Importance of Exercising Your Dog

Regardless of the size of the dog who is a member of your family and whether they are old or young, exercise is crucial.  Some breeds have special requirements, but every dog needs some level of exercise to live life to the full.

Why is Exercise Important?

The Importance of Exercise For Your Dog

Exercise Your Pet

If a dog doesn’t get activity, it can get bored and frustrated.  It can also become unhealthy, and this can have an effect on lifespan.  Just like in humans, exercise gets muscles into tone, forces the metabolic system into action and even gets the mind going.  Humans like to go jogging, swimming take a ride on their favorite bike on jump on their longboard deck.  Dogs like to run, walk, sniff and investigate.

But can your dog have too much exercise?  The average recommended is between 30 minutes and two hours activity each day.  Hunting dogs or those that work or herd (Labrador, retrievers, collies, for example, ) will be at the highest end of the scale.  These dogs need 30 minutes strenuous activity following by 1-2 hours of general exercise.

Mixed breed dogs can be a little more complicated to categorised.  A short nosed breed such as a Bulldog doesn’t need a huge amount of exercise, and a walk around the neighbourhood should do the job.

Dog body language

Often your dog will tell you when he is ready to go for a walk or when he’s had enough.  Learn to read his body language so that if he is lying around and showing no interest in going out, he probably just needs a short walk.  But if he is pacing about and raring to go, he’s got lots of energy to use and will be up for a long walk.

As dogs get older, they experience health conditions just like humans.  Achy joints and muscles or a bit too much weight can all slow a dog down so take these things into consideration.  Just like we all get older and haven’t got as much energy, neither has your dog.

If you are very concerned about getting the right balance of exercise for your dog, you can always consult a vet who will give you an exercise plan personalised to your canine friend.

Mental stimulation

Physical exercise is vital but so it mental stimulation.  When you go out for a walk, don’t always follow the same paths or take along a toy to break up the routine, perhaps even playing a game as you go.  Dogs can get bored with the same scenery just as humans can so to keep him interested and alert, don’t forget to mix it up.

Conclusion

The fact that a fit dog is a happy dog isn’t just a cute idea, it’s a fact.  When we exercise, we get the body working to its maximum and feel better for it, and the same applies to our dogs.  They need the exercise for their brains, as well as their bodies, and by keeping them active, they can live a long and happy life with you.

Cats: The Most Popular Animal On The Internet

There’s no doubt been times when you’ve been on the internet with a mission at hand. You’re doing something like strategically reading reviews online of the best stainless steel cookware by Angela, looking intently on what new pots and pans you’re going to purchase to cook a feast for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/New Years that the in-laws will never forget, and suddenly you feel yourself distracted to Facebook.

cookware by Angela on islandpetcare

Courtesy of E. Robert Vickol

You log on and see a cat video someone posted. You watch it, laugh hysterically, and then before you know it two hours have passed and your cookware is no longer a priority, only cute kittens who play with yarn and lick their sleeping owner’s faces mater. Don’t feel bad though, as it turns out you’re not alone. Cats are by far the most popular animals on the internet, and for good reason: they’re hilarious.

 

Anyone who’s owned a furry feline knows that they’re funny creatures. At times they seem to have split personalities. They want to do nothing but sleep, lounge, and eat one day, then the next they meow and run around the house like a maniac with a knife is chasing them. They usually save the latter for 3:00 in the morning on a day when you have something important to do. We’ve all known these things, but we just didn’t know how much everyone else loved these nuances until the advent of the internet.

 Grumpy Cat

If you love cats and don’t live under a rock, you no doubt have heard of Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat is a mixed breed cat who has a form of feline dwarfism which makes its face appear to have a frown because of a jaw deformity. The cat has spurred so many internet memes that the fur ball won the Internet’s Favorite Feline Meme Award at the Minnesota State Fair’s Internet Cat Video Festival, as well as the Golden Kitty award (basically the Oscar of cat movies) in 2013. Yes, there is actually an entire festival dedicated to rewarding cats on the internet. I was surprised, too.

 

In fact, Grumpy Cat is so popular that she’s been in a movie, penned a New York Time’s best seller, and even has a coffee line named after her. The cat’s owners are now millionaires. Talk about a pet that deserves a new toy.

 Cat Selfies

But Grumpy Cat isn’t the only popular cat on the internet. In fact, chances are pretty good that if you put up a funny or cute cat picture, it will get a lot of views, likes, and shares. For example, in the United Kingdom there are more shared cat pictures than there are selfies; 3.8 million cat pictures are shared every day as compared to just 1.4 million selfies. Yes, Brits actually like cats more than they like themselves.

 

In America, the percent of American internet users who post cat videos has skyrocketed. In 2009, 14 percent of all internet users in the US shared cat videos; in 2013 that number has more than doubled to 31 percent. The number of people who watch them is even higher. In 2009 it was 68 percent, and that number is now 78.

 

Funny cat and baby videos are also the most watched videos in America. What’s numbers through four? How to videos, educational videos, and music videos, respectively.

 

In reality, we loved cats way before the internet was ever thought of. Cats are great friends to keep us company, and their personalities are just really funny. So be sure to love your cat a little more today. Who knows, someday they may make you a millionaire.

 

Photo courtesy of Emilian Robert Vicol.

 

Do you have a Sick Cat?

Unfortunately, cats are well known for beings ones to hide their illnesses for as long as Calicopossible. Many time owners do not notice how bad their sick cat is until it’s serious. While there’s no substitute for the expertise of your veterinarian, you can keep tabs yourself on your cat’s health by looking at some of the most common areas that cause concern for a sick cat.

Food and Water

Make sure to keep tabs on how much your cat is eating each day. Do they seem uninterested in the food and refuse to eat any of it? Or do they act interested but sniff at is and walk away or only take a few bites? A cat that is not eating well may is also likely to not be drinking enough. The major concern here is dehydration. Likewise, if your cat begins drinking more water than normal that is also not a good sign and should be checked out. Keep an eye on what comes out of your cat as well as your vet is likely to ask you about how your cat’s waste looks in regards to what they are eating and drinking.

Coat and Skin

tabby cat sick cat
Cats are diligent for the most part about personal hygiene, so is your feline friend is not taking care of himself and keeping his coat clean then that should be a big signal to you that something is off. A lack of energy or concern for how they look signals something is wrong and chances are you are dealing with a sick cat. On the other hand, grooming nonstop can also be a sign that something is not right. Excessive grooming can be caused by irritants such as insect bites and allergies. If you notice a lack of grooming or excessive grooming from your cat or you see skin and coat issues such as thinning or bald spots, talk to your vet about what can be done to get your feline friend feeling good again.

Coughs and Colds

sick cat sneezing
Cats will sneeze and sometimes cough as a normal reaction to irritants in the air. After playing with old toys or using the litter box irritants might cause your cat to let out a few sneezes or a cough or two. If this happens now and then, it’s probably nothing that you should be overly worried about. Coughing up hairballs is a natural part of being a cat and coughing or hairballs on their own are not a reason for concern. Recurring or constant bouts of sneezing or coughing, however, are generally a warning sign that something is wrong. Sneezing accompanied by a “runny nose” is a sure sign of illness, as is any swelling, discoloration, or watering of the cat’s eyes.

This is by no means a complete list of symptoms or areas to watch out for, but it is a start and points out some of the most common and most easily observed signs that you may have a sick cat on your hands.

Make Your Own Homemade Cat Food

Many people are surprised to find out how unnatural the store bought cat food they are feeding their cats actually is. Some people consider whether it is worth the time and effort to make their own cat food. Making homemade cat food is not difficult and Island Pet Care homemade cat foodcan show you how. While getting started can be a bit of challenge and the process is a little time consuming it can be well worth the time invested.  You can make enough food at one time to be frozen and stored to give you a few month’s supply before you need to make more. Even though the food will likely keep if frozen for up to a year, try to keep it for no more than three months in the freezer. This is because nutrients will quickly break down and degrade after this marker, even in the freezer.

Content

The content of the cat food you make depends on what you want to buy and what your cats like to eat. In general though, you will follow the same basic process: grind up meat, bones, sEggs homemade cat foodkin, and some of the gizzards.  You will need to supplement some nutrients and the most common ones are vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, fish oil, taurine, and iodized salt. You should check with your vet about how much of these nutrients you should add. You can add other special treats that cats love into the mix such as a few eggs, and you can leave some of the meat in chunks to help with their dental health by giving them something to chew on.

Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio

One of the most critical things you need to remember if you want to make your own homemade cat food is the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.  Bones provide calcium and the meat provides the phosphorus. When a cat catches a bird, mouse, or other critter in the wild for food, they usually end up eating the entire thing. They get meat and bones this way, which is essential for their health. Always remember that you cannot skip calcium as it is essential and you must add some sort of calcium to your homemade cat food. 

Litter Box Habits

A final point that you need to keep in mind is that if you feed your cat these homemade meals, they will not pass feces in the same volume, consistency, and frequency as you would see if they were eating traditional store bought food.  The store brand foods are high cat litter boxin fillers and low in nutrients so there is a lot left over for the cat to pass. With a natural homemade food, more of it is used and there is less to pass. Cats on this sort of low residue diet may not have a stool every day.  Also, the feces of a cat eating these homemade cat foods will be drier and crumble easier than what many cat owners are use to.

Island Pet Care is committed to cat health and wellbeing. If you are interested in trying homemade foods for your feline, talk to your vet about the pros and cons before you start. They can give you recommendations on how to do is safely and effectively so your cat gets the most out of it.

How Many Years Does a Cat Live?

A popular misconception when it comes to cat life expectancy and how long most cats live is that cats age seven human years for each calendar year that they are alive. In fact, feline old cataging is faster and more severe during the first two to three years of life. A cat is about 15 years old in human terms when it is one year old, then 24 when it is two years old. Each year thereafter, the aging is about four years per every one calendar year. With this formula in mind, a 5-year-old feline is actually around 36 year old in cat years.

How to Tell a Cat’s Age

If you have adopted a stray or a cat from a shelter whose age is unknown, there are some ways to get a general idea for how old your new feline friend is.

The Teeth: Teeth can be a very reliable indicator of a cat’s age. Older cats usually have more staining and wear and tear than younger cats. If the cat has permanent, fairly white and healthy looking teeth, the feline is probably about one year old. Some yellowing could place the feline between 1 and 2, and tartar build-up and wear and tear can indicate an age of around 3 and 5. Missing teeth chipped teeth or sever damage may mean the cat is very old.

Muscle Tone: Younger cats are stronger, faster, and more agile so they have greater muscle definition and tone. Older cats tend to be bonier and may have sagging skin or protruding shoulder blades. If the joints look swollen or bulging that is the sign of a senior cat that may have arthritis and other bone and joint issues along with severe muscle deterioration.

The Coat: Cats that are younger usually have silky full smooth coats, whereas an older cat will have coarse stiff fur and may have fur falling out in patches. A senior cat may have abnormal grays or patches of white where color once was.

The Eyes: Bright, clear eyes that have no matter build up or wateriness are common in younger healthier cats. A cat with some cloudiness or discoloration to their will be 10+ years old most likely. Senior cats will have pronounced discolorations, cataracts, growths, or blindness.

A Cat’s Life Span

Cat life expectancy can vary greatly depending on a number of circumstances such as breed, care, location, breeding history, and other factors. There have been a few documented cases of cats living as long as 30 years, but this is far from normal. Typically, tiger catindoor cats average between 12-20 years with a good number of them surviving into the early 20s. Outdoor cats face greater challenges with care, predators, and injury and average only about 10 years for a life expectancy. It is very rare for an outdoor cat to live as long as an indoor cat. A cat that is both indoor and outdoor will usually average somewhere between these two ranges.

Easy Breakdown

To make it easier for you to remember the age progression of your furry felines here is a helpful little guide for cat life expectancy:

  • Kittens (birth to six months)
  • Adolescent kittens,(six to twelve months)
  • Adult cats (one to seven years)
  • Early senior years, (seven to twelve years)
  • Late senior years (more than twelve years old)

How to Control Odor in the Litter Box

One thing all cat owners will struggle with at one time or another is the litter box odor. Having one cat is enough to make any litter box smell but the more cats you have the more best cat litter for odor controlyou need to find the best cat litter for odor control. There are many options available and it can be a bit confusing at times. So here are as few suggestions that can get you started. There are four basic types of litter that you can find in most pet supply stores: clumping, non-clumping, crystal, and natural.

Type and Brand
Details
Odor Rating
Yes/No
Clay-Based: Clumping

Ever Clean
Extra Strength Premium Clumping
Absorbs liquid waste quickly and easily to form clumps that are easy to remove

Relatively mess-free

Excellent odor control when clumps are removed on a regular basis

Recommended to remove clumps daily for best results

Replace all of the litter in the box monthly and start with a fresh batch
Maximum Odor control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup
Yes
Clay-Based
Non-Clumping

Tidy Cats
Long-Lasting Odor Control
Absorbs liquid waste however it doesn't form easy to remove clumps

Makes daily cleaning more time consuming

Available in scented, unscented brands as well as several dust-free formulas

Odor control varies depending on how many cats and how often the litter is changed

Requires more frequently replacing than clumping litter
Moderate Odor control

Dust-Free
No
Crystals

ScoopFree
Litter Tray Refills
Made from a special blend of sand

Absorbs liquid waste with no clumping or scooping

Absorbs and controls odors by locking it into the crystals

Dump all litter and replace with a new crystal litter tray

Can be expensive, especially when multiple cats mean more frequent tray replacements
Moderate Odor
Control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup

Non-toxic
No
Natural and Biodegradable

Purina Yesterday's News Original Paper Pellet Unscented
Made from biodegradable materials such as pine shavings or bark, paper, wheat, or corn husks

Available in both standard clumping and non-clumping

Good for cats and humans who are allergic or sensitive to litter dust and other allergens

Many are flushable and all are biodegradable
Maximum odor control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup

Biodegradable

Flushable

Non-toxic
Yes

 Best Cat Litter For Odor Control

As you can see, there are plenty of options available when it comes to cat litter. Choosing the best cat litter for odor control is a priority for cat owners. You want something that litter box odorworks well and is safe for your feline friend and will help keep your home smelling fresh. These are just some of the options that are available to you and sometimes a little trial and error is needed to find the one that is just right for you, your cat, your family and your specific needs. But this review is a good start!

Feeding A Kitten Properly

Taking care of a kitten can be challenging but also very rewarding. To help answer any questions and calm and worries you may have, consider these easy tips regarding kitten food and feeding:

kitten foodLet Mom be Mom

Newborn kittens will get a full and complete nutrition from their mother’s milk and will nurse for the first three to five weeks of life. Mom’s milk is exactly what they need and it fulfills all of their nutrition needs, so you will not need to do anything or provide any additional food for your kittens.

When Mom’s Not Around

If mom cannot feed or care for the kittens or if they are found orphaned then you will need to feed them a commercial milk replacer. To get the best recommendations and for specifics on how to mix it and feed it to the kittens, contact your veterinarian. In most cases these orphaned or hand-fed kittens can start eating moist food at around three weeks of age. The milk replacement can be used to moisten the food and as the kitten grows you can slowly reduce the amount of milk until they are on normal kitten food by about five or six weeks of age.

kitten food eatingAs They Age

Most kittens will continue to nurse, even when taking regular food, until about eight weeks of age. By this time, most of their nutrition should be coming from kitten food. Kittens that are on dry food can be fed free-choice. This means that you have food out and available to them at all times and they can eat as much as they want whenever they want.  Also, make sure fresh water is available at all times.

If your kitten tends to over eat then you may want to put them on a feeding schedule where they get fed three or four time during the day. If you feed your kitten moist or canned food, it should be left out for no more than 20-30 minutes and anything left over needs to be discarded. Dry kitten food can be left out for longer periods but will still need to be changed out after a few hours.

Giving Treats

It is perfectly ok to feed your kitten treats now and then. They can help with bonding and are great for beginning training. However, treats should not make up more than five percent of your kitten’s daily food intake. The rest of the nutrition needs to come from the actual food. Giving too many treats can cause your kitten to ignore the regular food.

exerciseExercise

Cat obesity is actually a big issue and the way you feed your kitten and the type of kitten food you use can help reduce the chances of this. You can use a food puzzle to get your kitten active during feeding time. These puzzles have little compartments and hollow spaces where you can put food or treats. Rolling the puzzle around causes the food or treats to come out slowly so your kitten can eat and play at the same time. Your cat needs to roll the puzzle in order to get the food. Your kitten gets the exercise it needs and will stay busy. You can also try hiding treats and bits of food around the house, which will teach your kitten how to search for food and will provide them with exercise and entertainment.

What To Do When My Cat Doesn’t Eat

Island Pet CareCats are natural born hunters and thrive on the necessity of frequent feedings. A cat’s loss of appetite is a major indicator of health and missing more than one meal now and then is a sign of illness. A vet can examine your cat and determine what might be causing the lack of interest in food and can help you to figure out successful treatment options and determine why your cat is not eating as highlighted in this Island Pet Care write-up.

 

Dental Disease

Dental disease and issues can be a leading cause for a decline in eating for your cat. Broken or damaged teeth, sore gums, and other dental issues can make eating painful.  Your cat’s mouth and gums could be suffering from some sort of injury or infection. It could have an abscess, something lodged between teeth, or some other issue. When your cat is not eating and you take them to the vet, be sure a throughout check up of your cat’s mouth is part of the treatment.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Island Pet Care knows how important your cat’s health and well being are to you. When your furry friend refuses to eat, it can be very worrisome. If all checks out in the mouth then you need to move on to look for signs of stomach or intestinal distress. Vomiting, changes in litter box use, and so forth can point to GI issues. There are a number of things that might impact your cat’s GI tract:

  • Parasites
  • Colitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines and protects the colon)
  • Gastroenteritis (Irritation or infection of the GI tract)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation affecting the pancreas)
  • Changes in the intestines’ bacterial environment
  • Foreign items that the cat has swallowed that is in the stomach or intestines
  • Cancer

cat not eatingKidney Disease

Another common reason that your cat is not eating might be kidney issues- especially if they are an older cat. Like GI problems, kidney disease causes stomach upset and will make it so your cat does not want to eat and loses interest in food or water. Only your veterinarian can make a full and accurate diagnose of kidney disease so you need to make sure you get your feline friend to the vet to get checked out as soon as possible.

Other Possible Causes

If the vet has given your cat a clean bill of health and they still seem to be shying away from food, it could be the result of an external stimuli and not the cat’s health that is causing it. Sometimes a cat is not eating like it should because of:

  • A recent vaccination
  • Traveling stress
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sudden changes to a normal routine
  • An aversion to a new food
  • The addition of a new pet or family member
  • Or simple feline finickiness

 

another sick catHere at Island Pet Care we know how important your cat is to you and how stressful and worrisome it can be when they are not acting like themselves. If your cat shows sudden or prolonged eating issues and changes it is best to contact your vet and have them give your feline friend a good look over to make sure everything is find and to suggest ways to help your cat get back to normal eating habits.

The Beautiful Himalayan Cat

A beautiful and common breed of cat that has been popular among kings, queens, and commoners alike is the Himalayan cat. There is much to know about this breed, and this guide is mean to be a quick introduction to this stunningly beautiful feline.

Description

Himalayan Cat breedThis breed has a large, round head; large eyes; a short nose; and small ears. The head is small and the neck thick. The body is full and stout yet sleek looking. A Himalayan’s legs are short, yet strong and have relatively large paws. The tail is short and very bushy. The Himalayan cat is bred in many different colors such as chocolate, seal, blue, red, , blue lynx, red lynx, cream lynx, tortoise lynx, tortoise and any combination of these color patterns. A Himalayan’s eyes are a deep blue color and usually are no other shade. Their dominate coloring is a cream or fawn coloring with the secondary color falling in one of the above mentioned colors.

Personality

The Himalayan is typically a very sweet a docile breed. They prefer a clam like where they are left to their own, but they do love gentle human interaction. A Himalayan will curl up in Himalayan Kittenyour lap and let you pet them and gently play with their long fur. One that has been raised around children will tolerate gentle play and petting so long as the children do not scare them or make too much noise. Dogs can be tolerated as long as they abide by the same rules as the kids and do not chase or bark at them.

Health

Any breed of cat has its own set of health problems, some more severe than others. Because they are an exotic breed that has come about through decades of breeding, the Himalayan cat does have slightly more health issues that could arise than some other breeds:

  • Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing because of face shape
  • Dental malocclusions- misaligned teeth
  • Excessive tearing or matter build up in the eyes
  • Eye conditions such as cherry eye
  • Feline hyperesthesia syndrome- nervous system disorder
  • Heat sensitivity due to their thick coats
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Predisposition to ringworm
  • Seborrhea oleosa- skin condition that leads to excessive scratching and hair loss

Care

The most important part of caring for your Himalayan cat is to remember that frequent grooming and monthly bathing is absolutely necessary for their health and comfort. Matter fur is uncomfortable and can lead to flea and tick issues as well as skin irritation and other problems for your feline friend. Another factor to consider is the litter box set up because without good grooming and very clean litter box, litter and feces can get caught in the coat of your Himalayan. It’s also recommended that you keep a Himalayan as an indoor-only cat. They are not fighters by nature and would fare poorly against cats, dogs, and other dangers they would face outside. Also their thick fur and potential breathing difficulties make them poor swimmers.Himalayan Cat breed

With these pointers in mind you are now well on your way to selecting the Himalayan that will be the best addition to your family!

Maine Coon Kittens and Cats

It is widely accepted by breeding professionals that the very popular Maine coon cat is quite possibly the oldest natural breeds of cats in North America.Named from the US state it was first bred in, coon cat is recognized as an official cat of that state. These are very friendly, fun, and attractive cats that make great pets. Read on to see why Maine Coon kittens are a good choice for your family.

Description

The most striking features of Maine Coon cats are the head, body shape and their coat texture. They have a unique head shape that gives them a gently concave profile and high Maine Coon kittenscheekbones. The ears are large and pointed and are lynx-like in that they have furry tuffs and longer hairs inside the ears. The eyes are large and very expressive in this breed. Many colors and patterns can be seen in the Maine coon cat breed. Even eye colors can vary and it is common to see shades from green to gold to blue and with some white Maine coons you can get two-toned eyes.

Temperament

They are very playful and love to be the center of attention. Maine coons enjoy chasing objects and love to pounce, which makes them great in areas where pest control may be an issue. They are a hardy cat breed and are great for beginning breeders and cat owners, making Maine coon kittens a great choice for the family. As they age these cats do not lose their playful temperament and are known as older gentle giants. Unlike many other breeds, these cats do not like to climb or get too far off the ground so they are great pets for people who don’t want a cat jumping around all over everything.

CareMaine Coon Cat

They are a relatively large cat breed so they need a diet that is high in proteins and some fats to give them energy and to support their skeleton and muscles. The Maine Coon naturally seeks out water and is a heavy drinker so it is very important that clean water is available at all times. Their coats are easy to maintain and weekly combing will keep the coat smooth and clean and reduce matting and other issues. They are easy to train and can even be taught to walk on a leash in some cases with proper training. These cats want to please their owners and will go to great lengths to make you smile.

Kittens

Main Coon kittens are normally sold once they are at least 12 weeks of age. By this time they are usually weaned, are physically stable, and the breeder should be giving them their first set of basic immunizations and shots. Be careful of the breeder you buy from and make sure your kittens have been use to social interaction and have been well cared for so that they do not have an innate fear of humans. Maine Coon cats can usually be purchased from reputable breeders across the US and Canada as well as overseas. Do your research and take the time to select the best Main Coon cat or kitten for you and your family.