Pet Blog: Cold Weather Safety Tips

Cold Weather Safety Tips

It is finally snowing here in Rochester, with tempatures dropping, PetSaver would like to warn you that Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Massaging paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. PetSaver carries mushers secret and other paw protectors! Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-safe ice melts whenever possible this is something you can pick up at PetSaver at an amazing low price. Greece, Monroe and Webster location will carry this product during the winter months.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

CatBlog: Nutrients your cat needs!

Nutrients are substances obtained from food and used by an animal as a source of energy and as part of the metabolic machinery necessary for maintenance and growth. Barring any special needs, illness-related deficiencies or instructions from your vet, your pets should be able to get all the nutrients they need from high-quality food from PetSaver Superstore, which are often formulated with these special standards in mind. If you would like to learn about what your pet’s body needs, and why, here are the six essential classes of nutrients fundamental for healthy living:

  1. Water is the most important nutrient. Essential to life, water accounts for between 60 to 70 percent of an adult pet’s body weight. While food may help meet some of your pet’s water needs (dry food has up to 10 percent moisture, while canned food has up to 78 percent moisture), pets need to have fresh clean water available to them at all times. A deficiency of water may have serious repercussions for pets: a 10-percent decrease in body water can cause serious illness, while a 15-percent loss can result in death.
  2. Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones and antibodies, and are essential for growth, maintenance, reproduction and repair. Proteins can be obtained from a number of sources. Animal-based proteins such as chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and egg have complete amino acid profiles. (Please note: Do not give your pet raw eggs. Raw egg white contains avidin, an anti-vitamin that interferes with the metabolism of fats, glucose, amino acids and energy.) Protein is also found in vegetables, cereals and soy, but these are considered incomplete proteins.Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and are divided into essential and non-essential amino acids:
    – Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized by the animal in sufficient quantities and MUST be supplied in the diet. Essential amino acids include arginine, methionine, histidine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, tryptophan, lysine, valine and taurine*.
    – Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized by your pet and are not needed in the diet.*The essential amino acid taurine is required for companion cats. Unlike dogs, cats cannot synthesize enough taurine to meet their needs. Taurine is required for the prevention of eye and heart disease, as well as reproduction, fetal growth and survival. This essential amino acid is only found in foods of animal origin, such as meat, eggs and fish.
  3. Fats are the most concentrated form of food energy, providing your pet with more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates. Fats are essential in the structure of cells and are needed for the production of some hormones. They are required for absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins. Fats provide the body insulation and protection for internal organs. Essential fatty acids must be provided in a pet’s diet because they cannot be synthesized by a cat in sufficient amounts. A deficiency of essential fatty acids may result in reduced growth or increased skin problems. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid for cats. Arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is also essential for cats for the maintenance of the skin and coat, for kidney function and for reproduction.
    Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in healing inflammation. Replacing some omega-6 with omega-3 fatty acids can lessen an inflammatory reaction—whether it is in the skin (due to allergies), the joints (from arthritis), the intestines (from inflammatory bowel disease) or even in the kidneys (from progressive renal failure).Please note: It is impossible to accurately determine the fatty acid ratio of a diet if the owner prepares home-cooked foods.
  4. Carbohydrates provide energy for the body’s tissues, play a vital role in the health of the intestine, and are likely to be important for reproduction. While there is no minimum carbohydrate requirement, there is a minimum glucose requirement necessary to supply energy to critical organs (i.e. the brain). Fibers are kinds of carbohydrates that modify the mix of the bacterial population in the small intestine, which can help manage chronic diarrhea. For cats to obtain the most benefit from fiber, the fiber source must be moderately fermentable. Fiber sources that have low fermentability (e.g. cellulose) result in poor development and less surface area of the intestinal mucosa. Highly fermentable fibers can produce gases and by-products that can lead to flatulence and excess mucus. Moderately fermentable fibers—including beet pulp, which is commonly used in cat foods—are best, as they promote a healthy gut while avoiding the undesirable side effects. Other examples of moderately fermentable fibers include brans (corn, rice and wheat) and wheat middlings. Foods that are high in fiber are not good for cats with high energy requirements, such as those who are young and growing.
  5. Vitamins are catalysts for enzyme reactions. Tiny amounts of vitamins are essential to cats for normal metabolic functioning. Most vitamins cannot be synthesized in the body, and therefore are essential in the diet.
    -When feeding a complete and balanced diet, it is unnecessary to give a vitamin supplement unless a specific vitamin deficiency is diagnosed by a veterinarian. Due to the practice of over supplementation, hypervitaminosis—poisoning due to excess vitamins—is more common these days than hypovitaminosis, or vitamin deficiency! Excess vitamin A may result in bone and joint pain, brittle bones and dry skin. Excess vitamin D may result in very dense bones, soft tissue calcification and joint calcification.
  6. Minerals are inorganic compounds that are not metabolized and yield no energy. These nutrients cannot be synthesized by animals and must be provided in the diet. In general, minerals are most important as structural constituents of bones and teeth, for maintaining fluid balance and for their involvement in many metabolic reactions.

FishBlog: Angel Fish

10 Facts About Angelfish

Gold marble angelfish; copyright Gelia at Dreamstime.com
By

Small Pets Breeder

Angelfish are one of the most popular aquarium fish, and they certainly add a lot of grace and beauty to a tank. However, they are not always the easiest fish to care for unless you know about them and their needs.

10 Interesting Facts About Angelfish

You’ve probably seen many lovely young angelfish at aquarium stores, but how much do you really know about them? Here are some very important facts that can help you decide if these fish are the right breed for your home aquarium.

1. Members of the Cichlid Family

Angelfish are freshwater members of the cichlid family, and they originate from South America. This group includes other popular fish such as oscars, Jack Dempseys, parrot fish and discus.

2. Carnivorous

Angelfish are naturally carnivorous, so they need to be fed the right foods to help them reach optimum size and remain healthy. It’s usually best to offer a daily feeding of flakes or a pelleted diet formulated for angels, and then supplement the fish with live feedings of freshly-hatched brine shrimp, bloodworms and daphnia grown from your cultures to avoid contaminated sources.

3. Can Grow Nearly Ten Inches

On average, well-cared for angelfish will reach about six inches tall upon adulthood, which is about a year and a half old. If they’re housed in very large tanks and are not overcrowded, they can reach nearly ten inches, although this would be quite rare in captivity.

Zebra angelfish

4. Best Housed with Their Kind

Anglefish are often thought of as community fish, meaning they can live with a variety of other tropical species. While this is true when they’re young, angels become more territorial and aggressive as they mature. For this reason, it’s usually better to house them in a separate tank as adults.

5. Need Specific Tank Conditions

Always keep angelfish in the largest size tank you can support, and make sure you have a good filtration system that doesn’t create excessive currents in the water since angels aren’t the most agile swimmers. The right water conditions can also lessen stress on your angels and keep them healthier and happier.

Veiled angelfish; copyright Mirceax at Dreamstime.com

Ideally, these fish prefer:

  • Temperature range of 74 F to 78 F when just kept as pets
  • Temperature of 80 F for spawning
  • Average pH range of 6.5 to 6.9

6. Very Prone to Ick

Ick is an opportunistic parasitic condition that can strike at any time the conditions in the tank are right, and angelfish are highly susceptible to it. The parasite can spread from one fish to another, and it can also exist in the tank on its own before attaching to a fish. Overcrowding, poor water conditions and improper diet can all contribute to ickinfestation.

7. Egg Layers

Fish either give birth to live babies or they lay eggs that are fertilized and hatched later. Angels fall in the egg laying category.

The female prefers to deposit her eggs in neat rows on a piece of submerged slate leaned against a wall of the tank. The male will follow up behind her and use his own papilla to fertilize each egg individually.

Very dark marbled angelfish; copyright Vitalyedush at Dreamstime.com

If the fertilization was successful, you’ll notice the fry begin wiggling their tails in about two days, even though they’re still attached to the slate. The fry will become free swimming sometime around day five, and they will begin eating on their own around day seven once they have absorbed the yolk sacks from their eggs.

8. Males and Females Look the Same

Unlike some breeds of fish, you usually can’t tell a male angel from a female just by looking at them unless the female is ready to breed. Both sexes have an organ called a papilla located between their anal and ventral fins.

When the female becomes gravid, which means she is carrying eggs, her papilla becomes slightly enlarged and has a blunt tip. When the male senses a gravid female, his papilla also enlarges slightly, but it has a more pointed tip. This is the main way to distinguish between the sexes, but it’s not foolproof.

You can always be certain that any angel that lays eggs is a female. Any other angels in the tank that don’t become gravid or don’t respond to a gravid female may either be more females or males that aren’t interested in pairing up and breeding.

9. Many Varieties of Freshwater Angelfish

The original freshwater angelfish was a standard silver type. However, mutations in the standard coloring have occurred, and breeders have capitalized on them to create many interesting and beautiful varieties. One of the most recent is the Phillipine Blue, which actually displays some blue coloration as seen in the following video of a breeding pair and their seven-day-old offspring.

Other popular varieties include, but are not limited to:

  • Marbles
  • Zebras
  • Leopards
  • Half blacks
  • Veils
  • Golds

10. Marine Angelfish

There are also many species of marine angelfish in an array of colors that rival the rainbow, and each has its own care requirements. If you think you’re up to the challenges of maintaining a saltwater tank, you’ll find fascinating specimens at any aquarium shop that specializes in saltwater fish.

A Rewarding Species for Hobbyists

Even though angelfish do present a few challenges for their keepers, they still aren’t as difficult to manage as some of their other cichlid relatives like discus. Give them as large a tank as you possibly can, keep their water very clean, and feed them a carnivorous diet. If you can do that, you just might be able to raise your juvenile angels up to become amazingly impressive adults.

Pet Event Spotlight: Barktober Fest

Barktober Fest

Get your tails waggin’ for Barktober Fest 2015, set for September 26th, 2015! Now in its 18th year, this annual walk, race, and festival to help homeless and abused pets is the biggest and best pet-centered event of the year.

Register for the 1-mile walk as a Canine Crusader, and bring your family pets, too! Or test your stamina as a Ruff Runner in our 5-mile road race. Form a Tail Waggin’ Team to celebrate together. And enjoy the pet-friendly festival!

Walk or run to honor your own pets and help homeless pets who are still waiting for a home of their own. When you register you can help save lives by collecting donations on behalf of the animals. Fun prizes awarded to top individual fundraisers!

How the Animals Benefit: Funds raised through Barktober Fest are critical to providing life-saving care for homeless and abused pets in our community. Each gift to Lollypop Farm helps provide shelter, spay or neuter services, and any necessary medical care to pets waiting for adoption.

Lollypop Farm relies entirely on the generosity of our community to provide care for animals in need. As a non-profit, tax-exempt private organization, we receive no government funding and we are not associated with any national humane organization.  Visit www.lollypop.org to learn more!

Your support makes a difference in the lives of homeless and abused animals in our community. Remember, it’s FUR the animals!

Register Now to Help the Animals

Now’s the time to join Barktober Fest and raise money to help the animals! Sign up for the 5-mile road race, or take your favorite pet on the Walk for the Animals.

Can’t make the event? We welcome donations at the shelter or online.

We recently admitted 9 dogs into our facility due to an animal cruelty case and are nursing them back to health. We also brought homeless kittens and a Mama cat who had recently lost her kittens together. All of the care we provide for the animals is made possible through your support.

Whether you walk or donate, please consider helping the animals. Barktober Fest helps the animals and is also lots of fun!