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Meet the Petland Pets of the Month: Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
The pets of the month make great first pets! Guinea pigs and rabbits come in a wide variety of colors and can rock a short or long hairdo. Guinea pigs and rabbits may be small, but they are two unique types of pets with big personalities. Guineas have a charming habit of whistling when happy or excited. With training, rabbits can even learn to use a litter box! Here are some tips to keep your rabbit or guinea pig happy and healthy.
Check out our blogs on the unique characteristics of the bunny or the guinea pig and why they make great first pets!
1. Chew Blocks
Your guinea pig’s or rabbit’s teeth will grow continuously and it is important to help keep their teeth trimmed. The good news is both rabbits and guineas will love to play with the chewing aids you give them! Check your pet’s teeth on a regular basis for malocclusion (improper bite) which prevents them from eating normally. If the lower teeth slide over the top teeth, an under bite, visit your local small animal veterinarian.
2. Salt and Mineral Stone
Your bunny and guinea need a salt and mineral stone always available. Salt will encourage your pet to drink enough water, which aids digestion.
3. Vitamin C Supplement
It is especially important for guinea pigs to receive vitamin C supplementation because just like us, they can’t make it on their own. Make sure your guinea pig pellet is made from hay and fortified with vitamin C. Even with a well-rounded diet of pellets, hay and fresh foods, Petland recommends to provide your guinea with a vitamin C supplement daily. The easiest way to supplement your guinea with vitamin C is to add it to their water, available at your local Petland .
If your bunny has a well-rounded diet of pellets, fresh foods and an unlimited supply of fresh grass hay, then a vitamin supplement isn’t necessary. If your bun bun doesn’t have that diverse diet, you can easily add a vitamin supplement to your rabbit’s water or food.
4. Fresh Foods
Just like us, your pet will enjoy variety in their diet! All pets should be introduced to new foods gradually. Once your pet is used to these new, fresh foods, try giving them one cup (the size of your bunny’s head) of three types of fresh greens daily. When picking fresh foods for your pet, always head to the organics section to avoid veggies that have been sprayed. Here’s a list of greens your rabbit or guinea will love:
- Carrot and beet tops
- Dandelion greens and flowers (that haven’t been subject to spraying)
- Collard Greens
- Romaine and leaf lettuce (not iceberg or head lettuce)
- Pea Pods
Your guinea and rabbit will love to play! Give your pet ramps, ladders, platforms and slides. Your pet may even learn to use a harness and
leash to go on walks with you or a large-sized run-around ball! Stop by your local Petland for fun new toys for your rabbit or guinea pig and have fun playing!
The Petland pet of the month is only $10 with purchase of a Moss Hollow homecoming kit!
Wednesday, March 13th Petland Pembroke Pines donated a Mal-Shi puppy to a woman with sick cell anemia. The hypoallergenic puppy is a cross between a Maltese and Shih Tzu. The donation is a part of Petland franchisee Luis Marquez’s resolution to assist South Floridians fighting illnesses. Last year, Marquez gifted two puppies to Sebastian and Michael, two Floridian boys fighting Hunter Syndrome.
Are you bringing your pet to vacation? Here’s Some Do’s and Don’ts When Traveling with Your Pet
The New Trend
More people own dogs now than ever before. They are part of the family. As such, they deserve to go on vacation too, right? A 2017 survey of National Pet Owners by the American Pet Products Association found that 37 percent of pet owners travel with their pets every year, a 19 percent increase from a decade ago.
Airlines and hotels are jumping on board. Many hotels now offer special dog-friendly menus and services (massage with your pet? Yes please). More airlines are pet-friendly. Wisconsin advertises itself as “pet-friendly” to draw tourists.
“We were seeing it as a nationwide trend,” says Lisa Marshall, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. “Personally, I think the pet-friendly travel trend reflects a bigger trend in pet ownership and how dogs are treated like family members.”
TripAdvisor’s Traveling with Pets Survey of more than 1,100 travelers and more than 700 pet owners concluded that 37 percent of respondents with pets would pay more to stay at accommodations that are pet-friendly with 50 percent of dog owners willing to fork over more for pet-friendly lodgings.
Rules Rules Rules
Each airline and hotel is different. First, keep in mind that although you may see more pets in the air now, there are differences between emotional support animals, therapy animals and services animals and, the travel polices for them are different too. Before traveling, get familiar with your preferred airlines policies.
1. Plan Ahead
If you are a fly-by the seat type of person and are willing to jump on the next plane to Dubai, good for you. But don’t plan on bringing your pet. Some airlines have breed restrictions in place, such as American Airlines. They also have restrictions on where your pets can travel to.
2. Health Certificate
No matter the airline’s policy, your dog needs to be current on shots and vaccinations before traveling. Have you ever flown for work or vacation and gotten sick shortly after? Not fun for us, and not fun for your pup either. Some airlines, like American Airlines, require a health certificate issued within specific dates.
3. Fork it Over
Traveling isn’t cheap and it isn’t any cheaper with your pet. Know that most airlines and hotels charge fees for pets and be willing to pay a few extra hundred dollars.
4. I’ve Got To Go
What could be worse than the guy next to you getting up to go to the bathroom the whole flight? If his dog does too. Make sure your pet goes before boarding. Some airports, like Denver International, have doggy relief areas. But don’t rely on this. It’s best if your pet travels on an empty or light stomach.
You thought you got through TSA? Well your pet needs some identification too. No matter your method of travel, make sure your pet is microchipped and the contact information is current. Your pet will need an ID tag and a picture to fly. Again, make sure you are very familiar with your airline’s policies.
6. In Case of Emergency
Make sure you have look at veterinarians at your destination. Just like sometimes we have to go to the emergency room, you want to make sure there is a place to take your pet if the need arises.
Although airlines collect $27 million annually from animal travelers and it’s becoming more common to travel with your pet, keep in mind it might not be the right option for your pet. Just like traveling can be stressful for us, it can be even more so for your pet. It may be a better idea, and more cost effective, to keep your pet with a trusted friend or boarding facility while you’re stuck in line at TSA.
Hey Pet Parents, did you know an important anniversary is coming up the week of March 18-24, 2019? It is the 50th anniversary of Poison Prevention Week. This isn’t just a pet affair; this happening is also directed at raising awareness with the parents of small children. This is very significant because, as we all know, pets and small children are both vulnerable and susceptible to the accidental ingestion of life-threatening items commonly found in the home. In this blog we are going to focus on our pets.
So, how do we accomplish making our homes safe for our animal companions?
First, make certain you are prepared to act in case you need help.
Place the national, free Poison Helpline phone number: 1-800-222-1222 somewhere you can find it during an emergency, like the refrigerator. You can also save the number in your mobile phone by texting POISON to 797979. Another important resource you should have on your fridge, that has been a literal life saver for many years, is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) phone number: 1-888-426-4435. The ASPCA APCC also has a free mobile app for your phone that focuses on dogs, cats, horses, and birds. This app helps owners quickly identify over 300 potential everyday hazards, provides crucial information about the severity of the problem and critical next steps. Go to the app store on your mobile phone and search for ASPCA. The app is called: Animal Poison by ASPCA.
The other critically important phone number to have handy is that of your family veterinarian. Following Murphy’s Law, emergencies unusually happen when your vet is closed so be certain to have the nearest emergency veterinary clinic’s phone number handy too.
The next thing we all need to do is to practice safe storage habits.
Always store medicines and hazardous substances up and away from pets. If hazardous substances need to be stored in areas where pets can reach, be certain to use locking mechanisms that are effective against your pet companions. Hazardous substances, including medications, should be kept in their original, child resistant containers which is great for kids but many times no match for your pets’ teeth and jaws. It is important to try and locate the remnants of a chewed medicine container, once it has been demolished, to help identify what your pet chewed and/or ingested.
Your next step is to go through your home and identify items which should be kept away from your pet.
There are several methods to help identify items that are harmful to your animal companions. One is by categorizing them by the room or area in your home where you keep them and another is simply by listing them.
Let’s start by categorizing them by areas:
Main Living areas
- Common household plants such as lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis spp.) can be toxic to dogs and cats so eliminate them from bouquets where cats live and keep them out of reach of dogs.
- Aerosols or heavily fragranced products can be harmful to pet birds so don’t spray them in rooms that contain your flying friends.
- Keep ashtrays and smoking associated items such as nicotine chewing gum, patches and vaping products out of reach. Even cigarette butts contain enough nicotine to be dangerous.
- Be careful with batteries as some dogs enjoy chewing on batteries and battery-containing devices such as remote controls, electronic toys and cell phones. If ingested, they can cause serious chemical burns.
- Hide your purse and backpack! Pets love to rummage through purses and backpacks which may contain potential pet poisons like medications, cigarettes or sugar-free gum with xylitol.
- Be mindful of the human foods that can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Common foods to be avoided are raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, unbaked yeast bread dough, fatty foods and of course chocolate.
- Keep garbage cans secured behind closed doors or drawers. Trash and compost bins can contain many pet toxins such as cigarette butts, coffee grounds, moldy foods and bones.
- Keep alcoholic beverages out of reach, pets should never drink alcohol!!
- Most bird owners know the dangers of nonstick cookware around birds. When nonstick surfaces like Teflon™ are heated to very high temperatures, they emit vapors that damage a birds’ sensitive respiratory system and can cause instant death. Don’t overheat your non-stick cookware and do not house your bird in or near your kitchen.
Meet Petland’s Consulting Veterinarian, Dr. Thomas Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH:
Dr. Edling received his BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1981 and his degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Colorado State University. He previously served as Vice President of Veterinary Medicine for Petco and was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. In addition, Dr. Edling completed the American Board of Veterinary Practitioner’s residency program for Companion and Wild Avian Medicine and Surgery, at North Carolina State University, where he also received his Master in Specialized Veterinary Medicine (MSpVM) in 2001. In 2011, Dr. Edling completed the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Johns Hopkins University. As a veterinarian, Dr. Edling works closely with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV).
When it comes to choosing the right kind of dog best suited to your lifestyle it helps to gain as much information as possible. The goal is to provide a loving forever home for your new canine companion, so it will take more time than researching the best cell phone. No one has a 12-year-old cell phone.
You may decide a calm Jack Russel Terrier who likes to lie on the couch all day or a perky Basset Hound who loves to run would be the best match for you. With just a little bit of research you will quickly learn how that is probably not a realistic plan. Now wouldn’t it be great if there was a place where you could learn about all the different breeds of dogs? There are such places! Dog Shows are a great place to see the over 140 American Kennel Club registered breeds and talk with their owners about their habits and natural behaviors. If attending a dog show is not realistic for your schedule, visit a local Petland, where trained pet counselors can show you different breeds and you can learn about their characteristics and tendencies. And the best part is you can play with them!
The most important question you must answer with the utmost honesty is how much time you have to spend with your dog regardless of the breed. Dogs have one item on their To Do List – Be With You! Dogs are time intensive not space intensive. A big yard is nice for a dog to be able to run but after a few spins around the yard they are usually at the door looking for you. You can have a full-time job and be a perfect dog owner if you create a budget for Doggy Day Care and set aside time to play before and after work. Dogs who are isolated and inactive all day are much more likely to engage in destructive behaviors around the house or have lapses with their house training.
If you are considering a puppy then time is even more important. Puppies require a more intensive time commitment for at least the first 6-9 months. Puppy obedience classes are a must. It is the most worthwhile time commitment you can make with your new puppy. A well-run obedience class will teach you how to train your puppy and provides the opportunity for your pup to learn to play with others in a safe environment.
Your best chance to provide the ideal, loving forever home for your new best friend is to learn as much as you can about various breeds of dogs and be realistic about your time schedule and your lifestyle.
You can help your older pet by adapting the home environment. Provide your older pet with special accommodations like orthopedic beds, stairs and ramps to help them reach higher places like the couch, bed or car. Raised feeding platforms can also help. Non-slip rugs or carpeting placed over hard-surface flooring can help your arthritic pet gain his footing and make it easier for him to get around.
Nutrition is important during all stages of a pet’s life. Feed your older dog a high quality diet that is appropriate for your dog’s age and lifestyle. Obesity has become an epidemic in our pet companions. This is a serious issue as overweight dogs have a higher incidence of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, skin disease and cancer. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine an appropriate diet for your dog, especially if overweight as heavy animals must be fed carefully to ensure all nutrient needs are met while allowing for weight loss. Specialized weight reduction diets are formulated to be lower in calories and high in L-carnitine. A diet with a carefully chosen carbohydrate or carbohydrate blend will help keep your overweight dog satisfied.
Fortifying your senior pet’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA can be helpful. These supplements have been shown to help with mobility issues due to arthritis or other joint diseases. Some pet foods have supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin incorporated into their diets.
If your older dog has medical problems such as heart disease, kidney disease or food allergies, work with your veterinarian. Consider special diets such as those lower in sodium for dogs with heart disease and diets to help control phosphorus, calcium and other electrolyte levels for dogs with kidney disease. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best food for your dog based on your dog’s individual situation.
Treatment of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) involves the management of behavior, environment, enhanced diet, and medication.
Behavior can be managed by providing daytime activities and opportunities for play, and structured social interaction for physical and mental stimulation. Exposure to sunlight will help regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
Managing the environment involves making it more predictable. You should also pet-proof the house just as you would with a toddler. It is essential you provide adequate toileting opportunities is essential as well, as old dogs can’t “hold it” as they did when they were younger; diapers, pads, and waterproof bed and furniture covers may be helpful.
Nutrition options fall into two categories, commercial and natural, or home-prepared whole foods. Commercial foods focus on the addition of antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress on the brain, and medium-chain triglycerides for cognitive improvement. A few commercial pet food manufacturers offer prescription senior dog food. Work with your veterinary nutritionist to develop your dog’s new diet.
The pharmacological approach to CCD treatment also focuses on the control of oxidation and enhancement of brain function. The antioxidant supplement SAMe has proven effective in both staving off CCD and moderating its symptoms.
As you can see, this syndrome is multifaceted and very complicated. It is very important you work with your veterinarian and a veterinary behaviorist to develop a strategy to help your senior pet live happily and comfortably with CCD.
Senior pets are just starting their golden years. Advances in veterinary care and nutrition are available to help your pet during this important time of their life. By giving them the special care and attention, this life stage calls for, you can help ensure they’ll be healthy and happy for years to come.
Betta’s are low-maintenance and beautiful fish, making great first pets. Besides the striking colors, what makes bettas different?
It’s important to note that bettas are very different from community fish. Even in the wild, betta’s are a solitary fish and come from a very quiet setting. Male betta’s, the colorful fish you will find at Petland, are aggressive towards other fish both in the wild and as pets. Putting a betta with other fish is stressful for them, their long flowing fins can make them easy targets to faster “fin nipping” fish. For these reasons, bettas are most happy, and do quite well, living alone.
Larger bowls and aquariums are easier to maintain and decorate. In this video, we use a 2-gallon tank. We recommend not keeping more than 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. So a 2-gallon tank is the perfect size for a betta about 2 inches. You can also add live plants and a piece of driftwood to your tank.
Before you take your betta fish home from Petland, make sure to grab our Betta tip sheet which will answer all your questions on the four basic needs of your betta; environmental, nutritional, behavioral and maintenance.
Pets play an important role in our lives. Their love and dedicated companionship is unconditional and the health benefits of pet ownership is widely known. Their reaction to us rarely changes from day-to-day. They are blind to the worries of our world and it is in their nature to both give and receive love and attention.
Today, people love their children and pets, but not always in that order. Yet that wasn’t always the case. Dogs, for example, have been man’s best friend since before recorded time however it’s only been in the past 60-plus years that the family pet has risen to “family member” status.
This unconditional love comes with it responsibility on our part. We must be responsible pet owners by showing affection and meeting the basic needs of our pets. All pets have four basic needs. For a cat, their maintenance needs might include cat litter or a brush. They have behavioral needs that include items such as toys and cat furniture. They’re environmental needs include food and water bowls or a cat bed and all cats have nutritional needs such as food and vitamins.
Being a responsible pet owner means we are meeting all four of their basic needs. And it also means that we are protecting them and keeping them happy and active. This means being aware of some of the following:
- Extreme hot and cold weather safety
- Holiday Safety – Keeping them away from holiday foods, plants and fireworks
- Identification – ID tag and microchip in the event they get lost
- Health Checkups/Vaccines – Pets need yearly checkups too!
Petland also takes its responsibility in our communities seriously. Not only do we educate our customers on their pet’s needs, we also work to help local pets who aren’t so lucky. We’ve launched two support programs that provide families with a gift card if they adopt from a shelter so they can have a little help meeting their new family member’s needs. To learn more about how you can be a more responsible pet owner, stop by your local neighborhood Petland store or visit us at www.petland.com.
How do we extend our animal companion’s lives and make them as healthy and happy for as long as possible? It is very important to understand that aging itself is not a disease. It’s a complex biological process driven by your pet’s genetics, environmental factors, nutrition, lifestyle and stress level.
Dental disease is a serious problem during all life stages but, particularly for older pets. Veterinarians commonly find dental disease in pets as young as 2-3 years of age but dental disease is even more common in our senior pets. Unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of the disease process evident to the owner. As a result, periodontal disease is usually under-treated, and may cause multiple problems in the mouth and be associated with damage to internal organs as the pets age. Dental disease is also very painful, causing your dog to avoid or have difficulty eating his meals. This may result in weight loss and an unkempt hair coat. It is important to take care of your dog’s mouth. Brushing your dog’s teeth can help keep your dog’s mouth and body healthy. If you cannot brush, consider dental treats and toys that help keep the teeth
Pets can show signs of senility known as Dog Dementia or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), which is an umbrella term for four separate cognitive forms.
- Depression – similar to chronic depression in humans. Some of the symptoms of canine dementia (circling, wandering and house soiling) often result in the dog’s confinement which can increase anxiety and worsens the symptoms.
- Dysthymia – often involves loss of awareness of body length and size. Dogs with dysthymia often get stuck Behind furniture or in a corner. Other symptoms include disrupted sleep-wake cycles; constant growling, whining or moaning; and aggressive behavior.
- Hyper-aggression – associated with the dysfunction of structures related to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Dogs with this form of CCD lose their ability to communicate with other animals. They don’t give appeasing signals to other pets in the house nor understand when others send them. They bite first and warn second.
- Confusional syndrome – involves a profound decline in cognitive ability and is the closest thing to Alzheimer’s in humans. They don’t seem to learn well in any form and forget familiar features of their lives, including other pets and people.
The Betta, or Siamese Fighting Fish, eats insects and insect larva in the wild. That probably isn’t what you’re feeding your pet Betta, right? The good news is that betta food pellets are highly nutritious, but have you ever eaten oatmeal everyday for a year? Probably not. Just like we would get tired of eating oatmeal everyday, your betta would enjoy some variety. We recommend these bug-based treats in moderation to spice up your betta’s diet;
- Blood worms (we recommend getting the freeze dried worms)
- Tubifex worms
How Much is Enough?
Betta’s make great first pets and as such many betta’s are for kids. Feeding your pet can be exciting for kids and they might look forward to it every day, but it’s important to remember that less is best when feeding your betta. Petland recommends feeding your betta once a day. Start by feeding one or two pellets. If your betta eats all the pellets, give one more. If he eats that one give him one more, etc. until your betta no longer shows interest in the food.
Signs of Overfeeding
Overfeeding is the biggest problem when caring for betta’s. Over feeding, especially in a small bowl, can cause the water to become cloudy and polluted from the accumulation of decaying food. This is harmful to your betta. If you notice cloudy water, you should clean the tank, add new water and feed less.
The easiest sign of a happy betta is a bubble nest.