Welcome our two new pets, Chico and Patch! Chico and Patch are rescues from support adoption for pets. They weren’t very tame at all when we got them and they only ate muesli mix. That was all they wanted to eat. When we put mealworms in front of them (which my other gerbil Tommy adores), they simply didn’t touch them. As for Tommy’s favourite seeds (millet) they didn’t seem keen on those either. We didn’t force them to eat these things but added some to their cage. Slowly but surely they tried them, liked them, tried them again and now they love mealworms and natures-touch food mix.
Another thing that we work on with all our gerbils is handling, our gerbils didn’t enjoy being handled when we first got them. However, they loved time in their playpen and exploring the tunnels and climbing frames we put in there with them. I put my hand inside their playpen with a mealworm on (which they were slowly liking more and more at this point) and sure enough, they came out to eat the mealworms off my hand. Following this were short intervals where I would lift my hand up and down slowly to get them used to it. Now, they love being handled!
All in all, Chico and Patch have transformed from shy gerbils who didn’t like to try anything new, into gerbils who love food and being handled. I hope to give you pictures of them in my next blog.
Why you should never buy an animal from a pet shop and always rescue.
Today, I will be discussing the reasons why you should never purchase an animal from a pet store, and why you should always rescue. I will be giving you questions to think about before you go buying a pet from anywhere. Do the prices look right for the animal that I’m buying?
If the prices are low, this could mean that the animals aren’t being cared for or maintained enough. This could also mean that the animals aren’t getting a properly nutritious diet. These reasons why the prices are low, could then lead to you buying an unhealthy pet if you did buy one. In a rescue centre, the prices are low, but, for a different reason. The animals here are desperate to find a new home (whereas ones that are in a pet shop aren’t). The centre needs money for other animals there, fundraising and a small or no wage for themselves as lots of people who work at rescues are simply volunteers.
Are you giving your money to a good cause?
In a pet store, especially chain stores, there are lots of people. People buying toys for their dogs, cat posts for their kittens, crickets for their reptile and treats for their small furry. You can’t imagine how much money comes rolling in. If you decided to buy an animal from a pet store, this would not benefit the company that much at all, in fact, the day would probably be the same for them if you didn’t buy it. In contrast, in a rescue centre money is needed to buy blankets, toys and food for other animals there. Also, just imagine the joy of the workers for the pet you are about to buy, it may have been there for a long time and to it, you are its saviour.
Do you know where your animal came from?
I know that almost always when I ask someone where their pet came from they say, “the pet shop”, but, do they really know where it came from before that, how its parents were treated or what the conditions were like? The answer to this question for many people is no. Did you know that 99% of dogs in pet shops are from puppy farms? This won’t soon be an issue as Lucy’s Law will be putting a stop to that. When you buy from a rescue, the workers there would be delighted to tell you everything that they know about that particular pets history or past. In a pet shop this simply doesn’t happen.
Are you being paired with the right pet?
You’ve all seen the movies where the little child looks through the glass case, says “I want that one”, and it’s all happy ever after. But, come on, do you seriously think that’s reality? In pet shops YOU pick the pet. All the workers do is put it in a box and charge you money for it. They don’t know that particular pet’s personality or whether your future with your pet could be a happy one or even a disaster. The truth about this is, they don’t care. However, In a rescue centre you ca pick out the pet. But then there are: home visits, introductions to other pets and they check what things you need and whether you have them or not.
Has the animal been treated for fleas, wormed, microchipped or vaccinated?
If any or all of these things apply to the type of pet that you are about to purchase from a pet store, YOU have to book an appointment with the vet and pay for it to be done, which is extremely expensive. In a rescue centre, all of these things necessary to be done for your pet will be done before you purchase your pet, free of charge for you! Plus, in some rescue centres they give you a free collar and lead if you are buying a dog. Pet shops don’t do that!
• Do I really want a puppy?- in a rescue you can buy an adult dog to pass the expensive stage of puppy pads
• Do I have enough advice?
• Do I have the time for a dog?
• Who will look after it whilst I’m on holiday?
Today I will be blogging on hairless animals. I want to explain to people not to judge a book by its cover and how although these pets appear different they still are loving family pets, and I think they are very cute! The animals I will be talking about today are sphynx cats, Chinese crested dogs and skinny pigs.
Lots of people don’t like Sphynx cats because they are hairless. This makes me sad that because an animal doesn’t have any fur, people automatically dislike it. I understand that people have their opinion. But a look is just a way of seeing something, there can be a whole lot more behind someone that their appearance. Sphynx cats love attention and are one of the best cat breeds for a family. And one of the biggest problems that most cat owners face doesn’t apply for sphynx cats….. they don’t shed! They are great towards other pets in the family and of course as they are hairless, you don’t have to worry about grooming. They are very friendly cats, It is not unusual to find them as therapy cats as they just love to meet people and will be quite content sitting on their new found friend’s lap! Sphynx cats are also extremely clever, loving every second of a puzzle toy. They love a good cuddle to keep warm and in fact you will soon find them sleeping in your bed with you! Although the sphynx doesn’t require you to brush their hair, you will however need to keep their skin nice and moisturised with a gentle scent free lotion or oil. One of my favourite sightings of a sphynx cat is when they are in their jumpers and sweaters around autumn and winter time. Looking quite content with their fashionable clothing! All in all, I can’t see a better cat than a sphynx and don’t understand why some other people don’t think so too.
Skinny pigs are my firm favourite of the hairless animal group. Their cute faces are completely adorable, and It upsets me when people judge their looks and decide they don’t like them. Skinny pigs are extremely rewarding when tamed properly, almost like a little dog (with a high-pitched squeak!). they love to snuggle down in a fleecy bed in winter. All in all, they are extremely lovable pets, so, to tell us more about what it is like to own a skinny pig as a pet is Aimee Wingstedt
What is your favourite thing about owning a skinny pig as a pet?
My favourite thing about having a skinny pig as a pig is how active they are and also how warm they are. But not how quickly they go through hay!
What would you say to people who decide from first glance that they don’t like skinny pigs?
To people who don’t like skinny pigs because of their unusual appearance, I can say only one thing: they are still animals and a lot of people say that they are cuter in real life.
Chinese Crested Dog
Coming to the last animal featured in my blog, I’m going to talk about the Chinese crested dog. This is a breed of dog that was very popular in China in the 1880’s hence its name. There are two types of Chinese crested dog which come in the same litter. The hairless breed and the powderpuff (one with fur). Yet again the hairless breed gets many nasty looks. But I think these dog’s unusual appearance is amazing and we should all be grateful that such creatures even exist. Chinese crested dogs are great for a family life however, they can live almost anywhere even a large apartment. This breed is extremely healthy and are much hardier than they look. They have good attitude towards other dogs and your family pets too. Also, aren’t that destructive. They are excellent with children and are ideal for allergy sufferers. The same as the sphynx cat, these dogs need moisturising as daily skin care is essential. But, also may need their face clipped and although they are hardy, they are still not suitable for rough games. They will need a warm coat in winter and sun block in summer. They can do walks tailored by you, either short frequent ones or one long one of many miles. When training aim for co-operation other than strict obedience. One of the things that dog owners struggle with doesn’t happen with these dogs and that’s the famous “doggy odour”!
Have you ever had the problem of tiny pieces of food, algae and fish poo at the bottom of your tank that you just can’t get out? I know I have. So today I will be telling you about a few of the little creatures you can put in your tank to do just that.
Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Malaysian Trumpet Snails (or MTS) are great for messy freshwater fish such as goldfish. Malaysian trumpet snails are brilliant at devouring things! They eat everything, even poo. If you have sand, they also prevent anaerobic bubbles from forming in it, by digging into it and eating all the waste it can find. This is great for plants as they aerate the substrate which promotes root health and additional air exchange. The only problem about these beautiful snails is that they breed in large quantities very often. For example, you might have around five to start with and then two months later have hundreds! So be aware of this if you are thinking of getting one.
The assassin snail
This snail true to its name, eats prey. However, it is completely harmless to the other fish and shrimps in your tank. It eats other snails to prevent overpopulation. The assassin snail lays microscopic eggs and when these hatch and turn into snails. The snail will simply step in and sort out the situation! Assassin snails are also perfect for freshwater tanks. Unfortunately, your assassin snail may go for your plants or even “wigglers” and small fry. So, may not be best suitable for people planning to or breeding snails. An assassin snail’s body and its foot are a light cream colour. Their shells are quite often gold with brown stripes around it. When buying, your snails shell should have no cracks on it and if so purchase a different one.
Yellow Rabbit Snails
Yellow rabbit snails look like Malaysian trumpet snails in shape, but rabbit snails are much larger in size. The shape and colour of rabbit snails are different are well. However, they are equally as valuable as Malaysian trumpet snails and a great alternative. These snails tend to be around ¼ of an inch. By burrowing into the substrates, these snails help keep turn the substrate which prevents gas building up. These are hardy snails which eat leftover food to prevent ammonia spikes. If your snails have cracks in their shells after buying it may be that your water has acid in it or that is low in calcium. Their Water Temperature should be around 76 – 84 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Red Spotted Snail
These beautiful snails will not bother tank inhabitants but may be picked on by aggressive fish such as puffers or loaches. Red spotted snails are amazing algae eaters and won’t usually touch plants if algae is present. If no algae is present then its best to supplement your snail with blanched vegetables and algae water. These snails will constantly graze in their tank so needs a spacious well oxygenated tank with plenty of algae to eat. If put in a new tank with no algae present and not supplemented, it can starve. A tight-fitting lid is a must as these snails can be escape artists! The presence of copper in this creature’s tank will kill it. However, if properly acclaimed to a full strength saltwater environment these snails can live in a marine setup too!
There are so many types of shrimp out their that will delicately eat all the algae off your tank. The most viable shrimp at eating algae in in fact the Carida Japonica. They can eat a large selection and number of algae. They can also do this quite quickly. If you are more interested in a colourful shrimp, then perhaps the tiger shrimp is for you. They are hardy and do their fair job at cleaning the tank’s debris. In addition to algae, shrimp will eat any excess fish food left over. Even fish waste and carcasses! Even though shrimp do such a great job at cleaning, you should never overpopulate your tank with them. This can cause damage to your plants. So, if this happens there are two options. Number 1 being to move some shrimp to another tank and two to feed shrimp pellets.
My opinion about small pets on leashes.
To many people, the sight of a small pet on a leash is cute. Everyone is entertained by it and extremely happy. That is, everyone except for the pet. To the pet this is a horrifying experience that they will want to, but never be able to forget. Therefore, today I will be sharing my opinion on small pets being kept on leashes.
Asking members of the public about their views, an 8-year-old boy told me this: “I think that putting leashes on animals is animal cruelty because there’s straps and it’ll rub against their skin, also they’ll feel scared that something’s happening to them.”
Personally I don’t agree with putting leashes on small pets. Most leashes are cheaply made so animals could easily escape from them. You may have decided it looked cute or that the animal enjoyed it, so you bought a lead and put it on your animal, despite the fact that they were probably either stock still of fear or wriggling free.
The bad thing about this is that pet shops sell them, amazon sells them and eBay sells them too. With all this falling into place and people buying them for their animals, the pet may slowly lose trust in their owner. Although there have been accounts of animals appearing to enjoy this experience, this remains my opinion.
To me putting a small pet on a lead isn’t the right thing to do. I do not believe that small pets should have to experience this. There are in fact many other ways to make sure that they never have to endure this. With so many good- quality runs out there waiting to be used, your pets can enjoy roaming free in the grass without a harness strapped around them. Even the smallest animals like hamsters and gerbils can free roam this way! Also, it s a great way to watch your animals inquisitive spirits!
Thanks for reading and I will post a new blog next week.
Willow was another past pet we’ve cared for. He was a Syrian hamster. We got Willow from a neighbour of a good friend. The neighbours’ hamsters had just had a litter of hamsters. We took home a brown and white boy named Willow. He was extremely cute and had a passion for climbing the bars of his Alaskan hamster cage which we bought at http://www.zooplus.co.uk.
Willow escaped once which is something you should definitely have a plan for, for if your hamster escapes. Willow was a very bright hamster and managed to open the door of his cage by putting weight on the bars above it. He then escaped for four days! Luckily we got him back. Not with a trap, he was way to smart for those, he climbed out and took his food into his hiding spot in the wall. But we heard him in the kitchen at around 1 AM and caught him under a bucket before placing him inside his cage again and zip-tying the broken door shut! (there was two doors). Willow was a hamster with a huge personality and loads of love. He passed away last month and we miss him very much.
The pets I have introduced you to are the pets I have now. I have had pets in the past too. Two guinea pigs and two goldfish.
We had our past goldfish years ago so have no pictures of them!
Caramel and Fudge
Caramel and Fudge are our guinea pigs who passed away at different times. Fudge, in 2016 and Caramel in 2017. The pair taught us so much about understanding animals, and if it had not have been for them, we may not have carried on with pets the way we do now. Both guinea pigs had very different personalities, there was Fudge who was always first to the food and could be quite bossy at times. And then there was Caramel who was very quiet and generally let Fudge go for the food first. We got both guinea pigs in 2012 when we had first moved to a new house. They were 2 years old at the time. We didn’t know many people as we had moved country. So Caramel and Fudge were our only friends for a few weeks! We bonded with them straight away after they had settled in and almost immediately their unique guinea pig personalities shone through. Our guinea pigs suffered with arthritis as they got older so we were giving them medicines and keeping them indoors on cold nights. Having guinea pigs was an amazing experience. It was so rewarding watching Caramel come from being the most shy little thing to being such a tame and excitable guinea pig. Also watching Fudge come from her bossy old self to such a calm character. I would highly recommend guinea pigs as first pets. they hardly ever bite unless you hurt them and when given the right care, almost become like little dogs with how tame they get!