Feral cats are a double-edged sword. Many people consider them vermin, but once a population has settled into an area, odds are feral cats will remain indefinitely, even if the initial group is killed. Good habitat will be invaded by a new population. You’ll learn how to care for a feral cat colony, what kinds of environments feral cats live in, and how to prevent the formation of feral cat colonies.
If you haven’t read my full biography, you might not know that I currently can’t keep most pets. Yep. My significant other and child are both deathly allergic to all things furry or feathery or that require any sort of bedding. I do have hopes of keeping pets again in the future, but our living situation doesn’t allow it.
So, we now have fish. Well, a fish. His name is Scooby Doo (not named by me) and he’s a betta, or Siamese fighting fish. Bettas are beautiful little fish. They are complete and utter jerks to other bettas, but delicate when housed with almost any other aggressive species.
These betta care tips will keep them thriving for years instead of months.
In any family with pets, providing safe and responsible care needs to be a priority. Children, especially, learn empathy and responsibility by caring for the family pet. Teaching kids pet care is easy, so long as age-appropriate tasks are chosen.
Many families choose to add a new puppy to the family on, or around, Christmas. They are so cute, and tiny, and the kids promise to take great care of her. And then, it happens. School starts again, and all the help goes out the window. The kids don’t play with her, she needs housebreaking, and she’s starting to chew up everything you own. You’re starting to think you don’t want a puppy anymore.
Before giving up and finding a new home for your puppy, try these 5 steps to reconnect with why you purchased your puppy.
The kids want a pet for Christmas. They asked for a pony, and you settled on guinea pigs. I’ve already addressed why guinea pigs make awesome pets, so the only question left is what you need to take care of them. This is my ultimate new guinea pig supply list. Everything on this list is essential to guinea pig care and keeping.
Make sure to purchase everything, and set it up, before bringing your pigs home. (Guinea pigs must be kept in same-sex pairs or groups, and adult males may never accept a companion.) Your guinea pigs prefer to settle in their home, not their carrying case.
Beds & Bedding
- Cage – Guinea pigs need a safe cage. If you have cats or dogs, the cage must have a lid for their safety. Otherwise, they can only jump a few inches and do not climb, so a low wall is sufficient. If the walls are high, the guinea pig should be able to see out of them. This is why I love the Midwest Habitat Plus cage. It has 8 square feet of floor space, and all the parts are replaceable.
- Bedding – Guinea pigs need some sort of substrate. Any bedding needs to be changed regularly (the more frequent the better). Wood shavings are extremely dusty but sufficient. They can also be housed on rabbit pellets, but these are both dusty and expensive if you aren’t a breeder. Many owners are now using Fleece Liners as bedding. Change the liner every other day, pop it in the washer, and reuse.
- Hideout – As a prey species, guinea pigs feel most comfortable in a safe house. While they love new hideouts (soda can boxes are a favorite), having a consistent hide helps them feel secure. The Pigloo is a popular choice.
Food & Feeding
- Basic Diet Pellets – Guinea pigs can eat basic guinea pig pellets or rabbit pellets. They need a version that does not have dried fruit or seeds in it, as they are not made to eat seeds or hard chunks and can choke. The Kaytee brand makes a series of excellent pellets.
- Hay – Guinea pigs also require free-fed hay. Like horses, they need to constantly eat hay to maintain a proper digestive system. Different kinds of hay have different nutrients, and alfalfa hay can cause kidney stones. Use Timothy Hay for optimal health.
- Fruits & Veggies – Guinea pigs need a fresh source of Vitamin C daily. Ideally, feed them fresh veggies daily (colored bell peppers are a popular choice). You can also use Vitamin C drops. Keep an eye on their expiration date, and keep them in a cupboard because they do degrade over time.
- Dishes – Guinea pigs need a source for hay, pellets, and water. Using a manger-style feeder keeps hay and pellets off the ground. Don’t try to use a bowl for water, they just make a mess. Use a water bottle instead.
Grooming & Hygiene
- Nail Clippers – Guinea pig toenails and teeth grow constantly throughout their lives. A good set of nail clippers keeps both at an acceptable length.
- Brush – Some breeds of guinea pig have long hair. They may need their hair brushed regularly (at least twice a week). A basic slicker brush and comb will keep their hair clean.
Dogs love food. Well, most dogs do. Some have better manners than others, but most treat dinnertime as a free-for-all. Dinnertime is a great opportunity to teach your dog, and using that time to teach your dog manners means they won’t be knocking the bowl out of your hand, or fighting with each other.
Learn about why your dog acts up at dinner time, and how to get him to knock that nonsense off. It’s important in the long-term respect that your dog should have for you, as well as keeps your kitchen clean and family safe.
What does your dog want for Christmas?
Finding the perfect Christmas gift is tricky. I know that for me, I have to find something that the recipient doesn’t have, and maybe doesn’t even know they want. My brother & his family always get us the best Christmas presents. They’re always gifts we didn’t even know we wanted, but use all the time. This list has that kind of gifts for your dog.
I remember my first dog show.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Frankly, I don’t even remember how I heard about it. Needless to say, I was floored. Looking back, I wish I read some sort of novice guide to dog shows, because I cringe when I think about the early years.
As a life long retriever person, I know a lot about pushy dogs. Labs love everything. They are not known as a breed with impeccable manners. When my Labs want something, they go for it with much enthusiasm and not much forethought. I haven’t met a Lab that wasn’t a pushy dog in some way.
So, when trying to maintain a pack of them, I had to teach them all to wait for my command, because otherwise anarchy reigned. I learned these techniques to keep my pack in order and my sanity intact.
Last week, we talked about things that can hurt your dog during the holidays. With the holidays fast approaching, your home probably has much more chocolate in the cupboards than normal, with more coming in just a few weeks. Chocolate toxicity is a real danger to dogs, especially small breeds who don’t have enough body mass to metabolize the chocolate before it kills them.
Luckily, most times a dog eats chocolate, it’s both large enough to metabolize the chocolate safely (since it’s harder for small dogs to get on the counters or in the cupboard), and it’s diluted as milk chocolate. I’m going to walk you through the steps to take if your dog does eat chocolate, and how serious the situation may become.