The Cruel Reality Of The Greyhound Racing Industry

Greyhound Racing looks fairly harmless on the surface. But when you delve deeper in to the reality of it, there is a murky world behind the facade. Appalling cruelty takes place behind the scenes in this money driven industry.

The majority of racing greyhounds which do not make money for their owners are callously killed in a variety of horrifyingly inhumane ways. Others are neglected and starved until dead, sold to vivisectors in animal experimentation labs, beaten and left for dead, drowned, and abandoned.

Unwanted Greyhound dogs, murdered then dumped. Racing dogs are regularly inhumanely killed once they no longer make money for owners and trainers in the Greyhound racing industry. Source

The Dogs Are Thought Of As Commodities

Greyhound dogs are kept in tip-top running condition when they are making their owners and backers money. Those are the Greyhound dogs that are seen by the public and is the image promoted by the Greyhound racing world. Even so, they do not receive the love and affection dogs crave.

The Greyhounds are thought of as commodities and may become worth nothing in monetary terms through age, being injured or
simply not having made the grade. Because the industry is money driven, owners do not want to pay to look after dogs who are not making them money.

An unwanted Greyhound dog called Kerry. Starved to death and dumped in a bin.

Greyhounds Abandoned Or Killed After Ears Cut Off

Before being thrown out on the streets, left to die or inhumanely killed, many Greyhounds are subjected the agonising torture of having their ears sliced off, without any anaesthetic or painkilling method.

This is done because racing dogs have identity tattoos in their ears which their owners can be traced from.

A Greyhound which had it’s ears sliced off before being abandoned. Greyhound dogs’ ears are cut off so the owner can not be traced through ID tattoos in their ears used in Greyhound racing. No anaesthetic or painkilling methods are used, so the dogs are put through agony. It also leaves them extremely susceptible to infection. This can lead to a slow and horrific death.

Apart from being extremely cruel, this leaves the dog very vulnerable to life threatening infection. Infection causes these dogs a long horrible, painful death if not treated.

Rather than this barbaric act being performed, the dogs could be taken to a re-homing shelter. After all, it is not illegal to take a dog to be re-homed and Greyhounds make fantastic pets.

It is a misconception that ex-racing Greyhounds need excessive exercise. In fact, they just need a normal amount like any other dog, and can enjoy lazing around a lot. However, they usually love a bit of a run if the opportunity arises.

Rescued ex-racing Greyhounds. Greyhound dogs make the most wonderful pets. Source

Greyhounds Neglected To Death

Some retired Greyhounds are locked away and neglected, starved of food, water, warmth, exercise, love and affection, veterinary treatment and contact with the outside world. They do not make money, so owners and trainers see no value in them at all and see no point in keeping them alive.

Neglected, starving and suffering ex-racing Greyhound dogs. These dogs are unwanted and uncared for by their owners and trainers in the Greyhound racing industry because they no longer make money for them. Source

Greyhounds Sold To Animal Testing Labs

Another fate that Greyhounds who are no longer wanted face is being sold to animal experimentation laboratories. There, they have a miserable existence of fear, pain and misery.

They are put through mental torture and driven mad by being confined to tiny cages, and they are only taken out to be tortured in cruel and painful animal tests. They are denied the love and affection they desperately long for and are terrified of the only people they see due to the pain they inflict upon them.

Having suffering prolonged agony being experimented on, the Greyhounds are killed. That is if they have not died from the trauma before then.

To find out more about what happens to animals in research laboratories, please see the animal experimentation page.

Other Cruel Disposal Methods Of Greyhounds

There are some individuals that see a business opportunity in the killing and disposing of retired Greyhound dogs. The greyhound racing trainers and owners pass on their retired dogs to such people to kill in any way they wish, and dispose of.

This man transports the dead bodies of dogs he was paid to kill. Source

Help Stop Greyhound Racing Cruelty

As long as people bet on the dogs, these atrocities will continue to happen.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Firstly, by never betting on greyhounds, or supporting this cruel industry in any way, you will not be supporting its cruelty.

Helping other people understand the true horror behind Greyhound racing, and encouraging them not to support the industry will also help the dogs’ plight. Share the information you learn on this site on social media, and with friends and family.

Also, if functions such as work events are held at greyhound racing tracks, do not support the ground by attending. All the money earned there keeps the grounds open and dog racing continuing. Let other people know your reasons for not attending.

You can get involved in protests and demonstrations, and support petitions and email campaigns.

Adopt a greyhound. They are wonderful pets and are great with kids. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need excessive exercise.

Many more greyhound rescues can be found through online searches.

If you would like to find organisations needing your action and support to fight against this type of cruelty, type “stop greyhound racing” into a search engine online, or search bar on social media.

Remember to use a fundraising search engine whenever you search the internet, so you can help animals while you search.

Raise funds for organisations helping greyhounds and campaigning against their abuse. Find ideas on how to do that here.

Source: aidanimals.com

Ai Weiwei calls attention to plight of Myanmar’s ‘jobless’ timber elephants

Artist Ai Weiwei has visited elephant camps in Myanmar, where efforts to reduce logging have created new dangers for more than 1,000 “jobless” timber elephants.

Elephants have been used in Myanmar’s timber industry for decades, work that has seen the creatures drag heavy logs through forests.

However, animal-protection organisation Four Paws said a ban on timber exports meant many working elephants were now “jobless” and viewed as a financial burden.

Many have been chained up in camps, while others are being smuggled out of the country for use in the tourism industry. Some are also being abandoned or killed.

Ai Weiwei visited several camps with Four Paws workers, and posted videos on Instagram of what he saw.

In a video posted by Four Paws, the artist said the elephants’ living conditions were far from what he expected.

“I feel it’s a creature, it’s a human being itself, and we know very little about it,” he said.

“I can feel its full emotion and intelligence. Unfortunately it has been put in this kind of position by humans, which is not right but also not fair.

“They deserve to live in freedom, but have always been mistreated. Let them be free … We have to understand we are human by doing something nice for other species, otherwise we fail as a human being.”

In one video posted on Instagram, Ai Weiwei captured a young elephant in one of the camps being poked and struck in the head with a stick.

Sanctuary under construction

Myanmar’s nationwide, one-year ban on timber exports was lifted in April 2016.

However logging resumed at a reduced level, and a decade-long ban in the Bago Yoma Hills in central Myanmar also remained in effect, leaving elephants in that area out of work.

In response to this, Four Paws is constructing one of South-East Asia’s largest elephant sanctuaries in the Bago region.

Known as Elephants Lake, it will cover an area of 17,000 hectares and have veterinarians and other experts on staff to care for former working elephants, as well as injured or orphaned wild elephants.

The animals will later be released into the nearby North Zar Ma Yi Forest Reserve.

Source: NZ City

How And Why Do Cats Clean Themselves? A Guide To Grooming, Licking, Biting, And Self-Bathing

Can cats clean themselves? Why is your kitty constantly licking itself? Why do felines bite their fur?

When it comes to hygiene, feline furballs of all breeds and ages can be seen licking, biting, and grooming themselves on daily basis.

The act of cleaning is not only a hygiene practice, but also a bonding experience for cats when they clean each other.

Mothers lick their kittens in order to clean them as well as to provide a sense of comfort. Cats that are close to their owners might lick their pet parents. Many felines living under the same roof will lick each other, thus expressing affection.

But how do cats clean themselves? The cleaning process features the tongue, front paws, and teeth. Their barbed and bristled tongues are suited for catching any dirt, debris, and fallen hair. They also wet their paws with saliva and use them as a washcloth substitute.

Moreover, they use their teeth when cleaning themselves. Their incisor teeth come in handy for nibbling through tangled hair and through foreign particles stuck to their fur.

So, that’s the basic how, why and what of cat cleaning themselves. They do groom themselves a variety of ways, they can groom each other, and oh, they’ll probably make sure to do it in front of you because, well, they’re cats.

But what about things we have to help them with?

What Can’t Cats Clean?

Don’t get us wrong. Out of all popular domesticated animals, including dogs, cats are most definitely the cleanest. However, there are certain things which they simply can’t deal with, no matter how determined.

Hairballs

As your cat is trying to untangle its matted fur, it’s also shedding it. Furthermore, it’s also swallowing hairballs, which lead to vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, and other problems.

On top of that, the cat hair falling from your pet’s body isn’t 100% clean just because your cat has licked it. It’s still carrying allergen agents, dust, oils, and debris.

Make sure to brush or use a deshedding tool regularly on your kitty to help make sure she doesn’t suffer from hairballs.

Parasites

No matter how thoroughly your furball is nibbling through its fur, it can never fully get rid of ticks, fleas, and other parasites.

As clean as cats are, they can easily contract worms and other internal parasites. Your furry pal’s inborn instincts for hygiene won’t tell it that it’s not supposed to wander around a dirty spot, sniff infected feces, or eat an infected rodent.

Dental Problems

Cats can’t brush their teeth. They will eat grass when they want to induce vomiting in order to clean their stomach. However, they won’t do anything to clean their pearly whites, since the natural eating process usually helps keep them clean. If you’ve got an inside cat that doesn’t eat dry food, consider getting some dental chews or feed dry food once in awhile to help clean the teeth.

Getting rid of tartar build-up, bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and food leftovers aren’t your furball’s priority. And even if you’re the proud owner of an overall healthy breed, your pet is still prone to suffering from dental problems.

They Can’t Thoroughly Clean Their Fur

Regardless of the effort your precious pet is putting into licking itself, it can never fully clean its fur. Grooming the cat manually is a must for every single pet parent out there. It doesn’t matter if you own a long or shorthaired cat.

Some breeds will need weekly brushing, whereas others will need it on a daily basis.

Moreover, all cat breeds require bathing. It’s a well-known fact that most felines out there aren’t big fans of the water and they act aggressively during bath time, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bathe your pet. Not all cats hate water. Some simply dislike it, while others get petrified in the bathtub. Of course, some even enjoy it, such as the Turkish Van cat.

Regardless of your feline furball’s breed, age, and fur coat, you should groom it manually. Don’t rely on its own self-cleaning techniques, otherwise you’ll compromise its physical health.

Source: Catological

Don’t Feed Ducks Bread

Let me put you in a little situation I was in yesterday. You have an hour for lunch so you go to one of your favorite hot sandwich places, order a yummy Italian on multigrain, and go outside to sit by the duck pond to eat it. You are pulled out of your sandwich daze when you hear the squeal of happy children around the pond. You look over and see a mother and two children happily feeding the ducks the leftover bread from their sandwiches. What do you do?

A) Think, good for you.  Bread is bad for you so you might as well give it to the ducks instead of eating it yourself.
B) Ignore them. People feed ducks all the time. It’s just something families with young kids do.
C) Pull the mom aside and tell her that they are killing the ducks by giving them junk.
D) Write a blog post.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I ended up ignoring them. But I was really torn about what to do. I considered taking the mom aside and gently telling her that ducks shouldn’t eat bread, but I didn’t want her to feel chastised in front of her kids and I didn’t want to ruin my lunchtime if she ended up being hostile towards me. I really didn’t want to ruin what was a beautiful family moment for them. No matter how slight a rebuke, it always ruins my day if someone points out to me what I’m doing wrong. So I didn’t do anything and vowed to put my two cents on the internet. Was it the right call? I have no idea. I’m sure she would have been nice about it if I spoke up, but also completely unready to hear what I had to say and it would have gone in one ear and out the other. But we’ll never know.

Why Feeding Ducks is Bad

When I was a kid, one of the great things to do in summer was walk to the Broadripple Canal by my house in Indianapolis with a loaf of stale bread and feed the ducks. It was always fun when we started feeding one duck and within minutes, we were surrounded by a hundred ducks all trying to rip the loaf out of our hands. Whenever I see ducks around town, it makes me think of these happy memories.

Feeding ducks bread is not just bad for the ducks, either. Leftover bread that is thrown on the ground or into the pond for later often forms mold, attracts predators, and generally pollutes the area. Ducks will tend to congregate in greater numbers in areas where they are regularly fed (like the Broadripple Canal) which means more chance for the spread of diseases, more feces, and more pests (like rats) that are looking to score some leftovers. But as happy as these memories are to me, I now know better. While ducks love bread, it’s really bad for them. Just like bread is a yummy treat for humans, ducks love it, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Bread is all carbohydrates which fill the ducks up without giving them any nutrients. With a regular diet of bread, ducks become malnourished and unable to fly. They rely more and more on humans for their food source and stop foraging for food on their own. They can become aggressive around humans because they start to associate humans with food. And they can even become ill or deformed from the high carbohydrate diet. 

It’s Not All Bad News

But there is hope. You CAN still feed the ducks and make those happy memories with your kids. Just like people feed birds at bird feeders, feeding ducks is an okay way to supplement their diets. I would still spread out the locations that you feed the ducks so they don’t always congregate in the same place looking for treats (you know, to keep the rats away), but as long as you feed them appropriate food, most experts say it’s still okay. According to National Geographic, things that you can safely feed ducks include:

  • Worm, snails, insects
  • Berries, fruit (bananas w/o peels, pineapple, pomegranate seeds), and small nuts
  • Lettuce, cabbage, kale, pea shoots, cucumber, corn, peas, beans, broccoli, beets, squash, flowers, alfalfa, tomatoes, eggplant, scrambled eggs
  • Dry cat food or dog food, and rice

And as for feeding birds rice… No, they will not explode. But that’s a story for a different post.

So Now What

So what should I have done with this mother and her kids feeding the ducks? It’s hard to say. No one likes a busybody, but shouldn’t someone stand up for the ducks? 

In this situation, it was probably just sheer ignorance that led this mom and her kids to feed the ducks. Frankly, I would have done the same thing if I hadn’t have learned the truth at some point. I don’t think she had even an iota of malice towards the ducks, so telling her she was wrong to feed them might have been a revelation to her that lead to her questioning many things that she took a truth but was not. 

But no one likes to be approached by a stranger. Just look at this satirical article by The Onion. I share the author’s aversion to talking to strangers. If someone had come up to me while I was eating my lunch that day and said, “you know, carbs are really bad for you, you should have ordered a salad” I would have been thrown off and insulted. I can make my own decisions, thank you.

I think the best thing to do in this situation was what I did. I think ignoring her was okay. If she came and visited me the nature center I work at, it would have been a different situation. People go to nature centers to learn and challenge their assumptions. They don’t expect to get a lecture at a sandwich shop.

Source: From the Patio

 

Is there such a thing as a hypoallergenic pet?

A pet allergy is caused by proteins in an animal’s dander (tiny flakes of skin shed by animals with fur or feathers), saliva and urine. In addition, hair or fur from an animal can collect pollen, mould spores and other outdoor allergens, such as grass, which can also trigger allergies.

This means that pet hair itself is not an allergen – the problem is that it collects and harbours all the allergens mentioned above.  

Many breeds of animals are marketed as being hypoallergenic, which means they are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction – but do such breeds actually exist? 

No such thing as an allergy-free breed

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that while dog breeds like white poodles, Portuguese water dogs and certain types of terriers have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, there is no such thing as an allergy-free breed. 

Many people believe that getting a pet with shorter hair will keep allergies under control but according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology allergic dander is not affected by how long the fur is or how much the animal sheds. 

A study, published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, collected and analysed 173 dust samples from homes with dogs, including so-called hypoallergenic breeds. The results were interesting – the levels of allergens did not differ between hypoallergenic and non-hypoallergenic breeds.

“Any way we looked at it, there just wasn’t a difference,” said senior author and epidemiologist Christine Cole Johnson. “There is simply no environmental evidence that any particular dog breed produces more or less allergen in the home than another one.”

The same goes for cats – there are no studies to show that hypoallergenic breeds exist. Like with dogs, allergens are carried in the dander, saliva and urine. The length of a cat’s fur, its gender or even how much time it spends indoors does not influence allergen levels. However, higher levels of allergens can be found in homes with multiple cats. 

Don’t fall for marketing claims

“Contrary to the many marketing claims made to appeal to people with allergies to pets, there is no such thing as a hypoallere, which means you’ll have an allergic reaction to harmless proteins found in urine, saliva or dander. 

Pet allergies can cause the following reactions:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation, hives or rashes
  • Asthma attacks

Manage your allergy and keep the pet

People are quick to get rid of the animal that is causing the allergic reaction but this is often not necessary. Here are seven ways to manage your allergy:

1. Keep pets out of the bedroom. Make sure you clean regularly and thoroughly.

2. Animal allergens can stick everywhere, so remove carpeting to reduce your exposure to the allergens and keep surfaces dust-free.

3. If you cannot get rid of carpets, make sure you steam clean them regularly.

4. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and wear a mask when cleaning – this will protect you from any allergens the vacuum will stir up.

5. Change your clothes if you have been exposed to an animal for a long period of time.

6. Wash your pet once a week – this can help reduce airborne allergens. Or ask someone without an allergy to brush the pet outside to remove as much dander as possible. Keep litter trays and cages clean.

7. Speak to your doctor about medication you can take to alleviate symptoms.

Source: Health 24

Vanquish the Hostile Takeover of Canine Halitosis

Getting up-close-and-personal is your furry friend’s way of showing their unconditional love and affection for you and the last thing you want is to shy away from them just because they have a disagreeable breath. You may think it insignificant, but halitosis could be the culprit for this unpleasant odour and should be investigated promptly.

Causes

Halitosis is the condition of accumulated odour-producing bacteria in the mouth which results in bad breath.

Periodontal disease (gum or dental disease) is most notably responsible for our canine companion’s bad breath and this occurs most frequently in smaller dogs who are particularly susceptible to plaque and tartar.

Breath that remains unrelentingly offensive could be an indication of something more serious than just a need for a professional dental clean. Halitosis can be a red flag for problems associated with severe medical issues in the mouth, liver, kidneys, respiratory system, inflammation of the throat, tonsillitis, gastrointestinal tract or even metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus. Cancer or foreign matter in the body can also play a role in producing bad breath as they result in disease.

Bacterial, fungal and viral infections within the body can be responsible for emitting foul odours, as can dietary-related problems. Consider that when your hungry hound eats foods that have naturally offensive odours, their breath will automatically smell bad. Some pooches display behaviour known as coprophagia, where they eat faeces and will, similarly, have the same foul-smelling breath thereof.

Trauma associated with an electric cord injury may also be a possible cause of halitosis.

Symptoms

  • If there is no indication of critical issues, the offensive smell may be the solitary symptom of halitosis.
  • If a disease in the mouth is the cause, the following symptoms could appear:
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Severely reduced appetite
  • Losing teeth
  • Drooling excessively which could have traces of blood therein
  • A peculiar sweet and fruity-smelling breath, could be a potential warning for diabetes, especially if your pup is consuming water and urinating more than usual.
  • An ammonia-like or urine-smelling breath could be indicative of kidney disease.
  • Liver problems could be the trigger when the following symptoms are displayed:
    • Foul smelling breath
    • Vomiting
    • Severely reduced appetite
    • Yellow-shaded corneas or gums

Treatment

Treatment will vary according to what’s causing the halitosis. If halitosis is brought about by periodontal disease, a dental cleaning procedure is likely to be scheduled as your pup may lose some teeth if the procedure is delayed. A professional dental clean involves scaling your dog’s teeth to eliminate any plaque or tartar accumulation along with polishing those pearly whites. Teeth appearing to have above 50 percent chance of losing the supporting gum and bone may have to be extracted. Your furry pal will undergo general anaesthesia during the clean so ensure they fast the night before and chat to your vet about any concerns you may have with regards to having them endure anaesthesia. Your veterinarian may thereafter, prescribe medication that regulates the bacteria production in the mouth, enabling a reduction in the associated odour.

If your pooch’s halitosis is triggered by something other than periodontal disease, physical examinations will have to be conducted by your veterinarian to establish whether the root cause could be attributable to a condition such as diabetes, liver, digestive or kidney problems. The subsequent treatment plan will then depend on the identified cause thereof.

Don’t hesitate to visit your veterinarian as soon as you discover any suspicious symptoms relating to halitosis so to discount any chance of them developing into critical health issues down the line. 

Prevention

Why allow your furry pal to endure the unpleasantries or dangers of halitosis when you can take the initiative in preventing it in the first place?

  • Schedule regular veterinarian checkups to be made aware of or prevent any imminent medical issues that could be triggering halitosis.
  • Ensure that both you and your vet actively monitor the condition of your dog’s teeth and breath.
  • Ensure your pup is well nourished with a high-quality diet that is easily digestible.
  • Feed your pooch specially formulated treats that reduce bad breath and tartar.
  • Brush your fur ball’s pearly whites weekly, if not daily. Use a vet-recommended toothpaste especially formulated for dogs because cat or human toothpastes can cause upset stomachs in canines.
  • Allow your dog’s teeth to be cleaned naturally, by giving them safe and tough chew toys to gnaw on.
  • There is a plethora of oral products on the market so chat to your veterinarian about the most appropriate ones for your special canine companion.

Interesting Fact
Dog breeds with flat-faced, short-nosed characteristics, also known as brachycephalic breeds, such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Pekingese, are more inclined to periodontal diseases and conditions associated with the mouth since their little teeth are set so closely together

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

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Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Animal lover leaves €1 million to dog that saved his life

An animal lover changed his will to leave €1 million to his pet dog after the poodle saved his life when he had a heart attack.

Pasquale Rizzo (90) left everything he owned to his beloved pet dog who raised the alarm by barking after he suffered a heart attack in Milan, Italy.

The grateful pensioner didn’t want his best friend, a fluffy white pooch called Tor, to end up in a dog shelter when he died.

So he wrote up a will so the dog would get all his belongings, his properties, and cash worth a combined value of €1 million.

Pasquale didn’t have children and following his death, everything has now gone to the dog.

The animal lover was 83 when he found Tor near his home, on the outskirts of Milan. Tor quickly became his best friend and in 2014 he alerted Pasquale’s neighbours, who called an ambulance, after he suffered a heart attack.

After he’d recovered Pasquale told his lawyer he wanted to guarantee a good future for the dog.

Italian law doesn’t allow for animals to inherit but Pasquale was able to instruct a legal executor to carry out his wishes when he was gone.

Pasquale died at the end of April and Tor is now living in a special facility where he receives all the care he needs.

But the executor believes it would be better to find a new family for Tor and is now searching for the right owners.

He contacted local media in order to try and find a new home for the incredibly wealthy pooch.

It’s unclear what will happen to Tor’s fortune when he gets a new home and where the money will go when he eventually dies.

Source: News 24

Preparing your First-born Fur Babies to meet your Newborn

Congratulations on the arrival of your new human bundle of joy! While this is an incredibly special and exciting time, babies bring with them a plethora of responsibilities which deem making several adjustments to your life a necessity. However, it’s not only you and your human family members who need to prepare themselves for this new chapter, your fur children do too! To make this transition as stress-free for everyone involved, here are a few insightful tips:

Plan Prior to Baby’s Arrival

As a responsible pet guardian your pet’s health must be a top priority. However, in the months leading up to the baby’s arrival you may want to book an appointment with your veterinarian to prepare your furry friend for the new addition to the household. Doing so is important for the following reasons:

  • A trip to the vet will allow your pet friend to undergo a complete physical examination and get vaccinated, if required.
  • Based on your pet’s current condition, the vet may recommend a spaying or neutering to help any impending behavioural issues such as aggression and biting which you surely want to avoid around your baby.
  • If you would like to seek professional advice about how to facilitate the interaction between your baby and your furry amigo, chatting to your vet is the way to go.

Apart from a visit to the vet, you should also prepare a training schedule for your pet on your own or with the help of a trainer to encourage positive habits and basic manners such as sitting down, waiting, remaining calm, responding to their name or settling in a crate. These habits are intended to encourage a safe interaction between your loyal companion and the baby, thereby putting your mind at ease.

Prepare your Fur Child

Mentally prepare your furry friend for the expected arrival of your small human by:

  • introducing them to baby-related noises such as toys, swings and even crying
  • applying baby powder or oil to your skin so they become accustomed to the new smells associated with the baby
  • inviting friends and family with infants to come over for a social gathering and supervise the interactions between their babies and your pet
  • using a doll to perform routine baby activities in front of your pet so they gradually acclimatise to those impending routine changes, rather than feeling neglected and distressed when the real-life baby comes home
  • accustoming your pet to an entirely new routine as the newborn will claim a lot of your time and physical as well as emotional energy. To prevent any stress and anxiety on your pet’s part, slowly get them used to spending less concentrated time with you
  • encouraging them to develop a closer bond with another family member so they still feel as adored and cherished while Mom is occupied with baby care activities
  • arranging for your pet to be properly taken care of ahead of time while you’re spending a few days in hospital for the birth of your baby. This could be a friend or family member who your pet is familiar with or a reputable pet-sitter. It’s essential that they are not left to their own devices and made to feel abandoned at any stage of this transition.

Bringing Baby Home

It’s totally natural to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and emotional after bringing your newborn home from the hospital so you want your pet’s first impression of baby to go off smoothly by:

  • asking your partner, friend or family member to bring an item (such as a fluffy toy or blanket) home from the hospital with the baby’s scent on it for your pet to delve into. This will familiarise them with the baby’s scent so that by the time baby arrives home, they can recognise the associated smell, without any related stress or uncertainty
  • giving your fur baby your undivided attention when they welcome you home from the hospital. During this special reunion, have someone take baby into another room so you can be alone and rekindle your precious bond with your fur child.

The Introduction

The best way to introduce your fur darling to their new sibling is to let their first meeting happen calmly in a quiet room…

slowly encourage your fur baby into the room where your newborn is, while someone gently leads them in on a leash

  • invite them to say hello to the baby
  • initially, brief interactions will suffice until such a time that your pet’s curiosity dwindles. If your pet seems disinterested or nervous, don’t force the baby onto them as this may create negative associations with the humanlet
  • use reassuring, soothing tones and reinforce favourable behaviour with treats or words of affirmation and gentle strokes

Daily Reminders

Remember, you want your fur baby to associate your human baby with positive things, not with your displeasure or stress. To do this:

  • Make a concerted effort to avoid reprimanding, disregarding or isolating your pet.
  • Keep to a regular daily schedule and make sure to fit in some quality time with just you and your pet.
  • Ensure that your baby’s crib is secure and present in a room where the pet cannot access it directly.
  • If your pet won’t be allowed into the baby’s room, install a transparent portable gate or screen door at the entrance of the room. This barrier is a great way to include your pet in the nursery activities as they can still see, hear and smell what’s going on, without feeling left out.

Be patient and understanding as this is all very new to your fuzz babe and they will need your constant reassurance that they still have a special place in their home and in your heart. They need to be included entirely in this adjustment period, so they have every opportunity to engage with and form a bond with the new arrival. In due time your fur child will not only become increasingly comfortable with but will accept the new little bundle as a member of their family pack, showering your baby with the same – if not more – protection, affection and love as they do you.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

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Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Sandton lawyer apologises after getting caught dumping family dog

The man caught on camera disposing a dog carcass in a quiet suburban street in Sandton has apologised following a massive social media outcry.

Attorney Adam Anderson apologised after footage of him opening the boot of his Mercedes Benz and dumping family dog Mbali on the street was viewed more than 135 000 times on the Sandton Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Facebook page.

“I have acknowledged that I was completely wrong in disposing of the body of Mbali as I did. I have expressed, and I continue to express, my sincere regret and remorse for my unacceptable conduct,” Anderson said in a statement.

“As a means of apologising, which I know is not enough, I offered to assist the SPCA in various ways including community service and initiatives promoting the values and rights that the SPCA strives to uphold. I am aware that my apology will not change the facts. However, I hope that my future conduct and actions will show how truly sorry I am. I will continue to co-operate with the SPCA.”

Sandton SPCA named and shamed the attorney and inspectors were sent to question Anderson on the incident. However, he was unavailable at the time.

General manager Jaco Pieterse said that there was no proof of animal abuse or contravention of the Animals Protection Act, however, the act of illegal dumping still stands.

‘No excuse’

“The Sandton SPCA wants to send a clear message that no form of animal cruelty will be tolerated, and that we stand firm with our mission to prevent cruelty to animals,” he said.

Anderson received backlash from animal lovers on Facebook.

“No excuse for this callous despicable behaviour. Hefty fine needs to be paid to some animal welfare and numerous hours of working free for them,” a Facebook user said.

Another said: “What sort of human being could just dump their deceased pet in a neighbourhood road and in such an awful heartless, cruel manner. A leading member of the legal fraternity – unbelievable.”

Pieterse condemned any threats made against Anderson and his family.

“We appreciate the outcry and support we have received in this matter. The Sandton SPCA does not condone the actions by the family, but also does not condone threats of violence to any individuals.”

Source: News 24

7 Cool Facts About Cat Whiskers

Why do cats have whiskers? Cat whiskers don’t just look cool — they’re the Swiss Army knife of your cat’s sensory and communications tool kit. Not only do they help her figure out where she’s going, they also tell her whether she’ll fit through openings, and they serve as an obvious demonstration of her mood. Here are seven interesting facts about cat whiskers — why cats have them and what exactly they do!

1. Cat whiskers are exquisitely sensitive

Cat whiskers are rooted much more deeply in her skin than her ordinary fur, and the area around them has a very generous supply of nerves and blood. This makes the whisker tips so sensitive that they can detect even the slightest change in the direction of a breeze. Because of that sensitivity, it can actually cause your cat pain if you mess with her whiskers. Eating out of a bowl that presses on your cat’s whiskers can also be disturbing, so consider feeding your cat on a plate or buying her a wide, flat feeding bowl.

2. Cat whiskers aren’t just on the nose

In addition to the eight to 12 whiskers your cat has on either side of her nose, she also has shorter whiskers above her eyes, on her chin, and on the backs of her lower front legs.

3. Whiskers help her figure out where she’ll fit

The whiskers on your cat’s nose are generally about as long as your cat is wide, so they help her to figure out how wide an opening is and whether she’ll fit through it. Some people say that if cats gain weight, their whiskers get longer; I haven’t seen enough evidence to know whether this is true.

4. Whiskers help your cat position her prey

Cats are farsighted — they can’t see well up close — so when they catch their prey, whether that prey is a mouse or their favorite feather toy, they need some way to sense that their prey is in the proper position for the fatal bite. The whiskers on the back of your cat’s forelegs, and to a lesser extent, those on her chin and the sides of her nose, are crucial for that purpose.

5. Cat whiskers are an emotional barometer

The position of your cat’s whiskers can be an indicator of her mood. If her whiskers are relaxed and sticking out sideways, she’s calm. If they’re pushed forward, that means she’s excited and alert. And if they’re flattened against her cheeks, she’s angry or scared. Of course, you’ll need to check her “whiskergram” against her other body language, such as the position of her ears and tail, to confirm what the whiskers are telling you.

6. Cat whiskers should never be cut

Although your cat does shed a couple of whiskers from time to time, you should never trim your cat’s whiskers. She’ll become disoriented and may begin acting dizzy and confused because she’s no longer receiving those vital navigation signals. Imagine if somebody grabbed you and put a blindfold on you and you couldn’t take it off for a few weeks — that’s about what it’s like for a cat whose whiskers get cut off.

7. Cat whiskers can change color

Don’t be surprised if you find a white whisker growing in your pure black cat’s fur as she ages: Cats do start going gray with age, but it’s not noticeable unless your cat’s fur is a dark, solid color.

Source: Catster