Choosing A Bird Cage

November 3, 2009


Birds are one of the most favored pets in the world. The bird lovers irrespective of the bird species they choose, the place they keep them, would no doubt like to choose a sturdy and comfortable cage for their pets. There are plenty of bird cages available in the market in various sizes and shapes the selection of a suitable cage for your pet is a challenge. One has to be aware about the uses and abuses of the house of their pets to make a wise decision.

Needless to say birds like more space to move around and as such one should not strictly confine to the size prescribed for the pet. It is always advisable to go for the largest size available in the market to see that your pet has always the luxury of freedom of maximum space.

While considering the shape of the birdcage one needs to remember that most commonly found cylindrical cages are not the best suited for these small flying creatures. Lengthy cages facilitate horizontal flying often preferred by the small birds and as such is more important than the height. Birds seldom fly up and down. Large birds like parrots need to be provided with cages taller in size to suit their habit of climbing up as a routine exercise. The large birds always deserve spacious and bigger cages. Although the cage manufacturers are aware about the danger of incorrect wire spacing of cages, and take adequate care in this aspect one has to ensure that they are uniformly and adequately spaced so as to avoid any danger to the birds by getting caught their heads, wings or beaks inside the wire or bar.

Some of the larger birds like parrots would be best housed in cages with horizontal bars enabling it to climb up with help of their beaks. No such specification need be considered for smaller birds like doves, finches and canaries.

Though price of the cage is always a factor to consider when buying a cage one should not go for the bird cages made of cheaper materials as it may turn to be hazardous for the pets. One has to ensure that the cages need be made of non toxic materials like stainless steel, or powder coated iron that are harmless for these species. Cages that are made of galvanized wires containing zinc have to be avoided. The design of the cage should be such that it allows easy cleaning and maintenance. Certain peculiar shaped cages though gives a different look causes problems for easy regular cleaning of the cages that is of paramount importance to keep the birds healthy and hygienic.

The spacing of the bars or the material used for the cage is not the only factors that matter. The doors, latches and similar parts of the cage should have a fine finish not to endanger these lovely pets.

In short, choosing a right birdcage takes time and it is worthy spending some time and thinking that would lead to a healthy life, security and comfort of your dear pet birds.


Effectively Housebreaking your Puppy

October 31, 2009

One of the most annoying things about pet dogs is their habit of answering to calls of nature almost anywhere they feel like it. Your bedroom rug, the drawing-room sofa, your Persian carpet; everything seems as good a place as any for your little pup to go cool his bladders on.

If you have just brought your pup home therefore, buckle up and get ready to save your upholstery and carpets by means of a simple method we call Housebreaking.

Now, here’s what housebreaking is all about. We humans tend to visit the loo when we feel like we must relieve ourselves, in one way or the other (thank God for that!). However, our pooches don’t have mother potty training them at the age of 1, telling them to take a crap at some fixed time on a shiny blue potty, and hence they tend to treat everything like a big ol’ lavatory. And that would be ok if we were dogs perhaps but most average human beings tend not to like that sort of thing. So what we have to do is potty train our doggies ourselves. And this training, to cut a long story short, is what we call ‘housebreaking’.

Now, facts first. Remember,

• No pup is able to keep himself from peeing or …well…relieving himself in some other form, till about 12 weeks of age. Your attempts at training your dog therefore must begin before this.
• Most puppies need to engage in bathroom related activities approximately 6-7 times a day
• Every time your dog seems to be following its tail rather slowly, and doing giddy rounds around a non-descriptive area put your shoes on to take it out cause it’s getting ready to relieve itself
• Take your dog out every time it has a meal because food immediately puts pressure on its colon and bladder.

The first lesson in housebreaking, ‘communicate with your dog’. Make sure you let your dog know that you don’t like him peeing all over the drawing-room loud and clear. No there isn’t any need to use violence; just a loud “NO’ should do the trick. For best results catch him in the act so that he has no problem in associating the rebuke with the exact action.

Keep a keen eye on your pooch. As soon as he looks like he could do with a visit to the good old lavatory take him out. Once he relieves himself at the right place pat him to show how much you appreciate the fact that he didn’t pee all over your favorite rug. Give him a biscuit, and an appreciative nod and he’ll know.

See, dogs are like politicians, always eager to please. They will do anything to get cuddled and patted by their masters, thus it’s always easy to make them do things as per your requirements. You want him to pee outside? Show him how happy you are when he does so and he’ll do it always, you want him to crap every morning? Give him a friendly pat and he’ll bound off to be at it everyday. For your part make sure you know your dog’s habits, build your routine round his, try and find out what his usual urinating or defecating times are, is it after dinner? Before going to bed? Or right in the morning? Take him out accordingly.

Proper communication will ensure your pooch’s proper health and your peace, and of course a clean bedroom rug.

Accessories You Need Before Bringing Puppy Home

October 31, 2009


Pet accessories are an important part of taking care of your dog. Generally we use accessories to accentuate the beauty of things. When it comes to pet care accessories are used to protect your pet from harmful elements.  You can also gain a lot of satisfaction from buying accessories for you pet. There is a wide variety to choose from and you might wonder where to start, particularly if this is your first pet.

Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing accessories for your pet:

1. Food and water bowls:

The most important thing about choosing good bowls is that they are not easily tipped over. You will probably want to check that especially the water bowl is pretty sturdy. It’s vital that your dog has free access to water at all times and one of the ways people are doing this is by buying large water systems for their pets. Much like human watering systems these will keep your dog with fresh water for longer.

2. Dog Collar:

Whether you want a plain or fancy variety – collars are important and will be an item you use daily. This means the comfort and fit are important. Experts recommend a space between the dog’s neck and the collar to be at least 2 fingers wide. A collar should never be too loose or too tight. Make sure you get a good fit and take your dog along when you buying a collar.

3. Dog leash:

It’s not hard to choose a leash – you just want to keep in mind that it needs to be strong enough to hold your dog. Leashes are often sold clearly marked with the breeds the leash is suitable for.

4. Grooming accessories:

Depending on the kind of breed you have the amount of grooming accessories needed will vary.

If you have a dog that will need relatively little grooming, that is with a short coat, then you will need only a basic toolkit.

You will need
– dog shampoo
– dog clippers
– styptic powder
– dog toothbrush
– dog toothpaste
– dog brush or comb

These are the basics. There are many other products you can use to keep your dog clean and fragrant. If you have a more high maintenance dog you will need these plus a wider variety of brushes and combs to care for your pets coat and grooming needs.

5. Dog houses:

If your dog will be sleeping outside then it’s important that they have their own place for shelter. A dog house will keep your dog out of the harsh sunlight or rain or even snow. When choosing a dog house try to choose the right size. The dog should fit snuggly inside with enough space to move around.

6. Dog beds:

If your dog will be spending time inside it’s also a good idea to buy a dog bed. This gives your dog a ‘retreat’ and they will value having their own comfy space where they can go when cold or sleepy. Again just try to choose the right size. Many dog beds are designed for specific breeds so you won’t have a problem finding a bed for your dog.

7. Dog toys and treats:

Most dogs love playing, and just like children, love being spoilt. It is especially important if you are away for long periods of time that your dog has something to play with. It’s best to give them a variety of toys; this will keep them away from your slippers!

Again the most important thing is the size. Treats and toys should be size appropriate. If the toy is too big they won’t be able to play with it and it won’t be fun for anyone.

There is a wide variety of toys for you dog to chew, play and bite. Spend some time choosing some fun toys for your dog.

These are the most important accessories you will need for your dog. There are many more things you could buy your dog but by catering for the items on this list your dog should have everything he needs to be a healthy, happy dog.

A Beginners Guide to a Clean and Healthy Aquarium

October 31, 2009

A clean aquarium is the best habitat for all kinds of fish or other living organisms like crabs for example. A clean aquarium means your fish and plants will live for a longer time-saving you time and allowing you to enjoy watching them grow. The best way to keep an aquarium clean is to have all the proper equipment and use it often to clean with. It is also a mater of know how. There are a few things that every aquarium owner must know to clean an aquarium and maintain it in the best possible way.

People who don’t know much about aquariums might use harsh household cleaners to clean their aquariums. This would have detrimental for the small ecosystem you ought to be striving to create. Good tips for keeping your aquarium clean is to keep the water supply clean by cleaning the water pump. To do so one should always keep the filtration system in mind. A good clean filter is what the life of your aquariums ecosystem depend on. Cleaning the filter too often might also have a negative impact on your aquariums life. It is therefore important to maintain a balance, and to clean your aquariums filter only when needed or specified by the filters manufacturer. Many aquariums experts recommend that the ornaments as well as the glass ought to be cleaned at least once every two weeks. Cleaning the aquarium ornaments and glass prevents algae from building up inside. If the aquarium is made from plastic materials then cleaning should be performed on smaller time intervals, perhaps once a week. When performing maintenance operations to your aquarium, you should always keep in mind a few things to ensure that things are going smoothly inside your aquarium. Check the air pump and see if it is running ok. It is imperative that there is enough oxygen for the fish but also to allow for proper flow of the water.

Another thing that will ensure longer life for your aquarium is ensuring that the water is changed often. This way your fish and plants will live longer and your aquarium will definitely look better. One more thing that you should do to maintain a clean aquarium is to clean, or at least rinse the gravel that sit on the bottom of your aquarium. This process entails that you remove all contents of the aquarium including the fish. Therefore, its viability depends highly on how many as well as what kind of fish you have. Keeping a clean aquarium does not only entail cleaning it every week or two weeks. You should also consider acquiring a water purifier. There are many kinds of purifiers out there for different types of aquariums as well as sizes. When you use a water purifier to clean the water contents of your fish tank you should always let it sit and mix with the water to allow it to dissolve. If you are new to aquariums, always remember to read the instructions of every product used. Be careful; keep a schedule for maintenance operations and treat your aquarium with love and it will eventually flourish.

Choosing a Pet Sitter

October 30, 2009

Pet sitters are like baby sitters, who are employed to take care of a pet within the home. Usually, pet owners hire them on a contract basis when they go out on vacations. They can also be employed for a short duration like for an evening. The advantage of hiring a pet sitter is that the pet is taken care of within its environment.

The problem faced by segregating the pet out of its environment is that they become stressed out. In case of travelling before reaching the new owner they can also experience travel trauma. Vaccinations are administered to the pet after studying their lifestyle. Chances are that they can become ill because of exposure to parasites, as that situation wasn’t considered during the time of vaccination.

It is a very good idea to conduct a pet sitter interview, before hiring them for the job. The interview can be arranged on phone or in person. It is better if the interview is taken at home as the ability of the pet sitter can be tested with the pet. The pet sitters should be qualified and must have completed an educational coursework. The coursework should include pet care, nutrition and health along with business and office procedures. It is a bonus if they have taken care of animals similar to the pet you have before because not all pet sitters can take care of all types of pets. Every pet sitter is specialized with certain types of pets. It is very rare that a pet sitter has knowledge about all kinds of pets. They should have good experience in the pet care industry.

The pet sitter should also be insured or bonded in case of accidents. The insurance card and coverage should be checked out for this purpose. They can even be asked for references. The pet owners, whom they have worked with earlier can provide clear picture. The payment terms should also be discussed beforehand.

The pet sitter looks after the food and water needs of the animal. They maintain the normal routine of the animal. They also give medicines to the pet, if it is on medication. Some even provide special services such as injecting insulin; administering subcutaneous fluids, and checking blood pressure and glucose levels. In such cases, the knowledge of the pet sitter should be assessed with the vet of the pet.

Some pet sitters also provide pet walking services. This service is availed by people who are old or are having some kind of disability and are not able to provide the adequate exercise to their pet. They also drive the pet to the vet, groomer or trainer. Pet sitters also pick up pet supplies such as food and medicines. All the additional services are optional and not provided by all pet sitters.  They also play with the pet and maintain the litter box.
pet sitter
Pets such as dogs, cats, snakes, rabbits, ferrets, lizards, guinea pig, fish, and hamsters can be having a complete stranger also as a pet sitter. But some of the exotic animals are very fussy and shy. They accept pet sitters whom they are familiar with. In such cases, pet owners must try to develop familiarity between the pet and the pet sitter beforehand, in their presence. The most common method of bonding with the animal is by bottle feeding them. After the initial bond is formed, the pet can be left alone with the baby sitter.

Pet Training and Classical Conditioning

October 29, 2009

The science of associating something with an activity is known as classical conditioning. The best example is the experiment conducted by Pavlov. Whenever he served food to his dog, he used to ring a bell. In the beginning, the dog used to salivate by looking at the food. Later he began associating the bell with the food and at a point of time, he used to salivate at the sound of the bell. This doesn’t mean that the actual noise of the ringing bell made him salivate. The dog associated the ringing of the bell with the food and that food or even the thought of it made him salivate.

Classical conditioning cannot actually make the dog to sit or jump at the command, but it does change the way the pet feels about a particular situation in which it is right now. Classical conditioning gives explanation about the behavior relating to a particular place, object or event.  It explains how the emotional response is developed. The responses can be developed in the animal either wontedly or by chance. Also the trainer must remember that the change in the behavior is irreversible most of the times.

One of the most common behaviors dealt with in conditioned emotional response is fear. The fear can be instinctive, learned or unknown. For example, if a cat gets scared upon seeing a dog, this is instinctive fear. If the cat backs off upon seeing a raised hand, this is learned fear. This can happen in the case of an abused cat. If there is fear because of lack of exposure to a particular situation before, this is known as fear of unknown.

The conditioned emotional responses, which are dislikeable, can be reduced with the help of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning further has two concepts namely desensitization and counter-conditioning. Desensitization is reducing the sensitivity of the animal towards a particular unavoidable situation. The bad situation is created again and again until the animal becomes insensitive or doesn’t feel about it any more. For example, if the animal is given crate training, it is locked inside the crate again and again, till he gets used to staying locked inside the cage.

In counter-conditioning the animal is exposed to a lower degree of extremity. The intensity is less and as well a positive thing is presented to the animal. By doing this pet begins to like the nasty situation. The pet is made to respond in such a way, which contradicts the current or previous reaction. For example, a pet doesn’t like to be locked up in the crate all the time. But this undesirable situation can be made to look pleasant if the pet is fed with a treat from time to time as long as it stays calmly inside the cage.

Negative counter conditioning is another technique, but it is used very rarely. For example, if the cat likes to bite the hand of the owner very frequently, the person can rub something distasteful on the hand. When the animal bites the hand, it will taste the distasteful substance and then associate the bad taste with the hand and will not bite again, if done repeatedly.

Classical conditioning is used to alter the way of reaction of the animal in a particular situation. With classical conditioning it can be made to like an unpleasant situation and even dislike a pleasant condition.

Domestic Fish-keeping

October 29, 2009

goldfish1Fish are kept at home in aquariums and ponds. The hobby of fish keeping is divided into brackish, saltwater, and freshwater fish keeping, out of which freshwater fish keeping is the favorite. The fish which are popular for fish keeping are angelfish, goldfish and guppies. Different species of fishes can be kept together and sometimes fishes of the same species are kept together for breeding purpose. With breeders, the popular fish species are guppies, mollies, catfish, killifish, cichlid, and characin.

Fish keeping was started centuries ago. At that time fish were bred for food. Also, due to religious reasons, fish was eaten on days when meat wasn’t allowed. The Chinese and Japanese traditions included fish keeping for food purposes. But later the kings began keeping goldfish and koi, because of their attractive colors. They were kept in ponds and when guests used to arrive, the fishes were shifted indoors in fish bowls. Romans were also known to keep lampreys in pools with salt water. Ancient Egyptians kept fishes from Oxyrhynchus in temple pools.

Saltwater or marine fish keeping is more difficult and expensive. Usually experienced fish keepers or aquarists are into this hobby. This is certainly not for beginners. But it sure is very attractive with colorful and attractive fishes along with different types of corals. Brackish fish keeping involves both freshwater and saltwater fish keeping, because the salinity of the water is in between that of seawater and freshwater.

Fish keepers which are into this hobby also focus on the aquatic plants. Some hardcore aquarists even attempt to grow coral reef with the help of living rock, worms, and calcareous rocks with algae growth, sponges, and worms. When the corals begin to grow echinoderms, crabs, mollusks, and shrimps are also added to the aquariums, which are also called as reef tanks.

The aquarium should have ecology which is similar to the natural habitat of the occupant fishes. This is an extremely difficult task. Also, it is important to maintain the predator prey relationship balance. Also more than the volume of the water, the surface volume is important. This is because, more the surface volume, more the oxygen levels in the water. Air pumps also are used to increase the dissolved oxygen in the water. This is part of the nutrient cycle, which should be maintained and controlled for the well-fare of the fishes. Larger aquariums are more preferable and they make things easier, for example the event effects are diluted easily and the systemic shock is absorbed well.

Other factors to be controlled are nitrogen cycle, dissolved gases and balanced food supply. The salinity of the water should be checked regularly depending of the aquaria being maintained. The pH level should be checked to test the acidic nature of the water. For freshwater aquarium, most of the aquarist use tap water, which is a mistake as it contains chlorine. Chloramine should be used in tap water to make it chlorine free.

Depending on temperature, the aquarium can be differentiated to have tropical and cold water. For tropical aquarium, the water should be warm and the temperature should be nearly seventy-seven degree Fahrenheit. For cold water aquarium, the water temperature should be less than room temperature. For this purpose, a refrigeration device called chiller can be used.

Plants and certain organisms can be introduced in the aquarium which metabolizes the waste, especially nitrogen. But more the number of organisms added to the fish tank, the more difficult it is to maintain. The needs of all the aquatic organisms must be considered. Introducing many types of species in an aquarium is known as biological loading. Two important factors should be considered which include filtration process and oxygen levels. Aquarists interested in fish breeding should be more careful. Firstly, they shouldn’t mix many types of fishes together. They should also develop special conditions called spawning triggers for proper breeding.

Artificial ponds can be also made in the garden. It is very similar to freshwater keeping, except that they are big and out in natural conditions. Tropical fishes are a good choice for such garden ponds. But where the temperatures are cold, goldfish, orfe and koi are good options.