Cutting Down on the Stinky Smell in Your Rat’s Cage

Animals stink. It doesn’t matter what kind of creature you have. Dogs need baths because they smell and cats have litter boxes that can quickly stink up the home. You’d think that small animals, like rats, wouldn’t smell quite as bad, but they can be stinky too!

If you’re tired of smelling nasty rat odors in your home, follow these tips from a professional veterinarian.

Choose the right bedding

Some bedding is better than others when it comes to odor control. Rats and their owners really like paper bedding. Not only will it keep your critter healthy, it’s easy to pile up in and around the nesting box. Unfortunately, it isn’t very good at odor control.

Wood shavings are much better at controlling odors, but you have to be careful what kind you get. Pine bedding smells good, but it is dusty, which can make it hard for your rat to breathe. Make sure you get aspen bedding. It can help with odor control without negatively affecting your pet’s health.

No one said you have to choose one over the other! Sprinkle aspen shavings in the bottom of the cage for odor control and place paper bedding over the top.

Clean up a little bit every day

You should clean your critter’s cage from top to bottom once a week. That will help reduce lingering odors, but this method doesn’t really get rid of day-to-day odors.

To prevent your home from smelling in the first place, spot clean the cage on a daily basis. That means getting rid of soiled bedding and wiping down potty areas.

You can make your job even easier if you introduce litter boxes. Most rats like to go potty in the same spots. Put a litter tray down in those spots and they can easily be dumped once a day.

Clean up uneaten food

Regular rat food from the pet store won’t cause the cage to stink, but fresh foods will. If you give your rodent a piece of fruit or a few vegetables, make sure you dispose of them after your critter has an hour or two to eat it. If left in the cage, it will make the cage stink!

Your veterinarian can tell you more about how to cut back on nasty rat odors in your home

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Dog Food Shopping and Storage Tips

How much time do you spend thinking about your pet’s food? Chances are, not much. You probably run in and out of the grocery store as fast as possible and fold the bag over before putting it in the closet.

It’s time to slow down and think more carefully about your dog’s food and how you’re storing it! Here are some tips from a professional veterinarian on shopping for the right chow for your pet and how to store it when you get home.

Choose a healthy formula

Just like there’s a lot of junk food at the grocery store, there’s a lot of junk dog food at the pet store. Although low-quality food will technically sustain your canine, it won’t help him thrive.

Dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat plants and meat, but you should look for a food that contains meat as the first ingredient. Avoid ingredients that list “meat by product” or “meat meal”.

Don’t get caught up in the labels. Terms like “premium” and “natural” don’t mean anything because they aren’t regulated. Instead, look to see if the food is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This label means the food meets basic nutritional requirements, according to the AAFCO, which can help you narrow in on a high-quality kibble.

Think carefully about the size of the bag

Bigger isn’t always better, but it can be. If you have a large dog, a large bag is probably a good idea. It will prevent you from running to the store once or twice a week, and it will help you save a little bit of money too.

However, if you have a small dog breed, a huge bag may not be a good idea. It will likely go stale before your pooch has a chance to eat it all. You’ll end up spending even more money because most of the kibble will end up in the garbage.

Store the food in an airtight container

No matter how big the bag, you should always store your pet’s food in an airtight container. Not only will an airtight container keep the food fresh, which means you can buy bigger bags, it also prevents the food from getting contaminated.

Contact your veterinarian for more help choosing and storing your dog’s food.

Tips for Adopting the Right Hamster for Your Family

You may think adopting a hamster is as easy as going to your local pet store. Although that may be partially true, it won’t ensure you make the right decision for your family.

Here are a few things a pet clinic wants you to consider before you bring home one of these little rodents from the store.

Choose the right kind of hamster

A hamster isn’t just a hamster. There are quite a few different kinds!

The Syrian hamster is one of the most popular. They make good family pets, but they aren’t a good choice if you want to adopt more than one critter. They’re loners, which means only one can live safely inside a single cage at a time.

Dwarf hamsters can be extremely difficult to resist because they’re so tiny! This may not be a problem for adults and older children, but if you’re adopting a hammy for a young child, this tiny creature can easily slip through little fingers. A larger breed would be a better choice.

What to look for at the pet store

When you know what kind of hamster to get, your work still isn’t done. You have to make sure you choose the right one from the cages in the pet store!

First, you want to look for a hamster that is healthy. That means the critter you choose should have clear eyes, a clear nose, and smooth furry skin. Avoid any animal with a wet tail as this can be a sign of a fatal disease.

It’s a good idea to choose a young hamster. These critters only live to be a few years old, so purchasing one that is older will leave you with very little time to spend with your new furry friend.

Do you have a specific gender in mind? In general, male hamsters are usually more mellow. Females can be a bit more aggressive, but they can also be more adventurous and curious. Knowing the gender is also a good idea when it comes to naming your new pet!

Having trouble figuring out what hamster to get? Or maybe you’re having trouble finding the one you want? Call and speak to your pet clinic. They can provide you with advice and recommendations on where to find your new critter.

Fun Games to Play with Your Pet Rat

Half the fun of having a rat is getting to play with him! These rodents are surprisingly intelligent, so there are plenty of fun things to choose from!

Here are a few game ideas from a vet clinic that your rat is sure to love.

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo is a fun and simple game you can play with your rat. It starts by placing your pet on the bed. Then, duck down behind one side of the bed. Your rodent will come over to see if he can find you!

You can also play a version of peek-a-boo where your rat is the one who hides. Pile up some blankets on the bed and let your critter run around inside the folds. Then, lift up the blanket and try and find your furry friend!

Digging games

Rats like to dig. Giving them the opportunity to dig is fun for them, but it’s also fun for you to watch!

Get a box and place a few treats at the bottom. Then, fill the box with stuff that your rat has to dig through. It might be a lot of bedding, soil, or even scraps of paper. Then, let your furry friend dig his way to the bottom to get those treats!

Bobbing for peas

When the weather is warm and your rat seems a bit overheated, let him bob for peas! Simply place a few frozen peas in a dish of warm water. Then, let your pet splash around and eat the peas!

Some rats like playing in the water, and some don’t. If your pet doesn’t seem interested, don’t force him. If he does like it, try putting the peas in the bathtub and filling it with a little more water so your critter really has to dive to get his snacks!

Create a maze

Mazes are fun for rats to learn, and it’s pretty easy too! Set up a maze and walk your pet through it by leading him with a treat. After a few tries, you can put the treats in the maze. Once he’s learned the layout, you can place the treat at the end and he’ll zoom to get it!

Your rat loves tearing treats out of mini piñatas made of paper towels too. He can even learn his name! For more game ideas, visit with your vet clinic.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Having Skin Problems

The condition of your dog’s skin has a huge effect on his happiness. You have to treat any problems that arise, but first you have to know if he has one! Here’s how to tell if your pet is having skin problems, according to a professional veterinarian.

Itching and scratching

The biggest sign that your dog is having trouble with his skin is itching and scratching. Figuring out where your pet is itching is the key to figuring out what his problem is.

For example, if your dog spends a lot of time trying to scratch his ears, he most likely has ear mites. However, if your pet spends a lot of time itching his fur with his teeth, especially around his tail, he probably has fleas.

If ear mites and fleas don’t end up being the problem, an allergy could be to blame. But figuring out what’s causing the allergic reaction can be difficult.

Consider switching to a different kind of dog food to see if there may be something in what he’s eating that’s causing the problem.

Have you switched detergents lately? If you have, and you’ve washed your dog’s bed with that detergent, he could be allergic to it.

Dandruff

Some dogs don’t itch and scratch when there’s a problem. Instead, you might want to look and see if your pet has dandruff. If he does, it will likely be easy to see on top of his fur.

Dandruff can be a sign that your dog has dry skin. If you have dry skin too, it’s probably because the air in your home is dry. Try a humidifier to see if it fixes your pet’s dry skin.

The quality of your dog’s food could also cause him to have dry skin. Many pet foods contain fillers that don’t support a healthy coat. Switching to a higher quality food, or giving your furry friend wet food, can be very helpful.

No matter why your dog has dry skin, a bath is unlikely to solve the problem. That’s because baths can actually dry out your pet’s skin. If you do give your pooch a bath, make sure you choose a hydrating shampoo and follow it up with conditioner.

You can also contact your veterinarian to get to the bottom of your dog’s dry skin problem.

Pet Ideas for People That Don’t Want a Critter With Hair

If you’re looking for a companion, you have quite a few different options. Cats and dogs are great, but what if you’re looking for a critter that is less furry and more unique? Here are a few options.

Birds

Instead of having hair, birds have feathers! Another great thing about them is the fact that you have so many different species to choose from.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance companion, a professional pet clinic recommends a finch. They don’t require any human interaction. They just need a comfortable cage, food, and water.

If you’re looking for a more interactive companion, choose a parrot. Some parrot varieties can even learn English words!

Hedgehog

Skip the fur and go straight for the quills! Instead of being soft and cuddly, hedgehogs are prickly!

Although hedgehogs can be difficult to hold, with the right skills, you can learn to handle one of these animals comfortably. If you spend a lot of time with one of these critters, your pet will bond with you, which means he’ll make a really great companion.

Skinny Pig

Some animals you expect to be hairy aren’t. The skinny pig is one of those animals.

A skinny pig is a guinea pig without hair!

These critters are just like regular guinea pigs in almost every way, except for their hair. One thing that pet parents enjoy about these animals is how vocal they are. They squeal and squeak, which can make a person who lives alone feel less lonely.

Reptiles

If you’re looking for a truly different pet without hair, consider a reptile. There are so many choices!

You can choose a critter, like a snake, that doesn’t require a lot of handling. If you want a close companion, consider a bearded dragon. They have wonderful personalities, and they love hanging out with their owners.

Like the idea of owning a cat or a dog but don’t want to deal with all that hair? Consider a Sphinx or a Chinese Crested!

You have tons of choices when it comes to pets. No matter what your qualifications, it can be a good idea to have help. Contact your local pet clinic and they can provide you with a recommendation on what kind of animal would be best for your family.

Toilet Training Your Dog

Toilet Training Your DogFinding any evidence of potty accidents around the house can be pretty dismaying for pet owners. Even if your pet has been housetrained, there are instances when he is unable to hold it in, and you should be ready to deal with these accidents properly. Before anything else, always remember that punishment has no place in correcting your pet’s behavior. Be patient and take steps to identify what is causing him to behave this way.  Knowing the underlying reasons and understanding them can lead to effective management or retraining. For some dogs, the behavior may be a result of boredom due to a lack of physical and mental stimulation; for some, it can be due to separation anxiety; it can also be a red flag of an underlying health issue. In some instances, a dog may need re-training. While the problem may take a while to correct, be patient and be consistent in taking your dog to its potty area in the yard. You may also schedule an appointment at your pet clinic Kalamazoo, MI so your pet can be examined thoroughly to rule out any potential health issues.