Sunday, May 23, 2010

Worlds Luckiest Rat

Meet Remy the rat.

The following story is true! It will be both Sad and Happy and if you have a sort of sick sense of humor and get puns then Funny too.

There were originally two rats in the store. They came in very small and to be used as food for pet snakes. (yes it's an unfortunate fact of working at a pet store that some animals are there for food). They were with us month after month and grew bigger and bigger.

One day we were having a little fun and started naming the animals after Disney characters. The rats had become very friendly with us and so we named them too. They became Remy and Emile named after the brothers in Ratatouille. They were with us for quite a while after they got their names and you could tell them apart even though they looked alot a like. Remy was more curious and would climb up on his house to get attention. Emile was more shy and would hide in his house but once you got him out he would love the attention too.

Well the unfortunate day came when someone bought them for their pet snake. If I had been there I would have hid them in the back but I wasn't and off they went. Well as they had been with us for a long time the snake could only eat one and Emile was then unlucky one. The snake however was way too full to even think about munching on Remy. The snake owner brought Remy back to the store and we put him in the back.

Our manager (who also had become rather attached to Remy and Emile) decided that Remy would not have to go through that again and we would adopt him out. Well adoption weekend after adoption weekend went by and Remy stayed with us. Well Last week someone came in who had another pet rat and after meeting Remy took him home as a play mate for her rat.

Congratulation Remy on your new home.

P.S. ... In case you didn't get the sick humor part several people I told this story too thought it was funny that the one that got eaten was Emile (A meal). Get it???

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dangerous Toys

When cricket was a puppy he was an avid chewer. His favorite "chew toy" was the bushes that were around the yard where we lived in Arkansas. Despite any attempt to change his behavior he continued to pull those bushes out of the ground and chew them to pieces.

The final straw came on the Morning of the BLOOD SOAKED living room. I woke up one morning to find my living room looking like one of the crime scenes from CSI. Blood was splashed everywhere! I thought for sure the dog had had enough of Boot's sneak attacks and killed him. Then I heard a God awful noise coming from behind the couch and there was Cricket throwing up blood. I called the vet and took him over immediately and it turns out the my bush whacking dog had swallowed a piece of wood and had gotten a splinter embedded in his stomach. Well alls well that ends well Cricket is still with us I did have some major clean up to do and that of course brings us to today's topic.

Dangerous Toys

You and your dog may have very different views on what makes an excellent dog toy. Many commonly used dog toys can be quite dangerous, whether they are homemade, purchased or "found" (by your dog, usually without your knowledge). Often, the objects that dogs find most attractive are the very items that can most easily cause harm. In addition, many toys sold in pet shops and supermarkets feature small parts and decorations that fall off or can be chewed off. Such toys can choke your dog, so beware as you make your purchases, and be sure to replace toys immediately if they have parts that appear to be loosening or wearing out.

Here are details on some specific popular dog toys:


Yes that fun time doggy favorite, balls, can be hazardous to your dogs health if they are too small for the dog that is playing with them. If your dog is a slobber hound it can make the ball become slimy and slippery and it can slip down her throat and choke her. A Tennis ball is the best choice for your dog to play with because their size and fuzzy sides make them unlikely to be a choking hazard Check in your local pet store which has several different sizes to match the size of your dog.


If you choose to give your dog a bone from your kitchen, ensure it is big enough to prevent accidentally swallowing, NEVER give them poultry or rib bone that can splinter and get stuck in your dogs throat. The best bet is to buy a natural bone that is specially treated to be safe for your dog. Always supervise your dog while he is chewing a bone because bones can splinter and choke your pet, or cut the inside of her mouth and throat. If you notice he has broken the bone make sure you take it and the pieces away. If you think your dog may have ingested part of a bone, call your vet!

Stuffed Toys

If you have small children you should be avoiding stuffed toys all together. Your dog might not tell the difference between his stuffed animal and your child's. It can lead to bad feeling toward the dog is he chews up you young ones best friend. Most stuffed toys don't last long under the sharp teeth of your dog. If the toy has button eyes or other small parts that can come off, your dog can swallow choke on them. Also, even if the toy is labeled safe for children (and therefore for pets) the stuffing inside can be another choking hazard and possible intestinal problem if your dog swallows the cotton stuffing.

Rawhide Chews

While your dog loves to chew this stuff, it may not be good for her health. Depending on the quality of the rawhide and your dog's enthusiasm, larger pieces can break off and be swallowed, getting stuck in the intestines and causing blockages. This is especially true in puppies who should never EVER be given rawhide. In addition, if you have ever pick up a well chewed piece of rawhide you'll know it can get soft and slick at this point is can become a choking hazzard. Be careful which Rawhide you chose those not made in North America may have chemical residues that can be harmful to your dog's health. If your dog just can't part with her rawhide then choose the one that are chipped or compressed which will help avoid the broken pieces. The least you can do is make sure that you buy one that is the appropriate size for you dog, and always supervise your dog when he's enjoying a rawhide chew. When the size of the rawhide gets small enough that he can put the entire piece in his mouth, it is time to throw it away in order to avoid accidental ingestion.

When providing toys for your dog:

  • Purchase only pet-safe or child-safe toys. Ensure that the label is clearly marked with those designations and visually inspect the toy for small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Be certain that all toys are sturdy and securely sewn together, and replace any toys with parts that look loose or damaged.
  • Avoid toys that have ribbons, feathers, strings, eyes or other small parts that could fall off, be removed, chewed, and/or eaten.
  • Do not allow the dog to play with any object that could easily be swallowed.
  • Use nothing smaller than a ping-pong ball as a dog toy to avoid the possibility of her choking on it.
  • Avoid toys with sharp parts or corners.
  • Consider soft, stuffed toys, which should be machine washable. Check labels for child safety; a stuffed toy labeled as safe for children under three years old cannot contain dangerous fillings.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Small Animal Saturday

How do I catch a escaped hamster?

Most times a hamster will come back to their cage on their own. Place the cage open on the floor (with a supply of fresh food), near its usual location. Leave it over night since Hamsters are nocturnal. Then check in the morning for your little runaway.

If this doesn't work you can try locating you little one by setting up a small pile of counted sunflower seeds in each room. Then count them in the morning. If he is still around he will be drawn to the food. Once you have narrowed down the room try setting up his home in there and wait once again. If you like you can wait up (you have to be very quiet) to close the door behind your hammy or check back in the morning to see if he is home.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bringing Home Baby

It amazes me how many people come into my work totally unprepared for the new pet they have brought into their lives. You should never bring home a pet based on the "AWWWWW Isn't he cute" factor. Here are some tips to help you get ready and then introduce your new family member in a way that makes those first exciting days go more smoothly.

1. Do your homework. This can be as easy as a trip to your local library. By reading about your new pet ahead of time you will be better prepared for the unexpected.

2. Ask The Experts Its always good to find others that either sell or own the pet your interested in. A good "Expert" will be able to discuss care and feeding, how long they will live, size, personality and possible health issues. This information will help you decide if in the long run you have picked the right pet.

3. Prepare for his arrival. Purchase all the food and supplies you need before you bring home your new pet. The basics will be different for different pets and your Expert can help you be prepared.

4. Pet-proof your home. If you are picking a pet that will have free range of your home make sure you to thoroughly pet proof his new surroundings. Make sure plants, especially those that may be toxic, are out of his reach. Also, don't let him near medicines, power cords cleaning products or standing water (like bathtubs and toilets).

5. Introduce your family slowly. Your new pet should meet family members one at a time. Some types of pets will be a one person pet and some will just be there for looks think lizards, some birds, spiders etc.

6. Provide regular veterinarian visits. There is a vet out there for every type of pet. A yearly check up will help insure you pet is healthy and you will know who to call if there is an emergency.

7. Groom your pet often. Many pets require regular grooming to look and feel their best, start basic grooming early, preferably on the day you bring her home, so she gets used to you handling her regularly. For the hairy breeds the grooming is much the same.

  • Brush and comb her fur weekly to help control mats and hairballs.
  • Brush her teeth twice a week to prevent tartar buildup, which can lead to other health problems. Be sure to use a toothpaste made for pets and not humans.
  • Trim her claws once a week with clippers designed for your pet, carefully avoiding the sensitive base of the nail.
  • Wipe her eyes and the insides of her ears with a damp cloth or cotton ball, looking for any excess grime, which could indicate illness.

8. Play with her daily. This obviously depends on your choice of pets, you will not need to play with some of them at all.

9. Give your pet a Bath Cats and dogs benefit from regular Baths it helps keep their fur smelling nice, gets rid of excess hair that can matte up and gets rid of cat dander to help visitors who might have allergies.

10. Never feed her human food. Avoid giving your pet" people food". Adding human food treats to your pet's diet may cause her to gain too much weight or become ill.

Now that your ready go bring home that new family member and enjoy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know it's Pet Cancer Awareness Month. With our beloved friends living longer they are becoming susceptible to some of the same ravages of time that we are. Blue Buffalo is one of the Brands we sell over at the pet store and they are raising money to fight Animal Cancer. From their website on Pet Cancer Awareness I got these Pet Cancer Facts to share with you.

1. Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease-related pet
deaths each year.

Source: Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center
2. Cancer is the #1 natural cause of death in older pets.
Source: Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center
3. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
4. One in four dogs die of cancer.
5. Over 50% of the dogs over age 10 will die of cancer.
6. Just like in humans, cancer can occur in virtually any part
of your dog's body.

7. Approximately 1 in 4 dogs develops a tumor of some kind
during his lifetime.

8. The cause of cancer in pets, just like people, is largely unknown.
Source: Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center
9. Common risks of obesity in pets include many forms of cancer.

I have also included some videos over on the left about Pet Cancer sponsored by Betty White.

It was cancer that finally got to my friend Fitzs at 18 years old and I miss him terribly.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cute Pics From the Pet Shop

He is just a sound sleeper he is not dead. Just thought I should mention.

Welcome to another edition of Small Animal Saturday!

Today we are once again going to talk about Hamsters.... Why? Because I got some really cute pictures this week at work and want to share. Also got a call from a customer who was concerned about her hamster's behavior.

On the phone the customer was worried because her hamster wasn't using his house and instead was moving all the bedding into his wheel and sleeping there.
This is perfectly normal hamster behavior. They are going to pick a spot they like and don't really care how cute or how expensive it is. They are rather like small children in this regard who would rather play with the big card board box instead of the over priced toy that came in the box. I explained that the hamster probably felt safer in the enclosed space of the wheel and as he got use to his new surroundings he would probably pick some where else.....then again maybe not!
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