Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash
When considering whether or not to keep chickens, it’s important to take into account the pets you already have around your home. The most obvious examples are cats and dogs, who sometimes let their chase instincts get the better of them. However, all your pets can get along just fine, as long as you lay down a few ground rules.
Keeping chickens with dogs
If you’re a dog owner, the first thing to consider is the temperament of your pet. Does it often chase rabbits or deer when out on a walk? How does your dog react to birds in the garden? If your hound tends to lose control in these situations, this behaviour is likely to carry over into their relationship with chickens. Equally, if your dog is of a more relaxed temperament, they may show little if any interest in your coop.
The likeliest scenario falls somewhere between the two extremes, in which case you’ll see your dog taking an interest in the chickens, and spending plenty of time watching and attempting to play with them, but not moving in ‘for the kill’. What’s important here is that your dog needs to understand that the chickens are part of the pack, and not something to be hunted. It’s also important that your dog understands that chickens are fragile, and that dog-style rough play is out of the question.
Teaching dogs to get along with chickens
You can teach your dogs that the chickens are part of the family by letting them watch you spending time in the coop – initially keeping them separated with chicken wire or fencing. Many breeds of dog are naturally cautious around small animals and will be protective of your chickens once they consider them a part of the pack. The behaviour you want to see is your dog cautiously sniffing at the chicken, as opposed to adopting the head-down-bottom-up ‘let’s play’ stance.
One of the most important considerations when it comes to dogs and chickens is the temperament of the dog breed. Hunting dogs such as greyhounds and beagles will cave in to their chasing instincts if the hens begin to flap around, and they should never be allowed to mingle with the chickens. In contrast, farm dogs such as sheepdogs have protective and herding instincts, and they will be less likely to harm your chickens.
There is no sure-fire way to guarantee your dogs and chickens will get on, but spending plenty of time introducing them goes a long way. As with all dog training, this can be an extended process, so be prepared to spend a few weeks introducing your chickens to your dogs with a barrier before you let them meet face to face. When you do introduce them, it’s a good idea to keep the dog on a short leash at first, just in case.
Keeping chickens with cats
Cats are a completely different story to dogs – they are harder to predict and less susceptible to training. However, they are unlikely to view a big fat hen as potential prey. Many farmers concur that their farm cats have no interest in hunting poultry, and are much more interested in the rats and mice that are inevitably attracted by birds. When keeping chickens, the occasional rat is standard, and having a cat around can greatly reduce their numbers.
Although most chickens are too large for a cat to hunt, this largely depends on the breed of chicken and the size of your cat. If you find that your cat is beginning to stalk your chickens, a sturdy and secure coop and run that your cat can’t access will deter trouble. This is good practice either way, as even if your cat is friendly with your chickens, your neighbour’s cat might not be! The ideal answer here is the Eglu, which is super-secure and comes with its own attached chicken run.
Keeping chickens with guinea pigs
You may already have a guinea pig hutch or run in your garden, and while this won’t be a problem for your chickens, it is not recommended for chickens and guinea pigs to share living quarters. This is for several reasons, one being that rats will be further attracted to your pets’ food, and they may attack your guinea pigs. Another reason is that when establishing a pecking order, your chickens will peck at each other and any other animal they live with. This can cause serious harm to guinea pigs, who do not have thick feathers to protect them.
Keeping chickens with rabbits
Rabbits can be great companions for your chickens if you introduce them to each other when they are all very young. You will also need to ensure that you care for their different needs within the same run, in terms of food and equipment.
Rabbits, for example, like to have a clean space to sleep in, so you may need to muck out your coop and run more regularly than you would if the chickens were alone. You will also need to ensure that the chickens and rabbits all have a safe space within the coop where they can have privacy and space. You can achieve this by separating your run into three areas, one to house the roosting chickens, another for your rabbits, and a communal space.
Photo by JackieLou DL from Pixabay
Having a large and secure garden run will make your chickens feel safer in general, and plenty of space will maximise the chance of the hens getting along with each other and their rabbit and guinea pig neighbours.
Chickens and other pets
Chickens can also rub along happily with goats, and with female ducks (males will tends to bully them). Ironically, they do not mix with birds in an aviary. They will eat anything that falls to the aviary floor, but they will also happily peck the other birds whenever they can and may attract rats and mice, which will cause problems for the smaller birds.
Small mammal pets such as hamsters and gerbils should never be kept in the same enclosure as chickens. The rodents will be pecked and killed.
By following these few ground rules, you will be able to keep the various members of your mixed menagerie happy!
Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash
This entry was posted in Budgies
Dementia is not a uniquely human condition. Many older pets suffer the condition known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), and the effects are often subtle.
Photo by Pacto Visual on Unsplash
The problem first becomes noticeable when pets’ behaviour changes. For example, a dog may not respond to your voice, or will stand with its tail down, looking anxious. Cats may ‘disappear’ for several hours, or even days, and any affected pet may seem suddenly uncertain of its surroundings, sometimes cringing, sometimes running away.
What is pet dementia?
As with human patients, dementia in pets results in memory problems, leading to confusion, disorientation and anxiety. The causes for this are the same as those responsible for Alzheimer’s and other types of human dementia. Destructive proteins may build up in the brain, and these cause individual brain connections to stop working. Plaque build up is another cause, as is a build-up of phosphorus.
Which pets can get dementia?
Cats and dogs are the most common victims of CDS, although other mammals such as rabbits, Guinea
pigs and ferrets may show similar symptoms. Shorter-lived mammals such as hamsters and gerbils are not affected by dementia.
Long-lived birds such as parrots, intriguingly, do not usually show dementia symptoms. Research has shown that they lack a dementia-linked variant of a gene known as GSK, something found in most animals (and even plants). This gene causes the build-up of phosphorous in the brain, and this impacts a protein called tau, which in turn triggers Dementia symptoms.
What are the signs of dementia in pets?
Most animals are very stoical and do not like to let you know when they are in pain. CDS is a different matter, though, as it causes your pet’s natural defences to go down, and you can often spot the tell-tale signs.
These are some of the signs of dementia in pets.
- Confusion. In the middle of everyday activity such as a walk or a trip from one room to another, your pet will become indecisive or may bolt for a safe spot for no apparent reason. Other symptoms include growling, raising the hackles, or shaking.
- Disorientation. Your cat or dog might become anxious, or stop in its tracks, in a familiar place – even indoors where they spend most of their time. Temporarily forgetting where they are, they may feel trapped, and their panicky or fearful body language – or sounds – will make this clear.
- ‘Accidents’ indoors. Pets with CDS may suddenly forget that they’re not supposed to relieve themselves indoors. This is often linked to disorientation and confusion rather than loss of bodily control. They may wake up in the night, thinking it’s time for the morning routine of nipping outdoors for a morning trip to the pet bathroom. Cats might forget the location of the litter tray or cat flap.
- Odd sleeping patterns. A change in sleeping patterns can be a sign of CDS. Dogs may become restless at night, or sleep away from their usual beds or baskets. Outdoor cats may decide to sleep rather than heading out for their usual night on the tiles, or may be restless during parts of the day when they would usually be curled up and asleep.
- Change in personality. Any big change in behaviour in an older pet could be an early sign of CDS. An outgoing pet might become withdrawn, and a quiet pet might be grumpy or aggressive. Affected pets might temporarily forget who certain family members are, or might suddenly treat fellow pets with suspicion.
- Memory loss. This classic symptom of dementia is often the first sign of CDS in a pet. They will stop responding to commands or may struggle with things they have managed for years, such as stairs and the quickest route home on a walk.
- Loss of energy. Although there can be physical sources of sudden ‘laziness’, it is also one of the symptoms of dementia. In addition to not being as active as usual, an affected pet might pace up and down like a caged animal, or stand on the spot gazing around in apparent confusion.
- Changes to vocalising. A quiet pet might start making a lot of noise, or an inveterate ‘woofer’ might fall quiet. There might be an increase in barking or meowing at night.
- Change in appetite. This goes both ways – a pet with CDS might become a glutton (forgetting that they’ve already eaten), or might not want to eat at the usual time at all.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
How can I treat dementia?
There is currently no cure for pet dementia, but there are medicines available to help reduce the symptoms and even slow down the progression of the illness as your pet ages. These treatments are only available from vets, so that’s the place to go as soon as you suspect CDS in your pet.
As ever, prevention is an even better cure, and by keeping your pet active and fit through exercise and games, you can help their bodies and brains alike. Diet plays as big a part in this as exercise, so keep the healthy food coming and go easy on the unhealthy snacks. A supplement that includes omega-3 fish oils is very beneficial, too.
Once the CDS has begun to manifest daily, there are still things you can do to make life easier for the afflicted pet.
- Don’t make unnecessary changes in the environment in which the pet spends most of its time. Keep furniture where it is, and don’t make changes to the beds or baskets.
- Remain calm and don’t change your behaviour. If you shout at a cat or dog because it’s soiled the floor, it will only add to the problem and cause your pet’s anxiety levels to rocket.
- ‘Lead the way’ if disorientation sets in, encouraging your pet to follow you into a room, or back to the house. With dogs, a lead should always be taken when you are on a walk.
- Don’t stop family members from interacting with the pet, even if it seems to have temporarily forgotten them.
- Play games that help keep the pet’s brain active, like training (if they can manage it) or puzzle games.
- Try retraining your dog to sit, stay and come when you call – and retrain those toilet skills too, if possible!
If the vet prescribes medication and a change in diet, make sure you stick to the new regime. Interventions that support brain function, including medicines and food supplements, can make a big difference. Although dementia changes a pet’s life, it does not automatically mean that they will stop enjoying life. Think of it as eccentricity rather than a disaster, and you’ll all continue to enjoy a wonderful pet/owner relationship.
This entry was posted in Pets
Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash
Holiday Animal Quiz: Can you Identify the roles of these animals in these holiday movie favorites?
1.What does the Grinch tie to Max’s head in the movie?
A. A twig
C. A bell
2.What does the Grinch steal from a mouse when he is stealing from the Who’s in Whoville?
A. A piece of cheese
B. A cookie
C. A candy cane
D. A crumb
3. Who provides the voice of Rebecca the Hen in the 2017 holiday movie “The Star”?
A. Mariah Carey
B. Keegan Michael Key
C. Aidy Bryant
D. Gina Rodriguez
4. In “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, why is Snoopy decorating his dog house?
A. For Charlie Brown
B. For a holiday contest
C. For Santa
D. For Woodstock
5. In the movie “Annie”, what is the name of her beloved Dog?
6. In the movie “The Holiday” what is the name of Kate Winslet’s Dog?
7. What animal says the line “Bye Buddy, I hope you find your dad!” in the movie “Elf”?
A. A whale
B. A seal
C. A narwhal
D. A polar bear
Photo by Woodson’s Mom on Unsplash
8. What is the name of Snoopy’s bird sidekick in “A Charlie Brown Christmas?”
9. What is the name of the famous red-nosed reindeer?
10. How does Rudolph help Santa on Christmas Eve?
A. His nose helps detect rain or snow
B. His nose detects which houses are on the naughty or nice list
C. He flashes his nose to the airplanes to make way for Santa
D. He guides his sleigh
Answers: 1.A, 2. D, 3. A, 4. B, 5. C, 6. A, 7. C, 8. D, 9. A, 10. D
This entry was posted in Christmas
2020 has certainly been an unusual year for most of us so far. Here at Omlet we’ve been working from home since the end of March, and many of us have spent more time than normal with our chickens, dogs, cats and other pets. To get an idea of how pet ownership has affected lockdown, we decided to ask our followers how their pets had helped them cope with these strange times. Here is a summary of the results:
88% of people agreed that staying at home has been easier with a pet! It’s no news that pets are great emotional support during difficult times, and apart from that they keep you busy. If you keep chickens you have to go out in the garden a few times a day to refill food and water or check on your girls, and if you have a dog they must be walked. Having routines is a great way of keeping structure when things are uncertain, and will benefit both physical and mental health, so it’s no wonder that 88% of people are thankful for having a pet throughout lockdown!
Nearly 2 out of 3 people thought that their pets had enjoyed seeing more of their owners, which shows how little they actually require from us. It doesn’t have to be long hikes or elaborate playtime setups, just having you around is enough for most pets. Only 0.5% said that their pets seemed annoyed or tired by the additional human interaction – can we guess that these people own independent cats by any chance?
1 in 4 people said they spent more time teaching their pets tricks during lockdown.
Many of us have been working from home and tried to master all the challenges that come with setting up a home office. For people with pets this challenge might have been even bigger. Whether by squeaking guinea pigs, clucking hens or barking dogs, 75% of people said that they had been easily distracted from work by their furry or feathery friend. 50% had also had a video called interrupted by their pet.
76% of everyone who took the survey said they would like to work from home more often in the future so they can spend more time with their pets. As we have already established, our pets have also seemed happy to have us at home more, so it’s certainly a setup that would benefit both pets and owners.
Not as many people would like to bring their pets into work with them; only a third said they’d like to let their pet meet their colleagues. We’re guessing this might have to do partly with what animals people have got, and how convenient it would be to take them to work. Sure, we’ve heard of office dogs, but is an office chicken taking things a bit too far?
Out of the people who would like to take their pet to work with them in the future, nearly two thirds believed that their boss would not allow it. If you reckon your boss would say no, let them know that studies done with office dogs show that having a four legged friend running between the desks proved to boost morale, increase job satisfaction and reduce stress within companies and organisations.
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This entry was posted in Pets
Snowy weather can bring great fun for all the family, but when it comes to our pets we need to take extra care to keep them happy and healthy (even if they love it!) Take a look at our snow safety advice, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever winter may bring…
Dry off damp fur and feathers
Check on your outdoor pets a few times throughout the day during periods of snowy weather and check they haven’t got too wet. Damp fur and feathers will take longer to dry during colder temperatures, making it difficult for them to warm up again. Indoor animals should also be dried off with a towel after being outside or going for a walk.
Clean paws of ice
For dogs and cats in particular, snow can get compacted into their paw pads and turn to painful cubes of ice. Use a towel or drying mitt to dislodge any chunks of snow and dry off their feet. Also take care when walking your dogs in snow, as salt used to grit the roads can be poisonous. Watch that they don’t stop to eat snow at the roadside and clean their legs and paws of any snow or dirt after their walk.
Pets of all kinds will use more energy to keep themselves warm in winter, particularly in super cold, snowy spells, so they will benefit from some extra food. Although they will appreciate more treats, don’t be tempted to overfeed on these. Something nutritious will help them the most.
Outdoor pets will need more dry bedding in their coop or hutch for them to snuggle into and keep warm. However, make sure their home is still well ventilated to keep fresh air moving through and prevent health problems. Read other ways you can get your coop winter-ready. Indoor animals might also appreciate an extra blanket or a cosy den for bedtime.
If you have a cat who still likes to go outdoors whatever the weather, be wary of the potential of antifreeze poisoning. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, seizures or difficulty breathing and call a vet immediately if you think your cat may be ill. An outdoor enclosure could also provide a solution for letting them play outside in safety.
Don’t forget about the wild birds in your garden!
Place a wide bowl or tray of water in your garden with something inside to float around (e.g. rubber duck!) to keep the water moving and prevent freezing. Extra wild bird food will also be appreciated!
This entry was posted in Cats
If you own and love an Omlet product and like talking to other people about your pets, then becoming an Omlet Ambassador will definitely suit you!
The Omlet Ambassador programme offers a really great way for people to not only see the products they are interested in, but also ask an owner all about it, like a live, interactive review!
If you speak to someone that then goes on to buy, you will get commission on their order. On top of that, Omlet customers in other countries have found lots of like minded friends through the Omlet Ambassador programme so it’s a great way to meet people who share your hobby in the area!
We spoke to two of our US ambassadors, Sueellen and Jennifer, about their experience of being an ambassador, and this is what they had to say:
Tell us about your chickens and your setup!
I am fortunate enough to have 2 different communities of very sweet chickens! We have 8 chickens right outside our side door and we have 23 chickens in our pasture in the backyard. We have had this arrangement for 3 years.
The first is five barred rock layers. We have had them for about a year. They are in the Omlet Coop with a run and an outdoor enclosure. They get along well with each other, but won’t accept any new members. They are good sized birds but do fine in the space we have. We could increase the size of the flock no problem in the coop setup that we have.
We also have 1 white silkie, 1 blue “satin” silkie, and 2 silkie mixes (probably silkie/polish – the white one is a sizzle, the black one not sure). They are all hens except the satin. They lay but are really pets. We have had the polish/ silkies for about a year and the silkie for 6 months. The white silkie is a hen but thinks she is a rooster – his/her name is Juancho. She sings and talks all day long. Quite a character. The blue satin silkie is new to the flock. We have to be a bit more careful with them in cold weather and rain because they are so small, get wet easily and cannot fly. During the day we keep them with our Kune Kune boars Max and Luigi who help keep them safe and warm.
What do you like about your Omlet products?
About 10 years ago we got our first chickens and the entire family (all 6 of us) loved having them. We loved their darling and hilarious personalities, and we loved getting the beautiful eggs as well. But over a short time we began to lose our chickens to many predators! It was heartbreaking to say the least! Fortunately, one of my daughters discovered the amazing Omlet products at a trade show. She told me about the Omlet coops and the pet runs and various other products! I fell in love immediately!
I love love love the way the Omlet products look. They are beautifully designed and are very easy to clean and maintain! 3 years later my coops look new! I love the pet runs especially, as they can be smaller or larger depending on your flock needs. I love that I can walk into the runs without bending down or getting on the ground. This feature enables me to easily feed, water, clean, visit and bond with my flock!
We love the Omlet coop and enclosure. It’s very easy to keep clean and we have had (so far) almost no hygiene/sanitation issues. I believe that the plastic helps minimize this vs. wood or porous material. The coop is warm in the winter and stays cool in the summer even in our extreme heat. We have a lot of predators and so far, no one has been able to get in. They seem to have a hard time even getting on the coop because of the rounded roof so that is an extra plus. I also like that the product is simple – just three levers to use – simple. Everyone seems really happy and the barred rocks average an egg a day!
What’s your experience with being an Omlet ambassador?
I love being an Omlet Ambassador! I love all the products and the versatility they offer! I love my chickens! They are a sweet, hilarious and adorable part of our family. It is super fun to collect farm fresh healthy beautiful eggs everyday!
It was a very natural progression to become an Omlet Ambassador because I love the products, and I really enjoy sharing my experience, my knowledge and my love of chickens! I enjoy showing other chicken enthusiasts or others just curious about chickens our set-up!
I decided to become an Omlet ambassador because I really believe in the product and my interactions with the company have been very positive – seems like a nice group of people out trying to sell a great product.
What does a normal visit or contact from a prospect look like?
Often a person considering getting chickens and/or a chicken coop will contact me by email with a few questions. We begin a dialogue and set up a visit for them to see the fabulous Omlet products at work! We choose a time convenient for both of us! Once people see the chickens and the Omlet Coops, they can’t wait to get started with their own amazing Omlet community!
Pre virus, we had a few visits – everyone was very well informed (people really do their research!) and mainly wanted to see the product up close. I think part of it is the cost – it is expensive and therefore people want to make sure it’s the right thing before committing. Recently, we have had a lot of inquiries from people who are looking at getting chickens for the first time, probably driven to it by the high cost of eggs here in California. Some of them say they are a bit intimidated by the whole thing and again, want to make sure they are doing the right thing. We are definitely not chicken experts but the Omlet products help keep things simple – I am very confident that our ladies will be safe and clean, which seems to be half the battle!
If you think you would want to become an Omlet ambassador, send us an email and we will send you all the information you might need!
This entry was posted in Pets
By becoming an Omlet affiliate you could earn 5% commission from every sale you generate from your website, blog or social media account.
You will put a personal link to our website somewhere on your platform. If someone clicks on the link and goes on to place an order, we will give you your commission!
What are the benefits of the Omlet Affiliate Programme?
- First and foremost, you can earn money from very little effort, and turn your website, blog or email marketing campaigns into an income.
- There are no start-up or running costs, you can start earning straight away.
- You can promote our products without having to carry any inventory, so there is no risk for you.
- All customer communications, shipping and returns are handled by Omlet and our in-house Customer Service Team.
- You can choose which products you advertise to your followers or customers, and how you would like to promote them. You can change links according to season or change a link for a banner whenever you like.
Why advertise Omlet products?
Omlet products are instantly recognisable and unlike anything else on the market in terms of design and quality. We actively work on and invest in brand and product awareness, so that when customers see Omlet products on your platform, it is likely that they have already heard of the brand.
We have a team of product designers who are constantly working on new products, so there will always be something exciting to show your customers or followers.
How do I get started?
Create an Omlet Account and log in here. Click on the ’Affiliate Scheme’ button in the menu on the left hand side of the screen. You will then be able to enter the details for the website where you will post your affiliate links. This can also be a social media account!
Once that is set up an orange banner will appear at the top of the screen when you’re browsing the Omlet website. Visit the page that you would like to link to on your platform, for example the Autodoor page. Click on Link to this page, and the system will create a link and a piece of HTML that you can paste onto your website.
You can also download banners to put on your website. At the moment these are available for Chicken, Cat and Dog products.
How do you know which orders come from me?
The link you create when you click on the orange banner is unique and it contains information about your website. When someone clicks this link from your site Omlet knows that the person has come from you. Even if they leave the Omlet website and come back again we still know that they originally came from you. This works for up to 60 days from the original click.
You will receive your affiliate commission on anything that the customer purchases on the Omlet website within that 60 day period. The customer doesn’t have to buy the product you are linking to for you to get commission, we will be able to keep track of your Affiliate ID as the customer moves around the website. This means that if they clicked a link about the Autodoor on your site and end up buying an Eglu Go Hutch you will still get your affiliate commission.
You can create as many links as you like to as many pages as you like.
The system will track link clicks, banner views, orders and commission and on your Omlet account you can see where your commissions are coming from and how many clicks different links are getting, which can help you find out what works best.
How do I get paid commission?
When you have earned commission you can request for it to be transferred into your PayPal or bank account. The commission will be paid out 30 days after an order has been dispatched to the referred customer (this is because customers can return a product up to 30 days after receiving it.) Please note that the commission of 5% is calculated on the order value excl. tax, and no commission will be paid on delivery costs.
Do I need a particular type of website to participate?
No, you can add any type of website, blog or social media account as long as it does not host content that is in any way unlawful, harmful, threatening, obscene, harassing, discriminatory, defamatory or otherwise objectionable; facilitates or promotes violence, terrorism, or any other criminal activity; is sexually explicit; or infringes or assists or encourages the infringement of any intellectual property rights belonging to any party.
This entry was posted in Pets
We have received many questions in the last few days regarding orders and delivery. We would like to reassure you that our distribution centres are fully open and all our office team are now working from home.
There was a sudden increase in demand for some products and there may be slightly longer delivery times than normal as a result. We have lots more products already on their way and you can pre order online now. Next to the buy button you will be shown an estimated dispatch date and it’s also shown in your basket.
We will email you again when the order is dispatched and you can always check in with our brilliant customer service team anytime to modify your order.
Please note that once your product has been dispatched you should use the courier companies tracking services to keep up to date with your orders progress. We will always email you your tracking details. Deliveries are sometimes taking a little longer than normal as the couriers have to react to any changes to their ability to deliver. Please also note that you may receive your order in more than one delivery on two separate days.
The Omlet Team is here for you! We will still be running our usual promotions and competitions (check our social media channels and newsletter for latest) and we’ll be doing our best to keep you and your pets entertained throughout the next few weeks.
The Omlet Team
This entry was posted in Pets
Have you ever looked at your pets’ paws and wondered why? Why don’t they have hands and fingers like us? The answer dates back thousands of years and is the result of our pets’ ancestors adapting to the independent and wild lives they once lived in an environment which was very different to your safe, warm home.
The History of the Paw
Before our pets were domesticated, they had to defend themselves to stay alive while hunting for their own food. Many of the traits that helped them do that haven’t changed, staying with the species’ throughout evolution. This includes the paw.
Dogs and cats are the main paw-ed animals that may come to mind. But before we had house cats and dogs, there were generations of wild cats and wolves. The purpose of the paw is largely related to sound and shock absorption. The fatty tissue inside the pads helps animals jump and land without pain or noise, especially helpful for silently hunting prey in the wild while protecting limbs from impact.
The paw pads are also much rougher when the animal is subject to extreme surfaces day in, day out. This assists with grip in treacherous or slippery conditions, working in a similar way to human shoes. For our domestic pets, the paw pads are often much smoother as conditions are easier underfoot. Some dog breeds still have webbed feet to help them swim, an adaptation that wolves passed on and still benefit from.
While paws are well adapted for walking and jumping around, debris can sometimes get stuck in the paw pads and cause pain. If you spot your pet chewing at their paw or limping and lifting it off the ground, carefully check their paw pad for any stones or splinters that may need removing. If your rabbit or guinea pigs paws look sore it could be a sign that their bedding is too scratchy.
What can the paw tell us?
Did you know, that some animals use their paw pads to keep cool and release sweat? So damp paw prints could mean your pet needs some help cooling down.
Pet’s paws can sometimes tell us a little bit about how they are feeling, too. For example, cats will knead blankets, beds, pillows and even humans with their paws when they are feeling happy and content. There’s lots of reasons why this may be; it might remind them of nursing from their Mother, they could be trying to create a cosy spot to sleep, or they could be using the scent glands in their paw pads to mark their territory.
Have you also noticed your cat doesn’t like their paws to be touched? This is because the pads are extremely sensitive to touch, but some cats can be trained to tolerate their paws being touched, often easier if done from a young age, so if your cat does let you touch their paws it could be a sign of trust.
More info here and here.
This entry was posted in Cats
There is something very arrogant in assuming that only humans can experience deep emotions. We’ve all seen our pets excited and happy, and we also come to recognise when they’re sad. In other words, they experience feelings.
Sorrow in an animal is different from fear or anxiety. The latter things are brought on by stress, resulting from poor environment, poor diet, scary neighbours, cruel owners, or countless other factors that can make animals feel exposed or in danger.
Heartbreak, as any person who has experienced it knows, is something very different. It results from bereavement, or other forms of fundamental loss. Scientists are often eager to point out that we can never prove an animal feels these emotions. But many owners have seen it for themselves and have no doubt at all.
What Makes Dogs Sad?
A pet may become distressed if a certain person or a longstanding companion of the same species is no longer around – but only if that person or pet was one that the animal had completely bonded with.
A family dog will have a relationship with all the human members of its family, but there will usually be one favourite – an Alpha male or Alpha Female, if you like. Although the dog may miss the others, it is on this favourite, its main owner, that its affections will be focused.
If such a person leaves the household, for whatever reason, the dog’s first reaction will be one of separation anxiety. It will pine and lose its interest in things such as food, games and walks. Loss of appetite can lead to liver problems in a relatively short time, so keep an eye on the situation and be ready to turn to a vet for help.
The dog may also whine and cry more than usual, and may start to lick and chew household items, or its own fur or paws. Many grieving dogs find it hard sleeping, and will sit and whine by a door, or may simply go into hiding.
A lot depends on the breed, and on the individual animal too. But many dogs can certainly be classed as heartbroken in these situations. The grieving will last for several weeks, even months.
Time will cure the heartache, but in the meantime you can help by making sure the pet continues to have walks in its favourite places. If the dog enjoys staying in kennels, a short break there is a possibility too. You could also consider employing a dog walker, to give your pet a change of routine. Don’t be afraid to be more generous than usual with the snacks, treats and toys, too.
What Makes Cats Sad?
Cats can be harder to read than dogs. They will tend to lay low, hiding away more than usual. Some will become more vocal, mewing and crying for their lost friend. Many will lose their appetites, sleep less, and may even run away for days at a time.
Like dogs, a cat that stops eating can develop potentially fatal liver disease, so early intervention by a vet is recommended.
Many, however, soon transfer their main affections to another member of the household. Other, more independent cats seem to readjust without any problem.
What Makes Other Pets Sad?
Small mammals don’t appear to grieve when their owners disappear from their lives. But many will revert to a natural nervousness if they are no longer being handled and fed by their best friend. Someone else needs to step up and become the pet’s favourite.
Pet parrots who have bonded with a partner or owner are known to grieve the loss of a loved one, whether a fellow bird or a human. Loss of appetite and listlessness are the usual signs. Someone needs to keep up the contact and interaction, to ease these highly intelligent birds into their new lives.
The problem does not usually arise if the birds are kept in an open aviary setting. Smaller parrots such as budgies and lovebirds don’t seem to miss their human friends so intensely either, although they will certainly grieve if their feathered best friend disappears.
The Grieving Process
Above all, try to be upbeat and affectionate with the grieving animal. Pets pick up on our moods with an almost supernatural skill, so if we’re very sad, they may mirror our feelings. Again, this might be a good time to bring in friends or relatives more able to put on a happy face for the sake of the heartbroken pet.
Most pets will, with time, move on. Some older pets may never entirely recover. In all circumstances involving loss, all an owner can do is care for the animal as it readjusts to changed circumstances.
This entry was posted in Pets
With Valentine’s Day approaching many of us will be making restaurant bookings and buying cinema tickets for a night out with their partner. Sure, that’s nice, but wouldn’t you really prefer it if you could include the third member of your couple, your pet, in your plans? We’ve put together a suggested date night schedule that both humans and pets will enjoy, so that no one gets left out!
A few days before
If you’re buying a present for your parter, you should make sure you treat your pet to something special as well, as they’ve been such a good boy or girl. How about getting your rabbits or guinea pig some fun accessories for their run, like a shelter or some Zippi-tunnels? Dogs and cats will always appreciate a new, super comfy bed.
16.00 Time Outside
Depending on what pet you have, the key to a good date night might be to tire them out a bit before you snuggle up inside. Rabbits and guinea pigs will love a run around in their tunnels in the garden, cats will enjoy some fresh air (either letting them hunt around the neighbourhood for an hour or so, or join them for some time on their cat run) and dogs will feel spoiled after a long hike or trip to the park to see some doggy friends. If you have a dog, why not stop off at a dog friendly bar for a drink and a small snack before you return home?
18.00 Play Time
This is a perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your pet, doing what you know they love doing. If you have a smaller animal, you and your partner can create a maze or prepare a scavenger hunt for them, hiding snacks and building obstacles around the living room. Cats will enjoy chasing toys, and dogs will go crazy for some tug of war. If you want to spoil your pets even more, why not get them a new toy to play with?
19.00 Dinner Time
The key to the perfect date night is some good, and preferably rather indulgent, food. Maybe this is a good opportunity to try one of those recipes that requires a bit more time and effort? Or just to order some take away, if you’re knackered after all the playing. To fully include your pet, we would suggest making sure they also get to have something special for dinner. There are plenty of easy and healthy recipes for all pets online, so you can find something that you will enjoy making, and your pet will enjoy wolfing down. Divide the work and let your partner make something for the pets while you cook the human food, or the other way around.
20.00 Spa Treatment
Get settled on the sofa for a pampering session for pets and humans alike. Give your pet a bath and some grooming, like cutting their nails, brushing their fur and cleaning their teeth. While you enjoy a face mask or a manicure, dogs and cats might benefit from an oil treatment for dry skin and paw pads. Finish off the spa hour with a good long massage. Your pet will probably not be of much help here, so you humans might have to take it in turn.
While you’re treating yourselves, why not put on some relaxing music? Spotify has recently launched Spotify for Pets, customised lists based on your pet’s personality and your music taste. Unfortunately you’re limited to only a few pets at the moment, but what’s to say your rabbit won’t enjoy a cat playlist?
21.00 Film and Snacks
Pop some popcorn, pour some wine and curl up on the sofa together with your date(s) for some Petflix and Chill. Make sure your pet has a place where he or she can get settled and feel comfy, maybe on a special blanket or bed. Date night is all about a relaxing rom-com, or something else that both you can your pet will love napping in front of. Make sure that you offer your pet movie snacks and a nice drink as well, we have plenty of treats and goodies for all pets in our shop.
This entry was posted in Pets
According to folklore, birds choose their mates on St Valentine’s Day. A rare few only have to make that choice once, staying with the same partner for as long as both birds are alive.
There is something romantically appealing about this idea of birds sticking together for life. But not many species follow this lifestyle. The faithful few include many species of goose and swan, several of the owls and eagles, and some of the penguins. Many others are ‘serially monogamous’, meaning they stick with one partner throughout a single breeding season, but not for life. An estimated 90% of bird species fall into this category.
Mating for life is something much rarer. Parrots in captivity usually stick with one partner, as their choice of mates is limited. But the whole idea of bird fidelity is best captured in the image of two lovebirds cuddling up and rubbing beaks.
What’s the advantage in sticking together for life?
The chicks of birds of prey such as owls and eagles grow slowly. Rearing a big bird such as an osprey or golden eagle takes around three months from egg laying to independence. It helps save time if the parents start rearing their young early in the season, preferably in the same nest as last year. Lengthy courtship displays and nest-building are simply delays, and ones that can be avoided if two birds resume their old relationship each year.
The advantages of faithfulness may seem less obvious for smaller birds. But it ensures that both parent birds are focussed on the successful rearing of their chicks. The alternative is polygamy, in which the male strays away to mate with other birds, putting all the pressure on the hen bird to feed the chick. In a harsh season, having two parents working together can make the difference between life and death for the chicks.
Most mating-for-life species don’t actually live together outside the breeding season, though. Not in the wild, at least. But there is one famous exception – the Lovebird.
Lovebirds of a feather stick together
Lovebirds take mating-for-life very seriously. Most other ‘faithful’ birds rediscover their independence outside the breeding season, but Lovebirds live up to their name 24/7, 365 days a year.
Like most parrot species, in the wild all nine species of Lovebird live in flocks, and their social organisation is based on pairs. The strong bonds involved prevent bickering and fighting in the mating season. It’s a peace-keeping system that works so well, it’s surprising that other species haven’t followed a similar evolutionary path.
Lovebirds are bonded to the point of jealously. They may be our perfect picture of avian affection, but they will fend off any intruders. It is recommended to keep pairs separate from other birds, rather than including them in a mixed aviary – unless you have a huge space in which grumpy or jealous birds can easily find space away from each other.
A bereaved Lovebird, or one kept on its own, will become depressed. It will pine, stop eating, squawk, and become irritable. The exceptions are those birds that have been handled from a young age and have bonded with their human companion. Their affection is every bit as genuine with a human ‘partner’ as a feathered one.
There are downsides to this, though. A bonded lovebird will regurgitate food for you, and will need discouraging from attempting to mate!
Zebra Finches – Lovebirds of the Finch world
Most birds that live in flocks are monogamous – that is, they have just one mate each breeding season – but the Zebra finch takes it a step further. Many owners think the bird’s habit of mating for life is something that only happens in captivity, where choice of partner is restricted. But the little Zebra is every bit as faithful as the Lovebird, even in the wild.
In captivity problems can arise when birds die, or when new ones are added. A singleton in a group of Zebra finches will find it hard to find a mate without a fight. For this reason, ironically, it is actually best to keep these finches in pairs rather than big or odd-numbered flocks, as a single bird may be forced to become either a bully or a depressed outcast.
Love is in the air
Nature has found all sorts of ways of ensuring that the next generation of birds takes to the wing. At one end sit the cuckoos, taking no responsibility for parenting or relationships of any sort. Next come those birds that take the lots-of-mates approach. Most, however, opt for one partner per season.
But there’s something particularly appealing about those few species that mate for life. For Lovebird and Zebra finch owners, romance is an everyday fact of life.
This entry was posted in Pets
Is “become an Omlet superfan” in your new year resolutions? We don’t blame you! Here’s all the super easy ways you can keep up with our special offers, competitions, videos, blogs and more in 2020!
Our weekly newsletter is jam packed with fun articles, information about exciting new launches and promotions, and reviews from customers. By subscribing to the newsletter, you will make sure that you’re the first one to know about everything Omlet! We also regularly deliver exclusive offers just for newsletter subscribers which we promise you will want to hear about. We can’t say too much, but it is very likely there will be an amazing Eglu offer coming up at the end of January 😉
The Omlet Youtube channel is a great place to explore our products. The informative and fun videos show all the groundbreaking features that customers love, with the added bonus of some very cute animals! By subscribing you will always be fully clued up on the latest Omlet innovations, and you will find plenty of useful information about keeping pets.
We also have helpful step-by-step videos showing you how to build all our products, resulting in fewer arguments and less frustration! You can have them playing in the background as you put together your pets’ new home, and it’s easy to pause or go back if needed.
Integrate Omlet into your favourite social media feed and brighten up your scrolling time with cute pet pics, awesome new products, amazing competitions, promotions and much more! You will also get all the information you need to take part in the many competitions we will be running in 2020. You won’t want to miss out, so make sure you follow us today!
This entry was posted in Pets
This classy lady, all dressed up and ready for those Christmas parties!
This group of friends saying: Merry Christmas from our Pack to your Pack!
This little fellow, who is looking forward to helping Santa deliver all the presents!
This cutie who wants to Woof You a Hairy Christmas!
This beauty, who’s having a little paws between Christmas meals.
This lady, who knows the importance of decorating your home for the holidays!
This festive feline, who’s wishing you all a meowy Christmas!
This lovely lady who wants you to let Santa Paws know she would never be naughty!
And finally these best buddies, celebrating the holidays in style!
This entry was posted in Christmas
BAKE SOMETHING FOR YOUR PETS
A rainy day is the perfect time to stay in the kitchen and make a treat for your pets to enjoy. How about these dog friendly pancakes? Make sure that the recipe you choose is pet friendly, and remember to not feed your pet too many treats.
FIND NEW GAMES TO PLAY WITH YOUR CAT
Take advantage of all your free time and spend a few hours playing with your cat. Most older cats will have developed their own games to keep them entertained, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy your company, and together you might find some new fun games. Hunting games are normally a big hit. Objects with quick and unpredictable movement will without a doubt catch your pet’s attention, so try waving feathers or floaty fabric in front of your cat and drag them across the floor to get your pet moving.
TEACH YOUR DOG A NEW TRICK
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s just not true. With the right encouragement your dog can learn new things throughout their lives, and it will be a great way for you to spend some quality time together.
How about teaching your dog to bark on command, or to play dead? Or why not take them to the park for some fetch training? There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube, so get your strategy in place and fill your pockets with treats. When the summer break is over you’ll have a great party trick to show friends and family.
Why not get the kids to clean out the chicken coop for you for a bit of extra pocket money? The Eglu Chicken Coops are so easy to clean that anyone tall enough to reach in will be able to get it spotless in no time. Get them to bring in the new eggs and you can all have lunch together!
HOMEMADE TOYS FOR RABBITS
You can find lots of toys for your rabbits in our shop, but if you want to make something together with the kids you can find plenty of toy material in the garden or around the house.
Locate a willow tree and collect some twigs to weave into a ball or a wreath. Your rabbits will love playing with their new toys as well as nibble on the nutritious wood.
If you’ve got an old towel or a pair of jeans you’re getting rid off you can make a rag doll for your rabbits. Use your creativity to make something beautiful, or just tie a knot in the middle of a strip of sturdy fabric that the rabbits can throw around on their run and rip to shreds. Make sure to take it away before they’ve ruined it completely though, as you don’t want them to ingest too much fabric.
Experiment with taking photos of your pet in different locations. Put them against a white wall in the house for a nice studio shoot, or try getting action shots in the garden. If your pet will accept any type of clothing you can dress him or her up in different outfits and funny hats, and make them pose for the camera. Why not start an instagram account for your pet to show the world how cute he or she is? Here are our best tips for taking better photos of your pets.
Why limit the egg fun to Easter? Boil some eggs and let them cool, then get the art supplies out and decorate to your heart’s content. You can decide on a theme that everyone has to follow, or if you’re feeling competitive you can get friends and family to judge the eggs in different categories – ”Most Creative”, ”Most Colourful”, ”Best Egg Pun” etc.
ABSTRACT PAW ART
Let your dog’s creative juices flow and let him or her create a beautiful piece of art. Get some toxic-free, water based paint and put your dog’s paws in it. With some treats, guide the dog to a blank canvas and let them walk all over it, creating an abstract paw-print painting. Have water at hand to clean the paws as soon as you’re happy with the result. This might be best as an outdoor activity to avoid the risk of paw prints on carpets and furniture.
This entry was posted in Pets
Summertime… Beach stays, trips abroad, hikes… It is a great opportunity to take a break with your family and keep daily stress at bay. You book a lovely hotel with your other half, you read a map with your children asking them where they want to go, you pack your suitcases, you… Wait! Aren’t you forgetting someone? “Babe, what about the cat? Is he coming with us?!”
Most pet owners tend to forget about it: having a pet means new responsibilities and taking care of them when you go on holidays is one of them. Unfortunately, too many people still ignore it. The months of December, January and February are critical since many people seem to struggle when it comes to taking care of their pets while also going on holiday. Read our tips below to make sure your pets will have a great time this summer, just like you!
You might be an adventurous Frenchman aiming to sail around the world with your hen (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672). However, in all other cases, we recommend that you do not take your chickens on holidays with you. The best thing to do is to ask some friends or neighbours to take care of them while you are away, offering them to help themselves to eggs. If you are lucky enough to have an Eglu Cube on wheels, you can even move your coop directly into your neighbour’s garden!
GUINEA PIGS AND RABBITS
Just like with chickens, it is better to leave your rabbit or guinea pig at home and ask a friend, ideally someone they already know, to come and look after them. If you still decide to take them with you, or if you don’t have any other choice, be very careful with temperature change. These smaller pets are extremely sensitive to it and a sudden temperature change could be fatal. While in the car, make sure that they are neither too hot (do not leave them next to a window or in a parked car) or too cold (do not put them in front of the air con). You also want to check that nothing is at risk of falling and hurting them in the cage: take away the bottle and the feeder and stop regularly to give them some water and food. Remember that rodents and rabbits are very shy animals that like to have their own routine and tend to struggle with change.
You can definitely take them with you, but in most cases you don’t have to: cats are independent animals that can take care of themselves for a few days. Fill their bowls with food and water before leaving. If you are away for less than 10 days, ask a friend to come and check on them (one or two short visits a day should do).
If you are away for more than 10 days, it is better to leave your cat with some relatives, preferably people who already know your cat and who don’t have any animals that the cat won’t get along with. You can also put your cat in a boarding kennel. However, keep in mind that this can be risky since your cat could feel abandoned (new place, new faces…) and get depressed. Before taking them to the cattery you can give them some soft and natural tranquillizer, like Bach flower, to help them adjust.
Dogs are probably the most complicated animal to deal with when going on holidays. You can’t just leave them at home with food and water. This is not only bad for your dog, but could also lead you to be accused of animal cruelty. The best option is definitely to book a seat for your dog in your car and help them pack their suitcase!
Why should I take my dog with me?
Of course you can leave your dog with your friends or family (preferably someone they already know). However, keep in mind that dogs are very social animals and thrive on their owner’s company. For them, holidays will be a fantastic opportunity to spend some quality time with their favourite humans. Moreover, since you are on holidays, you will have more free time and will be able to spend entire days with your dog, which will make them extremely happy. No more long and boring days waiting for you at home! No doubt that you and your family will also be delighted to spend the whole day playing and exercising with your dog. They can also help you to interact with fellow holiday makers: many people won’t be able to resist giving them some attention!
How to organise a trip with a dog
Here is a list of what you can do to make sure your dog is ready for the holidays and everything goes fine while you two are away from home:
- Before going, make sure your dog is used to travelling in a car. Some dogs can be car sick and it is good to prepare them, especially if you’re planning on a road trip and are spending a lot of time in the car!
- Make sure your dog knows some basic commands such as heel and sit. If they are able to go on a walk without pulling on the lead, it is even better!
- Check that their vaccinations are up to date, and if you’re going abroad, double check what the requirements are far in advance.
- Bring everything they may need: food, of course, but also a first-aid kit, their health record book, the lead, the food and water bowls, the crate, their favourite toys, some poo bags… It is very important to take your dog’s food with you if you are going abroad since you can’t make sure you’ll find their favourite brand in the country you’re visiting.
- While travelling, put your dog in their cage in the boot of the car.
- Before visiting a place, make sure they accept pets. Never go to a hotel before checking it. Likewise, you will easily find a list of dog friendly beaches online.
- Check that your dog is not too hot. If you’re going on a walk, don’t forget to bring a bowl and a good amount of water.
- When settling your dog somewhere, do it properly: make sure they have some food, some water, some shadow… Even if it is just for an hour!
- If you think it is necessary, you can fit your dog with a GPS collar. This can be useful when you go hiking in the wild. You can also download various apps on your mobile to help you locate a lost dog, find a vets near you or keep record of your dog’s health.
In some states you can travel for free with your pet on most public transport: buses, taxis, trains and ferries. However, to make sure everything goes smoothly, always check that that is the case before you board. Be aware that coach companies generally do not accept pets except for assistance dogs. Remember that passengers can complain about your animal’s behaviour so try and make sure your pet will be able to behave themselves while travelling.
When travelling abroad, make sure you can go on public transport with your pet since this can vary according to the country (in some places you will have to book a ticket for your animal).
If you’re travelling by plane, mention that you have an animal when booking and check that your animal’s vaccination is up to date. On the day of the departure, make sure to arrive early. Cats and small dogs will generally be allowed to fly with you in the cabin. However, bigger dogs will have to travel in a heated and pressurised part of the cargo hold. Birds, rabbits and hamsters are often forbidden but some airlines may accept them.
This entry was posted in Pets
Naming pets can be difficult. Should you go for something highly original, something that describes the pet, or something that reflects your own personality? Should it be ‘safe’, picked from an online list of popular pet names? Or should it say something about the year the pet was born – perhaps a dog called Trump, a cat called Greta, or a budgie called Boris?
If it’s a family pet, parents often take the easy way out and ask the kids to think of names. We fool ourselves that we are being kind, inclusive parents, but in reality we’re just passing the buck!
Safety in numbers
Somehow, if there’s more than one new pet the floodgates of inspiration suddenly open. You can use the same letter – Maxi and Mini, Pixie and Pumpkin, or Arthur and Alfie. Or you can go for famous couples such as Pepper and George, Thor and Loki , Meg and Mog, Lennon and McCartney, Bubble and Squeak.
It becomes harder if there are more than two new animals to be named. A small flock of chickens, for example, may well start out with individual names, but chances are you’ll soon be referring to them simply as “The Chickens”.
The other definition of “safety in numbers” is “names used 1000s of times before”. Cats will always be called Tom, Fido will be used for Dogs, and Polly the parrot will remain iconic. And then there are all those lists of Most popular Pet Names. These change gradually as the years pass, just as popular baby names do.
A survey of 2018 faves, for example, suggests that Ruby, Bella, Max and Charlie are the commonest dog names in Australia. Cats are mainly called Luna, Bella, Coco and Charlie. And if you have a parrot, chances are it’s named Charlie, Kirsty, Ollie, Bernard or Basil.
Small mammals tend to share popular names, and right now the most popular ones are Flopsy, Thumper, Luna, Cookie and Rosie (and Flopsy and Thumper, along with Peter, have been top names for rabbits for 60 years or more).
No Laughing Matter?
If you opt for an amusing name, you need to be confident you won’t regret the decision further down the line. You will find that names such as Brexit, Doggy McDogface and Smelly Cat soon pass their sell-by date.
If you want a pet name that will always raise a smile, without overdoing it, it’s best to choose something not usually used for pets at all. You’ll probably never tire of a cat called Gary, a dog called John and a parrot called Karen. It’s a fine line, though. Quirkier names such as Laptop the cat, Curtains the dog and Bread Roll the parrot may quickly lose their appeal.
Things To Avoid
If you have a new dog, you should avoid giving it a name that resembles a command word. For example, Sid sounds like ‘Sit’, Levi sounds like ‘Leave it’, Walt sounds like ‘Wait’, Hal sounds like ‘Heel’, and so on. This is less of an issue with other pet species.
Anything rude or controversial is going to cause embarrassment – for you (when you have to use the name in front of the neighbours), and for the poor children forced to address their furry friends as Sexy Paws, Satan, or whatever.
It’s also short-sighted to give pets baby names. Yes, that puppy may well look like Tummykins, and that kitten may respond well to Tiny Fluff, but once they’ve become adults, it will sound a bit silly.
You should also spare a thought for vets and kennels/catteries too. Having a dog called Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley), a cat that sounds like ‘catkin’ but is spelled Qatqin, or even rogue letters in the name, such as Jaxon, Klyde or Phreddie, can lead to confusion in databases.
Things To Fall Back On When All Else Fails
You could choose a name that describes your pet’s behaviour or appearance. Flash, Dash, Nibbler, Scratchy, Sooty, Rosy, Socks, Spot, Biscuit, Brownie, and so on. There are also the famous names – Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweetie Pie, Lassie, Laika, Marmalade, Felix, etc.
And then, of course, there’s that classic ‘get out of jail free’ card – the kids. All you have to do is pronounce judgement on whatever names they come up with, saying “try again” if you don’t like it. Once they’ve decided on a Snowy, Scooby, Simba or Marley, you can sit back with the satisfaction of a difficult job well done.
This entry was posted in Pets
Elderly pet-owners will need a little help looking after their furry or feathered friends. Shopping for pet food, training, grooming, and cleaning out cages and litter trays are all factors to be considered.
If a pet falls ill, it will need taking to a vet, or medication may have to be given. Lack of transport and shaky hands can suddenly become problems in these circumstances.
The level of assistance needed will, of course, depend very much on the physical and mental health of the pet owner.
But in spite of these considerations, pets and older people are a perfect match – as long as you get the right pet!
Pets to Avoid
For many older people, owning a pet is all about companionship. So, although an iguana, goldfish or tarantula may be low maintenance, they don’t exactly exude personality and friendship. Reptiles, fish and insects can therefore be placed in the category ‘Dedicated Enthusiasts Only’.
Rodents are not ideal choices, either. They are fast moving, and can easily escape from an open cage. Some, such as the hamster, are largely nocturnal too, losing several points on the ‘companionship’ scale.
The Best Bird Companions
Small cage birds make good pets for seniors. Larger species such as parrots are long-lived, and this can present mounting problems if an owner becomes increasingly frail with the passing years.
A budgie is a good option. These birds are intelligent, easily hand-tamed, and once trained they will return to their cage unassisted after playing and flying indoors. Some also learn to talk, which reinforces the companionship enormously. Add to this the fact that their cages can be kept on holders at shoulder-height, with easy access for cleaning and feeding, and you have the perfect pet for older people.
Canaries and other pet finches can be good choices too, but it has to be said that they lack the big personality, trainability and talkativeness of budgies. There are other plus points, though, notably the beautiful song of the canary.
The Best Cat Companions
In many ways the cat is an ideal pet for seniors. But it isn’t just a question of arriving at Gran’s door with a kitten and expecting everything to be fine!
A kitten will need to be house-trained, and won’t instantly be the placid lap-loving cat that many elderly owners will be looking for. An older cat, on the other hand, will have ‘grown in’ to its personality. You could choose a placid, indoor-loving coach-potato breed such as the Persian, Russian Blue or Ragdoll if laps and cuddles are the priority.
Ideally the cat should still be given access to the outdoors to prevent the chore of cleaning a litter tray every day. In this respect one of the ideal breeds is the Abyssinian. Super-friendly and incredibly tame, they are also lovers of the great outdoors, mixing and matching house and garden perfectly.
If a cat is being adopted from a previous home, you will be able to find out all about its personality. Many ‘moggies’ of a non-specific breed turn out to be the perfect pet for seniors, after a little investigation into the animal’s background.
Bear in mind, though, that cats can live up to 20 years – a big time commitment if someone is already worrying about health and mobility in later life. But once again, this is where the animal’s independence becomes a great asset. Most cats, even though they love their owners, can pretty much look after themselves.
The Best Dog Companions
For an elderly person with mobility, dogs are a great pet choice. Several breeds thrive with just a little daily exercise. Many of these are at the smaller end of the scale – dogs such as the Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon Frise, and good-natured individuals from the West Highland and Yorkshire Terrier families. Smaller dogs have smaller appetites too – a major consideration if money is an issue.
However, some smaller dogs can be very yappy or snappy – not a great combination. Breeds to beware of for these reasons include Chihuahua, Jack Russell, and Dachshund.
If the owner is still able to walk a mile or two a day, a Golden Retriever makes a great choice. But with all breeds you need to bear in mind longevity – a dog that needs walking at six months old may still be demanding walkies at 15.
Pets For Therapy
It’s a well known fact that pets are therapeutic. Some care homes hold regular pet therapy sessions in which residents spend quality time with cats, dogs, and other tame animals.
Pets bring positive benefits for mental health across all age groups, and can also prevent loneliness becoming a problem. We all need affection, and pets deliver it with no questions asked!
However, having a pet-handling session in a care home is a different proposition to an elderly person keeping a pet in their own home. All animals need a certain amount of looking after, and if mobility is an issue, even a simple chore such as cleaning a cage can become difficult. In these circumstances, seniors will need a little assistance.
But if you get it right, a pet can bring so many positives into an elderly person’s life – companionship, stimulation, stress relief, and that most important human need of all: love.
This entry was posted in Budgies
Moving home can be very stressful. Not just for you and your family, but for your pets too.
It’s less of an issue for smaller animals kept in cages or enclosures. But even pet rodents and birds will need to be transported to the new residence, and none of them will enjoy the journey.
Of all the pets, though, it’s cats and dogs that take the brunt of the stress when moving. Everything they’ve come to know and rely on in terms of safe places, personal spaces, territories, and familiar scents and sounds disappears.
Here are a few tips to help your furry friends chill-out at this most disruptive of times.
Helping Pets Move Out
There’s a shortcut to a stress-free move: put your dog or cat in a kennel or cattery, or hand them over to a dog- or cat-sitter. That way they can ride out the chaos in relative peace and quiet, and you can collect them once the dust has settled at the other end of the moving process.
If you decide instead to let your pet ride out the storm with you, there are several things you can do to make it easier on them.
- Put your pet in a safe space – a quiet room in the house away from the main activity of boxes, moving furniture and sweaty removal men. Put familiar things in the room such as bowls and favourite toys, and make sure your pet spends time there in the weeks before the move, to get used to it. This applies not just to cats and dogs, but to small mammals and cage birds too.
- If your dog has a crate, that might be an even better option. Similarly, if your cat is happy chilling out in a cat crate or box, let them.
- Nominate one member of the family to be responsible for pet wellbeing throughout the move.
- Some owners recommend spraying a cat box or basket with calming pheromones (available from vets or pet shops). The calming effect can be increased by covering the crate with a sheet to keep it dark.
Pets On The Road
Some pets enjoy travelling. Others hate it. Highway blues can be minimised in the following ways.
- If your pet is already used to travelling in a car, great. If not, introduce them to the inside of the vehicle in the weeks before the move.
- Dogs should be secured with a doggy seat belt, or installed in a crate if that’s possible. Cats should always be transported in cat crates, and ideally they should be used to these before making the journey. Never let an animal remain loose in a car during the move; and don’t make a dog travel in the strange and scary surroundings of the removal van.
- For smaller cage pets, the journey is bound to be stressful. If possible let them remain in a covered cage and put plenty of soft items around it to prevent it moving around during the journey. If you need to transfer the animals to carrying boxes, make sure these are placed somewhere dark, with no chance of moving around. Never put the box in the glove compartment – there’s a chance of noxious fumes building up in there.
- If the journey is long, take breaks to allow your cat or dog to drink and, in the case of a dog, to exercise and relieve itself.
Helping Pets Move In
It takes time for pets to settle into new surroundings. But the first few hours are likely to be the most stressful, so, again, make it as painless for your pet as possible.
- Choose a quiet settling-in room, put the pet’s basket or blanket in there, along with some other familiar items, and then close the door for as long as it takes for your stuff to be relocated from the removal lorry to the new house or flat.
- Once everything is inside and the doors and windows are all closed, let your pet out for an exploration of the new place. Keep close, to reassure them. Most pets will relax within five minutes after a good sniff around, and will happily accept a tasty treat.
- If you have a cat, rub its head and cheeks with a cloth, and then rub the cloth on surfaces and skirting boards around the new place. This will transfer the cat’s natural pheromones.
- Put the pet’s bed in the place you intend it to sleep in, rather than letting it spend a few nights here, there and everywhere. Routine and familiarity are what it’s all about.
- When outside, keep your dog on a lead in the first few days, to prevent him chasing new scents and getting lost, or attempting to head for his former residence, which for a short time will still be ‘home’ in his brain.
- Keep cats indoors for at least one week, otherwise they will wander away. This is very likely to happen if you have not moved very far. Only let them out after dark once you’re confident that they have properly settled in.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped and have IDs on their collars, in case they stray.
Pets soon settle into a new home. All they really need is a little time, the reassurance of your continuing presence, and the sight and smell of familiar toys, food and bedding.
It’s these things, rather than a mere accident of geography, that means ‘home’ to a happy pet.
This entry was posted in Pets
The arrival of a baby in a household turns things upside down. That’s certainly how it can seem to your pets. A dog may find there’s less time for walks and playing, and a cat may suddenly be ousted from her favourite sleeping places in the bedroom or on your lap, due to the presence of the baby.
It’s important to get your pets used to the idea of having the newcomer around, along with the changes in routine that go with it. And ideally the preparation needs to start before the baby is born.
Prenatal Pet Training
In the months leading up to the birth, spend slightly less time with your cat or dog – particularly if they are used to lazing in your lap or sitting by your feet demanding attention.
If your dog is not fully trained at this point, fill in the gaps with some training sessions. Get an expert in to help out, if necessary. Your dog needs to know the basic ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave it’ commands, at the very least. It’s essential that the humans in the house reinforce their roles as Alphas in the pack.
A new baby will bring new sounds and smells to the house. You can get your pets ready for this by inviting mums and dads with babies or toddlers to call in for coffee. Play a recording of a crying baby to acclimatise pets’ ears, and switch on any noisy new toys, mobiles, swings or other baby-related apparatus. Let your pets sniff a nappy and a cloth with a few drops of baby oil on it. Familiarity is half the battle.
Get Your Pet Vet-Ready
A neutered pet is a calmer pet, and less likely to bite. This is especially true with males. When neutered, they are less likely to view the baby as a rival. Arrange for a vet to perform the operation, if the pet is not yet neutered. And while you’re there, make sure Puss and Fido are up to date with their vaccinations, worm-free, and generally in tip top health.
Babies bring lots of unpredictability to a household, and old routines soon break down. There’s nothing wrong with this, but a pet who’s set in his ways may not take kindly to sudden change. Break him in by varying feeding times, blocking off no-go areas with a baby gate, or perhaps hiring a dog walker.
If the human mum-to-be has always been the pet’s chief companion, it’s handy if you can introduce another ‘favourite’ into its life. This could be a partner, older child or friend – anyone able to spend quality time with the animal.
Introducing the Baby
Before letting a dog or cat see the baby, let them sniff a blanket and a soiled nappy. Try not to show any nervousness when bringing the baby into the house for the first time, as pets will pick up on the bad vibes.
To make the first introduction, sit with the baby in your arms – ideally in a ‘neutral’ room, one where the pet doesn’t usually go – and let the dog or cat approach in its own good time (and one at a time, if you have multiple pets). Don’t force the issue. Have some treats ready to reward good behaviour.
You can reinforce the positive associations by treating a dog whenever it’s around you and the baby. That way your pet will come to associate the baby with good things (i.e. food!) A cat will need less fuss in this respect, and will simply equate the baby with you, logging it as something not to worry about.
Whenever there’s any interaction between baby/toddler and pet, make sure there’s an adult around to keep an eye on the situation.
Special Notes For Cats
A docile cat needs to get used to the new baby, and to keep away when it’s asleep. A more flighty cat should simply be kept away. Toddlers seem to have an instinct for grabbing handfuls of pet fur, and a nervous cat may react by scratching. A cat flap with a lock can be handy in the early days, to keep puss outdoors at key times.
Many cats dislike a baby’s crying, and will disappear when the screaming begins. This is very handy! Make sure there’s a quiet, safe spot for them, away from the mayhem. The Maya Nook is a perfect solution to give your cat some privacy.
Cats feel exposed and nervous when they eat, so you should keep a toddler away from the place where your pet is feeding. It should also go without saying that you should prevent young ‘uns from rummaging in the litter tray too!
Special Notes For Dogs
All dogs will need to be well-trained, in a situation where trust is so fundamental. Some dog breeds are very rarely going to be friendly with children, though. A dog bred over hundreds of years for aggression is NOT a dog you should have in the family home. ‘Snappy’ breeds such as Jack Russel, Dachshund or Chihuahua can be problematic too, but you probably know your dog best.
A treat-based puzzle toy such as a Kong ball is a useful distraction. You can give it to your dog while you spend time tending to the baby, to divert the pet’s attention.
It’s important not to abandon dog walks, as that will lead to doggy stress and frustration. It’s a case of ‘business as usual’, where ‘usual’ has simply undergone a few changes.
The dog/child relationship is a two-way process, and youngsters need training too. Teach them to be gentle with the dog, and they will have the basis for a good relationship.
And the importance of that relationship shouldn’t be underestimated. Children learn lots about friendship, respect and responsibility from interacting with animals. There is also evidence that allergies are less of an issue in kids who have been brought up with pets.
So – you’ve replaced your ‘pet baby’ with the real thing. That means big change. But when handled properly it’s a positive change, the beginning of a new chapter in the happy family home.
This entry was posted in Cats