Pets and hot cars: What you need to know

It doesn’t take much time for a car to get hot enough to cause serious harm, or even death, to a pet. Did you know researches have found that close to 80% of temperature increase in vehicles happens within the first 30 minutes? Keep you pet safe, don’t leave them alone in the car. Here is a great graphic that explains why:

Pet Safety and Rising Temperatures

Pet Safety and Rising Temperatures created by FIGO Pet Insurance.

Treat your favorite person with MunchPak

Listen closely pets, your person always gives you special treats, and now it’s time for you to treat your human, and luckily there is an easy way to do it! You won’t even have to go to the store. MunchPak is a fun subscription service that offers snacks from all over the world.

MunchPak

We were pretty excited to get a chance to try them out! MunchPak sent us a subscription box in exchange for our review. What we liked most was the variety! There were a lot of different types of treats, like potato chips (hot ketchup flavored, and truffle flavored), and candies (like these sour sloths).

Sour Gummy Sloth candy

Here are some of the other highlights of this subscription service:

• There are 3 MunchPak box sizes; MunchPak Mini (5+ snacks), Original MunchPak (10+ snacks), and FamilyPak (20+ snacks)
• You can customize your MunchPak with a variety of snack options such as Spicy, Chips, Gummy, Sweet, and Crunchy which you can select as preferred or non-preferred.
• There are drinks! You can choose to add a soda, coffee, juice, and/or tea to your MunchPak
• You can choose for your subscription to renew every week, every two weeks, or every month
• They also offer gift subscription options
• Love a snack that you tried? You can repurchase them in their store.
• The Snack Scanner app is available for download on both Android and Apple devices

MunchPak.com

If you want to learn more or get signed up be sure to click the photo above to get a discount! Thanks MunchPak for giving us the chance to try your awesome treat service.

Hedgehog basics

Yuki the hedgehog

We introduced you to our hedgehog Yuki awhile back, and many of you have reached out with questions on if they make good pets, and if then need special care.

Hedgehogs do make great pets, but there are some things you need to know. They are nocturnal, and they do need patience as they get used to you and being handled. They can be grumpy sometimes, but that is just part of the charm. Here are some of the things they will need to be happy:

Heat and Light

Hedgehogs have special heating needs, they like things warm, and it’s important to keep a a hedgehog’s cage between 72 and 80 degrees F. It can be dangerous, and even fatal, for a hedgehog to get colder than 70 degrees. The drop in temperature can cause a hibernation attempt. Domestic hedgehogs can’t hibernate safely, so it’s very important to avoid these attempts.

The easiest way to keep your hedgehog happy is to use a space heater in the room. Be sure to keep a thermometer in the cage so you can be sure the temp is right.

Because they are nocturnal, hedgehogs do best with a consistent source of light for about 12-14 hours each day. It’s a good idea to have a light with a timer near the cage. Light is important to avoid triggering a hibernation attempt.

Housing

Solid-sided cages (like large plastic bins without lids) retain heat better and have smooth floors so feet and toes don’t get stuck, and are easy to keep clean. They are also relatively cheap compared to other options since you won’t have to make adjustments for safety.

Accessories

Your hedgehog will need a solid plastic wheel to run in. They love to run, so this is not just a toy, this is essential to their health and happiness. Make sure that your wheel is solid plastic as well to avoid toes getting stuck and injured.

They also enjoy having a hideaway (a plastic igloo is a great choice), and will spend time sleeping in it during the day time. This helps them feel safe. Take both of these items into account when picking a bin so there is still room to roam.

Hedgehogs like to climb, but unsupervised climbing should be prevented to avoid injuries from falls. This is another reason why large plastic bins make great houses, the sides don’t allow for climbing. Large, clear Sterilite bins (105 quart) are our choice, just leave the lid off. Tanks and aquariums should be avoided.

Since hedgehogs are generally solitary, it’s best not to house two together.

Diet

The ideal hedgehog food is actually made for cats! Commercial hedgehog foods should be avoided since they lack the nutrition needed.

High quality dry cat food is the best choice. Hedgehogs can be picky eaters, so you might have to try a few before finding one your hedgie loves. Yuki likes Purina Cat Chow Naturals, and we were lucky because it was the first food we tried and she loved it.

Your hedgehog will also need fresh mealworms (buy them at the pet store) as a supplement to dry cat food. Feed a few each day, 3-5 depending on the size of the mealworm. Do not feed freeze dried insects to avoid digestion problems, some very serious that can lead to death. Also avoid insects from your garden or other natural areas as they might contain pesticides.

Bedding

The two best choices for bedding are paper based bedding, or fabric liners made of fleece (easy to make yourself by cutting fleece to size). We like the paper based bedding best because it gives the hedgehog a chance to burrow and dig around. Bedding should be changed 1-2 times a week, and the wheel will need to be cleaned daily.

Wood shavings should NOT be used, because they can cause respiratory issues.

Handling

Your hedgehog will need a lot of handling to become more friendly. This is best done in the evening when they are starting to wake up. And of course, just like people, they each have their own personalities! You might get lucky like we did and have a hedgie that likes you right away, or you might get a grumpier hedgie that needs more time to warm up to you. It helps if you “scoop” them up under their tummies when lifting them. Continue to pick them up, even when they prickle and roll into a ball.

We have enjoyed visiting a hedgehog forum called Hedgehog Central for when we have questions, they are a great resource for all new owners.

It’s National Pet Month! Time to start #PetPraising

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nestle Purina PetCare Company. As a #PurinaPartner I am being compensated for sharing this information.

Did you know that May is National Pet Month? That’s right! An entire month to celebrate how much we love our pets, and what better way to do that than with a bit of #PetPraising?

#PetPraising

We’ve all seen the funny pet shaming posts, but Purina is asking for your help in spreading all the amazing things your pet does with some pet praising. Not only will you help start a great trend, but you can win big for doing it too!

Share your #PetPraising pictures on www.pureloveforpets.com until May 24th, 2017. When you submit a #PetPraising photo you will also be entered into the Pet Praising Sweepstakes. This means you could possibly win a professional photo shoot and be featured on RealSimple.com. The Pure Love For Pets website has some fun info for celebrating National Pet Month, and you can learn all about the new items Purina has to offer!

#petpraising

What are you waiting for? I’m sure your pets do all kinds of amazing things that make your life happier, I know ours sure do! Be sure to enter here for your chance to win.

#petpraising

12 Reasons Why Dogs Help With Depression and Anxiety

The World Health Organization declared April 7th, 2017 as World Health Day, a day focusing on mental health, but it’s also a year-long campaign which aims to educate, raise awareness and help people suffering from mental illness.

Depression, Anxiety, and other mental health issues now affect over 300 million people worldwide according to the WHO and we think that more needs to be done to educate and inform just how tough this illness can be. It’s usually also the underlying cause of many other social issues.

Those of us who have a dog in our life, knows just how important they are for keeping us fit, socializing and living life to the full.

We think that having a dog in your life can really help with coping and so does Andy and the team at Pet Gear Lab. They’ve created this infographic to highlight 12 reasons why a dog can help you cope with depression and anxiety.

This is what it looks like:

12 reasons why a dog can help you cope with depression and anxiety.

Head on over to Andy’s site to find out more about how dogs are a great asset to your life

House Cats and Big Cats Differ in Size, But That’s About It

Written by Suzanne Redfearn for Nat Geo WILD and USA Today
Article originally appeared in a special edition of USA Today for Nat Geo WILD

Soul of the Cat

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA- A female Siberian kitten, climbing down a tree, very cautiously. (Photo credit: Creative Being/Beverly Joubert)

Did you know that there are very few differences between your house cat and endangered big cats like the lion, tiger, cheetah and leopard? The main difference: size. Otherwise, genetically and behaviorally, they’re pretty much the same.

Even in the lab. Scientists recently were able to sequence the genomes of tigers, snow leopards and lions, and found that they share 95.6 percent of their DNA with domestic cats sitting in window sills and lying on beds across the world.

That’s not a surprise. Just look at all the behaviors and other traits they have in common.

1. Night vision: You can see your cat’s eyes glow at night. The same thing goes for big cats. All cats have a “tapetum lucidum,” a layer of tissue in their eyes that reflects light back through the retina, increasing available light to the photoreceptors in the eye. The result? Night vision that’s six times better than ours. All the better to stalk prey.

2. Sensitivity to movement: The thick shaft of the cat whisker is filled with tiny, super-sensitive nerves that help your furry buddy — and a lion — easily judge the size of the space they’re in, measure distance and detect changes in the air to suss out what’s around them. It’s like a very sophisticated GPS and radar system, helping big cats be the apex predators that they are, and helping your house cat catch mice and other critters.

3. Retractable claws: Over time, cats both big and small evolved to be able to bring their claws out when they’re needed for digging into prey or scaling a tree, then pull them back in to preserve their sharpness until they’re needed again for tearing or climbing. There’s an exception, though: the cheetah. A cheetah’s claws stay out at all times, to better grip the ground as they move at high speeds after prey.

4. Agility: All cats are nimble and agile, with their long tails aiding in their extraordinary balance. House cats and big cats alike can jump very high and land very well when descending from high up.

5. Stalking their prey: Both big cats and house cats will watch their prey from a distance, moving extremely slowly toward it with muscles tensed, then suddenly run at it in a burst of speed, ending with a pounce.

6. Climbing trees: House cats climb trees and so do big cats. Leopards are known for climbing up trees with their prey in tow, so they can eat without being disturbed by other predators. Cougars, cheetahs and even lions sometimes climb up trees.

7. Marking territory: Big cats and house cats alike will spray to scent-mark their territory with urine. Big cats like lions and jaguars will rub secretions from glands onto objects to mark them like your house cat rubs on you with the side of his face and neck to mark you as his.

8. Tight spaces: Your house cat likes to be in boxes and under the covers. Big cats like leopards and cheetahs like to be in dens. Both especially want small, private spaces when it comes time to give birth or nurse a wound.

9. Stripes and spots: Cats big and small have stripes, spots or rosettes throughout their coat. Big cats like cheetahs, leopards and tigers use their unique patterns for camouflage, while solid coats like that of the lion blend into open territory. House cats still have these patterns from their ancestor, the African wildcat, from which they descended 10,000 years ago when some African wildcats were brought to the Middle East and domesticated.

10. Grooming themselves: All cats big and small groom themselves. They have a sandpaper texture on their tongue, called “papillae,” that does double duty, helping cats work meat off of bones and work dirt out of their coats.

So when you tune into Big Cat Week tonight to watch Soul of the Cat and see a lion stalking a wildebeest or a leopard climbing up a tree, look down at your furry pal with a new appreciation for his genetic code and the awesome abilities he shares with his wild cousins.