Pet Resources

Dogs

  • Dog Care Guide (BC SPCA)
  • New Dog Checklist
  • Dog Training

    A well-trained dog is an amazing companion and essential for a happy and safe relationship with your dog. It’s important to remember that training happens every day and every time you interact with your dog.

    If you’re bringing home a new puppy, training can begin at 7-8 weeks of age; if you’re bringing home an adult dog, your training regimen will depend on what the dog already knows. Basic commands and house training should be the priority.

    If you’re new to having a dog, seek out professional trainers who can help you. A well-trained, socialized dog will be a pet you can enjoy while at home and on fun adventures.

    Here are the basic commands your dog should be trained in:

    • Come. Having good recall is one of the most important commands that your dog should know.
    • Down: A good position if you want your dog to stay in place for a while. (This is more comfortable than sitting)
    • Sit: Useful when you’re brushing teeth, giving medication or attaching a leash.
    • Stay
    • Wait

    You will also want to train your dog to walk well while on a leash. Many dogs tug when on a leash but training and no-pull harnesses can help you reach the point of loose-leash walking.

  • Dog Supplies

    Owning a pet requires providing more than food and water. Although not all of these items are considered essential, this is a list of supplies you will want to acquire.

  • Dog Grooming

    Dogs should be washed every two to three months but double-coated breeds may need to be bathed more often. All dogs should have a weekly brushing, although some long-haired or shedding dogs may require more attention than that. Regular baths do more than just remove dirt, they also help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Bathing reduces clogged pores, dry skin and itchiness.

    When you’re grooming your dog don’t forget to wipe around the eyes and in the ears and nails should be trimmed every 2-4 weeks.  Don’t forget to brush your dog’s teeth every day and offer dental treats regularly to keep your pets smile shiny and white.

  • Dog Feeding & Care

    All pets require a well-balanced diet, and for dogs, this includes:

    • A nutritional, commercially produced dog food that matches your dog’s life stage and size. Foods are available for puppies, senior dogs, large breed, small breed, etc. “Homemade” diets don’t provide all of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for your pet’s health.
    • But make sure that people food and treats are no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
    • Clean, fresh water.

    How much to feed:

    • Read the label on the food and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to how much to feed and how often
    • Puppies will need to eat more often than adult dogs. Large, deep-chested dogs should have smaller meals to avoid bloat.
    • General guidelines for feeding is as follows:
      • 8-12 weeks old, 4 meals a day
      • 3-6 months old, 3 meals a day
      • 6-12 months old, 2 meals a day
      • 12+ months old, 1-2 meals a day
      • Large dogs, 2-3 small meals a day

Birds

  • Bird Care Guide
  • New Bird Checklist
  • Bird Feeding & Care

    Feeding & Care:

    Although a popular pet, bird care and feeding isn’t as well known as dogs and cats. They may be very different from other pets but the same basic rules apply.  Like all pets, birds need a nutritional diet that suits their unique needs. They also need love and attention in order to live an enriched life. 

    • The best option for food is pelleted bird food. Commercially produced bird foods contain the nutrients your bird needs to live a long and healthy life and are less messy than seeds. You can also treat your bird with fresh fruit or vegetables.
    • Make sure your bird’s cage is the proper size and that it’s kept clean. Ensure it’s in a location with a comfortable temperature, no drafts or direct sunlight. 
    • When it comes to playtime, make sure your bird has toys in the cage. These include bells, mirrors and hanging toys. Your bird might also enjoy hopping from one perch to another.

    Grooming:

    Grooming a bird  refers to clipping the wing feathers and trimming the claws (nails). If you’re a new bird parent or have no experience in these areas, a veterinarian can perform this service. Birds also groom themselves, which is called preening. The bird uses the beak to position feathers, clean plumage and check for parasites.

    Supplies:

    Supplies for your pet bird including the following:

    • Properly sized cage or habitat
    • Nutrional food
    • Millet spray and other treats
    • Millet holder
    • Perches and toys
    • Food and water dishes
    • Litter or paper for the cage bottom
    • Mineral blocks

    Training:

    Birds are very intelligent, and with patience and practice you can train your bird a variety of tricks. It’s an excellent way to bond with your bird so give some of these a try. 

    • Train your bird to step up onto your finger. 
    • House-training your bird.
    • Teaching your bird to talk.
    • Wiki How has an excellent article outlining the steps for each of these. https://www.wikihow.com/Train-Your-Bird#:~:text=Positive%20reinforcement%20is%20very%20helpful,you%20give%20it%20to%20him.&text=Your%20bird%20may%20mistake%20your,and%20bite%20them%20on%20accident.

Cats

  • Cat Care Guide (BC SPCA)
  • New Cat Checklist
  • Cat Training

    It’s a well-established notion that cats aren’t generally trainable. They may not sit and stay like a dog would, but they do get used to routines and can be trained to sit in place for their daily treats and meals.

    Of course, for indoor cats, the most important training is to use the litter box.  Many cats will go to a litter box instinctually once shown where it is.  However, some cats are more particular.  If you’re having issues with your cat using the litter box, consider these factors:

    • Make sure you keep the litter box clean
    • Maybe your cat doesn’t like the litter. Try other options like clay or plant-based.
    • Maybe your cat doesn’t like the litter box. Some cats prefer covered litter boxes for more privacy
    • Location, location, location. Try different places in the house until you find one that your cat likes
    • Maybe it’s a medical issue. Check with your vet; urinary blockages are very serious in cats and may need immediate attention.
  • Cat Supplies

    Owning a pet requires providing more than food and water. Although not all of these items are considered essential, this is a list of supplies you will want to acquire.

  • Cat Grooming

    Even though cats groom themselves, they benefit from regular grooming from their human.  Because there are so many varieties of cats with different lengths and textures of fur, grooming needs differ from one cat to another.

    • Short-haired cats: Brush weekly to remove loose hair and reduce the chance of hairballs
    • Long-haired cats: Brush daily to reduce tangles and matting
    • Cats naturally shed their claws, but regular nail trims are still encouraged to keep your cat’s claws from becoming too sharp.
  • Cat Feeding & Care

    All pets require a well-balanced diet, and for cats, this includes:

    • A nutritional, commercially produced cat food that matches your cat’s life stage and health. Some cats are susceptible to urinary issues and there are functional foods available to combat some health issues.  “Homemade” diets don’t provide all of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for your pet’s health.
    • Indoor cats are prone to obesity and it’s best not to offer them table scraps at all. Instead purchase commercially produced treats meant specifically for cats.
    • Clean, fresh water. Cats prefer to drink from moving water and cat fountains may encourage them to drink more, helping them to stay hydrated and helping to avoid urinary issues.

    How much to feed:

    • Read the label on the food and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to how much to feed and how often. Indoor cats can easily become overweight when they don’t get enough exercise so watch their weight carefully and be sure you’re serving the correct amount.
    • General guidelines for feeding is as follows:
      • Kittens, 3-6 meals a day
      • Adult cats, 2-3 meals a day

Fish

  • Goldfish Care Guide
  • Aquatic Plant Basics
  • Tetra Care Guide
  • Corydora Care Guide
  • Tropica Aquarium and Plant Guide
  • Freshwater Aquarium Care Guide
  • Betta Care Guide
  • New Fish Checklist
  • Fish Feeding & Care

    Feeding & Care:

    Becoming an aquarist is a rewarding hobby. Fish are known for their grace and striking colors. Here are some tips to help you get started but be sure to reach out to experts for more information and advice.

    • There are two main types of fish, freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater fish are easier to care for but saltwater fish are more colorful. Freshwater fish are found in rivers and streams while saltwater fish live in the ocean. In general, freshwater fish can only survive in freshwater and saltwater fish can only survive in saltwater. 
    • You will need a fish tank, and choosing the right size is important. The size of tank needs to be large enough to support the number and size of fish you have, but a larger tank won’t need to be cleaned as often.  A good rule to follow is one gallon of water for every inch of fish.  And remember, pet stores often sell baby fish so be prepared for them to grow. Be careful when you choose the location of the tank. If placed in direct sunlight it will be a perfect place for algae to grow. Also consider how much room you have in your house and how heavy the entire set up will be. 
    • Now that you have your tank, it’s time to set it up! Here are the key factors you will need to consider:
      • Filtration keeps the water safe and eliminates some of the work you need to do
      • Saltwater fish need a heater to keep the water warm. Freshwater fish aren’t as particular
      • Decor is the fun part. You can add substrates, plants, ornaments, etc but remember to choose items that are made for aquariums so your fish stay safe
      • Choose lighting that will make your decor and fish even more impressive
      • Create a cleaning schedule and do light cleaning every few days and a water swap each week
    • Once you’ve added fish to your tank, learn how they behave and be aware of changes to their behaviour and how they look. Keeping healthy fish means being vigilant and reacting if you see something different. The most common reason for illness in fish is parasites. They can also get fungal, bacterial or viral infections. To prevent health issues in your fish, quarantine any ill fish, provide high-quality food, and ensure the water is clean and follow a regular cleaning schedule.
    • Feeding your fish presents a whole other list of options. Dry food is the most popular type of food because it doesn’t spoil and is cost-effective. Dry fish food is available in flakes, pellets, sticks and wafers. Flakes are the most popular and you can find flakes for nearly every type of fish. The type of food you choose will depend on your preference and the type of fish you have.

    Grooming:

    Fish generally self-groom by shedding scales and lime as needed but they can also get skin conditions under some circumstances.  Although you don’t need to groom your fish, you should always monitor how they look and act to make sure they’re happy and healthy. 

    Supplies:

    Supplies for your aquarium include:

    • Aquarium
    • Decorations and plants 
    • fishnet
    • heater
    • algae scrubber
    • lid
    • light
    • water test kits
    • stand
    • water conditioner
    • substrate
    • gravel vacuum
    • food
    • fish that are suitable to your budget and lifestyle

    Training:

    There may be doubters, but fish can be trained and it’s a wonderful bonding experience for both of you. There are many resources online about how to teach your fish to be hand fed, push a ball around and swim through a hoop.

     

     

Reptiles

  • Snake Care Sheet
  • Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
  • New Reptile Checklist
  • Reptile Care & Feeding

    Feeding & Care:

    Reptiles  like frogs, snakes, lizards and turtles are becoming more popular as pets but many people have no idea how to take care of them. They’re actually quite easy to look after, are quiet and don’t smell. Here are some key things to know if you’re planning to get a reptile pet.

    • Check with any laws in your community. Not all reptiles are allowed to be, or meant to be, pets.
    • Feeding a reptile includes offering a commercially manufactured food made specifically for your type of reptile and/or offering dead rats or mice. These can be bought frozen. Lizards are omnivores and need a variety of foods in their diet including fruit, vegetables and crickets. 
    • Always have fresh, clean water available.
    • When it’s time to create a habitat for your reptile, there are a variety of sizes and styles available. Reptiles live in terrariums or vivariums and must be an adequate size and escape-proof. Commercial terrariums are made especially for reptiles and are also heat and moisture-resistant. 
    • The habitat will require ornaments like plants and rock, plus reptiles like to hide and will need hideouts to give them security.
    • Reptiles will shed their skin as they grow and it’s important to remove old skins from their space. Also check their feet to make sure all of the old skin is removed.
    • The habitat will require daily light cleaning.  Remove old skins and waste and do a wipe down if needed. Weekly cleaning includes washing all decor, changing bedding and washing feeding dishes.

    Grooming:

    Reptiles generally don’t need any grooming except for the occasional nail trim. You can learn to do this yourself, or ask your vet to take care of it.

    Supplies

    Supplies for your reptile include the following:

    • terrarium
    • lighting
    • heating
    • thermometer
    • hygrometer
    • substrate/bedding
    • decor
    • food

    Training:

    Training your pets can be a lot of fun, but requires a lot of patienceLizards are not known for being especially trainable, but some can learn to walk with leash and harness. It is important that your pet be comfortable being handled.  This is a good thing when you need to give medication or if your pet has to visit the vet. Some reptiles are more aggressive than others and some will bite. Before you start handling your pet, make sure you understand its behaviour. It’s also good to wear gloves to avoid any bites. For lizards, never pick it up by the tail because it causes discomfort. When handling snakes, make sure you understand the breed and behaviour. And if your snake ever attempts to bite, or is struggling when you hold it, return it to the enclosure. 

     

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