Exercise is not always easy. You have to motivate yourself, find time and keep the pace. This is why it can be necessary for some people to be accompanied in this process. And who better to be your sports coach than your dog!
In a previous article we saw that it is possible to do yoga with your dog. Today we would like to show you why your dog is your best partner in sport.
In the current climate, where working from home has taken over from office work, finding the time and motivation to exercise and go outside has become a real challenge, and as a result many see a decline in their physical and mental health.
Lack of exercise motivation is harming our pets too. Various studies on pet health have found anywhere from 25% – 50% of dogs are considered overweight.
It has never been more important to do sport to feel good mentally and physically.
Resolutions and intentions are good, but actions are better. Deciding to turn off the TV and put on a pair of trainers is much more complicated than it sounds. Being accompanied in your training can be the ideal way to find the necessary motivation! Here’s why your dog is the best workout partner you could have…
5 reasons to get out and do some exercise with your dog
1- Dogs are very energetic and will always be happy to go out
Most dog breeds are happy to go for a walk and are excited to have a run around, so will always be in a good mood to go outside. It’s not like calling a friend to go for a workout and having them be unmotivated or in a bad mood, which will eventually demotivate you.
Dogs are habit-forming animals. If you regularly repeat the action at the same time for several days, it will become a natural ritual for your dog. This is ideal if you are demotivated but don’t want to disappoint your dog. You will still put on your trainers to please your little companion, imposing a certain regularity on you.
2- They have a regular pace
As mentioned above, they are consistent pets and function very much by habit. But beyond that, apart from when they are ill, they keep a certain pace and will always have a maximum of energy to expend.
Having an active pace allows you to optimise your training and get great results. It is much more fun to follow your dog’s pace than to watch your watch! If you are too slow, your dog will tend to stop. So don’t hesitate to find a pace that suits you both!
3- You will always be safe with them
Running or walking alone is not always ideal in terms of safety! Sometimes it’s late in the day and the simple fact of being alone and feeling vulnerable, can be demotivating. The presence of your dog can therefore be a real comfort for your daily outings. A dog has all those senses that are in turmoil when he goes out and he will also be able to. You should trust your dog’s senses, while also keeping an eye on him so that your dog doesn’t get hurt either.
4- They are always available, there is no need to wait for them
The most complicated thing about doing sport with someone is finding the right time and agreeing on schedules. There is always someone who can’t or would rather be an hour earlier or an hour later than the right time for you! With your dog this is not an issue. Your dog will always be available, happy and motivated to come and roam around with you!
5- They don’t ask for anything in return, only love and good times by your side!
Dogs will never ask for anything in return for doing sports with you. On the contrary, they will be happy to have spent some quality time with you! They are the best coaches you can have. They don’t yell at you (maybe a couple of barks) and you don’t spend money like you would with an experienced sports coach.
What discipline should I do with my dog?
There are many ways to exercise with your dog. It can be anything from walking to fitness training!
Have you ever heard of canicross? This discipline is an athletic sport where the owner is attached to his dog by a harness. The dog’s traction allows for long strides. It is a bonding moment between the dog and its owner through intense physical effort. This activity is open to all dogs!
Cycling with your dog is also possible! There is equipment that allows you to practice this activity safely with your pet.
Lewis Hamilton’s best training partner is his dog!
Multiple F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has released a video of himself training with Roscoe, his dog:
While some cats follow their owners to the bathroom and don’t understand the concept of privacy, many are still wary of who’s watching when they go to the toilet themselves.
Some cats will do their business solely outside, others might do a bit of both, perhaps preferring a warmer toilet in the winter months. Many cat owners choose open litter trays, and don’t always have the option to have the tray hidden away.
But how do cats feel about doing their business?
Why do cats prefer to poop in private?
It’s easy to empathise with our feline friends’ desire for privacy when we remember the troubles their ancestors faced and the natural instincts that’re placed in our moggies’ minds.
Cats have a deep-rooted urge to be alert at all times. Their desire to protect themselves and be wary of their surroundings extends to the toilet.
Using an uncovered litter box while other people are around can make a cat feel extremely vulnerable and exposed, this may especially be the case for anxious cats and rescues.
So it of course makes sense that some cats may prefer to do their business in private, without disturbances, somewhere they can feel safe and comfortable to relieve themselves without the potential of being attacked!
What’s the best litter box for privacy?
Open litter trays give the most exposed and vulnerable toilet experience for cats, and for you they offer the least in the way of odour and mess control. An enclosed litter box, such as the Maya Jump On Top Entry Litter Box, allows your cat to drop down into a dark and secluded litter box, giving them a feeling of peace and privacy to do their business.
The Maya Jump In Litter Box takes that privacy one step further with a high entry point where cats can jump in and step down into a completely covered litter box. In the Jump In, cats can feel completely at ease that no dogs, children or adults can watch or touch them while they’re using their toilet.
For you, the Maya Cat Litter Box also offers an effective odour control solution, reducing tracking mess around the home thanks to a grid platform which collects loose litter from your pets’ paws, and an easy wipe clean litter liner, with a cute underwater scene printed on the inside for your cat’s to enjoy.
The Jump In’s optional storage space is a great place to keep spare litter and poo bags, and the discreet pocket on the side of the litter liner holds a complimentary, fold-flat scoop, meaning everything you need for used litter removal is always on hand.
Best of all, this litter box fits in your home seamlessly, designed like a discreet cubicle, with no hint to what’s going on inside. This gives your cat that all important privacy, and keeps all the mess which comes with loving a cat hidden out of sight from you and your guests.
What else can I do to help my cat feel comfortable?
As well as an enclosed, private litter box, there are other things you can do to minimise any feelings of vulnerability your cat may have when they use the toilet.
If you notice your cat is visiting the litter box frequently but never leaving any mess behind, it might be a sign that they have been disturbed and not felt safe enough to do their business.
Leave the room for a while to give your cat the opportunity to use their litter box without noise and disturbances. If you have children or other pets in the house, encourage them out of the room with you so your cat has complete privacy.
If you can, place the litter box in a room which is not frequented often and rarely gets noisy, for example a bathroom or utility room.
Do cat’s dislike using dirty litter boxes?
Another reason for cats being reluctant to use their litter box or visiting without using it, could be that the litter tray has already been used and is dirty. Cats can be incredibly fussy about mess and filth in the litter box, and may decline their used litter as to not dirty their paws!
Make sure you are regularly removing used litter from the litter box, and that you choose a litter with strong odour control qualities such as Omlet No. 4 Clay. A clumping litter like this makes it super quick and easy to remove the used litter without wasting perfectly clean litter around it.
Use the fold-flat scoop in the Maya Cat Litter Box to remove the used clump of litter, and the loose, clean litter will fall back into the litter box through the fine holes in the scoop.
What are the best litter boxes for a multi cat household?
Covered litter boxes are also a wise choice for multi cat households where cats may prefer to do their business in secret from their house mates! Cleaning the litter box regularly is also key if the same box is used by multiple cats, and opting for fresh, hygienic type of litter such as Omlet’s No. 1 Silica provides longevity and ease of cleaning.
Some cats can also be fussy about sharing a cat litter box with a friend. While keeping it clean will help, the scent of another may put off your cat, and bringing a new cat into the home to share the litter box can make an existing cat feel especially annoyed. In this instance you may need to be prepared to get a separate litter box for different cats in the house.
How and when to give your cat space
Giving your cat privacy extends beyond the litter box. Cats can also feel vulnerable and exposed when trying to sleep in a busy house and particularly anxious cats will search for a quieter spot in the home.
Consider where your cat chooses to rest during the day when the house is busy and make that space comfortable for them, for example, if your cat prefers to nap under a bed or chair, place a blanket or small bed, like a Donut Bed, beneath to make the spot cosy and warm.
If you have children and dogs in the home, it’s a good idea to keep them from your cat’s ‘safe space’ when your cat is resting or grooming.
Also consider where you have placed your cat’s food and water bowls. It may also be advisable to leave the room, or move them to somewhere quieter, where your cat can eat in peace without feeling threatened.
What’s the best litter box for a senior, disabled or pregnant cat?
While tall Jump In boxes will give cats peace and privacy, less agile cats will feel most comfortable with an easy access litter box that won’t cause them pain or discomfort. The Maya Walk In Litter Box offers just that, while still being a relatively covered and discreet litter box for cats who want to feel secluded and safe.
7 Reasons You and Your Cat Will Love the Maya Litter Boxes
1. Easy to clean cat litter box solutions, reducing smell and mess
2. A range of entry point options and litter box styles to suit all cats
3. Designed to fit seamlessly into your home like a piece of furniture
4. Enclosed litter box to give your cat the privacy they desire
5. Durable, reusable and long lasting litter liners are easy to wipe clean
6. Includes a complimentary Omlet folding scoop in discrete pocket
7. Push-to-open door prevents accidental opening
Which litter box should I choose for my cat?
All the Maya Cat Litter Boxes offer an easy clean solution and effective odour and mess control, in a discreet, seamless unit. Find the right box for you and your cat from the range of 5 entry points…
Jump On – Anti-Tracking & Low Mess
Walk In – Senior & Disabled Cat Friendly
Walk In + – Senior Cat Friendly with Storage
Jump In – Anti-Tracking & Discreet
Jump In + – Anti-Tracking with Storage
Discover Omlet Cat Litter
Our modern range of high performance cat litter offers excellent odour control and highly absorbent particles to eliminate bad smells from your litter tray. With 5 different types of cat litter on an easy to compare page you’ll find the perfect litter for you and your cat.
Use our clever Cat Litter Selector to get an expert recommendation for your cat. We only sell direct, with competitive pricing and free delivery.
A dog who has been taught positive behaviour will be your best friend – fun, affectionate and reliable. It’s straightforward teaching your dog this canine version of positive thinking, but it won’t happen unless you lead the way.
There are many ways of teaching a dog the rights and wrongs of living in the human world, and that extends to how they interact with other dogs and the world around them. In this article, we reveal the five rules of thumb for all dog owners – whether you’re training an adult dog or a puppy.
Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Puppies
Puppies recognise when we’re pleased or displeased. It’s all part of their instincts, and in the wild this instinct helped their wolf ancestors find their place in the pack very quickly. Learning their place in the big wide world is all about positive reinforcement.
1. Puppy Treats. Dogs of all ages love food and will put lots of effort into doing what you want them to do as long a there’s a yummy treat at the end of it! This means treat-based training can be used for everything from toilet training to basic obedience training and that all-important early socialisation. The message here is simple and timeless – do this right, and you’ll get a treat!
2. Affection. This is arguably even better than a food treat! Bonding with a puppy involves physical contact in the form of belly-rubs, back stroking and lots of gentle words of affection and encouragement.
3. Fun and games. Tug-of-war, fetch and simply running around the garden with you are games that puppies love. What’s more, they strengthen the bond and love between you and your pet, and that’s the perfect groundwork for training and encouraging positive behaviour.
4. A trip to a favourite place. This is a great treat for dogs, and can be as simple as a trip to the park, or perhaps to a favourite street for an on-lead walk, or maybe a shop that sells some of those yummy treats! If this is being done as a reward for good behaviour, make sure your puppy knows it by telling them what a good boy/girl they are as you put the lead on or get into the car!
5. Puppy playdates. Starting these early is a great way to socialise your puppy, and that provides the basis for all the positive behaviour training. Young dogs love meeting each other – it’s not going to be a quiet morning out with your furry friend, but it’s one that will give him or her essential social skills.
Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Adult Dogs
The basics are simple. Positive reinforcement rewards a dog for good behaviour and ignores, rather than punishes, undesirable behaviour. Punishment will only lead to confusion and fear in your dog, reducing your chances of achieving the full benefits of positive-behaviour training.
Here are the five ways to make everything go smoothly, no matter which dog breed you have.
1. Keep it simple. One-word commands are better than complex ones. We’re talking here about sit, come, sat, etc. Save the long-winded exchanges for praise and affection! A training session based on simple commands and treats is a great start for encouraging positive behaviour. Which brings us to…
2. Treats. Just like puppies, adult dogs will be well and truly ‘reinforced’ if treats are involved. Some breeds are more food-obsessed than others, but all types of dog will quickly learn that good behaviour results – at least in the early days of training – in a yummy treat.
3. Quality time. Dogs are social animals by instinct, and they will thrive in human company. Once you and your pet are the best of friends, the positive behaviour training will be much easier. If there’s any nervousness or standoffishness in your dog, they will be less able to take on board the things you’re trying to teach them. So, keep up the contact, and play with them every day.
4. Make it fun. A long session of ‘sit, lie down, stay, come’, etc. will soon become boring for a dog. A short session of command-based training followed by a bit of fun, however, will make your dog look forward to the sessions every time. After five or ten minutes (depending on your dog’s stamina), round off the proceedings with a game or a walk. The dog will soon realise that “If I do this tricky bit, I get that fun bit afterwards!” It’s a trick that works just as well with young children – “Finish your homework, and then we’ll go out on the bikes!”, that kind of thing.
5. Get everyone involved. Once your dog has grasped some of the basics, other members of the family, or friends, can reinforce the good behaviour by running through some of the training with your dog. Your pet will then learn that positive behaviour is part of their general lives and applies in all situations with all people.
This latter point is the ‘quantum leap’ for a dog – the idea that positive behaviour extends beyond their immediate owner to the big wide world around them. Getting them to this point takes time, there’s no doubt about that, and some breeds are a lot easier to train than others. However, once the work has paid off, you’ll have a doggy best friend you can be truly proud of!
Pride of Omlet series is a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
We have been lucky enough to collect some wonderful stories of your extraordinary pets and share them with you for 10 weeks! Here is a summary of the stories that you can read again and find directly on our Blog.
Pride of Omlet: Stand Up for Disabled Animals
Jerry’s a cheeky, playful and boisterous rescue dog from Romania who can do a handstand! He landed on his feet when Shena gave him a home and inspired her to start a rescue centre specialising in disabled animals. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: The Constant Companion
Martha’s humans Nicola and Ben bought chickens to bring joy to Julia, their mother who they cared for at home. The family could never have imagined that a chicken would become a caring companion to Julia in the advanced stages of dementia. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Free Support
Once caged battery hens, Hennifer Marge and Sybil now work free-range with their human Jonathan, transforming lives for offenders at the Rosemead Project. Jonathan (support worker and chicken champion) believes the hens have the power to unscramble tricky social situations. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: A Perfect Match
On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Teachers Pet
Henni Hen is a teaching assistant by trade. A cute and cuddly chicken who loves children. She follows in the footsteps of her bubbly humans, Hamish and Verity. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Mipit Makes Sense
Mipit is a Mental Health Assistance Dog for his human, Henley. Mipit keeps Henly alive and independent. Who wouldn’t love a dog that can put out your recycling, answer your phone, and be your best friend, come rain or shine? Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Perfect Peaky
At the tender age of one, Peaky is already a retired filmstar. He had lived in a cage his whole life, released only to perform. When Joana and Fergus took him home, he was a fluffy, yellow bundle of nerves. But they are determined to help Peaky, their cute little canary companion, to come out of his shell. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Saving Sophia’s Life
When you’ve grown up with animals, home isn’t home without a pet. Bringing Harry home was lifesaving for both him and his humans, Sarah and daughter Sophia. Harry has a special gift. He’s a unique epilepsy monitor, and he’s saved Sophia’s life countless times. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Buster’s Beard
Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all. Read the story here!
Pride of Omlet: Brave Bunnies
It’s hard to describe how frightened Pixie the rabbit was when the RSPCA rehomed her with an experienced rabbit owner. Eighteen months on, cheeky little Pixie lives in the lap of luxury and is learning to be loved by her adoring human, Wendy. Read the story here!
Evidence suggests that rabbits who bond with their owners live longer and happier lives. Sometimes it can feel like our furry friends are in a world of their own – but it only takes time and patience to start bonding with your bunny.
This article looks at ten fun and exciting ways to deepen your connection to your pet, whether the rabbit is already part of the family or you’ve just brought a new bunny home.
1. Learn Your Pet’s Personality
Like people, all rabbits have distinctive personalities and unique habits. If you have decided to buy a baby rabbit, you may find that they’re very shy at first, but over time they will come out of their shell and begin to reveal their personality. We have a very useful article about Learning to Read your Rabbit’s Body Language, a great resource for identifying what makes rabbit tick. The article outlines the many different sounds your rabbit can make, as well as how its posture can give you clues to what your pet is thinking.
2. Create A Shared Space
It’s natural for your rabbit to feel nervous or even defensive if you interact with them by reaching into their hutch – after all, this space is their home, and all of their instincts tell them to protect it from potential predators. If you want to spend time bonding with your rabbit, try setting up a play area or run large enough for you to sit inside with the rabbit. This way, you can start interacting with your pet on neutral ground.
Rabbits feel comfortable when they have something over their heads, so don’t feel bad if the first few times they hide under any covered area you have set up.
Once you have a shared space set up with toys and other gear, try sitting in there with your rabbit for half an hour every day without reaching out to touch your pet. This way, your rabbit will learn to feel comfortable in your company and begin to trust you. It is likely that after a few days of this close contact, your rabbit will approach you without fear and begin to show some curiosity. It’s natural for your rabbit to have a gentle nibble when you first meet – don’t worry, it’s not a bite!
4. Give Your Rabbit New Experiences
Although rabbits are creatures of habit, it’s still good for them if new things are introduced into their lives now and then. Your rabbit will learn to associate you with these new fun experiences, which will deepen your bond. Try occasionally changing the layout of their hutch or investing in a fun new toy for them to play with – you could even make toys for them out of simple household objects like empty kitchen rolls.
5. Offer Healthy Treats
Rabbits can teach us a lot when it comes to healthy treats. They don’t like sweet things or junk food, and the most unhealthy thing you can give them is actually carrot or apple (as these are relatively high in sugar)! It helps you bond with your pet if you offer tempting greens, celery sticks or other yummy things. The rabbit will cautiously approach and take a nibble, and you’re a step closer to breaking down those barriers and properly bonding.
6. Pet your Rabbit
Once your rabbit is comfortable around you, and doesn’t run away when you approach with your hand extended, it’s time to start stroking them. Physical contact with your pet is one of the most natural ways to form a bond, and although you may find at first that the rabbit doesn’t seem too keen to be stroked, this is totally normal, and nothing to worry about. It may take a few weeks before you have your rabbit sitting comfortably in your lap.
The most considerate way to approach your rabbit is to reach with your hand low down, just to the side of their head. This way, they can see that it’s you who is petting them. Rabbits are naturally terrified of birds attacking from above and often run away when approached from a height (and a human standing on two legs is, as far as the rabbit is concerned, a height!). Rabbits also have a blind spot right in front of their noses – something common to most plant-eating animals – so you should also avoid approaching nervous rabbits directly from the front.
7. Teaching Rabbit Tricks
Once your rabbit is playing with you regularly, you can start teaching them some simple tricks! This can begin with reinforcing natural behaviour such as walking through a tunnel, with a treat waiting for them at the far end. Or, it could be something more complex such as teaching your rabbit to spin or do a roll. We have an article all about teaching your rabbit tricks if you want to go deeper down this fascinating rabbit hole!
8. Copying Your Rabbit
One slightly more unusual way of bonding with your rabbit is to behave in ways they would expect to see in other rabbits. This could include pretending to clean yourself the way a rabbit does, or having a little bit of your own food when you see them nibbling at theirs. Just make sure your rabbit sees you doing this, as the whole point is to make them see you as more rabbit-like! This may not be necessary if you already have a trusting relationship with your rabbit.
9. Choosing The Right Time To Play With Your Rabbit
As you begin to get to know your rabbit well, you will see that they have certain times of day when they are more or less active. It is natural for your rabbit to spend large amounts of time sleeping, and they are very habit-forming animals. Try taking note of when they are most active so that you can choose that as the optimum time to play – this avoids frustrating your rabbit by interrupting their nap with a trip to the playpen!
10. Learning To Hold Your Rabbit Safely
When your rabbit is fully bonded with you, they might let you pick them up and carry them around. If you are lucky enough to have a docile rabbit that lets you do this, always remember to hold them in the way that is most comfortable for them. Support your rabbit’s hindquarters in the same way you would support a human baby’s head. Hold them only firmly enough to keep them in your grasp – there is no need to hold them tight, as they are unlikely to jump to the floor.
Rabbits are gentle souls, so you need to be gentle in return. Be patient, give them time, and they’ll soon come to look on you as a true friend and companion.
David is a long time lover of dogs since he was young. He loves most dogs but his favorite are golden retrievers. He also runs his own blog at dogdesires.co.uk where he helps other dog owners with advice and dog product reviews. In this article David gives 5 considerations for finding the right dog breed for you.
There are several things you need to consider in order to choose the right dog breed for you. Depending on your lifestyle, certain breeds are more suited for you because of their size, maintenance, activity level, and more.
Read on for more detail and by the end of this article, you will have the insight needed in order to choose the ideal dog breed for you.
Some people already have their hearts set on whether they would like a huge dog or a tiny one. Those who aren’t sure or that bothered about it tend to go for medium-sized dogs.
One thing that is an important deciding factor regarding what size breed is best for you is your living conditions. Naturally, large dogs need a lot of space so if you’re living in a relatively small and cozy apartment you would not want to get a Great Dane. They especially need more room because of their tails, so that they can wag without injuring anyone or damaging anything.
That being said, living in an apartment does not automatically mean you must get a toy dog. Some dog breeds are known for being adaptable to living in apartments, such as the Sheepadoodle. If you’d like to read more about this breed, you should check out this breed guide here – Sheepadoodle.
Keep in mind that small dogs are more vulnerable, in the sense that you need to get used to always looking down to not step on them. Smaller dogs also tend to be more sensitive to the cold so they need a little help staying warm.
With maintenance comes many things. Firstly, some breeds have fur that needs a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. Dogs with short fur are easy to take care of, such as Springadors, as they just need brushing every now and then. But dogs with longer fur, curly or otherwise, need to be brushed more frequently as well as trimmed and more. So, you will need to dedicate more time to these dogs.
Another factor is the expense. The larger the dog, the more food you need to buy and larger dog beds, etc.
Lastly, there’s training. This is very important, as some dog breeds are known for being more well-behaved and thus easier to train. Smaller dogs tend to have something that is referred to as ‘small dog syndrome’, which is when a small dog thinks that they are bigger than they actually are and therefore have more of an attitude. This can cause them to be more stubborn when it comes to training. For example, pugs are known for being naughty and for being stubborn.
Another good thing to remember is that if you let a large dog breed behave as a lap dog from a young age, they will continue to try and walk all over you when they become adults – and I mean that literally, not figuratively.
Also, dogs with long and floppy ears need frequent and thorough cleaning as they are more prone to ear infections. Moreover, certain dogs are more likely to drool than others such as Bloodhounds and Mastiffs.
If you get a hunting dog breed, such as a Labrador, Beagle, Foxhound, etc., then you can expect this dog to have a high activity level. Even crossbreeds with a hunting dog parent tend to inherit the genes and have a lot of energy.
Most dogs do not destroy things and dig up holes in your yard without a reason; energetic dogs, in particular, need much more exercise and become bored and destructive without it. Mental exercise, as well as physical, is a must too.
No matter the breed or size though, all dogs need routine exercise. You will need to commit to going for walks twice a day and if you’re looking for a dog that you can jog with then a Weimaraner or German Shepherd are great choices.
This one goes without saying for some people, but seeing as certain breeds are known for having certain personalities, we can use this to our advantage. For those of you who are looking for a cuddly and loving dog, Retrievers, Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, Pitbull Terrier, and King Charles Spaniels are known to be some of the most affectionate dog breeds.
Unfortunately, depending on the country and state you’re in, some breeds may be banned.
To give an example I would like to name Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Both of these dog breeds are sadly banned in many states, the reason being that they face stigmas as ‘dangerous’ and ‘aggressive’.
Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are banned in the following states respectively:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Personally, I would like to note that I have had several dogs of both of these breeds and none of them ever showed any signs of being aggressive or dangerous in any way. They were sweet, kind, and several of the Rottweilers were protective over me.
I do not believe for a second that aggression can be inherited in genes, but rather it comes about when a dog is being raised wrongly.
Some pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, are naturally vegan. Hamsters and gerbils, although omnivorous, can thrive on a vegan diet in which the protein content is supplied by plants and vegetables. Others, including omnivorous dogs and out-and-out carnivore cats, cannot be easily pleased on meat-free diets.
All animals need to have their nutritional needs satisfied. But this does not mean you can’t have a vegan dog. Vegan cats, though, are a lot trickier.
Can my dog have a vegan diet?
If you were to meet a species of animal for the first time and had to make an accurate guess about its diet, you would get lots of clues by looking at its teeth. The teeth of a dog, like the teeth of a bear, proclaim loud and clear that this animal is an omnivore – that is, one that eats both meat and vegetables. If you think of your dog as a domesticated wolf, you get a good idea of its natural diet.
However, as the panda proves, a supposed meat-eater can sometimes get by perfectly well on a vegan diet. A panda’s teeth are similar to any other bear’s – long canines for meat-eating and molars for grinding vegetation. And yet pandas don’t eat anything other than bamboo. So, if a bear can be vegan, does that mean you can have a vegan dog?
The answer is yes – but it’s a yes with lots of small print! A dog requires a diet that contains the fats and proteins it would get from meat. It is dangerous to ignore this basic need and simply feed your pet with whatever you please. Some dogs have delicate stomachs at the best of times, and a low-fat, high-fibre diet can cause potentially life-threatening problems. A diet that excludes meat should never be fed to a dog without the advice of a professional pet dietician.
The collagen, elastin and keratin found in meat diets are not easily replaced by vegi equivalents. Your dog will also need the ‘long chain’ omega-3 fats found in animal products such as egg, fish and some meats. Vegan omega-3 fats are not the same as animal-derived ones.
All of which presents a headache for the vegan dog owner. There are, however, products available that claim to let your dog live a healthy, meat-free life. Before you take the plunge, it is essential to seek professional, scientific advice and guidance. Compromise is usually the best choice here – a vegan diet supplemented by some of the animal-derived essentials. Crickets, for example, can provide lots of the amino acids and keratin a vegan diet lacks, and they’re 65% protein.
Can my cat have a vegan diet?
The compromise approach is even more important for cats. These are amongst the planet’s true carnivores, obtaining all their dietary requirements from other animals.
The main challenge with minimising the meat in a cat’s diet is that, unlike many mammals (including dogs), cats cannot produce certain proteins. They have to absorb these from the meat and fish in their diet. Amino acids are another issue – cats deficient in the animal-derived amino acid taurine, for example, usually succumb to a specific type of heart problem.
Even a fortified vegan cat food cannot be confidently recommended. Turn the situation on its head, and try to imagine weaning a rabbit onto a meat-only diet, and you get some idea of the challenge – and the ethics – involved.
There are some lab-grown ‘meat’ products in development, with vegan and vegetarian cat owners in mind. However, whether these will arrive – and remain – on the market any time soon is hard to guess.
For many vegan pet owners, there is a huge ethical issue involved in feeding the animals they share a space with. Ethics, however, include the animal’s needs too, and it’s an almost impossible issue to resolve when it comes to cats. If you are able to reduce but not eliminate the meat in your cat’s diet, that’s the safer option.
Top 10 pets for vegan households
There are, of course, plenty of other pets that don’t eat meat, or that eat some meat but can still thrive on a meat-free diet. Here are our ten favourites.
1. Rabbits. No problems here – rabbits are happy vegans, with diets based on hay and vegetables. You could argue that the soft pellets they eject and then eat are animal products of a sort, but they are simply semi-digested vegetation.
2. Guinea pigs. Like rabbits, these wonderful little characters thrive on a 100% vegan diet.
3. Hamsters. As most hamster owners feed their pets with shop-bought hamster food, they may not be able to say exactly what the ingredients of that food are. However, vegetarian and vegan hamster foods are readily available.
4. Gerbils. Like hamsters, gerbils are omnivores that can live happily on a vegan diet. They tend to have rather delicate stomachs, so feeding them with a high-quality pellet mix is essential. Too much fresh stuff can cause problems.
5. Mice. Although they will eat pretty much anything in the wild, mice can thrive on vegan diets; but it is still best to use a food mix prepared specifically for them. This ensures that they will not be deficient in any of the vitamins and minerals they need.
6. Rats. These are the most omnivorous of rodents, but as long as you feed them a vegan mix that has been fortified with all the nutrients they need, they will thrive. Indeed, rats who eat too much animal fat tend to become fat and die prematurely.
7. Chickens. If you watch a free-range hen, it soon becomes clear that she will eat anything – grass, beetles, worms, and everything in your veg patch if you’re not careful! Most chicken feed emulates this mix of plant and animal products. However, it is possible to buy vegan chicken feed, and circumstantial evidence suggests that hens can thrive on it. However, they are likely to produce fewer eggs, and you will not be able to stop them scratching for worms and bugs, no matter how vegan the layers pellets are!
8. Budgies and parrots. Vegans will have no obstacles to face with budgies and parrots, unless the birds are being bred. Egg-brooding female birds need a protein boost, normally delivered via an egg-based food or cooked meat. Vegan alternatives are available, though.
9. Finches. Many finch species enjoy bugs and mealworms as treats, but these are not an essential part of an adult finch’s diet. These birds thrive on a mixture of seeds and fresh vegetables.
10. One for reptile fans. When you think of pet snakes and lizards, you probably have an image of dead mice or doomed crickets. However, there are a few commonly kept pet reptiles that eat a 100% vegan diet, the most popular being the Green iguana. Getting the balance of vegetables just right is very important for the animal’s health, but meat is certainly something you won’t have to worry about.
There is no shortage of choice when it comes to vegan pets. Keeping a vegan cat or dog is a much trickier proposition, though. And with all these animals, a balanced diet that matches the pet’s nutritional requirements should be your primary goal.
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all.
Ethan, Natalie’s son, was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD aged four. Natalie gave up her job as a teacher to become Ethan’s full-time carer. She always had dogs as a child and, naturally, wanted Ethan to experience the same positive companionship. They went to a local farm and had the pick of three puppies. One was fast and furious, one was quiet and sleepy, and one was in-between. They picked the inbetweener and called him Buster.
After a few weeks at home, it was clear that Ethan wasn’t taking to Buster. He just wasn’t interested in him. So he became Natalie’s companion instead, being a full-time carer isn’t easy and Buster’s a great source of comfort on difficult days.He motivates Natalie to keep going and gives her much-needed respite, with long walks on the beach.
A couple of years after Ethan’s diagnosis, baby Isobelle was born. Isobelle’s afraid of the dark, so Buster sleeps in her room and helps her feel safe. And in the daytime, Buster is Isobelle’s playmate. They love playing dress-up together, and at the end of the day, she’ll read him a story and brush his hair.
As Buster grew, the hair on his chin got longer and longer and longer! Until he developed a fully grown, 7-inch beard. It’s not a thing you see every day, a dog with a beard. People started staring. Natalie’s used to people staring, sadly many people don’t understand Autism, and when Ethan has meltdowns, Natalie and her family have experienced staring and unkind remarks, which have been devastating.
She realised that staring at Buster was something different. When walking on the beach, Natalie was approached by people asking, “Is it real? Have you stuck it on?!” It was curious and fun and got people talking in a good way. So what does a positive ex-primary school teacher do with that? She writes a children’s book, of course! Natalie wrote a story starring Buster called ‘That Dog Has Got a Beard’.
It’s a story about being special and unique. Natalie and Buster have toured schools and libraries all over Wales and even appeared on ITV Wales, opening conversations that celebrate differences and spreading Autism Awareness through the story of Buster’s Beard.
“A lot of children don’t see disabled children, and there’s a lot of negativity around it. You want people to be accepting, and a lovable labradoodle is an excellent way to open a conversation. He looks different. He’s got a beard. But that’s wonderful, you know? “
Bhim Solomon is Omlet’s junior guest writer, currently exploring fun activities to try with her two kittens Moonpie and Shadow Weaver, and introducing easy tricks you can try with your feline friends! In this article, Bhim talks through the simple steps to training a kitten to walk on a lead and the benefits of safe outdoor adventures for cats.
My kittens are 11 weeks old. They are Scottish Folds and their names are Moonpie and Shadow-Weaver. Moonpie is a girl and Shadow is a boy, they are brother and sister. They live indoors because they are quite small still but we want them to know what the outside world is like so we decided to buy a harness and lead for them so we could take them for walks.
Not many people know that you can take your cat for a walk, just like a dog, but one day I was in London in the Conran Shop and I spotted a beautiful, big soft grey cat on a lead! I asked the lady on the other end of the lead if I could stroke it. She was very friendly and said of course, she told me his name was Moonpie. Then she said would you like to see a trick? She got some treats out and said “paw” Moonpie lifted his paw into her hand, it was so cool. Then, the owner said “Hi Five” and Moonpie did a Hi Five! I’d wanted a kitten since I was 4 and now I knew I wanted a Scottish Fold and I decided to call my kitten Moonpie too.
I couldn’t get the kittens straight away but little did I know that as a surprise for my 10th birthday my parents gave me two little Scottish folds. When I first got them they were eight weeks old, my brother wanted to call the boy Shadow-Weaver because half his face is grey and the other is a kind of apricot colour. At the beginning they both slept a lot and we kept them in one room so that they could get used to us little by little. Then one day we let them adventure around the house, then the next day they wanted to go outside. I asked my Papi if we could get a lead and harness for them. He agreed and we got two for the kittens. I thought it would be good to get them used to being on a lead when they are young. I thought I would write a description about how to put it on, and use the harness to take your cat\kitten for walks to help other people who would like to take their indoor cats outside safely.
How to Fit a Harness
First, you adjust your strap so it fits your kitten.
After you have adjusted your strap, you do up one of the side clips. Slip the front over their head, put one foot in the gap that’s shown in the photo and do up the other clip.
Check that the harness isn’t too tight and all the clips are done up, you might have to adjust the size a bit now, you should be able to get a finger under comfortably but if it’s too loose your cat might slip out by accident. If your kitten is still too small for the harness to adjust small enough then you can get them used to wearing it in the house as if they slip out it won’t matter too much.
Once you are satisfied that the harness fits securely and your cat is happy then all that is left is to clip the lead on the hook and take them for a walk.
Your kitten is now ready!
First, to make sure Moonpie was happy with walking and running in her new lead I took her for a walk around the house which she was used to, with the back door shut. I did this for three days in a row before we went outside.
I chose a nice sunny day for taking her outside on the lead. As I took her outside she was a little bit unsure and stayed still for a moment. Suddenly she went to some catmint that we have close to the door and put her whiskers in it.
Then she ran across the lawn at maximum speed, I had to sprint to keep up! She wanted to explore an old small tree. Moonpie can run really fast! Moonpie climbed up onto the tree and stayed still so she could balance. She was having lots and lots of fun exploring!
Next she started to explore the concrete part of the garden and looked behind the metal bucket, she inspected the wheelbarrow wheel and legs (she hadn’t seen one before).
Then I think she knew where the house was as she ran back towards it.
We had stayed outside for about ten minutes and as she ran towards the house I guessed she was tired, she went straight to the back door and as I let her into the house she went to the ‘Kitten Room’ as I looked she got into her bed and after she had licked herself clean she went straight to sleep, a little fluffy ball.
I really like taking the kittens for walks because you get your exercise and have lots of fun seeing what the kittens like best in the garden. I think the kittens really like it because they get to smell fresh air and see the wildlife including our chickens. I try to take them into the garden when it is nice weather, so about twice a week after school and on the weekends. After school every day I try to put them on the harness so they can get really used to it.
As they get bigger and bigger we will take the kittens on longer walks. It’s a really safe and fun way for them to explore the world around them. If you live in the city and you want your cat to have fresh air, exercise and to stimulate their senses but are worried about your cat then you can take them out on a lead and they can safely explore outside with your supervision, they can even learn to take the bus or the tube!
Whether you’re a new cat owner or a long time litter user, the world of cat litter can be confusing and selecting the right litter to suit your needs and your cat’s preferences isn’t always an easy task.
Kittens are adorable, playful balls of fluff but they’ll also start producing 1s and 2s from the get go, so you need to get your potty training sorted from the start. But with a range of litter materials from wood to paper, clay to silica and even tofu on offer, which is going to be best now and when they are a bit older?
With so many types of litter on offer, it’s no surprise that in a study of cat owners, we discovered that a massive 93% of them have tried different types of cat litter before their current choice. Does this sound like you?
In the survey, we discovered 54% of the respondents reported that they think their cats might be fussy about the litter they put down for them. As well as feline fussiness, cat owners are also disappointed with litters they are trialing and as a result have to spend more time and money on finding the perfect match for them and their cat.
Now, to tackle this difficult decision, we are launching a collection of 5 easy to understand, high performance cat litters. Simply named 1, 2, 3, 4,5, the colourful collection offers 5 proven materials for you to choose from: Silica, Tofu, Pine, Clay and Paper. But don’t worry about figuring out the differences to make your choice, this handy Cat Litter Generator will deliver two expert recommendations for you to narrow down the decision making process.
Omlet’s Head of Marketing, Johannes Paul, says: At Omlet, we’re striving to make choosing cat litter as easy as 1, 2, 3! This new collection really takes the guesswork out of a major choice for so many cat owners, and we hope it will save our customers from lots of disappointment and wasted time.
Learn more about the cat litters in the Omlet collection…
Ultra Hygienic & Absorbent
No. 1 Silica Cat Litter is made from small sand particles that are extremely absorbent to reduce moisture and odour, keeping it fresh and hygienic for longer. Not only do these small grains absorb and dry faster than other litters, their fine nature also means the litter doesn’t stick to paws and get tracked around your home. The clumping cat litter is also easy to spot clean to improve longevity.
Clumping & Compostable
No. 2 Tofu Cat Litter is made from crushed tofu, and is very effective at neutralising odours thanks to an active carbon composition that traps bad smells. The clumping cat litter is also highly absorbent, reducing waste and keeping the litter tray fresher for longer! Crushed tofu is biodegradable and can be composted, for easy and planet friendly disposal.
Fresh Scent & 100% Biodegradable
No. 3 Pine Cat Litter will transform the litter tray with the sweet scent of fresh wood, plus it’s 100% biodegradable and compostable, making it a friendly option for both your cat and the environment! The large wood pellets are highly absorbent, offering long lasting freshness with outstanding odour control, and also minimising waste and cleaning time.
Long Lasting & Low Waste
No. 4 Clay Cat Litter is made of highly absorbent bentonite clay balls with active carbon particles for extreme odour control. The supreme power of this clumping cat litter makes spot cleaning after use extremely quick and easy. This not only improves the general hygiene and freshness of cat litter trays, but also minimises wastage and improves longevity.
Non-Clumping & Perfect for Kittens
No. 5 Paper Cat Litter is made from recycled newspaper pellets with natural odour and moisture absorbing properties. Not only is paper environmentally friendly and biodegradable, it also stays fresher for longer and minimises wastage. The lightweight bag is super easy to handle, and it’s non-clumping nature makes it a perfect option for younger cats, as it’s softer on paws and safer on tummies.
Omlet Cat Litter is now available exclusively from Omlet.co.uk, priced between £13.49 and £14.99 with FREE delivery.
Dogtor Adem, founder and owner of Dog-Ease, is a dog behaviourist and trainer with over 15 years experience working with dog owners and their canine best friends. In this blog post, Adem provides us with helpful tips on preventing dog theft, and what to do if you experience dog theft yourself.
With dog theft on the rise, it’s only natural that we might feel worried about taking our furry family members out and about at the moment. I think most of us can agree that if anything should happen to them, we would feel devastated. So, I have put together my top tips for keeping your dog safe from theft when both at home and out and about. Following on from this, I’ve also put together some tips on what to do should you find yourself in the awful position of your dog having been stolen. I hope you never have to refer to them, but they might just help you be reunited should you find yourself in this unfortunate position.
MY TOP TIPS FOR PREVENTING YOUR DOG THEFT
START AT HOME
By this I mean you should review your current security measures at home. Start by ensuring gates and fences are secure and avoid leaving your dog in the garden unattended. You may also want to ensure your dog cannot be seen by people passing by when you are out of the home. You can do this by making them a base in a room away from any windows that can be easily looked into or even by closing the curtains on these windows when you are out.
MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS MICROCHIPPED
It is not only law to have your dog microchipped, but it is also best practice. If your dog is ever separated from you a simple scan of their chip in their neck area should reunite you pretty quickly. Keep your dog’s microchip details up to date. It’s usually really easy to do this over the phone or online.
ADD AN ID TAG TO YOUR DOG’S COLLAR AND CONSIDER A GPS TAG ALSO
By law, your dog should have an identification tag attached to their collar when outside of your home. This makes it really easy for you both to be reunited without needing your dog’s microchip to be scanned. You could also consider attaching a trackable GPS tag to your dog’s collar. There are many on the market to choose from and these can be purchased online, if not from your local pet shop. Some also have fun features to use on a daily basis such as tracking your dog’s activity levels.
TEACH YOUR DOG THE RECALL COMMAND
Teach your dog the recall command and make coming back to you a fun game that you can play throughout your walks together. Offer a tasty treat or engagement in a game such as fetch each time they return to you. This makes them more likely to want to return to you, seeing the recall as a fun part of your walk. Head over to the Blog page of my website www.dog-ease.co.uk/blog/ to watch a tutorial on how to begin this training if you haven’t already had a chance to.
KEEP YOUR DOG’S ATTENTION
Make it fun for your dog to stay close to you on your walk if you are letting them off lead. For example, you could practise off lead heel work as you walk, offering a tasty treat as a reward for their focus, or play recall games. Taking a special toy such as a ball can also help to keep your dog’s attention and focus with them chasing and retrieving during your walk.
KEEP YOUR DOG IN SIGHT
Following on from keeping your dog’s attention, avoid letting your dog go out of your sight on a walk or leaving them unattended outside a shop, school, or even in your car. The less opportunity for them to come into contact with strangers without you also present, the better.
WALK WITH OTHERS
If possible, walk with a family member or socially distanced with a friend. You could also try to walk in public areas where other people are walking and present too. Pick times of the day where other people are likely to be around and walk in daylight if possible. If this is not possible, try to walk in well-lit areas. Safety is often found in numbers and the more people that are around the less likely you may be to be targeted.
CONSIDER TAKING ANTI THEFT DEVICES WITH YOU
Consider taking an anti-theft alarm or another similar device on your walk with you, even a whistle is better than nothing to be able to attract attention with. You could also try to keep your mobile phone handy to use if necessary, although it’s best to not allow your mobile phone to distract you from what is going on around you as you walk. See the next tip!
Following on from the tip above, stay alert and be vigilant on your walks. Watch out for any unusual activity or people in the areas you might typically walk. It is best to limit your use of any electronic devices such as your mobile, even to listen to music. The more aware of your surroundings you are, the more likely you will be to spot anything not quite right.
AVOID CLOSE CONTACT WITH STRANGERS
Avoid letting people you don’t know pet your dog or telling people you don’t know any details about you and your dog. It’s nice to be friendly but be vigilant about the information you share.
BE LESS PREDICTABLE
If you’re particularly concerned, change up your routine frequently. This makes it harder for anyone ‘watching and waiting’ to predict and plan to ‘bump into you’ on a walk.
PREP OTHERS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WALKING YOUR DOG
If you use a dog walker, ensure you ask them what steps they are taking to avoid your dog from being stolen. You can also ask that they remain vigilant in securing your property when returning your dog to your home and ask that they look out for and alert you to any unusual activity.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND LOCAL NEWS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Check local social media pages and local news for up-to-date information on what is going on in your area. Often any worrying incidents are reported by residents with details of suspicious people and even sometimes vehicles too look out for.
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE
Sharing your location and details of your pet on non-private forums such as on non-private social media pages can alert potential thieves to your where abouts. Make sure you are mindful of what you share and where you ‘check in’, with or without your dog.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG IS STOLEN?
In the awful event that your dog is stolen, here are some tips to help you find and be reunited with them.
REPORT THE THEFT IMMEDIATELY
Report the theft immediately to the police and ensure it is recorded as a crime rather than as a lost pet. You should receive a crime reference number for your records.
Check all available CCTV footage in the area your dog was stolen from to gain evidence of any people needing to be identified or vehicles that may have been involved. You might also want to check in with neighbours and those in the local area to see if anyone has any footage from their own security systems – from Ring Doorbell footage to Dash Cam footage. Anything is worth a shot and could lead to identifying something or someone.
CONTACT YOUR MICROCHIP COMPANY
Contact the company your dog’s microchip is recorded with and register your dog as stolen. If your dog is scanned by a vet elsewhere, they should then be alerted to this and your dog returned to you.
CONTACT LOCAL VETS
Contact all vets in the local area to let them know of the theft. Provide a photo of your dog if possible and include details of any markings or particular features that they have so they can identify them more easily.
MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE
Make other people aware of the theft by putting up posters stating your dog has been stolen, with your contact details on them. You should also post a copy of such posters, or an equivalent, on social media sites. If you ensure that the settings of your post are set to ‘public’ you can ask others to share your post and reach a much wider community. The further your dog’s details are shared, the more chance you have of your dog being identified and returned to you!
DON’T GIVE UP
Don’t give up hope! Keep sharing your dog’s details far and wide. Someone somewhere might know something and help you to be reunited.
I hope you found the above tips useful. Stay alert and keep safe!
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
When you’ve grown up with animals, home isn’t home without a pet. Bringing Harry home was lifesaving for both him and his humans, Sarah and daughter Sophia. Harry has a special gift. He’s a unique epilepsy monitor, and he’s saved Sophia’s life countless times.
In March 2017, Harry, a beautiful black kitten, was only a few months old and was trapped in a cupboard, clinging to life. He wasn’t allowed out. He was overfed, caked in dirt, attacked by a dog and discarded as ‘the runt of the litter’.
Sarah heard about the cat in the cupboard through a colleague at work and couldn’t let a kitten suffer. She approached his owner via Facebook and asked, “Can I have him, please.” Harry’s neglectful owner gladly gave him up, and Harry began his recovery.
At first, he would cower in corners. The sound of footsteps petrified him. But within a week, he was a different cat, running to greet his humans at the door. “The first time he purred with us, he looked around in a panic, thinking, What’s this? but he blossomed from there.”
It’s four years later, 3 pm on a Monday and Harry’s sitting on the window sill of his loving home waiting for his human, Sophia.
Sophia has autism and epilepsy, and Harry’s unique talent has saved her life more times than Sarah, her mum, can tell me.
Before getting Harry, every aspect of Sophia’s life was about cats. She loved going to the shops and looking at things for cats, researching about them online and looking at pictures of cats. So when Harry came into her life, Sophia was overjoyed.Harry became Sophia’s shadow instantly. He follows her wherever she goes in the house. When she eats, he sits next to her. If she’s in bed, he’s sleeping with her. And when Sophia gets home from school, Harrys always there, watching, waiting on the windowsill for her. He doesn’t ever want to be separated from her.
As the bond between Harry and Sophia grew, so did Harry’s voice. Generally a calm cat, he became quite vocal, meowing to be let in or out. Bizarrely he also started to meow at the loft hatch. It can go on for 20minutes or more. Sarah’s taken him up to have a look, but it’s still something that spooks him. But Harry’s sensitive nature and vocal talents became the gift that saved Sophia’s life.
Six months after Harry came to live with them, Sophia started having epileptic seizures. They became more and more severe and frequent. At the same time, Harry began screaming in the night. Sarah went running and found that Sophia was having a seizure in her sleep.
There’s no monitor for the kind of epilepsy Sophia has, nothing you can put on your wrist or bed to sound an alert when a seizure happens. For Sophia, SUDEP (sudden unexpected death of someone with epilepsy) is a real threat. For her parent, Sarah, it’s the worst nightmare she has to live with twenty fours hours a day.
Harry began calling the alert, not just at night but in the daytime too. It’s different from a normal caterwaul, Sarah says. It’s a panicked alert call – a scream mixed with a howl. Whenever Sophia’s up in her room and starts having a seizure, Harry howls and screams until Sarah gets there, he sits, often on her chest, nudging her, rubbing his face on her, trying to get her to wake up.
Before Harry came into their lives, Sophia couldn’t have any independence. She needed to be with Sarah all the time, in case a seizure happened. But now Sophia and Sarah can have more time for themselves, knowing that if somethings wrong, Harry will call.
Harry was the missing member of Sarah and Sophia’s family. With Harry at home, Sophia and Sarah feel safe. “He’s a sweetheart. A lifesaver. A sense of security that very few people can appreciate,” says Sarah. “He means the world to me. I love him,” says Sophia.
There are lots of things you can do to make your guinea pigs’ lives safer and more engaging. In this article, we cover the different dos and don’ts that all guinea pig owners should be aware of, to make sure you create a happy home for your pet.
For starters, did you know that it’s illegal to own just one guinea pig in Switzerland? This may be surprising, but it’s one of many laws that protect our furry friends from mistreatment – in this case, loneliness. Guinea pigs, just like us, need a companion if they are to live a happy and fulfilled life, and Switzerland has made sure that no guinea pig ever has to live its life alone!
Guinea pigs bedding dos and don’ts
Do use a bedding material with good absorbency, as this will reduce smell and create a more hygienic and comfortable environment for your guinea pigs.
Don’t use dusty or sandy bedding, as guinea pigs have delicate lungs and will suffer if they breathe in wood or sand dust. In their natural habitat, guinea pigs create their homes from larger pieces of wood and debris. Your pets will enjoy constructing complicated nests using larger bedding materials.
Do choose kiln-dried wood shavings, as the drying process removes any toxins and oils from the wood.
Don’t choose colour over comfort! If you want to use a multi-coloured paper-based bedding, consider mixing it in with a more natural tone that replicates the wood-and-grass colours of the guinea pig’s natural habitat.
Do use an aubiose-based bedding if possible, as this is naturally less dusty, more absorbent and made from a natural, sustainable material.
Guinea pigs food dos and don’ts
Do give your guinea pigs natural treats such as spinach or broccoli, as this is an essential source of vitamin C in their diets! If your guinea pigs refuse to eat leafy greens, it may be necessary to purchase a vitamin C solution that can be added to your pet’s water.
Don’t overfeed your guinea pigs – if they are leaving bits of food in their bowl each day, feed them a little less.
Do regularly clean out your guinea pigs’ food bowl, as their bedding, fur and general mess will quickly soil the bowl. Consider cleaning your pets’ bowls after each feeding with a wipe or spray.
Don’t give your guinea pig any type of meat or fish, as this could lead to illness. If your guinea pig has accidentally eaten meat, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately.
Do change your guinea pigs’ water every few days, not only once the bowl is empty. This ensures a clean water supply.
Don’t give your guinea pigs too many treats if you are attempting to train them – the treats will go further in training if your pet sees them as something special!
Guinea pig toys dos and don’ts
Do regularly change the toys in your guinea pigs’ run. Your guinea pig’s play will remain stimulating if you often swap the toys around. Your guinea pig may let you know if it’s bored of a toy by chewing or even eating it!
Don’t give your guinea pigs your leftover loo roll cards as a treat, as the chemicals used to treat them could be bad for your pets’ health. Instead, invest in a small tunnel system such as Zippi tunnels, which not only last longer but are safer too.
Do provide plenty of chew toys for your guinea pigs. Your pets will naturally nibble and bite any objects in their cage to maintain the length of their teeth. This can be dangerous if all they have to bite on is the metal cage, so having plenty of different things to chew on is essential.
Don’t put your guinea pig into a wheel or ball toy. Although these are great for our smaller furry friends, the guinea pig’s body is not designed to fit into such a small space. Your guinea pigs will be much happier getting their exercise in a large run or enclosure.
Do change the layout of any tunnels or playground you have for your guinea pigs. Many of the play sets available are modular and can be changed to keep the experience fresh for your pets.
Guinea pig cohabitation dos and don’ts
Do make sure that your guinea pigs have plenty of space in their enclosure. If you are keeping a small family of guinea pigs, then it’s important that they have enough room to play and establish their own space within the cage or hutch.
Don’t punish your guinea pigs by putting them into isolation. If your guinea pigs are being naughty, separating them from the others will only create further problems and is widely thought to be unhealthy and distressing for them.
Do keep your guinea pigs in pairs of sisters or neutered brothers. This will reduce aggression between the animals, as it lessens their mating urges. It is also possible to keep a neutered male with females, but you will need to wait six weeks after the neutering before introducing them, as males can still successfully mate in those early weeks.
Don’t keep just one guinea pig. Switzerland has the right idea when it comes to animal laws, as your guinea pig will get very lonely when left alone for long periods. This loneliness can actually shorten their lifespan. Your guinea pig will live a longer and happier life with a friend, so it’s a great idea to get a pair if you are considering becoming a guinea pig owner.
Keeping guinea pigs is simple and highly satisfying. By providing them with a stimulating environment and healthy diet and observing these few dos and don’ts, your pets will have long and happy lives.
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
At the tender age of one, Peaky is already a retired filmstar. He had lived in a cage his whole life, released only to perform. When Joana and Fergus took him home, he was a fluffy, yellow bundle of nerves. But they are determined to help Peaky, their cute little canary companion, to come out of his shell.
When Joana met Fergus, she didn’t know she was falling in love with a human and his pet cockatiel. It had been his companion for 22 years. Together they grew the flock with a cheeky budgie. “He was like a dog; he wanted to sleep with us. You could hold him and kiss him!” But tragically, within a short space of time, the cockatiel died of old age, and then the budgie became terminally ill. The house fell silent.
Lockdown 1 without birds was quiet and sad for Joana and Fergus. To cheer themselves up, they decided to get their home ready for another bird and after plenty of research, they agreed on the Omlet Geo as the beautiful new bird home. All they needed now was a bird to live with them.
Fergus works in TV, and if anyone offered an animal, Fergus was known to take it. One day a ray of sunshine arrived on set—a bright little canary owned by a person who supplies animals for TV shows. Fergus struck up a conversation with the owner and learned that this little bird had a feisty character and had to be separated from the other birds, which meant he lived alone, probably in a smaller cage. Seeing Fergus’s enthusiasm, the owner asked, “Do you want this one?”
Ecstatic, Fergus called Joana, “We can get a canary!” When the clapper board shut, Fergus drove Peaky home to Edinburgh. But they got stranded en route in a massive snow blizzard and were stuck in the car for hours before being rescued by locals who took them in for the night. The next day, Peaky and Fergus continued their journey home, and when they finally arrived, the house instantly came alive.
Peaky sings beautifully and chirps up when he hears a running tap, the kettle, the hairdryer, and he even provides backing vocals to Joana’s zoom calls. However, unlike their previous birds, he’s a scared soul that feels safer inside his Omlet Geo.
He doesn’t want to come out. Joana understood it would take time to get to know him.
She has a deep empathy with birds and is slowly, patiently, gently, working with Peaky to get him to trust his new human family. When she was younger, she made magazines written from a birds point of view called The Birds Club. And Joana is now a professional writer, currently working on a series of children’s novels where birds play the main characters. Peaky even has a little cameo.
He’s getting braver, occasionally eating treats from Joana’s hand, enjoying honey seeds, millet and spinach. Joana makes sure he has space to escape if he’s not comfortable. She doesn’t want him to perform, she just wants to prove to Peaky that he can trust her.
“I’m doing a lot of research to work on rewriting his ideas about us. He came into our lives after being birdless for a year. He has no idea how happy he makes me.”
We all know that cats have excellent hearing and fantastic night vision. But there are many other senses at work in your pet cat too, including taste, touch, smell, internal clock, and an incredible sense of balance.
1. The Cat’s Sense of Sight
To see why cats have such fantastic eyesight, look no further than their larger and more dangerous cousins. Many big cats choose to hunt at night, and the average pet cat is prepared to pursue prey at any time of day, whether noon or the dead of night. It has even been suggested that cats can see in wavelengths of light that we cannot, giving them an enhanced ability to detect even the smallest motions. This allows cats to stay one jump ahead of their prey.
Cats also have a slightly wider field of visions than humans, meaning they can keep an eye on more of their territory from one spot. Cats’ vision, however, is not actually better than ours overall, and their peripheral vision is less focused than a human’s. This feline form of ‘tunnel vision’ allows them to better track fast-moving targets.
2. The Cat’s Sense of Taste
Taste is one of the cat’s weaker senses, due to its relatively small number of taste buds compared to other mammals. Cats also miss out on whole types of taste, lacking the tongue proteins required to taste sweet foods. It’s not just our pet cats that lack a sweet tooth – all cats lack the ability to produce these proteins. It’s thought that this could be a by-product of their largely carnivorous, ‘savoury’ diet, as evolution has led cats to hunt for nutrient-rich meat instead of foraging for sweet fruits or berries.
It’s not all bad news for the cat’s dinner plate, though, as it’s also been revealed that cats have taste receptors that can detect chemicals and bacteria in meat. This could be a form of protection against potential food poisoning from meat that’s just starting to turn a bit green at the edges.
3. The Cat’s Sense of Hearing
Did you know cats not only have better hearing than humans, but also dogs? They can hear a very wide bandwidth of sound frequencies, and their hearing sensitivity is high too, allowing them to listen from a much greater distance. Cats’ ears are chock-full of clever and fascinating mechanisms, such as the ability to clean themselves. Cats also avoid ear infections in the first weeks of their life by being born with sealed ear canals.
Although cats’ hearing appears to be such an important part of their lives, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a cat is deaf. This is due to their other senses being so sensitive. A deaf cat can live a life very similar to a cat with full hearing, simply by relying heavily on the other senses.
If you have a pet cat, you will have seen their wonderfully clever ability to rotate their outer ears independently from each other – almost like a radar dish turning for a better signal!
4. The Cat’s Sense of Balance
They say a cat always lands on its feet, and while this is technically not true, they do have a couple of tricks up their furry sleeves when it comes to landing gracefully. Cats have an inbuilt instinct called the righting reflex – they rotate their body in mid-air by detecting their orientation with their inner ear, performing a swift, complex series of motions in order to land on their feet.
The cat’s balance, fast reflexes and unique physiology allow it to pull off this famous and intriguing feat. Cats have even been known to use the righting reflex to survive falls of more than nine storeys! They develop this amazing sense of balance at just four weeks old – and as soon as they do, they like to seek out high places to put it to the test.
5. The Cat’s Sense of Touch
Cats have more organs for touch than humans don’t have. Whiskers are most famous for giving cats a regal and sophisticated look, but they are in fact a secret weapon that gives them a highly enhanced sense of touch.
Cats actually have whiskers on many parts of their body, including their front legs, jaw and ears. Cats’ whiskers allow them to touch objects and understand texture without the danger of directly touching it with their skin. This is a sophisticated way of avoiding obstacles at any time of day while simultaneously safeguarding themselves from sharp objects or other animals.
Cats also use touch to find their place in the social hierarchy. Cats will often gently rub noses with each other when first meeting, and it’s thought that their noses have an enhanced sense of touch for this very reason.
6. The Cat’s Sense of Smell
In a cat’s social life, smell is perhaps the most crucial sense. Smell allows a cat to identify the territories of other local cats, and to recognise whether they are in heat. Cats can even use their sense of smell to identify the emotional state of other animals, and they can ‘smell’ the chemicals produced by human sweat.
Cats each produce a unique scent using at least seven different scent glands across their body. They will obsessively mark their home and owners with these glands by rubbing against them. It is not known whether this is a way of making themselves feel more comfortable, or whether they are asserting some kind of ownership on people and place. Most of us just look at it as a sweet sign of affection!
7. The Cat’s Internal Clock
Just like people, cats have a highly intuitive internal clock that guarantees they always know if it’s time to rest, play or hunt. Cats are infamous for waking up their owners at the same time every day, sometimes much earlier than you might like! This could be due to their natural behaviour of having an active morning, followed by an afternoon nap (the famous ‘cat nap’) and a hunting session at dusk.
You may also see your cats’ internal clocks in action through their uncanny ability to tell when it’s food time. Most cats are fed twice a day, and studies have shown that cats start producing digestive chemicals shortly before their regular meal-time.
Other studies have shown that a cat’s sense of time is largely governed by light and the sun, as cats who are subjected to constant darkness or constant light begin to lose their routines and become more erratic.
All in all, cats are creatures endowed with a super selection of keen senses. They may look impassive and chilled on the outside, but on the inside they’re receiving all kinds of signals from the busy world around them.
Guinea pigs are sociable, intelligent and playful – and they can get easily bored without enough stimulation. To have a happy and healthy guinea pig you should always have enough toys to keep them occupied. From toys that satisfy their chewing instincts, to those that offer mental stimulation and even their need to explore and exercise. It’s easy to learn how to keep your guinea pig healthy and entertained with these helpful tips.
Guinea pig playtime is something both you and your guinea pigs can happily enjoy together. First, pay attention to your guinea pigs personality, find out what it likes to do: Is he or she timid or curious? Does your guinea pig show interest by chasing a rolling ball? Do they like to chew? This will help you to create games which build around these activities to keep your guinea pig entertained. Always make sure to play in a safe place.
Serve food interestingly
Don’t just put the food in the cage or enclosure, give them a treat that they have to work for! Use our Caddy Treat Holder or fruit and vegetable holders to keep food off the ground and entertain your guinea pigs at the same time. You may also hide the food in a Hay Rack or in a rolled-up kitchen roll. For example, place a piece of cucumber in the middle of the roll and “close” the two sides with hay. Here, the guinea pigs have to eat their way through the hay in order to get to the actual treat. Or simply lure your guinea pigs by offering you the food from your hand. But don’t hold it tightly, release it as soon as the guinea pig has bitten.
Another playful way to keep guinea pigs busy with their food is to threaded or fastened vegetables, fruits and herbs on a rope or knotted with clothespins. The guinea pigs then have to make an effort to get to the food. It’s important that the cord is thick enough so that a guinea pig doesn’t get tangled up in a way and won’t get injured.
A great way to give your guinea pig something to nibble would be to buy some chew toys. They love chewing and what would be more suited than chew toys?
You can also play a chase game with your furry one! Tie a small treat or a toy that your guinea pig loves to piece of string and drag across the floor for them to chase. Make sure you are moving a bit faster than your guinea pig so they can chase after it. This activity is a good way to keep your guinea pig exercising and alert! If you try this out, be extra cautious as to not let your guinea pig get caught in the string or swallow small parts.
You should also make sure to offer your guinea pigs alternatives when it comes to feeding them. For example, in summer they can enjoy fresh grass and seasonal produce like corn. This not only brings variety to the menu, but also new ways to occupy your guinea pigs.
Obstacles, tunnels and tubes
Tunnels invite you directly to explore and are very popular amongst all guinea pigs. They are prey animals, so having lots of areas for them to hide will make them feel much safer. Set up an obstacle course made of tubes and switch it up every week or so. Your cavy will happily walk through and dash around the tunnels. To make it a bit extra fun for your guinea pig, you can hide some treats in the tunnel/obstacle and your little friend can have a sniff around. A great way to animate your furry friends to move and exercise. Afterwards, they can also even take a nap in the tunnel. Our Zippi Tunnel System and Zippi Run Tunnels offer more space and an exciting new level for your guinea pigs to enjoy, while encouraging interactive play and exercise to strengthen your pet’s muscles. You can also combine it with our Hay Rack for even more fun!
Why not try out an obstacle course? Just like other animals, guinea pigs enjoy stimulating activities and they are very smart as well! Set up obstacle courses with cardboard boxes or random objects from around the house. Make sure to provide them with enough space to run around and play. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can make them a maze!
It’s certainly a good idea to create new vantage points. These do not always have to be houses with flat roofs. Cork tubes, bricks or hay racks also offer enough space for guinea pigs to make themselves comfortable there. Guinea pigs like to keep track of possible dangers and to warn the group. Alternatively, small wooden boxes can be used for this purpose, upside down with a towel as a support or check out our Zippi Platforms.
Provide your guinea pigs with toys such as balls made from plastic, untreated willow or dried grass, and small stuffed toys. Ensure that there are adequate toys for each of your guinea pigs to have at least one of their own at any one time. Make sure to have items, which won’t harm your little friend, e.g. buy a light and small ball which can’t hurt your cavy and which can’t be swallowed.
Try sitting on the floor with your guinea pig and rolling balls to him. You can also use a variety of appropriate and safe bird or cat toys here as well. The hanging bird toys with bells and wooden chew sticks are reported to be safe enough to leave with a piggy, but please remove the bell, unless it’s too large to fit inside a guinea pig’s mouth.
Soft sounds are great tools for training your guinea pig. Use a bell to signal feeding time, and soon your guinea pig will react to the sound. As mentioned in the beginning, if you know the personality of your cavy, you will find the right toy for your guinea pig.
Log bridges are a very popular enrichment for guinea pigs too. They are very versatile and can be used as a tunnel, shelter, ramp, divider and much more. Garden border edging works great too!
Paper/toilet paper rolls always make a great toy, whether you’re using it as a feeding roll or tunnel. However, at some point we would advise you to cut it lengthways so that any pig poking their heads into it cannot get stuck.
Guinea pigs need variety to keep themselves mentally and physically fit. A very simple trick to keep your furry friends entertained is moving the furnishings to a different place after each cleaning of the cage or enclosure. Your guinea pigs will immediately embark on an exploratory tour, sniffing every little house and shelter and jumping on it! Guinea pigs love to rediscover their surroundings while finding even better shelters, playgrounds and viewing platforms. You can hide some treats if you wish, to keep your guinea pig extra amused.
You can attach some nice cosy sleeping areas to the furniture. There’s nothing guinea pigs love more than cosy sleeping areas (unless you include food..). Some popular options include fleece huts or blankets, just be warned that they might toilet in these.
Make their environment varied and interesting with different levels and areas for your guinea pigs to explore; you can use things like ramps and boxes.
Not suitable for Guinea Pig Exercise
Toys: Guinea pigs love to play, but some toys are safer, healthier, and more enjoyable than others. Please always use toys with smooth edges as sharp edges can pose a danger and might hurt your little friend. Moreover, use safe and non toxic toys to gnaw and avoid toys that can be swallowed.
Exercise balls and wheels: These can be even deadly for guinea pigs. Cavys have a different anatomy, and they can badly injure their backs with an exercise ball or wheel. Also, exercise balls are too enclosed and do not provide enough air circulation which can lead to heat stroke. This condition is often fatal for guinea pigs. These activities may be appropriate for some pocket pets like rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters, but they should never be used for guinea pigs.
Bridges: Bridges are great for your furry friends but please keep in mind, guinea pigs are not necessarily known as the most skillful pets. So, wobble bridges are much more of a danger than a great toy, especially if the pet is not alone in the cage…
Leash/harness: If you think about putting a harness or leash on them, please avoid this. Guinea pigs are by nature flight animals and do not belong on a leash. If you keep in mind this guidance and advice, your guinea pig will have a lot of fun and will be kept entertained. Try to promote the health of your furry friend and keep your pet amused and happy- your loving little buddy deserves it!
Budgies are extremely affectionate pets that love to thrive in a family environment. You don’t need to be a bird expert to keep a small budgie under your roof. However, if you want it to thrive and be happy and healthy, there are a few things to consider.
Omlet offers you a list of 5 things to keep in mind when raising a budgie.
1- Consider investing in a cage that respects your pet and its needs
If you decide to adopt a budgie, this should be a priority. Make sure you have a cage that suits your budgie’s needs and allows it to be happy. A bird needs enough space to stretch its wings and have fun. Make sure the cage is large enough and that it gets enough sunlight. Your budgie will need to see light to be able to thrive.
Budgies fly horizontally and do not fly high, so make sure the cage is wide enough.
It is important to choose a cage that is easy to clean, as you will need to spend time keeping your bird’s area clean. This is essential for your bird’s health (and yours). Budgies need to relieve themselves on a regular basis, approximately every 15 minutes, so you need to have easy access to all areas of the cage so that you can clean the entire cage and avoid unpleasant odours and a dirty environment for your little budgie.
You should also consider a cage that can accommodate several budgies. Although budgies can be kept alone, they do prefer the company of their own kind.
The Omlet solution: The Geo Cage.
The Geo cage complies with current regulations to provide your pet with the space it needs. Its innovative design provides a safe and airy living space for your budgies. This cage is the result of many years of research to provide your birds with an optimal environment to keep them happy.
This cage not only meets the needs of your budgies, but is also functional and can be cleaned quickly and easily. The inside of the cage will be as good as new after your visit. In addition, the Omlet Geo cage offers an exceptional design that allows it to be integrated into any interior decoration.
The cage is extremely important, as is its location. Remember to place the cage in a room with stable temperatures: not too hot, not too cold. Also avoid rooms that are too noisy with too much traffic and activity. Your birds need peace and quiet. A bright room will make your little budgie happy. However, avoid placing the cage too close to windows, as the sun through the glass and the intense heat can be dangerous, or even fatal to your pet.
2- Don’t skimp on accessories
Taking care of your budgie is not only about giving it a place to sleep, it is also about allowing it to have fun and discover many things through a variety of accessories. The bathtub is not a trivial accessory: budgies love to stay clean. There are many plastic tubs available that allow your budgie to clean itself and feel clean all the time. Choose a bathtub that fits your cage and can easily be installed in it. It should be easy to fill from the outside.
At Omlet, we offer a bathtub that fits our Geo cage and its sloping sides perfectly.
Technique for the bathtub: do not fill it to the brim, as you will find water everywhere. The tub should not be too small to allow your bird to enjoy it fully, but it should not be too large either, so that it does not take up all the space in the cage. If the bathtub you have chosen fits easily into your budgie’s cage, you may want to consider adding it for a few hours while your bird takes a bath and removing it the rest of the time.
You should also consider quality drinkers and feeders that will allow you to feed your beloved animals properly and without hindrance.
If your budgie can clean itself and stretch its wings, it is likely to thrive and feel happy. However, it is necessary to keep it occupied with toys.
So think about furnishing its space with useful accessories that entertain your budgie. Vary the shapes, sizes and aspects to offer your pet new experiences.
Perches are extremely important for your birds and play a significant part in ensuring a better lifestyle. Choose perches with a wooden base, such as pine, as plastic fails to offer the proper grip that your bird needs, and can be bad for their feet.
Toys have their place in your pet’s cage, but avoid taking up the whole space. It is important to have several types of toys that you can mix up on a weekly basis to give them more variety and keep your bird entertained.
Toys stimulate your pet and prevent your budgie from getting bored.
3- A happy budgie is a well-fed budgie
There are several ways to take care of your budgie and the first way is to feed it sufficiently with quality food. What does a budgie eat? Your birds’ favourite foods are seeds, vegetables and fruit. Just like other animals, dogs, cats (etc), never give your budgies chocolate and caffeine.
It is essential to ensure that the drinker is always full of water to keep your animals properly hydrated. Your birds will know how much water they need but it must be available to them. If the water is not drunk, it is essential that you change it regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
4- Budgies need quality sleep!
Sleep is essential for your bird. It allows your pet to rest its body and recharge its batteries. Just like human beings, sleep helps reduce stress and promotes your pet’s learning and memory. It is estimated that a budgie can sleep between 10 and 12 hours a day. A happy budgie is one that benefits from this rest time in the best conditions.
It usually prepares for bed half an hour before going to sleep. You can improve the sleeping conditions of your budgie by providing an opaque blanket, which does not let light in and ensures that your bird gets the rest it deserves. This solution also allows you to soundproof the cage a little if there is regular activity in the room. It is sufficient to keep the room dark and to let a little light through so that your budgies are not injured if they hear a noise that wakes them up. The Omlet cover offers your birds an ideal solution for a full and restful night’s sleep. It can be placed on any cage and allows your birds to sleep safely.
Establish a routine each night so that your budgies feel comfortable and understand when it is time to go to bed. They will feel confident that there is nothing to worry about and will fall asleep peacefully.
However, if you notice that your budgie(s) panic when you put the blanket on the cage, don’t persist. Some birds have their own habits and there is no point in insisting on certain accessories. If your budgie is happy and can sleep perfectly and peacefully without a cover, that is the main thing.
5- Give your budgie lots of love and get it used to its environment
For a budgie to be happy and healthy, nothing is more important than the love you give them in a healthy environment adapted to their needs. Never rush your budgie and give it time to adapt to any situation, new environment, new toys or accessories…
Don’t hesitate to talk to your budgie and make it feel your presence without smothering it. Repeat its name to get it used to the sound and to assimilate it. If there are several of you in the family environment, introduce the members of your family little by little without rushing your pet. No loud noises or big movements. Your friends or family can enjoy your budgie, but in a calm and respectful way.
Treats and time with your pet will make your budgie happy. Make sure you spend time with your budgie. This will strengthen the bond between you. Gaining your pet’s trust is a long-term process. You can use your fingers to tame your pet little by little, for example by moistening them and placing seeds on them. Intrigued and curious, your budgie will surely come to you.
Do not hesitate to open the cage from time to time to let your bird fly in the open air in a room. Just remember to avoid bright lights that may attract your bird and end up hurting it (sunlight through a window, for example). If you decide to let your bird fly in your home, be careful with objects that could either break, or hurt your pet. The room should be secure enough to prevent your budgie from ending up in the vet’s office.
An unhappy bird may become aggressive or develop health problems. This can manifest itself in regular pecking or screaming. Your budgie, if unhappy, may be more agitated than usual. If you are sure that you have done all you can to keep him happy and his aggressive behaviour persists or you detect abnormal problems, it is time to make an appointment with the vet. In fact, one visit per year to the vet is recommended to check that everything is going well with your pet.
With all these tips and tricks, your budgie can be happy and thrive by your side. All you need is patience and the right equipment and accessories for your pet’s needs.
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
Henni Hen is a teaching assistant by trade. A cute and cuddly chicken who loves children. She follows in the footsteps of her bubbly humans, Hamish and Verity.
Verity hatches chicks in an incubator every year at the primary school in Kent, where she works as a reception teacher. It’s a highlight for the children in spring, with lots of learning opportunities and fluffy little chicks make Easter even more special.
It was natural for Henni to become a teaching assistant at an early age. She was, after all, born in a school. Henni helped the children with topic work and became the subject of many good literacy and science lessons.
But Henni’s talent lies in her ability to help children read. Henni can’t read herself, but children who wouldn’t usually read to an adult began taking Henni to beanbag in a quiet corner where they could get cosy. Henni cuddles up and listens patiently to her young reader, giving the odd encouraging cluck.
When Henni and her sisters became too big for the classroom’s hutch, Verity and Hamish moved into a house with a garden. Instead of rehoming the chicks with local farmers (like they usually did), they decided to take Henni and her sisters home. They’d been talking about getting a dog, but both working full-time, the chickens seemed like a good option.
Most of the time, Henni is outside, like an ordinary chicken, scratching in the garden or getting up as high as she can. But Verity and Hamish potty trained her because she loves coming into the house for a cuddle, and of course, she needs to work.
During the lockdown, the children missed holding Henni. So, Henni sprang into action and delivered both live and recorded lessons from the study that she shares with Verity. Verity read children stories, and Henni sat on her shoulder, making sure the children were listening. The deputy head called Verity regularly to make sure Henni’s doing ok.
Being a caring soul, Henni also gave to the community over lockdown. Together, Henni and her sisters lay six eggs a day, so Henni and Verity decided to do a doorstep delivery service for their neighbours. At 10 am, Henni would lay an egg and make a lot of noise about it, so all the neighbours knew when their eggs are ready. Then, Henni would hop onto Verity’s shoulder, and together they delivered eggs to all the houses on their close.
When she returned home, she’d often hop onto her favourite perch (the top of the garage), and the children from the neighbourhood would come over to Verity and Hamish’s to see “the one on the roof!”
Henni and her sisters Megg, Gertie, Margot, Ginger, Rona and Nora used to live in a wooden coop in the garden and come into the garage in winter when it was cold, but Verity and Hamish wanted the best for them. So last year, they got a new home, an Omlet Eglu Cube, and now they’re cosy outside all year round.
But Henni still likes to come inside for a cuddle and can often be found sitting on the sofa between Verity and Hamish for a family film night after a hard week at work.
She’s just an ordinary brown chicken, and she’s low in the pecking order, but she’s got high hopes for the world. She’s very special to the children she teaches and the community she lives in, and of course, to her humans Verity and Hamish. She’s worthy of a gold star for an outstanding effort.
Everyone loves to stroke, cuddle and pamper their pet. Their fur is soft and warm, and stroking a dog or cat can help humans relax and destress. But despite these positives, your pet’s loose hair can invade your living space, settling on carpets, sofas, beds and furniture. It can be difficult to get rid of. So how can you avoid spending hours cleaning up after your pet?
Spring is finally here and the winter fur is starting to fall out. Avoid being overcome with pet hair and make life easier for yourself in the days to come, with the Omlet tips below…
Removing fur to help pet allergies
Do you often have red,swollen eyes, a runny nose and experience persistent sneezing? If so, it could be because of your pet’s fur. Di dyou know, 40% of European cats are carriers of a bacterium: Bartonella henselae? Researchers thought that this bacteria could only be transmitted through your pet’s scratch, but numerous studies have shown that the bacteria can be transmitted through fur and fleas. This is why it is important to treat your pet and wash your hands after petting it.
Pets affect the quality of the indoor air we breathe. Hair and saliva carry allergens and can cause nose, throat and eye irritation, asthma and breathing difficulties.
So how do you deal with pet hair?
Useful techniques to get rid of hair
Removing pet hair from your home doesn’t have to be a time consuming task. Here’s a few tips and tricks to try…
Brush your pet’s hair regularly, preferably outside, but if that’s not possible, an easy clean area such as the bathroom may be just right. By brushing your pet, you allow it to shed any hair that may have otherwise fallen onto your sofa or other surface in your home. You can gather the hair in one place and you clean it up much more easily and quickly.
Protect furniture and areas where your pet likes to lounge. Your furry friend is bound to have a special place where he likes to spend time napping and grooming, and these areas can become loose fur hotspots! Try covering your pet’s favourite patch with a towel or blanket.
The ultimate appliance: the hoover. Cleaning your home is essential in normal times, and even more so when you have furry pets. This solution seems obvious and yet it is radically effective. Choose a hoover over a broom. A broom tends to make the hair fly around and instead of getting rid of it, you move it around to other surfaces. You can also vary the end caps to suit all surfaces.
Use dishwashing gloves! An original but effective tip. Use a pair of washing-up gloves to pick up your pet’s hair in a circular motion from the desired spot. The hair will stick to the glove and can be rinsed away.
Use moisture to quickly gather the hair into small balls. Take a damp sponge or flannel and wipe the desired area. Some of the hairs will cling to the sponge while others will clump together. This method should be combined with other techniques to effectively remove your pet’s hair.
The well-known method: the adhesive roller. Using an adhesive roller is particularly effective on your clothes, especially if you do not want to wet them with a sponge. The hair will stick to the tape and lift from the material. This technique is super effective on small surfaces. However, the roller soon becomes full of hairs and it is necessary to change the roller regularly if attempting larger surfaces in your home.
Use specific brushes: velvet brushes, electrostatic brushes, etc. There are all kinds of useful brushes on the market. With a simple movement of the hand, they attract the hair to the brush and lift off your soft furnishings.
Static electricity with tights! Don’t just throw away your frayed tights, they can be reused to pick up your pet’s hair. The friction creates static electricity and attracts the hair to the nylon material.
Ventilation: renewing the air to reduce the concentration of hair in one place. Whether you have pets or not, airing your home is essential to prevent the accumulation of dust and bacteria. You will eliminate bad odours and allow for fresh air to circulate the home.
If you really need to keep an area hair-free, the most effective method will be to restrict access to your pet. It may be drastic, but you won’t have to worry about hair in your bedroom causing irritation while you try to sleep, for example.
Adapted furniture that makes life easier
Are you tired of your pet’s accessories collecting dust and fur? Invest in the right equipment and think long term.
As well as keeping your pet comfortable, consider buying a functional dog bed that will make life much easier for you too. Omlet’s Topology bed provides your pet with optimal comfort thanks to its memory foam mattress, and also provides the ultimate solution for hygiene, by making cleaning your dog’s bed easier than ever. A variety of mattress toppers allow you to change the style as often as you like, and they are also easy to unzip to put in the washing machine, guaranteeing impeccable hygiene. Now you can easily refresh your dog’s bed to eliminate a build up of fur.
The Maya Donut Cat Bed also has a washable cover, and provides ultimate comfort for your pet. This bed is a neat, cosy size and can even be placed on your sofa if your cat likes to lounge around next to you. When you notice a build up of loose fur, just unzip the cover and put in the washing machine!
Omlet beds (Topology, Bolster and Maya) are designed from the ground up to be functional, practical and easy to clean. Omlet has designed feet to raise your pet’s bed, not only for aesthetic and decorative purposes but also for hygienic benefits. By raising your dog’s bed, you allow air to circulate, which prevents the accumulation of dust and hair. This brand new concept offers you and your pet a healthy and comfortable environment.
Your pet’s fur will always be present, and impossible to eliminate entirely, however, these little tricks will help you to considerably reduce the accumulation of hair in your home and allow you and your pet to live in a healthy, comfortable and hygienic environment.
When considering whether or not to keep chickens, it’s important to take into account the pets you already have around your home. The most obvious examples are cats and dogs, who sometimes let their chase instincts get the better of them. However, all your pets can get along just fine, as long as you lay down a few ground rules.
Keeping chickens with dogs
If you’re a dog owner, the first thing to consider is the temperament of your pet. Does it often chase rabbits or deer when out on a walk? How does your dog react to birds in the garden? If your hound tends to lose control in these situations, this behaviour is likely to carry over into their relationship with chickens. Equally, if your dog is of a more relaxed temperament, they may show little if any interest in your coop.
The likeliest scenario falls somewhere between the two extremes, in which case you’ll see your dog taking an interest in the chickens, and spending plenty of time watching and attempting to play with them, but not moving in ‘for the kill’. What’s important here is that your dog needs to understand that the chickens are part of the pack, and not something to be hunted. It’s also important that your dog understands that chickens are fragile, and that dog-style rough play is out of the question.
Teaching dogs to get along with chickens
You can teach your dogs that the chickens are part of the family by letting them watch you spending time in the coop – initially keeping them separated with chicken wire or fencing. Many breeds of dog are naturally cautious around small animals and will be protective of your chickens once they consider them a part of the pack. The behaviour you want to see is your dog cautiously sniffing at the chicken, as opposed to adopting the head-down-bottom-up ‘let’s play’ stance.
One of the most important considerations when it comes to dogs and chickens is the temperament of the dog breed. Hunting dogs such as greyhounds and beagles will cave in to their chasing instincts if the hens begin to flap around, and they should never be allowed to mingle with the chickens. In contrast, farm dogs such as sheepdogs have protective and herding instincts, and they will be less likely to harm your chickens.
There is no sure-fire way to guarantee your dogs and chickens will get on, but spending plenty of time introducing them goes a long way. As with all dog training, this can be an extended process, so be prepared to spend a few weeks introducing your chickens to your dogs with a barrier before you let them meet face to face. When you do introduce them, it’s a good idea to keep the dog on a short leash at first, just in case.
Keeping chickens with cats
Cats are a completely different story to dogs – they are harder to predict and less susceptible to training. However, they are unlikely to view a big fat hen as potential prey. Many farmers concur that their farm cats have no interest in hunting poultry, and are much more interested in the rats and mice that are inevitably attracted by birds. When keeping chickens, the occasional rat is standard, and having a cat around can greatly reduce their numbers.
Although most chickens are too large for a cat to hunt, this largely depends on the breed of chicken and the size of your cat. If you find that your cat is beginning to stalk your chickens, a sturdy and secure coop and run that your cat can’t access will deter trouble. This is good practice either way, as even if your cat is friendly with your chickens, your neighbour’s cat might not be! The ideal answer here is the Eglu, which is super-secure and comes with its own attached chicken run.
Keeping chickens with guinea pigs
You may already have a guinea pig hutch or run in your garden, and while this won’t be a problem for your chickens, it is not recommended for chickens and guinea pigs to share living quarters. This is for several reasons, one being that rats will be further attracted to your pets’ food, and they may attack your guinea pigs. Another reason is that when establishing a pecking order, your chickens will peck at each other and any other animal they live with. This can cause serious harm to guinea pigs, who do not have thick feathers to protect them.
Keeping chickens with rabbits
Rabbits can be great companions for your chickens if you introduce them to each other when they are all very young. You will also need to ensure that you care for their different needs within the same run, in terms of food and equipment.
Rabbits, for example, like to have a clean space to sleep in, so you may need to muck out your coop and run more regularly than you would if the chickens were alone. You will also need to ensure that the chickens and rabbits all have a safe space within the coop where they can have privacy and space. You can achieve this by separating your run into three areas, one to house the roosting chickens, another for your rabbits, and a communal space.
Having a large and secure garden run will make your chickens feel safer in general, and plenty of space will maximise the chance of the hens getting along with each other and their rabbit and guinea pig neighbours.
Chickens and other pets
Chickens can also rub along happily with goats, and with female ducks (males will tends to bully them). Ironically, they do not mix with birds in an aviary. They will eat anything that falls to the aviary floor, but they will also happily peck the other birds whenever they can and may attract rats and mice, which will cause problems for the smaller birds.
Small mammal pets such as hamsters and gerbils should never be kept in the same enclosure as chickens. The rodents will be pecked and killed.
By following these few ground rules, you will be able to keep the various members of your mixed menagerie happy!