Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category
Many families often grow so fond of their pets that they become like an additional family member. In order to help you provide the best animal care for your pets we’ve put together this “Pets Questions & Answers” section that’s filled with pet tips and pet advice.
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One of the most frequently asked questions by pet owners is “Why do dogs eat grass?” It’s a valid query, as almost all of the 400 million dogs on the planet seem to crave the green substance from time to time.
Many people don’t ever consider purchasing a health plan for their pet. They believe the rumors that pet health plans are too expensive, that pets don’t need a health plan until they’re older…
If you have made the switch to organic, have you considered what you are feeding your cat? Do you even know that you can get organic cat food? Well, you can, and it is widely available, albeit at a hefty price.
A dog that will not stop barking, no matter how cute and adorable it may be, can quickly become a nuisance. Not only will it drive you crazy but it can be a problem for the entire neighborhood.
Anyone experienced with birds can tell you that baby birds are delicate. Not only are they fragile to hold but require very specific care. You have the have the right conditions and the right food.
When you have had a pet for a large portion of your life, your pet comes to seem like members of the family. So it’s no shame and no surprise that you’re still grieving for your cat a month after it has passed on.
They are man’s best friend. They give us joy, never criticize us, and are always eager for a scratch behind the ears. Dogs can bring a lot of love to a household.
Family pets for most people are no different than any other member of the family. You spend time with them, feed them, groom them, and play with them.
Where Can I Find Pet Pictures?
We’re lucky to have so many of our member submit pictures of their pets. Below are two of our favorite pet pictures, to find more check out our Pets Photos sections.
Gus The Curios Guinea Pig
Roscoe The Parrot
Many people don’t ever consider purchasing a health plan for their pet. They believe the rumors that pet health plans are too expensive, that pets don’t need a health plan until they’re older, or that it is too difficult or time consuming to file a claim on a pet health plan. The fact is that pet health insurance can save you money on every veterinary visit — not just for emergencies.
Types of Pet Health Plans
Many companies offering pet health plans have a ton of variety in terms of their individual plans. Usually, you start picking a pet health plan by choosing the type of pet you’re covering. Whether you have a kitty or a puppy, a parakeet or an exotic reptile, there’s probably a basic pet health care plan for your needs.
Puppy and kitty health plans will start by covering beginning of life expenses like spay and neuter, vaccinations and boosters, and poisoning and foreign object swallowing provisions for that sneaky little puppy mouth. As these animals get into their adulthood, they’ll need routine dental work (just like you) as well as booster shots and vaccinations, coverage for various types of infections and emergency coverage. As your best friend gets older and moves into more mature years, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for incidences of cancer or other serious diseases like kidney problems or arthritis. Taking care of your pet means taking the pet to the vet when it becomes necessary, and a pet health care plan can make these trips to the vet less expensive.
Picking the right pet health plan can mean the difference between having effective or ineffective coverage for your dog, cat, or ferret’s needs.
If you’re looking for emergency coverage only, there are very affordable plans that will help pay for broken bones, bite wounds, or other emergency injuries. If, on the other hand, your precious pet needs the best of the best, you can get a “nose to tail” coverage plan that offers total reimbursement for disease, injury, and even routine veterinary needs. Yes, the costs vary widely from state to state and from plan to plan, but at least you have the option of purchasing a pet health plan that matches your family’s needs.
How to Pick a Pet Health Plan
As with picking insurance for yourself or your family, you’ll want to find a pet health plan offered by a reputable company that has plenty of experience in the field. You’ll also want to make sure that you fully understand the claims process, and that the rates aren’t too high for you to keep up for the life of your dog.
When it comes to reputation, there are plenty of pet health insurance plans offered by companies who have been in business for many years — this is no flash in the pan business. VPI Pet Insurance, for instance, has been in the pet health plan business since 1982 and boasts more than a million satisfied customers. Look for a company that your pet-owning friends trust, or ask your veterinarian for what pet health plan they use or would recommend.
Another important factor in choosing the right pet health plan — ease of use. Every pet health insurance plan I’ve ever heard of has involved filing a claim after paying the initial fee in full at the time of service. Don’t expect to waltz into the vet’s office, get thousands of dollars worth of treatment, then walk out having dropped a co-pay or partial payment. Remember that you’ll still need to pay the vet upfront, or arrange a payment plan, before your pet health plan comes through with a reimbursement. Depending on what pet health care plan you choose, some may respond faster while other plans may be notorious for delaying payment until the last possible minute. Do your research on any pet health insurance plan before joining, the same as you would with any personal health insurance plan.
Health Plan for Indoor Pets?
I hear people say all the time that they don’t need health insurance for a pet because the pet is “indoors” only, or an “indoor pet”.
The fact is that pet health care isn’t limited to “outdoor” dangers — there are injuries and other problems your pet can get from indoor dangers as well. Imagine if your dog or cat accidentally ran out of the house and was hit by a car, or if an older dog took a small fall down a set of stairs or some other high surface. Remember that routine checkups and visit to a vet for procedures like dental care, tests, urinalysis, and other procedures recommended by your vet will keep your pet healthy and detect disease before the symptoms appear. With a pet health plan, you can have these procedures performed at a much more reasonable rate and avoid future expenses while they’re still affordable.
Pet health insurance is for pets of all types, and because you can decide your level of commitment, you can build a pet health plan perfect for you and your pets.
The Four Ps of Pet Health Plans
Peace of mind
You can rest easy knowing that no matter what accidents or diseases your pet encounters, you and your family have someone at your back helping you get through it.
Veterinary work can be expensive, and you don’t want to have to choose between debt or the loss of a pet. Think of pet health plans as long term budgeting for your pet’s health care needs.
Prevention of disease
Rather than spending tons of money on cancer treatments or treatments for kidney disease later in life, give your pet the care they need now to avoid contracting these diseases.
Part of the Family
Your pet is part of the family — and every member of your family needs a health plan. Why should your pet be given any less consideration? Make your entire home free from medical worries, and purchase pet health insurance for your loved ones.
They are man’s best friend. They give us joy, never criticize us, and are always eager for a scratch behind the ears. Dogs can bring a lot of love to a household. No matter if you are married with kids or living alone and single, there is always a dog for you. But having a dog also comes with a degree of responsibility. These pets cannot really take care of themselves so they have to rely on you. This means that if you own a dog, you need to be a responsible dog owner.
Responsible Dog Ownership Tips
How can I be a responsible dog owner? A responsible dog owner should carefully oversee how their dog acts and behaves. It is also up to the owner to make sure the dog is well provided for. Being a responsible dog owner is not hard but can sometimes be time consuming. However, if you love your dog like your kids, it should be well worth it. Here are some responsible dog ownership tips.
Spay and Neuter Your Dog
The dog pounds are full of stray dogs whose chances of leaving the pound are very slim. The problem is uncontrolled overbreeding. This leads to unwanted puppies which leads to stray dogs. Unless you are a breeder, the responsible solution to this problem is to spay and neuter your dog. You will want to do this sometime after they turn 4 months old. Not only will it help keep down the dog population but it also helps to keep your dog from being so aggressive and territorial.
Leash Training Your Dog
Have you ever been to the park or the vet’s office and seen people dragging dog’s around because they were not trained on a leash? Leash training is essential for several reasons. For one, it is a good way to be able to control your dog. Sometimes your dog may not like another person, dog, or even a place. To keep any awkward accidents from happening, it is better if your dog is on a leash. Another reason for leash training is simple obedience. Dogs live by their instincts and don’t think as we do. If they see a car or a squirrel they may want to chase it. They might want to run across the park or roll in the mud. A leash can keep help to teach obedience to your dog and show him that he should not run away while you chase after him.
Giving Your Dog Plenty of Exercise
A dog is not going to hop up on the treadmill for thirty minutes everyday. Just like people, some dogs like to lay around and only get up to eat. A responsible dog owner will exercise their dog by taking them for walks or runs. If you live in the city, keep him on the leash as you exercise. If you live out in the country, take him somewhere where he can run on his own. By exercising you keep the weight off of him which helps prevent diseases and other health problems in your dog.
Keep Identity Tags on Your Dog
If your dog gets lost, he cannot just walk up to someone and say “Hey, I am lost. I belong to the house on the left”. This is why you often see fliers posted around town for people looking for their lost dog. Do yourself a favor and put an ID tag on his collar. You should have the address of your home along with your phone number so people can call if they find him.
Spend Time with Your Dog
You should spend plenty of time with your dog. Play with them, throw the ball around, take them for a ride, or whatever. You want to create a bond with your dog. Dogs that spend a lot of time around their owners are always eager to bond and are much more comfortable around people. They will also trust you a lot more and will be more likely to obey when needed.
Make Regular Trips to the Vet
You want to make sure your dog is a healthy dog. This is one of the top indicators of a responsible dog owner. Dogs can be very prone to all sorts of nasty things like diseases, parasites, and other specific canine problems. You should schedule regular visits to your local veterinarian for check-ups and immunization shots.
Put Vaccine Tags on Your Dog’s Collar
Besides an ID tag, you should also include a vaccine tag on your dog’s collar. It is a very handy thing to include because if your dog should bite someone, you want proof that he has had all of his shots. A rabies vaccine tag is one of the most important because if you don’t have proof, you could be forced to give up your dog.
Clean Up After Your Dog
Dogs do not use toilets. They do not use toilet paper. They use the bathroom as nature intended. This means that you are responsible for the mess that your dog makes when in public. Most cities have an ordnance against dog poop in public. If your dog makes a mess and you leave it, you could be fined. Plus, you don’t want to leave it where someone could step on it. When taking your dog for a walk, you should always carry rubber gloves and a ziplock bag so you can dispose of the poop. If your dog spends a lot of time in the backyard, every day you should go out and clean up the mess. You don’t want him living in it.
Have a Secure Fence
You do not want your dog roaming the neighborhood, destroying property, and ending up in the city dog pound. If you are going to have a dog, the responsible thing to do is to have a secure fence and gate. The fence should be sturdy enough that he cannot knock it down and high enough that he cannot jump over it. If your dog is a digger, make sure to sink bricks, stones, or some sort of barrier a few inches into the ground beneath your fence. Your gate should have a secure latch on it that would be difficult for the dog to open. Some simple latches can be opened if the dog jumps up and hits them. Make sure there is a catch on the latch to prevent that.
Good Living Conditions for Dogs
Lastly, a responsible dog owner needs to make sure that their dog has good living conditions. If your dog spends time outside, make sure they have shelter. Clean water and healthy amounts of food are also necessary. If your water is dirty, it will encourage parasites. Fleas and ticks are always a problem no matter how clean the environment is. You can either dip your dog or use veterinary medicines that repel ticks and fleas. Most will take care of them for a month before you have to re-administer it. And what is most important is your dog needs to be treated in a loving and humane manner.
One of the most frequently asked questions by pet owners is “Why do dogs eat grass?” It’s a valid query, as almost all of the 400 million dogs on the planet seem to crave the green substance from time to time. Veterinarians have studied this behavior for years, arriving at a number of conclusions in the process. In the following article, we’ll take a look at the various reasons why dogs eat grass.
Is It Dangerous?
Many dog owners get nervous when they let their pet outside and see them chowing down on the front lawn. In other cases, their dog may vomit up a sizable portion of grass. But is it dangerous?
According to experts, it is not dangerous for your dog to eat grass. In fact, it may provide nutrients that your pet isn’t getting in their diet. Introducing cooked vegetables or natural herbs into their food may help curb their desire for grass.
While grass won’t hurt your dog’s tummy, it could be an indication of an internal problem. When a dog has an upset or gassy stomach, they may seek out grass as a way to induce vomiting. This occurs when the blades of ingested grass tickle the lining of the stomach and throat. After vomiting, the pet should feel better.
If your dog is gulping down large amounts of grass instead of chewing it, this may be what they’re trying to accomplish. It could also mean that something more serious is wrong. A distinct change in your dog’s grass-eating habits might warrant a trip to the vet, just to be on the safe side (especially if your pet shows other signs of discomfort or sickness).
Chemicals in Grass
While grass growing in the countryside shouldn’t pose a risk to your animal, yards heavily treated with pesticides and other chemicals might. If you or your neighbors use large amounts of herbicides on your lawn, you may want to use caution when your pet goes outside. If they eat grass treated with chemicals, they might ingest these toxic substances into their body and become ill.
If you want to be extra cautious, try growing an herbal garden indoors or keeping around a plate of untainted grass. When your pooch wants some roughage to nibble on, they’ll have an alternative to grass saturated with potentially lethal chemicals.
In case you haven’t noticed, dogs excel as scavengers. They’ll eat anything they find lying around, including dead animals and random pieces of debris. Their love of grass may have started early in the evolutionary process of canines, as they would entirely consume their prey, including the stomachs of plant-eating animals. And when they couldn’t catch enough prey to survive, the dog was forced to seek out alternative methods of survival such as berries and fruits. As centuries passed, the canine developed a taste for grass and plants to go along with their love of bones and meat. While they may no longer eat an entire animal carcass, their love of leafy green substances remains.
Another answer to the question of “Why do dogs eat grass?” is fiber. If your dog isn’t getting enough fiber in their diet, they may seek to eat grass as a way to compensate. This can be remedied by buying a brand of dog food that’s high in fiber. Keep in mind, however, that these special types of food can be more expensive.
A cheaper alternative involves taking vegetables such as beans or broccoli, putting them in a blender, and then combining them with your pet’s normal serving of dog food. Start by adding a small amount, as it might take your dog some time to adjust to the new taste and consistency. As they slowly become accustomed to it, you can add in larger portions.
So why do dogs eat grass? They might simply like the taste, or they may not be getting enough fiber in their diet. If their stomach is upset, they may also eat grass as a way to induce vomiting and relieve internal discomfort. In some cases, gulping down large amounts of grass and then throwing up can be a sign of a more serious problem. As with any issue involving your dog, a trip to the vet should answer any nagging questions and give you peace of mind.
Family pets for most people are no different than any other member of the family. You spend time with them, feed them, groom them, and play with them. So when a pet passes away, you are saddened at the loss of a family member. It is understandable to grieve yet it is still important to decide what to do with the remains. If you choose to bury your pet in the backyard there is a few things to consider.
Is Burying Your Dog Legal?
Laws will be different depending on where you live. It will probably be specific to the county in fact. You will probably have to ask local authorities if it is ok and you will probably be told “no” or “I do not know.” And these answers will be just “on the safe side” with no real proof to back it up. So what do you do?
The best bet is to use some common sense. To dodge any real problems with burying your pet it would be best if you owned your property or at the very least asked the owner if it is ok. The next thing to consider is where you live and where to place the remains. Obviously a sentimental place is preferred, but you also need to be sure that you can dig deep enough that animals will not be attracted and start snooping around or digging. Speaking of which, you will also want to be aware of what is underground as well. If at all possible, check to see if there is any water lines, power lines, or phone lines. A decaying body can potentially lead to diseases which can enter water.
You will also want to mark the area in which you buried your pet. This is to prevent the area from being dug up for any reason at all. And the last thing to really consider is what kind of box you will be putting your pet in. It would be suggested to put them in a plastic bag and this will break down. But if all else fails, ask to see what kind of materials can be buried and then bury your pet in that.
Is it Legal to Bury Your Pet?
In short, this is not to say whether or not it is legal to bury your pet, but to let you know that it is difficult to get a straight answer. Even if you were told no, who is going to check? The laws on this are probably very relaxed and would take a lot of effort on the laws part to make it an issue. You are much better off using the suggestions above to see if burying your pet in your backyard will work for you. Your other options would be to cremate your pet and have their ashes spread or put in an urn. The price for this is in the ballpark of $350 or you can have them buried in a cemetery for up to $1,000.
A dog that will not stop barking, no matter how cute and adorable it may be, can quickly become a nuisance. Not only will it drive you crazy but it can be a problem for the entire neighborhood. Dogs that bark constantly are just doing what their instincts tell them. They do not realize that it may be a problem. To dogs, they are just letting everyone know that there is something going on that you need to be aware of.
So how do you stop a dog from barking? Short of giving it a bone, there are some methods you can try to get your four-legged best friend to keep his yap shut.
Why Do Dogs Bark
Dogs bark because that is they way that they communicate. They can bark for several reasons. They may bark because there is something new in their environment and they are letting you know about it. They may bark as a warning that someone is in their territory. The dog may also simply be bored and have nothing else better to do.
Most dogs that bark a lot have gotten into the bad habit because no one (as in, the owner) has taught them any obedience. Dogs just do what they do and if they bark all the time, it is because the owner has not done their job of teaching the dog how to behave.
Why Barking Is Good
You don’t want to teach your dog not to bark at all. There are instances when your dog should bark. For example, if anyone should trespass through your yard, it would be a good idea if your dog would bark and let you know that someone is there. Barking is also a way for a dog to express themselves. You would not like it if someone told you top be quiet all the time. Your dog is no different. What you need to do is to teach him to not to bark constantly.
How To Get Them To Stop
There are many methods and products that you can try to get your dog to stop barking. One such method is training. As long as you have the time to do it, it is a simple procedure and even the most thick-headed dogs will eventually catch on (I have a thick-headed lab. It took awhile but even he eventually got it). What you do is to get some treats. Choose a command word such as ‘hush’ or ‘quiet’. Stick with only one word so that your dog can remember it. When your dog starts barking, get the treats and use the command word on the dog. When they stop barking, praise them and give them a treat. Try this every time the dog barks and he will eventually stop when you tell him to.
Another good method that will help is to find out what it is that is bothering your dog and remove it from the environment. If you can’t remove it, such as the mailman who delivers mail every day, then you need to work on desensitizing your dog to the item or ‘trigger’. Put your dog on a leash and get him to sit right when the mailman comes by. Have some treats in your hand. If the dog tries to bark, give your command “Hush” or “Quiet” when the dog stops barking, give him a treat. You will probably have to work on this quite a bit around things that trigger the excessive barking.
There are some products on the market that have had some success in getting dogs to stop barking. The first is a citronella collar. This is a special collar that emits that bitter citronella odor every time the dog barks. Dogs do not like the scent and they learn not to bark or they will have to smell it.
Another collar that you can buy is a noise collar. This product has a sound emitter attached to the collar. Every time the dog barks, the emitter goes off with a loud screeching noise. Since dogs have sensitive hearing, they don’t like the loud noise and soon learn not to bark.
A good way to eliminate barking is to give your dog attention. Dogs get bored easily and need positive stimulation. Take your dog for walks and let them burn off some of that excessive energy. Interact with your dog by playing with them and giving them treats. The more attention you give your dog, the more confident and relaxed they are. If they are relaxed, they won’t feel the need to bark all the time.
How do I get over grieving for a cat thats been dead for just over a month?
Black Cat Penny
When you have had a pet for a large portion of your life, your pet comes to seem like members of the family. So it’s no shame and no surprise that you’re still grieving for your cat a month after it has passed on. In fact, legitimate groups like the Humane Society offer pet grief tips to help people stop grieving over their dead pets. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to help you move on from your cat’s death.
- Acknowledge Your Grief – Come to grips with the facts that you’re grieving your dead pet and that it’s alright to do that. I’ll tell you what my Dad told me when our family dog died when I was 12. I couldn’t remember a time when “Buzz” wasn’t a part of the family, so his death was shattering. My Dad told me that death is a part of life. In fact, coming to grips with our own mortality and the mortality of our loved ones is a huge part of living. Because domesticated pets are shorter lived than most humans and they tend to be dependent on us for life, having a pet teaches us about responsibility, but also about coping with death. So grieving your cat is psychologically valid.
- Express Your Grief Outwardly – Don’t be afraid to express your grief. Mourn for your cat. Cry if you need to. Don’t keep your grief bottled up. Reach out to others about your feelings and pour out your feelings to someone who understands you and your love for your cat. Family and friends will be happy to listen to you.
- Call a Pet Hotline – If you don’t feel comfortable talking to those close to you about sorrow over a dead cat, there are a number of grief hotlines for pets, including one maintained by the Humane Society. I’ll give you some ideas about finding these hotlines in the next suggestion.
- Talk To Pet Experts – Call your local Humane Society, because many communities have local support groups to help pet owners grieve the death of their pets. If this doesn’t exist near you, talk to your veterinarian about pet hotlines and pet owners support resources. If this doesn’t help, call your local animal shelter, who also might be able to direct you to pet grief tools.
- Write Down Your Feelings – One way to express your grief is to write about it in a diary or journal. Write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions about your dead cat, the good times you had together, the little traits it had that made you love it, and how you felt when your cat died. When you write about these memories, you’ll be able to explore your feelings and purge them somewhat.
- Get Some Closure – If you’re still having trouble getting over your grief with a dead cat, consider preparing a ceremony or prepare a monument of some sort for your cat. These don’t have to be elaborate and can be entirely personal. This allows you to do honor to the memory of your cat and get the closure you need.
- Bring a New Pet Into Your Home – You can do the unthinkable and bring a new kitty into your home. When there’s a void in your life, filling that void in some way becomes important. The best way to honor the memory of your cat is to give a good and loving home to another kitty that needs a place in this world. Dying is always going to be a part of living, but loving is what makes life so rewarding.
If you have made the switch to organic, have you considered what you are feeding your cat? Do you even know that you can get organic cat food? Well, you can, and it is widely available, albeit at a hefty price. If you want to take the very best care of your furry little pal, look at organic cat food.
As more families go organic to avoid the effects of pesticides in food, many of these families have also decided that Fluffy should have the same benefits. One of the nice things about going organic for your cat is that many brands are made by small companies and supporting local economies.
You can buy organic cat food at many natural and organic food stores and online, or you can make your own organic cat food from the foods you already buy. Your best bet is to investigate the brands of cat food available and decide which one will benefit your lifestyle and your cat most. It may be that buying organic cat food is a convenience and not a necessity. You may prefer to make it yourself if your cat prefers wet food.
Dry or Wet Organic Cat Food
Newman’s Own is the big kahuna of organic cat food. Paul Newman’s daughter, Nell Newman runs the operation that produces both dog and cat food from human-grade organically grown ingredients. The company makes both dry and wet cat food varieties. Newman’s Own is known for its generous charitable contributions and high-quality foods.
By Nature organic cat food comes in wet and dry varieties. The company is owned by Blue Seal, a huge company that makes feed for all kinds of household and farm animals. The brand contains no meat by-products, by-product meal, white rice, brewers’ grains, grain by-products and no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors.
Organix is a brand made by Castor and Pollux that comes in both dry and wet food. The manufacturer is a family-owned company from Oregon. They offer the widest variety of organic cat foods and products, including organic catnip toys. They also run the Pet & Soul Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering strong bonds between pets and people, while bettering the community.
Evangers makes wet canned cat food from locally grown and purchased ingredients. It is a small company located in Illinois. In business since 1935, Evanger’s founder, Fred Evanger, raised champion Great Danes. He began canning his own dog food out of frustration over the poor quality kibble offered by pet manufacturers during his time.
Dry Organic Cat Foods
Blue organics makes only dry cat food. They boast the finest organic ingredients, plus the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nature’s Planet offers dry organic cat food and is an offshoot of the monstrous Mars food conglomerate.
How to Make Organic Cat Food Yourself
While you can make organic cat food, rather than buying it, homemade pet food is not for everyone. People who take the time to cook for their pets will do it for one of three reasons. First, their cat may turn her nose up at store-bought foods. Second, even some organic brands suffered from the melamine-contaminated recalls, making some concerned about what is the pet food. Finally, some just love spoiling “wittle muffy-kins” to death. The nice thing about making homemade organic cat food is that most people have all the necessary ingredients right at home.
To make your own cat food, you will need a blender, plus some storage containers to keep uneaten food. This recipe should feed your cat for a week. Cats do not need very many carbohydrates so the meal is primarily protein. The ingredient list is simple: 2.5 hard-boiled eggs, 20 oz tuna and 5 tablespoons olive oil, all from organic sources.
Before mixing the food, you will need to poach the tuna to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. You can do this by bringing 3 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Check the water temperature to be sure it is about 180 degrees F. Add the tuna, allowing the water to cover it completely. Poach the tuna for six minutes. Check for any remaining bones before adding the tuna to your blender along with the eggs and olive oil. Blend well, scraping the sides occasionally, for one or two minutes.
You can consider some alterations to this recipe, but make sure you check with your veterinarian first. You can use meats like ground turkey, chicken, beef and organ meats by grinding them in a meat grinder before adding to the food processor.
Even if you make your own wet cat food, you may want to consider buying a small amount of kibble to leave in the bowl for snacking. This offers your cat the optimal variety of flavors and textures, letting you spoil her to your heart’s content.
Anyone experienced with
birds can tell you that baby birds are delicate. Not only are they fragile to hold but require very specific care. You have the have the right conditions and the right food. You can’t just dig up some worms out of the yard and stuff them down their delicate throats. It also takes dedication. Like any infant, they have to be fed regularly and often. If you find a baby bird out of its nest and appears to be orphaned, you can always call up your local veterinarian or (if there is one) a nearby wildlife program. However, if these are not options or you are determined to do it on your own, there is some information that you are going to need.
Materials Needed to Feed a Baby Bird
To properly feed your baby bird, you are going to need the right tools. Some of the more common items are a couple of syringes, an eyedropper, formula, warm bedding, a heating pad or heat lamps, and a cage.
The best syringes to use are small ones, somewhere between 12cc and 24 cc. It depends on the size of the bird. Small babies such as swallows or finches will not need as much as say a baby parrot. The syringe should have a long tube on the end to make it easier for the bird to swallow the formula. If the syringe doesn’t have a long tube, you can attach a rubber feeding tube. Always check to feeding tube periodically to make sure it is secure. Baby birds could pull it off.
Never use a needle on the syringe.
Where to Keep Baby Birds
Baby birds need to be kept warm. They actually have a higher body temperature than humans. Baby birds can be kept in a cage or an aquarium, or a box of some kind so long as the baby, when it gets older, cannot crawl out.
The cage or container needs to be lined with soft towels for bedding. Don’t use anything the baby can chew up and choke on, such as wood chips or that cotton bedding for hamster and gerbils. You can even use paper towels. To keep the baby bird warm, place a heating pad underneath the bedding. This will allow the bird to stay warm without getting burned. The ideal temperature for young babies is between 88 degrees and 92 degrees F. Keep on eye on the temperature because you don’t want the container to get too hot. If the container is enclosed, such as an aquarium or box, make sure it can get plenty of air.
Some people who raise baby chicks and ducklings use heat lamps set at a low temperature to keep the chicks warm. This is a good alternative if you have a lot of baby birds in one cage. But if you are raising one bird, a heating pad would be better.
What to Feed Baby Birds
There are many brands of acceptable baby bird formula on the market. You can check with your local pet store and see what they recommend or ask your veterinarian. Some birds require different fat content so you need to be sure you are feeding them the right stuff.
Bird formula is mixed with heated water to make a thick, gravy-like substance. Pay attention to the thickness. If it is too watery it can give the baby diarrhea. If it is too thick, the baby can choke on it. Baby birds like their food hot but not too hot. If it is too hot or too cold, they won’t eat it. The right temperature is between 102 degrees and 108 degrees F. If you do not have a thermometer, the next best way to check is to get it warm enough that you can still touch it with your fingers without it being uncomfortable. If you get burned, so will the baby bird.
The water should be heated before you mix the formula together. Once it is mixed, you should feed it and dispose of the left-overs. Many formulas do not re-heat well. You can keep pre-mixed formula in the refrigerator and it will keep longer.
In emergency cases where you have discovered a baby bird and do not have any formula to feed it, you can do one of two things. If you have some bird pellets, you can grind them up and add hot water to them to make your own formula. Or, if you don’t have bird pellets, you can mix 4 teaspoons of water with 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you have white Karo syrup, you can mix 2 teaspoons of water with 1 teaspoon of the syrup. These mixtures are better than nothing and will give the baby bird a chance of surviving until you can get some proper formula.
Never try to feed a baby bird seeds or other solid foods than adult birds might eat.
How to Feed Baby Birds
Every species of bird is different and requires a slightly different feeding routine. However, in general terms, baby birds should be fed at least every two hours both day and night, at least until they are a week old. If you are unsure how old the bird is, then you will have to go on appearances. Most baby birds will not have any feathers of fuzz for at least the first four or five days. After the first week, they will start to develop their own fuzzy coat.
When the baby is past 5 days old, you can slow down and feed them every three hours. At between 9 days to two weeks, you can drop down to feeding them every 4 hours. After the baby is over 2 week sold, you can feed them four times a day.
When you feed the baby bird, try not to hold it unless necessary. If you have to hold it, always be gentle. If the bird is too young and has not learned to open its mouth to eat, take your fingernail and gently pry their mouth open. You can also use something like a toothpick. Keep their mouth open only long enough to feed them and give them a chance to swallow. Put the syringe or eye dropper at the back of the mouth and let a few drops fall down its throat. Never put the bird on its back while feeding it as this is a good way to choke it.
When you feed the baby bird, place the syringe or eye dropper on the left side of the bird’s mouth and go across its tongue. Why? Because a baby bird has three holes in its mouth. The one behind its tongue goes to its lungs. One in the roof of its mouth goes to its upper respiratory and sinuses. And the one on the bird’s left side is its throat and goes to the stomach. Watch carefully as the bird eats. He will pause regularly to take a breath (everyone needs to breath as they eat, even baby birds). If you continue to feed him as he breaths, he will choke.
So how much do you feed baby birds? When they are less than a week old, you should feed them three to four mouthfuls from an eye dropper or syringe. A good rule to follow is to feed a baby bird approximately 10% of its body weight. After each feeding, give the bird a few drops of water. Do not squirt the food or water down its throat. Let it slowly drop into its mouth. Make sure the bird’s crop (or throat) is empty before feeding it more. If the throat is still full, it can harm the bird.
As the bird gets older, it will learn to open its mouth to food, just like in the wild. At this point you can give it slightly thicker food. Place the food on the tip of a popsicle stick and let the bird eat it on its own. It will require more food but as it gets older, you will have to feed it less often each day.
After each feeding, clean the baby bird with a soft warm towel. Feeding baby birds can get just as messy as feeding a human baby and being clean is very important for a healthy baby bird. It cuts down on possible diseases and infections that can crop up all too easily.
What Do Tortoises Eat?
When answering the question “what do turtles eat”, you’ll need to know what species of turtle you’re talking about. Different types of turtles eat entirely different foods. Land turtles tend to eat vegetables, while water turtles tend to eat insects and fish. Do a web search and find out what kind of turtle you have.
What Do Land Turtles Eat?
Land turtles will be found in grasslands and desert areas. Standard food fare that land-based turtles eat include lettuce, sprouts, shredded carrots, squash and kale. Feed your turtle a reasonable amount of one of these foods every day. Also, unless you keep your home in the 80-90 degree range, you’ll need to buy a heat lamp for certain species of land turtle: all of them native to the desert.
You can also buy fortified food specially designed for certain types of land-based turtles. I’ll list some of the more prominent names you can search for when researching or buying turtle food for land creatures.
More Land Turtle Foods
- Natural “Box Turtle” Food
- Natural “Forest Tortoise” Food
- Natural “Grassland Tortoise” Food
- SoftGel Diet
- Turtle Food Flakes
Remember, turtles don’t have teeth, so don’t feed them anything too large. Any hard vegatable should be chopped up nice and fine for them.
What Do Aquatic Turtles Eat?
Water-based tortoises are predators which prefer to eat living creatures like insects and small fish. Crickets are a staple food source, while you can buy goldfish, guppies and minnows to feed them as well. Aquatic turtles tend to eat once every other day. These animals live in non-chlorine water. Like the desert turtles, you’ll probably need a heat lamp of some sort.
Because store-bought fish food for a water tortoise can become relatively expensive, you might consider mixing in the occasional aquatic turtle “food stick”. Food sticks include ingredients like cod, salmon and herring in a concentrated food stick you place in the water. The fishy food stick lets you give your water turtles a nutritious yet affordable diet.
Other store-bought food options for aquatic turtles include the following. I’ll list them by the marketing name, so look for them by name.
More Aquatic Turtle Foods
- Freeze Dried Shrimp
- Dry Formula for Aquatic Turtles
- Floating Pellets
- Can O’Crickets
- Can O’Grasshoppers
- Can O’Pillars (caterpillars)
- Can O’Shrimp
- Can O’Worms
- Can O’Mealies (mealworms)
- Can O’Snails (unshelled snails)
- Exo Terra Fish
- Fortified Aquatic Turtle Food
- Freshwater Shrimp Turtle Treats
- Plankton Treat
- Sun-Dried Shrimp
What Should Turtles Never Eat?
Never feed turtles milk products of any kind. Mammals nurse from birth, but reptiles don’t, so a turtle doesn’t have the enzymes to break down lactose. Milk, cheese and yogurt are bad for turtles.
Never feed turtles poisonous plants. While turtles are known to eat plants that are poisonous to humans, it’s not exactly known how often they eat these plants and how much would be bad for them. There’s no reason to keep poisonous plants around your home to feed your pet turtle, when there are so many other options.
Also, I would never feed turtles processed foods. Once again, there isn’t enough information about the health effects of processed foods on a tortoise to know what kind of effect they have on turtles. I would keep the amount of processed meat I give to my pet turtle to a bare minimum. It might not hurt, but turtles aren’t made to eat that stuff.
How to Train Your Dog to Roll Over
Training a dog to roll over will be either the easiest or hardest thing you’ve ever done. Dogs have strengths and weaknesses just like their owners. Some dogs take to tricks quickly, others have a hard time.
Luckily, there’s a long history of dog training–dogs have been used for everything from hunting companions to medical assistants. There are even dogs trained to detect tumors using their powerful noses. Training a dog to roll over is simple when you consider the complexity of some dog tricks–there are plenty of trainer-tested techniques to help you teach Rover to roll over.
Before you rush into training your dog, understand the ground rules. These suggestions are just “what has worked in the past.” This is not a Bible of dog training–that means if one tactic doesn’t work, you should simply move on to the next. Every dog takes to training methods differently, so you have to think of dog training as “guided play.”
Will My Dog Train Easily?
The one “telltale” sign of a dog that will take to training is obedience. Obedience plays the largest role in your dog’s ability to learn a trick or two.
Don’t be afraid of the word obedience. At its core, it is simply a measurement of the relationship between you and your dog. When you have a healthy relationship with your pet, your pet is more “obedient.” Obedient dogs are receptive to learning and willing to go to any lengths to please their owners.
Good dog training is not really “hard” so much as it is time-consuming. Good dog training is a matter of repeating behavior until it falls within the boundaries you would like. Simple “rewards” along the way condition your dog to the way you want your dog to behave.
Reasons Not to Train Your Dog
Not every dog needs to be training, and not every dog should be “rolling over.” Think of the act of rolling 0ver. The dog drops to its knees (or to its side), and rolls over on the ground. If you have a bad back or know someone with arthritis, you can imagine the pain this activity would cause.
That’s why it isn’t always good to teach an older dog the “roll over” trick. They are more sensitive to pain than puppies and may have specific health problems that rolling over aggravates. But it isn’t just older dogs that are sensitive to rolling over pain.
Small breeds are usually better to teach to “roll over.” The larger the dog, the less likely it is to not have a physical reaction to rolling over. The sad part is that your dog will likely perform the rolling over trick even if it causes the dog pain. That’s how loyal they are.
The only condition for teaching a dog to roll over is that the act not cause the dog pain. Watch your dog’s facial expression carefully for signs of pain during the lesson.
Training Methods for Rolling Over
There are two very effective methods for teaching your dog to roll over.
The “standard method” is the easier version for most amateur dog trainers, though many dogs actually respond better to the second method.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the standard method.
1. The dog should be in what is called “dead dog” position. “Dead dog” is when a dog lies completely on its side while it is awake.
2. Hold your dog firmly with both hands. Place one hand on the dog’s front leg and one on the back leg, both hands on the same side of the dog.
3. Gently (with a firm grip) turn your dog over from one “dead dog” position to the other “dead dog” position. The first few times you do this flip, your dog will probably attempt to catch itself during the roll. This is a good sign, and it shows that your dog is in the process of learning that this move is “safe.”
4. Remember to praise the dog during the roll. This is positive reinforcement, and will tell your dog that he is doing something you like.
5. Along with praise, say the phrase “roll over” during the roll. This teaches the dog the sound of the command. Believe it or not, it is common for dogs to respond to between 200 and 300 words.
Eventually, simply saying “roll over” will trigger the dog to perform the roll over on his own. This happens with repetition and positive reinforcement.
You can reinforce the roll over with food treats if you prefer. If your dog responds better to food, you might try a different method, though.
The second method, called the “food method”, uses positive reinforcement to teach the dog the physical act of rolling over itself.
1. Starting in the “dead dog” position, tempt the dog with a treat near his mouth, then move it away so the dog can’t “snatch” the food. Move the treat down the body past the front legs. The idea here is to get the head moving into the “roll over” position naturally.
2. As the dog leans to grab the food, move it across the dog’s back, away from the head. THis forces the dog to roll over to snatch up the treat.
3. Make sure to give the dog the treat after a roll over, and praise the dog.
4. Repeat this training multiple times until the roll over is a natural response to the presentation of a treat.
Learning how to train your dog is a lot like learning all about your dog. You don’t have to train your dog in order to “fully understand” it, but having a training relationship with your dog is a special thing that just the two of you share.
The simple formula for training your dog to do anything works just the same way. Praise, present a treat, and repeat the action over and over until it is part of the dog’s natural behavior.