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Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Win with Nat Geo Wild & A Pet's Life!

    In celebration of #BigCatWeek, the National Geographic Channel are having an awesome competition especially for your little cat! The #NGWCoolCat competition is really easy to enter and the prize is quite possibly the coolest kitty hamper ever - valued at over R6000!

    Win this hamper!

    All you have to do to enter is visit the National Geographic Channel's Facebook Page...

    and then... all you need to do to win is:

    1. Upload a picture or video of your beautiful ball of fluff in the comment section of the #‎NGWCoolCat‬ Competition post (at the top of their page) or on their Facebook wall. 2. Tell them his or her name. 3. Tell them what makes your cat the most pawesome cat in the world!

    Winner to be announced on 21 February 2015 at 12:00 CAT. Terms & Conditions apply >>>

    So enter as soon as you can - there's not much time left!

    To see a full product list of the items included as well as descriptions - visit our Facebook Page.

    Sincere thanks to Stephen of Stephen C Photography for taking the beautiful hamper photo for us!

  • Top 10 mistakes that dog owners make

    This article has been taken from Go South Online and is written by Taryn Blyth


    Having worked with dogs and owners for so many years I have seen common patterns emerging as far as problem behaviour is concerned. While I believe that qualified trainers and behaviourists are making much headway in owner education through puppy classes and other services which give owners a chance to learn the true facts about dog behaviour, there is unfortunately still a lot of misinformation out there and a fair amount of ignorance when it comes to certain matters.

    Below I address some of the common causes of behaviour problems that people contact me about and which are, in my opinion, mistakes that could very easily have been avoided with some good advice before the dog or dogs were acquired. Although my approach here may be fairly blunt, my intention is not to pick on dog owners who have made these mistakes, but to try and prevent others from making the same mistakes.

    1. Getting siblings or any two puppies at the same time – This is a scenario fraught with potential problems. Trying to properly train and socialise one puppy is a full time job, doing so with two is just about impossible. Aside from this, the likelihood of conflict or of one puppy inhibiting the full potential of the other pup is very high. Oddly, most puppy schools charge ½ price for the 2nd pup if two attend from the same family (I do this as well), but I am starting to think we should charge double for the 2nd puppy just to put people off getting two at once!

    behaviour2. Acquiring a dog as a young puppy, but only training it once it is a teenager – Many people wait until their dogs are teenage hooligans before they start any kind of training and socialising(usually 6-8 months is when the wheels fall off and people are desperate for help). By this stage the dog is too old for puppy class and if the dog has not yet been socialised bringing him into a class with other dogs is likely to be difficult. From 6 months to 18 months is usually the most difficult time in a dog’s life and without a good early foundation of training and socialising things are made so much harder.

    3. Choosing a dog breed because of its looks or how rare it is – It appears that some people view their dogs as a kind of fashion statement and so spend a fortune buying a dog that looks pretty or that no one else has ever heard of simply to get one-up on their neighbours and friends. Little thought is given to the type of dog they are bringing into their homes or whether they will be able to fulfil its needs. There is little worse than seeing a family struggle with a healthy, normal dog simply because the dog has been placed in a home or environment to which it is totally unsuited. Probably one of the breeds suffering the most in this way these days are Siberian Huskies (and Alaskan Malamutes for that matter). Due to their attractive “wolf-like” appearance many unsuitable people are drawn to these dogs and foolishly try to keep them in small backyards with little social interaction, exercise and training. Our shelters are seeing an increase in Husky-type dogs and they can be very difficult to rehabilitate and re-home due to their ability to escape from just about anywhere and their great need for exercise and entertainment.

    4. Rescuing or acquiring too many dogs – Dogs are social animals that usually very much enjoy the company of other canines, but they are not animals that live in close cooperative relationships. Not all dogs want to constantly be surrounded by other dogs. Many well-meaning people adopt dog after dog from rescue shelters and expect all the dogs to magically get along fine. The more personalities that are added to the household (and the more baggage they bring with them) the more likely it is that at some point at least one dog is going to start taking strain emotionally or finding it hard to live with one or more of the other dogs. While it is nice to want to provide homes for dogs that need them, bringing a dog into a home where it is constantly stressed or where it places strain on dogs already in the home is very unfair. When taking on a new dog the impact this will have on resident dogs must always be carefully considered.

    burmese5. Leaving children and dogs unsupervised – Children should NEVER be left alone with dogs, regardless of how wonderful the dog is. Accidents happen and a child may fall on a sleeping dog, resulting in a nip which may be a very gentle warning, but which may still cause the child to be terribly upset and therefore place the poor dog in a bad light. Children often do not pick up warning signals (dog looking uncomfortable, freezing or growling) and so will often continue to harass a dog to a point where it would be unfair to expect the dog not to react. At the very least, if an incident does occur it is vital that there is a witness so that one knows what provoked the nip and what needs to be done to make sure it does not happen again.

    6. Using children as an excuse to avoid training or managing a dog properly – Many harassed mothers complain that they find it difficult to house train or chew-toy train a puppy, because their children interfere or don’t cooperate. They often ask for a short-cut that will magically make the puppy perfect without any real work or management. Such a short-cut does not exist and the only solution is to ensure that children in the home obey the rules. This is not a dog problem, but a parenting problem!

    7. Expecting small children to train the family dog – Young children find it hard to follow instructions properly. They usually lack coordination and their timing is poor. They also get frustrated when things don’t happen at once and tend to become rough with the puppy fairly quickly (not intentional, but small children do not have a well-developed sense of empathy and cannot understand how their actions affect others). While well-behaved children are an asset to any puppy class (they assist with socialisation) they are not capable of training a dog or puppy properly. This is the parents’ responsibility.

    8. Not walking dogs that live on large properties – Just because a dog lives in a large property does not mean that the dog will get sufficient exercise. Many dogs in this situation will simply find a spot to lie close to the house during the day and are often extremely bored and lonely. Many dogs in such situations also miss out on adequate socialisation and so develop aggression problems towards people or other dogs. I have come across many instances where the family ends up moving to a smaller home and then decide to walk the dogs, at which point they find the dogs to be very uncooperative in this regard (no leash training and anti-social with other dogs).

    9. Deliberately refusing to socialise a puppy in order to make it a good guard dog – Creating a positive associations with other people is one of the main aims of puppy class. This is vital to prevent aggression towards humans (which is often a death sentence for dogs). If you do not want your dog to be comfortable around other people you will have to keep your dog on your property at all times, you will have to lock him away when visitors arrive and you will never be able to let your dog off the lead on walks. Your dog will also likely be so afraid of people that it will be unable to bulldogstand up to a threat and will run away if it is ever actually needed to protect you or your home.

    10. Getting a purebred puppy without seeing the parents (or at least the mother) or despite the fact that one of the parents has a fear or aggression problem – While the way we raise our dogs does strongly influence how they turn out, genetics and the early environment influenced by the mother also impact on a dog’s temperament. Fearfulness is a heritable trait and an anxious mother is likely to have puppies that mature into dogs with poor coping skills. It amazes me how often people have absolutely no idea what their puppy’s parents were like (obviously this cannot be helped with rescued dogs) or they are in fact aware that one of them had less than idea temperament, yet still took one of the puppies!

  • The itchy & scratchy show...

    Two categories of pet allergies: There are primarily two types of allergies found in pets: food allergies and environmental allergies.

    itchingIf your pet gets itchy during spring, summer or autumn, they're probably reacting to seasonal, environmental allergens. But if symptoms continue year-round, it's more likely that the sensitivity is due to something more constant in his/her environment; or to something in his/her diet. If you live in an area that doesn't experience frost in the winter, environmental allergens can build up and cause year-round issues for your pet.

    Signs that your pet has allergies: In pets with allergies, the skin becomes very itchy and they start scratching excessively. They may bite or chew at their feet or do their best to reach other areas by rubbing against furniture or carpets.

    As the itch-scratch cycle continues, skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch. Other signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing. Hot spots can also develop in dogs (hot spots are rarely seen in cats).

    What can you do? It is always best to check with your vet - even if you think you are certain that allergies are the problem, your vet must rule out all other possibilities. But - also remember - a lot of people might immediately want to put your pet on cortisone - cortisone has a number of very serious side effects and may even reduce the life span of your fur-kid if used long term. As a short term solution, there is definitely a place for it, but consider alternatives if your pet needs a long term solution. There are a number of alternative options available and natural foods can sometimes alleviate the whole problem.

    We have quite  list of goodies here at A Pet's Life that might help your little fur-kid:

    Orijen Six Fish Cat Orijen Six Fish Dog Bio-Groom Hypo-allergenic So Gentle Shampoo Bio-Groom Hypo-allergenic So Gentle Creme Rinse (Conditioner) Earth Pets Hot Spot Blend Earth Pets Skin Soothing Blend The Herbal Pet Allergy Formula Rooibos & Chamomile Infused Oil PetAlive Allergy Itch Ease Bio-Groom Natural Oatmeal Anti Itch Shampoo Bio-Groom Natural Oatmeal Anti Itch Creme Rinse Regal Skin Healing Spray Regal Skin Care Biscuits Regal Skin Care Remedy Acana Cat Food Acana Dog Food

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A Pet's Life Online Shop is South Africa's original online pet products and accessories store. First going live in 2006, we have brought you only the best cat and dog products. We also sell dog food, cat food, treats, pet training aids, gadgets, plush toys, travel accessories and more.

Offering a personal touch, A Pet's Life only offers products that we would use ourselves with our own pets and constantly updates our range of goodies. So keep checking in to see the latest cat and dog products in South Africa.