Preparing Your Pet for the Cooler Weather

We originally posted this during the rainy end of last summer as it gave way to fall. While the weather is a little warmer this time around, the information that it brings is perfect for making sure that your pets are ready for the Fall because like it or not, cooler weather is right around the corner.

dog-fallIt’s not even the end of August, yet people are walking around with jackets and sweatpants. Let’s be real — it’s been a bit nippy outside lately. It’s not just rainy, it’s now rainy and cool. What gives, Mother Nature?

As much as I’d like summer to stick around another couple of months, Ketchum Mfg. is located in upstate NY. And of course, upstate NY is definitely not the warmest spot in the U.S. We can basically kiss summer goodbye at this point.

And of course, as the cooler weather starts to creep in, it means you need to follow different pet care protocol. Here are 5 tips for preparing your pet for the cooler weather.

Go to The Vet

It seems like this is something you get told at the start of every season, right? Well that’s because it’s the truth! Pets need a routine check up. You know how when the temperatures start to dip, humans tend to get sick? The same thing can happen to your pet. If your pet was fine without a checkup last year, it doesn’t mean that’s okay for this year.

Stay Extra Alert

For many American workers, the summer is a symbol of an easier work routine (a.k.a. “summer hours”). This usually means you’re around for your pet much more often. So when you get back to the normal routine in the fall, your pet may experience separation anxiety. They may start acting abnormally (chewing on household items is usually an issue). When you are around, look for changes in your pet’s personality.

Fall is also the time that decorations and holiday goodies start to come out. Keep your pets away from Halloween candy, Christmas lights & tinsel, etc.

Brushing

Noticing the start of a lot of shedding? At the end of the summer, pets tend to shed so that they’re winter coat will come in. Brush your pet regularly, as this will help to stop hair from being everywhere. If your pet is shedding heavily, you should get in touch with your vet. It can be a sign of deeper health problems.

Food

As humans, we often associate the cooler weather with hardier meals. Big holiday feasts, hot chocolate, and big bowls of soup sound familiar?

Pets aren’t the same way. Since most pets aren’t as active in the winter, they don’t need more food. In fact, they usually need less. This brings me to my next point…exercise.

Exercise

Summer is a time that pet owners can get lazy because it’s too hot to walk. Fall should be the opposite. It’s a great time to walk your pets – you won’t be dripping with sweat immediately upon walking outside. So get out there! Also remember –hydration is still important for your pet (and you as well!)

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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Tips For Choosing A First Family Pet

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Introducing a new pet to your household can provide your household with a loving companion that can teach your kids about responsibility and compassion as they and you help care for the animal. However parents, it’s important to remember that not all pets are created equal when it comes to compatibility with kids. Here are some tips that can help you select a first pet that’s suited to living with kids and won’t outgrow your home.

1. Consider Your Family’s Lifestyle

One of the most important things to first take into consideration is your family’s lifestyle as a whole when you’re choosing a pet. Is the house empty most of the day or is there someone at home throughout? If it’s empty most of the day, a puppy that needs to be taken outside multiple times might not be the most ideal choice.

2. Financial Responsibility

Any pet, big or small, requires a financial commitment from the family. Food isn’t free, and neither is healthcare for pets. That being said, some pets are much more expensive to care for and feed than others. Adopting a rescue might be a noble choice, but one that comes with preexisting health issues will also bring a slew of medical bills that might break the bank. Think about how much room there is in the family budget, and keep that in mind when you consider upkeep costs for the pet.

3. Allergies

Some pets are more aggravating to allergies than others, and living with an animal that triggers those allergies can be miserable. For example, no matter how much your child begs for a puppy or kitten, if someone in the home is allergic to pet dander, it’s just not a good idea to bring one home. However, there is a little caveat to this, there are cats and dogs that are hypoallergenic, it just takes a little research into which breeds (and how expensive they are) fall into this category.

4. Space Constraints

A small, cuddly, baby fluffball might be cute and extremely tempting to bring home, but sometimes, those cute little babies can grow up into large, unwieldy pets. An iguana might be small when you bring it home, but some can grow up to 6 feet in length! Similarly, a Great Dane might not be the best choice of canine companion for a small apartment.

Great Pyrenees being a goof ball

5. Animal Care Requirements

Every pet has certain care requirements that are non-negotiable and must be taken care of. Litter boxes need to be cleaned, dogs need to be walked, fish fed, and gerbil cages cleared. If the primary goal of owning a pet is to help introduce a level of responsibility for your kids, make sure that the animal care requirements aren’t beyond their ability to manage.

6. Be Realistic About Responsibilities

This next tip fits in with #5 above. You may have these grand ideas that your child is going to be a major participator in pet chores, however, be prepared to shoulder that burden yourself if the kids don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

7. Do Your Homework

The best way to choose a pet that will mesh well with your family is to simply do research about any type of pets that you may be considering. Don’t be swayed by the cuteness of certain baby animals, and make sure you don’t simply buy on impulse. Create a list of pet types that would be suitable for your home, and narrow down the options to find the one that will be a good fit for your family.

Also, make sure that if you get a four legged furry companion, that you have them properly identified. This will not only save you from heartache later, by making sure that they are always easily identified in case they get lost.

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Some Tips For Raising Ducks

In the past we’ve talked about raising chickens, goats, sheep, and even cows. However, there is one fowl that we haven’t talked about yet, but is a common occurrence on many farms. Of course I’m talking about ducks. Now, raising ducks is not necessarily a simple task, however, they tent to be easier to care for than other fowl and can be enjoyable to watch and tend to. So read on for our collection of tips and to-do’s when raising ducks.

Ducklings

Safety First!

One thing that is important to remember is health safety when it comes to raising ducks. Like chickens, ducks may have Salmonella germs in their dropping and on their bodies, even if they appear healthy and clean. These germs can also get on anything the duck interacts with within their habitat. Of course, this can pass on to the caretakers if they’re not careful. Always make sure that you wash your hands immediately after handling the ducks or anything in the area that they live in.

Feeding Baby Ducks

When taking care of baby ducks make sure to never feed them without water. Water helps get the food down and clean their beak vents. Always give baby ducks access to water for at least an hour before feeding and an hour after. Also, when providing them with water make sure to use a chick fountain or shallow bowl, and be prepared to clean the area often. Ducklings love to splash around in the water, which can be adorable, but also a pain in the rear once they’re done. Also when providing water make sure that it is no deeper than a quarter inch so that the ducks don’t drown.

Providing Shelter

When you have ducklings, you can’t put them into a normal shelter to protect them from predators and weather. There is a special cage you will need called a brooder. These help keep the ducklings safe and warm and can be made in the home or out of easy to get materials. For the base you can use a spare bathtub, plastic tote, dog crate, or even a sturdy cardboard box lined with plastic. Additionally, until they reach 7 to 9 weeks, you’re going to want to keep a heat lamp on the brooder to keep the ducklings warm. The reason being, before they reach that 7 to 9 week point, ducklings can’t regulate their internal temperature and need outside sources of heat to keep them alive. For the first week that the ducklings are in the brooder the temperature should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit. After that first week you will want to lower the temperature by a degree a day until the temperature is equal with the temperature outside the brooder.

What Came First? The Duck Or The Egg?

Once the ducks are old enough, and the females begin producing eggs, they can actually be used as a good replacement for chicken eggs. They’re the same as chicken eggs but are much larger and contain higher levels of protein, calcium, iron and potassium. Additionally, they’re can be useful when baking cakes, as the extra protein helps the cake to rise, and the fat content can add more richness and flavor to the bakery treat.

What are some of your tips and tricks when it comes to raising ducks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Is A Great Pyrenees The Peer For You?

Once known as the royal dog of France with their stunning white coat and imposing presence, the Great Pyrenees is considered one of the most beautiful breeds today. The Pyr is a member of the working dog family, and has a rich heritage as a flock guarding dog used in the Pyrenees mountain range that spawned its name. Today, the Great Pyrenees is a family companion and is a great dog to have around kids and other animals. However, they do require a good deal of attention and training, so the question is; Is a Great Pyrenees the peer for you?

Great Pyrenees being a goof ball

Temperament and Personality

At their best, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and very affectionate toward their family, especially with children. However, their heritage as a guard dog makes them territorial and protective. Early socialization is essential to prevent this dog from becoming overly mistrustful or fearful of change. So if you do decide on a Pyr puppy, make sure you are bringing them with you on runs and other social outings where animals are appropriate. Great Pyrenees are also extremely smart and will pick up on nuances very quickly. When training, make sure to use positive reinforcement techniques and don’t make them repeat the same actions over and over, they will get bored very quickly if you do. Don’t get frustrated though, these dogs like to push the limits and then take a few steps past them. Just be patient and firm, these dogs might be stubborn but they will listen to their humans.

Pyrs generally get along well with other household pets. They’ll ignore the harassment from smaller dogs, and will only fight as a last resort. Additionally, two mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex will not get along together as house pets.

Grooming

The Pyr has a beautiful double coat that is usually white or white with markings. They also shed year round, so prepare to have to brush them weekly for about a half hour. Outside of that, standard care as needed (clean the ears, trim the nails, and bathe when necessary).

Feeding

This might come as a surprise, but Great Pyrenees don’t need a lot of food. Because of their temperament and low metabolism, they eat as much as a Border Collie or a Sheltie would. However, you’re going to have to get the big breed food for them.

Well, we hope that this helps you out with what you’re going to have to keep in mind before deciding on these giant balls of white fur. For any ID tag or Rabies tag needs, feel free to drop by our site, we’ll be happy to help!

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Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Active This Winter

A couple weeks back, we featured Tim from Saratoga Dog Walker who was kind enough to give us a great post on how to keep your dogs happy and healthy this winter. Well, as a sequel to our canine friendly post here are our top tips for keeping your feline companions happy and healthy this winter season.

siberian

Give Your Cat Some Company

While it’s true that some cats prefer to be the only fur love of your life, many do enjoy having a companion (read: minion) to play with. This should be done slowly and carefully, to make the experience the most pleasant for all residents, humans included. While most cats are aloof and seem less emotional than humans, it doesn’t mean that they don’t get lonely.

Make Mealtime Fun For Your Cat

If your cat’s routine is eat a lot and then sleep, and proceeds to repeat that cycle all day, that is a quick path to having a Garfield level roly-poly. To avoid this, you can try hiding food around the house/apartment or in feeding toys. This will help increase your cat’s activity and help hone their hunting instincts. Additionally, the game will make them more interactive with you, and studies show that animals enjoy their food more when they have to work for it.

Don’t Forget Treat Time Also!

Try playing a game of hide and seek with a catnip or treat toy. Start off by showing them where it is and placing it somewhere the cat can see. When they get to the toy, give them a treat (or let them get the treat out of the toy), and then start the game again, as they begin to understand the game more, you can proceed to make it more difficult for them to find.

Schedule Some Playtime!

One thing that should come intuitively is playing with your cat. While tossing the catnip toy can get them going for a little bit, if you devote some time to some serious play, you’re sure to give your cat (and maybe yourself) a good workout! Try taking 10 minutes out from your evening and get on the floor with some of your cat’s favorite toys and have some fun!

 Try Teaching Them Some Tricks

Just like dogs, cats can learn some tricks as well. Simple tricks such as come, sit, fetch and stay (contrary to the cat’s opinion and personality)! Start with a treat that your cat loves and practice for around fifteen minutes a day. You may need to break up the treat into small pieces, just to limit the cat’s treat intake. Once your cat performs the desired action reward them as soon as the action is done so that they associate the reward with the command.

It’s A Jungle In There!

Another great way to keep your cat active is to pick up a cat tree for them. Cats love climbing so that they can survey their kingdom (read: your home) better. Cat trees give cats new nooks to explore and places to relax in.

Cat in cat tree

Walking Your Cat, Yes You Can Do That

As crazy as it sounds, you can actually leash train your cat. Cats love exploring and can learn to walk comfortably with a harness and leash on. It can be a long and arduous process, and you’ll have to be more stubborn than the cat to teach them, but, if your cat is curious about the outdoors, this could be a great way to introduce them to it. Just remember, if you’re cold, then they certainly are. Make sure the strolls are simple and enjoyable for the both of you. However, be prepared to get them back into warmth quickly if need be.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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