How The Pet Effect Can Affect Your Practice

Most pet owners are intuitively aware of the many benefits of pet ownership. But backing up these instinctive beliefs with real data can have a massive effect — The Pet Effect, to be exact.

A joint venture by Zoetis and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The Pet Effect campaign promotes the idea that by keeping pets healthy, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other pet health professionals are key players in both human and public health.

“How much more relevant is the veterinarian when the pet owner becomes acutely aware of the impact that a healthy relationship with a pet can have on their own health and wellbeing, or their family’s health and wellbeing?” asked Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Executive Director, Zoetis Petcare Marketing.

People and The Pet Effect

The Pet Effect website promotes the positive impact of pets on people by providing research-backed evidence, presented in clever, fun, and unique ways, of the many health benefits of having a furry friend:

  • Childhood Allergies: Having a dog early in life can affect immune development and may reduce the development of certain allergies.
  • Heart Attack Survival: People who never owned a cat have a 40% higher relative risk of death from a heart 
  • attack.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Being around pets can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Autism: Children with autism spectrum disorder often experience positive behavioral changes when they are around animals.
  • Obesity: Adults who walk their dogs regularly may be less likely to become obese.
  • Blood Pressure: People with pets may have lower resting blood pressure.
  • Depression: Pets can help alleviate several symptoms of depression.
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder: Pets help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.

Veterinarians and The Pet Effect 

While understanding how pets affect human health is important, what’s perhaps even more important for veterinarians is to understand how The Pet Effect can benefit veterinary practices.

In the age of Dr. Google, pet owners often seek information about what their pets need from online sources—not just their veterinarian. But The Pet Effect has the power to change that.

“The more the veterinarian can educate the pet owner about their pet’s needs, but also about how their pet can influence the health and wellbeing of their family, then that veterinarian becomes increasingly…relevant in the eyes of the pet owner,” Dr. McFarland said.

The Pet Effect better defines the relationship between the veterinarian and pet owner, and actively discussing The Pet Effect with veterinary clients can:

  • Encourage them to bring their pets into your office more often for wellness visits.
  • Improve practice performance, because research shows that top-performing practices put more stock in improving the human-animal bond rather than improving the bond between the practice and pet owners.

“Companion animal veterinarians…are also a key contributor to public health,” Dr. McFarland said. “The more pet owners understand that, the more I think they are going to consider veterinarians first and foremost as a credible source of information about their pet.”

Source: American Veterinarian

Is Your Cat Well Hydrated?

how to help your cat stay hydrated

Ways to encourage your cat to drink more waters.
Cats aren’t big drinkers. Domestic cats evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors and there’s little water to be found in dry climates or habitats. That’s probably why navigating bodies of water for any purpose doesn’t come naturally to cats. It’s also why they aren’t as responsive as other animals to sensations of thirst or dehydration and must get most of the moisture their bodies need from the food they eat.


  • Ensure there are enough water stations both inside and outside of the home. These should be spaced out so that each cat indoors has easy access without risking confrontation with another cat.
  • A ratio of one water station per cat and a spare is recommended. Various water stations can be offered outside, as long as they are within easy reach of the resident cat.
  • Hiding water behind a plant pot (as long as your cat has easy access) or on a raised table might help encourage use.
  • Keep the water cool in shaded areas.
  • Offer a variety of water stations. Cats like to have a choice, so offering a large bowl, water fountain, tap or even a glass filled with water can be helpful. Once you know your cat’s preferred water receptacle you could try offering more of that type.
  • Animals, especially cats like drinking from moving water sources like a water fountain.
  • Bowls should not be pushed into a corner. It helps if they can see 360 degrees around them and look out for any threats, while they drink.
  • Keep the water away from the litter box area.
  • Offer large water bowls as most cats prefer this. However, some cats like drinking from a glass. I expect this is more about location though.
  • Older cats are prone to dehydration, so offering extra water stations within easy reach can help keep them stay hydrated.
  • Don’t add anything into your pet’s drinking water without offering plain water, in addition to “medicated” water. Most additions to the water can cause the water to have a subtle but unpalatable taste and pets may not consume as much water as they need.

Urine colour tells a story about your pet’s health. A urinalysis should be performed by your veterinarian yearly for healthy pets, and more often for older animals and those with existing or chronic health issues.

There are three categories of colours:

1. Clear to light yellow (normal)

2. Bright or dark yellow (possibly dehydrated or other medical problem)

3. Brown, orange, or reddish-pink (possibly medical conditions and bleeding)

The colour you want is clear to light yellow. This means your pet is well hydrated. You do want to see some yellow in there because pee that looks consistently like water with no yellow at all is a sign that your pet is drinking too much water or is unable to concentrate their urine (reflective of a medical problem).

Make it a habit to check your pet’s urine colour.  If a pet’s urine is any colour other than clear or yellow, you should visit a veterinarian immediately.


how to help your cat stay hydrated

Cats’ whiskers are thick hairs that protrude from a cat’s cheeks, above their eyes, their chins and from the backs of their front legs. They are filled with sensory collecting nerves that collect information about objects, vibrations, and wind currents around the cat. They aid cats to hunt in the dark and are an integral part of their communication system.

Whisker fatigue happens to some cats when their sensitive whiskers are routinely being brushed up against something such as food or water bowls that are too small. It causes discomfort and even pain and it makes eating and drinking stressful.

How Can You Fight Feline Whisker Fatigue?
Choosing shallow, wide bowls that allow your cat to get food and water from the bowl without their whiskers making contact with its sides can help end whisker fatigue.

Make sure your pet always has fresh, clean, cool, safe, drinking water available at all times and if they refuse to drink or the colour of her urine doesn’t improve, it’s time to call your veterinarian.

Next week we will look at reluctant eaters (cats).


Source: The Bulletin

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Important Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

Ask your vet

Image by The Paw Company

Some questions to consider when you are looking for or visiting a vet.
When you go to a veterinarian and pay for a service to treat your animals, it is your right to ask questions! Here are a few general questions then followed by what we call our “accountability” questions. Although the general questions can be answered by Google, it is best to ask the vet who has physically examined your animals. These are not the only questions.


  • Is my animal at a healthy weight?
  • Is my pet up to date on vaccinations?
  • Is this (add odd behaviour) normal for this animal?
  • How is my pet’s dental health?
  • Could I be providing more appropriate food?
  • What tick/flea treatment would you recommend?
  • What are these lumps or bumps?
  • Is my pets’ nails/claws the right length?
  • Would my pet benefit from more grooming?
  • At what age is my pet considered a senior?
  • Any preventative care I can provide for my pet?


Can you explain my bill? Always ask for your bill, receipt and full statement. This could help in case you need to take the pet to another vet or open a case against the vet or just for the record.

Can you explain the procedure to me? Understanding the procedure can help you better prepare for when your pet comes home. We have had cases where a vet said they operated “wrongly”, more than once. They should have checked and prepared for your pets’ procedure.

Who will be doing the procedure? Most people assume the vet will. Ask anyway! If they do not do it themselves then ask for the qualification of the person who will and whether the vet will supervise them. We can share horror stories on this.

Does my pet need pain medication? Which one on the statement is pain meds? If no pain medication is given ask why not, especially when you suspect your pet is in pain? We have found a vet that rarely gives pain medication. Any animal who comes in (apart from a general visit) will probably need pain meds. Rather ask!

How many consultations/operations do you do on average a day? This is very important. Some vets brag about how many they do, or claim that that makes them more qualified than others. For us as pet owners and welfare organizations, we would not want to go to a vet who brag about how busy they are. You do the maths. How much quality time will they spend on your pet? How easily can mistakes slip in if they are so busy?

Are you the only vet in this practice? If yes, our follow-up question would be when do they rest, or are they on call 24/7, especially if they do so many procedures. Being a vet is certainly a high-stress job if you care about the sentient beings you treat. If you add a lack of proper sleep, mistakes can easily occur and it could be lethal to your pets. Are you willing to take that risk with your pet?

How do they sterilize? Do they only remove ovaries or uterus or both? Do they only tie the tubes? We have had pets who fall pregnant after sterilization and that is impossible if it was done correctly!

What are their prices? This is a very debatable topic. How does it compare to other local vets? Do your homework on this! Ask whether it includes medicatioin after the procedure, the follow-up or the removal of stitches for example.

Not all vets are qualified or experienced to treat exotic pets. Even if they say they can, it is your responsibility to ask the right questions. We had a case with a vet where they didn’t know the rabbit should actually eat before the operation, unlike other animals. Here are some screening questions to help you find the right vet for your rabbits/exotic pets.

Apart from your right to get explanations for questions, you also have the right to get a second or even third opinion! Do not allow bullying from a vet or their staff when you do this. Please report them for unethical behaviour at the SAVC. Never just blindly trust a vet and do your homework. Reviews on social media and google can be manipulated so it is not our go-to measure. Take note of how often the staff changes in terms of quitting or being fired from the practice. That is usually a good indication of the boss and work culture.

If you are unsure about the treatment you received, please contact The Paw Company. You can also check out our accountability post if you are considering opening a case at the Veterinary Council. It doesn’t cost you money. Your case might seem isolated to you, but it is worth preventing another pet from having to go through what yours did!

YOUR PET IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY and making the right choice of vet for them is on you! Next week we will look at what you should consider if you want to own (be a guardian) of a bird.

Read more on winter tips to keep your pets warm.


Source: The Bulletin

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Hypothyroidism in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Hypothyroidism in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

If your dog has been extremely tired lately or has been having issues with their skin or hair, they could have hypothyroidism. Thankfully, thyroid problems in dogs are easy to diagnose and manage. While the exact cause of thyroid dysfunction in our canine companions isn’t clear, we do know how hypothyroidism affects dogs and how to treat it.

What Is the Thyroid?
The thyroid, in dogs and in humans, is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, right next to the windpipe. As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland makes the hormones necessary for cells to function normally. The thyroid affects the body’s metabolism.

If a dog produces too much thyroid hormone, they can develop signs of hyperthyroidism, including diarrhoea, increased heart rate, anxiety and hyperactivity. If the thyroid gland doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone, you get the exact opposite — hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid problem in dogs.

Risk Factors for Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism is most often diagnosed in dogs between 4 and 10 years old. In most cases, an autoimmune disorder that shrinks or inflames the thyroid tissue causes hypothyroidism in dogs. There are no known genetic causes. However, according to the American Kennel Club, medium to large breeds are at greater risk than toy and miniature breeds. The cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, dachshund, Doberman pinscher, golden retriever, Airedale terrier and Irish setter also appear more likely to develop the disease. While rare, dogs can also develop hypothyroidism due to cancer of the thyroid gland. Spayed and neutered dogs seem to have increased risk; however, the many benefits of spaying and neutering may outweigh this suspected risk.

Signs of Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism in dogs affects every system of the body, including the gastrointestinal system, the nervous system and the circulatory system. If a dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered, hypothyroidism can also affect the reproductive system.

The most common signs of low thyroid problems in dogs include:

  • Excessive tiredness
  • Mental dullness or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Skin infections
  • Cold intolerance
  • Skin and coat changes, such as hair loss, excessive shedding, excessive dandruff, a dry or dull coat and hyperpigmented skin.
  • Excessively long heat cycles in female dogs who haven’t been spayed
  • Generalised weakness and other neuromuscular problems
  • A stiff walk or loud breathing due to laryngeal paralysis (loss or normal function of the larynx)

How It’s Diagnosed
The good news is that, unlike human thyroid problems, thyroid problems in dogs are usually easily diagnosed and managed. If you suspect your dog might be suffering from a thyroid problem, make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian. During the visit, the vet will ask you some questions, conduct an exam and will likely ask to run some lab tests — probably blood work and urine testing.

High blood cholesterol is a common indicator of hypothyroidism in dogs. Most clinics can also test for thyroid hormone levels in dogs with a simple blood test.

All this information together will build a picture for your vet so that they can determine whether or not your dog has hypothyroidism.

Treatment for Hypothyroidism in Dogs
If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, don’t worry! Even though you can’t cure hypothyroidism in dogs, it’s usually easy and relatively inexpensive to manage with an oral thyroid supplement. The supplement mimics the effect of thyroid hormone on the body. If it’s successful, your dog will regain their energy, lose weight, have a brighter attitude and stop shedding hair.

The key thing to remember when treating thyroid problems in dogs is the importance of balance. If your dog takes too much thyroid supplement, they can develop signs of an overactive thyroid, which is the opposite of what you want. If the vet prescribes your dog a thyroid supplement, it’s important to follow all dosing instructions — don’t change the dosage without talking to the vet.

After starting your dog on a thyroid supplement, the vet will likely ask you to return in a couple of weeks to get a follow-up blood test to make sure your dog’s thyroid hormone levels are appropriate. Once their hormone levels are stabilised, the vet will probably want to check them once or twice a year.

Nutrition for Dogs With Hypothyroidism
Providing proper nutrition to a dog with hypothyroidism is an important part of supporting overall thyroid health. Dogs with hypothyroidism need to be supported by food that contains balanced levels of amino acids, iodine, probiotics for gut health, antioxidants and the right amount of calories that contribute to a healthy weight. Ask your vet for nutritional recommendations for your dog.

Low thyroid problems in dogs are common and can be easily managed. Even with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, your dog can live a long, healthy and happy life.

Source: Hills


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What you can do if your pet dies at home?

Pet Burial Image by The Paw Company


You can’t get a hold of your or other vets in the area or any of the above.  This means the body will need to stay with you until the vet practice is open or the body can be collected.  This might be upsetting for many, but here are some suggestions on the dos and don’ts in the meantime:


  • Make sure the pet is deceased.  They might be unconscious or in a deep sleep.  Look, listen and feel for a pulse and breathing.  You can look and see if the chest rises and falls. Listen closely to whether you can hear breathing or even hear their heart beating.  You can put your finger under their nose to feel for breathing.  To allocate a pulse you can place the ball of two fingers (not the thumb) on the depression found in your pet’s inner upper thigh over the Femoral artery.  You can also place your hand over the left side of their chest where their elbow touches their body.  If there is a pulse but no breathing, then rescue breaths are required.  If there is no pulse and no breathing, CPR is needed.  It is important to know basic first aid for your type of pet (cat, dog, bird, etc.).
  • Use gloves if possible and heavy-duty trash bags.  If you don’t have heavy-duty bags, use multiple bags for the body.
  • Place a towel under the tail, genitals and mouth of your pet. Their body may begin to expel fluids as the muscles relax. This will protect carpets and flooring.  Clean the areas around your dog’s mouth, genitals and anus if the fluid has been released. Keep in mind that more body fluids might be released as you move the body.
  • It is important to understand that the remains of the pet must be handled as soon as possible and before the onset of rigor mortis. Rigor mortis, the stiffening of the joints, typically begins within 10 minutes to three hours after death and can last as long as 72 hours. The temperature will affect this process.
  • Use a blanket, towel, or bed sheet that is large enough to wrap around the body. Place your pet’s body on its side in a curled-up position, as if sleeping. If your pet dies with their legs stretched out, gently fold them in closer to the body if they haven’t already stiffened. The sleeping position can also offer a sense of peace and make it easier to move the body later. Tightly wrap the body and move the body into the trash bags. Securely close the bag with knots.
  • The body needs to be kept cool. An animal’s body begins to decompose immediately after death and will soon begin to give off a foul odour and attract insects. The hotter the temperature, the faster the rate of decomposition. If you can’t get the body to your vet or a local pet cremation service or use a freezer/refrigerator, we suggest to keep the body in a cool utility room, basement, or garage floor and making use of additional trash bags is recommended.  This should be for no longer than 4-6 hours, as the odour will become severe and spread through the house. 
  • I do support other pets being allowed to smell the body, so they can better understand what happened and it can help them with the grieving process too. Yes, they grieve too. If you don’t know why the animal died or they have been poisoned or had a transmissible disease then this is not advisable.
  • If the body is going elsewhere, be sure to put a labell on the bag with your name, number and your pet’s name.


  • Don’t panic.  I know it is easier said than done, but when you panic, it can cause extra distress for other family member or pets which adds to the trauma and you may not be able to think clearly.
  • Don’t leave your pet in a warm place. A cool, dry place such as a garage will have to do if you can’t keep it in a freezer or refrigerator.
  • Don’t try to handle it alone as the death of a pet can be a traumatic experience. Call a friend or family member if you are alone when it happens.
  • Don’t move larger pets without assistance. As the pet’s body stiffens it may be more difficult to move alone.
  • Don’t bury the animal in your yard if the local bylaws do not allow for it or if you don’t know why your pet died, if they had a transmissible disease or were poisoned. This can be dangerous for other animals and your family as well as the environment.

Image by Dr. Karen Becker


  • Contact vets in advance about euthanasia prices.  Some are double the price of others.  Also ask the vet what they do with the body, especially if you pay for cremation, ask through which company.
  • If you do not have the funds to euthanize a pet who is suffering, please surrender them to your local SPCA, which will end the suffering humanely. They may not refuse any animal.
  • If you found a body in the road, please remove it from the road.  Take a picture if you can and send it to your local lost and found pet groups so they can give closure to someone whose pet is missing.
  • Please don’t replace the animal soon after with another pet as you will introduce the new family member into a low/sad energy home which is unfair to them.  As mentioned, your pets grieve too, so keep an eye on them.

The hardest part of being a pet guardian is saying goodbye. Remember your grief is valid & personal. Reach out if you need to! There are professional counsellors for those who have lost pets. You will need time to grieve properly. Also read strategies to cope with the loss as well as help your other pets cope with the loss..


Source: The Bulletin

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Winter care for your feathered friend

Winter care for your feathered friend

As the winter months approach, it’s essential to pay special attention to the well-being of your beloved parrots. These beautiful creatures have unique needs that require extra care during the colder seasons. By following a few guidelines, you can ensure that your feathered friends stay healthy and happy throughout the winter.

Adequate rest:

One fundamental aspect of parrot care is providing them with adequate rest. Just like humans, parrots need their sleep when the sun goes down. During the winter months, the days are shorter, and it’s crucial to create a conducive environment for their natural sleep patterns. Designate a quiet, dark room where your parrot can settle in for the night. Covering the cage with a lightweight, breathable cloth can help create a sense of darkness and security, mimicking their natural habitat. By ensuring they have an undisturbed rest, you’re helping them maintain their physical and mental well-being.

Increased food consumption:

In addition to creating a suitable sleep environment, it’s vital to meet their nutritional needs. During the winter, birds, including parrots, may naturally increase their food consumption. This is because their bodies need extra energy to stay warm in colder temperatures. As a responsible parrot owner, it’s important to provide them with a well-balanced diet to support their overall health. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality parrot pellet. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are crucial for their immune system and vitality. Additionally, you can offer treats, as these can be a great source of healthy fats for your feathered friend. Our snacks range from our Veggie Treats to Tropical Sensation are perfect for this.

Correct water temperature:

While ensuring a nutritious diet, it’s equally important to provide ample access to fresh water. Parrots, like all living creatures, require hydration for their bodily functions. In colder weather, the water may get chilled quickly, so it’s essential to regularly check and replace it with fresh, lukewarm water. Avoid using metal containers that can retain the cold, and opt for ceramic or plastic bowls that are easy to clean and maintain. If you use plastic bowls please make sure that they are good quality and that they don’t break easily as your feathered friend can swallow the plastic.

Hygienic Environment:

Maintaining a clean and hygienic living space for your parrot is crucial, especially during the winter when they spend more time indoors. Regularly clean their cage, including the bars, perches, and tray, to prevent the accumulation of droppings and potential bacteria. Replace the bedding material and wipe down the surfaces with a bird-safe disinfectant to ensure a healthy living environment. This practice reduces the risk of respiratory issues and keeps your parrot’s overall well-being in check.

More interaction:

Remember, parrots are social animals that thrive on interaction and attention from their human companions. The winter months can sometimes bring a sense of isolation, so it’s crucial to spend quality time with your parrot. Engage them in interactive play, teach them new tricks, or simply enjoy their company through gentle conversation. Your love and attention will create a positive and stimulating environment for your parrot, warding off any feelings of loneliness during the colder days.


In conclusion, caring for your parrot during the winter months involves some additional considerations, but the rewards are immeasurable. By providing a quiet, dark room for sleep, ensuring a nutritious diet with ample food and water, maintaining a clean living space, and showering them with love and attention, you are safeguarding their health and happiness during the winter season. Cherish these delightful creatures and embrace the joys of being a responsible parrot owner all year round.

Source: Nature’s Nest

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World-First Reproductive Techniques: South African Veterinary Association Pioneers Assisted Reproduction in Rhinos to Preserve Endangered Species

South Africa, Johannesburg: The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)  has embarked on an extraordinary journey alongside Rhino Repro which aims at pioneering the world-first reproductive techniques to combat the threat of extinction facing endangered rhino species. This ground-breaking initiative aims to preserve and protect these majestic creatures through innovative assisted reproduction methods.

Driven by a deep commitment to conservation, Rhino Repro’s dedicated team of veterinarians and researchers have achieved remarkable milestones in their quest to save endangered rhinos. Leveraging their expertise and cutting-edge technology, they have successfully developed and implemented assisted reproductive techniques for rhinos, marking a significant leap forward in global conservation efforts.

Rhino Repro’s ground-breaking approach encompasses the harvesting, maturing, and fertilisation of oocytes (a developing egg), followed by embryo transfer into surrogate mothers. By optimising these techniques on Southern White rhinos (SWRs), close relatives of the critically endangered Northern White rhinos (NWRs), the team is paving the way for the future preservation of the NWR species. Their ultimate goal is to harvest oocytes from the remaining NWR females, mature and fertilise them using previously stored NWR semen, or utilise banked NWR genetic material and reconstruct embryos through nuclear transfer (cloning) and generate a large-scale supply of embryos that can be cryo-preserved or transferred to SWR surrogate mothers.

Dr. Morné de la Rey, founder of the Rhino Repro, a visionary veterinarian leading the Rhino Repro team, emphasised the importance of their ground-breaking work. “Our pioneering reproductive techniques are truly a global first, offering a glimmer of hope for the endangered rhino species. By pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and harnessing the power of assisted reproduction, we are determined to secure a future for these majestic animals.”

Over the past five years, the Rhino Repro team has progressed from understanding the intricate reproductive anatomy of rhinos to successfully collecting and maturing oocytes from SWRs. Their state-of-the-art procedures have yielded impressive results, with an average of 5.5 oocytes collected per procedure in 2022 and a record-breaking 18 oocytes collected from a single procedure.

In addition to the critical focus on the NWR species, Rhino Repro’s innovative approaches have shown promising results for the breeding challenges faced by other rhino species, such as SWRs affected by poaching stress and orphaned circumstances. Their revolutionary techniques have provided invaluable insights into the natural reproductive cycles of rhinos and have even contributed to improving the reproductive health of individual cows, leading to successful natural reproduction in previously infertile or compromised rhinos.

The success of these world-first reproductive techniques relies on the support and generosity of the public and the wider business community. Financial contributions play a crucial role in advancing research, expanding procedures, and increasing the chances of producing blastocyst embryos.

“Preserving the endangered rhino species is not solely the responsibility of the greater team; it is a collective endeavour involving the entire veterinary community and our nation as a whole,” emphasised Dr. Paul van der Merwe, President of the South African Veterinary Association. “Together, we can pioneer world-first techniques that will safeguard the future of these magnificent creatures and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

Source: South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)

New years resolutions for pets – part 1


Image by The Paw Company

New years resolutions for pets – part 1

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

The presents are opened, the Christmas leftovers are done…….and now it’s that time of year again when we think about what we shouda-coulda-woulda done differently last year and vow to do better this year. I wish you and your pets a Pawsome 2024! May life treat you the way you treat your pets!

A new year brings new goals, renewed hope and 365 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help.

An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.



This is probably our most important one. There are so many benefits to this plus you will help stop this massive overpopulation crisis we face in animal welfare. If your pet is already sterilized, thank you! Please consider sponsoring one other sterilization for someone in need this year.


As with us humans, it’s all too easy for a pet’s weight to gradually creep up over time. Measuring your pet’s food accurately is the first step to take to prevent overfeeding.

The goal in offering your pet fresh food, which they can truly thrive on, is to mimic the ancestral diet of dogs and cats as closely as possible without breaking the bank. Feed your pet as much unprocessed, fresh food as you can afford.

Ask your holistic veterinarian for food recommendations appropriate for your pet’s species, age, breed and lifestyle. Feed the recommended amount, and limit treats to small goodies in limited portions. Add in some healthy items, such as bits of carrots, apples and blueberries.

If you give them bones, follow these guidelines! See some advice we shared from Dr. Karen Becker (Veterinarian and co-author of The Forever Dog) on fresh food ideas.


Learn about the optimal care for your pet, and safety, meeting all their specie/breed-specific needs. Observe your pet’s body language and learn what they are trying to tell you.

Check out The Paw Company’s index post on various animal topics and follow our ANIMALS 101 series here in The Bulletin every Wednesday.


Dogs, cats and or other social animals can benefit from interaction with animals of the same species. Having a pet that is well-trained, obedient, happy, relaxed and responsive means that not only will your pet be easier to manage and safer in potentially dangerous situations, but you will also get more pleasure from your companionship as a result. Well-socialized have much less chance of winding up at an animal shelter.

Learn a new trick or address at least one of those behavioural concerns or “bad” habits of your pet. Get some professional help if you need to. Remember there is a difference between a trainer and a behaviourist. In the Secunda area contact our local trainer Jennifer.


Accidents happen and the odds are that when your pets eat something they shouldn’t or get hurt, you will be home alone and it will be after veterinary hours. That’s why it’s so important for a pet parent to know how to handle an emergency and what the plan is in case of a fire, a flood, car accident, or possible evacuations. Save your veterinarian and other local vet’s emergency number on your phone. 


Image by Dr. Karen Becker


You have a relationship bank account with your pet. Some negative actions like frustration and intimidation equal withdrawals while positive actions like play and attention are investments or deposits. Keep a positive bank balance.

Spend more time with your pets than you did last year! This can be some one-on-one time with your dog or cat, even if just at home watching some TV and cuddling or playing or having an adventure in the outside world. Sometimes resolve to just sit with your pet and watch the world go by and always be in the moment, not on your phone when you spend quality time together.


  • A suitable environment.
  • Appropriate diet and fresh, clean, cool, dinking water daily.
  • Companionship.
  • A chance to exhibit normal behaviour.
  • Good health and medical attention when needed.
  • Enrichment is also crucial for your pet’s well-being. This includes food, sensory, cognitive, physical habitat and social enrichment.


It is good for both you and your pet. Get creative as exercise does not need to be boring. Play games or go for one of the 8 different walks.

Your pets didn’t have a choice when they came to stay with you and since you chose to have them, it is your responsibility to meet their every need! Next week we will continue with part 2 of this 3-part series on the pet-pawsitive New Year’s resolutions.

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet?


Source: The Bulletin

The Importance of Blanched Peanuts for Parrots: A Healthier Choice for Your Feathered Friends



The Importance of Blanched Peanuts for Parrots: A Healthier Choice for Your Feathered Friends

When it comes to providing the best nutrition for our beloved parrots, every detail matters. One such detail is the type of peanuts we offer them. Many parrot owners are unaware of the potential health risks associated with feeding peanuts with their skins on. At Nature’s Nest, we prioritize the well-being of your feathered companions, and that’s why we insist on using blanched peanuts in our pellet mixes, like Avian Complete, and as an essential ingredient in our Avian Deluxe mix.

But what exactly are blanched peanuts?

Blanched peanuts are a special variety that undergoes a unique heat processing method to remove their outer skins, resulting in a cleaner, safer, and more nutritious option for your parrots. In this blog, we’ll explore why blanched peanuts are the safer and healthier choice for your parrots.

The Risks of Peanuts with Skin:
Peanuts with their skins on are susceptible to various issues that can negatively impact the health of parrots. Here are some of the primary concerns:

  • Fungal Contamination: Peanuts with skins can harbor fungi and molds. These contaminants can be harmful to parrots when ingested, potentially leading to respiratory problems and other health issues.
  • Allergens: The skin of peanuts may contain allergens that can trigger allergic reactions in some parrots, causing discomfort and health complications.
  • Bacterial Growth: The skin of peanuts can also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. These bacteria can lead to digestive problems when consumed by parrots.

Why Blanched Peanuts Are a Better Choice:

Blanched peanuts have their skins removed during processing, making them a cleaner and safer option for parrots. Here are the benefits of using blanched peanuts in your parrot’s diet:
  • Reduced Risk of Fungal Contamination: Without their skins, blanched peanuts are less likely to be contaminated by fungi and molds, reducing the risk of respiratory issues in parrots.
  • Lower Allergenic Potential: The heat process significantly decreases the likelihood of allergic reactions in sensitive parrots, promoting their overall well-being.
  • Improved Digestibility: Blanched peanuts are easier for parrots to digest, as they lack the outer layer that can be tough on their digestive systems.



Why Peanuts Are Used and Their Nutritional Value:
Peanuts are a popular choice in parrot diets for several reasons. These tiny legumes are not only delectable and enjoyed by most parrots but also packed with essential nutrients. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals that contribute to the overall well-being of your feathered friends. Peanuts offer a significant protein boost, which is crucial for maintaining your parrot’s muscle health and energy levels. They are also rich in unsaturated fats, providing a valuable source of energy for these active birds. Additionally, peanuts are a source of vitamins like B3, B6, and E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. By including blanched peanuts in our pellet mixes, like Avian Complete, and adding them extra for the Avian Deluxe, we ensure that your parrots not only enjoy a delicious treat but also receive the nutritional benefits that peanuts have to offer.
Nature’s Nest Commitment:
At Nature’s Nest, we take your parrot’s health seriously. That’s why we use only blanched peanuts in our premium pellet mixes, including Avian Complete, and we go the extra mile by including them in our Avian Deluxe mix. Our commitment to providing the best nutrition for your feathered friends ensures that they enjoy a safe and healthy diet.

Choosing the right ingredients for your parrot’s diet is crucial for their long-term health and well-being. By opting for blanched peanuts over those with skins, you’re taking a significant step toward ensuring your feathered companion’s safety. Nature’s Nest is here to support you in this journey, offering high-quality, safe, and nutritious blends that your parrot will love. Remember, we mix peanuts in for our pellets, including Avian Complete, and add them extra for the Avian Deluxe. When it comes to your parrot’s diet, you can trust Nature’s Nest to provide the best. Your parrot deserves nothing less!