Turtle Care – Lesson 10 – Caring For Your Turtles

Having a pet turtle can be a rewarding and interesting experience. Turtles can make great and unique pets and some are quite long lived, living up to 50 years in some cases. A key to being able to enjoy your pet turtle is knowing how to care for your turtle properly.

There are a lot of different turtle species in the world today, but there are only four species that are popular as pets. Those include the mud turtle, the sliders, the box turtles, and the painted turtles. These types of turtles seem to do a bit better living in captivity than other turtles, and are easier to contain, care for and feed due to their size.

Caring for a pet turtle is mostly about making the turtle’s environment in its aquarium as close to the turtle’s natural environment as possible. Aquariums are really the best way to house a turtle. The aquarium should be at least 20 gallons in size. The aquarium will need to be filled with sand and will need to have an area with water in it that the turtle can swim and hunt in.

Turtles like to be able to hide, so there should be some rocks, plants and sticks in the aquarium to provide some shelter. When putting plants in the aquarium, be sure to find out what sort of plants can be harmful to the particular type of turtle you are getting.

Turtles are omnivores, but they should not be fed random scraps or spicy human foods. Many pet turtle owners will feed their turtles a combination of vegetables and live fish. In fact, it is possible to feed a turtle mostly raw vegetables and have the turtle thrive. However, the best care for your turtle is a well balanced diet, and that includes more than just vegetables. Many pet stores now carry special turtle food sticks. While the food stick provides all the balanced nutrition that the turtle needs, feeding the turtle live fish periodically will give the turtle some exercise.

Turtles need to be kept between 70F and 85F, so make sure the room you are placing the turtle in has the adequate temperature control. Turtles are used to natural light with a combination of shade and sun. If your are placing your turtle’s aquarium in direct sunlight, make sure the turtle has adequate water to drink and plenty of water to swim and submerge in as well as secluded shaded hiding places.

The effect of bright summer sunlight coming through the aquarium’s glass can make the entire aquarium too hot for the turtle without shade and water. Many pet turtle owners place a sunlamp above the aquarium to regulate the temperature and light if the aquarium is in a room that does not receive much sunlight or in the winter months when it is difficult to keep the aquarium in the appropriate temperature range. Some owners will place a heating pad underneath the turtle’s aquarium in the cold months to provide extra heat.

6 Ways of Keeping Your Canine Out of the Garbage: Pet-Approved Methods

Not everyone can afford a professional trainer, and with the proper know-how one isn’t even necessary. If your dog has recently discovered that the trash can be a source of delicious snacks, you might be wondering how to keep him/her from rummaging around in there like it’s at flea market.

Keeping your pet out of the garbage is not only beneficial to you but to your dog as well. Dogs can potentially get sick from eating whatever they find in there – be it chocolate, some molded food item, etc. Dogs will chow down on chicken bones but they might also get lodged in its throat, not to mention the non-food items that could become trapped making for expensive trips to the veterinarian. So it’s very important your dog stays away from the trash.

1. Make sure your pets dish is full. While most pet owners agree that this won’t make much of an impact, as dogs will still root around in the trash with even a full dish nearby, it does leave your dog no excuse for getting in there. And after you have successfully prevented your pooch from trash-digging, they will still have something to eat.

2. Try moving the trash can to a location that your dog doesn’t have access to but where it won’t be out-of-the-way for you – a pantry, for example.

3. There are all sorts of products designed specifically for this problematic widespread problem. You might try buying a pet proof lid. There are all sorts of pet-proofed trash cans out there from ones with locking lids, to receptacles with motion sensors!

4. You might consider purchasing a special spray that serves as a deterrent to your pet from rooting around in your garbage. However, it might do just as well to put something spicy on the top of your can, or to spray it (the can) with a mixture of cayenne pepper and water.

5. There are “mats” that sit under your trash can that give your dog a shock when he steps on it to get into the trash. These, however, just like trash cans with motion sensors, can be expensive, and in a lot of cases are not practical.

6. You could “gate” up the area around your trash instead, preventing access for medium to smaller sized dogs.

Regardless of how well your dog is trained, it is always possible that they will continue to get into the trash. Sometimes a simple but yet meaningful “no,” with the proper vocal reinforcement is not enough. If it comes to that level, for your dogs safety, consider buying one of the common products above. These products themselves can sometimes serve as the training your dog needs, without any added stress on your end – which can definitely be readily sensed by your pet.

Never abuse or hit your pet as a method of training. Remember a dogs sense of smell is 100,000 times stronger than a humans. They have two billion olfactory receptors, compared to the 40 million we have. If they smell something that’s appealing to them they will naturally seek it out.

Helpful Hints on Keeping Your Pet Safe During the Holiday

The Holiday season is in full swing with decorations, planning upcoming events, and designing the family meal. As we begin to setup our homes with holiday plants such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, we must remember that these as well as others are toxic to our pets. Dogs and especially cats like to chew on houseplants most of which are poisonous.

Keep an eye out for any electrical wires and batteries that might be within reach of your pet. Chewing and biting on cords will cause shock and larger dogs can easily swallow small batteries. Candles can give your home a fresh scent while adding ambiance, but left unattended on a low coffee table and a swinging tail will send them flying, possibly burning your pet or causing a fire.

Christmas trees too can be hazardous if your dog drinks the water. Tree water is often filled with preservatives that are poisonous while standing water will harbor bacteria that can cause digestive irritability and vomiting. Be sure to sweep or vacuum up any fallen needles as they can puncture your dog’s digestive tract if swallowed.

While it is very tempting for holiday guests, to give a little sample to your dog during the festivities it can result in disaster if over done. Set some ground rules or better yet during mealtime put your dog in his or her crate. Most holiday meals contain higher levels of fat, fresh herbs, and can be spicy all of which are not healthy for your dog; sweets especially chocolate can be deadly and should be avoided all together.

Many dogs suffer from anxiety and with all of the excitement of the holidays, the noise and crowds, can be a trigger. There are some holistic remedies available like HomeoPet® Anxiety that can help keep your dog calm. It is best not to allow your dog to greet strangers at the door but rather keep your dog in their crate or in a quiet room until things settle down before introducing your dog.

Lastly, never give a puppy as a gift for the holidays. While the look on a puppies face can be irresistible, your intentions noble, the responsibility of dog and pet ownership is a big one and not for everyone. If you know one of your friends or family members is serious about getting a dog, consider giving a dog leash or dog toy, better still a gift card from your favorite pet supply website. Following these hints will keep your dog and pet safe & happy during the holiday season.

Homemade Dog Food – Can I Feed My Dog Table Scraps?

Many pet owners ask the question “Can I feed my pet table scraps?” They confuse a complete homemade dog food diet with table scraps. Although many holistic veterinarians generally favor table scraps they urge you to make sure they are nutritionally wholesome and they are plain. A dog’s digestive tract is geared for simpler food than we eat.

So you can feed your dog table scraps but first try sharing a little of what you are having each day with your pet, along with the food you are already feeding them. This will give them a little variety and help you determine if you want to switch to a totally homemade diet. Always decrease the volume of commercial food you feed by the amount of table scraps you are adding to their diet. Once you determine if you want to switch over to a total homemade diet for your dog then you should learn as much as you can about proper nutritional levels.

But for now, if you want to start adding some natural food to your pet’s diet these are a few things to be aware of:

5 Foods to Avoid:

1.) Onions are toxic to dogs. No onions whatsoever.

2.) Left over fat and remnants. No Bacon or bacon grease. There are high levels of nitrates in bacon and the high heat used to cook bacon creates many other harmful compounds.

3.) Stay away from rich foods like ham, sauces, and limit the cheese you feed your dog.

4.) No spicy, salty or fried foods. No spicy chili, pepperoni or luncheon meats.

5.) NO sweets, cookies or cakes. Definitely NO CHOCOLATE. Certain compounds in chocolate like theobromine and caffeine are toxic to dogs and cause vomiting, excessive urination, hyperactivity, fast breathing, weakness and seizures.

6 Foods You Can Feed Your Dog:

1.) Almost all vegetables are good, especially carrots and anything in the broccoli family, green beans, alfalfa sprouts, and leafy greens. Dogs like to chew on raw carrots and that helps to keep down the tartar on their teeth. Asparagus is also good and sometimes dogs will eat these like they are treats. You can add some potatoes to their diet and lentils and split peas are an excellent choice.

2.) Fruits are very healthy. Try different types and see which ones your pets like. AVOID GRAPES. Although grapes may not be toxic to all dogs there is no definitive information to enable us to tell which dogs will get sick and die after eating grapes.

Vegetables and fruits can be pureed in a blender then let them sit a day or two before feeding.

3.) Pasta is O.K. but WITHOUT the spices and tomato sauces.

4.) A little bit of good olive oil is O.K. It’s actually good for your dog’s skin.

5.) Low-fat, plain yogurt. You can give 1 tablespoon per twenty-five pounds of weight. You can feed it two to five times a week. Just like for us yogurt has beneficial bacteria known as acidophilis.

6.) Eggs are an excellent source of protein. You can add an egg or egg yolk twice week for each 25 pounds of weight. Dog’s seem to like lightly scrambled eggs added to their meal.

Remember that all animals are individuals, with individual tastes and sensitivities. Make sure that what you are feeding your pet is not causing allergic reactions. Always check with your veterinarian before adding table scraps to your pets diet.