The problem with illegal hunting with greyhounds

 

Image: Dean Bush (Director)

Greyhound facts

  • The greyhound is one of the oldest breeds in recorded history and has the distinction of being known as the hound of kings and royalty.
  • Greyhounds are sight hounds – hunting by sight and have the anatomical design for speed: deep chest, laid back ears, long tail for balance and they have a long powerful reaching movement.
  • Originally bred for hunting hares and small buck by sight, they are excellent and instinctive hunters, easily capable of running at speeds of around 70km/h.
  • They are best described as devoted and loving dogs and contrary to popular belief do not need large amounts of space.

Unfortunately, the greyhound’s ability to run fast has been exploited by humans across the globe. In Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the USA legalised greyhounds racing has been exposed recently for its inherent cruelty. Excessive surplus breeding practices producing far more dogs than can be placed at racetracks are motivated by the desire to produce “winning” dogs. Thousands of dogs are disposed of yearly at each track in each country and it is estimated that 50% of greyhounds are disposed of before they even reach the track. This is above the injured dogs that that do not make it off the track alive from serious injuries including broken legs, paralysis, head trauma, and death from cardiac arrest. Recently in Australia greyhound trainers were exposed for using live rabbits and possums to lure the dogs and resulted in these animals being ripped apart alive. Allegations of doping and dogs being given cocaine amongst other drugs have also surfaced. Greyhounds at racetracks are confined for more than 20 hours per day, muzzled, and have no opportunity to experience any affection that this breed craves.

Organisations such as grey2kusa have been instrumental in lobbying for the closure of greyhound racetracks. In the USA only approx. thirteen tracks still operate mainly in Florida. Declining numbers of people attending races has seen racetracks becoming white elephants wherever they operate.

In south Africa greyhound racing remains banned since 1949 and should remain so. In 2014 there was an attempt to get greyhound racing legalised in the publication of the proposed draft national gambling norms and standards in the government gazette no 37653 of 23 May 2014 and was met by fierce opposition from organisations such as ourselves and included lobbying by international groups such as grey2kusa.

In 2017 and 2018 I went to visit the yat yuen canidrome racetrack in Macau China as volunteer to offer our support to “anima” a local animal welfare organisation in Macau. Albano martins who head up anima was leading the effort to close this racetrack supported by grey2kusa and pet levrieri onlus in Italy.

Image: Rusty before

Image: Rusty before

Image: Rusty after

After many frustrations, an agreement was reached about the future of the dogs after the tracks closure as they belonged to yat yuen company and a massive international effort ensued to rehome more than 500 greyhounds from this track.   All the dogs have now been moved to the USA and European greyhound rescue centres with many dogs already in forever homes.

The shocking statistics that emerged after the track had existed for more than 55 years is that an estimated twenty thousand greyhounds died at this track. I personally was shocked at the decay of the infrastructure of the track particularly the kennels that basically served as prison cells for these dogs for most of the day. The condition of the dogs was also bad, especially their teeth.

The closure of this track has opened up more conversation regarding the exporting of greyhounds particularly from Ireland that has seen an increase of greyhounds been bred and raced in other parts of China and now seen regularly in dog meat markets.

In south Africa we face a very different problem as in Spain where greyhounds are used primarily for hunting. The main difference that in Spain after the hunting season “galgos “– a Spanish sighthound popularly referred to as the Spanish greyhound are discarded, killed, or left to die with the galguleros keeping back only the fastest dogs to breed the next season dogs. Dogs are often hung from trees or thrown down wells or simply abandoned. Organisations like “galgos de sole” are doing great work in Spain where animals in general are not treated well.

When we look back at our history, local Indigenous people have always hunted with dogs. Owners of indigenous dogs have slowly been crossbreeding them with greyhounds and other sight hounds such as salukis and wolfhounds because they are larger and faster and have a greater capacity to catch and kill more wildlife. They are currently a great threat to small mammal populations targeted by illegal hunters across south Africa. Furthermore, these greyhounds are often over bred, severely confined, starved and transported in the most inhumane conditions with no veterinary care for wounds and broken bones or diseases. Owners are seen at outreaches by many welfare organisations in most townships and informal settlements by are denied veterinary care unless owners sterilize their dogs which they are reluctant to do as puppies bring in money.

Taxi hunting as it is known is a sport where greyhounds are transported sometimes great distances to illegally hunt for gambling purposes and not for the pot as is often believed. Farmers will often shoot the dogs. We have rescued greyhounds from places such as in the heart of hillbrow, Soweto, orange farm, secunda, Klerksdorp and Mafikeng. The problem is widespread and soon all our small mammal populations will be decimated. hunters target duiker and other small antelope, bush pigs and warthogs, baboons, porcupines, and hares.

Furthermore, there are farmers that make use of the hunters and their dogs to hunt jackal on their farms. There are also farmers involved in underground racing and supplying the market for hunting dogs.

Our resources get stretched to accommodate the large numbers of dogs that can be rescued at one time. Thankfully, we can successfully rehabilitate most of these dogs into becoming family pets due to their nature, but this requires patience, time, and resources.

Images: Above and Right – Dogs up for adoption

I am committed in my role as director of greyhound welfare south Africa to make some difference to the wellbeing of greyhounds in south Africa.

Written by: Dean Bush (Director of Greyhound welfare SA)
Source: Greyhound welfare SA

Winter doesn’t have to be ruff if you know how to take care of your fur friends

 

New-to-market local pet brand goes to the dogs – and they wouldn’t want it any other way

South Africa is known for its endless summers. For pet owners, these long, sun-drenched months offer the perfect time for hours spent enjoying the outdoors with our doggos. Whether on 2 legs or 4, we’re a nation of sun-chasers. But when that first cold front brings in the stark reality of winter, does it mean we need to wrap up, stop the fun and hibernate? Definitely not, says Melissa-Rae Lourens, Founder of Kreature Comforts.

So just how do we get to enjoy the wintery days and keep our dogs happy, healthy and comfy? Just like us humans, dogs need a little bit of extra love and care in the winter. The most important thing to remember is to keep your good boi warm and cosy. This may seem obvious, but for many dog owners who have breeds with thick coats, it’s often hard to tell if your dog is warm enough. But even dogs with thick coats get cold.

How do I know if my pooch is cold?

It can be hard to tell if your dog is cold – and they’re not going to be able to tell you. If they seem unable to settle, are whining excessively or are shivering then you definitely know they’re not happy.

This is when it’s time to haul out the winters best kept accessory secret, the doggy jacket. No longer the shapeless knitted creations of yesteryear, doggy jackets have evolved to become stylish, trendy, comfy, and the epitome of cool (cool warmth that is).

Available in an endless array of colours and designs, doggy jackets now also come in a variety of styles. From hoodies to windbreakers and everything in between, there are lightweight options, options with fur (faux of course) and options with zips,  tags and even pockets for poop bags. It’s a literal pup-walk of good looks on demand for your furry fashionistas so there is no excuse for not bringing the heat. Check out some warm, cosy and most of all trendy doggy jackets here.

Winter doesn’t have to be ruff if you know how to take care of your fur friends

Winter waggy-tail wellness

Ok, so your now dog is decked out for warmth, what else must you consider to maintain their winter wellness?

  • Grooming – The good news is that you don’t have to groom your pets as often during winter. In the dry months they will need their natural essential oils to keep their skin healthy and bathing them too often can remove these oils. When you do wash your dogs it may also be a good idea to use a moisturizing shampoo that can help to alleviate any dryness. Try choose a warmer part of the day for bath time and make sure they’re completely dry by suing a blow dryer after bathies. Check out these recommended products to keep their coats healthy and shiny.  
  • Paw care – Your dog’s paws can become particularly dry in the winter months, so make sure to keep them nicely moisturised. Get yourself a special protection cream for their paws and apply this before and after walk time.
  • Beddy-byes – It goes without saying that no dog should be left outside in winter. Make sure they have soft, warm and comfortable bedding fit for the chilliest of days. Wash bedding regularly and make sure it is clean, dry, and comfortable so they can settle in again. Also, let them sleep in if they want to, we all deserve to enjoy our winter morning lie-ins.
  • Food and supplements – Supplement your dog’s diet with a fish oil supplement to make sure they’re getting extra fatty acids to ensure that their coats stay heathy and their skin doesn’t get dry. Your dog may also need a bit of extra food to give them more energy in the cold so unless they’re on a special diet, are overweight or have any other dietary restrictions, spoil them with a little extra at dinner time.

You can have just as much fun with your dog on winter days as you do in summer – in fact, your dog may even enjoy being active a bit more without having to handle the heat. Wrap yourself up, take them for walks and keep them busy and moving. Also, it’s the perfect time of the year for extra cuddles and snuggles, not that we ever need an excuse!

Product Descriptions:

Incredi-Hoodie – Monobone Collection

Colour: BONEz

Perfect for days when the weather requires an extra layer over the furry coats our friends naturally don, the Incredi-Hoodie offers your pup warmth and comfort without compromising on style.

Perfect for size Puppy to Pomeranian

Care Guide

Hand wash with mild soap and warm water. Wipe dry with a towel or let air dry.

Size

X-Small: 15mm  Wide

               1.8mm Thick

               120cm  Long

Chest(cm): XS37/S47/M58/L70

Back(cm): XS25/S35/M40/L50

Incredi-Jacket –  Monobone Collection

Colour: SnOOT

Made from cotton and emblazoned with the our very own Kreature Comforts team mascot, Igor. So  whether your pup enjoys doing sports or avoiding them, this jacket will seriously amp up their collegiate-style game. 

Perfect for size Puppy to Pomeranian

Care Guide

Hand wash with mild soap and warm water. Wipe dry with a towel or let air dry.

Size

X-Small: 15mm  Wide

               1.8mm Thick

               120cm  Long

Chest(cm): XS37/S47/M58/L70

Back(cm): XS25/S35/M40/L50

Made from a super soft blend of cotton and polyester. All of our dog hoodies are perfectly cut and come with a rubber Zee.Dog tag on the back and a zipper on the front.

Source: Kreature Comforts

Found a stray animal

Image: Pixabay

A guide to help animals that are lost
Many animals are roaming the streets and reported as lost!  There are always good Samaritans who take them in and keep them safe. Last week we looked at what to do if your pet is lost and how to prevent it. This week we will look at what can be done if you found an animal.

Before we continue, a note on the SPCA operations:

Although I believe picking up strays is preventing cruelty, it is not in the SPCA’s mandate to pick up stray animals, except injured ones or those in distress. They do not have the resources to drive up and down the whole day, so we really need the community to step up and help with lost and found animals. The SPCA, by law, may not refuse to take in any animal taken to them.

People are hesitant to take animals to the SPCA for various reasons, but once you volunteer there and understand the process, it can help. If you do not have an alternative, the animal is definitely safer at the SPCA than in the street where they can be stolen, injured or killed.  There is a pound period for a stray animal handed over to the SPCA. This is determined by the municipal bylaws and that SPCA’s policy.  It is usually around 5-14 days (our local ones are 5 days).  The SPCA is unlikely to advertise this animal during the pound period, so it is important to visit them and look for yourself if you lost one or continue to share the “found” post with a note that they are at the SPCA.  

After the pound period, the animal becomes the property of the SPCA and they can either put them up for adoption or euthanize (put to sleep) them. The SPCA policies usually does and should include that an animal can’t be removed from their premises unless they are sterilized or microchipped (or collar ID), pound fees are paid and a home inspection is done at the owner’s home.  Some require up-to-date vaccination too, which is great. I also advise people to take the found animals to the SPCA if they are constantly in the street, not sterilized and in the street, or a nuisance to others.  Then the owners can explain to the authorities why they are not responsible pet guardians. I will also advise this route if you are unsure about whether those who claim to be the owners are actually the owners, expecially with powerbreeds.

How to share a found animal correctly on social media
This is an important aspect to reunite animals with owners more effectively!

  • Share this post on your personal profile with the privacy setting on public. Include a photo, when and where you found the animal and a contact number. I never share too many details including the sex of the animal as it can be used with owners to help confirm ownership.
  • Share a clear picture and preferably only one photo because of how it might appear in a groups and timelines.
  • Don’t put the details in the comments, but everything in the original writing at the top.
  • Then share that post to all groups and pages. Now people can share it from private groups, which can’t be done otherwise and you only have one post to follow and to update. This post can then be reshared often.
  • Always comment on and share the original post from social media as well as UPDATE the post if FOUND at the top, so those who shared can see that the animal is safe and so that people don’t continue to share an animal that is back home already.
  • Messenger is not an ideal place to be contacted due to message requests not being a formal notification. You need to go into message requests to see if there are any. We have lost so much time, not getting in touch with these people. I for one do not mind sharing my number on Facebook when the life of a sentient being, I am responsible for, is at stake.

What to do if you find an animal?

• If they are hurt, please take them to the local vet or SPCA immediately. You can contact the emergency number of the local SPCA too. 

• Scan for a microchip at the local vets or SPCA.

• Some vets may take in stray animals for a day or two before they contact the SPCA.

• If the pet seems recently groomed, contact local groomers to see if they recognize them.

• If there are signs of a recent operations or medical procedures, contact local Vets. This can include healing wounds, stitches, vet shaved areas, etc.

• If you can, take care of the animal (foster) until you find the owner. We need more people of the public to help with this.

• Post on local social media and neighbourhood groups. Once is not enough!

• We do not suggest sharing specific marks or the sex of the pet. Ask the person who claims the pet to provide this info as well as photos for proof. Watch the animals’ reaction when a person claims the pet. There are scammers!  If you are unsure about this, rather contact one of the local animal welfare organizations to assist.

• If you can’t foster, try and find a foster home and after 7 days, we can organize adoption through one of the responsible welfare organizations. We usually refer cats to Feral Watch & TNR or Because Dogs and CO for any other animals. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU JUST KEEP THE ANIMAL! Take the details of the person to whom you give the animal too and you can also send it to the admins on the Verlore Diere Secunda (TEKS) group as we keep records of that.

• Take the animal to the SPCA if you can’t foster or find a foster.  

• If you hit an animal with your car, please do not be a coward and drive away.  Lie if you have to and say you found the animal, instead of leaving them to suffer and die. CALL the SPCA emergency number immediately and keep trying until someone answers.  Otherwise, try a local vet or one of the other animal welfare organizations. At least they could humanly end the suffering or help save them.

• Please DO NOT REMOVE kittens. You said that mom ran away and left them. No, she is scared of you and will return as soon as you just let them be. If the babies are quiet and content, the mom is around. She might be searching for food or busy moving her litter. Unless they are in immediate danger, including moving cars, dogs, or humans to inflict pain, bad weather, etc., DO NOT REMOVE THEM! Contact an organization for advice first.

NOTE: None of the animal welfare organizations has the resources to drive up and down to pick up strays or foster them and therefore needs the community to assist with this. You are someone who can do something!Everyone can help in some way. You can donate funds for those who foster (through reputable organizations), you can foster and everyone can share these posts.

Thank you to each of the heroes who take in these lost pets! Without you, we would see more deceased and injured animals because it is not safe on the streets for any animal.

Owners, please keep your animals safe in your yard. If they got out once, it could be an accident, but twice is irresponsible owners! Last week we shared on how you can escape-proof your yard!

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

In the Secunda area, you will need to call Highveld Ridge SPCA at 082 869 2350 / info@hrspca.co.za (emergencies 082 222 1122)

Bethal SPCA 066 397 1630 / office@spcabethal.co.za (emergencies 072 573 3122).  

Follow Highveld Ridge SPCA and Bethal SPCA on Facebook.

We would like to see one formal lost & found group for Secunda instead of all the separate groups created by the public.

  • Verlore diere Secunda (TEKS) (group) is the only group in Secunda, run by those actively involved in animal welfare. Join the local WhatsApp group for lost and found pets via the LINK.

Bethal and Standerton

If your animals are lost, you would want the public to help keep them safe, to share, to foster, so do that for someone else! Next week we will look at what to do if you found Wildlife.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Cat Ear Infections: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Image: Pixabay

Is your cat shaking their head? Is there debris in their ear? Is one or both of their ears red and smelly? Your cat might have an ear infection. Here’s everything you need to know about the condition.

Cat Ear Infections: Where Do They Happen?
While humans usually develop infections in the middle or inner ear, outer ear infections are more common in cats. This type of infection affects the pinna — the external part of the ear — and the part of the ear canal outside of the eardrum. In some cases, outer ear infections can cause a perforation of the eardrum and lead to problems in the inner and middle parts of the ear.

Veterinarians classify a cat ear infection by the type of infection that causes it. Cat ears can be infested with yeast, bacteria, ear mites or a combination of all three.

Cat Ear Infection Causes
Ear mites are common mites that live on the surface of pets’ ears, including those of cats, dogs and ferrets, says the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Ear mites are very contagious and spread through direct contact. Fortunately, people can’t contract ear mites. Because ear mites are so contagious, they’re a bigger problem when multiple cats live together in tight quarters, like in a shelter.

While ear mites are generally the main culprit of a kitten ear infection, yeast and bacterial infections are usually seen in older cats. Yeast and bacterial infections in kittens tend to only be secondary to an ear mite infestation.

Ear infections due to yeast or bacteria can develop secondary to an ear mite infestation, or can develop due to allergies. It’s normal for small amounts of yeast and bacteria to live in the ear canal, but if something puts the ear out of balance, like ear mites, polyps or allergies, then a secondary bacterial or fungal infection can occur.

Signs of a Cat Ear Infection
Cats normally keep their ears very clean. A normal, healthy cat ear is pink or pigmented, has very little debris and doesn’t have an odor. An infected ear looks very different. If your cat is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice any or all of the following:

  • Excessive scratching at the ears or shaking of the head
  • Lowered ears when they’re usually upright
  • Ear redness or scratches on the ear
  • Ear discharge that’s black, dark brown, white, yellow or green
  • Odor from the ear
  • Head shyness or irritability when you go to pet the ears

Diagnosing a Cat Ear Infection
Your vet will use a combination of physical exam findings and lab exams to determine whether your cat has an ear infection. They’ll likely look inside your cat’s ear with an otoscope and use a cotton swab to take a sample from your cat’s ear. They’ll then recommend treatment based on what they find.

Image: Pixabay

Ear Infection Treatments
Treatment of an ear infection depends on the specific type of infection your cat has. Unless the eardrum is perforated, a thorough cleaning is usually recommended. This serves to remove debris, which can impede a medicine’s efficacy, and removes live ear mites and mite eggs. If your cat isn’t cooperative, your vet may recommend sedating your cat, so they can get the ear canal squeaky clean. You may be sent home with a cleaner to clean your cat’s ears at home. If you are, be sure to ask the veterinary staff to demonstrate how to clean your pet’s ears yourself.

If your cat has ear mites, your vet may be able to put a single dose of medicine in your cat’s ears that will clear up the infestation. If your cat has a yeast or bacterial infection, your vet will either prescribe a single dose of medicine or will send you home with medicine. Always give your cat all medication as prescribed. Don’t stop treating their ear when it starts to clear up. If you don’t finish the medicine completely, the infection could return. Your veterinarian will likely request a follow-up visit to ensure the infection has completely cleared up.

A cat ear infection should be treated as a serious medical condition. Never leave one untreated. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent hearing loss and balance problems. Untreated ear mites spread fast and can infect many other animals. Furthermore, ear infections are painful and can make your cat miserable.

How to Prevent a Cat Ear Infection
To help prevent your cat from getting an ear infection, keep them away from stray cats, who are more likely to have ear mites. If your cat has any underlying food or environmental allergies, work with your veterinarian to address and treat those early to prevent yeast or bacterial infections.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Urgent Action Needed to Address Animal Biosecurity Crisis in South Africa

South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) Expresses Grave Concerns Over Animal Biosecurity Crisis

South Africa, Pretoria 18 May 2023 – The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) is deeply troubled by the dire state of animal biosecurity in South Africa, as revealed in a recent report. The findings highlight a series of major concerns regarding the management and response to outbreaks of animal diseases, resulting in severe socio-economic repercussions. These include the loss of livelihoods for disadvantaged communities and the disruption of local, national, and international markets.

The report stems from the investigation conducted by the Task Team on Animal Health Biosecurity, which was appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development in September 2021. The Task Team’s extensive research focused on three critical areas: the evolving epidemiology of animal diseases, the country’s ability to diagnose diseases promptly, and the preparedness to implement effective biosecurity measures based on scientific justifications. Regrettably, the Task Team’s findings indicate significant failures in all three areas. This report is dated 22 May 2022 and was only released in the last few days.

The Task Team meticulously studied previous external investigations conducted by reputable institutions such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the European Union (EU) between 2007 and 2017. They also interviewed key stakeholders, including communal farmers, within the livestock industry. The report reflects a comprehensive summary of the concerns and challenges expressed by these stakeholders, further corroborated by the findings of external evaluators.

One of the crucial factors highlighted in the report is the critical role of accurate and timely disclosure of animal health information throughout the production and marketing value chain. Unfortunately, several factors, such as non-compliance, lack of transparency, and co-mingling of infected and healthy animals, have hindered the detection and prevention of disease outbreaks. Urgent corrective measures, including improved communication, awareness training, primary animal health care, and regulatory enforcement, are needed to ensure compliance and mitigate risks.

The concerns raised by industry stakeholders shed light on the inadequate implementation of previous recommendations, which directly contributed to the current crisis. The report underscores systemic issues, legislative constraints, budgetary challenges, a trust deficit, non-alignment between stakeholders, and failures in execution and implementation as the root causes of the broken veterinary and animal biosecurity system.

Throughout the Task Team’s consultations, it became evident that the lack of coordination between national and provincial governments, poor decision-making, subpar maintenance of critical infrastructure, insufficient disease surveillance, and non-compliance by livestock owners have further exacerbated the animal biosecurity challenges. The report provides detailed insights into these shortcomings, calling for immediate attention and remedial actions.

“Based on the report’s findings, SAVA emphasises the urgency of implementing a range of short-term recommendations to address the crisis effectively. These recommendations include establishing clear chains of command, allocating funding, enhancing movement control, enforcing regulatory compliance, reinstating disease control measures, and creating public-private partnerships during emergencies. Additionally, medium to long-term measures, such as reviewing legislation, evaluating organisational structures, and improving communication channels, are essential for sustainable progress in animal biosecurity, says SAVA President Dr Paul van der Merwe”.

The SAVA calls upon the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development to urgently address the identified shortcomings, implement the recommended measures, and prioritise the restoration of animal biosecurity in South Africa. It is crucial to foster collaboration between all stakeholders and demonstrate a strong political will to effect transformative change.

SAVA remains committed to supporting the implementation of effective biosecurity measures, promoting veterinary excellence, and safeguarding the economic well-being of livestock producers. We urge all participants in the value chain, including livestock owners and handlers, to comply with regulatory requirements and actively enforce biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of animal diseases.

Source: South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)

Are you a responsible pet owner

Image: Pixabay

A useful guide to see whether you meet the criteria of a responsible pet owner.
Have you cleaned your pet’s kennel or cage today or their water and food bowl? Have you made sure to feed them and provide fresh clean drinking water before eating yourself? Have you made the effort to say hello to them today? Your animals never really got a choice as to where they end up. You chose to have them and taking care of them and meeting their every need is not something optional for responsible pet guardians. It is a privilege to share your life with an animal companion and this responsibility should not be taken lightly. We make time for things that are a priority to us…..no excuses!

Before you even get any species of animal, you need to do proper homework on their needs and the cost involved.  In addition to meeting your pet’s basic needs like food, water, shelter, health and basic care, there are some extremely important rules of responsible pet ownership you need to know about to keep your pet in good health and enjoying life.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists six areas of responsible pet ownership, including commitment, investment, obeying local ordinances, ensuring your dog is properly identified, limiting his or her reproduction, and preparing for emergencies and other life-changing events.

COMMIT

  • Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a dog.
  • Select a dog that’s suited to your home and lifestyle.
  • Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Properly socialize and train your dog.
  • Commit to the relationship for the life of your dog(s).
  • Keep only the type and number of dogs for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.

INVEST

  • Recognize that dog ownership requires an investment of time and money.
  • Make sure your dog receives preventive health care as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
  • Budget for potential emergencies.

OBEY

  • Clean up after your dog.
  • Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control.
  • Don’t allow your dog to stray.

IDENTIFY

  • Make sure your dog is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and keep the registration up-to-date.

LIMIT

  • Don’t contribute to the dog overpopulation problem: limit your dog’s reproduction through sterilization, containment, or managed breeding (The Paw Company does not support any breeding while there is a massive overpopulation crisis).

PREPARE

  • Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
  • Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your dog.
  • Recognize any decline in your dog’s quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.

FOUR PAWS SHARE THE FOLLOWING ON RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP
PET’S BASIC NEEDS

You are responsible for ensuring that your pet has:

  • the opportunity to express their natural behaviour;
  • healthy diet and access to fresh water;
  • a comfortable resting place;
  • regular exercise;
  • protection from stress, illness, and injury.

MEDICAL RESPONSIBILITY

You are responsible for ensuring that your pet gets:

  • annual vaccinations;
  • regular preventative parasitic treatment;
  • annual/general health checks;
  • nail clipping, dental checks and grooming;
  • vet consultation when your pet is sick/injured.

TRAINING & SOCIALIZATION

You are responsible for ensuring that your pet:

  • understands basic commands;
  • is socialized well to cope with life (other pets, people, children, noises);
  • receives behavioural training, when necessary, from a reputable behaviourist;
  • receives reward-based training and not punishment-based training;
  • receives mental stimulation through training and enrichment.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

You are responsible for ensuring that your pet:

  • is microchipped and the details are kept up to date on the microchip database;
  • is kept on a leash and under control in public places;
  • does not leave any waste that is not picked up;
  • does not bother wildlife or farm animals;
  • has pet insurance or funds for emergencies;
  • is kept according to legislation;
  • does not bother people (bikers, joggers, etc.);
  • is not aggressive toward other pets.

RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER TEST

How well do you score on our basic responsible owner test? Give yourself one point out of 10 for each yes answer.

  1. Can you commit for their whole life and do they fit your lifestyle?
  2. Are your pet’s vaccinations, worm and parasite treatment up-to-date?
  3. Do you know and are you obeying the local laws on having pets?
  4. Are your pets sterilized?
  5. Are your pets safe and secure in your yard and not allowed to roam the street freely?
  6. Are your pets microchipped and the chip registered and do they have a collar ID?
  7. Are they on healthy weight?
  8. Do you meet the enrichment needs for your pets, including, social, mental stimulation and regular exercise?
  9. Does your pets have access to fresh drinking water daily and do they get the right specie appropriate food?
  10. Are you prepared for an emergency and for when something happens to you – are they included in your will?

Being a responsible pet parent is about more than just these 10 points.  It also means learning to pick up on your pets’ often-subtle communication cues, as well as helping your pet learn human communication signals through proper handling, socialization and training. Being a responsible pet guardian is a privilege, with responsibility and a serious commitment that takes time and energy. Commit fully, or don’t get a pet! It is that simple!

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Missing pet guidelines

Image: Pixabay

What can you do to find your missing pet?
Missing pets are shared on social media daily and it is a rising concern for us in animal welfare. There are so many animals in the streets and although there are some exceptions, most of them are shockingly allowed outside by their owners, including cats. We can share horror stories on why this is dangerous and irresponsible and how many never came home. How the one you thought was “streetwise” was hit by a car or the one you say “knows his way home”, stopped returning home.  If you think the streets are unsafe for your child, why would it be safe for your pets?

When your pets roam the streets, they also become a nuisance to others and sadly the cruelty against animals increases because of this e.g. poisoning and shootings. Other dangers include being attacked by animals or humans or stolen for dog fights, re-selling or breeding and more. That is apart from the dangers of cold nights which seem to be here already! Millions of animals enter shelters every year in mainly three ways:  Surrendered by owners, confiscated legally from owners, or brought in as strays by good samaritans.

Why do animals engage in this behaviour?

  1. Trying to get home – have you recently moved?
  2. Your dog’s habit
  3. Mating
  4. Loneliness & boredom
  5. Your dog is scared & had a fright
  6. Something excites them
  7. It’s easy to get out

The above can be addressed or prevented by:

  • Create a safe, secure and familiar environment.
  • Meet their needs with exercise and enrichment.
  • Spay/neuter your pets.
  • Don’t leave them alone for too long, especially social animals.
  • Some behaviour might require training and patience.
  • Teach them not to go out of the yard without you, even if the gate is open.
  • There are many ways to keep your cats safe in your yard.  This includes PVC roller bars, angled fences, catios and more.

TIP for in case they get lost – make sure you have a good full body photo of your pet to share when they are lost.  You can even make a flyer in advance. Microchip them (collar ID too) and register the microchip on more than one database with up-to-date details.

Image: The Paw Company

SHARE MISSING PETS CORRECTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO IMPROVE THE CHANCES OF FINDING THEM.

  • Share a clear full body picture (preferably only one because of how it might appear groups and timelines)
  • Share this post on your personal profile with the privacy setting on public. Include a photo, sex of pet details, specific identifying marks, the area lost, the date, during which time frame and a contact number (another alternative number is even better).
  • Don’t put these details in the comments, but everything in the original post.
  • Then share that post to all groups and pages. Now people can share it out from private groups, which can’t be done otherwise and you only have one post to follow and to update.
  • Always comment on and share the original post from social media as well as UPDATE the post if FOUND.
  • Messenger is not an ideal place to be contacted due to message request not being a formal notification for non-friends. We have lost so much time, not getting in touch with these people. I, for one, do not mind sharing my number on Facebook when the life of my fur-kid is at stake. It is a priority to me.
  • Please take recent photos of your pets. As someone who loves animals, I don’t get how people don’t have any photos of their missing pets or they use old ones which does not even look as much like the pet now.

DO YOU HAVE A MISSING PET – WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Act immediately and start searching as soon as you realize your pet is lost.
  • Share on your local social media pages or groups & neighbourhood watch.
  • Contact other local welfare organizations.
  • Drive around in your area, put posters up, hand out flyers, and search manholes or other hiding spaces.
  • Ask neighbours if you can search on their property.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • Re-check spots.
  • Contact your local Vets to see if an animal has been brought in hurt or deceased.
  • Don’t give up. Some pets were reunited with their owners after months and even years.
  • Vary your search times. Try and call for pets at night as sound travels further. Cats are more active at night, while dogs might be more during the day.
  • Some suggest putting out cats’ litter boxes or pets’ blankets as scent could help them find their way home.
  • If your cat is used to being outside or your pet is missing for more days, expand your search radius.
  • You can offer a reward, but keep in mind it does create a future incentive for pet theft so it is not ideal.
  • Birds tend to fly when their adrenaline levels are high. They generally fly up to the highest point they can land. Most pet birds today have never fully fledged, so larger parrots require more skill to be able to take off, land, navigate where they want to go, or climb down. You will have to wait until the bird is ready to come down.
  • Phone your local SPCA and send them an email with a picture & detailed description. Remember they have many animals coming in daily and various volunteers, so it is still best to visit them in person and multiple times. They may not advertise the animal in the first 5-day pound period.
  • Continue to follow up with the SPCA and other organizations as well as continue to share the original post again.

We would like to see one formal lost & found group for Secunda instead of all the separate groups created by the public. The groups I focus on include:

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

What Nutrients Can Help a Pet’s Immune System?

Image: Pixabay

Everyone wants to keep their pet healthy, and the right nutrition can play a major role in making that happen.

Just like humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to their own viruses and infections, which is why it’s important to choose a dog food or cat food that is formulated with nutrients that proactively support a natural immune response. When checking a pet food label, here are the top nutrients to help keep your furry friend’s immune system strong today and tomorrow.

The Power of Antioxidants
Your pet’s body — much like your own — is constantly working to remove toxic, oxidized molecules from its system. Left unchecked, these molecules (known as “free radicals”) accumulate in cells to create oxidative stress. The more stress a cell is placed under, the more difficult it is to perform its intended function or repair itself.

Antioxidants are a key tool the body uses to process free radicals and combat oxidative stress before it affects a body’s cell structure and DNA.

The top three antioxidants for pets
Vitamin E
Vitamin E consists of a group of compounds (known as tocopherols) that work to inactivate free radicals, giving them antioxidant effects. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that works to improve blood circulation and promote the healing of tissues.

For humans, vitamin E can be applied directly to the skin via oils, oral supplements, etc., but it is easily supplemented into many pet foods. It’s important to remember that vitamin E is fat-soluble and can stay in the body, so it’s better to select a balanced pet food and feed according to guidelines to help ensure your pet gets the amount that is right for them.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can also help reduce inflammation and regenerate vitamin E.

Interestingly enough, dogs and cats have the ability to synthesize vitamin C on their own as a way to support mandatory functions in their body. Supplying additional vitamin C into their diet — along with a balanced amount of other key nutrients — can help bolster your pet’s immune system.

Image: Pixabay

Vitamin C is also water-soluble, which means that when given to your pet, their body can use exactly the amount they need while the rest is cleared from their body. A complete and balanced food that also contains vitamin C is the best way to ensure they get an amount that is beneficial without making their body do more work than is necessary.

Beta-Carotene
Just like other antioxidants, beta-carotene works to prevent the buildup of free radicals and the potential havoc they can wreak on healthy cells. In pets, this nutrient works to support vitamin E and promote stronger immune responses.

Other key players in your pet’s immune system
Aside from popular antioxidants, taurine, selenium and the essential amino acid methionine can all play a critical role in your pet’s natural defense systems.

Additionally, omega-3s have become popular for their anti-inflammatory properties. EPA and DHA are specific omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in fish oils from cold-water fish. Linolenic acid is an essential omega-3 fatty acid and ingredients like soybean oil and flaxseed are rich sources.

Pet foods that have been carefully formulated to include these beneficial nutrients make it easy for you to provide complete and balanced nutrition for your pet based on its age or your concerns.

However, there is more to a pet’s daily nutrition than simply checking the boxes for ingredients or nutrients. Your dog or cat’s lifestage, size, activity level and any special health issues all play a part in determining what your pet needs for a long and healthy life, so it’s best to check with your veterinarian to find a dog food or cat food that is right for your pet’s specific needs.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dog Poop

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Dog poop: it may not be the most pleasant topic, but healthy dog poop is often an indication of a healthy pup. Keeping an eye on the characteristics of your dog’s poop can be a good way to track any health problems he might be experiencing. Let’s take a look at what differentiates healthy dog poop vs. abnormal poop that could be a sign of underlying health problems.

What Does the Perfect Poop Look Like?
Dog poop has four main “C” characteristics: color, content, consistency, and coating. The color of healthy dog poop should be chocolate brown. For the content part of the poop, you may want to let your veterinarian do the “dirty” work. Most people won’t see much of anything inside the poop without a microscope. Healthy dog poop should also be a little firm in consistency, like play dough. Ideally, it should be in log shapes with little cleaves in it that if you were to roll it, it would break into smaller pieces. Finally, healthy poop does not have a coating on it at all. So, if your pooch has a chocolate-brown, somewhat firm, coating-free poop with nothing noticeably sticking out of it, you are all clear. However, read on for signs that could indicate a health issue.

When to be Alarmed by Your Pet’s Poop
Again, the four Cs of pet poop can help you determine when your dog may be sick. Although it may not be pleasant, observing your dog’s stool while it is fresh is the easiest time to catch irregularities.

Content Concerns

  • Worms: These could be long and skinny or look like little pieces of rice. Again, you should only be concerned if these appear in the fresh sample. If stool sits outside for a while, worms may find their way to it.
  • Fur: Big clumps of fur in the stool could be a sign of over grooming, allergies, or skin disease. Keep an eye on how often you are seeing fur in the stool and discuss it with your vet.
  • Foreign materials: Grass, plastic, rocks, cloth, and even money can sometimes be found in your dog’s stool, after all dogs can sometimes ingest some odd things. Although what goes in often comes out, if you notice strange items in your dog’s stool, you may want to call the vet to make sure they don’t want to do a thorough check or x-ray. In some cases, dogs have gotten foreign objects stuck in their digestive tract and they need to have them surgically removed. This is why it is best to call your vet immediately if you notice bits of cloth or plastic in your dog’s poop.

Coating Clues
If you’re picking up your pet’s stool off the grass, there shouldn’t be any sort of trail left behind. A coating of mucus often accompanies large bowel inflammation and usually occurs concurrently with diarrhea. If you notice this mucus in your dog’s stool for more than one day, you should contact your vet to gauge your next steps.

Color Key
Below is a simple guide of what healthy dog poop looks like vs. unhealthy based on color.

  • Brown: A healthy pup’s bowel movements should be chocolate brown in color.
  • Green: Green stool could indicate that your dog is eating grass, perhaps to soothe an upset stomach.
  • Black or maroon: This could be a sign of bleeding in the stomach or the small intestines.
  • Red streaks: This is another sign of bleeding, probably in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
  • Yellow: Yellow stool could mean problems with the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder.
  • White spots: Your pup might have worms if you notice small white spots in his stool.

Consistency
When evaluating the consistency of stool, most vets use a scale from one to seven, one being very firm (almost dry) and seven being very runny. Appropriately, the optimal consistency falls at a number two on the scale. However, if your dog’s stool is a little loose, don’t get alarmed. Just monitor your dog’s poop to see if it keeps getting softer and softer, and keep samples refrigerated in case you do need to take him to the vet.

It’s important to take healthy stool samples to wellness visits for your pet, so that if your pet does start to show signs of an unhealthy stool, your vet has some past records to compare it to. If your dog is experiencing what seems to be healthy stools, but has other signs of illness (not eating, vomiting, lethargy, etc.), it is still a good idea to take a stool sample anytime you need to take your pet to the vet. Many times, bits of information can be discovered by putting the stool sample under a microscope or

Image: Pixabay

Collecting the Stool Sample
It’s very likely that you have found many different ways to clean up poop around your yard or while out for a walk. From pooper scoopers to special biodegradable bags, when it comes to cleaning up dog feces, there is no shortage of equipment. So, when you’re collecting a healthy dog poop or even an unhealthy stool sample to take to the vet, be sure to use a clean bag, pick the sample up gently, and place into a clean, shallow plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate the sample until you are able to get it to the vet. If the poop is too watery to pick up, be sure to take a few clear photos with your smartphone to show the consistency. You can also try to get some of the wet poop into a container using a clean craft stick or plastic spoon. Never take a stool sample that has been sitting in the heat or in the grass for long periods of time. These samples could have dirt or parasites that were not part of the stool. One last thing to note: cleaning up dog poop quickly is also beneficial to your dog. Too much feces lying around in the backyard could lead your dog to start eating his own poop. There are also issues with public health where dog feces can seep into the water table and contaminate water sources. It should also be mentioned that you should wash your hands after picking up any poop even if you wear gloves or use the bag over your hand just to be safe.

Final Poop Pointers
Remember, your dog’s stool tells a lot about his health. Good dog owners should follow these tips to better understand their dog and his health:

  • When your dog poops, look for the four Cs: color, content, consistency, and coating.
  • Always take fresh stool samples to every vet appointment.
  • Clean up dog poop immediately whether on walks or in the backyard.
  • If your dog has an accident in the house, get him outside right away and try to positively reinforce proper poop procedure.
  • Notify your vet immediately if your dog’s stools change drastically, your dog starts eating his own poop, having frequent accidents in the house, or if he has gone more than 24 hours without pooping.

Dog poop isn’t a subject matter that we all enjoy talking about, but it can be a good indicator of your dog’s overall health. Catching signs early can help ensure keeping him healthy.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Dogs With Joint Problems Don’t Have to Remain in Pain

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Many people think that because their dog isn’t yelping out or holding a paw up that he isn’t in pain, but this simply isn’t true. While dogs may yelp or limp in response to pain, joint problems in dogs often have subtler signs, and are missed by even the most well-intentioned pet parents. “Slowing down” is not a natural consequence of aging, so if your dog is limping along, it’s time to find him some help.

Signs of Joint Problems in Dogs
How do you know if your dog is in pain? Any and all of the following can be signs of chronic discomfort due to joint pain:

  • Increased irritability
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Slower to get up in the morning
  • Stiffness, limping or “slowing down”
  • Sleeping more
  • Not enjoying games and walks like he used to
  • Reluctance to jump into the car or go up or down stairs
  • Excessive licking of a sore joint
  • Swollen joints
  • Muscle loss
  • Yelping when touched
  • “Bunny-hopping” when running

Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs
So, what causes these joint problems in dogs? Typically, joint problems in dogs fall into two major categories: developmental and degenerative. Developmental occurs when the joint or ligament does not develop correctly causing it to not function as intended. Degenerative, on the other hand, causes the ligaments around your dog’s joints to “degenerate” (or regress) over time. Similar to human’s, your dogs joints need to be properly cared for (proper nutrition, stretching, proper exercise, etc.,) or they can start to breakdown and cause discomfort for your dog. According to PetCoach there are 7 other diseases that can affect your dog’s joints:

  • Ligament, tendon or muscle diseases that can tear or rupture over time
  • Fractures at the joint
  • Congenital (present from birth) disorders like Wobbler’s syndrome or a luxated patella
  • Dietary or hormonal disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory joint disease such as Lyme disease or rheumatoid arthritis

Joint Pain Relief for Dogs
Fortunately, no dog has to suffer with chronic pain. Science has given us a whole host of options to lessen the pain associated with joint problems in dogs. If your dog has been diagnosed with joint pain, one of the best things you can do for him is make sure he is at a healthy weight. Obesity is a big problem in dogs, and the excessive load it places on your dog’s joints exacerbates the signs of arthritis. An overweight dog hurts a lot more than a thin dog.

Weight loss alone can significantly reduce the signs associated with joint pain in many dogs. Ask your veterinarian if your dog should lose weight, and then work with your vet to design a weight loss plan if needed. If you have already started a weight loss program but you aren’t getting anywhere, ask your vet about switching to a prescription food for weight loss.

Joint pain can also be controlled by the use of anti-inflammatory medication, such as carprofen, meloxicam, deracoxib, galliprant and other prescription pain medication. These medications are available via prescription only through your vet. You should never give your dog human pain pills or arthritis medication, or attempt to dose him yourself.

Image: Pixabay

Supplements
Joint supplements are gaining traction and interest in the canine world as an alternative to prescription pain medication. Glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are some of the more well-known and clinically tested supplements available for joint pain relief in dogs.

Not all joint supplements are created equally. Only buy supplements that your vet recommends to ensure safety and efficacy. Some therapeutic foods are specially formulated with joint health-boosting ingredients baked in, making administering supplements as easy as filling your pup’s bowl.

The Future of Dog Pain Relief and Joint Care
Canine rehabilitation and sports medicine are two of the fastest growing segments of the veterinary market and for good reason. Vets certified in canine rehabilitation can help dogs walk again without pain, and the field is a wonderful alternative treatment for joint pain in dogs.

Rehabilitation uses a variety of treatment modalities and exercises to reduce pain, build muscle and increase flexibility in even the oldest dogs. Canine rehab specialists use everything from hydrotherapy (underwater treadmills), laser therapy, acupuncture, balance balls and massages to help reduce pain and build strength. Even investing in one or two sessions with one of these specialists may benefit your pooch, and allow you to learn some of the exercises to keep his muscles strong and his joints flexible.

Another area that is showing promise for providing joint pain relief in dogs is regenerative medicine. This is the stuff of the future! Two therapies — platelet-rich plasma (PRP, for short) injections and stem cell injections — have shown to provide relief to patients suffering from joint pain. The idea is that these treatments help reduce pain and inflammation in sore joints. According to the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center, PRP is already established as a treatment for human osteoarthritis and an aid to joint replacement surgery.

Treatments for joint pain in dogs works best when multiple treatments are used together, such as a combination of medication, weight loss and joint supplements to treat canine arthritis. This approach is so effective that pain experts have coined a term for it: multimodal therapy, which means multiple modes of treatment. If you’re curious about any of these options talk to your veterinarian about whether one is good for your dog.

What About Preventing Joint Problems?
Dogs with normal joints tend to give birth to puppies with normal joints. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, ask to see the hip and elbow Orthopedic Foundation for Animals scores for the sire and dam (dad and mom), and look for a score of Good to Excellent. If you’re adopting a lovable shelter mutt, ask the adoption center if they have any information on his medical or breed history.

Proper nutrition from the beginning is necessary to help prevent joint disease. Proper puppy nutrition is critical to good joint health. Even though genetics do play a role in some canine joint disorders, you may be able to minimize your puppy’s risk of developing joint disease by feeding him the right amount of the right food, which means feeding large breed puppies a high-quality large breed puppy food, and working with your vet to determine the amount that is right for your dog.

Just because a dog has been diagnosed with joint problems doesn’t mean the fun and games are over. There are so many ways to help treat and prevent joint problems in dogs. Talk with your vet about how to help your dog have a better quality of life today.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition