Our pets are meant to spend their days looking for food. One of the best things you can do for your pet is provide them the opportunity to express natural behaviors, like foraging for food. Maybe this sounds complicated, but it's not. Take a look.
For birds (photo left), just get yourself some leather laces the next time you are at your favorite neighborhood pet supply store. Then get some unbleached coffee filters and cut them into quarter wedges. Wrap a food pellet or small treat in the filter wedge, tie the leather around the treat packet, and hang in your birds cage. Your work is done, and your bird has a fun job to work on.
For small animals, stuff an empty toilet paper roll with hay and a maybe a treat or two. Fold ends down to create a little packet. You can stop there, or wrap your stuffed tube in untreated brown paper and tie with rafia for an even more challenging task.
Did you know that birds perceive much more of the light spectum than we humans do?
Many of us know that birds need sunlight for vitamin synthesis, and use a UVA / UVB bulb to provide indoor pets broader spectrum light.
But a full spectum light is only the begining.
Birds rely heavily on parts of the light spectrum not visible to humans for important tasks such as food dection in foraging, recognizing indviduals, recognizing thier own eggs, determining the sex of other birds, and more. As humans, we have a hard time recreating the rich complexities of nature, and sunlight is no excpetion. Our bulbs, even the full spectrum ones, just don't do what the sun does. And sunlight filtered through a window? Well, just try getting a tan that way - not all wavelengths of light make it through a window. So our indoor birds literally go their lives without full use of their senses.
Q: What's the Best Food For My (Dog, Cat, Rabbit, Bird)?
A: Dog & Cat, in order of preference; Raw, Dehydrated, Freeze Dried, or Air Dried Raw, Canned, Grain Free Dry Food. Specific brand depends on individual animal. Rabbit: Unlimited hay, 1/4 to 1/2 cup pellets per 6 lbs. body weight. Min. 2 cups fresh veggies per 6 lbs. body weight, per day. Bird: Pellets (Harrison's or Totally Organic Pellets) and Fresh Fruits & Veggies, Seeds in treat quantities only
Q: What can I do for my itchy dog?
A: Change the diet (see above)to one without likely allergens (grains, chicken, beef), supplement with Omega 3 Fatty Acids, & bathe frequently, (at least once per week w/ DerMagic Skin Rescue Shampoo & Tropiclean Medicated Rinse.)
Q: Can I / my child use your restroom?
A: Of course. Go straight down the cat side of the store, into the back, through the kitchen. It's the door on the left.
Q: Can I return this?
A: Yep. FOLT has an open return policy.
Q: What are the most popular treats?
A: For dogs: Real Meat Jerky, & and brand of bully sticks. For cats: Halo chicken Live-a-Littles, & Feline Greenies.
Q: Do you sell pets?
A: Nope. We host regular adoption fairs for rabbits, cats, and rats. We recommend adoption from local rescues and shelters.
Some animals are grazers and foragers, others are hunters. The eating patterns are very different. Foragers should have food available at all times. In fact, not having food on demand is extremely bad for some grazers. If you have a bird, rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla, hamster, mouse, or rat you should make species appropriate food available at all times.
If you have a little hunter, your pet's body is designed to digest larger meals, with longer breaks between feedings. Most dogs and cats should be fed 1-3 times a day. (1 feeding is appropriate for some pets with slower metabolisms, but a 24 hour stretch between meals can be too long for many pets.)
Enzymes are catalysts for biochemical reactions. Think of tiny little keys, each one fitting into a specific lock. Dietary enzymes unlock the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into components that are useable by the body. We, pets and people, need enzymes to breakdown the foods we eat. Our body makes digestive enzymes, and raw foods contain enzymes as well. And that's where the problem arises.
Years ago, my dog Buddy suffered badly from hip dysplasia and arthritis, limping and struggling to stand up. We made an appointment for acupuncturist Dr. Ariaza to come to our house, wondering all the while how we'd get an exuberant lab to lay still long enough for needles to be applied. It did take a bit of coaxing the 1st time, but at the next visit he settled easily, and by the 3rd visit he went & laid in his bed as soon as Dr. Ariaza arrived. He loved the treatment and the results were undeniable. He was back to jumping up after a long naps on a hard floor (instead of struggling), and racing the house like he was a wee pup again. Because of success stories like Buddy's, acupuncture for pets is gaining in
Fact: Guinea pigs do not produce vitamin c and need to eat some daily.
Fact: Birds see more of the light spectrum than we do and require exposure to natural light to synthesize necessary vitamins.
Fact: Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot metabolize plant derived proteins as effectively as animal based proteins. Their diet should include very little plant food such as rice, peas, potatoes, and lots of animal protein.
Fact: Rats 'laugh' when tickled. Playing isn't just for dogs & cats.
Folks sometimes ask about the plants around Cassie's and Ivy's cages. People want to give their birds more 'nature', but aren't sure which plants are best.
In my mom's experience, she had the best luck with ferns, and most ferns are bird safe. However, she never did find a potting soil she felt safe about - even the organic ones. So, that is why all the plants are mounted outside the cage, with just some foliage poking in through the bars. Here is a listing of safe and toxic houseplants from Cockatiel Cottage, (also safe herbs, perch materials, and more.)
Posts made after 2/1/2013 written by Kelly. Most older articles written by Cathy. She accepts sole responsibility for typos and bad grammarisms.