There is a reason why they say dogs are man’s best friend; nothing beats coming home to a wagging tail and friendly face. Prior to dog ownership, however, it is important to understand the responsibilities that coincide with being a canine owner. Before choosing a breed of dog, it is important to recognize: the effect a dog’s size will have on your personal space; how much attention a dog requires; costs associated with owning a dog, including veterinarian expenses and food; and the potential that residents within the home may be allergic to dogs.
The average lifespan for dogs is between 8 and 16 years. During their lifetimes, dogs will require breed-specific grooming, including nail-trimming and bathing, which should be routinely performed multiple times throughout the year. Also, in most cities, pets are required to be licensed and can only receive a licence after meeting certain health requirements, typically regarding vaccination. Be sure to check with local government agencies about their particular requirements, prior to getting your dog.
Supplies a new dog owner will need
- Collar with ID tags
- Dog bed
- Dog brush
- Food bowl
- Pet urine cleaner
- Sturdy and safe toys
- Training crate
- Water bowl
Selecting the right breed
- Herding Group possesses the ability to control other animals and are often used on farms. For pet owners not needing other animals herded, these dogs are very easy to train and will often herd people or children if other animals are not present. They make great family dogs.
- Hound Group skilled at hunting because of their remarkable scenting ability. Have great stamina and can run long distances. Some breeds bay and potential owners should consider the baying noise prior to purchasing one of these dogs.
- Miscellaneous Group various other breeds that the AKC recognizes but does not classify further. Temperaments vary.
- Non-sporting Group varied personalities but are generally strong dogs. Not as active as the sporting group.
- Sporting Group instinctively active and highly alert. Skilled at finding game in water, woods, or brush. Ideal for hunting. Require regular, high-energy exercise.
- Terrier Group has a large amount of energy. Were originally bred to hunt and kill rodents. Require a strong-willed owner to properly train them and keep them in line.
- Toy Group small and are perfect for families living in tight spaces. Some breeds can be aggressive and intimidating towards a potential threat. Much easier to control than large dogs.
- Working Group generally used for pulling sleds, executing water rescue, or guarding an owner’s property. Highly intelligent and are fast learners. Most are large to very large in size which should be taken into consideration by potential owners.
- Barking dogs bark to alarm the owner of a present threat or to scare away the menace. A dog may also bark when they are scared or angry. Anxious or excited barking is not uncommon either.
- Biting like barking is a form of communicating with a human. Dogs bite when they are nervous, scared, or angry.
- Chewing it is normal for puppies to chew through anything and everything. Puppies chew to relieve the pain of incoming adult teeth. Chewing beyond the puppy phase can indicate separation anxiety.
- Digging most dogs dig to hide food. On occasion, they will be uncovering hidden food, usually small game such as rodents or rabbits. A dog may also dig to uncover a cool surface of dirt on which they want to lay.
- Jumping when a dog jumps up on a human, it’s an attempt to proclaim their dominance.
- Panting dogs sweat very differently than humans. Heat is released through their feet and by panting; panting also helps a hot dog regulate their body temperature.
Cats are one of the most common domestic pets. They are exceptionally intelligent creatures that can provide affection and entertainment. The average feline lifespan ranges from 13 to 17 years, so anyone considering the purchase of a cat should be prepared for a long-term commitment. Cats have extraordinary hearing capabilities and have eyes that are well-adapted to low light situations. In deciding to purchase a cat, you first have to determine whether you want an adult cat or a kitten. Adult cats tend to be easier because they are typically litter box trained; they have already developed their personality so you know upon purchasing what temperament your cat is going to have, and they readily adapt to a new home just as easily as kittens do. Most new pet owners desire a kitten because they’re small and cute. Kittens require more veterinary care, need extra attention to litter box train, and don’t have fully developed personalities, so you don’t know what kind of cat your kitten will grow to be.
Supplies every cat owner needs
- Break-away cat collar
- Cat carrier
- Cat litter
- Cat toys
- Food dish
- Litter box scoop
- Litter box
- Quality cat or kitten food
- Water dish
The difference in cats breeds
- Bengal – affectionate, but very lively and playful. Not a lap cat. Need a lot of space so they are better kept as outdoor cats. Love water and are skilled hunters.
- Cornish Rex – a very active cat with impressive agility. Playful throughout adulthood and eager to play games and fetch.
- Maine Coon – curious and affectionate, these cats are great companions. Can be trained to fetch and walk in a harness. Fur requires brushing and grooming.
- Persian – perfect cat for a family because they adapt well to their environment. Is the most mellow breed of cat and is also very loving. Are very quiet, but do require a lot of grooming and maintenance.
- Ragdoll – must be kept as an indoor cat because of its incredibly mild temperament. Very intelligent and affectionate, can even fetch and learn tricks much like a puppy. Considered a lap cat, but like to be active. Will even come when called!
- Siamese a very loving cat that thrives on human attention. Can be demanding, so if you do not want a cat that requires a lot of attention, a Siamese is not for you. Stay near their owner and are a great cat for families.
- Tonkinese – have a short, thick coat and are an extremely intelligent cat. They enjoy attention and companionship and are great for multi-pet households or families with children.
What does a cat eat?
- Cheese (in small amounts)
- Dry commercial cat food
- Fish (in small amounts)
- Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, green beans)
- Wet commercial cat food
You can help keep your ferret healthy by bringing him or her in for an exam once a year. That way, we can monitor any changes that occur in your pet and help prevent or catch diseases early, when they’re easier to treat. As ferrets age, they may need additional testing and dental care.Ferrets can benefit from preventive care, requiring certain vaccinations and parasite prevention based on lifestyle, which we can discuss with you during your visit. Hormonal therapy is now included in said preventive care, as the incidence of adrenal disorder can be decreased significantly. As most ferrets are sterilised (and deglanded for males) before sale, this is rarely an owner responsibility. However should circumstances be exceptional we can help you at Hudson Veterinary Hospital.Common problems associated with ferrets include gastrointestinal disease, endocrinological problems and cancer. In addition, ferrets are inquisitive creatures by nature and frequently ingest objects they shouldn’t. Regular blood tests can help determine whether your ferret has any problems with the kidneys, liver, or pancreas.Please contact us right away if your ferret develops any unusual symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, lack of appetite, trouble breathing, black ear wax, discharge from the eyes or nose, lumps, swelling, or an increase in aggression or sexual behaviour (especially in neutered males).
Before bringing your pet ferret home, you will have to ferret-proof your house by:
- Covering the carpet around doors with floor guards
- Covering wire cords
- Placing locks on cabinet doors
- Placing Plexiglass® around open staircase spindles
- Removing any recliners from the home
- Sealing any crack, hole, or crevice that a ferret could squeeze through
Pet supplies – Similar to most pets, there are numerous supplies available for ferrets ? bedding, toys, and enclosures. Some supplies are essential while others are optional. An enclosure, food dish, water dish, bed, and litter box are all essential items.
- Bedding – Ferrets are burrowing animals and need bedding that allows them to tunnel into a dark, warm, enclosed area. There are special-made ferret beds that are rolled-up fabric tubes or hammock-like swings that ferrets especially enjoy, or you can create a bed from cut off sweatshirt sleeves or pant legs. Ferrets also enjoy cat beds with a cover fashioned over them. Multiple ferrets enjoy sharing one bed where they can snuggle together and create their own private nest.
- Dishes – Food and water dishes should be deep, ceramic dishes. Because ferrets enjoy digging, a deep dish prevents them from being able to pitch food and water everywhere and creates less opportunity for them to make a mess. A ferret’s water supply should be constant, especially in warmer weather, but be sure to change out the water frequently as ferrets like to frolic in water so it can get polluted.
- Enclosure – Most ferret owners opt for a spacious, multi-level enclosure that allows their pet to get ample exercise and also provides enough room for multiple ferrets should an owner decide to purchase more in the future.
- Litter box – Unlike cats, ferrets are not inclined to use a litter box: they must be continually trained. With positive reinforcement and awarding proper use of the litter box with treats, a ferret can be trained to understand how to use their litter box. Discouraging your ferret from using other areas of their enclosure for bathroom activities by placing bedding, toys, and food dishes scattered around, can create the notion that the litter box is the only “logical” place to go to the bathroom.
What do ferrets eat?
- Commercial ferret food
- Cooked eggs
- Fresh cooked chicken
Foods that are poisonous to ferrets:
The ferret personality
Knowing Your Bird
Beaks continue growing throughout birds’ lives. Although birds’ beaks usually wear evenly, some birds develop beak problems and require veterinary assistance. This is often associated with underlying health problems, a facet which is important to address with a health exam. Trimming a beak incorrectly can cause your bird pain and may prevent it from eating, which is why we recommend having your bird’s beak professionally trimmed. Do not attempt to trim your bird’s beak at home. Call us to schedule an appointment.
Clipping a bird’s feathers can protect your bird and your home. Wing clipping is a nonpainful procedure that ensures the safety of your bird in its environment by limiting your bird’s ability to fly (while maintaining its ability to glide), thus removing the risk of injury from flying into a ceiling fan, onto a hot stovetop, or into (or out) a window.
Most birds need to have their nails trimmed regularly. However, the process can be detrimental to your bird if its nails are trimmed too short. We can take care of this procedure for you so that you don’t have to worry about nicking the blood vessels inside the nails. Call us if you’d like to schedule an appointment.
Birds have many different qualities that make them an ideal pet. Some species make great companions and model first pets, teaching both responsibility and caretaking. Other types are very high-maintenance and require careful grooming, meticulous handling, and special diets. When choosing a bird, it is important to research the types that interest you prior to taking a trip to the pet store; doing so will protect your future pet’s long-term well-being and your peace-of-mind.
Choosing a bird
You want to choose the bird that is right for your lifestyle and fulfills what you want from a pet. You may also want to consider a bird’s lifespan before making your purchasing decision, which can range from twenty-five to over one hundred years! The following is a list of various birds and the personalities they offer:
- Canaries – one of the most popular pet birds. Very vocal and bright in color. Female canaries don’t sing, while males are very vocal. Great bird for someone new to bird ownership, because they are less maintenance than other birds.
- Finches – prefers not to be handled too much. Very lively. Enjoy the company of other finches within the same enclosure. Flutter around and do not climb around their cage. If too many are in a single enclosure, fights may break out.
- Parakeets – initially very timid, but form a very close bond with their pet owner when carefully handled and attended to. Must be given consistent and respectful handling.
- Cockatiels – a popular pet bird. Very loving and desire a lot of attention and handling. With a patient owner, they can learn to talk.
- Amazon Parrots – the bright, large, talkative birds that are the most well-known. Very entertaining and intelligent and feed off of attention. Because of their intelligence, these birds require a lot of attention, socialization, and intellectual stimulation. They also require a fair amount of exercise.
- Peach-Faced Lovebirds – Playful and active. Thrive on attention and socialization and love to be handled and carried around. Very affectionate and not too noisy.
- Doves – Very gentle and loving. May initially be nervous, but with proper socialization will be very outgoing. Bond strongly with their owner. Because of their gentility, doves are a great bird for younger children.
An important thing to consider before purchasing your pet bird is cage size. Whether your future pet is large or small, all birds enjoy the flexibility of a large cage. Extra space allows smaller birds to exercise within their containment. Larger birds need even larger cages; some very large birds, such as parrots will even require a space outside of their cage like a stand or play gym for extra entertainment.
What do birds eat?
A bird’s diet differs depending on the species. Some birds eat seed while others eat nectar and fruit. The following list includes the various foods a bird might eat:
- Fresh greens
- Sprouted seeds
Different types of birds have different socialization needs. Companion birds view your family as their flock and long to be near family activity at all times, while solitary birds prefer to be left alone. Some species will screech for attention, others will sing only at specific times throughout the day. For future bird owners who aren’t able or willing to take their pet out of the cage for a minimum of two hours per day to socialize, a Finch or Canary might be best. Birds that have a hookbill, such as a Parrot, long for daily interaction and exercise, so a pet owner willing to handle their bird is necessary. Our veterinary facility wishes all pet owners success in choosing their pet. If you have any questions about bird ownership, please feel free to contact our office; we would be happy to assist you!
Rabbits are susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions, including overgrown teeth, hairballs, respiratory and ocular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. They also tend to hide signs of illness or pain.
- Has discharge from the eyes or nose, runny stool, or a gurgling stomach
- Begins drooling, scratching at the ears, or sneezing
- Starts tilting his or her head
- Develops bald patches in his or her fur
- Stops eating, appears quieter than normal, or shows other abnormal behaviour
- In addition, your rabbit can benefit from regular dental checkups. We can help make sure problems with your rabbit’s teeth don’t turn into serious, potentially life-threatening conditions.
We also strongly suggest that you have your rabbit spayed or neutered. Not only can rabbits potentially give birth once a month, but they can also have up to 14 babies at a time! Even in households with a single rabbit, spaying or neutering has benefits: It can protect your rabbit from several types of cancer and reduce or eliminate aggression, as well as other undesirable behaviour, such as spraying, mounting, destructive chewing, and biting. Spaying or neutering will not change your rabbit’s personality.If you have any questions about how to care for your rabbit, we can discuss diet, housing, grooming, and even litterbox training.
What does my pet rabbit need?
- A feeding rack with ceramic water bowl
- Digging box
- Enclosure or cage with a solid bottom
- Grooming brush – bristled, not metal
- High-quality rabbit pellets
- Litter box with rabbit-specific bedding
- Rabbit-safe chew toys
Nutrition and husbandry-related disorders and diseases are common in reptiles. We can help you avoid these problems. Call us to set up a consultation so we can discuss how to help keep your reptile healthy.
We also offer medical and surgical services for sick reptiles. It is important to ensure that your reptile maintains its eating and voiding habits, activity levels and healthy appearance. Changes in any of these may indicate and medical problem
What pets are reptiles or amphibians?
- Snakes – Corn Snake, King Snake, Ball Python
- Turtles/Tortoises – African Desert Tortoise, Red-Eared Slider, Box Turtle
- Lizards – Green Iguana, Chameleon, Leopard Gecko, Bearded Dragon
- Frogs/Toads – African Dwarf Frog, Firebellied Toad, White’s Tree Frog
Children are not suitable pet owners for reptiles or amphibians and require adult supervision whenever they handle one. Kids should also be advised of the health risks associated with handling a reptile and should be compelled to wash their hands thoroughly after holding one. In addition to children, reptiles or amphibians are not suitable pets for: anyone with HIV, AIDS, or another immunodeficiency disorder; pregnant women; elderly people; or anyone in poor health, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy patients.
What do reptiles and amphibians eat?
Depending on the reptile or amphibian you choose to purchase, dietary needs will vary. Keep in mind the following information when purchasing your pet.
Carnivores eat fresh, whole prey including:
- Beetle larvae
If you cannot humanely kill the prey yourself, then a carnivorous reptile is not a good pet for you.
Herbivores eat foods such as:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Sweet potato
Herbivores clearly have a more versatile diet and are an easier reptile to feed; however, there are not herbivorous snakes, and there are very few herbivorous lizards, which limits the types of herbivorous reptiles to choose from.
Most reptiles and amphibians need supplements in addition to their diet, including calcium. Such considerations should be investigated and known prior to purchasing a new pet.
Housing a reptile is one of the biggest complications pet owners run into. Many unsuspecting owners will purchase a terrarium for their new reptile, unknowing that within one year, they could be ten times their current size. In fact, very few reptiles are meant for vivarium enclosures (indoor, enclosed living space). Before purchasing a reptile, consider the standard adult size for your particular animal of interest.
Whether housing your pet indoors or outdoors, their enclosure needs to be escape-proof. Similar to all other animals and pets, reptiles can escape their enclosure and flee. An enclosure also needs to be considerate of your reptile’s optimal body temperature. Often a heat lamp will need to be set up on one side of the enclosure so a reptile can obtain heat when necessary but still has part of their enclosure to escape the heat if it becomes too warm. Heat lamps along with UV lights allow a reptile’s enclosure to simulate being outdoors. A day lamp, or UV light, enables pets to maintain regularity. Occasionally, a reptile can obtain the heat it requires from their UV light, so only one lamp is necessary, but read species-specific information prior to purchasing. Reptiles also need humidity. Depending on an animal’s size and needs, a simple water dish may suffice, while other reptiles need aquatic filtration built into their tank.
Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from veterinary attention. Teeth, which grow continuously in rodents, often require trimming. Parasites such as lice, mites, and fleas can infest your pet. In addition, these companion animals can suffer from other health issues, often prevented with adequate husbandry which we are well-positioned to counsel you on using the most current medical information. Call us if your pet stops eating, loses weight, appears quieter than normal, has discharge from the eyes or nose, or develops a lump on its body. We can provide treatment that fits your budget.
- Gerbils – Gerbils are very social pets that need companionship with other gerbils. Having a few same-sex gerbils within a single enclosure is good for their health. When regularly handled, gerbils can become very tame and make a perfect companion. Their average lifespan ranges from 2 to 3 years.
- Guinea Pigs – Guinea pigs are also social and benefit from having a same-sex friend within the same enclosure. Guinea pigs are known for their gentility and very rarely bite, even when anxious or frightened. Guinea pigs are quite skittish and should be kept in a quiet area of your home. Because of their backs, guinea pigs cannot run in a wheel or ball and can injure themselves if attempted. Their average lifespan is around 5 to 7 years.
- Hamsters – Hamsters are a pet best left observed. They are known to be fairly aggressive and can often bite. Multiple hamsters cannot be placed in the same enclosure, as they will fight to the death. As nocturnal animals, hamsters remain very active at night which could keep an owner awake if they are kept in the same room. Typically, hamsters live for 2 to 3 years.
- Mice – Like hamsters, mice are better left watched rather than handled. They are very timid, often shying away from human interaction and are very quick and skittish, allowing them to easily escape when held. Mice are one of the easiest pets to own because they have minimal space needs and do not require attention. They do, however, enjoy companionship with other mice, so purchasing multiple can keep your pet happy. A pet mouse will usually live for 1 to 3 years.
- Rats – Rats enjoy the company of other rats as well as attention from their owners; they very rarely bite. Rats also have the capacity to be litter box trained and can be taught to perform simple tricks. A rat’s lifespan is between 2 and 4 years.
- Species-specific pellets
- Hay and greens
- Supplements (when necessary)
When introducing a new food, be sure to gradually incorporate it into your rodent’s diet. Abrupt changes could cause gastrointestinal pain. Also, be sure to keep a constant water supply using a sipper bottle on the side of the cage. Please remember that seed diets are not recommended and can lead to malnutrition and starvation.
Hedgehogs are prone to many illnesses such as obesity and dental problems, as well as a variety of skin and quill issues. Contact us for information about the best environmental conditions and to address any health concerns which may arise. Please note that it may be necessary to anesthetise your hedgehog to perform a full physical exam, this is assessed on a case by case basis.