Grooming your pet will not only help reduce this excess hair but is also important for the wellbeing of your pet.
As well as aerating the coat and ensuring healthy growth, brushing promotes good blood circulation. Grooming helps to keep grease levels down — a build-up of grease in a pet’s coat can block pores and cause sebaceous cysts.
Grooming is also the perfect opportunity for you to check your pet over to ensure they are healthy. Giving them a once-over also enables you to check for any balls of matted fur between paw pads, which can sometimes become hard with dirt and grease, causing discomfort.
On an emotional level, grooming reduces stress in both parties, helping dog and owner to relax and build up a close bond. When you groom your pet regularly — start when they are young to let them used to the procedure — you’ll get to know your pet better, both physically and mentally.
When a cat is relaxed, his fur is too. But if he feels frightened or intimidated in any way, a completely involuntary hair raising reactions causes ‘puffing’ of the fur on his shoulders and back which can also sometimes make his tail look like a brush.
The scientific name for this is piloerection, which just means ‘upright hair’. Triggered by the cat’s stress, a hormone cascade causes tiny muscles at the base of each hair to contract, lifting the fur away from the body.
Causes of this usually are; loud noises, new situations, meeting new people or animals, feeling cold.
Benefits of this reaction are that the cat can look more threatening and it can actually help him retain his body heat.
Now that we are finally heading in to spring, it’s been a long winter hasn’t it?! Here is some advice for your favourite furry friends, from chocolate to allergies to the garden and cleaning.
Remember that chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs, and hot-cross buns contain raisins, which can cause renal failure in dogs and cats. Keep your treats out of reach, why not treat your pet to some Carob Easter eggs instead?
Spring plants and flowers
Watch out for poisonous plants. Species common at this time of year include lilies, daffodils, spring bulbs and azaleas. If you notice any signs of poisoning such as excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, appearing ‘drunk’ or even collapsing – then contact your vet immediately.
Cats and dogs alike love spending time in the garden. Make sure that your garden is safe for your pet and be careful if you need to use any pellets, pesticides or other chemicals. Slug and snail pellets are a common poison.
Wasp and bee stings
Most cases of wasp or bee stings are not emergencies. With a bee sting, check and remove the sting if it is still in place, then bathe the area in bicarbonate of soda (one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to 300ml warm water). With wasp stings bathe the area with malt vinegar or lemon juice.
If your pet is stung in or near the mouth or neck then you may need to seek veterinary help. Animals, like humans, can be allergic or become allergic to stings. Signs include swellings, distress and breathing difficulties.
Make sure your pet is up to date with his vaccinations, flea and tick medications as this is the time of year fleas and ticks start to increase in number. Rabbits can be vaccinated too.
Just like people, dogs and cats can develop allergies to plants, pollens, grasses, and many other substances in springtime. Allergies in pets normally appear as itchy skin and ear problems, accompanied by hair loss or inflamed skin. Some pets will even change their behaviour due to irritation. Some will suffer respiratory symptoms or runny eyes.
Whether your beloved cat presents you with a bird, mouse, frog or nice juicy earthworm, alive or just the remains – it is safe to say this is probably the least enjoyable aspect of owning a cat!
Why do they do it?
Unfortunately it’s just their natural instinct. it can also help keep them agile and fit. Their natural instinct is partly down to genetics, so if the parents are keen hunters – there’s a strong chance your cat will follow suit.
No one knows the exact reason cats hunt. One theory is that your cat is taking on the role of a teacher, this is particularly true if your cat is female. The ‘present’ isn’t so much a token but a lesson. A mother cat in the wild brings home live prey in order to teach her kittens how to kill. You’re simply her surrogate family!
How to react.
What should you do when your cat offers you this gift? As much as possible try not to make a scene. Telling your cat off or shouting at them won’t necessarily discourage them but it might damage your trust based relationship. You cat won’t understand your reaction and may become offhand.
Instead try to keep calm. Gently remove your cat from the room and clean up any mess. After presenting you with your ‘gift’; your cat may be in a highly aroused state. Try to occupy them with a toy as a way to redirect their energy.
Redirecting the urge to hunt.
As cat owners, it is our responsibility to allow cats to express their urges. A range of different cat toys should be sufficient. Try having a couple of different cat scratching posts, some small ping pong balls and catnip toys as well as some dangling toys that you can play with and interact with your cat.
There is a lot more choice of cat toys on the market now, including some interactive ones and even ipad/tablet apps!
Bringing her home
When you welcome your new kitten home, she might take a little bit of time to get used to her new surroundings. Keep things calm and quiet. Let her discover everything for herself and here’s a few things you can do to help her settle in:
Choose her room
Decide which room your kitten will ‘live’ in for the first few days and make sure it has a door or some other way of shielding her from the hustle and bustle of daily life (including children and other pets). Kitchens or Utility rooms work well. Anywhere with a waterproof floor is best in case of any accidents.
High places and hiding spots
Cats and kittens love to hide and climb up high so they can survey their surroundings. A bit like their lion ‘cousins’ would do So, if you can, choose a room where your kitten can hide easily and where there’s also somewhere she can get up high. If you can help her recreate her natural behaviour, you will help her settle in more easily.
The litter tray
Your kitten would naturally choose the most quiet and secluded place to go to the toilet. Try to place her litter tray in a corner opposite the door. Don’t forget to have tray liners and a scoop ready. Clean out her tray regularly as cats are fastidious animals and she may go to the toilet somewhere else if her tray is dirty. Change the cat litter every few days. It’s recommended to have one litter tray per cat. If you buy two or more kittens from the same litter they may be happy using one litter tray but make sure it is a large one.
Food and water bowls
Place her food and water as far away as possible from her litter tray, at least one metre away. Also choose shallow bowls, so she doesn’t bang her sensitive whiskers. Cats prefer drinking from ceramic bowls rather than plastic bowls. They also love fresh running water so if you have the space consider investing in a water fountain.
This should be comfortable, warm and easy to clean. But don’t be surprised if she prefers to choose another place to sleep in – her independent nature is one of the many things you’ll love about her!
You’ll need this for her first journey home and for later trips to the vet. Put a nice cosy blanket in there for the trip home.
Scratching is a very natural, but also, complex behaviour for cats – it keeps claws in good hunting condition and it produces both scent and visual signals. Scratching posts provide a great outlet for her natural behaviour. There is a vast choice of cat scratching posts available now. In your cats eyes: the bigger the better!
Other useful things to buy:
Suitable grooming equipment for your breed
Fast release collar
Toys for playing
Keep the house as quiet as possible when you bring your kitten home and don’t be surprised if she seems a bit timid at first. Show her where her ‘room’ is and let her explore by herself. Leave a door slightly ajar for her to come and go and she’ll soon let you know when she’s ready to explore more. Explain to children to leave them alone to settle in, and never to wake a sleeping kitten. Like babies; they need their rest to develop properly.
Finally, remember not to let your kitten outside until she has been vaccinated. Even after her jabs, it’s best to keep her at home for the first two or three weeks. Lastly – Enjoy your new family member!
It has become very apparent that stress affects our mental and physical health and, sadly, our world has become more stressful than ever. We live in a face-paced world that demands our attention and can easily wear us out. There are certain methods to reduce stress, but one of the best is to own a pet. Pets provide support like a best friend because they are always available to listen (without judgement), which can help you unload after a hectic day. Talking out issues can help you see the situation differently, let out some steam, and feel more relaxed. Moreover, when you are feeling stressed, there is nothing like a sweet pair of eyes that instantly attract your focus and help you get your mind off the thoughts and emotions that are causing the stress. Pets need to be handled, fed, and loved, so you don’t have time to sit and stew in a negative place; you have better things to do.
People are not always around when you need them, but pets are. They are constantly giving off love and gratitude, and they are happy to be in your presence. You can be yourself around pets. You can dance silly or talk silly, and they will not judge you. In fact, depending on the pet they will love the silliness and get silly themselves. Of course, unconditional love like that is a good stress reliever, but constant companionship with a loving being has been shown to improve health in many other ways. Studies have shown that it boosts your immune system, improves heart health, reduces physical pain, and improves mental health as well.
Pets are a great source of entertainment. They are living creatures that have habits, quirks, and personalities that can keep you laughing for hours. The best part is that pet’s personalities can distract you from issues you are having, cause you to engage in more heart-healthy laughter, and keep boredom away.
No matter what type of pet you get, it will require you to take care of it. Being responsible for another living being can help you be more responsible in the rest of your life too. This is especially true for kids who are learning the value of routine and good habits. However, adults can benefit from the consistent responsibility as well.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama . We need more compassion in our lives, both self-compassion and compassion towards others. Owning a pet who depends on you for survival, good health, and happiness, can definitely cause you to become a more compassionate person. You have to look outside of your own wants and needs, and look into their wants and needs. And, more importantly, you have to take action on their wants and needs!
We all know that dogs will bark when they sense someone near the house, and that can be very good for home security; however, pets can sense far more than just a stranger.
If Christmas is all about eating and drinking, then New Year has all that and a jolly big party as well! However, taking reasonable steps to help those pets, who might find some of the revelry more challenging, should be considered. Here at Hill’s Pet UK, we thought to share some good advice from our dear friends at Medivet Coventry, courtesy of Simon Pudsey, Veterinary Surgeon.
We would all do well to look at how our pets behave when their world is ‘normal’, and this will give us some clues as to how we might help them over the New Year party season. It may well be that your pet will take all this in their stride and not be at all bothered, but for the rest of us, a few pointers could help.
How to make New Year’s Eve a happy one for your pets
Noise is a very big issue for some pets and if your dog or cat is easily startled, runs away, hides or cowers when there is a sudden noise. Then you should be prepared to think about them when the volume gets turned up and the fireworks are being let off. As a pet parent, you’ll already have seen your pet’s behaviour on other noisy, festive nights, such as Bonfire Night and Diwali. This should have given you some idea of how they react and what worked to help them. A viable option, is to create a safe hideaway place for your pet with some favourite toys and maybe some food treats. This ought to be in a quieter part of the house and your guests should be encouraged to leave the pets alone. An endless stream of those going to say hello and see “how they are” could actually be quite stressful for them.
How to help your pets when you have crowds
Some pets do not respond well to social events and do not necessarily enjoy the company of others, particularly if they come to the party bearing the scent of their own pets. The stimulation may just be too much and you might want to consider how they normally respond to strangers coming up to them. If your pet is the sort that “loves a crowd” and will happily interact with anybody in the park, then they may well be OK. However, we must remember that we might push their limits slightly too far and they could react badly. A little thought might save an unfortunate nip from a pet that has just had way too much.
Why feeding your pet before the party can help?
We might want to consider feeding them a little earlier than usual to give them time to settle before the evening when guests are arriving. They are more likely to eat if their environment is relatively normal and this may well not be the case once the party is under way. A high quality easily digestible food may well be a good idea for this meal, as this might prevent unexpected vomiting, due to excitement.
Whilst much of the above is aimed at thinking about cats and dogs, we must not forget the bunnies, guinea pigs, birds and other small furry friends. These guys, by their very nature are naturally quite afraid and thinking about how you might reduce their stress would help them very much. This might mean moving a hutch into a shed or garage or making sure a cage is in a quieter room.
For some pets, particular treatments and remedies can be helpful. It is probably out of scope for this article to go into these in depth. They can include diets which are specifically formulated to help calm your pet and your vet can advise you on these. It is my opinion you should avoid sedative drugs as these can act as a chemical “straightjacket” where the pet has all the sights and sounds but is unable to act to get away from them. Quite often the desire to ask for sedative drugs suggests that the planning has been left a little late and everyone will be much happier if these matters are thought of in advance.
The New Year party should be fun and safe for you and your guests and stress free for your pets. With a little thought this is quite achievable.
On that note, I hope you have a Happy New Year!
A Cambridge University graduate and keen blogger, Simon is a Veterinary Surgeon at Coventry Upper York Street branch of Medivet http://www.medivet.co.uk/practice-finder/west-midlands/coventry/. Simon’s ultimate aim is to help pet owners, make decisions that ensure their pets are as healthy as they can possibly be. You can read more about pet health on his blog: earlsdonvettalk.wordpress.com.
Published 29th December 2014, by Hill’s Pet Nutrition UK www.hillspet.co.uk
Thank goodness you have a pet.
We are (according to most experts) a nation of pet lovers. I have to say that with some of the things we see and hear, that can be questioned. However, latest research tells us that responsible pet ownership can be more rewarding, than we ever imagined. In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits…..
In one particular study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than people without pets did. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
Traditional thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided,
However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals” — whether it’s a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies or asthma.
Dogs for the Aged
“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog,” says Hart.
Walking a dog or just caring for a pet — for elderly people who are able — can provide exercise and companionship. Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners.
Improve Mental Health
Playing with, chatting to or just holding a pet is believed to increase our brain activity and improve our mood. If you live alone, it’s easy to feel down, especially if you used to have a busy household and a large family. Your animal companion can give you that lift you need and we all know there’s nothing better after a difficult day than coming home to a purring cat or a wagging tail.
It has always been our belief that pet owners are generally nicer people than non-pet owners, and this is now an accepted truth. Children who own or help to look after a pet are often less self-centred than those who do not, as they learn to care about something other than themselves.
Children with learning difficulties can also benefit from interaction with pets. One study found that the presence of a dog helped to channel the children’s attention and responsiveness towards the therapist’s suggestion. In effect, the dog helped increase the attention span of the children.
And now the advertising bit. PetShed has everything you need to give your pet everything he or she needs. If you visit our website petshedonline.co.uk, you can see our latest offers, and sign up to receive our newsletter, which will keep you informed about everything we are doing, as well as our latest deals.
Unlike most other Pet Stores, we do not have our own brands of pet food, so if we recommend something, you can be sure that it’s because it’s right for you and your pet, not for us and our profits.
No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top Safety Tips to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.
Did you know 80% of pet owners have owned a pet afraid of fireworks? Do you constantly worry about your pets during firework displays close to your home? Here are the ways to keep your pet safe and cared for during fireworks.
Many people are unaware of the danger to pets from antifreeze poisoning. Ingesting the smallest amount can cause kidney failure and death, especially in cats. Keep pets safe Accidental poisonings from spills/leaks, as well as leaking water coolant from cars happen every year, leading to pet death. Regularly check your car to ensure it isn’t leaking water coolant. Take care storing, using and disposing of antifreeze and water coolant. Most accidental deaths are avoidable.
If you suspect your pet’s come into contact with antifreeze, leaked water coolant or if showing any of these symptoms get them to a vet immediately:
Signs of antifreeze poisoning can show 30 minutes after ingestion. It can be two/three days before signs of kidney failure are seen. The sooner your pet receives veterinary treatment, the better their chances of survival. If left untreated, antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering and distress and ultimately death. Antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering, distress and ultimately, death. Poisoning cats can constitute a criminal offence; under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the maximum penalty for anyone found guilty is up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine.
Many owners consider their Cat to be fussy, when really they are just very conservative in their taste, and are unwilling to try new things.
Kittens are heavily influenced by their mothers and pick up the taste preferences of the mother not only through the weaning stage but also before birth. A varied diet for the mother cat and kittens will increase the variety of foods a cat will eat later in life.
For cats the most important factor about their food is aroma, closely followed by the feel of the food in the mouth. The size, texture and shape of dry kibble foods is very important as cats cannot chew, they only bite and crunch the food once before swallowing so it has to be easy to pick up, and easily crunched.
Flavour is the least important factor to a cat. Interestingly they also like wet food served at body temperature (which is the same temperature as the live food they catch out in the wild!) This is why they may appear to turn their noses up at food straight from the fridge.
Sometimes, fussiness is more down to the way you serve food rather than the food itself.
Cats generally prefer to be left in peace when they are eating, and don’t enjoy an audience. Try to create a bit of privacy for your Cat’s mealtimes and switch feeding time until after the rest of household has eaten, keeping your cat away from the family eating area during meals.
Make sure your Cat’s bowl is clean. Many Cats won’t eat out of a bowl that has bits of old food in it. Try to get into the habit of washing out food and water bowls after each use, can attract bacteria.
If your cat normally enjoys dry food but has suddenly become fussy, you may need to replace the food. Dry food absorbs moisture and becomes stale, especially in warmer weather.
If your Cat spends time outdoors, remember there are plenty of opportunities for an extra snacks outdoors. At dinnertime, your cat just might not be hungry.
Like humans, cats react to the weather. Hot summer days suppress the appetite and your cat can’t opt for a light salad as an alternative.
Unlike humans, cats don’t have psychological eating disorders and most will give in when they get really hungry. When your cat does eventually eat, offer lots of praise and affection as soon as the bowl has been removed.
If your cat’s ‘fussiness’ continues, you may wish to try an alternative high quality cat food. Stick with the previous preference, whether dry or wet. Sometimes a change of recipe is all it takes to get the taste buds working again.
You should also check your cat’s teeth. A dental problem or abscess could make eating difficult or painful. If your cat’s gums are red or swollen, or the breath is unpleasant, ask your vet for a dental check-up.
If your cat refuses all food for 48 hours or more, consult your vet. Refusal to eat can indicate a developing allergy, or be a sign of a more serious complaint. It may just be fussiness, but it’s always best to make sure.
Some Cats will bite and chew their claws while they are grooming. This is to remove the outer sheath from the claw.
Nail biting can become a compulsive behaviour in cats, just as it does in humans, but generally it is just a normal part of their grooming routine. If it becomes obsessive, then it is always a good idea to run such behaviours past your veterinarian.
Quite simply, your Cat doesn’t realise there is somebody on the other end of the phone and thinks you are talking to him/her.
This is a behaviour which is a throwback from their ‘wild’ days. What they can’t eat in one sitting they hide, so nobody else can eat it before they are ready to.
Cats sleep on average 16 hours a day, which is twice the amount of sleep us humans’ average. When hunting for food, they use their energy in short, quick bursts to capture their prey. In his book CatWorld, Desmond Morris suggests that cats possibly sleep so much because, quite frankly, they can.
Direct eye contact with a Cat is a sign of dominance and can be seen as threatening behaviour to our feline friends. People who dislike Cats tend to avoid eye contact therefore making them more appealing and “Cat friendly”.
Cats do most of their meowing when they want something but they do occasionally meow to say hello. It has been estimated that cats have roughly 100 vocal sounds and that they reserve all of them for communication with their owners. It can take a while but, if you listen to the different types of meow, you’ll begin to pick up on what each one is for. The most common reasons for meowing is to say:
Each of these meows will be different and some are easier to understand than others. The ‘I’m hungry’ meow is usually easy to work out as cats a pretty good at standing by their empty food bowl or the cupboard their food is kept in when they make this noise.
All of the sounds need to be evaluated alongside your cat’s body language and facial expression. Over time, as you get familiar with your Cat, you’ll be able to recognise what each meow means. If all else fails, just ask them what they want.
Crinkly sounds are similar to the high-pitched noises of rodents, birds, and crickets, so the crisp, crinkly sound of a crumpled piece of paper or walking into a paper bag stimulates the cat’s “prey response.”
Cats are attracted by movement, so if a stalked prey keeps moving, the cat’s desire to attack continues to be stimulated. If the cat gets very excited over the stalking/killing, he may continue to play with the prey after it is dead.
Hunting is a natural behaviour in felines. Our mollycoddled Pets have no need to hunt for food as it is supplied by us. However, when a mother Cat is teaching her kittens to hunt she will bring home dead prey for the kittens to eat. Once they are older she will bring home injured prey for the kittens and make the final kill in front of the kittens.
One theory for this behaviour, is that our cats think of their owners as somewhat incompetent hunters, and our they are attempting to teach us how to hunt, as a female Cat would teach her kittens.
Another theory is that they’re offering dead animals to us as a gift. It is said that instead of a natural reaction of horror when presented with a dead animal on the doorstep we should heap praise on the cat. None of us wants to be met with horror when giving somebody a gift…..
Nobody knows exactly what causes this, but several theories have been suggested;
Many Cats will make a quiet ‘chatter’ sound while they are watching birds or other ‘prey’ from a window. There are two suggested theories as to why cats do this.
Firstly when a Cat has caught it’s prey it delivers a fatal bite to the neck. It may be that when your Cat is watching birds from afar it is re-enacting that fatal bite.
Secondly, It has also been suggested that cats make this noise out of frustration because they are unable to get to the prey.
This is a cat’s way of showing affection. Some cats will turn their head, and push it against a human (or another cat).
Kittens knead their mum’s belly when they are feeding. This is a sign of contentment to the kitten and also helps the mother’s milk flow.
It has been said (but not proven) that Cats prefer to vomit on rugs to smooth, slippery surface as rugs give them a better grip while they are convulsing. Nice.
Also known as “tactile hairs” or vibrissae, whiskers are long, thick and specialised hairs on the side of the mouth. They are around 2 – 3 times thicker than “normal” hairs and are embedded three times greater than other hairs. Cats have approximately 24 whiskers, 12 on each size.
They are highly mobile and extremely sensitive and are supplied with a mass of nerve endings. Whiskers can move either forward and backward, and have several uses. They can detect air currents and vibrations and enable Cats to tell the distance and shape of an object in the dark,It has been shown that cats who have had their whiskers cut are able to hunt and kill prey normally in daylight but in the dark they can catch the pray but misjudges where to place the killing bite.
Whiskers are as wide as the Cat’s body, therefore act as a guide to tell the Cat if it is able to fit into a narrow space.
Whiskers are an extremely important sensory tool for the Cat and they should never be cut.
The exact mechanisms of purring are still not known. People associate purring with a contented and happy Cat, and certainly this is often the case. However Cats will also purr when they are in pain or frightened. One theory is that purring is a social signal, which sends out the message that the Cat is either contented or in need of help.
There is no definitive answer as to why Cats eat grass but some theories include:
Cats are seen by many as intelligent, often mysterious in their behaviour, but sometimes the truth is much more simple, and easy to understand. These are some of the more frequently asked questions, and the most probable answers…..because you never know with Cats !!
Any product that claims to “cure, kill, or prevent” is considered to be a medicine, and has to be licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) which is a Government regulatory authority.
All licensed products must carry a VM (veterinary medicine) number and, in pet shops the AVM-GSL symbol on their packaging. So all you have to do is pick any product off the shelf, and look for the symbol. You can also go on the VMD website, and check the product, and see the level of testing it has gone through.
Household Flea Products are not considered to be pesticides, and not medicines, and are therefore licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Once again it is easy to spot a licensed product, as it will have an HSE number on the packaging.
Products licensed in this way must be proven to be safe, efficacious, and produced to a consistently high standard. This basically means, you can be sure it does what it says on the label.