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In our grandparents’ day chickens were commonly kept in residential backyards, but the growth of the poultry industry and the mass production of eggs, led to a decline in its popularity. These days however, as people are looking for healthier alternatives to supermarket-supplied, processed, and mass-produced foods, there is an increasing interest in keeping chooks. Even for those of us in the city, could they in fact be an egg-cellent pet?

We are all aware that exercise is good for us, but did you know that it is also very important for the health of our dogs?  Sadly, research has shown that as many as 40% of dog owners do not regularly exercise their dogs, and walk small or old dogs even less. Regardless of their size or age, all dogs should be walked and they love it!  At the very least, it is usually necessary to take them for a quick walk for toilet time, so why not make the most out of it?

 

It’s amazing how persistent your dog can be as a training partner…they don’t care about the weather, or your hassles at work, so there will be no slacking off! Dogs are great at motivating many of us to exercise when we might otherwise choose to skip the workout and sit in front of the TV.

 

It’s great for both of you!

“My dog ate Nurofen, what should I do?” is a question that you’ll hopefully never need to ask, but being aware of the risks of your pet accessing medicines, and what can be done to prevent it, is important for all pet owners. Ibuprofen, the active ingredient of Nurofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can be extremely dangerous for dogs, but Nurofen is just one of thousands of medicines that is dangerous to our pets.

 

How would a pet come into contact with medicine?

By world standards, Australians are big takers of prescription and non-prescription medication, and with many people taking them daily, the chances that one could be dropped on the floor or left in a place that’s accessible to pets, is quite high. Add to that the naturally inquisitive nature of animals, and the risk increases.

You’ll often hear pet owners say, “I’m a dog person” or “I’m a cat person”, but the reality is that both make great pets, and while the virtues of owning a dog are widely acknowledged, cats sometimes get a bum rap.

 

Cats – the laugh-a-minute pets

Cats often don’t get the credit they deserve as being loyal and loving pets. They’re sometimes seen as being aloof and solitary, but cats are actually quite social creatures. They can enjoy being in the company of a human family, and love to joke around. In fact, images and videos of cats are some of the most viewed content on the web, particularly those showing cats “acting the goat”. Cat owners know, that if you want a video to go viral, film a cat!

 

People are sometimes surprised to discover that cats can learn tricks, and in some cases, are even better at them than dogs. They’re naturally athletic and agile, and while a dog will run and jump to catch a ball, a cat will too, but also throw in some skilful acrobatics...

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and it’s estimated that approximately 70% of Australian households have at least one pet. We are therefore a nation that really appreciates our companion animals. Unfortunately, native animals don’t always get the same attention as domestic species – a permit to keep them is only required under certain circumstances - and in order to protect these important and highly valued species, there are some simple things we can do.

Having to check after your pet has been to the toilet, is one of the less pleasant aspects of pet ownership, but it can help you identify when something’s wrong. If you find diarrhoea where your dog or cat goes to the toilet, or worse still, somewhere in your home if they’ve been “caught short”, then it’s something that requires your attention.

Diarrhoea is a common ailment in pets and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can often be a sign of a variety underlying health issues. It’s therefore important to be aware of some of the main causes of diarrhoea in pets, what to do when it occurs, how to treat it, and ways to prevent it in the future. 

In Australia, when we think of dog sleds we usually think of snow, however many of us are surprised to discover that sled dogs exist in many parts of the world including here, and are used for a variety of purposes. They have been around for generations, and it’s thought that in the world’s artic regions sled dogs were used tens of thousands of years ago, and that the Eskimos bred them with various breeds of dogs and wolves. Consequently, their offspring were conditioned to the snow and freezing temperatures. It is unknown when they started to be used to pull sleds, but it is thought to be several thousand years ago. Today, dog sleds are used for transportation and for racing.

Dog breeds used for sledding

Many breeds of dogs are used to pulls sleds, and traditionally they were Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes. There is also a number of mixed breed dogs used, and many would have bloodlines that originate from wolves. Breeds are chosen for their strength, endurance, and speed. Leadership qualities are also important with sled dogs. In cold climates their big thick coats are important in helping to protect them from the cold, and wide flat feet help them to gain traction when traversing it. In the snow you’ll see them sleep curled up with their tails covering their noses to keep them warm, but in Australia’s hot climate they’re more likely to be spread out to help control their temperature.

Australians love swimming and water sports and we’re renowned for the “bronzing” of our outdoors lifestyles. We have some of the most magnificent beaches in the world and the highest per capita rate of pool ownership, so we know that waterside is a great place to spend long hot summers. It’s great to be able to include our pets in the fun, but there are some things to keep in mind when exposing them to water, whether it’s a back-yard pool, lake, river, or the ocean.

Being afraid of the noise of thunder, fireworks and the like, is common in dogs, but less so it cats.  It can become an entrenched pattern, and depending on the severity, can lead to the development of a noise phobia. Phobias are excessive and irrational fear reactions, which are excessive and persistent. If your pet reacts nervously to noise, keep an eye on them in order to avoid it becoming a major issue.

 

In the case of thunderstorms, pets may also be fearful of not only the noise, but also the associated events such as lightening, barometric pressure changes, and even the smell of storms. Research suggests that certain breeds are more at risk of developing noise phobias, and the sporting breeds such as Bassett Hounds, Beagles, Collies, and German Shepherds, may be more susceptible.

Christmas is just around the corner, and while for us that mean holidays, good times, and festive treats, it’s not without its fair share of risks to our pets’ safety. Not only does Christmas have 12 days, but it also has (at least), 12 hazards

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