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 clearance lines

In our pet shop Gloucester today we have a number of lines we are discontinuing to make space for new stock.

These are on offer at fantastic prices but are limited in numbers. If you want to take advantage of these great offers get in to the pet shop Gloucester quickly before they all go.

Some of the offers included are Dogmatic head collars sizes 5 to 8 for ONLY £4.99

pet shop Gloucester

(Amazon price £19.99 +), selected  Trixie hutches and runs at 25% off, T-Rex backgrounds 50% off our already  low offer prices, 50% off selected dog toys (more added to existing offer range), 25% off selected dog coats (Outhwaite, Pennine etc) plus many more exiting offers in store now. We are not restocking with these items so once they are gone they are gone.

Come to the pet shop Gloucester now to grab your bargain.


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.


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 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.


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 October offers

Pet shop Gloucester October offers and more!

Hi, here are our wholesalers offers for this October. Click below to see the fantastic deals available. Don’t forget we have a host of our own deals as well this month (for example Whiskas cat treats for only £1, Feelwell dog treats at 1/2 price, some Royal Canin dog and cat food at as low as 1/2 price etc.) and double loyalty points this month on Orijen and Acana dog and cat food.

Best Pets October offers

To keep in touch with all our pet shop Gloucester offers and new lines subscribe to our email list and like us on Facebook.

The Angell Pets Team