Pet shop Gloucester advice series – Catnip – what does it do?

Pet shop gloucester advice series. What does cat nip do to your cat?

Catnip is a member of the mint family (Nepeta cataria). It contains an essential oil called nepetalactone which appears to mimic opiates and produces an intoxicating effect, acting on some opioid receptors in the nervous system. In the wild it grows in hedgerows and on waste grassland and foxes and cats seek it out to roll in it. It is thought that one reason for this behaviour amongst predators is to mask their scent so they can approach prey more easily.

pet shop Gloucester catnip

Cat nip has varying effects in domestic cats. In 10% of cats it has no effect at all. This is believed to be a genetic trait to do with the sensitivity of the olfactory system (sense of smell). In most cats it has one of three effects. The majority of cats go into a sort of ecstasy, rolling around and exhibiting behaviour similar to female sexual behaviour. In others it seems to send them to sleep (it can do this to people too, although in others it has the reverse effect and acts as a stimulant!). In a minority of cats is can actually make them aggressive, so watch out.

Catnip is a useful tool to help reduce stress in cats by giving them a toy impregnated or filled with catnip to distract them on car journeys, in new environments etc. It can encourage the use of scratch posts and when used in conjunction with a repellent, protect a the furniture or carpet. (repellent on the furniture, cat nip on the scratch post).

So catnip stimulates a cats olfactory system to produce behaviour associated with feeding (chewing and sniffing), sex (rolling and rubbing) and hunting and play (pouncing and kicking). Outside, on wild catnip, all three types can be exhibited as prelude to a hunting mission. Inside it can be used as an artificial way of getting a cat to exhibit natural behaviours.

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The Angell Pets Team

Pet Shop Gloucester Advice Series Hamster Care Sheet

Pet shop Gloucester advice on caring for your Syrian hamster.

Hamsters generally make good family pets. However there are issues that you need to take into consideration.

They are nocturnal so being more active in the evening allows the busy family time to enjoy them. However in a child’s bedroom this can be a problem, unless you buy a silent wheel and a cage that does not have bars for the hamster to constantly chew on. They are small mammals ideal for families with limited space. Hamsters make a suitable pet for children providing they are taught the responsibilities of their pets daily cleaning, feeding, handling and care.

Syrian or Golden hamsters originally come from Syria. In the wild they live in burrows in the day to keep cool, so they love tubes and tunnels. They are active animals and travel great distances at night, hence the need for a wheel. They will carry food in pouches and hoard it, so check yours is eating what you put in for it or when you clean it out you will be wasting food by throwing away its food store. Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and best kept alone. You will see them together in the shop but this is because they are young, sexually immature animals. When they reach sexual maturity they will start to fight. Syrian hamsters have more than twenty colours and coat types such as smooth coat, satin and long haired. Syrian hamsters average life span is 2 -3 years.

Hamsters normally stay healthy throughout their lives. They can suffer from coughs and sneezes and their nose and eyes may run, so keep them warm and away from any draughts. If the signs persist seek veterinary advice. Hamsters can suffer acute diarrhoea known as wet tail . If this occurs take your pet to the vets immediately. There is normally no problem with hamsters’ teeth. However if they do not meet properly they will grow too long and eating will be impossible. If this occurs the teeth must be clipped regularly. It is therefor essential the teeth are checked BEFORE you buy. Also make sure your hamster has something to gnaw on to keep its teeth worn down.

Syrian hamsters do not need to hibernate but will appear to do so if there is a sudden drop in temperature below 5°C. They will go torpid and their breathing will be so shallow they appear dead. Sadly hamsters have been disposed of in the past because the owners thought they had died. Hamsters will also exhibit this behaviour if the temperature becomes too high (35C)

If your hamster escapes from its cage try putting a box (its nest box) or bowl in the corner of the room. He may well be in it the next morning. If you are concerned about your hamster’s health speak to your pet shop Gloucester or your vet.

 Feeding

pet shop Gloucester

Use a good proprietary brand of hamster food. This will have the correct balance of nutrients. Hamsters in the wild eat a mixture of seeds, plants and insects. Make sure you feed yours a similar balanced diet. If your mix does not contain insects (many do not) then supplement with meal worms. We use live but if you are squeamish you can used dried (both available at your pet shop Gloucester). You can also feed some fruit and millet etc. or hamster fruity treats but you will not need too many of these. Be aware that hamster store food. They will cram as much into their cheek pouches as possible and store it in a “larder” (designated part of their burrow) for later. Just because the bowl is empty does not mean it has no food. Check the cage for the store and monitor that.

Sexing

Sexing hamsters is very easy. The testes in the male are clearly visible under the base of the short tail from a very early age. Also the distance between the anus and the genitals is much greater in the male. In our pet shop Gloucester we tend to keep males as they will tolerate each other for a lot longer than the females. Females need to be separated earlier but males will eventually fight. In the wild the fights will result in one hamster losing and running away. In the confines of a cage there is nowhere to go and so the fights will result in the death of one (at least) of the hamsters.

Housing

A good sized cage is required. You can use either a wire cage with a plastic bottom, or a plastic covered cage. Both have disadvantages and advantages. Whilst hamsters love tunnels, I would avoid cages with horizontal tubes as part of the construction. Hamsters naturally use a latrine (another designated part of their burrow) and you can almost guarantee it will select the most inaccessible part of the tubing system and the wee will leak out of the tiny air holes in the plastic (this is from experience!). Buy tubes to go inside a normal cage, they are easier to clean. Due to this habit of using a latrine it is possible to litter train a hamster. Buy a hamster toilet and put some of the soiled bedding in it and soon the hamster will be using this as its latrine, saving on cleaning out the whole cage. Definitely get a hamster wheel or saucer. Hamsters love to exercise. Not having one is really unfair on the animal.

pet shop Gloucester

When cleaning cages and accessories make sure you use a small animal disinfectant not household which are toxic. A very useful piece of equipment is the hamster ball. Not only is this excellent for exercising the hamster but it is useful to use it whilst you clean out the cage.Two birds with one stone.

If you need further advice on hamsters call into our pet shop Gloucester and have a chat.

 

The Angell Pets Team

 

Is your dog/cat fat? You’re not the only one.

There is growing evidence that the behavioural patterns of our pets are changing alongside the behaviour of the owners. Human obesity is rising and so is obesity in dogs and cats. Why is this?

Research is showing that in dogs, behaviour is reflecting that of people in general. We and our dogs are becoming less active. 10 years ago the majority of dogs were ranked as active. Now the majority are ranked as inactive. However there is more to it than that. Cats are also becoming generally larger. It has been shown that the daily energy requirements of both have fallen yet the energy intake is rising. A lot of this is down to a change in attitude toward pets. Not that long ago pets were considered as an adjunct to the family, lots of people had them but they were always a seperate entity. Nowadays more and more of us consider and treat our pets as members of the family. Just look at Christmas time. Years ago it would be considered normal to buy a gift for your children but a bit odd to buy one for your dog. Now most people would consider it the norm and in my house I would be in a lot of trouble if I didn’t get the dogs something. We are tending to treat the pet as we would treat our kids and this is not always good for the animal.

One of the commonest mistakes people make with their pet is assuming the pet will regulate its own intake of food. They will not. We are sadly familiar with documentaries from the USA about super-sized people that can no longer even get out of bed. Often the parents of these individuals are seen making statements such as “He just can’t lose weight, I hate seeing him like this!”. Well he can no longer get out of bed so he is entirely dependant on you for his food intake. If you don’t give him the food he can’t eat it. The same is true for our dogs and cats. If they are overweight it is because we have fed them too much.

Unfortunately most people are unaware of the feeding guidelines for their animal even though they are there on the reverse of the bag. Also many people like to give their pet treats. This is fine, as long as the equivalent amount of food is removed from their normal meals but this rarely happens. Many of the cheaper treats are very high in fats and sugars. Most of us would consciously monitor how many sweets our kids were eating but not even think about what we were giving to the pet.

On top of the “human error” factors there are other changes in pet care that are also contributing to obesity.

Neutering increases the risk of obesity in cats and dogs; they slow down and their bodies change (hormone reduction). 54% of dogs and 92% of cats are neutered in the UK.

Age plays a part. As a dog or cat gets older they are no longer growing and their activity naturally reduces so their energy requirements go down and so should their calorie intake.

Indoor cats are far less active than outdoor ones so should be fed on lower calorie food or just fed less.

Medication can increase the risk of obesity by increasing the appetite (steroids) or slowing the metabolism.

Other animals in the house can actually reduce the risk. One or two cats have an increased risk of obesity, three to six in a house reduces risk as does sharing a house with a dog. I wonder why? Any cat sharing a house with my dog would have the physique of an Olympic athlete!

If you answer yes to too many questions in the first list below and no to too many in the second list you probably have an overweight pet. The good news is that doing something about it is easy. You just have to change your ways. Less energy in, more energy out reduces weight. More energy in, less out increases weight and you are the arbiter. Fortunately it is all our fault, as this means we can do something about it.

  • Do you put off walking the dog when you are tired/the weather’s not the best/ you’ve got too much on?
  • Do you just fill the dogs bowl with food a couple of times a day without reference to the feeding guidelines or without measuring the feed quantity?
  • Do you keep refilling the cats bowl whenever it’s empty (free feeding) ?
  • Do you treat your pet to “a bit off my plate, he likes to eat what I am having”?
  • Is your pet neutered?
  • Is your pet being treated with medication such as steroids?
  • Is your pet getting older but you are still feeding the same amount of the same food?
  • Do you give your dog/cat a treat when you go out/ come in/ go to bed/ get up in the morning/ are eating your meal/ as a reward for good behaviour/when you notice him looking puppy/kittie eyed at you etc. but you forget to reduce his food intake to compensate?
  • Does your cat hunt the local wildlife and then come home to be fed?
  • Is someone else feeding your cat as well? (Don’t you stop or reduce feeding but ask them to stop, or you will lose your cat to them)

 

  • Do you exercise your dog for at least an hour a day (vigorous walk as a minimum)
  • Do you stick rigorously to the feeding guidelines on the pet food packaging?
  • Does your cat get outside much?
  • Do you have plenty of activities for your indoor cat?
  • Is you dog/cat still in a growing stage and if not have you reduced its food intake?
  • Do you have a dog as well as a cat or have a few animals?
  • Do you have a busy, active house?
  • Do you use low calorie treats for you pet and avoid the cheap supermarket types?
  • Do you use a food with low GI index fillers (potatoes or oats instead of wheat etc.)
  • Have you checked the feeding guidelines lately to see if they have changed? (Some have reduced to fit the changes in pet behaviour)

Don’t worry if you have answered yes to one or two you know you shouldn’t have or no to some you should have said yes to. We all do it a bit. Just make sure you don’t give too many wrong answers or your pet will suffer. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, liver problems, joint problems, urinary and bladder problems, diabetes and a reduction in overall lifespan and as the pet owners we are totally responsible. Of course obesity also increases the vets bill!

Obesity is a growing problem, my vet is so sick of seeing overweight dogs she says she greets 80% of owners in the consulting room with a “Before we go on, your dog is fat – read this” and hands them a leaflet on obesity before even asking what is wrong. She says it’s like a breath of fresh air when someone comes in with a dog that is in good condition and she doesn’t have to give the “fat” talk.

How do you tell if your dog is getting overweight? It is harder than you think. When the majority of dogs are overweight, comparing yours to others is just not that helpful. I even look trim next to some people. There are some things you can easily check though.

  • A dog/cat should have a definable waist.

pet shop gloucester advice

  • You should be able to see (or feel in very bushy haired dogs) about three vertebrae above the hips.

pet shop gloucester advice

  • You should see or feel (on longer haired dogs) the faint outline of the ribs (obviously they shouldn’t be standing proud).

pet shop gloucester advice

  • From the side, the belly line should tuck up behind the chest, not continue straight or worse hang down.

pet shop gloucester advice

  • From above, the side lines should tuck in behind the chest before flaring out around the hips, not continue straight or be round like a barrel.
  • If your animal is barrel shaped it is definitely overweight.

For any advice on gauging your dog or cats overall condition or on helping to lose weight please do not hesitate to call in and speak to us.

The Angell Pets Team

 

Pet shop Gloucester care series – Ferret

Pet shop Gloucester pet care series – ferret care.

Ferret basics

Ferrets are members of the mustelidae family (weasels, stoat, mink, otter, badger, and their wild ancestor the polecat). A ferret is basically a domesticated polecat. They have been traditionally bred to hunt rabbits and rats and generally make very good workers. Due to an imfamous TV appearance in the 1970s and ill informed owners of working ferrets, they have had a bad press with regard to biting.

Ferrets can be hand tamed from three weeks and if this is done properly, do not bite. Unfortunately some people believed they needed a big, aggressive male ferret as a worker and so stories of vicious animals that lock on and don’t let go abound. Actually it is relatively easy to get a ferret to let go if it does bite but because the idiot on the TV show didn’t know how to do it the myth grew. Actually an aggressive male ferret is the last thing you want for working. This animal would be big enough to kill a rabbit in the warren and would then stay there. The owner would have to dig down and reach in to get the ferret back. You can imagine the mess this type of animal could make of the owners arm. What you want (and this is why the polecat was originally domesticated) is a nice docile little female who will chase the rabbits out but is too small to kill one and will come out to show you what she’s done. My son’s fellow breeder has one (Chilly) like this. She is his best worker and yet we have taken her to kids parties.

In the end the ferret’s temperament is going to be decided by the breeder, handler and eventually owner. This is why we breed and tame our own ferrets for our pet shop Gloucester.

Pet shop gloucester ferret

Male ferrets (hobs) are larger than females (jills) and generally a bit lazier as well. Both make good pets. However both have their own peculiarities that need to be taken into account. The breeding cycle of the ferret throws up a couple of issues.

Firstly and most seriously, a female will come into season a couple of times a year. She must be mated to bring her out of season. If left to stay in season she will become seriously ill and could (probably would) eventually die.

Secondly the male exudes a waxy substance onto the skin during the breeding season. This gives the male a very strong odour. In both case neutering the ferret will prevent any problems. A neutered female will obviously not come into season and a neutered male will not smell. Ferrets can musk when threatened but a suitably tame and happy ferret will not. At our pet shop Gloucester we do not agree with descenting ferrets (removal of the musk glands).

Feeding

Ferrets are carnivores. They eat meat and get their energy from protein and fat. A good quality complete food will provide all their nutritional requirements. Our pet shop Gloucester workers are fed mainly raw food as they are used for pest control and have a plentiful supply. Our pet shop Gloucester pets are fed complete food. Both do equally well. Ferrets drink quite a lot. They should always have access to a plentiful supply of water, preferably via a gravity fed drinker (bunny bottle).

Housing

Ferrets can be kept indoors or outdoors. Our pet shop Gloucester breeders are kept together outdoors as they have not been neutered. If you are considering keeping a male ferret indoors we would strongly suggest you have him neutered for your own sanity! If you are keeping them out doors then obviously you need to take into account the temperature as too hot or too cold is not conducive to good health. If the temperature drops too low you will need somewhere to bring them in or insulate their enclosure.

Wherever you keep them they require a large living/play area. They are very active animals and love to play. they are also quite sociable and are best kept together. If you can only keep one then you are will need to realise you will have to be the other ferrets and will need to give yours lots of attention (in much the same way as you do a dog, another social animal). A large run/pen should be provided for them to play in, big enough for you to put in plenty of toys/equipment. Ferrets love ramps, tunnels etc. If left in an outdoor enclosure they must have refuge from the sun as they can suffer from sun stroke.

Dust free shavings are good as a floor substrate, or paper pellets etc. Ferrets can be litter trained and a corner litter tray is probably the best investment you can make. Clean the cage once a week and the litter tray daily. Make sure you use a pet disinfectant, not household. Also provide some nesting material for them to curl up in their nest box. Hammocks and shelves are a good idea for them to lounge around on.

Some ferrets like to swim in water and a cat litter tray used as a pool in their run is often appreciated but not essential.

Handling

The first thing you will notice when handling a ferret is that they are very bendy. They can completely turn around in a tunnel the same width as their own body. Holding onto one that does not want to be held can be a challenge. The most secure way to hold a ferret is to place you thumb across the shoulders so the ferret’s forelegs are between your first two fingers. You can support the rear of the body with your other hand. Holding this way prevents the ferret twisting and turning and is quite comfortable for the animal. They have been known to fall asleep in this position but then again there is probably not a position a ferret won’t fall asleep in! They like to sleep and can be quite difficult to wake up if they are in a deep slumber.

Health

Ferrets can catch canine distemper. We recommend you get your ferret vaccinated. We have already discussed the need for neutering (alternatives are jill jabs but these hormone injections can be expensive over the life of the animal). Female ferrets will get ill if consistently allowed to come into season without being mated. Diseases such as septicemia, leucemia etc. are very serious and often fatal. A healthy ferret will live on average 8 – 10 years (remember this is an average, some will be less, some more). Obviously ferrets can suffer with other diseases, some of which can be contracted by humans, so hygiene remains important.

Ferrets and other animals.

Ferrets are carnivores, so they do not mix with prey animals. They will kill and eat rabbits, rats etc. They can mix with other, bigger carnivores, such as dogs or cats. This however depends entirely on the cat or dog. I have customers who’s ferrets play with their dogs, the ferrets being in charge. However my dog would certainly kill a ferret, straight away on introduction. You have been warned, it is better not to take a chance and to keep them separate.

A few do’s an don’ts to round off.

  • Do seriously consider getting your ferret neutered.
  • Do provide plenty of space and activities.
  • Do encourage play (the ferret “war dance” is great to watch)
  • Do get your ferret vaccinated.
  • Do take it our for a walk on a harness and lead. You’ll make lots of friends and the ferret will keep it’s claws worn down.
  • Do come and ask us if you have any queries at all.

 

  • Don’t allow a female ferret to repeatedly come into season, this is cruel and ultimately fatal.
  • Don’t allow a ferret near you face. They play by nipping “gently” at each others ears, noses etc. and pulling on their loose skin. Gentle to a stiff fur covered ferret is not going to feel gentle to your nose or lip, or the tighter skin of your face.
  • Don’t allow your ferret near young children. The ferret is probably fine, it’s the child you have to worry about. Sticking a finger up the nose or in the eye of a normally docile ferret may well induce it to bite. The same is true for all animals of course.
  • Don’t feed milk to a ferret. Like other mammals, once weaned they do not drink milk ever again and can be very intolerant of lactose.
  • Don’t listen to the fools who say things like “Oh, we used to have ferrets, yeah if they bite just stub a cigarette out on their nose, that’s how you stop them”. No it isn’t you idiot, apart from being cruel it is also illegal.

Ferrets do make good pets but you do need to do your research first. Call into our pet shop Gloucester for advice.

 

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

Moving house? Then so is your pet. What you need to know.

Moving house is reckoned to be one of the most stressful things an average person has to do. It can also be quite stressful for your pets but you can reduce the sress (for them and you) with a few simple tips.

  • “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is an old cliched saying but no less true for all that. Make sure you have any equipment (suitable carriers, packing material etc.) ready before the big day. Hunting around at the last minute will raise your sress levels through the roof and your animal will suffer the consequences of you rushing, using less than ideal travel boxes or even forgetting the poor thing altogether (it does happen). So make sure you have considered what you are going to use to transport your pet and timing the move of the animal with the move of its enclosure. There’s not a lot of point  turning up at your new house with bags of tropical fish when the tank is still with the moving company and won’t be there until tommorrow!
  • Use a suitable container to move your animal. Often people think they need to get the largest container they can. This is often the wrong thing to do. During the move the animal will just rattle around in a large box and get injured. A small container with suitable packing material (a small animal carrier filled with shredded paper for a hamster for instance) is much more desirable. Remember that animals chew things so if you are moving any distance then a cardboard carrier is not enough, it won’t survive the journey.pet shop gloucester pet carriers
  • Make sure you know where in your new house or garden the animal’s enclosure is going to go. It can have a large effect on the wellbeing of your pet. Our rabbits are on a well sheltered patio with walls on three sides and a dwarf wall on the fourth. If we moved I doubt the new area would be as sheltered which would mean we would have to reconsider our housing of the animals over the coldest winter periods. Would you have somewhere to put them in your new house?
  • Don’t trust the animals to the movers. They are best transported with you, secured in place in your car. You can control the movement, security and environment to ensure they are safe and well at the end of the journey.

So you’ve moved and you need to set up your pet in their new home. My advice is do this first, before you start unpacking everything else. You want the animal in its transport box for as little time as possible. The exception to this is the dog and cat. These are best not under foot whilst you are unpacking so if you can get someone to look after them for a couple of days it would be better, or alternatively use a good boarding establishment. Then you can get on and unpack in peace and not in pieces, after you’ve tripped over the dog for the fourth time or worse, left the door open and the dog is out.

Obviously use the move as an opportuntiy to completely clean any enclosures you have and start your pet’s life in your new home in a nice clean enclosure. It is also easier to move an empty cage.

Right, so some specific advice on certain animals.

  • Dogs. Easy yes? Just put on the lead, jump in the car and go. Well if, like me, you rarely take the dogs in the car, you are probably not prepared. Dogs should be secured. A travel cage is ideal or you could use a travel harness or an adaptor for you existing harness to strap the dog to the car’s seatbelt restraints.pet shop gloucester travel harness If you have an accident on the way the dog could kill you if not restrained (the car will stop suddenly, the dog won’t). I’ll assume you have unpacked everything before the dog arrives at the new house (see above). It is all going to be very new and exiting for him/her. The more old possesions around the more quickly settled the dog will be. If you can and the garden is secure, leave the back door open and let them explore. Exitable dogs in a new environment like to pee to mark their new territory, better outside than in. Do double check your new garden for security though, it’s surprising what they can get out of. However dogs are not “free to roam” animals, cats are.
  • Cats. The biggest problem with a cat if you let it outside, is they may go missing. Cats are territorial animals. They are famous for marking their territories and defending them. If you just let your cat out into another cat’s territory the other cat is going to see it off. This may mean it trying to return to its old territory. When my sister moved a few years ago it wasn’t very far. Her cat repeatedly went back to the old house, not because it was being fed there, the new owners were not cat lovers, but because this was her territory and there were other cats in the area of the new house. Keep your cat in for a couple of weeks. Try to force other cats away from your garden and immediate area around your house. This can be done by using special products that overpower the marking scent of cats.pet shop gloucester, cat repellant They will try to battle the new smell but will eventually realise they are losing. To a cat the strongest smell wins the war so once they know they have lost to the product they move on. The territory is then free for your cat to move into.
  • Small mammals. Small mammal = small travel box. You don’t want your pet rat sliding around bashing himself against the side of a large container as your husband/wife gets used to the brakes on your car for instance (yes, that is from experience). It is best, when you have rehoused them at the other end to leave them alone for 24 hours, as you would when you first get one, to settle in to the new environment. Trailers are best avoided, the exhaust fumes from your car pumped into the trailer, well obvious really.
  • Birds. The main thing with birds is that you are quite probably going to want to decorate your new house. Fumes and birds don’t mix. Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems. I have had customers who have lost birds inexplicably then when we have gone through everything with them have realised that the landlord had contractors painting the exterior windows and they had them open because it was summer. They found the smell inconvenient at the time, the birds found it fatal. So if you are decorating, find somewhere else to house the bird (and NOT in the kitchen – teflon non stick pans give off toxic fumes). The same is true for fish by the way – most chemical products tell you they are toxic to aquatic environments, they don’t make it clear this can include the fumes.
  • Reptiles. Probably one of the easiest animals to move. They can be transported in a suitably sized plastic tub or box (polystyrene outer if you are moving far, to steady the temperature). Their vivariums are generally well insulated and will already have the correct equipment to control heat, light and humidity (I would hope!). One thing to think about however is the change in the general environment in the new house and how this is effecting the conditions in the vivarium. I have a bull snake in my bedroom. I do not have a thermostat controlling the heat source. However I have had this snake in this location and this viv. for 9 years and know that the temperature remains very stable throughought the year (because of my wifes intolerance of any variation – windows wide open all summer and heating on for the rest of the year!!) and it never gets too hot in the viv., even in the height of summer (it is nowhere near a window and is one of the coolest rooms in the house). If I were to  move the viv. to another location I could not guarantee this and would have to invest in a thermostat to prevent overheating. Keep a check on conditions when you move in and as the weather changes, it will probalby effect the conditions inside the vivarium and change them from what you are used to.
  • Invertebrates. The same is true for most invertebrates (insects, spiders etc.). On top of this they do not travel well. They can become dissicated very easily if it is particularly hot or become chilled if it is cold. You need to manage this by transorting them in a controlled environment (your car), in a container where the humidity and temperature are not going to vary too much and making sure the new location does not adversley effect them. If they do get cold they will become inactive. It is very important that you do not rewarm them too quickly. Just leave them at normal room tepmperature to warm up slowly. If you put them under a heat source the rapid change in temperature could stress and kill them quite quickly.pet shop gloucester, spiderling pot
  • Fish. One of the most difficult to move. You need to plan this carefully. pet shop gloucester, tankAt the last minute bag up the fish. Get some fish transport bags from us in our pet shop Gloucester and part fill them with water from your tank. Net the fish and place them in the bags – no more than half a dozen per bag is good. Blow into the bag (not too close, you want clean air going in, not your exhalations!) Twist the tops and secure with a ruber band. Place the fish bags in a polystyrene box with a lid. Then bag up as much of your tank water as you can so you don’t have to use too much fresh water at the other end to refill it.The less change in water quality the better. Bagging the water rather than trying to transport it in large tanks or containers does two things. It reduces the risk of a large loss of water should a container get damaged and makes the load a lot more stable. Large amounts of water in a container will move around alot. In the case of large tanks enough to destabilise a car. Bagging up baffles to water so less movement occurs going round corners. Put the water bags in a polystyrene box as well – not too many per box, a litre of water weighs at least 1kg. You can get polystyrene boxes from us, our fish and frozen reptile food is delivered in them. Leave the tank gravel wet and if possible submerge the filter to keep it wet. At the other end, get the tank located, water in the tank (top up with a little fresh but don’t worry about having the tank full yet). Get everything plugged in and running and then check the temperature. If you got it right this should still be OK. If you haven’t travelled far you may want to leave it to clear a bit before putting the fish in but if you have had the fish in bags for any length of time you want to get them in the tank. Put the fish bags in the tank water for 10 – 15 minutes to equalise the temperature (not necessary if you measure the temperature and it is the same). Then net the fish out of the bags into the tank. Do not tip the fish bag water into the tank – it will contain too much fish waste (ammonia) and you don’t want to overload your tank after the natural disposal system (bacteria) has been disturbed. When the tank has settled down you can top it up with fresh water. Remember that “tap” water is not the same at every tap. Some (like Birmingham) is naturally very soft upper river valley water, some (like Coventry) is semi hard lowland river water and some (like parts of Gloucestershire) is very hard, underground water. So you could be moving from one extreme to another and this will effect your fish, hense the need for gradual change of water conditions and saving as much of your old water as possible.

So there you go, a few things to think about when you move house with your animals. If you want any specific advice on this subject or any other give us a call or pop into the shop. We will be happy to help where we can (I’ve never kept ostritches so I can’t really help there. That said I do know someone who has, so I could probably find out).

Pet Shop Gloucester tips – how to select an animal

Pet shop Gloucester tips series – how to select an animal and more importantly, where to buy from.

Since the most important thing is to select where to buy we will deal with this first. Get this right and selecting and individual animal becomes easier.

There is a lot of rubbish out there about where is the best place to buy an animal. The one we hear the most at our pet shop Gloucester is “from a breeder”. On the face of it this seems like a good idea, we are breeders ourselves, however there are a lot of people out there that could call themselves breeders. I think, following all the press coverage and national campaigns, most people would no longer consider buying a puppy from a Welsh puppy farm. These establishments are renowned for the attrocious conditions the animals are kept in, terrible in breeding and sick puppies. They are breeders though. So clearly bold, over simplified statements are a waste of time.

To select where to buy you need to consider a few basic points and this will guide you

  • Can you view the animal. If not, do not buy it. There are a host of “private” breeders and sellers on the internet and social media. I strongly suggest you do not buy from them. Not all, but most, are chancers that “rescue” animals (i.e. get their stock for free from anyone giving stuff away – and you have to ask why is it being given away?) who then resell it onto unsuspecting customers. I get these people trying to sell their animals to me all the time but we do not buy from these sources. There is generally something wrong with it, or it is very old or the animal is not being kept in the correct conditions. Only buy an animal you have seen before you have parted with your cash and make sure you see it in the enclosure it is being kept in. We also get these people coming to us for advice on how to look after the animals they are breeding or trying to get us to cure them of a host of illnesses. They should be able to do this themselves or be speaking to a vet.
  • Is the person selling the animal qualified to give you advice (and ask to see the qualification). It is our view that no one should be selling animals unless they are formerly qualified in the care of that animal and so are able to give the correct advice. Again, this rules out most online sellers but interestingly most breeders as well. Anyone can set up as a breeder of animals without any training, qualifications, experience or specialist equipment. You have to have a licence to own a pet shop and to get a licence you have to have a minimum qualification.
  • Is the animal being kept in the right conditions. Some animals have specific requirements. For example a bearded dragon needs high heat, thermostatic heat control to prevent overheating and fairly high intensity ultraviolet light. If they do not have this they will be getting ill and could get disorders that will materialise later (such as metabolic bone disease). Do they have space and are the enclosures clean. Again a dirty cage can harbour all sorts of nasties that can cause problems later.
  • Does the seller provide a health check before handing over the animal. If not, why not? Do they know how to or have they something to hide? Can they explain what they are checking for? If they can’t then you know they didn’t properly check the animal when they got it themselves.
  • Are you given advice on how to look after the animal? If not you have to assume it is because the seller doesn’t know how to look after the animal in the first place so shouldn’t be selling it. A seller must give you all the advice you need to correctly care for the animal you have selected. That is their responsibility. Following their advice is your responsibility. If the advice is not there you cannot follow it and may be leaving yourself open to charges of neglect or abuse through ignorance.

So places to avoid are online sellers, pet shop chains (supermarkets), newspaper classifieds, unregistered breeders etc. Places to consider are independent pet shops such as our pet shop Gloucester with specialist knowledge (this is not all independents by the way) and registered breeders. There are some private sellers with a lot of knowledge and genuine reasons for needing to sell but identifying these from the charlatans is nigh on impossible for the novice and remember, commercial trading without a licence is illegal.

So you’ve decided where to buy from, now how do you select an animal? Most of the following points you will not come across if you have done your job of selecting a seller properly. A good seller would never have a sick or distressed animal on display (if they are licenced it breaches the terms of their licence and action can be taken)..

  • It seems an obvious thing to say but does the animal look healthy? If a rat is sitting hunched up on its own, maybe shivering, then there could be something wrong. Does the rabbit have a runny nose, is the fish swimming upside down. Very importantly for all animals, is their bottom clean or is there evidence of loose stools.
Pet shop Gloucester rats

Who are you?

  • Is the animal clean and well groomed. Most animals keep themselves very clean. If the animal has stopped cleaning itself there is generally a reason for this and it won’t be because it’s a lazy teenager. It indicates an unhappy animal. It is either ill or stressed.
Pet shop Gloucester rabbit

Nice and clean

  • How active is the animal. Please bear in mind that different animals are active at different times but most will become active when disturbed to allow you to view them (with the possible exception of ferrets – some ferrets, Vinny our breeding male for instance, will not wake up if they are in a dead sleep without very  vigorous attempts).
Pet shop Gloucester ferrets

It's been a busy day

  • Is it displaying normal behaviour. Hiding from you in a sleeping area or hide is normal for most animals, so don’t be surprised by that. Pacing the cage for instance is a sign of boredom (does the animal have anything to occupy it?) and is not normal.
  • Is the animal docile? All animals can bite you, some are more likely to than others. Hamsters, when young and suddenly woken up can get a little freaked out for instance and will bite if you just reach in and grab them. You need to allow them to come round and pick them up from underneath (allowing them to walk onto your hand). Others will always carry a high risk of biting you (such as a cobalt blue tarantula or baboon spider) and should not be handled. The seller should be able to advice and demonstrate handling. If the seller says it is safe to handle get them to demonstrate first!
Pet shop Gloucester camel spider

Yes, I bite!

  • We’ve dealt with this elsewhere so I assume by this stage you have already considered it and know which animal you want but it’s worth saying again. Make sure you have the time, space, budget, equipment and information necessary to care for the animal you are selecting properly. It is your responsibility. I had someone come in the shop the other day who had purchased a bearded dragon elsewhere and didn’t have any equipment whatsoever (not even an enclosure) or any idea on how to care for it. I know that animal is going to die but she bought it from one of the sellers previously mentioned who only cares that he got her money.
Pet shop Gloucester bearded dragon

This is for transport, not housing

  • Finally what guarantee do you get. This is a tricky one for reputable sellers. You should be offered a guarantee of some sort but do not expect it to be for too long. It should be able to reflect that the animal did not have any immediate health issues when you bought it but cannot guarantee that the animal will not get ill if you do not look after it properly. Our standard guarantee of health (and behaviour – that’s important) is 7 days. In this time it should become clear if the animal has an illness or behavioural problem. After this time the things you are doing to care for the animal begin to outweigh its original condition. Keep a reptile at the wrong temperature or humidity and it will start to suffer regardless of how healthy it was when you got it. However statements such as “animals must be returned within 24 hours or no refund” are ludicrous. You cannot tell within 24 hours if an animal is ill. They take at least that to settle in to their new environment.

A copy of our pet shop Gloucester animal health checklist and guarantee

Pet shop Gloucester livestock checklist

The Angell Pets team

 

Pet Shop Gloucester success video

Pet shop Gloucester marketing strategy success video.

How our pet shop Gloucester succeeded in a double dip recession.

Pet shop gloucester

Old meets new

We used a superb web marketing company to set up our on line and social media marketing. Following the launch of our strategies our pet shop Gloucester business has grown and continues to grow, month by month. Obviously this success is down to the loyalty of our pet shop Gloucester customers, who seem to like our service and come back again and again. Without them we would not have even survived the recession, let alone grown.

Our pet shop Gloucester marketing is aimed at servicing these customers, keeping them informed where they can get discounts or make savings, when we have new lines or new stock in, where we will be for fun days out etc. etc. and also attracting new customers who are frustrated with the big chain shops, online traders and specialist shops with poor service.

You can click here to see a video interview I gave on how we at our pet shop Gloucester have achieved our success and what we are doing for the future. If we haven’t met – I’m the good looking one.

 

Pet shop Gloucester tips – what’s the best pet for a child

Pet shop Gloucester tips series, top five considerations when selecting a pet for a child.

  1. Pet shop Gloucester consideration number one – budget. It seems a bit mercenary to suggest your first consideration should be your budget. What I mean is the lifetime budget for the animal. Some animals are cheaper than others. For instance a rabbit is cheaper than a western hog nose snake. The housing and equipment is cheaper as well. However, over the lifetime of the animal the rabbit is by far the more expensive option. You have to take into account the feed, the cleaning, the need for vaccination, boarding if you are lucky enough to have a holiday,  everything. It makes me smile sometimes when customers pass comment about the leopard tortoise being expensive when tied up outside the dshop is their pedigree dog. A dog is probably the most expensive pet you can own (unless you count horses as pets that is). So think about the cost upfront and if you don’t think you can afford it get something cheaper overall. It is not fair to buy an animal you can’t afford to keep for its entire life.
  2. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.2 – space. Is you space limited? Look at spiders, insects, snails, frogs, small lizards or snakes, small mammals (up to rat size). Space not an issue? Don’t disregard the ones already mentioned but also consider chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, rabbits and guinea pigs, larger lizards (beardies) larger snakes (royal pythons etc), birds, cats and dogs (small dog, its for a child). All these animals are suitable for a child but have there own space requirements. Generally the larger and more active the animal, the bigger the enclosure you will need. It seems obvious but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. Customers have been in and said something along the lines of “I bought this bearded dragon at so and so in a “starter” set up and it’s getting a bit big for it now. How big will I need to get next?” When I tell them they look at me as if I’m trying to pull a fast one and counter with “but they said it would be alright in a 2 foot viv.” Sorry but I am not responsible for the bad advice you received elsewhere, I can only tell you what you need. So be sure you know with certainty how much space you need for the lifetime of the animal.
  3. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.3 – nocturnal or diurnal. Is it going to be awake at night or during the day. The obvious thing to think is not to get nocturnal as it will be up all night. However is your child at school? Then it may be better to not to get a diurnal animal as it will be active when the child isn’t there and asleep when he/she gets home. A lot of supposedly nocturnal species are in fact more crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) which seems ideal.
  4. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.4 – lifespan. A mouse is going to live for around 18 months, a chinchilla up to around 20 years (15 is more usual).Pet shop Gloucester animals If you think your child’s interest in animals is a passing phase then a shorter lived species is better. Then you are not left looking after an animal no one is interested in anymore (not fair on the animal). If you want to avoid the stress of a death in the family whilst your child is still young go for something a bit longer lived. This is a very important aspect of choosing the right pet. Children grow up and leave home. Are they going to be able to take their pets with them into digs at university or rented accommodation? If not, be prepared to look after it when they are grown up and gone. In some cases (tortoises and parrots for example) your child is going to have to consider who they are going to leave the animal to when they are gone, as it will outlive them.
  5. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.5 – ease of care. All animals have needs that you and your child are going to have to meet. They all need feeding (are you OK feeding live insects to a lizard or dead mice to a snake?). The all need cleaning out (I would suggest a daily litter tray clean for ferrets). They all need water (even tarantulas that get most of their water from their food). The all need suitable housing (see space considerations). They all have their own individual special requirements (dust bath for a chinchilla or gerbil, gnaw sticks for hamsters and rabbits, hides for a corn snake, misting for a chameleon, somewhere to hang from to moult for a mantis, etc. etc. etc….). Make sure you can meet all these requirements. Obviously to do this you need to know what they are so ONLY buy your animal from someone who knows.
  6. Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.6 – we like to give a bonus point. Too many people come into our shop having bought an animal from a dubious source (pet supermarket, online store, facebook, pre owned site, local paper, forum etc.) and were given poor advice, if any advice at all. This leads to the animal suffering and the owner feeling bad about it.  We get offered animals all the time and when we make basic enquiries into the history and previous care the “seller” (they wish!) cannot give even the most elementary of answers. Needless to say we don’t buy from these sources and neither should you. Only buy from a properly licenced establishment (a licence has to be displayed) whose staff can demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the animal they are selling. Remember any one buying and selling animals commercially without a licence is breaking the law. Do you want to get your child’s pet from a criminal?

Seems a lot to consider? It should do. You need to think carefully before investing in a pet for your child. As a responsible and ethical supplier the last thing we want is for someone to buy an animal from us then come back a  week or two later saying they are not able to look after their pet. If you are unsure you shouldn’t buy, simple as that. If, after considering all of the above you are sure, then come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester and we will be delighted to help. We would also be delighted to help you come to a decision beforehand as well , so come and ask us for any advice you need . The advice is free and from people who know what they are talking about .

Pet shop Gloucester top 5 tips for ferrets

Pet shop Gloucester top tips for keeping ferrets straight from the breeder.

We have kept ferrets in the family for over fifty years. We have worked and bred our own ferrets all this period. Currently George breeds his own ferrets and helps look after his housemates breeding colony in Malvern. All these ferrets are from good working lines. George’s housemate Simon has also been keeping and breeding ferrets for a number of years. The accumulated knowledge between us is available to the customers of our pet shop Gloucester at any time but we thought we would put down our top five tips for keeping ferrets here for anyone thinking about taking on one of these active, inquisitive, playful and rather naughty animals.

Pet shop gloucesterOne of our pet shop Gloucester ferrets

  1. Be confident. I don’t think animals have a “sense” that picks up when you are nervous but they do seem to get nervous when you are. They are probably alerted to hesitant, jerky movement and this seems to make them feel insecure. An insecure animal is the one that is going to bite. All our pet shop Gloucester ferrets are hand tame (using traditional and humane techniques), they know not to bite so if you just pick them up and handle them in a confident manner they will feel confident as well and not get spooked. If you are unsure about picking them up they will be unsure about being picked up. To boost your confidence always ask the pet shop Gloucester staff to pick up the animal and show it to you first. If they don’t want to, don’t buy the ferret, you can’t be sure it’s tame.
  2. Keep them occupied. They are very inquisitive animals, always getting into places they shouldn’t, on the look out for food or just mischief. It is always best to have more than one ferret. That way, when you are out they can entertain each other. If for any reason you only have one then you will need to give it plenty of play time with you. They love exploring, so give them plenty of space and toys that encourage this behaviour. Tubes and tunnels are a favourite and they seem to also like anything they can grab and pull, like a rope toy. We have used pipes and flexi tunnels, ramps, cones and tyres etc at our pet shop Gloucester. It’s best to alternate the toys every few weeks to keep up the interest.
  3. Our pet shop Gloucester advice is to have your ferret neutered. A male in breeding condition is smelly, very smelly, very very smelly. They exude a waxy substance onto their skin as well as musking. Neutering stops this smell. Female ferrets will come into season every year. If they come into season and are not taken out they will become very ill and could die. They can be taken out of season by mating (obviously you then have half a dozen plus babies to deal with), with a jill jab (a hormone injection) which you will need to have twice a year or by mating with a vasectomised male. It is easier, cheaper and better for the ferret to have it neutered. Have it done early, our pet shop Gloucester vet prefers to do the operation before there is too much of a fat layer to cut through.
  4. Feed a quality food. There are a lot of complete foods on the market. We prefer to use APL. We have found the condition of the coat is far superior on this food than even on a raw meat diet. Ferrets need meat or a good complete food. Do not feed bread and milk (people used to and I still hear this vaunted as “ferret food”).
  5. Think seriously about vaccination. Ferrets can suffer from canine distemper. If you also have a dog, chances are you will be having that vaccinated. The ferret has the same vaccine. Dogs and foxes can carry the disease as can other mustelids. If your ferret is indoors and there is no chance of it coming into contact with any other animal then maybe it’s not necessary but if it is outdoors than our pet shop Gloucester advice would be to have the vaccination. If you have more than one ferret our pet shop Gloucester vet still charges the same price for up to three ferrets. This is because they use dog distemper vaccine and the vial contains enough for three ferrets. If you have only one done then the rest of the vial is thrown away.

So there you go. 5 top tips straight from the breeders on how to look after ferrets. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that. For instance ferrets can be litter trained to reduce the amount of cleaning out you have to do. If you want to know the details, come in to our pet shop Gloucester to see us and talk it through before you invest in one of these playful (it’s like having a kitten that never grows up), naughty (they like to steal things), very loving little pets.

The Angell Pets Team

How to keep livefood alive

I often get asked how to keep livefood alive or how to improve the nutritional quality of livefood. This is a video on how we do it. There are other ways but this is cheap and easy and works really well. It also makes feeding easier and helps prevent crickets escaping during dusting and feeding.

Richard Angell