Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Health, Happiness, and More: The Benefits of Pet Grooming

Whether your pet enjoys being groomed or disappears at the first hint of a bath, there’s no denying the immense value in keeping our pets clean. Besides helping them look and feel their best and keeping our homes cleaner, regular grooming sessions provide a front row seat into changes in your pet’s skin, coat, and body that could signal underlying health problems.

So grab that brush or call your local groomer because the importance of regular pet grooming cannot be understated!

Why Pet Grooming is Important

Proper nutrition and regular wellness exams are essential to your pet’s wellness. A grooming regimen works alongside these other important aspects to support your dog or cat’s ongoing good health in the following ways:

  • Skin – Besides keeping shedding to a minimum, daily brushing can alert you to the presence of external parasites, as well as to any lumps, bumps, or other changes in your pet’s skin. Brushing also stimulates blood flow to the skin and encourages shiny, silky fur.
  • Mats and tangles – Regular grooming is absolutely essential for pets with medium to long hair that’s prone to matting. Matted fur can cause serious problems, such as hotspots and secondary infections. Daily brushing is needed to remove tangles, burrs, and other items caught in the fur (serious matting must be handled by a professional groomer).
  • Ears – Make it a habit to look inside your pet’s ears on a regular basis. Redness, swelling, or a foul odor can indicate an infection, which should be addressed immediately by your veterinarian.
  • Nails – Overgrown nails are not only uncomfortable for your pet (and your floors), but can actually interfere with his or her ability to walk properly, leading to joint problems and significant pain. Prevent problems by making sure your pet’s nails are trimmed regularly.
  • Teeth – Brushing your pet’s teeth daily or several times a week is one of the most powerful preventive measures you can take to support your pet’s oral health. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s dental care, please don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian.

Bathing reduces dirt and grime in your pet’s fur and decreases the buildup of crusts in the corners of his or her eyes (these can lead to sores and infection if not removed). Your veterinarian will help you determine how often your pet needs to be bathed.

Godspeed Animal Care is proud to offer professional, full-service pet grooming through our St. Francis Pet Resort. Please give us a call for more information or to schedule an appointment for your furry friend.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Rabbit Grooming Guide For Responsible Rabbit Owners

First time rabbit parents find themselves wrecking their nerves trying to figure out rabbit grooming.

‘Why is the rabbit shedding so much?’

‘A bunch of hair just came out and there’s a bald spot. Did I just pluck out more hair than what’s required?’

‘The nails seem too long. Should I clip it? Will it bleed?’

There’s never a dearth of doubt when it comes to grooming techniques and methods for bunnies. This has partly to do with the fact that rabbits as pets are fairly recent. For a long time, they were bred for meat and fur.

So, even experienced rabbit parents sometimes find themselves at their wits end trying to figure out grooming.

Girl Performing Rabbit Grooming

Unlike dogs, rabbits have an entirely different set of grooming requirements that begins with regular brushing and ends with periodic inspection of the rabbit’s body parts. A well groomed rabbit will be healthy, happy and disease free. So it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the essentials of rabbit grooming.

Also, along with helping maintain the health of the rabbit, grooming also helps you create an everlasting bond with your pet. It is not uncommon for rabbits to look forward to grooming time as they relax and enjoy the experience.

We created this Rabbit Grooming 101 guide for new as well as seasoned rabbit owners to make grooming safe, easy and enjoyable. We will cover every aspect of grooming in detail including some basic over the counter recommended medications for common health problems in rabbits.

The Basics of Grooming

Despite appearing that they don’t need attention and that they can groom themselves pretty well, rabbits are extremely delicate creatures that can rarely display symptoms of health problems. Grooming them regularly helps you keep an eye out for potential problems and spot them before they can escalate to more serious ones.

The supplies that you need:

  • Nail clipper
  • Cotton (Lots of it)
  • Alcohol
  • Styptic powder
  • Gloves
  • Q-Tips
  • Baby Oil
  • Matt rake
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Towels

So are you all set to begin?

Brushing Your Rabbit

Brushing helps to remove the hair that the rabbit sheds naturally. And rabbits shed a lot. Most rabbit breeds shed heavily once in three months. The shedding alternates between unnoticeable and mild to heavy during which the rabbit’s coat is replaced by a new one.

The duration of the heavy shedding is highly breed specific and also dependent on the bunny itself. You may find that one of your bunnies sheds a lot more than the other.

Irrespective of the breed, brushing once a week for short haired breeds ensures that any of shed hair that may be clinging on to the coat is released. For long haired breeds like Angora, brushing is recommended at least once every three days. This also helps to prepare the bunny for the daily brushing sessions that will replace the weekly sessions during phases of molting or heavy shedding.

Brushing Technique

Soft-bristle brushes are perfect for brushing your rabbit’s coat. You should be careful to brush in the direction of the fur only. This is more than sufficient to bring any loose hair to the surface which can then be removed by hand. Some vets also use two different types of brushes for rabbits. While brushes with wider teeth are preferred for breeds with longer hair, bristled brushes are used for shorter fur. If there are too many tangles, you can use a mat rake.

When brushing on the underside, gently position the rabbit on your lap making them comfortable. You can use a towel or any other soft cloth to allow the rabbit to rest. Rabbits often doze away into slumber land when you brush their underside.

Another simple technique is to wet your hands and just run it over the coat to remove any loose hair. This cannot be considered as a replacement for proper brushing. But it does help to remove any small fur that may not be removed with normal brushing.

Hairballs

Rabbits like cats constantly lick themselves as part of their grooming behavior which can result in them ingesting hair. This can cause hairballs which are also known as trichobezoars. But unlike cats, they cannot vomit the hairballs out and it can cause an obstruction in their stomach or in their intestinal tract. Grooming helps to reduce the risk of hairballs in rabbits. One of the telltale signs of a hairball obstruction is lack of appetite and activity. Also, the quantity of feces will reduce significantly. If you suspect a hairball obstruction in rabbits, then contact a vet immediately.

Matted Fur

Time and again, you may discover matted fur on your bunny’s body. Sometimes, it can be in locations which are very difficult to comb through. For example, under the tail. You might be tempted to go chop-chop on the mat as it can easily alleviate the tension that it causes. But rabbits have extremely delicate skin which is easily prone to cuts from a scissor. You can use a mat rake with a fine blade to take the mat apart. In case you find it very difficult to remove with a rake, speak to your vet for help.

Mites And Fleas

Despite frequent grooming and care, fleas and mites can find their way on to your rabbit’s skin and fur. These pesky little critters can hide themselves amazingly well and by the time you notice your rabbit scratching their gut out, the fleas might have spread to a full blown infestation. The first and most important thing is to find out the number of fleas on your rabbits body. Gently run your hands parting the fur to spot the fleas. If the infestation is mild, then use a flea comb. It is pretty similar to using a grooming comb and rabbits usually like being combed. After combing, if you find any fleas in the comb, then dip it in a soap solution or alcohol to ensure that the fleas are killed.

If the infestation is severe, then you may need to speak to a vet who will recommend a topical medication like Advantage, Program or Revolution. All three of these are brand names for topical insecticides which are safe for application in rabbits.

Care must be taken to ensure that the rabbits do not lick or ingest the medication as it can cause an upset tummy. One of the best spots to apply the medication is behind the neck.

Revolution in particular, is considered as one of the best treatments for multiple conditions including mites that cause ear canker and mange.

Speak to your vet about measuring the medication so that you can administer the right doses. Also, mite eggs can often hide in the fur or dander that the rabbit sheds. For this reason, it is crucial that you completely scrub and clean both, the cage as well as the area that the rabbit enjoys a free run in. That may be the house or the backyard or the run. But it must be vacuumed and any fur or dander that the rabbit may have shed prior to the treatment must be removed.

Scratchy Skin

Rabbits can develop bald patches or flakes on their skin due to mites. Sometimes, it can also be caused due to an allergy triggered by fleas. In either cases, your vet may recommend one of the three medications that we have mentioned above. In cases of chronic inflammation or in case of bacterial infections like pyoderma, speak to your vet about the best treatment methodology.

Cleaning The Scent Glands

If your rabbit suddenly smells like a skunk, then it may be due to the buildup of a gooey or waxy substance in their scent glands around the anus. This is scent musk and is a normal secretion in rabbits. However, some bunnies secret a lot more than others. It has a very pungent odor and cleaning or unplugging the glands from time to time helps prevent the buildup and the odor to an extent.

Gently position the rabbit on your lap, lift up the tail and part the skin around the little anus to expose the scent glands. You will be able to see the waxy buildup now. Use a Q-tip to scoop out the secretion from one gland. Repeat for the other gland as well. You can also use a cotton wad dipped in some petroleum jelly to lubricate the gland. This makes it easier to remove the waxy secretion. FYI, rabbits also have scent glands under their chin which they use to mark their territory.

Vet examining rabbit ears

Nails

House rabbits often do not get enough exercise on a variety of ground surfaces. They spend most of their lifespan on carpeted floors or linoleum surfaces which prevents their nails from being naturally worn out and maintained. So, you may have to trim the nails from time to time to a suitable length. Nail trimming is a fairly simple process once you know the precise length to trim it to. The nail has a vein in it which is also called the quick. You need to clip the nails just below the quick. If you accidentally do clip the quick (common occurrence), just apply Styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

If you are new to it, your vet can help you with the process. Some rabbits are petrified of nail trimming. So, it is important to associate nail trimming with positive reinforcement. Offering them treats or patting them helps ease the anxiety. Also, if you start at an early age, the bunny will get desensitized to the trimming.

Declawing a Rabbit

Never ever, declaw a rabbit. A rabbit’s claw helps them generate traction on the floor and they are not retractable like those of a cat. In effect, the rabbit will be hopping around on the surgery site for days to come until it is completely healed. Not only is it extremely painful for the bunny, but it is very likely to get infected.

Sore Hocks

Rabbit cages must have rugs or fleece blankets that provide your bunny with a soft and comfortable resting place. This will help prevent the padding of the feet from being worn out or form calluses. Calluses or skin inflammation on the pads must be treated immediately for the risk of infection which can become chronic over a period of time. Also, ensure that the resting rugs are dry. Moist surfaces can trigger a bacterial skin infection.

Teeth

With the incessant gnawing and chewing on the hay that is kept in their hutch or cage, a rabbit usually keeps their teeth growth in check. However, if your bunny has crooked teeth then it may not get worn out naturally with the chewing. In such cases, you may have to clip the teeth to restrict or control their growth. If left unchecked, it grows to an extent that the rabbit finds it impossible to eat and can even starve to death. You can use a teeth clipper yourself or you can take your rabbit to the vet to get the teeth clipped. It’s a simple and painless procedure.

Bathing Time

It’s fun to see the bunny frolic in water, isn’t it? Well, it is far from fun for the rabbit. Rabbits hate water. In fact, they despise the experience so much that it can traumatize them and make them extremely anxious. In some rare cases, it can also cause a heart attack. Rabbits do not need to be bathed. Like cats, they are excellent at licking themselves clean. However, there may be situations when you feel that the rabbit needs to be bathed. For example, it has a poopy butt or has tracked in dirt or has matted fur all over. You can always use a damp towel to spot clean. Read our section on matted fur to know how to detangle mats. But let me reiterate. Never bathe the rabbit unless your vet recommends it as a measure to bring down fever.

Checking The Ears

The buildup of ear wax or debris in a rabbit’s ears must be cleaned at least once every four weeks. Just check the inside of the ear and use a cotton swab or a baby wipe to scoop out the wax. Do not use Q-tips as it may cause the wax to get pushed further inside the ears. Also, there’s always the risk of damaging the inner ear. If your rabbit hutch is outdoors, then ear mite infestations will occur at some point or the other. Thankfully, the condition is easy to treat if diagnosed early. You can use a topical solution like Mitox or anything similar that your vet recommends. Once the condition is treated completely, use baby oil to prevent a reinfection.

The Eyes

Last but not the least, we have the rabbit’s eyes. Your bunny’s eyes will naturally produce some gunk or wax which form crusts in the corner. These can be removed by using a damp cotton swab allowing the crust to loosen first. However, if you feel that the rabbit is crying or there’s a white mucus like discharge from the eyes, then it may be a condition called runny eyes or epiphora. This is one of the commonest conditions in rabbits. The only respite may be to head to the vet because if it is a bacterial infection, it needs to be checked before it spreads or becomes more severe.

The Vet Check up

Even if you are a diligent groomer, you still need to ensure that your bunny gets its periodic checkup by a veterinarian. If you are unsure whether the vet is rabbit savvy, you can always use the House Rabbit Society Veterinarian Index to find a rabbit-savvy vet close to you. Regular health checkups help to spot any potential health condition that you may have missed out on. Remember what we told you about the lack of symptoms in rabbits?

To Sum it up

After every successful grooming session, pat your rabbit to encourage them and instill a positive feeling about the grooming experience. You can also use their favorite treats.

Images source: Bigstock.com

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Monday, 11 September 2017

Dog-Friendly Places in the Denver Metro Area

Dog-Friendly Places in the Denver Metro Area

Dog-Friendly Places in the Denver Metro Area | Distinctive Pet CareThe Farmhouse at Breckenridge Brewery

Located in our home town of Littleton, CO, The Farmhouse at Breckenridge Brewery is a place where both the beer and the food are handcrafted. Their outdoor Beer Garden is dog-friendly and has breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.

Location: 2990 Brewery Lane, Littleton, CO 80120
Phone: (303) 803-1380
Website: http://ift.tt/2xsrvvd

The Watering Bowl

The Watering Bowl is a dog-friendly tavern complete with its very own 7000 square foot dog park. The dog park boasts a fenced area for the dogs with a kiddie pool, picnic tables, couches, and lounge chairs. Inside, where the dogs are not allowed has a 30- foot TV, ping pong tables, two levels of seating, and more. They have excellent drink specials and tasty food. They even host parties, weddings, and corporate events. It is a fun atmosphere and a great place to bring man’s best friend.

Location: 5411 Leetsdale Drive, Denver, Colorado, CO 80246
Phone: (303) 591-9069
Website: http://ift.tt/1nMbcyU

Buffalo Exchange

Buffalo Exchange is an upscale secondhand store with locations in Denver, Boulder, & Denver Annex. Why is a clothing store on the pet-friendly list you ask? That is because if you forgo a bag to take your purchased items home at checkout, you will receive a token that you can use to donate to animals shelters and various other organization that helps both people and pets in need!

Location: 51 Broadway Denver, CO 80209
Phone: (303) 866-0165
Website: http://ift.tt/2xsrvLJ

Stella’s Gourmet Coffee and Such

It is no secret that Stella’s loves dogs. It is the first thing they address is their FAQ’s. They have a dog-friendly patio and provide both water bowls and dog treats for our canine companion. Enjoy a yummy pastry and a decadent coffee after a walk in Wash Park. Stella’s is only a half mile from this the park!

Location: 1476 S. Pearl St. Denver, CO. 80210
Phone: (303) 777-1031
Website: http://ift.tt/HMbegl

Washington Park

Our local area is packed full of parks and places to take a hike with your dog. But Wash Park is by far the favorite. The park is 155 acres with two beautiful lakes and many flowers. There are also several off-leash areas throughout the park so both you and Fido can be social.

Location: S. Downing St. & E. Louisiana Ave., Denver, CO 80210
Phone: (720) 913-1311
Website: http://ift.tt/2r6mwZu

Local Events

Dog Dayz

Every year the Scott Carpenter Pool in Boulder is closed for humans and is open strictly for dogs! This event has been a staple in the area for decades and thousands of dogs have made new friends while cooling off in the water. There are a few rules to follow; humans are not allowed in the water and dogs who fight will be asked to leave. Picking up after your dog is a requirement and bags will be provided. Check the Boulder Parks and Rec website for a complete schedule, pricing, and additional rules.

Dog EXPO & Flying High Dog Competition

The Dog Expo is a once a year event that is all about the dogs! The expo is held at the Scott Carpenter Pool in Boulder and filled with dog-friendly businesses that will provide free samples, information, and prizes. Bring your dog and the whole family! Check the website for the current year dates and times, and they change from year to year.

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

DIY Gelatin Aquarium Fish Food

AllNaturalPetCare.com DIY Gelatin Aquarium Fish Food

Homemade gelatin food allows us to easily mix a variety of nutrients, supplements or medication together. The following recipe is specific to fish, shrimp & snails, but may be adapted for any animal. Start with two packets of unflavored gelatin (or try your hand at using nutritious food-grade Agar-agar… or both). A packet of gelatin […]

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Signs of Illness in Pet Rabbits: Is my Pet Rabbit Ill?

Pet Rabbit With Signs of Illness

A new pet rabbit should first be taken to a qualified veterinarian for a check up. I say qualified veterinarian because some veterinarians choose not to see rabbits. Ask for a recommendation from a rabbit rescue, they should be able to give you a list of veterinarians to use. I cannot stress enough the importance of this first exam, you need to establish a relationship with a veterinarian. That way if the bunny is ever sick you have a veterinarian to make an appointment with. Veterinarians are busy; they will be more likely to squeeze in an emergency with an existing client over someone they don’t know.

Rabbits are sensitive and because of that fact owners should be on the look out for signs of illness. Signs of illness in rabbits include but are not limited too:

  • Changes in behavior or Lethargy – If your pet rabbits behavior changes call your veterinarian for an appointment. If the bunny seems less active (lethargic) or doesn’t want to play, doesn’t want to leave it’s bunny cage, etcetera, these are all reasons to contact the veterinarian.
  • Runny eyes or nose and sneezing – Runny eyes and/or nose and/or sneezing are signs of a respiratory infection.
  • Not eating – A rabbit that is off food and refusing treats could be ill.
  • Drooling – This is a symptom of a sore tooth. The rabbit might also be turning down crunchy food and treats.
  • Head tilt – Symptom of ear problems/infections.
  • Scratching/itching/shaking head – All symptoms of fleas and mites. These are a stubborn group and treatment needs to be begin immediately. Ask your veterinarian how to get rid of the fleas and/or mites. Rabbits are sensitive and the same products used on dogs and cats cannot be used on rabbits unless advised by a rabbit vet.
  • Lumps and abscesses – Rabbits are prone to abscesses so be on the look out for lumps on your rabbit. Antibiotics maybe necessary.
  • Stools – Watch your rabbit’s stool for changes in color, size, dry/hard, or wet. These changes could indicate whether or not your rabbit has a healthy GI tract.
  • Urine – Also watch for changes in the rabbits urine. Bunny urine can be yellow to orange depending on what is being fed. If you question whether or not the urine is bloody have your vet test a sample – better safe than sorry. Bunny can get urinary tract infection, bladder stones, and cancer.

If your rabbit is displaying any of the above symptoms contact your rabbit veterinarian immediately. To truly know when your rabbit is sick you need to spend time with your pet. Play with your bunny and handle it (if tolerated) often. That is the only way you’ll be able to catch illness early.

Image source: Bigstock.com

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