Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quiz Answers and updates!


The answers are guppies and mollies. Even though they are freshwater fish they require a small amount of salt in their water. Special minerals can be used in place of the salt but the minerals are harder to find, whereas the salt is widely available. 

Note: While they don't need it to survive, Betta fish do enjoy a small amount of salt in their water from time to time. The salt gives them a health boost by adding essential electrolytes to the water which are needed for proper gill function and helps keep their slime coat in good condition.


The answers are Chinchillas and Degus. These pets are both closely related, and both require regular dust baths to maintain a healthy coat. 

Some hamsters (mainly dwarf hamsters) benefit from dust baths. They don't need it as much as degus or chinchillas but many dwarf hamsters enjoy them. Gerbils also benefit from dust baths.

Ferrets and guinea pigs should not be given dust baths. It is not natural for them, and the dust will just irritate their eyes, and they won't know what to do with the dust. The ferrets might dig in it and make a mess but they won't bathe in it.

Note: rabbits, rats, and mice, should not be given dust baths either.


Sorry about how lateness of these quiz answers! I just completely forgot about them until today! New quizzes will be up this weekend. (I don't want to do them before because that would mess up my quiz schedule!) 

New posts are coming soon!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Healthy additions to a dog's diet

I have recently been reading a book called "The Whole Pet Diet" by Andi Brown. I

It is a really good book, and while I don't plan on cooking all of my dogs meals myself like the book recommends, it did get me thinking about how I can make my dogs' diet healthier. 

So I did some researching and reading in the book and online so now I am going to do this post. 

So here are some great things to add to a dog's diet to give them a health boost:

Fresh veggies!

Fresh vegetables are a great addition to dry dog food and even canned. A lot of dog food doesn't have much vegetables, and dogs should have some vegetables in their diet. Fresh veggies are especially good to add to dry dog food since the food is obviously dry. It adds some fresh nutrients that can be lost in the processing of dry dog food, dogs love the variety, and they have a lot of benefits for your dog. 

Here are some good veggies (and herbs) to add to dog food:

carrots -good source of beta-carotene and it has been shown to contain a healthy oil that kill bad 
bacteria in the intestines

celery- aids in digestion and it can help soothe inflammations and fight urinary tract infections in pets

parsley- helps keep teeth clean and fights bad breath, can even help prevent cancer

rosemary -helps keep the digestive system healthy

zucchini- good source of vitamin A

pumpkin (not the kind with added spices made for pumpkin pie!) - healthy and so are the seeds. The seeds help get rid of parasitic worms. 

sweet potatoes- a SUPER FOOD! a good source of all kinds of vitamins and a good source of fiber!

So adding some veggies to dog food is great! Just don't overdo it! I give my dogs about an eight of cup of veggies in their food each day. You could do more, but you don't want to overfeed them. My dogs also have dry dog food that has a lot of vegetables in it already, so I don't give them a ton of veggies. 

Veggies are also great for treats!!!!


Cooked chicken or turkey - something like this should already be the first ingredient in your dog food, but adding some fresh stuff is beneficial

Organs like liver and hearts- although it may seem gross, the organs the dogs eat help those same organs in the dog healthy! And dogs LOVE liver! 

Tip: a good way to give dogs the benefits of something like liver without having to deal with cooking and preparing it is to purchase freeze-dried liver treats for your dog. Easy, convenient, cheap, mess-free, not as smelly, and the dog still loves it!

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids

Dogs need their fatty acids. This should be an ingredient in your dogs food, but in dry and processed dog foods, it may get a bit lost. So..

Salmon oil- sold for dogs nearly everywhere!!! Gives dogs all the fatty acids they need. A good brand to buy is Lifeline. It is really premium quality for a pretty low price compared to other brands. Whatever brand you buy, make sure that it is in an opaque bottle (so no sunlight gets through) because sunlight will damage the oil. Also make sure that the oil is extra virgin (most nutritious) and cold pressed (best way to process it, keeps all the nutrients!). 

Benefits of salmon oil- helps reduce shedding, supports a healthy coat, supports good joint function and mobility.

Tip: this stuff is great for cats too! It has all the benefits it does for dogs, and it can help with hairballs.

Another tip: their should be guidelines on the bottle to how much to feed your pet. For my dogs, they each get about a teaspoon in their food a day, for smaller dogs it would be less, and my cat gets about 1/4 of a teaspoon daily.


Fruits are great for dogs too. Just don't overfeed them. They make excellent treats!!!

Blueberries and cranberries as well as apples (avoiding the seeds!) make good additions to dog food in small amounts

Melons like cantaloupe make great treats!

Other good additions to dog food:

yogurt- a little bit of yogurt (regular, plain yogurt, no flavoring!) now and then is great for dogs. And cats too!
kelp- ocean kelp is awesome for dogs, especially senior dogs. It help reduce shedding and helps a lot with joint health. I recommend the Lifeline brand. It is organic and really good quality. My dogs each get a teaspoon a day and they love it!
garlic- garlic is good for dogs in small amounts! I wouldn't feed more than a small pinch a day. Too much can be upsetting for dogs, but in small amounts, it can help with parasites and it deters fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.

Note: when adding anything new to your dogs diet, do it fairly slowly, and make sure it agrees with them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Quiz Answers!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


Most of you got this one right! The answer is lionfish. However, I slightly messed up this quiz. I forgot that some types of angelfish are saltwater/marine fish. Angelfish kept as pets are generally freshwater angelfish, but there are saltwater angelfish, so that answer was also right too. 


Most of you got this one right too! The answer is gerbils. Degus, guinea pigs, and rabbits all require hay. Gerbils do not need hay in their diet. Gerbils eat mostly seeds, although you can give them a little hay from time to time to nibble on, shred up, and use for bedding. 

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spaying and neutering small pets

Spaying/neutering isn't just for dogs and cats!

Here is a list of small pets that benefit from spaying/neutering:


Spaying/neutering rabbits is highly recommended. It allows male and female rabbits to live together without creating more bunnies, it prevents some kinds of cancer in rabbits, it also improves behavior. Many rabbits that aren't spayed or neutered can be aggressive, territorial (which means if you have a male rabbit it will spray urine everywhere and even if it is in a cage it can spray urine quite far!). Generally spayed/neutered rabbits are happier, healthier, and easier to live with.


Spaying/neutering helps prevent diseases such as certain types of cancer in rats, and allows males and females to live together without adding to the rat population. 


Ferrets don't just benefit from spaying and neutering, but they need it. Males will be more aggressive, very smelly, and not as healthy if they are not neutered. Females, if they are not actively breeding, MUST be spayed, or they could die. Generally you don't have to worry about finding a vet for this yourself, because ferret breeders, pet stores, and rescues generally have all their ferrets spayed/neutered. 

Other small pets:

I STRONGLY recommend NEVER spaying/ neutering any hamster, mouse, or gerbil. It is very costly, and most die in the process. 

Guinea pigs can be spayed or neutered, but unless you want to put males and females together without them breeding, I wouldn't bother. And even then I would only neuter the male, because once the male is neutered, it isn't actually necessary to spay the female. 

I am not sure about Chinchillas. Obviously if you want males and females together they need to be spayed, but I am not actually sure if it would benefit them besides that. And I don't know of any chinchilla rescues, so I don't know if rescues spay/neuter them or not. I guess I will have to do some chinchilla research! 

Note: Fish cannot be spayed or neutered, and I am quite sure that reptiles and amphibians can't/shouldn't be either. 

Finding a vet for your small pet

I recently did a post about giving small pets regular health checks to look for any signs of injury or illness. Which brings up the topic of actually finding a vet, because doing the health checks isn't going to do you any good unless there is a vet you can go to.

So first of all, in areas like mine, finding a veterinary practice for small pets like rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, gerbils, hamsters, rats, mice, etc. is very difficult. When I got Munchkin my rabbit, I did a lot of searching around via the internet, and finally found one vet that treats small animals. 

There generally aren't a lot of small pet veterinary hospitals around (at least where I live). Also not all of them do ALL small pets. They may only do rabbits or something like that. Or, they might not do surgeries. Or, as in my instance, there is only one vet that does small animals at the practice. 

So here are some ways to find them:

search online
ask at local shelters and rescues. 
ask at pet stores
you can even ask at vets that only do dogs and cats if they know of any small animal vets
you can also ask at a breeder that breeds small animals 

And if there really are no small animal vets around, you can either make a very very long trip, which would not be useful in an emergency, or you could find some small animal rescues. 

Generally if there is a guinea pig rescue, they will have a guinea pig savvy vet, or a rabbit rescue will have a rabbit savvy vet, or a ferret rescue etc. You can also look for any shelters or rescues that spay/neuter all rabbits that they get, which means that they obviously have a vet experienced with rabbits, and probably other small animals. You can probably get help from any of these vets. Even if a shelter does not spay/neuter any small pets, they still could have vets that can help with minor things, just not surgeries. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quiz answers are here!!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


The answer is Polish rabbits. You all are getting good at these quizzes. Most of you got this one right. Polish rabbits have all short fur. Angora rabbits have very long, fluffy fur. Jersey Wooleys have long fur everywhere except their head, and Lionhead rabbits have long fur, but only around their head like a lion's mane (hence the name "lionhead")


The answer is weasels. Again, almost all of you got it right. I will have to think of some tougher quizzes! Ferrets are related to all of the answers, but they are most closely related to the weasels, despite that ferrets actually look most like black-footed ferrets.

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Small Pet Care: Health check-ups

When small pets (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils, chinchillas, etc.) get sick or hurt, by the time symptoms become obvious is generally too late. So giving your pet health check ups regularly and keeping up with grooming is necessary and could save your pet's life.

What are these check ups?

Basically these "check ups" are you (the owner) regularly checking your pet for anything that could be wrong health wise. You can also take them to the vet too, but every week or so you want to make sure to give your pet a little check up.

What am I looking for?

When giving your pet a health check up here is what to check:

Condition of the fur: check for:
 odd discoloration (besides stains from the litter box!), missing patches of fur, greasy feeling (that just means that they need a bath)

Condition of the skin: check for:
 lumps, bumps, scabs, discoloration, red spots, fleas or other bugs, dandruff, bleeding, scratches, cuts, swelling

Teeth: check for:
excessive length, odd discoloration, crookedness, twisted teeth, curling teeth (twisted and curling teeth does not apply to ferrets, only to the critters with constantly growing teeth), broken teeth

Ears: check for:
redness, swelling, cuts and scratches, bleeding, flaking skin in the ears, debris (especially in ferrets there ears need cleaning from time to time), cold ears (cold ears only applies to rabbits, and only if they are constantly cold)

Eyes: check for:
mucus (in rats, mice, and gerbils mucus looks like blood, so if they look like they have bloody eyes or noses, it is probably mucus), cloudy eyes, any wounds, swellings, irritation (animal is constantly holding eye shut)

Nose: check for:
mucus (again rats, mice, and gerbils all have red mucus that looks like blood, so don't get confused) any wounds or irritations

Feet: check for: 
swelling, redness, bleeding, favoring a foot, excessively long or curling nails (that means you need to start clipping them!) 

And yes, check the litter box (or just the cage if you don't use a litterbox): check for:

blood in urine (note: rabbit urine often turns orange or red once exposed to the air, this is not blood), soft stools, constant excessive calcium deposits (only applies to rabbits, they always have calcium deposits in their urine, but if there is a lot of it and it is thick, then there is a problem!), 

Make sure you always make sure that they are eating and drinking normally and behaving normally as well.

If you see any of the things mentioned above, contact a veterinarian that works with small animals right away. (with the exception of greasy fur and long nails that just means they need some more grooming!)

Here is a list of some common health problems:

symptoms: excessive itching, dandruff, loss of fur, swellings, scabs, redness of skin, bleeding, and scratched skin, head shaking

try to catch this quick! other wise it is a huge pain to deal with!

symptoms: swollen, red, or bleeding feet
This is most common in guinea pigs and rabbits, but any small animal can get it. Because rabbits and guinea pigs don't have pads on their feet like cats and dogs, their feet can easily become irritated from excessive urine in the cage, or walking on rough surfaces and wire floors. Note: rabbits often have small pink callouses on their feet, and should not be a problem unless they start to swell, redden, or bleed, or seems to cause the rabbit pain.

If the feet are not bleeding or seriously injured, making sure they have soft surfaces, and a clean cage may solve the problem. If it persists go to a vet for medication. And if it is bleeding and serious definitely go to a vet right away.

bloating/ GI (gastreo-intestinal) stasis:
this is most common in rabbits because they cannot vomit and the unique design of their digestive system. The symptoms are: loss of appetite, animal seems to be in pain, swelling (bloating) of the stomach, not eating or drinking or using the litter box.

symptoms: mucus in eyes, mucus in nose, sneezing, lethargy
Yep, critters get colds too, but they may be severe and could cause death.

Misaligned teeth
symptoms: crooked, curling, or excessively long teeth, and lack of appetite
This is very common in rabbits as well as guinea pigs and sometimes even rats, hamsters, gerbils, mice etc. The vet will tell you what needs to be done, but most often the vet will need to regularly clip the teeth for you so that your pet will be able to eat. 
Note: ferrets cannot get this

Note: health check ups may be tricky with hamsters, gerbils, and mice. I find that watching them yawn to look at their teeth and taking a look at them when they are in a clear exercise ball is helpful. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quiz Answers!!!!

First of all... Whoa! All of you guys voted on exactly the same thing! Never happened before and obviously you know your stuff. One of the quizzes you nailed, but the other one you got wrong (although it was a very good guess).



For the first time ever, everyone who voted got this one right! The answer is hamsters. Hamsters should never get all wet. It seriously stresses them out and is not actually very healthy for them. If they are sick and get a little icky you can spot clean them with a slightly damp cloth but only if absolutely necessary (and never use soap)!!! If you have a dwarf hamster you can give them a dust bath with special dust powder from the pet store. Dust baths are natural for dwarf hamsters and it helps keep them clean and they love it! (except for my hamster who just does not understand what to do with the dust, she just digs in it.) Ferrets, dogs, and guinea pigs can all be bathed. Just don't overdo it (this will dry out their skin) and keep it to only once or twice a year with guinea pigs because it can be stressful for them.


The answer is herbivores. All of you guessed insectivores which is actually a very good guess because most lizards mainly eat insects. But not iguanas they mostly eat veggies, but sometimes they might eat an insect or two as a treat.

don't forget to check out the new quizzes!