Keeping your outdoor cat healthy

All cats are different. Some of our feline friends can’t get enough of the great outdoors and some are practically glued to their spot on the couch! There are many benefits to having an outdoor cat, and also some risks, but we want to make sure your cat is happy and healthy wherever they enjoy spending their time.

We’ve put together some factors to give you more information about how to take care of your outdoor cats’ health.

Benefits

More to explore – Being outdoors gives your cat the opportunity to experience a different and exciting environment with lots to do, and the stimulation of new sensations provides a great mental workout.

Natural Instincts –  Allowing your cat to spend time outside with nature keeps it more alert and can express more predatory characteristics than indoors, they are hunt and stalk small rodents or birds as an activity, which will also keep unwanted rodents at bay.

Exercise – Being outdoors keeps cats active, as they aren’t space restricted as they would be indoors. When hunting they chase and pounce, and leap from ledge to post.

Personal Space – When our homes get busy and noisy, it is ideal for cats to be able to have unrestricted access in and out of the home so they can have their own space to escape to. Our Staywell® Magnetic 4 Way Locking Classic Cat Flap gives your cat the freedom to come and go as they please without letting in other unwanted animals.

Outdoor risks

Injury –  It is no surprise that with more space comes more hazards. Busy roads are a huge risk to a cat’s safety, especially through the night and on quiet country roads which have very few cars passing through. Cats can also be injured by other cats or dogs that fight over territories in the area.

Diseases and parasites – Outdoor cats are more susceptible to becoming infected by contact with other cats and other environmental risks. This can also lead into infestation of fleas and ticks, which can nest in grass and other outdoor environments.

Getting lost – If your cat wanders too far from your home it may be picked up as a stray by neighbours, which could result in being taken in by another family or handed into an animal charity.

Prevent risks

Vaccinate – Before your cat goes outdoors, be sure to be up to date with vaccinations and spay or neuter, discuss the matter fully with your vet which vaccines your cat needs and how often they should be given. Keep in mind to regularly check for fleas and provide medicine if there is an ongoing case.

Identification – An identified cat is a safer cat; microchips are the most permanent source of identification so make sure it is up to date to give your cat the best chance at being returned if they go missing. A collar with an ID tag is also a quick and easy way to show others that your pet has a home and makes it easy to contact you.

Routine – For ease for you and your pets, get them into the routine of going out during the day, so they can come back in at night. That way they are out when roads are less busy and are ready to settle down in the evening when you are home.

Containment – If you have reservations about letting your cat explore without constraint consider constructing an outdoor run to provide more space to roam, or a high fence to keep them within the garden.

So whether your feline friend is an intrepid explorer or a home-bird, PetSafe® are here to provide all you need to know about your outdoor cat’s health.

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Filed under Cats, General, Pet Health, Pets

Is your dog getting outside enough?

Walking and taking your dog out for a bathroom trip are daily routines that many owners set in place from very early on with their pups. But are we doing enough? There are many characteristics, from breed to age, which vary how long your dog should be spending exercising and how often they should be let out for potty breaks.

WALKS

Puppies need a significantly less amount of exercise than fully-grown dogs, as their joints are still developing, and over-exercising can damage those joints leading to arthritis. A good estimate is based on their age, giving 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, for example 20 minutes exercise for a 4 month old puppy.

Once your pup is fully grown, their breed plays a big part in the frequency of their walks. High energy breeds need more exercise, whereas smaller types require less exercise. The following list will give a better idea of the recommended amount for each breed type:

  • Gundog – Retriever, Spaniel, Pointers and Setters need more than  two hours exercise daily
  • Terrier- Jack Russell, Border Terrier and Welsh Terrier need up to one hour daily
  • Toy- Chihuahua, Pug, Bichon Frise need up to 30 minutes daily
  • Utility- Dalmatian, Shih Tzu, Bulldog need up to one hour daily
  • Working- Doberman, Boxer, Siberian Husky need over two hours daily

TOILET BREAKS

The frequency that you should let your pup out to urinate depends again on age and overall health. A average healthy dog will produce around 15 ml of urine for each pound of body weight per day, so follow the pointers for how your pups bladder will change through time:

  • Puppy- At 2 months old your puppy will need to go out every 30 minutes, backed up with a puppy pad indoors to work on reducing the number of accidents. At 3 months they will still need to go out every hour or two.
  • Adult dog- Size will affect how often your adult dog will need to urinate; larger dogs need at least 3 toilet breaks a day, whereas smaller dogs will likely need 4 or 5 breaks a day. This is most important after waking up and after meal times.
  • Senior dog- Older dogs are more likely to have illnesses such as kidney disease or diabetes which leads to more frequent urination, so make sure they’re able to relieve themselves every 2-3 hours. As dogs age they may experience incontinence which can be helped by medication prescribed by the vet, but some older pups have no problems with continuing to go out 4 or 5 times daily.

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Filed under Dogs, Pet Health, Pets

To fetch or not to fetch? The safety of sticks

Throwing sticks whilst out on a walk is a very common activity for many dog walkers. Pooches chase after them and love carrying them along, a majority of the time without any consequences. Recently, however, the British Veterinary Association and animal charity Dog’s Trust have warned that there are possibilities of serious injuries caused by playing fetch.

There are two main issues that can come from your pup chasing after a stick.

In some cases the stick can point out and cause nasty penetrative wounds, into the mouth or neck as the dog is approaching it at a high speed and unable to stop in time.

There are other cases where splinters or shards of stick can flake off and become embedded or lodged in the mouth or throat, infection is a common outcome due to the bacteria found in the wood but these are less easy to spot and can sit dormant until other symptoms arise such as a swollen jaw or lack of appetite.

In the most severe cases this can be fatal, or cause serious injuries, but are very rare. A specialist hospital that see serious cases reported that they see two to three referrals a month.

The easiest way to discourage your pup from seeing a stick as a toy is by training otherwise, using positive reinforcement when they use a more appropriate toy when out on a walk. Why not replace a dirty twig with our Busy Buddy® Waggle™, with a peanut butter treat inside to give them a safe and yummy alternative!

There is no greater pleasure than taking your canine companion on an engaging and safe outdoor walk and with such a wide range of substitutes on the market, your pup can be treated to something safer than a stick.

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Filed under Dogs, General, Pet Health, Pets