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Those pangs of guilt you feel about leaving your dog in a boarding kennel may not be justified, according to a new study.
British researchers suggest that dogs may enjoy spending a short time in a kennel in a similar way that people enjoy their holidays abroad.
Their study contradicts previous research which suggests our canine companions experience acute stress following admission to kennels, and chronic stress in response to long-term kennelling.
The study, published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour, measured a range of stress symptoms in 29 privately-owned dogs - both at home and in private boarding kennels.
Physical measurements included skin dryness, nose temperature, core body temperature and amount of food eaten.
Researchers also looked at spontaneous behaviours such as lip licking, paw lifting, yawning, shaking and restlessness.
Physiological measures included measuring stress hormones, corticosteroids, and adrenaline.
The research revealed that dogs have higher levels of arousal, colder noses and were generally more active in kennels than when they were at home.
The welfare of kennelled dogs is of concern, given that many experience minimal social contact, exercise and control over their environment as well as unpredictable and high levels of noise, novelty and disrupted routines.
Based on existing research it was assumed that dogs would show higher levels of stress in the kennel compared to the home environment.
The most widely used physiological indicator of canine welfare is urinary cortisol, which is a hormone secreted following activation of one of the major stress response systems.
Previous research has also looked at creatinine - the chemical waste product created by the liver ratios.
However, the reliability of this has been questioned by academics.
The study revealed that creatinine was significantly higher in the kennel compared to the home environment.
However, cortisol levels have also been found to increase after exercise and excitement, and appear to provide an indication of arousal without specifying the emotional reason of that arousal.
Dr Lisa Collins, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, said: 'Many owners find leaving their dog at a boarding kennels a stressful experience.
'However, this study suggests that although dogs appeared to have a higher level of overall arousal or excitement in kennels compared with their state at home, this arousal is not necessarily due to dogs experiencing kennels as negatively stressful.
'The emotional reasons for the behavioural and physiological responses of the dogs were ambiguous and no definitive evidence was found to suggest that dogs were negatively stressed by kennelling.
'Findings appear to suggest that the dogs in this study did not perceive admission to boarding kennels as an aversive stressor and perhaps, instead, perceived kennelling as an exciting change of scene, at least in the short-term.'
The latest study included researchers from the University of Lincoln, University of Birmingham, Queen's University Belfast and the Royal Veterinary College.
Source Article: By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2669270/Dogs-enjoy-going-holiday-Study-claims-canines-change-scenery-kennels-exciting.html#ixzz35nyFfIxL
The same sad story happens all too often: A person brings home an animal assuming that it requires little maintenance only to discover that he or she underestimated how much time, attention, or money it will take to keep the animal happy and healthy. Because of these situations, animal shelters are often overwhelmed with unwanted animals, or, even worse, the animals are sometimes released to whatever fate awaits them in the outside world.
One important step to help prospective pet owners avoid getting in over their heads is to learn whether an animal is high maintenance or low maintenance before bringing it home. Considerations include the animal's habitat size, the complexity of the animal's diet, the amount of training and exercise needed, and the time needed to clean the animal's environment.
So, which pets are high-maintenance and which are low-maintenance? We've separated a variety of pets into those two categories below, although maintenance levels vary widely depending on the individual animal. This article is not a definitive guide to which pets require the most or least maintenance, but rather a starting point to get you thinking about the realistic needs of pets that you may be considering.
High-maintenance pets (not ranked in any particular order)
Dogs can require more or less maintenance based on the breed and their requirements also vary widely from dog to dog. Overall, dogs can be considered to be high-maintenance pets because they need exercise and a proper diet to remain healthy, attention to be happy, and regular cleaning of their living environment. They also need behavioural training to address housetraining, chewing, biting, digging, and jumping. Most dogs also require regular grooming— baths, haircuts or hair brushing, teeth cleanings, etc.
Many people buy rabbits without realizing that the animals can seriously injure themselves or even die of heart attacks if they get scared. Rabbits need a lot of exercise, which they can get when allowed to hop around outside their cages, but owners must be wary of rabbits' tendency to chew things within their reach while they are roaming the house. Rabbits also require daily litter box cleaning.
Some people are fans of keeping large birds, such as macaws, Amazon parrots, and African grey parrots. These large birds require a lot of human attention, mental stimulation, and time outside of the cage. They can be extremely loud, and they tend to chew and bite. People also sometimes fail to realize that some large birds can live to between 50 and 100 years of age, so owners must want a pet that might be with them for the rest of their lives.
Although chinchillas are especially cute and soft, they can be high maintenance for the typical pet owner. Chinchillas require that the temperature stay at or below 23.8 degrees. They should not become wet, as moisture can harm their skin, but they must take several dust baths each week. Chinchillas commonly do not enjoy being held, and their diet must be tailored closely to the species' nutritional requirements.
Ferrets need plenty of playtime and room to roam, so owners need to make sure their homes are ferret-proofed. Ferrets have been known to chew up carpet and tear holes in couches and recliners, and they can squeeze into small openings such as behind refrigerators and underneath cabinets. They also are prone to biting and nipping, so their interactions with children, pets, and other adults need to be carefully supervised. It's illegal to have ferrets in some states.
Low-maintenance pets (not ranked in any particular order)
The guinea pig is a classic pet due to its minimal maintenance requirements and social nature. They are happy, whether sitting on your lap, running around in their habitats, or lounging inside a hollow log or other prop. If you provide a consistently clean environment, a healthy diet, and some love and attention, they can provide years of easygoing fun.
Hamsters, gerbils, and mice
Small rodents such as hamsters, gerbils, and mice are typically on the lower end of the maintenance spectrum. Their small size means they don't need a large habitat, and they don't need to be walked or trained (although some people do train their rodents). Their diets are relatively simple, and they are capable of exercising themselves if their environments are equipped with plenty of activities.
We put cats in the low-maintenance category for this article, although many cat owners would likely disagree based on their own experiences. The fact is that every cat is different. Some crave human interaction while others seemingly prefer their solitary time. Some short-haired cats barely need grooming while long-haired cats need it regularly.
Many people see cats as low-maintenance because they believe cats can be left alone at home for long periods of time as long as there is a big bowl of food and a water dish available. But if you ask your veterinarian, this is not necessarily true. Leaving a cat alone means that its litter box won't be changed, its food may spoil (if it is wet food), and it will not receive prompt veterinary attention if it is sick or injured while the owner is away.
Small birds can be low-maintenance to varying degrees, mainly based on how much human interaction they require. Some birds, such as finches and canaries, generally do not appreciate contact with humans, so they simply require the correct diet and an appropriately sized cage. Other small birds, such as cockatiels and parakeets, need time outside the cage to play and be socialized. Those considering getting a bird should also factor in time to clean cages.
Regardless of the type of pet you're considering, understand that you're making a commitment to care for a living creature. Ensure that the needs of your new pet align with your lifestyle before taking the plunge.
Bloat can be a life-threatening condition. Also known as gastric torsion or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), canine bloat can come on quickly, which makes early recognition and treatment essential to your pet's survival.
What is canine bloat?
Often, canine bloat is caused by a combination of two conditions, namely gastric dilation and volvulus. Gastric dilation occurs when the stomach distends with gas and fluid while volvulus occurs when the stomach twists along its axis.
With gas and fluid trapped within the twisted stomach, the contents of the dog's stomach continues to ferment and the organ to distend. The stretching of the dog's stomach can cause necrosis, or cell death, and prevents normal circulation to and from the heart. This can lead to a variety of adjacent health threats, such as dehydration, shock, cardiac arrest, arrhythmias, gastric perforation, and even death, among others.
Symptoms are often relatively easy to notice and include:
If your dog displays any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
In severe cases, your dog may even collapse due to the strain placed on the cardiovascular system.
Your veterinarian will first check your dog for signs of shock and will monitor her blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. A physical examination, X-rays, and other necessary diagnostic tests will enable your veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog's bloat, which allows her to treat it appropriately.
If there is no evidence of the stomach twisting, your veterinarian may use a needle or tube to relieve the pressure. If, instead, the stomach has twisted, emergency surgery may be needed. Surgery allows your veterinarian to untwist and reposition the stomach and to examine the tissue, ensuring there is no residual damage.
During the surgery, a procedure that attaches the stomach to the abdominal wall, known as gastropexy, should be performed to prevent future twisting.
Your veterinarian will often examine the spleen as well to ensure that it, too, is intact.
Large, deep-chested dogs are more likely to develop canine bloat, though all dogs are susceptible. A few things you can do to help decrease your dog's risk of experiencing canine bloat include:
Canine bloat is a serious issue that requires immediate veterinary attention, but it often is treatable once the pet is in the care of a veterinarian. Once a dog is showing signs of a possible bloat, time is of the essence. Early detection and immediate action could mean the difference between life and death.
Based in Denver, Colo., where she lives with her Rhodesian ridgeback mix, Jennifer Ryan writes for the American Animal Hospital Association. Article source: http://www.aahanet.org/blog/petsmatter/post/2014/06/12/586957/Canine-bloat.aspx
By Dr. Barbara Royal, author of "The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets" | Shine Experts
Warning: Spaghetti is not one of the 5 human foods to feed your dog (but it's a really cute picture).
Most of the time, pet owners are cautioned to never feed their furry friends "people food." Veterinarians often remind pet owners that chocolate, grapes, and raisins can be poison to dogs and cats and that onions can cause a life-threatening form of anemia. And while broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables in the brassica family (cruciferous vegetables) can be healthy additions to diet, but can have a troublesome affect on thyroid function unless they're cooked before feeding.
But there are human foods that, when used as a supplement to a dog or cat's diet, can be quite beneficial to their health. Our pets have thrived on our leftovers for hundreds of years, but with increasingly unhealthy diet choices in human meals, we need to be careful what we offer our pets from our own plates.
Human foods such as meats, fish, cheeses, and other animal products can be used regularly in a healthy pet's diet. We just have to be sensible about what we feed, and, of course, how much.
So what should you skip? Avoid feeding your pet any corn, wheat, soy, or peanut butter in food or treats. Be aware that glutens, spelt, maize, breads, corn syrups, and pasta are other names for wheat and corn products.
Dogs who have "sensitive stomachs" may just need a healthier diet of fresher foods. The GI tract depends on a large amount of appropriate bacteria to function properly, and to decrease gas and improve stool consistency. Because the foods we feed our pets tend to be so carefully packaged to avoid bacterial pathogens, it may be difficult for animals to obtain proper bacteria for their gastrointestinal tract. A periodic probiotic supplement or some yogurt (and if you can find it, goat yogurt is even better than cow yogurt) can help re-populate the GI tract and improve digestive health.
Other over-the-counter probiotics can be used as a pet supplements as well. Dairy-free versions are available for sensitive animals. Just remember to look for well-sourced organic products from respected companies.
Aside from the occasional meat treat or healthy leftover, here are five additional foods that youshould be feed your pet, and why they're good for your furry friend.
For a Superman-strength stool regulator, give your dog or cat a bit of pumpkin. It regulates moisture and provides a gentle fiber, making it a terrific tool to combat constipation or diarrhea. Dosage is 1 tablespoon once or twice daily for a 30-pound dog or a 1/2 teaspoon for an average cat, in food or as a treat. I'm surprised at how many cats like to eat straight pumpkin from a spoon, but you also can mix pumpkin with meat, baby food or yogurt.
Fun idea: Put the pumpkin or pumpkin mixes (with yogurt, meat baby foods or other meat-based treats) into ice cube trays or in rubber toys, or in spoonfuls on wax paper and freeze to use later as treats. This also solves the problem of open cans of pumpkin from going bad in your fridge.
Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil aren't just good for humans, they can improve your pet's coat and him recover from inflammatory conditions, arthritis, and skin problems. How? Omegas encourage free-radical scavenging, which can decrease inflammation. But take note: Carnivores do not efficiently convert plant sources of omegas, like flaxseed or hemp, so stick with fish oils.
I personally believe pet owners should avoid feeding their animals krill oil (which is derived from small crustraceans usually found in the Arctic and Antarctic seas), since it's the only thing whales eat, so let's not be cruel and take it away. While Omegas are usually a helpful supplement, they're not for all pets. Fish oil may not be recommended for an animal that is overly hot, and has oily/hot skin or loose stools. If you're giving your pet Omegas, be sure to monitor the response to see if they're right for your animal.
Many foods, including many raw foods, may not include enough fiber. Typically a scavenger or carnivore would eat a good deal of fiber – including roughage like hair, feathers, and nails. And those are not typical ingredients in pet foods. Adding psyllium fiber (about a teaspoon per meal for a 50-pound dog or a 1/4 teaspoon for an average cat) is a great way to improve the fiber content of the food. Derived from the husks of seeds in the Plantago family, Psyllium fiber contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber. It can be found in most supplement sections of your local drugstore or supermarket. Fiber moving through the GI tract can be used to improve symptoms of both loose stool and constipation, and may even enhance the ability to fight off GI parasites.
Cooked white rice can relieve signs of diarrhea. But how you prepare it can really make a difference. Cook the white rice with extra water and overcook until it is gloopy. Your pet's system can absorb it better when it's overcooked and sticky-wet. The reason it works is because of its absorbent quality, not its nutritive value, which is why brown rice is not as effective for diarrhea and loose stools. But do not use Minute Rice; all the good absorbent stuff has been processed out of it.
Chicken or Beef Broth
Warm, low sodium chicken or beef broth — or even plain warm water — can be added to pet food to increase palatability. The meat broth itself can enhance the flavor of foods, and foods smell more appetizing when they are warmed. In addition, if you're concerned about hydration, pets will drink more fluids if the fluids taste good.
Source: By Dr. Barbara Royal, author of "The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets" | Shine Experts – (https://shine.yahoo.com/experts/5-human-foods-you-should-be-feeding-your-pet-222740464.html): Barbara Royal is a veterinarian in Chicago who is internationally renowned for her work in integrative medicine and physical rehabilitation. She is the author of "The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets" and the go-to veterinarian for Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Royal currently is president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and president-elect of the AHVM Foundation. She also is the founder and owner of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center in Chicago.
Kroshka enjoying his very 1st birthday with the team at The Pets Hotel.