diagnosis and prescription.
• Consider your pet’s diet – most vets will agree that a diet low in fat and high in protein and fibre is best. The main reason for high fibre is that it slows digestion and absorption, causing your pet to feel fuller quicker and presumably eat less, while slowing glucose formation and entry into the bloodstream.
• Exercise is critical for all pets, though never more so than for a diabetic pet, as a healthy weight and heart help keep blood sugar low. Try to exercise your pet at the same time every day and at the same intensity, as sudden rigorous or strenuous exercise could cause a diabetic pet’s blood sugar levels to drop too low, counteracting all your management efforts.
Caring for your hamster
• Cage: Should be escape proof and offer enough space for the hamster to efficiently move and exercise.
• Bedding: As a general rule, the best and healthiest type of bedding isn’t made of wood shavings.
• Toys: An exercise wheel is a must to prevent boredom, and you can also purchase a ball for your hamster to run around a room under your supervision.
• Food: You can buy bags of hamster mix, which will generally have a blend of fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains, but you’d do well to also give your hamster small pieces of fresh vegetables and fruit. You’ll also want to give your hamster access to fresh water at all times.
To spay and neuter or not?
Rescue centres are bursting at the seams and the number of unwanted pets grows daily. So, responsible pet owners know that the ethical and correct thing to do is to spay and neuter their pets. And no, spaying or neutering your pet will not change their personality. You will, however, see less dominant or less roaming behaviour after they have been neutered/ spayed, but in general, their happy, playful personalities remain the same.
Pick of Android apps for dog lovers
This app rounds up some helpful tips for looking after your puppy, including training tips, finding an amazing vet and ideas about keeping your puppy safe at home.
Get it here: Puppy Training
Dog Walk – Track your dogs!
Record the route, distance and the duration of your daily walks to monitor the exercise your puppy gets each day. Take photos of your walks and share your great experiences with friends and family.
Get it here: Dog Walk – Track your dogs!
Taking special care of older pets
Aging pets need a little extra TLC in winter as age-related health issues can often be intensified by the cold. Pain associated with arthritis can be alleviated by providing extra bed padding or blankets, and positioning beds in warmer areas.