Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What To Know Before Boarding Your Dog

Dog boarding is a safe way to make sure your pet pooch is looked after when you decide to take a vacation. Ordinary kennels serve a purpose but if there's no one to take care of your dog then you have little choice in the matter.
Dog boarding services make things easier for pet owners by ensuring that dogs are well-looked after, bathed, groomed and fed. For a fee, you can rest easy knowing that your beloved pet is in safe hands. Be wary of unknown boarding services, however, and always make sure they're licensed and have been in the business for at least a few years.
A physical visit to a boarding home will allay any fears you have about the welfare of a pet. Look for well-kept grounds, clean and large kennels, cordial staff and toys for stimulation. Dogs, more than cats, have difficulty staying away from their masters and you want to make sure that they don't pine while you're away. Upscale homes have a range of facilities to keep dogs occupied as well as luxurious pet beds and spa treatments. They're expensive though so consider them only if you can afford to.
Aside from a tour of the place, ask questions regarding activities. Overcrowded boarding homes are a disaster because the ratio of pets and staff is severely unbalanced. The home you choose should let dogs out for walks at least twice a day or more and not only for a few minutes. Pets that are used to the outdoors may have difficulty adjusting to the strict schedule and this is something you want to clarify with the authorities.
Illness and injuries come with the territory of having a pet and dogs are surprisingly susceptible to sickness despite their large frames. If your dog falls ill or gets injured, you want to make sure it's well cared for. Some homes may have in-house vets and those that don't usually tie up with veterinary hospitals. If your dog is overly suspicious of strangers, you should consider asking if it can be taken to your vet for treatment.
Interaction between animals is healthy if they get along. But if your dog is not up to date on his vaccines, is timid or aggressive, it can be risky. Ask the authorities whether interaction is allowed and if so, whether it's monitored. Experienced dog handlers can prevent pets from getting into squabbles and reputed boarding homes usually staff them.
Dogs aren't fussy eaters by nature but yours may have food allergies or need to be put on a special diet. Speak with the service about this and ask if provisions can be made to cater to its diet. Also enquire about additional charges.
As for cost, much depends on how reputable the home is and the facilities and luxuries provided. Get estimates of at least three boarding homes after taking a thorough tour of each.
Before leaving your pet in the care of a boarding home, write down a list of to-do's mentioned above. Personal items like snacks and toys may be permitted but you might now be allowed to take too many. Don't forget to give the authorities your contact details and make notes of any instructions or specifications regarding your pet. Stress the importance of being notified in case something unfortunate happens.
Dog boarding kennels in Perth make things easier for pet owners by ensuring that dogs are well looked after, bathed, groomed and fed. So if you are interested in learning more about the same, visit this website before giving it a second thought.

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Animal Self-Medication: Do Wild Animals Heal Themselves?

What do wild animals do when they get sick? Unlike domestic pets, animals in the wild have no access to the range of treatments provided by owners or vets. Do wild animals know how to heal themselves?
Growing scientific evidence indicates that animals do indeed have knowledge of natural medicines. In fact, they have access to the world's largest pharmacy: nature itself. Zoologists and botanists are only just beginning to understand how wild animals use plant medicines to prevent and cure illness.
There's a name for it
The emerging science of Zoopharmacognosy studies how animals use leaves, roots, seeds and minerals to treat a variety of ailments. Indigenous cultures have had knowledge of animal self-medication for centuries; many folk remedies have come from noticing which plants animals eat when they are sick. But it is only in the last 30 years that zoopharmacognosy has been scientifically studied. Biologists witnessing animals eating foods not part of their usual diet, realized the animals were self-medicating with natural remedies.
When a pregnant African elephant was observed for over a year, a discovery was made. The elephant kept regular dietary habits throughout her long pregnancy but the routine changed abruptly towards the end of her term. Heavily pregnant, the elephant set off in search of a shrub that grew 17 miles from her usual food source. The elephant chewed and ate the leaves and bark of the bush, then gave birth a few days later. The elephant, it seemed, had sought out this plant specifically to induce her labor. The same plant (a member of the borage family) also happens to be brewed by Kenyan women to make a labor-inducing tea.
Chimps take their medicine
Not only do many animals know which plant they require, they also know exactly which part of the plant they should use, and how they should ingest it. Chimpanzees in Tanzania have been observed using plants in different ways. The Aspilia shrub produces bristly leaves, which the chimps carefully fold up then roll around their mouths before swallowing whole. The prickly leaves 'scour' parasitical worms from the chimps intestinal lining.
The same chimps also peel the stems and eat the pith of the Vernonia plant (also known as Bitter leaf). In bio-chemical research, Vernonia was found to have anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties. Both Vernonia and Aspilia have long been used in Tanzanian folk medicine for stomach upsets and fevers.
It is only the sick chimpanzees that eat the plants. The chimps often grimace as they chew the Vernonia pith, indicating that they are not doing this for fun; healthy animals would find the bitter taste unpalatable.
Nature's pharmacy for all
Wild animals won't seek out a remedy unless they need it. Scientists studying baboons at the Awash Falls in Ethiopia noted that although the tree Balanites aegyptiaca (Desert date) grew all around the falls, only the baboons living below the falls ate the tree's fruit. These baboons were exposed to a parasitic worm found in water-snails. Balanites fruit is known to repel the snails. Baboons living above the falls were not in contact with the water-snails and therefore had no need of the medicinal fruit.
Many animals eat minerals like clay or charcoal for their curative properties. Colobus monkeys on the island of Zanzibar have been observed stealing and eating charcoal from human bonfires. The charcoal counteracts toxic phenols produced by the mango and almond leaves which make up their diet.
Some species of South American parrot and macaw are known to eat soil with a high kaolin content. The parrots' diet contains toxins because of the fruit seeds they eat. (Even the humble apple seed contains cyanide.) The kaolin clay absorbs the toxins and carries them out of the birds' digestive systems, leaving the parrots unharmed by the poisons. Kaolin has been used for centuries in many cultures as a remedy for human gastrointestinal upset.
Survival of the medicated
So, how do animals know how to heal themselves? Some scientists believe that evolution has given animals the innate ability to choose the correct herbal medicines. In terms of natural selection, animals who could find medicinal substances in the wild were more likely to survive. Other observations have shown that, particularly among primates, medicinal skills appear to be taught and learned. Adult females are often seen batting their infant's hand from a particular leaf or stem as if to say "No, not that one."
Wild animals don't rely on industrially produced synthetic drugs to cure their illnesses; the medicines they require are available in their natural environment. While animals in the wild instinctively know how to heal themselves, humans have all but forgotten this knowledge because of our lost connection with nature. Since wild animals have begun to be observed actively taking care of their own wellbeing, it raises questions of how we approach healthcare with natural remedies, not just for ourselves but for our companion and farm animals too.
Gary Le Mon is a Board Certified Master Herbalist specializing in natural home remedies for dogs and cats. Please visit Natural-Wonder-Pets.com for free and useful information on 100% natural, herbal, veterinary/naturopathic remedies you can use to heal your furry friends. See also Herbs for Cats and Dogs

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Chincilla Care - Take the Right Step Forward

Now that you have a cute little Chinchilla in your home, make sure that you take good care of it. These little animals are very active and need extra attention, unlike the case of other pets like cats or dogs. Chinchilla care should begin with providing your new guest with proper accommodation. A good cage should be therefore, your topmost priority. Best thing is to go in for a cage with multiple levels, since these Chinchillas are known to jump around a lot and need ample space to play. Remember, to ensure that the cage is kept cool enough for Chinchillas hate heat. A nice, cozy bed is another thing that your little pet will need. It is always advisable that you use pine or cedar shavings as bedding, as they are a healthy option and won't cause skin problems.
If you have a Chinchilla at home, you are bound to cuddle it. While there is nothing wrong with cuddling them, you need to be careful enough to slide your hand under their belly while doing so. No tight squeezes for they are very slender built. The next most important aspect to remember as part of the Chinchilla care routine is their food. You just need to visit your local pet food store to get the stuff. It is preferable that you talk to an experienced vet for they can help you with preparing the right menu for your beloved pet. Now that you have taken care of food, changing drinking water on a daily basis is the next most important thing to take care off. Make sure that you are sterilizing the bottle whenever you are changing water. Remember, harmful bacteria and viruses present in unclean water can wreak havoc with their health.
Hygiene is a word that you need to remember whenever you are dealing with Chinchillas. First and foremost is the upkeep of the cage. Use hot water with a little soap to keep them clean. A dust bath for a few minutes once or twice a week should also be high on your agenda, for otherwise oils can build up on the coats of your little Chinchilla. Providing ample opportunity to exercise is one more important thing that you need to remember. An exercise wheel inside the cage would make an excellent companion to your pet. These little creatures are very active animals and you can also let them out of the cage for a while daily.
A lot of thought should go into Chinchilla care. Make sure that you provide these active animals with all the necessary comfort which will ensure that they make for excellent pets.

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Pets Help People Heal

Pets help people too when they are given the chance to do so. Many people are not aware that a lot of animals, mainly pets, are able to help people to heal in different ways. In many parts of the world we are discovering that pets are just 'not pets'. They are much more. They are a part of the family and the unit in whole.
Dogs have become the biggest helper of people. Many of which have come into the workforce without complaint. They are always willing to help no matter what job or challenge awaits them. Working dogs do not have to be any one specific breed as many would think. I have known some kindly mutts who were good enough to take time out of their busy day to help a child in need of a friend or a senior citizen just wanting to relax and be with an animal companion.
Some dogs have gone into our nations' armed forces. They help the men and women protect our land while in other countries. Many have come back with medals of honor and were able to retire upon their return.
Other dogs have taken to the streets helping their fellow officers when in need. They have become 'heroes' in their own right. They have also worked with the fire departments serving as a mascot and at times helping in rescue efforts.
Having a great 'sniffer', their nose of course, is a big deal in their world. They have helped track a lot of people who were under snow from avalanches. They have also helped find those who were in a building collapse or just plain 'stuck' somewhere. They are able to find those who may be lost. They also help us in our school systems. They are able to smell things that we cannot and therefore are good for tracking a lot of different things.
Dogs in the medical field have been trained to help the blind, to know when someone is going to have a seizure or any kind of medical emergency which may require assistance, and they have even been said to be able to sniff out cancer. Along with dogs, cats and birds have also helped out when it comes to senior citizens, the disabled and the mentally and/or physically handicapped.
This said, other animals have also come into the healing path. Some people have even been more relaxed and happier just by being able to see and watch animals that are in the wild. In theory, it doesn't really matter the kind of animal, the breed or the color. They can all help us heal in different ways within our world today

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How to Tell When You Need Horse Wormers

Worms are a very common parasite in your horse's system, which is why it is crucial to give your horse a worming treatment with horse wormers on a regular basis. Most horses will have a small population of worms within them all of the time which they can tolerate easily, but it is when the worm population grows when the health of your horse in is danger. How can you tell if your horse is suffering from an infestation of worms?
Here are a few simple tips for getting proper confirmation: 
Check Your Horse's Stool
When you take a look at the droppings your horse leaves behind, they should mostly consist of hay. However, if there are worms present in the system they will climb to the top of the
pile and lay there. This makes them very easy to spot. Appearance Clues
If your horse is suffering from an infestation of worms you will also see a difference in its appearance. Its coat will start to look more dull and drab and patches will develop. 
Another appearance change is that your horse's stomach will start to look large and bulging while the rest of its body appears slimmer. This is usually a sure sign that your horse is having a problem with worms. 
Also, take a look at your horse's gums; they might appear pale which is a result of poor blood circulation and another symptom of a worm infection. 
Behavioural Clues 
There will also be a few changes in behaviour which should give you some clues that your horse is suffering from worms. Your horse will show a lack of energy and will start to act lethargic and slow. You might also see it eating a lot more than usual, because the worms will be taking away all of the food nutrients and it is trying to compensate. This is a sure sign that you need to purchase horse wormers right away. 
The worms will make your horse's bottom itchy as well, so watch to see if it is rubbing itself on things or looking bothered and uncomfortable. 
If you determine that your horse has worms from these symptoms, it is important to get them treated by a vet right away. Worms can make your horse very sick if they are left untreated. You will need to find yourself the appropriate horse wormers for sale and administer the appropriate dose to your horse along the schedule recommended by your veterinarian.
A regular programme of equine wormers will prevent your horse from becoming re-infested with worms again. Make sure that you always give the correct dose and that you use weigh tape in order to get an accurate measure of your horse's weight. It is also important to rotate your horse to a different paddock so that the other can be cleaned to break the cycle of re-infection. 
Taking care of the heath of your horse is very important. There are just a few symptoms to look out for when determining whether or not your horse has a serious worm problem and needs horse wormersA

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Do Dogs and Cats Needs Their Teeth Cleaned? YES!

One of the more frequent conversations I have with pet owners before or during a teeth cleaning procedure (or dental treatment procedure) is about having to extract teeth. Usually it goes something like this:
Doctor: "Pet owner, your pet has multiple teeth with end stage periodontal disease. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to fix this, so I need to extract X number of teeth"
Pet Owner: "Oh no! Why so many? Do you have to? How is he going to eat? Will he be in pain?"
Doctor: "Yes, there may be some discomfort, but actually the teeth that are diseased are already causing pain. We will treat the discomfort of extractions with medicine at home after the procedure. He will eat fine, but you may need to soften the food for a week or two. We have to take out the teeth because the disease has progressed too far and there's nothing else we can do."
You may wonder why I'm writing an article about this. I'm hoping to explain a little bit about the mouths of dogs and cats, and the reason why we have to perform extractions, so that it may not be a big shock if your pet needs teeth extracted.
I have heard comments about "vets who likes to extract teeth." Actually, that's not the case; most of us prefer not to. If there are no teeth to extract that would mean that there isn't disease present and your pet is healthier. Extracting teeth is sometimes hard work. Most animal professionals prefer to prevent extractions. The fact of the matter is that most animal patients haven't had the dental care needed to prevent extractions, and by the time I perform a dental treatment procedure it is too late.
Let's think about how we take care of our own teeth. When we are children we are taught how to brush our teeth well before the permanent teeth develop. Then we continue that oral hygiene regimen, usually twice daily, often floss daily, and visit out dentist once or twice a year. We have very clean teeth and periodontal disease is avoided. Humans need all their teeth to chew because we grind our food and cannot swallow it whole, so proper oral hygiene is important to prevent tooth loss. We only have 32 teeth (28 if you've had your wisdom teeth removed), so it's necessary to keep them all healthy.
Now let's contrast what happens with our pets. Most pet owners don't realize that their dog or cat has baby teeth and lose them. Sometimes dogs will not lose all of their baby teeth, and if your vet doesn't notice this, (or if your pet isn't taken in to the vet) those extra baby teeth can cause problems. Most pets will have all of their permanent teeth present by 6 months of age. Dogs have 42 teeth (that's a lot!) and cats have 30 teeth. After 6 months of age tooth brushing should begin, but many pet owners don't do this because they've never had instruction or been told to, and many pets resist it. So if a pet is lucky, they get their teeth brushed occasionally, like when they go to the groomer. It's inevitable that plaque and tartar will accumulate and cause gingivitis. Plaque, tartar and gingivitis wouldn't be a big problem if the pet was given a professional, anesthetized dental cleaning once it started to accumulate. But for a number of reasons this doesn't always happen, so eventually that plaque causes gum and bone damage and loosening of the teeth. Now we have end stage periodontal disease, which requires extractions.
Luckily dogs and cats don't need teeth to eat. They don't grind their food like we do, and we can prepare food for them that's in small bites and soft enough to just swallow whole. In fact, many dogs and cats who have no teeth at all still eat dry food! It's not a terrible thing to extract bad teeth, in fact it usually makes the pet feel quite a bit better. Many clients tell me that after having diseased teeth removed their dog is more active, acting like a puppy again, and is eating better.
Pet owners need to understand that tooth extractions are an unfortunate fact of dental treatment procedures for most pets. However, extractions can be avoided if pet owners will take the necessary steps to try to prevent dental disease. These preventative steps include regular visits for dental health evaluations, regular (daily) tooth brushing, and regular anesthetized dental cleanings.
Author Sarah Bashaw can be reached at El Dorado Animal Hospital, a full service, state-of-the-art veterinary clinic designed with client comfort and patient care in mind.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Canine Eyes

"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language", Martin Buber. Not all people love dogs or not even close to liking them. But some change their minds after some close encounters with the canine kinds. After all, they would not be called as man's best friend for nothing. There must have been things or events consistently happening to different kinds of people from all over the world (and under) that has made this adage so socially accepted.

There was once a story of a mother who hates it when dogs come near her. Belonging to a family who adores dogs, she tolerates her coexistence with them but takes no particular liking on owning them herself. She got married to a guy who shares her sentiment (could be the reason why they got married in the first place!). But their furry friend just wouldn't let go until their hearts are softened. It happened when their eldest daughter cajoled them into giving her permission to adopt a dog on her apartment where she was staying. On one of their visits to her apartment, the dog, though they were strangers to him, couldn't be as sweeter and as playful to the couple as to their daughter. They were so touched by the closeness of the two (the dog and their daughter) that they decided to extend their stay and try liking this mysterious dog as well. To their astonishment, it wasn't so bad after all. With his chocolate brown eyes that always seem to want to play and with all his sweetness, he won their hearts. All it took was constant staring at those eyes and alas, they started adoring him as well. 

The idea that the eyes are indeed the windows of the soul couldn't be truer than in this case. Dogs may not have souls but they act as though they do have one. What's worse is when a person acts as though he has no soul when he has one! This is one of the reasons why there are those who prefer dogs as their companions rather than getting a wife or a husband or maybe adopt a child. When they need silence, the comfort they get just by walking along side with their dogs or blankly staring at the wall, sitting on the sofa beside their dogs (as seen on movies), is incomparable. It so soothes their minds that they wouldn't exchange their dogs for a possibly nagging wife. Sometimes, just looking at the eyes of their pet dogs give them the comfort they need, for their eyes never lie (they don't know how anyway). For whatever language the eyes of the dogs speak of, they indeed bring comfort to those who need it, and that's as invaluable as a priceless gold.

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