With Valentine’s Day approaching many of us will be making restaurant bookings and buying cinema tickets for a night out with their partner. Sure, that’s nice, but wouldn’t you really prefer it if you could include the third member of your couple, your pet, in your plans? We’ve put together a suggested date night schedule that both humans and pets will enjoy, so that no one gets left out!
A few days before
If you’re buying a present for your parter, you should make sure you treat your pet to something special as well, as they’ve been such a good boy or girl. How about getting your rabbits or guinea pig some fun accessories for their run, like a shelter or some Zippi-tunnels? Dogs and cats will always appreciate a new, super comfy bed, like the super luxurious Omlet Bolster Bed.
16.00 Time Outside
Depending on what pet you have, the key to a good date night might be to tire them out a bit before you snuggle up inside. Rabbits and guinea pigs will love a run around in their tunnels in the garden, cats will enjoy some fresh air (either letting them hunt around the neighbourhood for an hour or so, or join them for some time on their cat run) and dogs will feel spoiled after a long hike or trip to the park to see some doggy friends. If you have a dog, why not stop off at a dog friendly pub for a drink and a small snack before you return home?
18.00 Play Time
This is a perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your pet, doing what you know they love doing. If you have a smaller animal, you and your partner can create a maze or prepare a scavenger hunt for them, hiding snacks and building obstacles around the living room. Cats will enjoy chasing toys, and dogs will go crazy for some tug of war. If you want to spoil your pets even more, why not get them a new toy to play with?
19.00 Dinner Time
The key to the perfect date night is some good, and preferably rather indulgent, food. Maybe this is a good opportunity to try one of those recipes that requires a bit more time and effort? Or just to order some take away, if you’re knackered after all the playing. To fully include your pet, we would suggest making sure they also get to have something special for dinner. There are plenty of easy and healthy recipes for all pets online, so you can find something that you will enjoy making, and your pet will enjoy wolfing down. Divide the work and let your partner make something for the pets while you cook the human food, or the other way around.
20.00 Spa Treatment
Get settled on the sofa for a pampering session for pets and humans alike. Give your pet a bath and some grooming, like cutting their nails, brushing their fur and cleaning their teeth. While you enjoy a face mask or a manicure, dogs and cats might benefit from an oil treatment for dry skin and paw pads. Finish off the spa hour with a good long massage. Your pet will probably not be of much help here, so you humans might have to take it in turn.
While you’re treating yourselves, why not put on some relaxing music? Spotify has recently launched Spotify for Pets, customised lists based on your pet’s personality and your music taste. Unfortunately you’re limited to only a few pets at the moment, but what’s to say your rabbit won’t enjoy a cat playlist?
21.00 Film and Snacks
Pop some popcorn, pour some wine and curl up on the sofa together with your date(s) for some Petflix and Chill. Make sure your pet has a place where he or she can get settled and feel comfy, maybe on a special blanket or bed. Date night is all about a relaxing rom-com, or something else that both you can your pet will love napping in front of. Make sure that you offer your pet movie snacks and a nice drink as well, we have plenty of treats and goodies for all pets in our shop, including white and rosé Pawsecco for a true celebratory evening . As an added bonus, you currently get 25% off all treats in the Omlet shop!
This entry was posted in Pets
There is something very arrogant in assuming that only humans can experience deep emotions. We’ve all seen our pets excited and happy, and we also come to recognise when they’re sad. In other words, they experience feelings.
Sorrow in an animal is different from fear or anxiety. The latter things are brought on by stress, resulting from poor environment, poor diet, scary neighbours, cruel owners, or countless other factors that can make animals feel exposed or in danger.
Heartbreak, as any person who has experienced it knows, is something very different. It results from bereavement, or other forms of fundamental loss. Scientists are often eager to point out that we can never prove an animal feels these emotions. But many owners have seen it for themselves and have no doubt at all.
What Makes Dogs Sad?
A pet may become distressed if a certain person or a longstanding companion of the same species is no longer around – but only if that person or pet was one that the animal had completely bonded with.
A family dog will have a relationship with all the human members of its family, but there will usually be one favourite – an Alpha male or Alpha Female, if you like. Although the dog may miss the others, it is on this favourite, its main owner, that its affections will be focused.
If such a person leaves the household, for whatever reason, the dog’s first reaction will be one of separation anxiety. It will pine and lose its interest in things such as food, games and walks. Loss of appetite can lead to liver problems in a relatively short time, so keep an eye on the situation and be ready to turn to a vet for help.
The dog may also whine and cry more than usual, and may start to lick and chew household items, or its own fur or paws. Many grieving dogs find it hard sleeping, and will sit and whine by a door, or may simply go into hiding.
A lot depends on the breed, and on the individual animal too. But many dogs can certainly be classed as heartbroken in these situations. The grieving will last for several weeks, even months.
Time will cure the heartache, but in the meantime you can help by making sure the pet continues to have walks in its favourite places. If the dog enjoys staying in kennels, a short break there is a possibility too. You could also consider employing a dog walker, to give your pet a change of routine. Don’t be afraid to be more generous than usual with the snacks, treats and toys, too.
What Makes Cats Sad?
Cats can be harder to read than dogs. They will tend to lay low, hiding away more than usual. Some will become more vocal, mewing and crying for their lost friend. Many will lose their appetites, sleep less, and may even run away for days at a time.
Like dogs, a cat that stops eating can develop potentially fatal liver disease, so early intervention by a vet is recommended.
Many, however, soon transfer their main affections to another member of the household. Other, more independent cats seem to readjust without any problem.
What Makes Other Pets Sad?
Small mammals don’t appear to grieve when their owners disappear from their lives. But many will revert to a natural nervousness if they are no longer being handled and fed by their best friend. Someone else needs to step up and become the pet’s favourite.
Pet parrots who have bonded with a partner or owner are known to grieve the loss of a loved one, whether a fellow bird or a human. Loss of appetite and listlessness are the usual signs. Someone needs to keep up the contact and interaction, to ease these highly intelligent birds into their new lives.
The problem does not usually arise if the birds are kept in an open aviary setting. Smaller parrots such as budgies and lovebirds don’t seem to miss their human friends so intensely either, although they will certainly grieve if their feathered best friend disappears.
The Grieving Process
Above all, try to be upbeat and affectionate with the grieving animal. Pets pick up on our moods with an almost supernatural skill, so if we’re very sad, they may mirror our feelings. Again, this might be a good time to bring in friends or relatives more able to put on a happy face for the sake of the heartbroken pet.
Most pets will, with time, move on. Some older pets may never entirely recover. In all circumstances involving loss, all an owner can do is care for the animal as it readjusts to changed circumstances.
This entry was posted in Cats
We could probably all benefit from something special to make it through the last winter weeks, and your pets will definitely feel the same way!
Stock up and spoil your loved ones this February with 25% off all treats on the Omlet shop, and find the pawfect Valentine’s Day gift for your furry friends!
Use promo code PETFLIX at checkout to claim the offer.
Terms and conditions:
Promotion runs from 06/02/20 – midnight 17/02/20, while stocks last. For 25% off treats use promo code PETFLIX. 25% off is available on treats for all animals, excluding bags of feed over 1.5kg, as well as treat toys and Feldy High Energy Chicken Pecker Balls – Box of 40. Excludes out of stock items. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Offers and promotions
According to folklore, birds choose their mates on St Valentine’s Day. A rare few only have to make that choice once, staying with the same partner for as long as both birds are alive.
There is something romantically appealing about this idea of birds sticking together for life. But not many species follow this lifestyle. The faithful few include many species of goose and swan, several of the owls and eagles, and some of the penguins. Many others are ‘serially monogamous’, meaning they stick with one partner throughout a single breeding season, but not for life. An estimated 90% of bird species fall into this category.
Mating for life is something much rarer. Parrots in captivity usually stick with one partner, as their choice of mates is limited. But the whole idea of bird fidelity is best captured in the image of two lovebirds cuddling up and rubbing beaks.
What’s the advantage in sticking together for life?
The chicks of birds of prey such as owls and eagles grow slowly. Rearing a big bird such as an osprey or golden eagle takes around three months from egg laying to independence. It helps save time if the parents start rearing their young early in the season, preferably in the same nest as last year. Lengthy courtship displays and nest-building are simply delays, and ones that can be avoided if two birds resume their old relationship each year.
The advantages of faithfulness may seem less obvious for smaller birds. But it ensures that both parent birds are focussed on the successful rearing of their chicks. The alternative is polygamy, in which the male strays away to mate with other birds, putting all the pressure on the hen bird to feed the chick. In a harsh season, having two parents working together can make the difference between life and death for the chicks.
Most mating-for-life species don’t actually live together outside the breeding season, though. Not in the wild, at least. But there is one famous exception – the Lovebird.
Lovebirds of a feather stick together
Lovebirds take mating-for-life very seriously. Most other ‘faithful’ birds rediscover their independence outside the breeding season, but Lovebirds live up to their name 24/7, 365 days a year.
Like most parrot species, in the wild all nine species of Lovebird live in flocks, and their social organisation is based on pairs. The strong bonds involved prevent bickering and fighting in the mating season. It’s a peace-keeping system that works so well, it’s surprising that other species haven’t followed a similar evolutionary path.
Lovebirds are bonded to the point of jealously. They may be our perfect picture of avian affection, but they will fend off any intruders. It is recommended to keep pairs separate from other birds, rather than including them in a mixed aviary – unless you have a huge space in which grumpy or jealous birds can easily find space away from each other.
A bereaved Lovebird, or one kept on its own, will become depressed. It will pine, stop eating, squawk, and become irritable. The exceptions are those birds that have been handled from a young age and have bonded with their human companion. Their affection is every bit as genuine with a human ‘partner’ as a feathered one.
There are downsides to this, though. A bonded lovebird will regurgitate food for you, and will need discouraging from attempting to mate!
Zebra Finches – Lovebirds of the Finch world
Most birds that live in flocks are monogamous – that is, they have just one mate each breeding season – but the Zebra finch takes it a step further. Many owners think the bird’s habit of mating for life is something that only happens in captivity, where choice of partner is restricted. But the little Zebra is every bit as faithful as the Lovebird, even in the wild.
In captivity problems can arise when birds die, or when new ones are added. A singleton in a group of Zebra finches will find it hard to find a mate without a fight. For this reason, ironically, it is actually best to keep these finches in pairs rather than big or odd-numbered flocks, as a single bird may be forced to become either a bully or a depressed outcast.
Love is in the air
Nature has found all sorts of ways of ensuring that the next generation of birds takes to the wing. At one end sit the cuckoos, taking no responsibility for parenting or relationships of any sort. Next come those birds that take the lots-of-mates approach. Most, however, opt for one partner per season.
But there’s something particularly appealing about those few species that mate for life. For Lovebird and Zebra finch owners, romance is an everyday fact of life.
This entry was posted in Pets
Is “become an Omlet superfan” in your new year resolutions? We don’t blame you! Here’s all the super easy ways you can keep up with our special offers, competitions, videos, blogs and more in 2020!
Our weekly newsletter is jam packed with fun articles, information about exciting new launches and promotions, and reviews from customers. By subscribing to the newsletter, you will make sure that you’re the first one to know about everything Omlet! We also regularly deliver exclusive offers just for newsletter subscribers which we promise you will want to hear about. We can’t say too much, but it is very likely there will be an amazing Eglu offer coming up at the end of January 😉
The Omlet Youtube channel is a great place to explore our products. The informative and fun videos show all the groundbreaking features that customers love, with the added bonus of some very cute animals! By subscribing you will always be fully clued up on the latest Omlet innovations, and you will find plenty of useful information about keeping pets, like this one about making your Eglu ready for winter.
We also have helpful step-by-step videos showing you how to build all our products, resulting in fewer arguments and less frustration! You can have them playing in the background as you put together your pets’ new home, and it’s easy to pause or go back if needed.
The Omlet Chicken Keeping Facebook Group is a great place to meet other Eglu lovers. Our friendly customers share tips and tricks on keeping chickens, discuss the features of products and tell stories about their pets. Whether you’re a veteran crazy chicken lover or a total beginner, you’ll enjoy being part of Omlet’s Chicken Keeping Community!
Integrate Omlet into your favourite social media feed and brighten up your scrolling time with cute pet pics, awesome new products, amazing competitions, promotions and much more! You will also get all the information you need to take part in the many competitions we will be running in 2020. You won’t want to miss out, so make sure you follow us today!
This entry was posted in Pets
This classy lady, all dressed up and ready for those Christmas parties!
This group of friends saying: Merry Christmas from our Pack to your Pack!
This little fellow, who is looking forward to helping Father Christmas deliver all the presents!
This cutie who wants to Woof You a Hairy Christmas!
This beauty, who’s having a little paws between Christmas meals.
This lady, who knows the importance of decorating your home for the holidays!
This festive feline, who’s wishing you all a meowy Christmas!
This lovely lady who wants you to let Santa Paws know she would never be naughty!
And finally these best buddies, celebrating the holidays in style!
This entry was posted in Christmas
Whether you’re a mum or dad, a favourite uncle or a generous friend, we have the gifts that will make this Christmas extra special for the younger pet lovers out there!
Are you a parent who can’t really see the point of pets, but tiring of the constant nagging from the children? Would breakfast made with fresh eggs from the garden every morning possibly convince you? Suitable for approximately 3 chickens, the insulated and fox resistant Eglu Go is the ultimate coop for first time chicken keepers. The coop is so easy to clean that the kids will almost be able to do it themselves, and the daily and weekly tasks involved with keeping chickens are so fun and quickly done that split between a few family members it won’t get boring.
If you feel that chickens might not be for you, but like the idea of an Eglu, have a look at the Eglu Go hutch. It has got the same amazing features as the coop, but instead of roosting bars and a nesting area, it comes with smooth slide-out bedding tray and a hay rack, and will be an amazing home for rabbits and guinea pigs alike.
If you’re looking for the perfect first pet for your child, a hamster or gerbil is a great start. They create strong bonds with their owners, and kids of all ages will enjoy playing with them, but they don’t require training.
With the modern and stylish Qute hamster and gerbil cage, having a pet could not be easier. Cleaning the cage takes literally minutes, all you need to do is lift and twist the tube to keep the pets on the upper level while you empty the bedding tray and wipe it clean before you refill it with fresh bedding.
As an added bonus the Qute will look great in your house, so unlike other cages for small animals you will actually be proud to have it on display!
Get the Qute without storage and everything you need to be ready for your new hamster with this star buy bundle, now just £84.99, (RRP £94.17.)
With the Zippi tunnel system for rabbits and guinea pigs, tunnels and playpens can be connected to build an amazing warren which kids can move around and customise when they play with their pet. Additional accessories such as the hayrack and lookout tower further customise the system. The playpens also make it easier for kids to sit in with their rabbits and guinea pigs, so they can play without fear of escape!
Start your system with our best sellers, the Zippi Tunnel Single with Hutch to Run Connection Kit, and Zippi Rabbit Run with Roof and Underfloor Mesh – Single Height. Now just £149.99 in this star buy bundle (was £189.97!)
If your child is showing an interest in bird keeping, budgies and finches is where you should start. They are fun to train, not overly fragile, bond strongly with their owners, and are relatively easy to care for, especially if you have a cage that minimises spillages and is super easy to clean, like the Geo Bird Cage.
A brilliant piece of engineering, the central food station not only makes refilling food and water extremely simple, it also cleverly collects husk that the birds discard while they’re eating, so that you don’t have to get the hoover out every day! The Geo is the perfect Christmas gift for all young bird lovers!
If your child already has a pet, new toys that they can enjoy together will be a great gift!
The Grumpy Cat Christmas Light Wand will have the cat running around the living room, these squeaky crackers will be perfect for a Christmas Day tug-of-war session with the dog and you can enjoy seeing your smaller pets chew away at this Festive Pine Cone Snowman. You’ll find these, and plenty of other festive treats and toys in our Christmas Shop!
This entry was posted in Christmas
For delivery in time for Christmas, please ensure you have placed your order by the below dates. Please be advised problems with couriers cannot be avoided, and if you want to be sure your order will make it to you in time for Christmas, we highly recommend ordering well before these dates. Alternatively, please call or email our customer services team for advice on the best courier to use at this busy time of year.
Thursday 19th December
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Friday 20th December
This entry was posted in Christmas
Naming pets can be difficult. Should you go for something highly original, something that describes the pet, or something that reflects your own personality? Should it be ‘safe’, picked from an online list of popular pet names? Or should it say something about the year the pet was born – perhaps a dog called Trump, a cat called Greta, or a budgie called Boris?
If it’s a family pet, parents often take the easy way out and ask the kids to think of names. We fool ourselves that we are being kind, inclusive parents, but in reality we’re just passing the buck!
Safety in numbers
Somehow, if there’s more than one new pet the floodgates of inspiration suddenly open. You can use the same letter – Maxi and Mini, Pixie and Pumpkin, or Arthur and Alfie. Or you can go for famous couples such as Pepper and George, Thor and Loki , Meg and Mog, Lennon and McCartney, Bubble and Squeak.
It becomes harder if there are more than two new animals to be named. A small flock of chickens, for example, may well start out with individual names, but chances are you’ll soon be referring to them simply as “The Chickens”.
The other definition of “safety in numbers” is “names used 1000s of times before”. Cats will always be called Tom, Fido will be used for Dogs, and Polly the parrot will remain iconic. And then there are all those lists of Most popular Pet Names. These change gradually as the years pass, just as popular baby names do.
A survey of 2018 faves, for example, suggests that Bella, Poppy, Lola and Alfie are the commonest dog names in the UK. Cats are mainly called Luna, Bella, Milo and Loki. And if you have a parrot, chances are it’s named Charlie, Kirsty, Ollie, Bernard or Basil.
Small mammals tend to share popular names, and right now the most popular ones are Flopsy, Thumper, Luna, Cookie and Rosie (and Flopsy and Thumper, along with Peter, have been top names for rabbits for 60 years or more).
No Laughing Matter?
If you opt for an amusing name, you need to be confident you won’t regret the decision further down the line. You will find that names such as Brexit, Doggy McDogface and Smelly Cat soon pass their sell-by date.
If you want a pet name that will always raise a smile, without overdoing it, it’s best to choose something not usually used for pets at all. You’ll probably never tire of a cat called Gary, a dog called John and a parrot called Karen. It’s a fine line, though. Quirkier names such as Laptop the cat, Curtains the dog and Bread Roll the parrot may quickly lose their appeal.
Things To Avoid
If you have a new dog, you should avoid giving it a name that resembles a command word. For example, Sid sounds like ‘Sit’, Levi sounds like ‘Leave it’, Walt sounds like ‘Wait’, Hal sounds like ‘Heel’, and so on. This is less of an issue with other pet species.
Anything rude or controversial is going to cause embarrassment – for you (when you have to use the name in front of the neighbours), and for the poor children forced to address their furry friends as Sexy Paws, Satan, or whatever.
It’s also short-sighted to give pets baby names. Yes, that puppy may well look like Tummykins, and that kitten may respond well to Tiny Fluff, but once they’ve become adults, it will sound a bit silly.
You should also spare a thought for vets and kennels/catteries too. Having a dog called Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley), a cat that sounds like ‘catkin’ but is spelled Qatqin, or even rogue letters in the name, such as Jaxon, Klyde or Phreddie, can lead to confusion in databases.
Things To Fall Back On When All Else Fails
You could choose a name that describes your pet’s behaviour or appearance. Flash, Dash, Nibbler, Scratchy, Sooty, Rosy, Socks, Spot, Biscuit, Brownie, and so on. There are also the famous names – Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweetie Pie, Lassie, Laika, Marmalade, Felix, etc.
And then, of course, there’s that classic ‘get out of jail free’ card – the kids. All you have to do is pronounce judgement on whatever names they come up with, saying “try again” if you don’t like it. Once they’ve decided on a Snowy, Scooby, Simba or Marley, you can sit back with the satisfaction of a difficult job well done.
This entry was posted in Pets
Some pets hardly seem to notice fireworks. Others hide quietly until it’s all over. But some are genuinely traumatised by the noisy, flashing skies of Bonfire Night.
Forty years ago, fireworks in the UK were pretty much restricted to November 5th, with a few more on New Year’s Eve. But since then the original Bonfire Night – commemorating the foiled attempt of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament – has partly uprooted and sprawled across the surrounding weeks to create a longer Fireworks Season. This begins around Hallowe’en on October 31st, and continues through to the weekend after November 5th, petering out slowly as people’s fireworks supply is used up.
For a pet who’s afraid of the bangs, whizzes and flashes, this extended fireworks season is bad news. There are, however, a few things you can do to minimise the stress.
The Big Bang
When talking about pets hating fireworks, we’re usually talking about dogs. The RSPCA estimates that 45% of dogs are afraid of fireworks to some degree.
Cats will find a quiet space away from all the fuss (although some individuals certainly get stressed by all the noise). Keep your cats indoors when the bonfires are blazing. They can quickly panic if fireworks go off suddenly nearby, or if sparkler-waving children come running down the street.
Small animals such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs will either ignore the explosions or sit it out in their hidey holes.
Most caged birds don’t enjoy the sudden rupturing of the night skies – they like their nights to be dark and their days to be light, not a crazy mixture of the two. If your budgie, parrot, canary or pet finch is in a room affected by the flashing lights, you might want to cover the cage. But some birds don’t seem to ruffle a feather, in spite of the fireworks.
What you should never do is allow the pets to be trapped in their outdoor runs or aviaries with no bolt hole. As long as outdoor pets have a covered area to escape to, they should be fine.
Dogs Hate Fireworks
If your dog isn’t too fazed by the noise and lights, simply keep him indoors while the party rages outside. For more skittish dogs, there are a few extra precautions to take.
- Stay indoors with the curtains and windows closed. A scared dog caught outside is very likely to run away.
- Use a crate or other safe space. If there’s somewhere the dog associates with safety – a Fido Crate, perhaps, or a quiet room with a dog bed – make use of it. If there’s a room facing away from the main area of firework activity, put the dog in there. A bathroom often works well for this purpose. Gentle music can help keep out the noise too. Put familiar objects in the safe room – the dog’s bed and blanket, and some favourite toys. And stay with him, unless he’s happy to curl up and sleep through the storm.
- For very nervous dogs, vets recommend a wrap or dog vest, tight enough to apply gentle, constant pressure. This soothes and calms your poor pet.
- Stay calm yourself, and stay with your dog. That will help enormously.
- Don’t be tempted to let your dog go outside for any reason, and make sure he’s had his walk during the daylight. Even a dog who takes it all in his stride indoors might suddenly panic outdoors when the fireworks start to fizz.
Prepare In Advance
You can desensitise dogs to the sound of fireworks to a certain extent, by getting them used to loud noises. The best way to do this is to play thunderstorm or fireworks sounds at a low volume, giving the dog treats and lots of fuss and play in the meantime. If you then increase the volume while keeping up the treats and play, it will, in most cases, make your dog associate the noise with good times.
This doesn’t work with all dogs, but it’s definitely worth a try if you want to have a stress-free Fireworks Night. There’s not long to go, so better start now!
This entry was posted in Pets
Elderly pet-owners will need a little help looking after their furry or feathered friends. Shopping for pet food, training, grooming, and cleaning out cages and litter trays are all factors to be considered.
If a pet falls ill, it will need taking to a vet, or medication may have to be given. Lack of transport and shaky hands can suddenly become problems in these circumstances.
The level of assistance needed will, of course, depend very much on the physical and mental health of the pet owner.
But in spite of these considerations, pets and older people are a perfect match – as long as you get the right pet!
Pets to Avoid
For many older people, owning a pet is all about companionship. So, although an iguana, goldfish or tarantula may be low maintenance, they don’t exactly exude personality and friendship. Reptiles, fish and insects can therefore be placed in the category ‘Dedicated Enthusiasts Only’.
Rodents are not ideal choices, either. They are fast moving, and can easily escape from an open cage. Some, such as the hamster, are largely nocturnal too, losing several points on the ‘companionship’ scale.
The Best Bird Companions
Small cage birds make good pets for seniors. Larger species such as parrots are long-lived, and this can present mounting problems if an owner becomes increasingly frail with the passing years.
A budgie is a good option. These birds are intelligent, easily hand-tamed, and once trained they will return to their cage unassisted after playing and flying indoors. Some also learn to talk, which reinforces the companionship enormously. Add to this the fact that their cages can be kept on holders at shoulder-height, with easy access for cleaning and feeding, and you have the perfect pet for older people.
Canaries and other pet finches can be good choices too, but it has to be said that they lack the big personality, trainability and talkativeness of budgies. There are other plus points, though, notably the beautiful song of the canary.
The Best Cat Companions
In many ways the cat is an ideal pet for seniors. But it isn’t just a question of arriving at Gran’s door with a kitten and expecting everything to be fine!
A kitten will need to be house-trained, and won’t instantly be the placid lap-loving cat that many elderly owners will be looking for. An older cat, on the other hand, will have ‘grown in’ to its personality. You could choose a placid, indoor-loving coach-potato breed such as the Persian, Russian Blue or Ragdoll if laps and cuddles are the priority.
Ideally the cat should still be given access to the outdoors to prevent the chore of cleaning a litter tray every day. In this respect one of the ideal breeds is the Abyssinian. Super-friendly and incredibly tame, they are also lovers of the great outdoors, mixing and matching house and garden perfectly.
If a cat is being adopted from a previous home, you will be able to find out all about its personality. Many ‘moggies’ of a non-specific breed turn out to be the perfect pet for seniors, after a little investigation into the animal’s background.
Bear in mind, though, that cats can live up to 20 years – a big time commitment if someone is already worrying about health and mobility in later life. But once again, this is where the animal’s independence becomes a great asset. Most cats, even though they love their owners, can pretty much look after themselves.
The Best Dog Companions
For an elderly person with mobility, dogs are a great pet choice. Several breeds thrive with just a little daily exercise. Many of these are at the smaller end of the scale – dogs such as the Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon Frise, and good-natured individuals from the West Highland and Yorkshire Terrier families. Smaller dogs have smaller appetites too – a major consideration if money is an issue.
However, some smaller dogs can be very yappy or snappy – not a great combination. Breeds to beware of for these reasons include Chihuahua, Jack Russell, and Dachshund.
If the owner is still able to walk a mile or two a day, a Golden Retriever makes a great choice. But with all breeds you need to bear in mind longevity – a dog that needs walking at six months old may still be demanding walkies at 15.
Pets For Therapy
It’s a well known fact that pets are therapeutic. Some care homes hold regular pet therapy sessions in which residents spend quality time with cats, dogs, and other tame animals.
Pets bring positive benefits for mental health across all age groups, and can also prevent loneliness becoming a problem. We all need affection, and pets deliver it with no questions asked!
However, having a pet-handling session in a care home is a different proposition to an elderly person keeping a pet in their own home. All animals need a certain amount of looking after, and if mobility is an issue, even a simple chore such as cleaning a cage can become difficult. In these circumstances, seniors will need a little assistance.
But if you get it right, a pet can bring so many positives into an elderly person’s life – companionship, stimulation, stress relief, and that most important human need of all: love.
This entry was posted in Pets
Moving home can be very stressful. Not just for you and your family, but for your pets too.
It’s less of an issue for smaller animals kept in cages or enclosures. But even pet rodents and birds will need to be transported to the new residence, and none of them will enjoy the journey.
Of all the pets, though, it’s cats and dogs that take the brunt of the stress when moving. Everything they’ve come to know and rely on in terms of safe places, personal spaces, territories, and familiar scents and sounds disappears.
Here are a few tips to help your furry friends chill-out at this most disruptive of times.
Helping Pets Move Out
There’s a shortcut to a stress-free move: put your dog or cat in a kennel or cattery, or hand them over to a dog- or cat-sitter. That way they can ride out the chaos in relative peace and quiet, and you can collect them once the dust has settled at the other end of the moving process.
If you decide instead to let your pet ride out the storm with you, there are several things you can do to make it easier on them.
- Put your pet in a safe space – a quiet room in the house away from the main activity of boxes, moving furniture and sweaty removal men. Put familiar things in the room such as bowls and favourite toys, and make sure your pet spends time there in the weeks before the move, to get used to it. This applies not just to cats and dogs, but to small mammals and cage birds too.
- If your dog has a crate, that might be an even better option. Similarly, if your cat is happy chilling out in a cat crate or box, let them.
- Nominate one member of the family to be responsible for pet wellbeing throughout the move.
- Some owners recommend spraying a cat box or basket with calming pheromones (available from vets or pet shops). The calming effect can be increased by covering the crate with a sheet to keep it dark.
Pets On The Road
Some pets enjoy travelling. Others hate it. Highway blues can be minimised in the following ways.
- If your pet is already used to travelling in a car, great. If not, introduce them to the inside of the vehicle in the weeks before the move.
- Dogs should be secured with a doggy seat belt, or installed in a crate if that’s possible. Cats should always be transported in cat crates, and ideally they should be used to these before making the journey. Never let an animal remain loose in a car during the move; and don’t make a dog travel in the strange and scary surroundings of the removal van.
- For smaller cage pets, the journey is bound to be stressful. If possible let them remain in a covered cage and put plenty of soft items around it to prevent it moving around during the journey. If you need to transfer the animals to carrying boxes, make sure these are placed somewhere dark, with no chance of moving around. Never put the box in the glove compartment – there’s a chance of noxious fumes building up in there.
- If the journey is long, take breaks to allow your cat or dog to drink and, in the case of a dog, to exercise and relieve itself.
Helping Pets Move In
It takes time for pets to settle into new surroundings. But the first few hours are likely to be the most stressful, so, again, make it as painless for your pet as possible.
- Choose a quiet settling-in room, put the pet’s basket or blanket in there, along with some other familiar items, and then close the door for as long as it takes for your stuff to be relocated from the removal lorry to the new house or flat.
- Once everything is inside and the doors and windows are all closed, let your pet out for an exploration of the new place. Keep close, to reassure them. Most pets will relax within five minutes after a good sniff around, and will happily accept a tasty treat.
- If you have a cat, rub its head and cheeks with a cloth, and then rub the cloth on surfaces and skirting boards around the new place. This will transfer the cat’s natural pheromones.
- Put the pet’s bed in the place you intend it to sleep in, rather than letting it spend a few nights here, there and everywhere. Routine and familiarity are what it’s all about.
- When outside, keep your dog on a lead in the first few days, to prevent him chasing new scents and getting lost, or attempting to head for his former residence, which for a short time will still be ‘home’ in his brain.
- Keep cats indoors for at least one week, otherwise they will wander away. This is very likely to happen if you have not moved very far. Only let them out after dark once you’re confident that they have properly settled in.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped and have IDs on their collars, in case they stray.
Pets soon settle into a new home. All they really need is a little time, the reassurance of your continuing presence, and the sight and smell of familiar toys, food and bedding.
It’s these things, rather than a mere accident of geography, that means ‘home’ to a happy pet.
This entry was posted in Cats