Pet Health 101

Dog n CatEvery pet requires different and specific needs. That’s why it is extremely important to select the right pet for you or your family. In this article we cover the different needs associated with certain pets. Though there are so many pets in our environment today, we will try to cover most of the most common. If for any reason you would like to see coverage on a specific pet that you may have that is out of the ordinary, simply comment below and we will attempt to publish one especially for you.

 

 

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Puppies and Dogs;
This section contains information about the things your dog needs to have a safe and comfortable environment.

The ideal environment for your puppy or dog;
To ensure dogs have a comfortable environment it is important for them to have their own dog bed where they can rest undisturbed. Poisonous or hazardous items in the home or garden should be kept safely out of reach. Safety when travelling in a vehicle is also important and dogs should ideally travel on the back seat with a seatbelt or secured behind a dog guard. It is also vital that all dogs get the opportunity to exercise on a daily basis.

A comfortable dog bed;
A cozy bed is important for dogs. This should be kept in a quiet, dry, draught-free area. Make sure you choose one that can be cleaned easily and thoroughly, and do this regularly.

Cleaning up after your dog;
Part of providing a suitable environment is making it clean and hygienic. Dog feces can transmit diseases, as well as parasites such as worms. Make sure you clean up after your dog using a plastic bag or ’pooper scooper‘, especially if there are children around. Dog owners and people responsible for dogs have a legal obligation to do this when in a public place, under the Clean Neighborhoods and Environment Act 2005.

BELT UP – Travel safety concerns as dogs roam free in the car.

When it comes to a dog’s safe travel, the responses are not as positive. 19% of owners state that their dog travels on the back seat without a seat belt and 18% that their dog is in the boot without a dog guard.

62% of dog owners ensure their dog sleeps in its own pet bed, but 17% of owners allow their dog to sleep either on their bed or on that of a family member.


When it comes to exercise, results indicate that dog owners are good at keeping their pets fairly active. 75% of dogs get taken for a walk at least once a day and 87% play in the garden daily. A further 69% play with toys daily. 58% of dog owner’s state that three or more exercise activities as well as walking is available to their dog every day – whether this is play in the garden, playing with toys, agility training or swimming.

The ideal diet for your puppy or dog;
Commercial dog food is preferable to a homemade diet. It is not easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make a dog’s diet yourself. Treats should only be given for training purposes or on a very occasional basis, and on days when a treat is fed, the amount of food given in the dog’s main meal should be reduced. Life stage (i.e. whether puppy, junior, adult or senior) and packet guidelines as well as weight and body shape should be taken into account when choosing what and how much to feed a dog.

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Puppies

When should a puppy start to eat solid food?
Puppies are usually ready to eat solid food when they are about five weeks old.

How often should I feed my puppy?
Initially, puppies need four meals a day but this can be reduced to three a day at about 12 weeks. At six months, they can have two meals a day, which can continue for the rest of their life.

Dogs

What should I feed my dog?
Your dog needs a healthy, balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs.
Feeding a complete, commercial dog food is normally preferable to a homemade diet. It’s not easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your dog’s diet yourself.

Do dogs of different ages need different food?
One of the best ways of making sure you give your dog the necessary nutrients is to feed according to ‘life stage’. This means feeding a different diet depending on whether your dog is a puppy, adult or senior dog, because dogs of different ages have different nutrient requirements. For example, puppies need more calories in their food because they are so energetic. Several leading brands of commercially available dog food offer different foods for different life stages.

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How much food should I give my dog?
Follow the packet feeding guidelines so that you know how much to feed. Weigh the food out to check you’re getting it right. Feeding the right amount of food is important because obesity is the commonest nutritional problem seen by vets and causes health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

How often should I feed my dog?
It’s generally best to feed an adult dog twice a day. Avoid feeding your dog immediately before travelling, to avoid travel sickness, or within an hour before or after vigorous exercise as this can lead to a dangerous condition called ’bloat’.

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What treats can I give my dog?
Most dog foods these days are complete, meaning they contain all the nutrients that a dog needs, in the right amounts. If extra food is given, as treats, your dog must do something with the extra calories. If your dog isn’t being exercised enough, the calories will be turned into fat.

Kittens and Cats;
Kittens and cats, like all animals, need five things to be healthy and happy; these are called the five welfare needs. Under the Animal Welfare Act (2006) all owners need to provide these five things for the pets they keep. The sections below give information on how to meet the five welfare needs for kittens and cats.

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The ideal environment for your kitten or cat;
Cats need somewhere comfortable to sleep and rest undisturbed, as well as constant access to safe hiding places. Cats often feel most secure when they are high up, so they should be given safe access to resting places on top of furniture such as cupboards or shelves. If cats are living together in the same household they must be provided with enough of the things they need (e.g. food and water bowls, litter trays, cat beds etc.).

A general rule is that owners should provide as many of these items as the number of cats, plus one (so a two-cat household should have three litter trays). They should be positioned around the house so that the cats do not have to come in to contact with each other if they do not want to.

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A comfortable place to sleep and rest;

What type of bed does my cat need?
Cats need a cozy bed in a quiet, dry, draught-free area. Some cats prefer soft beds with a roof – especially suitable for a shy cat – whereas others prefer an open basket lined with soft bedding. The bedding should be easily cleaned and washed weekly.

I have more than one cat – how many beds do they need?
If you have more than one cat you will need to provide separate beds for each cat, which are well apart from each other in your house. A good general rule is to provide one more sleeping area than the number of cats – so if you have two cats, provide three beds.

Do cats need access to high places?
Cats feel safest when they are high up, and this gives them a sense of security in their living environment. They should have safe access to places like shelves or tops of cupboards.

Do cats need somewhere to hide?
Cats like places where they can go to hide. If they don’t have anywhere suitable they can become stressed. Ideally they need an enclosed bed or box, or safe access to underneath a chair or bed.

The ideal diet for your kitten or cat;
Cats are true carnivores, meaning they have to eat certain nutrients that are only found in meat or commercial cat food. It is preferable to feed a complete commercial cat food to achieve the correct balance of nutrients. Cats do not need treats and should only be given healthy treats occasionally, if at all, to avoid becoming obese. A cat’s age, weight and shape, alongside packet feeding guidelines and veterinary advice, should be taken into account when deciding how much to feed a cat.

PetAlive Natural Remedies for Pets

Kittens

When should a kitten start to eat solid food?
Kittens start to eat solid foods from about three weeks and are fully weaned at about eight weeks.

How often should I feed my kitten?
At first they need small meals often (about four or five a day) but by about six months, two meals a day are usually fine. This can continue throughout their adult life, depending on your cat’s preference.

 

Cats

What should I feed my cat?
Cats should be fed a healthy balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Cats are true carnivores, meaning they have to eat certain nutrients that are only found in meat or commercial cat food. Feeding a complete, commercial cat food is normally preferable to a homemade diet. It’s not easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your cat’s diet yourself.

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Do cats of different ages need different food?
One of the best ways to achieve the correct balance of nutrients is to feed according to ‘life stage’. This means feeding a different diet according to whether your cat is a kitten, adult or senior cat. This is because cats of different ages have different nutritional requirements. For example, kittens need more calories in their food because they are so energetic. Several leading brands of commercially available cat food offer different foods for different life stages. Buying vs. making your own is a good way of ensuring your cat gets the right nutrients.

How much food should I give my cat?
Follow the packet feeding guidelines so you know how much to feed. Weigh the food out to check you’re getting it right. Feeding the right amount of food is important because obesity is the commonest nutritional problem seen by vets and causes health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

How often should I feed my cat?
It’s a good idea to weigh out your cat’s food at the start of the day, following the packet feeding guidelines. Then you can put the entire measured amount down at once, give it as several small meals or divide it into a meal for morning and one for evening. It depends on the cat’s preference and your lifestyle but you should try to cater for your cat’s preferences as far as you can.

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What treats can I give my cat?
Most cat foods these days are complete, meaning they contain all the nutrients that a cat needs, in the right amounts. If extra food is given, as treats, your cat must do something with the extra calories. If your cat isn’t exercising enough (which can be a problem with cats kept permanently indoors), the calories will be turned into fat.  Cat obesity is a big problem and causes health problems such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.

You can show your affection for your cat in ways other than food. Lots of cats enjoy playing games with their owners, as well as affection. You don’t need to use food to show cats that you love them. If you can’t resist feeding treats once in a while, give a small amount of lean meat. Reduce the amount of food in their main meals that day, so that the overall amount fed stays the same.

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