Category Archives: pet care

Russian Tortoise

One of the most popular breed in tortoise domestication is the Russian tortoise, also go by several other names like – Horsefield tortoise or Steppe tortoise etc.

They are usually found in dry climates – like deserts and grassland areas of countries like China, Iran, Russia and Pakistan. They thrive in an environment that has equal amount of daylight and darkness. They can even survive in an extreme cold condition.

Russian tortoises are reddish brown or black in color, are small sized – with a size range of 13–25 cm and have four toes. They are extremely active in nature. They don’t like enclosures and if put in one, they will try their best to escape either by digging or climbing over.

They do not eat or digest meat and are totally herbivorous. Their diet comprises of green leaves, weeds, flowers like Marshmallow, Chicory, Dandelion, English Daisy etc. Food consisting of Oxalic acid or Phytic acid are poisonous for them. They also need plenty of water.

Any deprivation of food or water can make them mentally inactive or lethargic. Though sometimes, they voluntarily aestivate (not moving for several weeks), to avoid extreme heat conditions. And during the winter period (usually from October to March), Russian tortoise go into the hibernation.

The following infographic gives you an overview about the Russian Tortoise-


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Football Foods Pets Should Stay Away From

Football fare is nearly irresistible for dogs — especially when sitting at eye-level on the coffee table— but even cats can grab a piece of the action.

Keep your pets safe during football season.

Unfortunately, furry fans who intercept game day grub are likely to catch more than they bargained for. Petplan encourages would-be revelers with pets to think carefully before serving the following:

Brew-hoo — Just like people, some animals have a taste for beer. But think twice before pouring your pet a pint: even a nip can cause fatal respiratory depression.

No bones about it — Chicken wings have especially fine bones, which can splinter easily and puncture the GI tract. Besides, the sauces are virtually guaranteed to cause an upset stomach. Be sure to keep wings out of paws reach and after bones are thrown away, take the trash out to keep pets from trying to dumpster dive.

Not fun-ion — Onion rings are doubly dangerous: onions in any form are poisonous to pets and fried foods can cause diarrhea.

(Don’t) pick ‘em — Toothpicks may make a nice presentation for appetizers, but can cause severe and potentially fatal damage to pets’ GI tracts if swallowed.

Aw, nuts! — Many nut varieties have a devastating effect on dogs’ nervous systems. Walnuts and macadamias are especially toxic and can cause vomiting, paralysis and even death.

Here are tips from Petplan veterinarians to be sure pets and people alike enjoy game day:

start with a game plan
For some pets, the temptation may simply be too great. If you know your pet is going to try to steal food from the table, put him in a separate room during the game.

watch the turnovers
When begging doesn’t work, dogs may resort to linebacker tactics: playing smart and aggressive. Especially if you have guests over for the game, encourage them to minimize the risk of fumbling food by sitting at a table or using snack trays.

the best defense is a good offense
Go for the extra point by keeping pet-friendly snacks handy for pets with hungry eyes. Better yet, go for two with a new or favorite toy to keep pets occupied during the game.

don’t leave it all on the field
Keep an eye on unattended plates and cups — and make sure to clean up promptly. Even if they’re blocked at the line of scrimmage, sufficiently motivated dogs will run the end-around without a second thought.

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The Grey-Hairs: Growing Old with Pets

Guest author Katie Kapro holds her MFA in nonfiction writing. When walking around town, she often finds herself talking to more dogs than people.

Binkie cringes when I call her dog Mick Jagger. “Mickey,” she corrects. “His name is Mickey.” I’m sure her only memory of Mick Jagger is from my mother’s rebellious teenage years, a scandalous poster on the bedroom wall or a song blasted too loud on the record player. Binkie had a lot going on in those days – she worked part-time at a law firm and raised my mother and her four siblings.

Now, Binkie is 90 years old and it’s just her and Mickey, a whippet-chihuahua mix with the personality of a nightclub bouncer.

mickey the commander in chief

Mickey is the size of a chihuahua and the shape of a whippet. He carries himself with natural machissmo – his muscular chest, straight forequarters, and upward-tilted jaw declaring his power to the world. There’s no question that he pushes Binkie around, yapping everyday at exactly 4:15pm for his healthy dinner of kibble, steamed green beans, and carrots. Sometimes she pushes back. “You already had your dinner, Mick,” she’ll say, wagging her finger. He yaps. “Nope. No more for you.” He clicks away on the linoleum to pout.

I swear he understands her tones better than I do. They keep one another engaged with the world and irritate one another just enough to give life that good edge.

Mickey was the product of divorce, nobody wanted him, and he made his way to my grandmother through a series of friends five years ago. Now they are all but inseparable. As Mickey gets older – the little grey hairs on his chin now in the majority – her house transforms into a senior dog haven.

Sometimes as dogs grow old, their owners give in to the momentum of aging. They don’t take their dogs to the park anymore for fear it will hurt their joints, they don’t buy them treats out of concern it will hurt their gums. Binkie doesn’t bow to those worries. Sure, she dotes on him by laying big soft blankets over the couch and giving him extra plush toys to destroy, but she doesn’t just let him mope around the house. She’s better at this growing old thing than most.

There is an empty ice cream carton in Binkie’s freezer that she warns me about every time I visit. Instead of ice cream it holds chicken bones, fruit rinds, all sorts of perishables she doesn’t want to throw in the can in the hot garage. “Whoever finds me when I die, I don’t want them to have to deal with putrid trash too.” Ever the pragmatist. Binkie has been prepared for her death for years. She has her will all sorted out, knows who is getting the crystal wine glasses and who is getting the flag from her husband’s funeral.

She also made a plan for Mickey.

Few of us think about setting up a stable home for our pet if something traumatic happens and we’re unable to care for them. We make plans for houses, cars, kids, and even trash, but pets get forgotten. There’s the assumption that someone will take care of the dog, so why worry about the details? The details, though, can make a huge difference to the physical and emotional health of an animal.

Say a man includes his dog in his will. That’s great, but it turns out it can take weeks or even months for a will to be read and fully processed.

Instead, the man could set up a pet trust. As part of that process, the pet owner names a pet trustee who will step in immediately and make sure his dog doesn’t slip through the cracks. It’s also a huge help for the person who ends up caring for the animal – after all, we all like a little notice before bringing in a new family member.

It can be less disconcerting on an existential level to focus on the day-to-day instead of the vast, unknown future. But it doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. Be like Binkie: get good at growing old. Whether we’re in our twenties, forties, sixties, or nineties, we’re all aging; we might as well get good at it and take care of our animals in the process.

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