Pet Advice Guides for Pet Owners

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Coping with problem pets can be daunting without good pet advice. If you have encountered aggressive behaviour in dogs, cats who refuse to use their litter trays, overweight pets, nervous behaviour and fear of loud noises, excitability, skin ailments and general poor health, help is at hand. Our Pet advice pages are based on years of work with all sorts of animals. Through our dog adoption services, we have seen all sorts of behavioural problems. Sadly, this usually results in owners getting rid of the problem, often due to many months (even years) of trying to cope. Our aim is to educate, rehabilitate and create harmony between owners and their pets. We provide assistance, help, maybe just a shoulder to lean on, so you can enjoy a balanced, healthy relationship with your pet.

If you have a specific pet problem and would like some advice, let us know.
All our pet advice pages are provided as a free service for you to enjoy. If you find them useful, a small donation is always appreciated.

RUFUS WILL NEED LIFETIME CARE

rufus - with dallas 2Rufus will need lifetime care – It’s going to be a slow recovery, he is making progress but all the years of neglect have caused some lasting damage – his teeth, his feet, his ability to move around, his general health. He’s a cheerful and loving little pony though and worth every bit of the care we give him. So many ponies out there don’t get the chance of recovery. There is such a lot of cruelty in the horse world – at least this little one is safe.

You can help Rufus at FundRazr.com   Many thanks.

Dementia sufferers need help with pets

ponies - rufus 12

Rufus is safe now, rugged up and warm.  The long process of his recovery has begun.   It’s sad to think of all the years he was neglected – not because his owner didn’t love him but because she had dementia.  The vet was called and then refused admittance.  The blacksmith was sent for and then turned away.   We have a campaign to help Rufus recover – at Fundrazr.com – we also need to think about making the public more aware of the suffering caused to animals by people with dementia.

Rufus isn’t the only one, although the worst so far.   A dog brought in last year was in a dreadful state, thin, neglected, ill and all because her owner couldn’t care for her because of his deteriorating mental condition.   Social Services acted swiftly and we were able to help before the situation was too bad.

If anyone with dementia, alzeimhers or any other health problems – please find out whether they have pets and what is happening to them and let someone know.  We are here to help and welcome your call.

Pusscat is settling in

cats - pusscat 2

A comfy bed, a good night’s sleep and what a difference a day makes.  Pusscat enjoyed her fishy breakfast and is settling well.  This timid little cat who was hiding and cringing when she first saw us is coming out of her nest and saying ‘hi folks’ straight away.  She is a sweet and affectionate cat and loves to be fussed.   She was so stressed and frightened when she first came in but now she is gaining in confidence and showing us her loving nature.  It must feel good not to be itching now that she has been de-flea-ed (we used Advocate which zaps fleas, worms and ear mites).   She’s had soothing aloe vera on all her sore places and she’s looking much happier.   Now all we have to do is fatten her up – and get her vaccinated – that’s on tomorrow’s list.

If anyone can buy us some Advocate (get it from the vet) we would be very grateful.  It isn’t the cheapest but we’ve found it to be the most effective, easiest to use and the safest.

cats - pusscat 6

Pusscat is so sad

cats - pusscat 1

This pretty little cat came in because her elderly owner could no longer care for her.  Ill health of owners often means that the pets are neglected, it’s a problem and we are seeing more and more cats and dogs in this state.   Pusscat is quite thin and was covered in fleas (we treated her straight away).  The infestation has left scabs and scores all over her body and round her eyes.   Now the parasites are gone she will soon heal.   It makes cats (and any animal) feel very uncomfortable though, the fleas itch and suck blood so she may be anaemic.  Raw meat, which she likes, will help.

Pusscat is an affectionate little girl but is also timid.  She has to gain confidence at present.   Her ears are dry and crackly with little hair, this may be due to her general lack of condition.  Somebody has cut some of her whiskers off.   It’s something that should never be done to a cat, whiskers are part of their senses.   They will grow again but it will be slow.   So her problems are not life threatening (we hope!) and she will recover given time.

Pusscat is a lovely looking cat, possibly young middle aged, well marked, she is clean and gentle and purrs nicely when she knows she is safe.  We were told when she was brought in that she had been spayed and she will go to be vaccinated later this week.

She has a lovely expression and the most beautiful limpid lemon coloured eyes.  Adoption anyone?

cats - pusscat 6

Does my dog have arthritis

dogs - tinaAlthough it is mostly a condition of elderly dogs, many younger ones can suffer the pain of arthritis.   Damage, injury and wear and tear can all contribute to joint damage – dogs can’t tell us when it hurts and this is the problem.  Monitoring your dog and ‘reading’ the signs is essential.   It’s not always a condition of old age.

You need to investigate further and contact your vet if your dog is less energetic than usual.  Does he lag behind on walks?   Or if he’s stiff getting up stairs and into the car.   Check him all over and see if he winces when you press on anywhere.  He may lick certain joints to try to relieve the pain.   Shoulder, elbow, knee and hips are the joints most commonly affected.

Your vet will advise and treat the symptoms but there are things you can do to make life easier for your dog.  Walking on flat ground is best, he will still need exercise and little and often is best.  Make sure he has a really soft comfy bed, we use duvets and make the nest big enough for him to stretch right out.   A dog bed, then a duvet on top and then several fleeces is a good comfort zone.  In the wild a dog would make his own bed by circling in grasses and straw.    It would be warm and dry and comfy.  We have to make sure he has as good a location for his bed in the house – no draughts please!

Keeping your dog in trim is important.  If he’s too fat it will put extra pressure on the joints.   Good food and dietary supplements containing fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin can all help.  It’s said that natural food helps calm down the inflammation that can give rise to arthritis.   It’s good for your dog anyway so it’s worth a try.  By ‘natural’ we mean a raw meat diet such as Nature’s Menu – which is frozen meats with brown rice, fruit and vegetables added.  It’s convenient to use and the meat is a ‘safe for human consumption’ variety.   We give cod liver oil capsules to all our mature dogs and find that it really helps.

We keep Nature’s Menu in stock – and our own dogs and Sanctuary residents don’t know what arthritis is!

An excellent food for dogs with stiff joints is Dr.John’s complete mix.  It’s the Platinum variety that is so good – it has New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel has an ingredient and you can see the difference in a dog after a few weeks.  By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and a 15k bag is only £14.99 – again it’s in stock here.

Unwanted cockerels

chickens - valentine 2This fine looking cockerel was brought in to us on Valentine’s Day – so naming him was easy.  He’d been abandoned on playing fields and a young boy found him and took him home.  Valentine was well cared for and soon grew up and then the problems started.  He began to crow and the neighbours began to complain.   This is why there are so many unwanted cockerels.  Unless you have always lived in the country and are used to the early morning cock crows, it is hard to get used to and the noise will wake you up.   I love to hear the cocks crow and mostly sleep through it anyway but most people don’t like it.

The cockerel had to go and we’ve been happy to take him in.   He’s a youngster, one of last year’s chicks (you can tell the age by the bony growths on the back of a cockerel’s legs – the larger they are the older the bird is).  Valentine has short spurs so he’s not very old.  Cockerels use their spurs for fighting and hens don’t have them.   Fighting is the problem with cock birds, one cockerel and a dozen hens is a happy family.  Two cockerels will often fight to the death over who gets the hens.   If cockerels grow up together and there are no hens, it is usually peaceful.   Introducing a new cockerel into the group is when you get trouble.

So we’ve had to find a place for Valentine where he won’t disturb anyone and there are no potential opponents.   At the moment he’s on his own because we put all birds in quarantine for a few weeks to make sure they are healthy.   When that’s passed we’ll introduce him to a couple of hens and he won’t be lonely.   We get calls asking us to take cockerels in almost every week.   We rarely have room because all our groups of hens already have a cockerel in charge.   It’s such a pity they can’t all be kept but it’s the law of survival of the fittest – only one male gets to be the leader.  Stallions fight with each other, so do dogs and tom cats are notorious for scrapping over the young lady cats.

It brings us back to the day-old dead chicks we feed to our owls and birds of prey.   When a hen hatches a clutch of eggs there will always be more male chicks than females.   If you get a dozen chicks you can bet that at least seven will be boys.  It’s hard to tell the males from the females until the chicks start to develop feathers which is after a few weeks.  When you hear the little ones crow you can be sure!  Professional poultry farmers are able to sex them at birth – the girls are valued and kept, the boys are disposed.   Unless the breed of hens is for eating, the males will be scrawny things, who may grow up to have fine feathers but no one will want them.   So the males are usually humanely euthanized shortly after they are born.

Valentine is a survivor though, he has had a lucky escape and will have a long and natural life here with us.  Cockerels make fine companions, they are beautiful to see and look after their hens devotedly.  If you have a cock with the hens any eggs they lay will be fertile and if the hens sit them (for 21 days) you will have a clutch of chicks hatch out which is one of life’s delights to see.  Oh, what do we do about all the cockerels though???     Cock-a-doodle-do!

chickens - valentine cockerel

 

Pony updates

ponies - holly 2It’s a year since we took in Holly, an elderly pony with arthiritis.   She wasn’t a sweet old lady though, Holly had an attitude problem and was a grumpy pony, she’d give a sharp nip if you weren’t watching out.  Over the months Holly has been transformed, her health improved, aches and pains have gone and she is a different pony.  Now she has a happy face, she is able to run around with the others and we get pony-kisses instead of bites!  It’s all because we’ve treated her arthiritis naturally – and it’s worked.  What a difference a life free from pain makes.   She’s had freedom and exercise and companionship, life is good and so is Holly.   We’re putting the full story in our next newsletter – she’s having a party today so there’ll be pictures of that – and the carrot cake of course!

All are well in the mini pony herd.  Chloe is still looking after disabled pony Bridget (the fidget!), they are best friends and share a stable.  Ruby and Grace are still having to share, we need more stables.  Daydream and Pixie are both in small stables at night, we will need them for goats in the Spring but hopefully by then the weather will be better and the ponies can be turned out.

Pixie is having his hooves trimmed every four weeks, they grow wrong if this isn’t done.   Bridget also, because of her legs, has to have frequent trimming.   All the ponies have had their teeth checked and rasped when necessary.

They like breakfast before they go out, usually carrots and a handful of pony mix.   They won’t scamper off up the fields until they’ve had a feed.

ponies - sundance 4Grace and Bridget are usually first out……

 

 

 

 

Fat Cats how to slim them down

cats - ginger tina 5

Although Tina, who came in recently with her sister, has a small pretty face, she has a big body and is overweight.  Too long being a couch potato before she came here perhaps.  Both of these sisters were indoor cats and this can make the problem worse.  They eat and sleep and have a fuss and then do it all again!   Cats who go out chasing birds, hunting mice and eyeing up the fella next door use up a lot of energy and stay slim.

Get some exercise -  We don’t like the idea of frantic playing, it can lead to personality changes.  Making cats run round till they are dizzy may help them to lose weight but it can become addictive.  Chasing a feather duster is fun – for a few minutes at a time.   Provide toys but make sure they are natural and haven’t cost the earth (imports from the other side of the world?   No way)   Few cats can resist some screwed up silver paper or a cotton bobbin on a piece of string.  Playtime will help but it isn’t the complete answer to feline weight loss.

What do you do if your plump pet doesn’t want to play?    An overweight cat will probably just yawn.  He can’t be bothered.   You’ll have to make him  ‘hunt’ for his food.   Put a few mouthfuls of chicken on a saucer and put it at the top of the stairs or in the attic.   The porch?  Garage?  Different locations provide interest and exercise.  No more every ready meals and dishes full of factory made mosh waiting in the kitchen.  It encourages him to sit down and slurp it all up.  There’s a lot of sugar in pet food and the cats love it.  Is it good for them though?   It’s why so many cats are unwell – heart disease, diabetes, shortness of breath, allergies………..

Cut out the carbs    –   Small amounts of lean fresh food – chicken, lamb, beef, ham, fish, sardines, mackerel etc. all help to keep his weight down.  A few teaspoonfuls for each meal. Sometimes finely chopped, other times in chunks for chewing.   Only a few biscuits (if any) they are not a natural food and are full of carbs. Isn’t it a myth that biscuits are good for the teeth – does eating biscuits mean that we don’t have to go to the dentist?   Cats keep their teeth in good shape by chewing chunks of meat so don’t cut it all up too fine.  We put ‘Plaque Off’ on all the cats (and dogs) food – the enzymes in it stop plaque developing and help fetch it off if the teeth are already coated.  (We always have it in stock – it’s invaluable).  Cat biscuits are a factory made convenience food and cats have managed to thrive and stay healthy for thousands of years without them!

Dainty dishes –  Change the size of his dish, no more huge plastic bowls – a dainty china saucer is best for a fat cat – it will encourage you to give him less too.   So what about the actual food?   Shoud you buy special weight-watchers menu even if it is more expensive?   We don’t do this because it doesn’t work, it’s factory made processed convenience food and can leave cats feeling disatissfied.  It’s the quality of food that counts.   Cats haven’t evolved to eat dry biscuits or something out of can or pouch!   Fresh food is best for them and a small, lean piece of protein is more satisfying and beneficial than a dish of moshed up carbohydrates and additives. A cat in his wild state is a carnivore, a mouse for breakfast, some flies as an aperitif, a small bird for lunch and a baby bunny for supper.

Small amounts –  Lean meat or fish will help your cat to slim down, he’ll love it too.  Try chicken, lamb or ham occasionally.  Cooked or raw is fine so long as you don’t give too much.   Feed fish as often as you like, cheap cuts, sardines and mackerel are all good for him and he won’t put on weight.  Don’t forget, it’s small portions only.   A cat needs three meals a day, breakfast, dinner and an evening meal.  A good quality pouch of meat or fish will do if you haven’t any fresh meat in. When he’s back to a svelte shape and is feeling more energetic he could have a full pouch for every meal.

While he’s still a fatty you could hide  a small dish with a sardine in a corner of the spare room – he’ll have to find it – and he will when he’s hungry enough.

cats - ginger tina 6

 

Ponies like to run around in snow

ponies - ruby and daydream

The little ponies like to come out in the snow, they run around and play but then they are soon waiting to come back inside.  They know there is a feed waiting and a rack of hay, it’s warm inside and these little ones soon feel the cold.  A larger, plump and young horse will stand the cold much better but they can only tolerate bad weather for any length of time if they have many acres to roam in and lots of natural shelter.  If there is a wood and thick hedgerows, dips and hollows in the land and a stone barn then they will be alright.  They still need large bales of hay or haylage to feed on and bringing them in overnight is best.   These little ponies need to be in every night.  A quick chase round, a roll in the snow and that’s it – they want to be back inside.

ponies - haylage

ponies in snow

Sally still a long way to go

dogs - sally hair 3

Sally has put a lot of weight on and she’s a happy little girl now.  Her skin is soft and not so leathery, which is amazing because it looked as though it could never change.   She still has one or two inflamed spots but not red all over as she was at first.  And her hair is definitely growing back, she has fluffy little tufts in most places now.

Her feet and nails are still a problem, she hates having them touched, probably because they’ve been sore for such a long time.  Taking a bit off at a time doesn’t upset her too much.

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Hair is sprouting through ……

dogs - sally hair

Still a long way to go …….