An Old Dog and his Kittens

Somewhere in Arizona, there is an amazing dog which is the official nanny for kittens at the Arizona Humane Society.

Besides being a Hurricane Katrina survivor, Boots spends his time being around young kittens, so that they get used to being around a dog. This is crucial for the kitten’s future chances of being adopted. What a heartwarming story!

Pet sitting, dog walking in singapore

 

Read the full story here.

Do you have cats and dogs at home? Are they happily living together? We certainly hope so!

 

Ways to Exercise your Dog Indoors

8 Ways to Exercise my Dog Indoors

There are many instances in a week where dog owners get too busy, too tired or just a little lazy to walk their dogs. What if it is raining? What if it is raining for a few days in a row, during your scheduled dog walking time? If you are injured or have walking issues, walking may not be something you want to do either… How to exercise my dog without walking it?

Yes you can still exercise your dog at home, without going on for a walk in such situations! Indoor exercises cannot replace actual walks; you have to make efforts to walk your dog outside or have someone else do it, so that your pups get to use all their senses (smell, sight etc), engage their minds and use up any excess energies. Exercise and boredom are two different issues! Here we compile replacements for outdoor exercise.

Here is a list of some ways on how to exercise your dog inside/indoors, see which ones work for you! Hopefully your pups will play simple games with you in lieu of their daily walk J

 

Simple and Affordable Ways
  • Fetch

This classic game has always been a simple and does not cost very much. All you need is a dog toy or item safe for throwing and retrieving, and you toss it away from you! Some pups need to be trained to play this simple fetch game, but sometimes, they will just retrieve the item for you in order to please you (their owner). Dogs who enjoy this game would be able to get their exercise indoors, and the best part – you can do it anytime of the day!

 

  • Chasing Toys/Treats

Tie a toy or treat (or treat inside a toy) to a string by itself, or to a string and a stick, and let your pup chase it! You can even do this while seated in front of the tv. Or you can try and play football with some breeds of dogs (herding dogs), it might be quite instinctive to them!

 

  • Indoor Obstacle Course

Have cushions, boxes, pillows and toys? You can consider making your own obstacle course for your pup at home! Go big on the ideas – make a network of tunnels, or just a simple one with cushions. If you change the layout, your pup will be very excited as it would seem like a new ‘game’ to it!

 

  • Stimulate their Sense of Smell

Try to hide their meal or treats inside a treat dispensing toy, hiding places or in a box, and let them try to get the food out of it.

 

  • Hide and Seek

Hide their favourite toy and let them find it, or hide yourself and let them find you!

 

Other Ideas
  • Stair climbing

If you have a stairway at home, you can engage you dog in exercise by playing fetch on the stairs. For example, you could wait at the top of the staircase, throw the toy down and let your dog chase after it – then call it by its name and let it bring the toy back to you… and you can repeat it a few times!

 

  • Treadmills

Dogs can utilize a treadmill too, in a similar way that we humans would use it. Set a moderate pace and keep your eye on your pup all the time, for safety reasons! There are also dog treadmills in the market… if you have the space for any treadmill at home!

 

  • Training Time

You could use the opportunity to train your pup something new, or reinforce any learnt tricks and commands.

 

Not Recommended:
    • Laser Pointers – May drive your dog into too much excitement and lead to problems such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), neuroticism (madness) or paranoia. They might keep on looking for the laser even after you have stopped the game. Also runs the risk of the laser on the eyes, which is potentially harmful to the retina of both your and your dog’s eyes.

 

  • Tug-of-War – Unless your dog will respond to you asking it to drop the rope on command, it is not a good idea to play this game. It can go wrong when the dog gets too excited and the tugging brings out the aggression in your dog.

 

Remember, taking walks with your pup outdoors are great for both of you. Even if you don’t have the time for a nice slow walk, you can probably afford 15 minutes every day. Otherwise, engage our professional team on a regular, fixed schedule basis for a peace of mind! Routines are good for dogs!  Do note that we do pet sitting at the comfort of your own home too.

 

Important Note

As with all dogs and pets, please ensure that your fur kid is in good health with regular check ups and monitoring of their health status. Any unusual behaviour or appearances should be investigated further. Do not begin a new exercise routine your dog without consulting your vet. Do not exercise a sick, injured or recovering dog; it is not recommended to exercise some dogs vigorously right after meals. Do keep them hydrated and well rested. If unsure or in doubt, please check with a professional or your vet. Do your research on the activity that you wish to partake with your dogs before starting on it.

Save Our Stray Dogs

What to do if you find them

If you are an animal lover and you spot a dog roaming around without food and shelter, you may find it difficult to just walk away. Dogs on the streets could either be strays, lost, or abandoned.

Make sure that it is really alone before you attempt a daring rescue. The dog could simply have been separated from its owner temporarily, or it might be part of a pack – in which case his “buddies”, if any, might come after you.

The first step is to get it in your possession. This can be dangerous, especially if the dog is defensive or hostile due to prior abuse or neglect from its owners, or it could simply be because of its innate temperament. If it appears to pose any threat of biting or attacking, do not approach it. Instead, call the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Centre for Animal Welfare and Control for help and inform them of its location.

If the dog is friendly enough, win its trust by making a peace offering, such as presenting food. Once the dog is comfortable with you, you can attempt to place a leash or rope around its neck. If it is a puppy, you can place it in a large box or crate. Check for any signs of domestication, such as a collar which may contain information that may lead you to the dog’s home or owner.

For a dog with a collar but no license, see if it can understand basic commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “down”, as the animal could be either lost or abandoned. You can bring the dog to the vet to scan for a microchip. If the dog has one, you can use the information to obtain the dog owner’s contact from the AVA.

If it has no collar or license, does not show signs of domestication and looks like it needs help, you can contact non-profit/volunteer/support groups such as Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD), Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) or the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

How to adopt them
Before you decide to adopt a stray dog and give it a place in your household, there are a few things you need consider.

First and foremost, before you bring the dog back into your home and expose it to your family and other animals, a visit to the veterinarian is a must for preventative shot, flea/tick treatments, vaccinations and sterilization if necessary.

Next, ensure that you have the finances to take care of it. Just because the dog is a stray does not mean that it does not require any expenses; you will need to pay for food, snacks, toys, medical treatments, grooming, necessities such as collars and leashes, and a kennel, cage or crate. It is also a good idea to get your new pet micro chipped in case you lose it or it runs away.

It is also important to speak to those living with you, including your parents, spouse, children, housemates/flat mates, and even domestic helpers, to see if they are agreeable to adopting the animal. Then, think about how well you are able to meet your dog’s daily needs and whether you are emotionally ready to handle this long term commitment, which can be more than 15 years.

Once you have made the decision to take in the dog, owners have to apply online for licensing, renewable annually, at the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) website. Keep the AVA is informed if there is a change of ownership of the dog or the address where the do is kept, or if the dog gets lost or passes away.

Do note that if you live in a HDB flat, you are only allowed to keep one dog of an approved breed. If you flout the rules, you may be liable to a fine of up to a maximum of $4,000. If you live in a non-HDB residence, you can keep up to three dogs.

Caring for them
Adopting a stray dog is a completely different ball game compared to buying one from a pet shop. The dog would have been used to living in harsh and dirty conditions and probably has no ideas, for example, that relieving itself on the floor at your feet is not a good thing, or, that the trash can is not exactly the best source of food.

Since stray dogs are probably not very used to human contact, get a special fence or crate for it, and make sure that you and your family members do not overwhelm the canine. For at least the first few days, confine the dog for most of the day, and place food, water a chew toy inside the crate. Bring it to roam one room at a time to get used to the new environment.

Strays also need to be slowly introduced to the dry dog food sold at pet stores or else they may get digestive problems. Consult your veterinarian on the best way to do this. Feed it with food and water in controlled portions on a regular schedule, so that you will be better able to gauge when it will relieve itself.

When you do catch your dog exhibiting conduct that is unacceptable in your household, firmly and harshly say “No!” or any word of your choice. Every time this happens, consistently use the same word so that the dog will identify with the word and know it has done wrong. Never punish the dog by hitting or starving it.

When your dog does get it right, edible treats, verbal praises and petting are all good ways to provide positive reinforcements during the housebreaking process, but it’s important to reward your dog immediately after good behavior is displayed.

Taking in a stray can be challenging, but the satisfaction of seeing your pet’s health and happiness improve will be your reward.

Source: The Sunday Times, August 25, 2013
Pets Corner
Written by Amanda Ng

Coping With the Death of a Pet

Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process. Dealing with the loss of a pet who means the world to you can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Here are some ways one can cope with the pain and sorrow of a pet’s demise.

Express Your Feelings and Emotions

Grief and sorrow are normal responses to death. Feelings of loss are very personal, and only you would understand the significance of your loss. So vent your feelings the way you fee fit. Don’t feel embarrassed, or think that you will be judged by others – especially those who advise you to “move on” or “get over it”.

Help Yourself Heal

We mark important events in our lives through rituals like celebrations and ceremonies. If your pet is regarded as a member of your family and the grief of losing it is strong, you could hold a funeral to allow you and your family members to honor your pet and bid it farewell. Ignore people who think it’s inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet.

The process of grieving can be stressful and exhausting. To get yourself through this difficult time and avoid falling into depression, it is important to keep yourself in good physical condition and look after your emotional needs. If you have other pets at home, remember that they may be affected by your sorrow, as well as need your care and attention. So, continue with the daily routines of feeding, exercising and playing with them.

Celebrate Your Love

Your can create “legacies “to commemorate the life of your beloved pet through various ways, such as preparing a memorial, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, planting a tree in its memory.

Find New Interest in Life

If your pet had been your only or closest companion, you may find it even more difficult to face up to your loss. Try to fill the void and boost your morale by picking up a hobby, staying connected with friends, volunteering for good causes, helping your friends care for their pets or reaching out to others who have lost their pets.

Helping a Child Cope with the Loss of a Pet

If the demise of your pet is your child’s first experience of death, it could be traumatic for them. Don’t try to shield them from the sadness of losing a pet by avoiding the issue, or pretending that the pet has “disappeared” or “gone to sleep”. Be honest with them about what happened, and teach them how to cope with the grief and pain that inevitably accompanies the joy of loving another living creature. Remember that the way you handle the grieving process can determine whether the experience will have a positive or negative effect on your child’s personal development.

Source: The Sunday Times, May 12, 2013
– written by Sheila Lim

Don’t Let Your Pet Get Obese! (Part 2 of 2)

Exercise Caution!
Without you to lead the way, your pet isn’t going to go for a brisk walk or run laps on its own! So it is part of your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure your pet gets to exercise safely on a regular basis.

Here are some precautions to take when exercising a pet dog:

– If your dog is overweight, take it to the veterinarian for a complete physical examination to assess its physical condition and general health, and prescribe a safe fitness regimen to get it back into shape.

– Like us, animals that are unfit or over-weight should start exercising a t a slower pace and gradually build up their fitness level to avoid sustaining injuries. It is a common misconception that dogs are built to run; however, like us, they are prone to muscle aches and joint pains too. Carry excess weight will also put additional strain on the heart, respiratory system and joints.

– Don’t run, bike or climb with your dog unless it is in tip-top shape. It is also advisable not to do so with young dogs below two years old as their bones are still in the developmental stage.

– Dogs can overheat easily because they do not perspire like us; and those with a thicker coat of fur are even more susceptible to this problem. So don’t overexert them – watch out for signs like excessive panting and lagging. Stop and rest if necessary. If the weather is hot, get it into the shade and give it water to drink.

– When you run on hard or hot surfaces, your feet are protected by shoes – your dog’s are not! So be mindful about this, otherwise, its feet can get hurt.

– If you think your dog is up for greater challenges, you could even consider signing it up for dog training or agility classes.

Exercise not only benefits your pet’s health, but is also a good way for it to release some of its pent-up nervous energy, which could cause it to wreak havoc around the house! Exercising with your pet is also a great way for you to bond with each other.

Source: The Sunday Times, April 28, 2013 Pets Corner
Written by Sheila Lim

Don’t Let Your Pet Get Obese! (Part 1 of 2)

Dogs and cats that are 10 to 20 per cent above their ideal body weight are considered obese. Obesity can lead to various health problems, or worsen existing ailments. And as a result, it can reduce both the length and quality of a pet’s life.

Some potentially serious medical conditions associated with obesity in pets include high blood pressure, heart, kidney and respiratory diseases, arthritis, skin diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancers. Obese pets may find difficulty in exercising as they are prone to respiratory problems or heat stroke because of their excessive weight.

Besides overfeeding, there are several other factors that can cause a pet to become obese:

Breed: Certain breeds have a higher propensity of becoming obese than others due to their genetic disposition.

Age: The propensity of becoming obese tends to increase with age due to slowing metabolism rates.

Desexing: Neutered dogs of either sex are more likely to be obese as they have lower metabolic rates.

Owner: It has been suggested that dogs with obese owners tend to be obese. A likely reason for this is that an overweight owner is less likely to exercise his or her dog. Some owners overfeed their dogs, or feed them inappropriate treats and supplements.

Underlying health condition: A dog may have reduced energy requirement due to hormonal diseases, such as hypothyroidism.

Obesity is a preventable problem. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight issues, consult a veterinarian, who can assess the amount of stored body fat in its body and also determine if there is any underlying health condition that is causing the weight gain.

Keep Your Pet Active, Trim and Healthy

Obesity results when the energy we attain from our food intake is more that that expended. Therefore, the two most obvious ways of preventing obesity is to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.

– Providing an appropriate diet for your pet is a vital part of maintaining its health. Ensuring that it gets adequate exercise is equally important too.

– If you have more than one pet, keep an eye on the animals during mealtimes to ensure that they only eat their own food, and not indulge in extra helpings from the food bowls of the others!

– If you want to pamper or reward your pet with treats, try to give it healthier options like apples, carrots, lean chicken and turkey. But remember – don’t overdo it!

– One way of getting your pet to exercise on its own is to provide it with pet-proof toys to play with. You should be able to find an array of innovative items at pet stores that are designed to keep it busy and happy for hours on end.

– The easiest way to exercise your dog is to take it for walks around the neighborhood. A 20-minute brisk walk daily is recommended. Remember, the bigger your dogs are, the less they want to do. And the less they do, the bigger they get! When you take it for a walk on a lease, try to include bouts of jogging or stair-climbing exercises to give it a cardio workout and strengthen its muscles.

– You are absolutely cannot find the time to walk your dog regularly, seek pet service providers or dog walkers who can help you do so. Ask around for references if you wish to ensure that the service provider is reliable.

– There are various fun ways for you to keep your dog active and fit. For instance, you could take it to areas with open space and get it to chase after a Frisbee, stick or ball. Or hide some kibbles or a toy and get your dog to find it.

– Organizing “play dates” for your dog is another way to get it to exercise. You could make such arrangements with your neighbors and friends, or check out outline pet networks to connect with other like-minded dog owners. Who knows, you might end up making new friends too!

– If your pooch is obese and is not afraid of water, take it for regular swimming sessions to burn off the extra calories. Swimming is a great form of low-impact exercise – it is non weight-bearing and your dog can move freely in the water without stressing its joints.