Category Archives: Pets
The drop in temperature amid winters is never excessively kind. Like we set ourselves up for the extraordinary frosty, dealing with our pets amid such a climate is similarly critical. Paying consideration on little subtle elements will help them battle the unforgiving conditions without influencing their wellbeing.
For Cats and Dogs
Keep Them Indoors
No matter how much your pet loves spending time in your backyard, keeping it outside your house for long during winter should be avoided. Outdoor exercise should be minimized. The temperatures at which your pet is safe outside should be consulted with your veterinarian.
Do Not Shave Their Coat
The thick fur coat on dogs and cats serves as a natural insulator during the colder months. Hence, avoid shaving your pet unless it is absolutely necessary. Also, do not let your pet outdoors immediately after its bath, as chances of catching a cold increase.
Cover Them in Woolens
Finding winter wear for your pet will not be a tough job. Right from sweaters to jackets and mufflers, every need of your pet can be addressed without difficulty nowadays.
Turtleneck coats that run from the top base of the tail and cover the belly are a popular choice among pet owners as they give the much-needed warmth, and are useful when you take your pet outdoors.
Make Slight Changes in Their Diet
Although there is no need for a drastic change in their food intake, try including canola oil, sunflower oil, and protein-rich food in your pet’s diet. This helps in keeping its coat healthy and thick during winter. Also, feeding frozen food should be avoided.
It is essential to make sure that your pet does not get dehydrated during this season. Use water bowls made from plastic and not metal, as it keeps the tongue from sticking to the cold metal.
Provide Warm Bedding
It goes without saying that a warm, cozy bedding is a must for harsh winters. Do not allow your pet to sleep on the floor. Beds and bedding materials are easily available at pet stores. Make sure that your pet sleeps on a carpet along with a bed, blanket, and pillow.
For pets living in a cage, such as birds and rabbits, it is advised to cover their cage with warm clothing in order to keep them warm. Here, ensure that the pet gets enough breathing space.
Keep Them Away From Antifreeze
Antifreeze is a chemical solution added to water to lower its freezing point. It is often used in the colder countries to keep vehicles from freezing. This solution is nothing less than a poison for cats and dogs. These animals are attracted to the sweet taste of this liquid that can prove fatal.
So, clean your vehicles without leaving any traces of this additive. Also, to avoid accidental intoxication, doctors suggest using animal-friendly products. And if that is not an option, keep the bottles of antifreeze out of your pet’s reach.
Clean Their Paws After Every Outdoor Visit
After returning indoors from rain or snow, be very particular about cleaning your pet’s paws and getting rid of any foreign unhygienic particles it is likely to ingest. Paw pads of cats and dogs are sensitive areas and tend to bleed because of the hard snow or ice.
Also, trim their nails and the hair between their toes to avoid snow from getting stuck. If washing their paws every time is proving to be a hassle, consider using boots during their walks.
Pay Special Attention to Mature Pets
Older dogs are prone to health problems such as osteoarthritis and hypothermia. An effective way of helping them through this season is by providing them with heating pads and blankets. Custom-made heating pads are available in the market that help them combat hypothermia and pain due osteoarthritis.
Keep a Lookout for Signs of a Frostbite
The skin of a pet with a frostbite appears whitish-gray to red and can easily peel off. Frostbite occurs to the skin of paws, ears, and the nose. Often, it is difficult to identify frostbites; hence it is advised to clean your pet thoroughly from any traces of snow as often as possible. Also, place your pet near a warm area such as the fireplace, and clean the suspected area with a moist cloth.
For Guinea Pigs and Rabbits
» The first thing to do is relocate their cage to a warm and sheltered area. This is in order to prevent the hutch (cage) from getting cold which can trap the moisture, thus, affecting your pet’s health. Also, do not place the hutch on a cold ground. Provide a thick and warm bedding for support.
» If you are keeping them indoors, then ensure that the temperature of the room remains constant as fluctuating temperature conditions can pose a serious health hazard. In case of rabbits, it is recommended not to keep them indoors for long as they tend to shed their winter coat as an immediate reaction to the warmer conditions.
» As with other pets, clean your pets regularly and check for any signs of illness. Provide them with warm winter bedding such as dry hay and straw that is covered with paper. Ensure that their hutch is dust-free and is cleaned regularly, with an easy access to drinking water. Feed them with fresh leafy vegetables and not frozen varieties.
» Construct the horse shelter with the open end or the door against the wind. Select a location in the corner of the field but in such a way that the horse does not feel cramped.
» If the coat of the horse is trimmed, it is essential to provide a rug for warmth. Ensure that the rugs are thoroughly cleaned, dry, and waterproof. The rug has to be the size of the horse or the pony, and it should not rub against its skin causing scratches and bruises.
» It is advised that the drinking water for your pet horse should not be stagnant. Hence, if there is no natural stream flowing through the field, construct a free-flowing water supply near the winter shelter.
» Since fresh grass will be tough to provide, feed your horse with hay of the amount that it is used to. Avoid overfeeding as it can lead to illnesses like colic. Make sure that your horse is mud-free in order to prevent mud fever.
» Exercise is a must as excess hard feed will tend to make it lethargic and prone to more health problems. Hence, in order to keep its body warm, it is essential to take it for a walk outdoors.
» Here, before stepping out in the snow, cover its hooves with vegetable oil to prevent the snow from getting stuck in the depressions. After the exercise, wash off the oil and remove any traces of snow.
» Although it is advised to keep the bird cage indoors during winter, make sure that it is not placed next to a wood or gas heater. Birds are sensitive to fumes, and inhaling the smoke can cause respiratory problems.
» Arrange for a warm bedding to keep them cozy. Covering the cage with a blanket will also provide the needed warmth. It is important to note here that you must keep a gap for proper ventilation.
These tips will definitely keep your pet off any likely trouble. The winter proves to be a harsh season, especially for the older pets. Underlying medical conditions, if any, worsen during the colder months. Giving the pets enough water, making the necessary changes in their diet, and providing them with shelter from snow can help them fight the harsh weather and maintain overall health.
A holiday is best enjoyed with family and friends. And as pets are an inseparable part of the family, you simply have to take them along. Yes, you can keep them at a pet care center, but frankly, do you relish that thought? Imagine being miles away from your pet, possibly in a different country, and wondering if your little sweetheart is liking its temporary abode?
Taking your pet along on a vacation seems like a dream, but it can be nightmarish for both you and your pet, if you ignore a few vital things. But fret not, as here is the complete guide to a wonderful holiday with your four-legged friends.
What to Pack
» Your pet’s medications top the list. Carry his flea or tick powder. If your pet has traveled before, you would know if he’s prone to motion sickness, if any, and the vet will prescribe medications accordingly. A first-aid kit for your pet is a necessity too.
» If your pet is used to his bedding, do not forget to pack that. Cats especially are particular about their beds, and can act fussy about it.
» Carry his favorite treats along with food. It will come in handy on long trips when your pet may get irritable. Collapsible bowls come in handy to feed pets in vehicles.
» Your pet could be having a toy that he is particularly fond of, and it would be wise to carry that. The smell of a favorite toy is extremely comforting to a distressed pet, and it keeps him cheerful otherwise as well.
» Make provisions for your pet’s waste disposal. Take a poop scoop and waste bags along, so that you don’t have to think too much about cleaning the mess your pet makes.
» Don’t forget to carry leashes and extra name tags, as it could be very inconvenient if you happen to misplace them while you are vacationing.
» Cats can be at their crankiest best when you take them out of their cul-de-sac. You must get him habituated to being on a leash at least a fortnight before your trip. The vet can sometimes recommend sedating your pet prior to travel, particularly air travel.
Did You Know…
… That We Need Passports?
A pet passport is more like a health certificate that has all the updated information about your pet’s health conditions, and ailments if he has any. It includes a list of vaccinations administered too.
Different countries have different regulations about pet travel that you need to strictly adhere to. You can get more information about pet passports at your local Veterinary Services Area Office.
… That We Love Our Travel Accessories?
Pet carriers, seat harnesses, pet barriers, portable kennels and litter boxes are designed with your pet’s and your comfort in mind. Utilize these accessories to make the journey comfortable for your pet and you.
If you are too lazy to pack essential supplies yourself, ready-made pet travel packs are available, which contain all the necessities mentioned above.
… That We Get Pet-Lagged?
Yes, travel fatigue is not limited to humans. They have a body clock, just as we do, although it may not be as tuned in as ours. Don’t be impatient with your pet who acts irritable or unusually twitchy, after a journey. Allow them enough time to recover.
It is necessary to keep your pets well-hydrated, if you are traveling by air, and let them soak in the sun, when you reach your destination.
Just Before You Leave
» A visit to the vet should be organized in the week prior to your date of departure. Let the doctor decide if your pet is healthy enough to travel.
» Get a list of necessary animal vaccinations from the embassy of the country you’ll be vacationing in. Fulfill their requirements and get a health certificate from the vet to carry along as a proof.
» You can think of installing a microchip to ensure your pet’s whereabouts if it gets lost in a new town. This tiny, grain-sized chip, when plugged into a database, gives a number that has the owner’s contact information, and makes reunions easier.
» Update your pet’s tag, especially if you’ll be traveling to a different country, perhaps your cell phone number would change.
» Cat owners should ideally start leash training well in advance. If possible, get them accustomed to longer drives if it’s a road trip you’re taking.
Exotic locations, spa retreats, reclusive resorts and 5-star luxury make our holidays worthwhile. But what makes them really memorable are our companions. For pet owners, their lovely animals are an integral part of their family, without whom a vacation just doesn’t feel like a vacation. So go ahead, book a room in a pet-friendly hotel, and make picture-perfect memories!
A Djungarian hamster looks like a Campbell’s dwarf hamster (Phodopus campbelli), but its coat is less woolly than that of the latter. The Djungarian dwarf hamster (Phodopus sungorus) is also known as the Siberian hamster or Siberian dwarf hamster. It is called ‘Russian winter white dwarf hamster’ because its grayish coat turns white in winters. Due to artificial lighting and heat (maintained temperature) in the house, this may not happen in case of captive pet hamsters. Djungarian hamsters are native to Siberia, Russia, and Central Asia. They are popular as pets in Europe and Northern America. They are sociable and can exist peacefully.
Djungarian Hamster Care
Size, Weight, and Color
➺ On an average, a Djungarian hamster is 3-5 inches long. The male is usually larger than the female. This hamster is about half the size of a Syrian hamster. It may weigh less in winter and more in summer.
➺ The weight of a male hamster can be 19 grams (0.67 oz) to 45 grams (1.6 oz), while that of a female can be from 19 grams (0.67 oz) to 36 grams (1.3 oz).
➺ The color of the coat can be light or dark gray, sapphire or golden yellow or rust orange (Sunfire Djungarian hamster with bright orange coloration), sapphire pearl, or normal pearl. A dark, dorsal stripe runs all over the body. Those in captivity exhibit greater variance in their coats than those found in the wild. Pet hamsters can be slightly heavier too.
Buying a Djungarian Hamster
➺ As the average lifespan of a Djungarian hamster as a pet is 1-3 years, choose a younger hamster. In the wild, they may live for one year only.
➺ Pick up a healthy hamster. Its eyes and nose should be clear and there shouldn’t be any bald patches on its skin. Wet tail is an infectious disease which can prove to be fatal for a hamster. If you notice a hamster with wet tail, do not buy it.
➺ First identify the gender of the hamster with the help of an employee in the shop and then buy it. (It is quite difficult to tell the gender of a very young hamster.)
➺ You can keep the hamsters in a cage or a tank. The bars of the cage should not be far apart. Otherwise, the hamsters would squeeze through easily. As hamsters are nocturnal animals, they will be squeaking, scratching, knocking, or utilizing the wheel a lot at night. So place the cage away from your bedroom. These small pets should be protected from cats, dogs and other potential predators. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight.
➺ Place a ‘cage water bottle’ (chew-proof and climb-proof ) filled with fresh and clean water. The bottle comes with an adjustable hanger.
➺ Instead of a plastic bowl, get an earthenware bowl and use it as a feeding dish. As they constantly need something to chew, they may chew the plastic, choke on it, or ingest it and die. Place the bowl and the bedding at different levels.
➺ If you want, you may buy a bath house and bathing sand for your pets. Hamsters should never be bathed with water. They might enjoy sand bath. Add only a small amount of sand in the bath house each time.
➺ As hamsters are energetic agile animals, you should buy a ‘running wheel’ (6.5″ wheel for one or two hamsters) for them. In the wild, hamsters travel a lot, they dig tunnels, wander in search of food and soft warm material for their burrows. In captivity, along with a good diet, exercise can keep them healthy and active. A solid wheel (without rungs) is recommended. It promotes easy movements and helps prevent injuries.
➺ You may buy run-about balls for the hamsters.
➺ You may carry a hamster in a cardboard box.
➺ Spread some wood shavings on the floor of the cage. Do not spread fine sawdust as it can irritate the eyes of the hamsters. Similarly, avoid using cedar or pine shavings as the aromatic oils in them can cause an allergic reaction and can irritate the hamsters. Non-toxic, soft, highly absorbent bedding is available in the market. It helps control odor too. Man-made bedding (made from fabric or other materials) should be avoided. Limbs of hamsters m
➺ Create some hiding places for your pets. They would be happy and would feel protected. You can use even a toilet paper roll for this purpose. A multistoried house (a cage with inter-connecting tubes and compartments) comes with a number of hiding places. They also like to store their food in such places.
➺ A well-balanced dry hamster food mix should be fed to them. It contains all the essential nutrients. As the hamsters are more active at night, you should also feed them at night.
➺ The teeth of hamsters grow continuously throughout their life. So, provide them chew sticks. Chewing non-toxic wooden toys, popsicle sticks, etc. helps file down the teeth.
➺ As a treat, you may feed them fruits, seeds, nuts, cereals, mealworms, vegetables, and bits of cooked poultry, etc., occasionally. Excessive treats can lead to diarrhea.
➺ Too much of lettuce in food can affect liver function.
➺ Change the bedding as and when required.
➺ Leftover, old food should be removed from the cage promptly.
➺ The cage should be cleaned weekly.
➺ If it is necessary to wash the cage, use a cleaner that is designed for cleaning small rodents’ cages.
➺ A female Djungarian hamster will breed willingly with a male, if they are raised together from a young age. These hamsters form close bonds between their mates. They prefer to form monogamous bonds. However, pregnant females treat the males viciously. The males may hide in the tubes.
➺ Siberian hamsters have a gestation period of 18 to 25 days.
➺ There is no specific breeding season as such. They breed all year round. Their population can increase significantly in a short period of time. However, a female is less likely to conceive in the presence of multiple males.
➺ Usually, a litter consists of 4-8 pups. But there can be 10-14 pups in a litter! The litter is weaned in 18 days. The young pups depend on parents for food and body heat.
➺ Father hamsters have hormonal fluctuations similar to the mother’s around the time of birth. The presence of the father plays an important role in survival of the pups. The male hamster should not be removed from the cage after the birth of pups. When the mother leaves the place, he keeps them warm. When the mother feeds them and takes care of them, he brings her food.
➺ Siberian hamsters can be bred at 4 to 6 months. As the hamster’s estrous cycle lasts for four days, the female is ‘in heat’ every four days, and is ready to accept the male for breeding again.
➺ After giving birth to several pups, the female can become pregnant on the same day.
➺ Young pups act aggressively with one another. You should remove the litter from the cage when the pups are 3 weeks old (or as soon as they are weaned from their mother). Otherwise the mother may cannibalize the litter.
➺ These hamsters can delay implantation or development of the embryo. If the pups in the existing litter are not growing at the desired rate, pregnancies can be developmentally delayed by 3 to 7 days.
➺ Shortened daylight periods can not only lead to a change in the fur color, but also to a temporarily reduced body temperature. Shortened daylight can result in a complete collapse of the reproductive capacities. Similarly, an increase in the environmental temperature and scarcity of water can affect their fertility.
Common Diseases and Medical Care
➺ As mentioned above, Siberian hamsters are allergic to oils in cedar and pine wood cuttings. The oil can cause respiratory and digestive problems.
➺ Sharp objects can damage the fragile inner linings of their cheek pouches.
➺ Consumption of fruits, nuts, and vegetables can lead to stomach upset. Let them drink plenty of water. Provide solid dry food-mix only. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and even death.
➺ Other health problems include bite injuries, broken teeth, skin infection, constipation, misalignment of the teeth of the two dental arches, and ear problems.
➺ The breeding of hybrids can cause reproductive and health problems. Hybridizing (for example, interbreeding Campbell’s dwarf hamster and Djungarian hamster) can eventually threaten the existence of both pure species.
➺ Presence of fur mites can cause itching and irritation. You may use anti-mite sprays designed for small animals or birds. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the cage, bowl, toys, etc., can help keep diseases at bay.
➺ With proper hygiene, food, and care, hamsters should not have health problems. However, it has been found that like most other rodents, these hamsters are prone to tumors. Regular checkup by a vet can help avoid serious health issues.
Your pet hamster can get accustomed to your voice and may respond in various ways, when called by its name! The Djungarian hamster is suitable for both children and adults. However, toddlers should not be allowed to handle it, as it will nip quite readily if annoyed.