Owning a furry companion or rather allowing a furry creature to own you is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship, with many positive effects. Having a pet is good for your mind, body and soul.

Today it is estimated that on international level, over half of the people have a pet living with them. Countries like Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and USA have the highest percentage of pet owners. Owning a pet is a privilege and it should result in a mutually beneficial relationship. Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face. Besides their unconditional and life enriching, love and loyalty, they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial. Caring for an animal provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment. However the benefits come with responsibilities.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET YOUR PUPPY?

Getting a dog is a major decision and a long-term commitment in both time and money. However, as challenging as it can get, the rewards are definitely worth the journey.

Before your new puppy arrives, make sure you understand its needs. Additionally, make sure you have all the essential supplies your new arrival needs. You need to have:

  • Puppy food
  • Food and water bowl – ceramic and metal bowl with nonslip rubber bases are excellent choices for young and clumsy puppies.
  • Dog bed – molded plastic beds are relatively chew-proof and easy to clean. Cover them with washable beddings with zip-off covers that can be easily removed for cleaning.
  • Leash and collar – inexpensive, lightweight leashes and collars are ideal for puppies. Once it gets used to them, you can invest in some more expensive and attractive designs.
  • Toys – select several toys for your puppy’s entertainment. It can use them to chew on, squeak or pull.

A young puppy needs four meals a day. It is advisable to feed your new puppy the same food formula the breeder used, for at least 7-10 days after moving in your place. Also try to stick to its old feeding schedule. It is important to make gradual food switches. Sudden changes in the dieting regimen may lead to upsetting its sensitive stomach. Once the puppy is settled and adapted to the new environment and it starts passing well-formed stools, you can begin introducing new foods, by replacing small portions of the old food with new foods. 

Your puppy also needs to be taken to its toilet area each time it wakes, after each meal and after each session of activity and play. Until it is housetrained, there will be lots of messes to clean up. Never punish your puppy making mistakes. It is still young and it may take him some while until he realizes where his toilet is. If your puppy poops on the wrong place, collect the poop and place it on the right toilet spot. Make sure to clean the area where it pooped with scented but pet-friendly disinfectant. The next time your puppy needs to poop the smell of the disinfectant will repel him, while the smell of his own poop will attract him. 

No matter how careful you are, your puppy will still find objects to chew and destroy. Put all your worthy belongings out of its reach. Never leave your new puppy unsupervised in new and unknown environments as you cannot know what it may come to its mind.

 Even young puppies need routine grooming. Depending on the breed, use an appropriate brush to mechanically clean you puppy’s fur. Bathing young puppies is not advisable. Their immune system is underdeveloped and therefore they are very prone to getting cold. Instead of regular baths, you can use dog wipes and baby wipes or dry shampoos and powders.

Socialization is the key to raising a well-mannered and well-rounded dog. The more new and interesting experiences a pup has at an early age, the less fearful and more social it will be. Make sure your puppy meets new children, adults and other pets like dogs, cats and small rodents. You also need to expose him to unknown environments and situations.

Do not forget that your puppy needs some time out. Let it have frequent, deep and uninterrupted naps. Sleeping time is when the growth hormone is most active and pups need it to grow quickly.

Last, but not least, have your puppy regularly checked by a vet. Puppies are very susceptible to infectious disease and both internal and external parasites. Scheduled vaccinations and regular anti-parasite treatments are needed to protect your puppy. 

Caring for your puppy is not just a matter of disease prevention or calling in the vet when issues develop. Good and responsible care means understanding your puppy’s physiological needs and at the same time integrating your canine companion into what is, from its evolutionary perspective, an alien environment.


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET YOUR KITTEN?

Bringing a cuddly new kitten into your home is a major decision and a long-term commitment in both time and money. However, as challenging as it can get, the rewards are definitely worth the journey.

Before your new kitty arrives, make sure you understand its needs. Additionally, make sure you have all the essential supplies your new arrival depends on. You need to have:

  • Kitten food
  • Food and water bowl – ceramic and metal bowl with nonslip rubber bases are excellent choices for young kittens
  • Cat bed – molded plastic beds are relatively chew-proof and easy to clean. Cover them with washable beddings with zip-off covers that can be easily removed for cleaning.
  • Litter box – in fact, you will probably need 2 litter boxes. Kittens are very picky and have high standards, so offering them two different litter boxes, increases the chances of the boxes being used. A kitten considers the litter box as its own personal space and it must meet its standards.
  • Toys – select several toys for your kitten’s entertainment.  

A young kitten relies entirely on you to ease its transition from the mom cat’s side or shelter to the strange, new home. You need to make a good strategy on how to keep it happy and entertained. Additionally, young kittens learn acceptable behavior from their mothers. If separated too early, it is up to you to fill that void. It is also important to never leave your new kitten unsupervised in new and unknown environments as you cannot know what it may come to its mind.

Kitten food is specifically designed to support the intense growth needs of young kittens. Kitten food contains high percentages of high-quality proteins. Since growing kittens are like eating machines, they usually need several meals a day. Another option is to always leave their food bowl full and let them eat when they want and as much as they want. It is advisable to feed your new kitten the same food formula the breeder used, for at least 7-10 days after moving in your place. Also try to stick to its old feeding schedule. It is important to make gradual food switches. Sudden changes in the dieting regimen may lead to upsetting its sensitive stomach. Once the kitten is settled and adapted to the new environment and it starts passing well-formed stools, you can begin introducing new foods, by replacing small portions of the old food with new foods. 

Assuming that the kitten was separated from its mother and littermates, it is important to make the kitty warm and secure. Providing it with a comfortable bed is the best way to do that. The type of the bed does not matter. You can either make one by covering a box with blankets and pillows or purchase a cat bed from the local pet store. Always place the kitten bed in a calm, quiet place.

Fortunately, most kittens prefer being clean and instinctively know how to use the litter box. They might refuse to use it if it is unclean or if the litter is scented, which some kittens find repulsive. However, keep in mind that your new kitten is still young and it may make a mistake or two before getting used to the litter box. It is important not to implement punishments when a mistake occurs.

Socialization is the key to raising a well-mannered cat. The more new and interesting experiences a kitten has at an early age, the less fearful and more social it will be. Make sure your kitten meets new children, adults and other cats, dogs and small rodents.

Do not forget that your puppy needs some time out. Let it have frequent, deep and uninterrupted naps. Sleeping time is when the growth hormone is most active and kittens need it to grow quickly.

Last, but not least, have your kitten regularly checked by a vet. Kittens are very susceptible to infectious disease and both internal and external parasites. Scheduled vaccinations and regular anti-parasite treatments are needed to protect your kitten. 


WHICH BIRDS ARE GOOD FOR YOU AS A PET?

Cockatiels, African Greys, Budgies, Conures, Macaws, Canaries, Cockatoos, Amazon Parrots, Poicephalus Parrots, Pionus Parrots, Quaker Parrots, Parrotlets, Doves, Finches… the list of amazing pet birds is endless. The most amazing thing about birds is that each type has its own personality, traits and characteristics. And with so many types and varieties, there is a perfect bird pet for everyone.   

Before choosing a feathered friend you need to ask yourself:

  • Is this an impulse purchase or long-term wish. Birds have long life spans and require certain levels of care and maintenance.
  • Can you afford the costs of vet care, bird food, toys and equipment
  • Do you have enough time to interact with the bird. Birds are social creatures and enjoy spending time and playing games with the owner.

If you are sure that you want a feathered bestie and are prepared to be bird parent, the next step is to choose the type of bird. It is important to understand that different bird types have different needs and require different maintenance approaches. If you have troubles deciding which bird suits your lifestyle best, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in birds.

To make things simpler we have compiled a list of the friendliest and low-maintenance pet birds:

1. Budgies – are the most popular pet bird in the world. if properly tamed and cared for, they make excellent friends. They are small, easy to maintain and take well to training and can learn to make many tricks. On top of everything else, they can learn how to talk.

2. Cockatiels – are beautiful birds with captivating appearance and friendly, affectionate personalities. If hand-fed when babies and raised in proper environmental conditions, Cockatiels make amazing pets. They cannot talk, but are extremely intelligent and can learn to mimic frequently heard noises such as doorbell sounds and telephone ringtones.

3. Cockatoos – in spite of their size, they are friendly, loving and affectionate. They make deep and profound bonds with the owners, to whom are extremely devoted. They are immensely social and if you do not interact with them enough, can become depressive. If depressed, they turn to destructive behaviors and obsessive feather plucking.

4. Parrotlets – recently their popularity as pets is on the rise. Parrotlets are known for having personalities much larger than their bodies. Taming them requires patience, time and socialization. If properly handled they are extremely loving and affectionate.

5. Hyacinth Macaws – also known as the ,,gentle giants’’ of the avian world. They are playful, gentle and affectionate with sociable and friendly personalities. They enjoy spend their time cuddling with the owners. Due to their size they require certain conditions, but on the long run having a Macaw is a rewarding experience.  

6. Doves – they are excellent especially if you cannot spend too much time with them. Although they enjoy interacting with the owners, they are capable of entertaining them on their own and do not require too much attention. They are also very clean and easy to care for.

7. Finches – are good choices if you do not have too much free time. They prefer socializing with other birds and if provided with several flock mates and proper flight cage, they do not require handling and out of the playtime.

8. Canaries – they require zero handling and prefer to stay inside their cages. They are capable of making delightful sounds and are very pleasant pet birds.


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET YOUR PUPPY?

Tropical fish are fascinating, colorful and amazing. Additionally they make great pets for every household. But they are also part of a highly complex ecosystem that needs consistent, careful, attentive and delicate maintenance.

SETTING THE TANK

When setting up the tank you need to consider several important factors:

1. Location, location, location – Choose a location that will be least stressful for the fish. Avoid places that are near sound sources (TV, radio), heat sources (radiators, cooling units) and light sources (windows, lamps). A peaceful, moderately illuminated and quiet corner is the best location for setting up the aquarium.

2. Filtration system – After the location is chosen, you need to install a high-quality filtration system. There are three types of filtration  systems – mechanical, biological and chemical.

3. Heater-stat – it is a combination of thermostat and heater. The heater-stat should be of appropriate wattage. The wattage should be high enough for the heater to be able to warm up the tank, but not to high, to avoid overheating.

4. Air pump – the air pump produces bubbles which facilitates the fish’s breathing by enabling ease exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In most cases the air pump is optional and serves a decorative purpose. The air pump is crucial for tanks that use too much oxygen (have rich vegetation).

5. Tank light – there are several types of tank lights, but fluorescent lights are the most commonly used. They are inexpensive, simple to install and do not produce too much heat.

6. Decorations – design your tank’s environment. Choose different plants, rocks and ornaments. Keep in mind that the environment should emulate the fish’s natural habitat.

7. Test the aquarium – once everything is set, add water to the tank and see how the aquarium works without fish. Let the systems work for a few days in order to stabilize the environment and make her easily acceptable by the fish.

8. Good bacteria – they help establish the ecosystem your fish need for survival. Good bacteria for tanks can be purchased at pet stores.

INTRODUCING FISH TO THE TANK

If you are a first time fish owner, start with hardier, more resilient fish that can survive fluctuations in the environmental conditions. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of types of tropical fish and they do not all live well together. Some of them are more aggressive, some are territorial and some are predatory. Make sure to choose the right combination. Another important factor is the number of fish you plan to introduce to your new aquarium. It is important not to overcrowd the tank. Never add more than 3 fish per week.

TAKING CARE OF THE FISH AND TANK

Feeding is usually easy. All you need is a high quality tropical fish food and some worms to keep your fish fed and happy. Avoid overfeeding the fish. Give them smaller amounts and if needed add some more food.

Clean the tank and replace the filters regularly. The environmental conditions have direct influence on your fish’s health. Irregular cleaning and improper maintenance makes the fish stressed and more susceptible to diseases.