General Information, Pet Care Advice, FAQs

General Information

Health

Do I need to give my pet supplements?

Supplements may be given to your pet on top of their regular diet, but do speak to your vet about the kind of supplements that your pet requires, and the amount he/she needs.

How do I provide the best care for my senior pet?

When a cat or dog reaches 6 years of age, we can consider them SENIOR pets. As our pets age, their bodies begin to slow down and their vital organ functions start to decline. They become less active, sleep more, and are more prone to disease. Not all animals go on to develop all the age-associated changes, nor will these changes occur in a fixed pattern. As a result, we can’t predict when certain changes will take place or if they ever will. We can, however, help to prevent and minimise these changes by ensuring that our pets are fed well, housed comfortably and have regular check-ups at the vet.

a) How does a pet’s nutritional needs change as it gets older? When do you start giving your pet “senior” foods, and why is this necessary?

In general, our older pets are less active so they do not need as many calories as when they were younger. It is a good idea to feed them a ‘senior’ diet because these diets have been specially formulated to meet their needs at this stage of life. Older pets also do not see, smell and taste their food as well. It may help to warm up their food (for dogs and cats) to enhance its flavour, or even to hand-feed them. As a pet ages, its body will undergo some changes as wear and tear kicks in. Its kidney and liver functions may slow down; its ability to digest rich foods (with high protein and carbohydrates) may be compromised, hence causing diarrhea (and/or vomiting). Its joint cartilages may also undergo degenerative changes leading to arthritis. Some of them even develop ‘weaker’ hearts (with heart murmurs resulting from degenerative changes in the heart muscles and valves).

Like us humans, ageing pets do require special nutritional needs. Their diet should be higher in fibre, lower in protein, carbohydrate and salt. Some commercial diets even have additional vitamins and minerals added in to protect senior pets’ joints, digestive system and skin integument.

b) What level of exercise do older animals need? Will they still need 3 walks a day and a round of frisbee at the park?

Of course they will still enjoy a fun time at the park! Senior dogs (and cats, if you do bring yours out for walks!) do require regular exercise to keep them in good shape. However, the pace and the nature of activity should be tailored to suit the health condition of your pet. Remember that older pets may develop heart problems and degenerative joint diseases.

Never ever force your senior pet to run at high speeds or long distances! Slow walks at a comfortable pace and distance (i.e. 15-20mins slow walk, 2 times a day is comfortable). If you notice that your older pets are panting in a laboured manner, or turning blue at its tongue/gums, STOP all exercise and calm it down immediately. Offer small amounts of water slowly.

c) Do older animals need more visits to the vet? Should we take older pets for a biannual check-up rather than the usual once-yearly check?

If your senior pet is healthy and active, then an annual visit to the vet is good enough. This annual check up may include the annual vaccinations. If required, your vet can also perform a blood screening panel to check your pet’s kidney and liver functions. These optional blood tests can be done yearly as a screening procedure. However, if there are abnormalities detected via these blood tests, your vet may schedule a review every 3-6 months with repeated blood tests to monitor the related health conditions closely. Older pets are also more prone to developing lumps and bumps on their skin. These growths may be benign (harmless) or malignant (i.e. nasty and will spread to other parts of the body). Your vet may then advise that a sample be taken or that the lump be completely removed. Sometimes, an x-ray of your pet’s joints may be needed if it has problems walking and climbing the stairs. Your pet may also require dental scaling and polishing if there is a lot of tartar on its teeth or if it has tooth decay.

In general, be watchful for any changes in your pet’s appetite, drinking habits and behaviour. Some of the things to look out for include increased thirst/urination, loss of weight, vomiting/diarrhea, poor appetite and frequent coughing. If anything concerns you, take your pet to the vet. Do not wait until it is too late! It also pays to do your homework. Different species of animals have different needs. The sort of diseases that they are prone to developing will also vary. Find out what your pet’s specific needs are and how you can prepare for its old age.

d) Do older animals need additional vitamins or supplements?

If you are already giving your senior pet a commercial senior formula, there should not be a need to add extra supplements. Excessive vitamins and other forms of supplements given in high doses may lead to some fatal health conditions like kidney stones. However, if your pet has joint or skin problems that require additional supplements, consult your vet for the necessary and correct type of vitamins and supplements.

e) Do older animals still need to go for their annual vaccinations, or will they have enough immunity already?

If your pet is still actively going out for daily walks, mixing with other dogs or boarding at pet hotels, it is important to continue the annual vaccinations. If your pet stays indoors most of the time and has no contact with any other animals, you could discuss with your vet and possibly customise a vaccination programme specific to your pet’s needs. The vet may suggest a vaccination once every 2-3 years.

f) What kind of pet care supplies and environment do owners need to provide for older pets (e.g. comfy, soft bed; plenty of chance to rest in peace)

Ensuring your pet’s comfort means making sure that your pet has a reasonably comfortable surface to lie on, and that its immediate environment or sleeping area is kept clean and hygienic. Some older animals develop severe mobility problems. They spend a lot of time lying down in one spot and may even start to urinate and defecate in their beds. These animals will need extra cushioning to ensure that they don’t develop bedsores, and will need their beds to be regularly cleaned and kept dry. Make sure the floor surface is not too slippery (i.e. marble floor) as older pets may have problems walking on slippery surfaces if they have degenerative joint diseases. Stairs and slopes should be avoided to prevent unnecessary accidents. Ageing animals are also less able to cope with stressful events such as temperature changes so make sure that your dog or cat is warm at night, or that your hamster or bird is housed where it is neither too draughty nor too hot.

How will I know if my pet is sick?

1. The animal is inactive/listless.
2. The animal has a poor appetite, reduced appetite or is completely off food.
3. The animal is panting, shivering or trembling (he/she may have fever).
4. The animal is vomiting, has diarrhea, is sneezing, coughing or wheezing.
5. There is a focus of pain in the animal e.g. abdominal discomfort, back pain.
6. The animal is visiting the toilet frequently or straining to pee or poo.
7. There is eye or nose discharge, or the animal has difficulty breathing.
8. The animal has blood in the urine, faeces or vomit.
9. The animal is having fits, is walking in circles, or tilts its head to one side.
10. The animal has a drastic and pronounced weight loss.

If any of these occur, do not self medicate or wait! Consult your veterinarian.
Early treatment could save your pet’s life!

Help! My pet has bad breath. Can you advise?

Bad breath (or halitosis) is very common in small animals. The main causes of halitosis include:

  1. Severe build up of tartar and plaque
  2. Gingivitis: bacterial infection of the gums, leading to severe redness and swelling of the gums
  3. Stomatitis: inflammation and infection of the oral cavity
  4. Infection of the tonsils, pharynx or larynx (throat area)
  5. Tumors in the mouth
  6. Respiratory infection
  7. Foreign body like a bone stuck in the mouth cavity or in between teeth
  8. Systemic diseases like organ failure (happens more often in older animals)

The clinical signs are obvious. You will detect a foul smell from your pet’s mouth. There is build-up of tartar and plaque especially at the molars. There may be pain when you try to touch or open its mouth. The gums are inflammed and bleed easily. There may be increased salivation and the saliva may be mixed with yellowish pus. Your pet may have difficulty eating and feel discomfort/pain when chewing. Ulcers or lumps may be found in the oral cavity and may cause distortion to the shape of the face.

What should I do if my pet has bad breath?

Daily cleaning and monitoring of your pet’s mouth is important. If the condition of your pet’s teeth is not too bad, then it is important to start daily cleaning of the teeth and the mouth. This can greatly decrease the risk of dental problems and mouth infections. Use an appropriate toothbrush and paste/dental spray to brush your dog’s teeth daily. A cloth can also be used to gently wipe the surface of the teeth and the mouth to get rid of food debris. Chewing bones like greenies or rawhide can also help with removal of food debris.

If the condition is worse (i.e. severe halitosis, swollen gums, increased salivation or pain at mouth when touched), it is important to bring your pet to the vet for a thorough mouth and dental examination. Be prepared that your pet may need to be sedated for a proper examination. General anesthesia is needed if dental scaling and polishing is opted to remove the buildup of tartar and plaque. Any decayed tooth (or teeth) will be extracted during the procedure. Antibiotics and pain killers are often prescribed after a dental procedure.

Any lumps in the oral cavity must be checked by a vet as soon as possible because mouth tumors can grow very quickly. Surgical removal of the lump is needed but often difficult.

Do not ignore the condition, always address the issue as soon as possible to reduce your pet’s suffering.

Does pet fur cause asthma?

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has stated on their website:

PETS DO NOT CAUSE ASTHMA
.

Asthma is a genetically inherited condition. Attacks can be triggered by house dust, dust mites, pollen, lint, stress, cold water and animal hair/saliva. Animal hair/saliva are not considered to be major triggers. If you suspect that pet fur triggers your attack, you should get a physician to conduct proper allergy tests to confirm this before you make a decision to remove the animal.

How can I provide dental care for my pet?

All pets are at risk of developing dental problems.

Plaque (a combination of bacteria, proteins, sugars, white blood cells, minerals and water) may form on teeth and lead to mouth odour, pain, infection and tooth loss.

Plaque causes periodontal disease (gum disease). Pockets of infection may form around the roots of the tooth and after mixing with food particles and minerals in saliva, some plaque will harden to form tartar. Early signs of periodontal disease include reddening or inflammation of the tooth-gum margin, called gingivitis.

Do not wait for signs of dental problems (mouth odour, yellow-brown crusty tartar, pain or bleeding gums) to surface before you start preventive dental care.

Use a pet toothbrush and toothpaste. Brush your pet’s teeth daily. If your pet does not tolerate toothpaste, try an animal dental spray.

Treatment and Home Care
If your pet has dental problems, your veterinarian may recommend dental scaling and polishing. Following scaling/polishing, it is vital to maintain your pet’s teeth and gum health at home.

Physical brushing of the tooth is the most effective means of removing plaque. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for animals. Do not use human toothpastes as they froth, which may be a frightening experience for your pet.

Daily brushing should be started as early in your pet’s life as possible.

• Approach the animal from the side, not face to face.

• Gently lift up the lip at the front of one side to reveal the canines and incisors.

• Brush them slowly and gently for a few seconds then stop, let the pet lick the toothpaste then give lots of praise.

Repeat this routine at the same time every day until the animal accepts the procedure. Brush the front teeth of the other side as well. Include the premolars in the tooth brushing.

Feeding large pieces of raw vegetables, tough meat or chewy hide will help clean the teeth as well. A diet containing dry food may reduce the rate of accumulation of plaque. However, tooth brushing is still the most important and effective means of preventing periodontal disease.

How do I protect my pets from household dangers?

1. Keep your animals away from toxic plants.
2. Do not confine your pets in places where you keep chemical and cleaning products.
3. Make sure you clean up spilled chemicals thoroughly before you let your pets back into the area.
4. Keep sharp utensils and objects like blades, knives and scissors in places your pets cannot reach.
5. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Store chocolate in areas where your dog cannot reach them and never feed your dog anything that contains chocolate.
6. Deter pets from chewing on loose electrical cords by securing the electrical cords and spraying some bitter apple spray or other discouraging scents on the cords.
7. Always be on the look-out for your pets, especially when entering or exiting the house and driveway, to prevent accidents.
8. If you have cats, please try to ensure that you have proper grills or wire mesh on your windows and doors to prevent your cat from falling out.

Why should I sterilise my pet and where can I get it done?

What is sterilisation?

You can bring your pet to a private vet clinic to get it done. If  you wish to sterilise a community (street) animal you are looking after, do check out our free sterilisation programmes here!

It is an operation carried out on an animal’s reproductive organs to prevent it from producing offsprings; the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, so the animal feels no pain. There may be slight discomfort for one or two days afterward, but it is soon over, and your pet’s chances of a healthy life are enhanced. This also reduces the number of unwanted animals that often get abandoned on the streets or at animal shelters.

Better Health

Unsterilised cats and dogs often suffer from cancer of the reproductive organs, testicular tumors, ovarian tumors and chronic uterine infections such as pyometra and metritis. Sterilised animals have reduced chances of getting these ailments. Its weight will not be affected.

Another problem faced by unsterilised animals is frustration caused by the compulsion to breed. The scent of a female on heat can drive a normally contented canine or feline berserk, and the urge to roam the streets in search of a mate starts with a chain of other potential problems – fighting with other animals, getting hit by cars or catching contagious diseases. Frustration does not help your pet’s mental health.

Better Behaviour at Home

A sterilised animal is more relaxed. Dogs retain their guard dog instinct after this operation. A sterilised tomcat will usually abstain from spraying foul-smelling urine, fighting and caterwauling, while male dogs will have a reduced urge to mount people’s legs.

Why Sterilise Your Pet?

  • Control dog and cat overpopulation
  • Reduce the number of domestic animals abandoned or euthanased
  • Improve the health of your pet
  • Protect the health and safety of others by reducing the threat of rabies, bites and traffic accidents caused by community animals

Benefits of Sterilising Females

  • Eliminates the heat cycle (estrus) and stops bloody discharges
  • Ends crying, nervous pacing and frantic attempts to get outside
  • Ends unwelcome visits by suitors
  • Reduces or eliminates the risk of mammary tumors
  • Eliminates the dangers of mastitis (inflammation of the breast), ovarian cysts, miscarriage and complications of delivery
  • Removes discomfort, distress and distraction
  • Increases life expectancy

Benefits of Sterilising Males

  • Stops the mating drive and reduces urge to roam
  • Reduces mounting of furniture and people’s legs (in dogs)
  • Stops a cat from spraying to mark territory
  • Lowers the risk of male genital problems and prostate diseases
  • Removes discomfort, distress and distraction
  • Increases life expectancy

Can I feed my pet human food?

Human food usually contains high levels of sugar and salt that are harmful to animals, and some ingredients may even be poisonous. Do your research and exercise caution when deciding to feed your pet human food.

How long will my pet live for?

If your pet is well cared for, with the right diet, exercise, vet check-ups and lots of love and affection, you can expect to share many wonderful years with your pet.

Here’s an estimated lifespan of the various pets:

  • Dogs and cats – up to 18 years
  • Rabbits – 5 to 10 years
  • Hamsters – 2 years
  • Gerbils – 2 to 4 years
  • Mice – 2 years
  • Guinea Pigs – 4 to 8 years
  • Red-eared Sliders (commonly known as Terrapins) – over 20 years

Remember, a pet is a lifetime of commitment. Do not get a pet on impulse.

Can I chain or cage up my dog/cat?

Chaining or caging up your pet for long periods of time is inhumane; your pet can become restless, agitated, distrustful, physically ill, or develop psychological problems.

Caution to pet owners:

A caregiver once tied his dog up using a chain. While he was out, the dog got entangled in it, thereby restricting its movement. When the SPCA, along with the police, responded to the call, the dog was already dead.

A post mortem revealed that the dog had died of heatstroke, unable to seek shade because of the restrictive chain.

Many pet owners tie their dogs up — the number of reports received monthly by SPCA are a testament to this. Unfortunately, these caregivers do not think of the serious consequences which could occur as a result.

Please click here for case highlights.

How often should I groom my pet? Must I groom my dog if he/she has a short fur coat?

For Long-Coated Dogs (e.g. Collie or Pomeranian):

– professionally groomed every 1-2 months if desired
– bathed every 1-3 weeks, depending on dog’s lifestyle
– daily brushing of coat

For Short-Coated Dogs (e.g. Jack Russell):

– specialised grooming not needed
– bathed every 1-2 weeks
– brushing of coat 2-3 times weekly

How do I keep fleas off my pet?

Try monthly tick/flea spray prevention or weekly anti-tick/flea shampoo. There are also various other ways; we recommend that you bring your pet to the vet for preventive treatment.

Of course, you could avoid fleas altogether by making sure the environment your pet lives in is flea-free. Flea sprays for furniture and gardens are very effective. Try to prevent your pet from wandering while not under supervision – they can pick up fleas from all sorts of places outside your home which you have no control over – and they could also get into trouble or get injured.

How do I pet-proof my home?

1. What are the most common dangers to pets? For example, sharp corners, certain types of flooring etc.

Depending on the species of the animal, different materials pose different risks.

For dogs – sharp corners, rugs, dangling decorations, pot plants, insecticides, pesticides, etc.

For cats – dangling decorations, strings, rugs with frills, dried flowers (not so much a danger but cats love to bite and chew on them and this might result in vomiting).

For rabbits (which are allowed to roam around at home) – electrical cords, plastic, newspaper (chewing and ingestion of these will cause severe impaction and obstruction to the guts).

For other small exotics – air fresheners and any scents as they are very sensitive to airborne particles, especially insecticidal sprays.

2. What are the most commonly destroyed property and how can I prevent it? For e.g., leather sofas that get scratched, or dog pee on wooden furniture.

For sofa/couches, parquet flooring and glassware decorations – to prevent accidents, shelves used for decorations should be affixed with lids/doors. Trim your pets’ nails regularly. Sometimes, you can get them filed.

For cats, buy a scratching pole or get some old cardboard boxes for them to scratch on.

There are also infrared motion detectors that can send ultrasonic sound waves to deter cats and dogs from entering certain areas of the house. www.catscram.com

3. What are some harmful substances that pets commonly consume by mistake? For e.g., candles, incense etc.

See Point 1.

4. Should certain household arrangements be made for an incoming pet? For example, removal of electrical wires. Do dogs like to chew on wires?

It would be sensible to hide or remove all exposed wire cables. Any sharp corners of a coffee table should be fixed with a plastic corner cover. Any exposed chemicals should be kept far away from your pets.

Cats love to sit by the window and watch the world go by, so it is wise to keep the windows closed, or affix window grills.

Also, do not place shelves or tables beside windows as it becomes a platform for your animal to access the window easier. Any dangling decorations should also be removed as cats and dogs are very curious animals.

5. Are there other points that pet owners should take note of in order to make their home safe for them and their pets?

Most Singaporean homes are safe for our pets. Be aware of the things that you leave lying around, such as sewing thread, needles, socks, and any form of decoration.

Dogs and cats are really curious. While playing with these things, they can accidentally ingest them and that might cause severe gut obstruction that may require surgery.

It is advisable to keep toilet doors closed if your dog or cat loves to venture in. This is to prevent spillage and ingestion of any chemicals.

Responsible Pet Ownership

What is/why should I microchip my pet?

A microchip is a tiny device about the size of a rice grain and it is usually implanted between the shoulder blades of your pet. It carries a unique identification number so that your animal can be traced back to you if it has lost its way. However, you must ensure that the microchip is registered otherwise it would be rendered useless. So why should you microchip your pet? Animals disappear for many reasons: they wander off, they may be spooked, or injured, run away, or are even stolen. As the pets’ owner, you have a responsibility in ensuring that your pet is safe and that also includes ensuring that your animal is sufficiently identifiable on all accounts.

You may register your pet with AVS via this link: https://ifast.sfa.gov.sg/eserviceweb/.

  1. For Singpass Users, login via your Singpass account. For non-Singpass users, create a new account via the “New account? Click here” link.
  2. Follow the steps given for account creation, until you arrive at the ‘Welcome’ page
  3. Click on the link “Microchip Submission (For Individual)” under “Microchip/Tag Data Submission” menu, as circled in red above
  4. Select the “Animal Type”
  5. Proceed to fill in the necessary information and submit.

If you require any assistance, kindly contact them at https://www.nparks.gov.sg/avs/feedback-form.

How can I provide for my pet in the event of my death?

Usually, we would not presume that our pets would outlive us as their lifespan is generally shorter. Here is a guide:

  • Dogs and cats – up to 18 years
  • Rabbits – 5 to 10 years
  • Hamsters – 2 years
  • Gerbils – 2 to 4 years
  • Mice – 2 years
  • Guinea Pigs – 4 to 8 years
  • Red-eared Sliders (commonly known as Terrapins) – over 20 years (releasing terrapins into ponds/reservoirs is considered pet abandonment and is illegal in Singapore)
  • birds (e.g. parrots) can live up to 50 years

However, there could be instances where your pet might outlive you. The SPCA would advise you to make a will, so that your pet’s welfare can be taken care of in the event of your death. It is also advisable to make provision for your pet by appointing someone (family member/relative or friend) to take charge, in the best interest of your pet. As it could involve having to possibly relocate your pet (if no direct family member is keeping the animal), you should discuss this with your family/close friends so that your pet does not end up without a home.

You would also need to discuss with your family and veterinarian on what to do if there are no interested parties who wish to adopt your pet. Placing an animal in a boarding kennel could be very stressful and it may have trouble coping with the changes after spending a comfortable life in your home.

To read up more on how to ensure that the future of your pet is taken care of on your demise, please visit this link.

How do I choose a good boarding kennel?

There are no hard and fast rules here. You could seek friends’ recommendations, or you could visit a few boarding kennels yourself and have a talk with the people running them. See if you feel comfortable with them and observe the way they treat the animals. When you are there, check the kennels and ask if they have an attending vet to see to your pet should he/she fall sick during their stay. Ask if they require all animals to be vaccinated as a boarding requirement.

If you do not feel comfortable sending your pet to a boarding kennel, you may wish to find a pet sitter whom you trust. Pet sitters usually visit your place once a day to keep your pet company, do general tidying up and feeding. You could also enlist the help of your family members or friends to help feed, clean, exercise and keep your pet happy while you’re away.

Don’t ever base your decision on the price that a boarding kennel charges – an expensive kennel does not ensure a better kennel. The safest way is to trust your instincts – whatever feels right (after doing your research) probably is.

How do I cope if my pet dies?

Many of us who keep pets treat them like our family members. We love them so much that we celebrate their birthdays with specially made treats, dog parties and walks. Some of us may even bring our dogs to pet cafes and spas for their special day! Pets are often regarded as ‘children’ of the family – a lot of young couples are opting to keep pets rather than have children.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that we tend to outlive our pets. When these beloved family members pass on, it is normal to feel intense grief and sorrow. Some people take weeks to recover, while others may take years. It is important to deal with these feelings in order to come to terms with reality.

Most people go through 5 stages of grief. It is important to recognise these stages and learn to deal with your emotions, no matter how difficult it is or how long it takes.

Stage 1: Denial
Some people bring in their aged pets with complaints of appetite and weight loss. They know that their aged companions are not well. Some of them delay the visit to the vet, thinking that Snowy will ‘recover’ on her own. But after physical examination and detailed blood works, it is usually found that Snowy is not very well at all. When the owners are told of the seriousness of the illness, they often cry and exclaim, “But Snowy never falls sick! She has not been to the vet for any problems before!” Denial is a type of defence mechanism as we try to shield ourselves from painful truths.

Stage 2: Anger
“It is all your fault! Why do you keep giving Snowy all those treats!? Why did you not bring her to routine vet check ups? WHY?”

After we fail to shield the painful truth, we begin to feel angry. This is when we try to find fault and blame others or even ourselves for the condition that our pet is suffering from. Some even lash out at the vet for making a wrong diagnosis. This anger is a result of guilt. We feel responsible for the state of our pet’s illness and we wish that we had done something about it earlier.

Stage 3: Bargaining
This is the 3rd stage of emotion in the process of grief – to do something in exchange for our pets’ recovery. “Maybe if I changed Snowy’s diet now, she will get better? Maybe if I give her this medicine, she willl be fine?” We ask for a higher power to give us a miracle. We become hopeful and seek other options. Some bring their pets for second opinions and other treatment options. If your finances permit, it is always good to seek other treatment options with an open mind.

Stage 4: Depression
This is when the reality sets in. We become deeply saddened. This is an important stage as it allows us time to face the hard truth. We can cry, seek a listening ear and pour out all our feelings. Some of us prefer to write about it in our journal or compose a poem as a dedication to our beloved pet. Whatever manner of expression you choose, this is the most crucial stage for us to recover from the pain and grief.

Stage 5: Acceptance
When we have bravely confronted our sorrow and grief, this is when we begin to accept the truth – our beloved companion is no longer with us. We will still feel a pinch of sadness as we look at the photos and remember the happy times we spent with our pets. However, we will have the strength to be thankful for the wonderful times shared with our pet. This is also when you might consider adopting another pet as your new family member.

It is important to allow yourself to go through these five stages of emotions before deciding to keep another pet. It is important to remember that each animal is special and different from the other. Do not rush to find a ‘substitute’ when you are still in grief because you need time to heal in order to love another again.

Pet Care: Dogs

Training/Behaviour

How Do I Socialise My Dog?

How Do I Toilet Train My Puppy?

Toilet Training

The secret to successful toilet training lies in prevention, not correction! Unless your dog is about 80-90% reliably toilet trained, it must not have the run of the house. Make sure you have a safe, puppy-proofed area where the dog will stay when you are unable to supervise him. This area will also serve as the dog’s toilet if it is to be trained to do its business on newspapers. A safe area could either be a playpen or the kitchen/laundry area.

Decide if you want to train the dog to do its business on newspapers or grass. When using newspapers, do not worry if your puppy shreds and plays with the papers. It will outgrow the habit. If it is grass, always go to the same area for the dog’s toilet. The smell will encourage the dog to do its business.

Avoid free feeding (i.e. leaving food out all day). Puppies under 5 months old should be fed at least three meals a day. During meal times, leave the food out for no more than 15 minutes. Remove the food after 15 minutes. This prevents a fussy eater and the dog will learn to eat during mealtimes. Having regular mealtimes will also enable you to monitor your dog’s food intake.

Puppies are not able to control their bladder very well. They must be brought to do their toilet every hour or so whenever they are out of their confinement area.

If the puppy makes a mistake, do NOT scream, yell, or punish the puppy! The puppy did not make a mistake. You made the mistake of not keeping a close eye on it. Screaming, yelling or other negative reinforcement makes your puppy afraid of you, and does not teach them what you wish for them to do.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Biting?

These 8 tips are crafted by Dr. Kang Nee, a certified professional dog trainer who works with us to help the dogs at our shelter – www.cheerfuldogs.com

A dog seldom bites ‘out of the blue’. It usually starts with the dog communicating its discomfort in being in a particular situation through a display of stress signals, e.g. turning away, lip licking, yawning, shaking off, closing its mouth, stress panting, growling etc.

When these signals are repeatedly ignored but we continue to put the dog in that stressful situation, the dog reaches its limit of tolerance, and bites in an attempt to escape or protect itself.

Inappropriate training methods, such as the use of punitive or aversive techniques, often escalate the problem. Punitive or aversive training techniques include the use of choke chains, prong or pinch collars, shock collars, alpha rolls, neck jabs, harsh verbal reprimands, and flooding the dog through prolonged exposure to a situation.

If your dog shows signs of aggression, and you’re not sure of what to do, please consult a qualified trainer or behaviourist to help you and your dog.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #1

In this photo, the man is setting up the dog for a potential bite. The dog’s body is stiff, its tail is tucked under, its ears are pulled back, its eyes are wide in a hard stare and its mouth is closed. It can’t escape because the man has it in a tight hold as he forces a kiss on the dog’s cheek.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, it would be the one to pay the price, not the human.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #2

In this photo, the boy is in danger of a potential bite. The dog’s body is stiff, its ears are pulled back, the pupils of its eyes are dilated, and its mouth is closed. It’s wearing a prong collar, which may be decorative, or suggests that a punitive form of training may have been used on this dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and stop your children from hugging a dog, especially one that’s unfamiliar or doesn’t enjoy being hugged. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, both the dog and boy may pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #3

In this photo, the dog is growling to show its discomfort. Never punish a dog for growling. A dog growls as an attempt to diffuse a potentially threatening situation, not to escalate it. But if its growl is ignored or punished, without the removal of the perceived threat, the dog may escalate to a snap or a bite.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, the dog would be the one to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #4

In this photo, the human is playing inappropriately with the dog. Your hands, fingers and feet are not toys! The dog is clearly stressed – its ears are folded far back. If such inappropriate play continues, what started off as playful or rough play, may become a potential bite situation.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, the dog would be the one to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #5

In this photo, the human has set up both dogs in a situation in which they’re clearly uncomfortable. Not all dogs enjoy being photographed, much less being forced into such close proximity. By now you’d be able to recognize the stress signals – dilated pupils, whale eye, ears pinned back, closed mouth, stiff body posture, leaning away. If both dogs are stretched beyond their tolerance limit, they may snap.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #6

In this photo, the child pets the dog on its head and the dog is clearly uncomfortable. It avoids looking at the child, its mouth is closed, its ears are pinned back and its body is stiff. Most dogs do not like being petted repeatedly on the head.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and stop your children from petting a dog on its head, especially one that’s unfamiliar or doesn’t enjoy being petted in this way. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, both the dog and girl may pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #7

In this photo, what may have started off as play between the 2 dogs has escalated into a potential bite or fight situation. Note the whale eyes in both dogs. The bigger dog has bared its teeth in warning, but the smaller dog continues to chase and nip at it. Neither dog has the loose, wriggly body language that shows they’re enjoying the interaction, instead, they’re stiff. The smaller dog also wears a choke chain, which may be decorative, or suggests that a punitive form of training may have been used on this dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and monitor how your dog plays with another. Intervene if you see play escalating into a potential bite or fight situation. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #8

In this photo, the human is putting both dogs at risk by teasing them. Both dogs are highly stressed – note the exaggerated lip licking, whale eyes (in the dog on the left), while the dog on the right has turned its head away. No matter what the occasion might be, one should never tease a dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.

What Kind of Training Do You Recommend?

Positive Reinforcement Training

What it is:
Motivating a dog to make good choices, and rewarding it when it does. The reward reinforces the good behaviour that we want, and the dog is more likely to repeat that same desired behaviour in another similar situation. With consistent practice, the dog becomes more reliable and fluent in making the desired choice. Take for example the case of a dog that’s reactive to another dog. We train the reactive dog to look at its owner when it sees another dog, instead of barking and lunging at the other dog. Whenever it does so voluntarily, it gets rewarded with a treat. Eventually, the dog learns and makes the conscious choice to check back with the owner whenever another dog is around. With positive reinforcement, the dog learns the skill of coping with a potentially stressful situation and is able to make a good choice instead of reacting negatively.

What it is not:
In the same situation of a dog that’s reactive to another dog, it is NOT positive reinforcement when we force the reactive dog into a sit or down position whenever another dog is nearing. It is also NOT positive reinforcement when we use a head collar to turn the dog’s head away from the other dog, or jerk its leash and run away in the opposite direction. One should not repeatedly expose the dog to such a situation, and then deliver a treat when the dog becomes too exhausted to be reactive towards the other dog. This form of training is an aversive method, using punishment and flooding, with treats thrown in as a ‘disguise’ for positive reinforcement. Aversive training is often an inappropriate method for dogs that are fearful and/or aggressive, and may even escalate the reactivity further.

Food Rewards

A dog can have different motivators (e.g. food, play, a chance to chase something, a car ride, etc.). When a dog starts learning something new, we choose the reward that motivates the dog most in that situation. For many dogs, food is one of the strongest natural rewards. Think of it this way – when you start a new job, the strongest motivator may be the salary. As you get better in your job, your priorities may begin to shift and you could become more motivated by other factors – enjoying your colleagues’ company or appreciating the staff benefits. At the highest level, when you’re thoroughly enjoying what you do, you work for job satisfaction.

Similarly, a food reward to a food-motivated dog is like the initial salary – it pays well and sets the pace of learning. As the dog gets better at performing the desired behaviour, food rewards may become integrated with other rewards (e.g. a game of tug with you, a tummy rub, etc.). The behaviour eventually becomes second nature to your dog. However, just as you wouldn’t appreciate not being paid a salary when performing well at work has become second nature to you, neither should you expect your dog to completely forfeit its tangible rewards. That’s when you put in place a ‘variable bonus’ reward system – better performances earn better rewards.

Dog Handling – Trimming Nails and Cleaning Ears

Dogs don’t naturally enjoy being handled in certain ways, e.g. nail trims and ear cleaning. However, we can make things easier by helping them grow accustomed to being groomed. The first step of the learning process is always for your dog to form a positive and rewarding association with what it’s not instinctively comfortable with.

Read http://www.cheerfuldogs.com/Documents/CheerfulDogsPositiveCERPuttingGoodIntoBad.pdf to find out more on how to put the “good” into something “bad”. The article focuses on how to get your dog to be comfortable with having eye-drops applied on a regular basis. There’s sure to be some nuggets of information in there that can be applied to other scenarios too!

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #1: The Name Game

Every family dog has a name, but not every dog knows its name. Just like how they’re not born to understand commands like “Sit”, “Down” or “Stay”, dogs need to be trained to know their names. How do we engage our dog such that when it hears its name, it’ll take its attention away from something else to focus on you? Watch as Kiyo (Kang Nee’s dog whom she adopted from us 5 years ago) embarks on his first step to learning his name. In this video, he takes on an alias for the demonstration – http://youtu.be/X07dWxxdFM8

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #2: How A Dog’s Name Is Used

We often use our dog’s name in a way that doesn’t quite encourage it to respond – we use its name as a verbal reprimand when the dog has misbehaved; we repeat it over and over again, essentially teaching the dog to tune out our nagging voice. If we want to build a quick response and get our dog’s undivided attention when we call their name, the dog’s name must always be associated with something rewarding. Watch as Kiyo demonstrates the practical applications of having learnt his name the positive way. Note that Kiyo receives his reward only after he has made the correct choice; the reward wasn’t used as a bribe to get his attention – http://youtu.be/0TdvyLNVC5Q

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #3: Teaching “Stay”

Having trouble getting your dog to stay and not move until you tell him to? A good “Stay” is actually a two-part skill – “Stay” tells the dog not to move until you give it permission to do so, and a release word, e.g. “Free”, signals that the dog has the permission to move. To build a good reliable stay, you need to work on the 3 variables that can make or break a stay – duration, distance and distractions. In this video, Kiyo shows that it can be really fun to work on a “Stay” together – http://youtu.be/K2ROVrXNTOU

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #4: Teaching “Sit”

Every dog can sit, but they don’t instinctively understand that the word “sit” means you want it to plop its butt down on the ground. Dogs need to be taught to understand our commands and should not be expected to know English from the get-go! Watch as Kiyo and Kang Nee of cheerfuldogs.com demonstrate how you can translate for your dog and help it learn to sit promptly and willingly each time – http://youtu.be/hxR0CyeM4sI

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #5: Teaching “Down”

We may not think or know it, but a dog will lie down only when it’s comfortable in a particular situation. If there are many distractions that the dog hasn’t learnt to cope with present in the environment, it may be difficult to get your dog to lie down and stay down for long. Your dog may only lie down for a brief moment, then bob up again, unable to settle for some time. In this video, Kiyo shows how you can teach “Down” to your dog, using tiny steps to get to the full behaviour. Note that the verbal cue, “Down”, is only said once each time and not repeated excessively – http://youtu.be/_0OgGcHc12c

Canine Education @ SPCA Life Skill #6: It’s Me and My Dog

We often tempt our dogs with treats in order to help them learn faster during a training session. But do we always have to reward them with food when we want them to perform a specific act? What happens when we don’t have treats on us? Can a dog trained using food rewards ‘perform’ without food? Of course it can, if you use food rewards correctly – as a reward and not a bribe. See the teamwork between Nee and Kiyo as they play the game of life skills together – http://youtu.be/nQRvFDHlZCM

Canine Education @ SPCA Workshops

Together with Kang Nee from cheerfuldogs.com, we conduct regular workshops for the public so they can find out more about the responsibilities and commitment behind keeping a dog. View our series of workshops here – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkvu9CBJA1iFIRBKGzIFXOCB-POLu6gcE

How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing The Furniture?

Research shows that adopting a dog is an excellent way to promote better health. Dogs lower stress, provide us with companionship, and even motivate us to get into the Great Outdoors for a brisk walk or run. If you find that your pup is chewing at woodwork, sofas, or shoes, however, you may wonder what you can do to stop the behaviour. Not all dogs chew, and only a small percentage will actually need training. Fortunately, this problem is usually temporary and it is an easily solvable problem that the whole family can work together to avoid through training.

Chewing is Often Normal in Puppies

Puppies usually teeth until they are about seven or eight months old. When teeth break through gums, it can be as uncomfortable for dogs as it can be for babies, and in the same way that babies can cry or get cranky, dogs try to alleviate their discomfort by chewing.

It is very easy to get your dog interested in chewing the right items by providing them with good toys. Go for Kong or similar level toys, which won’t break off and pose a choking risk, and which contain hidden treats inside; these will make your dog works hard and burn a few welcome calories, to obtain his treat.

Training is Key

Sometimes, adults dogs can take to a particular item of furniture or shoes, which they will repeatedly chew on when they are bored or restless. The key to stopping your dog from chewing on woodwork is to let him know that this behaviour is not acceptable. Fill a glass jar with rocks or marbles; shake the jar loudly when your dog starts chewing and give him his chewy toy quickly, to let him know that only some items are okay to gnaw on.

Is Your Dog Active Enough?

One of the most common causes of chewing, is boredom or excess energy; if this is the cause of your dog’s chewing, the only solution, is movement. The exercise needs of your dog will depend on his age, breed, size and overall health. Dogs in good health can enjoy between half and hour to two hours of activity a day.

Try to take your dog out for a walk several times, to meet and greet with other dogs and have a good sniff around the neighborhood and green areas such as parks. Your dog should enjoy brisk exercise, which you can provide him with by throwing a ball and enjoying a game of fetch, or holding him on a leash while you skate.

If your dog is a senior, he will still need exercise; gentle walks are an ideal way to keep his weight down; remember that older dogs are more prone to weight gain and osteoarthritis and preventing heart disease and other illness through exercise, is key.

Chewing is a common but easily controlled behaviour, which can be tackled through training, exercise, and patience. If it is accompanied by other destructive behaviour, your dog might have separation anxiety, a condition which should be attended to by your veterinarian or a dog behaviouralist.

By Jane Gordon, a dog owner who learnt through trail and error what worked for her dog, Oscar

What Can I Do To Minimise Barking?

These 4 tips are crafted by Dr. Kang Nee, a certified professional dog trainer who works with us to help the dogs at our shelter – www.cheerfuldogs.com

An important part of being a good dog owner is being able to read how our dog is responding to us or to being in a certain situation. That means that we need to be able to identify our dog’s needs. So how do we conquer obsessive barking?


Barking Tip #1: The Attention-seeking Barker

When you’re watching TV and your dog sits in front of you, barks, and you reach out to stroke it, you’ve just taught your dog that barking gets your attention. Even if you scold it for barking, you’re still giving it attention.

How do you stop attention barking? You need to ignore it completely – don’t look at your dog, or talk to it. If he continues to bark, get up and walk away. If you need to, close the door and leave your dog by itself. You can expect that your dog will increase the intensity of its barking at first, but you need to wait it out. When your dog finally stops barking and is quiet for at least 10s or so, you can go back to the room and give it some attention. If it starts barking again, you repeat the whole exercise. What you’re teaching your dog is that barking makes you disappear, which is the opposite of what it’s looking for. Thus with repetition, it would stop barking for attention.

You also need to take care of why your dog is barking for attention. It’s bored so you need to make sure that it has enough exercise to tire it out, or it has something to do that provides mental stimulation, like a food dispensing toy. Brushing up on your training games and tricks is a great way to bond with your dog while giving it the attention that it deserves.


Barking Tip #2
: The Alert Barker

If your dog barks to warn you that there’s something or someone outside your house, the solution is to remove the source(s) of what causes him to bark. If your dog barks at people as they walk past your house, keep your dog inside the house, and block off access to windows or doorways where he can see out into the street or corridor. If he’s barking because he’s sensitive to noises in the surroundings, you can reduce the intensity of these sounds by turning on the radio, and putting your dog in a room furthest away from the source of the noises. Your dog may also need to undergo an appropriate behaviour modification programme to address its noise sensitivity

Barking Tip #3: The Excited Barker

Your dog barks in excitement when you bring out its food bowl, when you get the leash, when you come home, when it sees another dog etc. The solution is not to let your dog get what it wants while it’s barking. For instance, put the leash away until your dog is calm, then take out the leash. If it barks again, the leash disappears as well. When you come home, ignore your dog’s excited barking and wait until it calms down before greeting it.

Barking Tip #4: The Lonely Barker

If your dog is barking when it’s left alone, change your dog’s environment. Dogs don’t do well when they’re left alone for long periods of time – if your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, explore daycare or pet-sitting options when you’re not home. When you’re home, set aside time for regular exercise, games and training sessions to give your dog that social contact, and the physical and mental stimulation that it needs.

Barking when left alone may indicate anxiety, though it’s not always the sole reason. If you think that your dog is anxious about being separated from you, please consult a qualified trainer or behaviourist to help you and your dog. You may also need to consult your vet to see if medication is necessary.

Note: Dogs bark in a variety of situations: in excitement, in fear, to warn, in frustration, to guard, or it may have learned that barking results in something that it wants, e.g. attention. Barking is annoying because it’s loud, it can be prolonged and it can occur at any time of the day or night. The key to addressing nuisance barking is to find out what is causing the dog to bark and then removing the cause or causes of that barking. The aim is not to stop all barking for good, but to get the barking down to a level and intensity that you can live with

Punishing a dog for barking with inappropriate methods (e.g. aversive corrections) and equipment (e.g. training collars like choke chains, prong collars, anti-bark and shock collars), is often ineffective because you’ve only tried to stop the symptoms of the problem, but not solve the cause of it. At best, the dog will not learn anything. In the worst case, it can escalate the problem into something more serious.

Why Does My Dog Dislike Walks?

It might be due to various reasons that causes your dog to dislike walks:

  • fearfulness
  • injured
  • illness
  • loss of interest
  • the way you hold the leash
  • uncomfortable harness

Observe for a period of time, and do seek advice from your vet or dog behaviourist if you are unable to determine the cause.

You must be patient and slowly let him get used to the harness, by putting it on, and letting him roam around the house with it. Slowly expose him to the area around your neighbourhood. Start with a small vicinity, then gradually increase it.

Health

Do I Need To Vaccinate My Dog?

We recommend vaccinating your dog to protect them from several highly contagious diseases such as parvovirus. Some vaccinations are required once a year, and some are once every 2-3 year.

Here are a list of common illnesses for dogs. Do speak to your vet regarding vaccinations for your dog.

My Dog Seems Restless - Should I Take Him For Walks?

Yes! It is very important to exercise your dog daily. Even if he is in a compound, he needs regular exercise outside of your house, e.g. a brisk walk or a run at a park/beach.

This is not only good for his heart and physical well-being, but also prevents him from getting mentally tired. Exercise is even more important for most of our dogs who live with us in apartments. A ‘restless’ dog will become irritable and may start to destroy your belongings in its effort to look for excitement. In worse cases, he may even turn vicious due to the lack of exercise and stimulation.

Just remember, keep your dog on a leash at all times when outside. Enjoy yourselves – exercise is good for you too!

How Do I Keep My Senior Dog Young?



My Dog Is Getting Quite Old Now. His Eyes Are Looking Cloudy. Is That Normal?

As a dog ages, there will be degeneration of the lenses (nucleus sclerosis) – this is a normal ageing process. Your dog could also be developing cataracts or could have an eye infection. Bring your dog for a vet check and seek veterinary treatment if needed.

What Are The Dietary Needs For Older Dogs

1. Feed your dog twice a day, in appropriate amounts (you may wish to seek your vet’s advice).
2. Before starting on a new diet, consult a veterinarian. This is especially important if there are health problems to consider.
3. Increase the fibre intake if your dog is prone to constipation.
4. It is normal for dogs to eat small amounts of grass. Contrary to popular belief, this does not do them any harm.
5. Be prudent when giving your dog extra dietary supplements. Most good commercial dog foods provide ample amounts of nutrients. As such, excess supplements may cause nutritional imbalances and may even be toxic. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian.
6. Most pet foods now come in a ‘senior’ version for older dogs.

What Is Canine Heartworm?

Heartworm disease in dogs is a slow chronic condition due to the infection of large roundworms called Dirofilaria immitis. Clinical signs of illness are generally not present until the condition is advanced and organ damage occurs. Typical signs include coughing, exercise intolerance, weight loss, and fainting; similar signs to chronic heart failure.

In an infected animal, adult male and female heartworms live in the dog’s heart and adjacent large blood vessels. The female releases live young called microfilariae into the dog’s circulating blood stream. These larvae are ingested by mosquitoes as they take a blood meal. They will infect another healthy dog when the mosquito takes another blood meal. They migrate from the skin to various tissues until they reach the heart and develop into adult worms. This developmental period takes about 6-7 months.

Canine Heartworm Disease is very common in South East Asia. Early detection is essential for early treatment and prevention by a blood test.

Very Important – A blood test must be carried out BEFORE starting heartworm prevention. Most heartworm-infected dogs can be successfully treated if the condition is diagnosed early.

Prevention and Control
a) Control mosquitoes by screening and spraying clear stagnant water and disposing of rubbish
b) Preventive medications include once a month prevention tablets, or an annual injection

Please consult your veterinarian for further information with regard to your dog’s health.

Can My Dog Suffer from Heatstroke?

The answer is YES, especially with the hot and humid climate in Singapore. Heatstroke occurs when the dog suffers from dehydration, exhaustion, and uncontrollable rise in body temperature (normal body temperature of dogs: 38ºC-39.5ºC; when heat stroke occurs, the dog’s temperature can rise up to 42ºC and this is LIFE-THREATENING!).

How can my dog suffer from heatstroke?
Heatstroke can occur when your dog overexerts itself (e.g. when they are forced to run long distances or at a high speed in Singapore’s hot and humid climate). Heatstroke can also occur when your dog does not receive enough water before or during exercise.

Is my dog at risk?
In general, bigger breeds of dogs like German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers generally have better stamina than smaller breeds of dogs like Pomeranians or Chihuahuas. However, due to their thicker fur coat, they can also suffer from heatstroke more easily if proper care is not taken.

Sporting or hunting dogs like Jack Russells and Beagles are generally more athletic, hence they can cope with longer distances better. But care must also be given, especially if they run too fast or if they are exercising under the hot sun.

Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with shortened nasal passages, flat faces and bulging eyes) like Bull dogs and Pugs will have respiratory distress when overexerted.

If your dog has dark (or black) coloured fur, take special note that they can absorb heat more easily. It is important that you do not walk/run your dog under the hot sun.

It is important to understand the breed and size of your dog, and then decide sensibly how long and how fast they can walk/run. On an average, it is advisable that you walk/run with your dog at a comfortable pace for about ½ hour during the cooler periods of the day.

How can I prevent my dog from getting heatstroke?

  • With the hot and humid weather in Singapore, it is important to take extra care when you bring your dog out for a walk or run.
  • Do so during cooler times of the day i.e. mornings or evenings.
  • Allow your dog to drink sufficiently before exercise.
  • Bring water (and a portable water bowl) for your dog.
  • Always allow your dog to walk or run at their own pace and NEVER force them to over exert themselves.
  • Many people love to cycle while their dogs run alongside them. This is safe only when you do it at a pace that is comfortable for your dog, and when you do so during the cooler periods of the day.
  • It is also important to understand the stamina and physique of your dog. If they have not ran long distances or at high speeds before, be sure to allow sufficient time for your dog to ‘train up’.
  • Dogs are like us; we all need time to build up our stamina and strength in any form of exercise or sports

How else can I help my dog?

1. Understand the physiological needs of your dog

  • If you have a big dog, do not leave them out in the garden under the scorching hot sun without any decent shade or shelter.
  • Always provide a fresh water supply. It is preferable that dogs with long and thick fur coat be kept indoors with a fan or aircon turned on for them.

2. Assess the environment your pet is in.

  • If you have a big garden, always provide shelter (e.g. big trees, kennels. But note the material of your kennel as zinc roof tops trap heat, making the air in the kennel too hot!).
  • If you have a small dog in your apartment, make sure they are kept in a room that is well-ventilated and that they have means of getting away from the glaring afternoon sun searing through the windows.
  • If your dog is highly excitable, make sure they have plenty of fresh water and are kept in a shaded/sheltered environment.

3. Do not leave your pet dogs (or any other animal!) in your unattended car!

  • Even if you leave the aircon on or open the windows slightly, there is always the potential risk of heatstroke or stress. It is much wiser to take your pet along with you when you leave the car. If it is not possible to bring your animal with you, bring them home and settle them comfortably at home before leaving to run your errand.

Important:
If your dog starts panting and salivating heavily during a walk, provide cold drinking water, and cool the animal down with a cold bath as soon as possible. If there is no improvement, please take your pet to a veterinarian immediately!

How Often Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

To prevent gum and tooth disease, it is wise to check your dog’s teeth and gums at least once a week. If you can, brush your dog’s teeth daily using its own toothbrush, salt and water. Better yet, use a special canine toothpaste obtainable from a vet.

Others

How Young Can A Puppy Be If I Adopt Him/Her?

You should never take a puppy that is less than 8 weeks old.

Prior to this age, a puppy learns how to interact with other dogs. Therefore, it is important for a puppy to continue to interact with its mother and litter-mates. Studies have shown that puppies isolated at a very young age risk developing inappropriate or abnormal behaviours.

After this age, puppies do best learning how to interact with people and as they get older, how to interact in different environments. If deprived of such opportunities, these puppies may become fearful and never form close attachments.

Please consult a veterinarian on how to properly care for your puppy.

Pet Care: Cats

Will My Cat Eat My Rabbit?

Rabbits and cats have a prey and predator relationship, hence by having a cat around would be stressful for the rabbit despite being separated. It would be best to separate your pets in different rooms where your cat does not have access to your rabbit.

How Do I Toilet/Litter-Train My Cat?

Cats are naturally clean animals, and instinctively will use a litter box. However, here are the steps to litter train a cat:

Place the litter box in a private area, that is easily accessible to your cat.
If you notice your cat is sniffing around, crouching or behaving like he has to go, place him in the litter box.
Do keep the litter box clean, as your cat might not use the litter box if it is “dirty”.

My Cat Just Bit Me, What Should I Do?

You should wash the wound with soap and water. If it is bleeding, apply pressure on wound and use a sterile bandage to cover the wound. Seek medical attention immediately if there any signs of swelling, infection or continuous bleeding.

How To Prevent My Cat From Running Out Of My Home?

We encourage all cat owners to mesh up their windows and doors to keep their cats safely indoors. By doing so, your cat will not run away, and this will prevent them from falling from heights too. When your cat is on heat, he/she will have the tendency to run out to find a mate. Sterilising your cat will decrease the chances of your cat running out. Also, microchip your cat so that your pet can be traced back to you if it has lost its way.

How Do I Look After Kittens?

Puppies and kittens under four weeks of age require round-the-clock feeding (every three to four hours) and need specialised care. They do not have the antibodies from their mother’s milk to protect them from falling sick. If you have found a young kitten or puppy (with no sight of the mother around), and if you can rescue it with the possibility of keeping it as pet, or helping to find it a home, we thank you for helping the animal.

Here are some tips on how to care for the young animal.

Keep them warm

As it does not have the warmth of its mother to nestle up to, you must provide a box/container with warm bedding (e.g. blanket/towel) and preferably a hot water bottle (if you do not have one, you can purchase one from a pharmacy or substitute that with a normal water bottle filled with warm water) wrapped up in a towel. Make sure the bottle is sealed tightly so that the water does not scald the animal! A reading lamp can also provide warmth, but you should keep it at a safe distance from the animal in case it gets too warm – the pet should be able to move away from the light if it wants to. The container should be placed in room temperature (not air-conditioned) and away from fans/drafts.

Feeding

Feeding of very young animals can be done with a syringe (available at pharmacies) or bottle.

What to feed

Milk powder “Pet Lac” is available from pet shops. An alternative if you are unable to get the formula readily is Carnation Evaporated Milk – one part milk to one part warm water.

When to feed

Generally, kittens/puppies that have not yet opened their eyes will have to be fed every three hours. They will usually wake up from sleep and cry (like babies do) when they are hungry. As they get older (3 to 4 weeks), the timing between intervals can be increased, e.g. at four weeks, they can be fed – once every four to five hours.

Amount to feed

Although bottles may be preferred by some, the hole where they suckle must not be clogged with milk, otherwise the animals will be sucking air into their system which could become life threatening. With bottle feeding, the animals go at their own pace which means that feeding could take you quite a long time, especially if there are four or more in the litter.

Syringe feeding should be done from the side of the mouth (not in the middle) to ensure that the milk goes down the right way, otherwise it could go down into the air passage. With syringe feeding, you can feed around two to three millilitres per feed. If the animal has had enough, it will turn its head away and refuse to drink anymore when you try to put the syringe/bottle into its mouth.

You will need to hold the young animal by the scruff of their neck (found on their back) whilst putting the syringe/bottle into the mouth. If you do not have control or are not firm in your grip, it will make things more uncomfortable for the animal, and the feeding session will probably take twice as long. The animal may not receive the desired amount either if you spend too much time fussing! Practice makes perfect. You may face resistance because the animal is not used to this and might struggle – the firmer and more confidently you hold it, the faster it will adapt and the faster you can get food to the hungry!

It is advisable not to play too much with very young animals as they need to eat and have a restful sleep.

Toilet Time

Once you have fed the animal, you have to get a piece of cotton wool, dampen it and rub it along its stomach towards its rear end areas so as to stimulate urination/defecation. Normally, a mother dog or cat will lick its newborn to aid it in doing these things. In the absence of their mother, you become the one in charge of this duty. If the stool is watery and persists, consult a vet as soon as possible. If the stool is soft, it is normal.

Cleaning up

It is important to clean up any milky messes (usually around its mouth), or any ‘toilet mess’ before you put the animals on their warm bedding to sleep.

Weaning

Kittens and puppies that are raised by humans from very young can generally be weaned earlier – at 4 to 5 weeks old, they can be fed solids, e.g. canned animal food mixed with water. Again, this will be a messy process and should be done on newspaper. You should place the mix in a shallow solid dish and lead the animal to the food (you may need to dip your finger into the food and place it within licking reach so that they know it is food). It usually does not take long for them to pick up the scent and the taste. Meals should be fed regularly at same intervals. E.g. 7am, 12pm, 5pm, 10pm.

Health Check

If you are keeping the animal as a pet, or finding it a home, do take it for a veterinary check at a clinic in your area. It is advisable to take the animal/s for deworming at around five weeks of age. Vaccinations against major feline/canine diseases will need to be done at around eight weeks of age.

What Food Should Cats Avoid?

Here is a list of food that cats should avoid:

  • chocolate
  • dairy
  • caffeine
  • grapes and raisins
  • onions and garlic
  • alcohol
  • raw meat, eggs, fish, and dough
  • dog food

What Are The Common lllnesses For Cats?

Here is a list of common illnesses:

  • urinary tract disease
  • feline parvovirus
  • kidney disease
  • cat flu
  • eye infections
  • feline chlamydia

Please see your vet if your pet is unwell.

How Do I Trim My Cat's Claws?

It takes time and patience to introduce your cat to the concept of trimming their claws. Start by holding your cat’s paw in your hand and gently massage it. If your cat pulls his paw away, wait and try again. When your cat is comfortable, gently press his toe pad to reveal his claws.

Notice that there is a white areaand a pinkish area. This pinkish area is called the quick, where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Cut at a 45 degrees angle at the white part. If your cat refuses to let you cut his nails, do not scold him. Ask your vet or groomer for help.

Image Credit: pets-wiki.com

Why I Should Not Breed My Cats?

There are too many kittens being born and ending up in shelters. Before you even consider breeding your cats, think about this.

At any one time, one male and one female can be responsible for producing four to eight kittens in a litter. Theoretically, in seven years, those two cats can be responsible for 400,000 new lives as their offspring will also grow up and reproduce. There are already so many kittens looking for homes.

You can help the animal welfare cause and the high unwanted pet population just by the simple act of sterilising your pet. By sterilising, you are saving lives.

Call your nearest vet clinic for an appointment today: http://www.sva.org.sg/sva_clinics_page.asp

Which Part of a Cat Should I Touch?

How Do I Read Body Language in Cats?

How Do I Stop My Neighbours’ Cat From Coming Into My House?

Try closing your windows for a few days – i.e. if it comes in at night, close them at night. It will soon realise that there is no way in and stop trying.

Otherwise, if you see it when it comes in, try a simple plant sprayer or just spray water at it – cats do not like water and understand human actions very well. It will soon get the idea that you do not want it coming and stop.

Make sure there is no food lying around that is tempting it, or anyone else in your house who is encouraging it in without your knowledge.

Of course, talking with your neighbour about it helps too!

Whatever you do, do not hit the cat! Be kind to the animal, it has no ill intention.

I Have A Tom Cat Who Is Always Spraying the Corner of The Door. What Can I Do To Stop Him?

This is his way of marking his territory. It must mean another cat has been there and he is trying to override his scent. You must first wash the door area thoroughly with a disinfectant (2 to 3 times). A cat’s sense of smell is way superior to ours, so what you smell as gone may still smell to him.

If your cat is not sterilised, please have that done at your vet as soon as possible. Once sterilised, his likelihood of spraying is reduced. Even if he still does it out of habit, the smell will be less pungent. You should also try spraying vinegar on the door area.

My Female Cat’s Hair Is Falling Out. What Can I Do?

The first thing you must do is bring her to the vet. It could be a result of many things, such as hormonal changes in her body, stress, skin irritation, allergy, fleas, mites, poor diet etc. Only the vet can tell you what it is after a thorough analysis of her fur and skin. The vet will then prescribe the right treatment.

My Cat Tends To Scratch My Furniture. What Can I Do?

A cat scratches furniture to keep its claws in shape (not with the conscious effort to destroy things) and at the same time, leaving a trace of its scent through its paws.

De-clawing the cat is not the solution as it renders the cat defenceless and is most cruel. A scratching post is a simple solution that is hassle-free and can be easily bought from pet shops.

If the scratching problem persists, sticky double-sided tape can be temporarily applied to the sides of the object until the problem stops.

I Have A Female Kitten (7 Months Old) And I Play With Her A Lot. She Cries and Scratch. Is She In Pain?

No, she is not in pain, but she IS very frustrated. She is most likely on heat. This means she is ready to find a mate to make kittens.

It is a natural cycle that will wear off after a while, provided you keep her indoors and put up with her noise and restlessness. Make sure she does not get out or she will find a mate and you’ll soon end up with six or more kittens to feed and take care of!

It is better for her (and you!) to have her sterilised. This prevents her from having kittens and stops the urge she is having (which will happen every 3 months or so if the cat is not sterilised). For the same reason, it is important to sterilise male cats as well.

Sterilisation also prevents many reproductive organ illnesses common in cats. It is a swift operation and your vet will perform it under general anesthesia. She’ll be her spritely self again in a few days!

I Have A Child At Home; Can I Still Adopt A Pet/Keep My Pet?

Of course, you can! In fact, pet ownership has a positive impact on your child. We’ve noticed that kids that have been raised with pets learn to be compassionate and empathetic and they grow up to be responsible individuals. Respect is a two-way street – when kids show respect towards their pets, the pets too will trust the kids and be calm around them. So, there’s no need to fear when you have kids and pets living under one roof. All you have to do is educate your kids on how to care and interact with pets and you will have a harmonious setup at home.

Cats And Asthma: Is it Really True That Those Who Are Asthmatic Cannot Keep Cats?

Many asthmatic sufferers are advised to get rid of their cats by their doctors who claim that their condition is likely to be caused by their cats. This is a misconception that brings severe consequences to the bond between man and pet, and the life of the cat. Before we conclude that these furry friends are the culprit, we should understand what asthma is, and how having pets around us can affect our health and resistance.

What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease of the airways or branches of the lung (bronchial tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma causes the airways to narrow, the lining of the airways to swell and the cells that line the airways to produce more mucus. These changes make breathing difficult and cause a feeling of not getting enough air into the lungs. Common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and excess mucus production.

It is caused by intrinsic and extrinsic (inhaled) factors. Intrinsic factors are respiratory infections; a cough, cold or bronchitis; exercise and tobacco smoke or other air pollutants. They can also be caused by an allergy to a particular food or medication. On the other hand, extrinsic factors are pollen, dust, dust mites, animal fur, dander or feathers.

As you can see, asthma is not just caused by having a cat (or any other pets) at home. If there is a lot of pollution and dust, an allergic reaction can also be triggered and cause a sufferer to have an attack of asthma.

Getting rid of your cat does not mean your asthma attacks will go away. Recent studies have shown that pet allergens can remain in the house for up to six months after the removal of the pet. Also there is evidence of cat allergens present in public places like shopping centres, libraries, even in hospitals (1).

It is also interesting to note that removing the exposure to the family pet may trigger greater problems when exposed to allergens from other causes. Some people may become even more sensitive to allergens when they no longer have any cats/pets at home (2).

Responsible Ownership
Having understood the causes of asthma, it is important to consider the steps to take care of yourself (or your asthmatic family members) AND your pet cat. It is important to acknowledge responsible ownership and the following basic steps of cleanliness so that cat and man can live together in harmony.

  1. Removal of all carpets and fabric curtains or any other material which can trap fur and dust. This is especially important in the living area and bedrooms.
  2. Vacuum regularly with an effective air filter.
  3. Ventilation in the living areas should be good. Opening a window to allow air flow is a good way to remove cat allergen.
  4. Use dust-mite preventive mattresses, pillow covers and protectors.
  5. Remove woollen fabrics and even soft toys as they trap dust, dust mites and animal dander easily.
  6. Make sure your cat is groomed and cleaned regularly. Prevention of external parasites is important.
  7. Prohibit your cat from entering your sleeping area.
  8. Do not kiss and hold your cat near your nose if you are allergic.
  9. Wash your hands after handling the pet and his litter tray.
  10. If you are prescribed medication for your asthma, take it as instructed by your doctor. These will help you combat your attacks and strengthen your immunity.

Cats and Asthma
For many years, people have believed that asthma is caused and made worse by exposure to cats. Thankfully, however, more recent research has revealed different results, demonstrating that exposure to cats and other animals when the child is at infancy or toddler stage may even protect him or her against asthma.

In a study of 474 children from birth to 6-7 years old, it was found that exposure to cats and/or other animals in the first year of life reduced subsequent risks of allergic reactions to multiple allergens. Children who are exposed to more animals are less likely to develop asthma and allergic skin conditions than those who are exposed to none or just one pet (3).

Another study with 2,500 children from infancy to 4 years of age revealed that when these children were exposed to pets, they were associated with significantly reduced risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis (4).

Conclusion
Asthma is a serious condition and can be caused by many types of allergens and infections. It is important for us to understand that getting rid of our cats or other pets will not remove the problem.

We need to have a clear understanding of the disease and recognise responsible ownership.

(1) Bamsjukus, A.L. Cat and dog allergens: Dispersal, exposure and health effects in childhood. Report by Karolinska Instituete, Stockholm, Sweden., December 2002

(2) Platts-Mills, T.A. Paradoxical effect of domestic animals on asthma and allergic sensitization. Journal of the American Medical Association, 200;:288:1012-1014

(3) Ownby, D.R., Johnson, C.C. & Pet erson, E.L. Exposure to dogs and cats in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization to 6-7 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002; 288: 963-972

(4) Nasfsted, P., Magnus, O., Gaaders, PI. & Jaakola, J.J.K. Exposure to pets and atopy-related diseases in the first 4 years of life. Allergy, 2001;56:307-31

Pet Care: Rabbits

What Should I Feed My Rabbit?

Rabbits are herbivorous animals. And contrary to popular belief, too many carrots can actually harm your rabbit!

They have three  basic dietary needs:

  1. Pellets (They should be single-coloured)
  2. Timothy Hay
  3. A variety of dark, leafy green vegetables

Why Is My Rabbit Shedding?

Shedding or moulting is common for rabbits especially in our hot and humid climate. Due to their thick fur coat, the shedding is a way for the fur to change according to the climate. Regular brushing is important to maintain a healthy fur coat for your rabbit. Making sure your rabbit stays in a clean, dry and well-ventilated area at home could help to minimize the shedding.

Normal shedding should not result in bald patches or intense skin itch. In such cases where there is extensive fur loss with skin itch or injury, there could be some skin diseases. Fungal infection is common in Singapore as our weather is very hot and damp.

If your rabbit stays in a poorly ventilated area with no regular brushing of its fur, it is very easy for the skin to be affected by fungus. This will result in excessive fur shedding and bald patches with dry crusty skin.

Fur mite infestation is also another common cause of excessive shedding with intense skin itch. Fur mites are external parasites that are passed from one rabbit to another. Fur mites will also affect guinea pigs and cats. A medical checkup is needed to confirm the presence of fur mites. To the naked eye, the fur mites appear to look like dust-like particles on the fur. A veterinarian will need to confirm the infestation and prescribe appropriate medication for treatment.

Why Is My Rabbit Not Eating?

Rabbits are really fragile and sensitive creatures. Some rabbits will stop eating when they are emotionally stressed or depressed. Loud noises, sudden movements or even a change in its diet and routine can stress a rabbit out.

It is very dangerous when a rabbit does not eat because they could develop gut stasis. This occurs when there is a slowing down in the intestines’ movement. When this happens, gas can build up and cause a painful bloat. This often results in a loss of appetite and intense discomfort and pain. In such cases, it is very important that medical attention is given to your rabbit immediately.

Another common disease is dental malocclusions. This happens when the teeth on the upper and lower jaw are not aligned properly, resulting in overgrown teeth and gum/tongue injury. When the teeth overgrows, the rabbit cannot eat and swallow its food properly. There will be signs of pain, teeth biting, drooling (with a lot of saliva caked at the chin and neck area) and ill thrift. A medical checkup is needed to confirm the severity of the dental problem and most often, dental trimming and filing will be required.

Other causes of loss of appetite can include skin infection, urinary bladder infection and chest infection. If you observe that your rabbit has not been eating for more than 18-24 hours, bring it to the veterinarian immediately.

Is The Rabbit A Suitable Pet For Children?

It depends. Go to this website to find out more about rabbits and decide if it is the right pet for your child and family.

How Do I Toilet-Train My Rabbit?

Being intelligent animals, rabbits can be litter-trained! By nature, rabbits choose one or a few places (usually corners) to deposit their urine and most of their pills (poop). Urine-training involves a little more than putting a litter-box and litter (Breeder Celect’s cat litter is a great option).

Rabbits will naturally choose one or a few spots or corners to relieve themselves. When you first start, you may need to limit the circumference where your rabbit can roam freely until you’re sure it’s getting the hang of using the litter box. The trick is to start small. If you have a playpen, you may place the litter box in a corner where you tend to see more pills. If your rabbit urinates out of the box, do move it to the area until it gets it right. Once it is comfortable using the litter box, slowly increase the area that your rabbit can roam. Stay away from litter made from softwoods like pine or cedar shavings or chips as these products are thought to cause liver damage in rabbits.

As with all pets, a little patience goes a long way. In your rabbit’s own time, it should be litter-trained soon! Find out more by researching on the internet. Here’s a good page to start you off.

How Do I Get My Rabbit To Exercise?

There are many ways to keep your rabbits active. We do recommend letting your rabbits roam free around the house as they are curious creatures and require space to exercise. You may provide a large play area for your rabbit to jump and move about. Also, leave some rabbit toys and boxes made out of non-toxic materials such as toilet rolls or boxes, or a digging tray filled with shredded newspaper.

Will My Cat Eat My Rabbit?

Rabbits and cats have a prey and predator relationship, hence by having a cat around would be stressful for the rabbit despite being separated. It would be best to separate your pets in different rooms where your cat does not have access to your rabbit.

Pet Care: Hamsters/Guinea Pigs

Can I Keep My Hamsters Together?

Not a good idea! Hamsters are solitary and do not get lonely. Some Dwarf hamsters can live together, but really only if they are from the same litter. It is unlikely two unrelated Dwarfs will be able to tolerate each other for long and they will fight viciously. A Syrian will kill your Dwarf if they live together.

You should separate male and female hamsters. Hamsters are prolific breeders and you do not want to end up with more than 20 hamsters to feed and clean!

Usually Lots Of Hamsters Live In The Same Cage In Pet Shops. Doesn't This Mean They Can All Get Along?

Pet shops usually have young hamsters, when they get older they may fight. Their sharp teeth make effective weapons and injury or death can be the result.

What Sort Of Cage Does My Hamster Need?

For all hamsters, even little kinds like the Roborovski, bigger is always better.

The kinds of colourful cage with tubes are not recommended. They are made primarily to attract children’s attention with little consideration to the actual needs of the hamster. He will spend most of his life in the cage so a spacious one will allow more room for toys and exercise.

Tall cages are not a good idea. Even though hamsters appear to enjoy climbing, they can fall and hurt themselves.

If you look on YouTube you can find out how to make a “Bin Cage”. These are popular now as they offer lots of space, are easy to clean and are cheap to make. In Germany, hamsters are very popular pets for adults. People there make beautiful cages for their pet which look nice in the home. The Ikea “Detolf” glass display cabinet is often used to create a natural and beautiful hamster home which is fashionable at the moment in Europe. YouTube has lots of ideas and is a great resource.

My Hamster Has Been Drinking And Peeing A Lot Lately. What's Wrong?

This could be due to a urinary tract infection or diabetes. Dwarf hamsters are particularly prone to diabetes and should not be fed fruit or sugary foods. Either way a trip to the vet is in order.

Can I Bath My Hamster?

Hamster do not need water baths! They are clean animals that spend a lot of time washing and grooming themselves. Dwarf hamsters enjoy and need a sand bath, but your Syrian will only use the sand as a toilet.

My Hamster Has Escaped! How Can I Find Her?

Close all drains and pipes. When you go to bed put a little pile of food in each room of your home and shut the door. In the morning you will see which pile has been disturbed so it is likely that is the room she’s in. Keep the door shut.

If you still cannot find her, place a bucket with food in the room. Pile some books next to it to make a staircase. Hopefully, your hamster would have climbed up for a tasty snack and fallen into the bucket.

How Often Should I Clean My Hamsters Cage?

If you spot-clean your hamster’s cage and toilet area every day, then a total clean once every two weeks should be ok.

Too frequent cleaning could result in stress for your hamster. When you do a full clean, add a little of your pet’s old bedding to the fresh set up. This way, it will smell familiar to him and feel more like home.

My Hamster Wheel Is Squeaking! What Should I Do?

A few drops of vegetable oil applied to the toy should stop the noise. Alternatively invest in a Silent Spinner or a Wodent Wheel. Both good, quiet accessories. Make sure the wheel is big enough for hammie though. She should not have to bend her back while running as this can result in painful injury to the spine.

Can I Discipline My Hamster?

No, you can’t! Hamsters react to things often by reflex. If you shock her or mishandle her, she will react by biting or trying to get as far away from you as possible! Be kind, slow, and gentle, and she will feel more secure and happy.

Can I Feed Pizza To My Hamster?

STOP! Please do not feed pizza to your hamster! Good quality hamster food and a small piece of fresh fruit or vegetable per day will do. Vegetables like lettuce, carrots and celery can be offered in small amounts. Fruits like apple, bananas, and melons are also their favourites. You can feed them these as treats once a week. Everything in moderation!

Hamsters are different from people. What we eat is often very bad for hamsters, so even though you want to be kind and share your goodies with your pet pal, it is much kinder to offer things that are good for him and will not make him feel ill. If you want to treat your hamster, a few rolled oats will be much appreciated. A nice nut now and again is a real treat, but do not feed them almonds as they are toxic to hamsters.

My Hamster Chews The Cage Bars All The Time. How Can I Stop Him?

Hamsters are real chewers. They need to keep their teeth in good condition and to wear them down as they constantly grow. Chewing is necessary for a hamster’s health.

Unfortunately, some hamsters become fixated on chewing cage bars. This is usually the result of boredom, or being in a cage that is too small. Even such little animals need tons of room to run about and investigate as they would in the wild. Toys are essential.

Also, every hamster needs wood sticks and a stone chewing block to gnaw on.

If your hamster continues to chew bars, the best way to keep him is in a large aquarium with a ventilated lid and chew toys, or in a similar setup. Be careful, though! Hamsters are escape artists and you need to be sure the home is secure. A hamster at large can do a lot of damage to your home furnishings.

Why Does My Hamster Bite Me When I Try To Take Her Out Of Her Cage?

Hamsters are territorial. In the wild, a lot of other animals would love a little hamster to snack on, so hamsters are anxious, very anxious!

Sudden movements and strange noises can result in hamster bites, which is their defense mechanism.

One solution is to train your hamster to climb into a cup or jar lowered into the cage before taking her out. This way, your fingers are protected and by removing her from her territory, she will feel less inclined to defend it. Better for you, better for your hamster!

I Want To Play With My Hamster But He Sleeps All Day. Why Is He So Lazy?

Hamsters are nocturnal. If they do not sleep well during the day, they will have a shorter life span.

Leave him to wake up naturally, usually around 8.30pm in the evening. Let him eat and use the bathroom after he wakes and you will see how incredibly active and lively hamsters are at night.

Hamsters have been recorded running almost six miles a night on their wheels. This is equivalent to a person running three marathons! No wonder he’s worn out come daylight!

My Hamster Keeps Running Away. How Can I Tame Him?

Hamsters are tiny and timid creatures that have evolved as prey for bigger carnivores. When you reach down to grab the little fellow, it resembles a bird of prey swooping to catch him. You would feel nervous, too!

The best way to make friends with a hamster is to offer him tasty treats from your hand or a nice fat pumpkin seed/frozen pea. Do not insist he takes it. If he is frightened, he will not have much of an appetite. Do not chase him around; be patient and eventually, he will come to you.

Eventually, scoop him up with both hands from underneath. Lift him just slightly above the ground, then set him down again. Repeat this so he will come to understand you do not want to hurt him. You need to build trust.

Above all, do NOT drop him! If your hamster is not fully tamed yet, it’s safer to carry him closer to the ground, in case he jumps off your hand in fright. Also, make sure all the doors to the room you are in are closed, in case he scoots off.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Not Eating?

Like rabbits, guinea pigs also suffer from malocclusions of their teeth. Be sure to provide good hard pellets and also chew toys for them to chew on and work their teeth down. Overgrown teeth will cause drooling and pain. Sometimes, you may detect a foul smell from their mouths. Sneezing can also occur. If your pet seems unwell and appears lethargic, take them to the vet immediately.

What Is A Balanced Diet For My Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs require a constant intake of vitamin C – a complete well balanced diet is important to prevent serious illnesses like scurvy. You can give your pig a daily dose of vitamin C (approximately 100mg) through vitamin C tablets meant for guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs also drink a good amount of water, so be sure to provide fresh clean drinking water daily. Some vegetables can be offered to your pig. However, if diarrhea develops, stop feeding vegetables immediately. Hay is also important for pigs to constantly chew and gnaw on in order to keep their teeth short and even.

Can My Hamster And Cat Live Together?

Hamsters and cats have a prey and predator relationship. Hence if your hamster is able to smell and/or hear the cat, it will be stressful for your hamster and he will hide till he feels safe. It would be best to separate your pets in different rooms so that your cat does not have access to the hamster.

Pet Care: Other Animals

What can I feed birds?

Birds are delicate animals. They need to eat a well-balanced diet of seeds and grain. However, do research more on what to feed your bird based on his/her specific breed and size!

Some fresh fruits like cut apple and melons can be offered. Birds are very sensitive animals – no sudden changes to the environment or the diet should be made. If changes are too sudden, the bird will stop eating, lose weight, and get dehydrated really quickly.

Why Is My Bird Fluffed Up?

Birds will fluff up when they are ill. Common diseases include flu, breathing problems, diarrhea and vomiting. Bring it to a vet immediately for checkup and treatment.

Why Is My Budgie's Face All Scaly?

There are three main reasons:

  1. Mites
  2. Fungal skin infection
  3. Lack of vitamins A or E

Bring your pet to see a vet immediately!