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Critter Nook was created with pets and the people that love them in mind, with the sincere desire to create a place for you.. pet lovers everywhere...to meet, share your experiences, stories, pictures, ideas, and knowledge about the animals in your lives.

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Health Risks for Overweight Cats

Obese CatsCats in particular are falling victim to the obesity epidemic for reasons we may not easily recognize.

Americans comprise one of the fattest societies on the planet and 1 out of 3 adults is overweight or obese. These alarming statistics are also true for our pets. Obesity in pets is defined as those who weigh 20-25% above their ideal body-weight. (1) Cats in particular are falling victim to the obesity epidemic for reasons we may not easily recognize. Several things must be considered when exploring the causes and health effects of feline obesity.

While genetics play a small role in feline obesity, the most common causes include having a sedentary lifestyle and consuming too many calories. More cats than ever are living indoors only, which can greatly diminish the amount of physical activity they receive. Cats are carnivorous hunters in nature, constantly on the prowl and eating what they catch in small, frequent meals. It is important to provide your cat with outlets for exercise if they live exclusively indoors – such as a ‘cat condo’ for climbing and lounging, toys and safe access to a patio or balcony.

Some veterinary experts are now thinking that how we feed our cats is predisposing them to being overweight or obese. The metabolism of the cat has evolved to run off of the protein and fats of their prey- such as birds and mice. The domestic house-cat eats completely differently and experts argue that this has a negative effect on their metabolism and predisposes obesity. (2) Dry cat foods must contain high levels of carbohydrates in order to maintain their shelf life and easy-to-feed crunchy texture. These high levels of carbohydrate mean that less protein is being consumed and the cat’s metabolism is not working properly.  Due to these changes, cats eating dry commercial diets often have low muscle mass and high fat mass on their bodies. Dry cat foods also allow owners the opportunity to feed ‘free choice’ – leaving as much food out as the cat wishes to consume- which encourages overeating.

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Introducing New Foods to Sugar Gliders

Exotic Nutrition AdSugar gliders can be, and typically are finicky eaters. Not all Sugar gliders will adapt to eating new foods the first time they are offered. The Sugar gliders age, and present diet can be determining factors. Most Sugar gliders adapt to new diets immediately, but if your glider is reluctant, we list several techniques to make the transition. First, it is important that you do not allow your Sugar glider to ‘fill-up’ on treats, fruits or vegetables. Although the fruits and vegetables are quality foods, they do not contain the necessary proteins, fats or other essentials that a Sugar gliders will need in their diet. If your Glider fills up on these other foods, they will not be hungry enough to eat a balanced diet. May times Sugar gliders will not show interest in new foods when they have plenty of treats and fruits available to eat. Withhold these ‘sweet’ treats for a few days … allow your Glider to get hungry, then they will be less reluctant to try new foods.

Exotic Nutrition 032014Sugar gliders are hardy animals, they typically will not starve themselves. When they are hungry enough, they will eat the foods available, if you do not allow them to get hungry enough, then they will just wait for you to offer something different. If you are continuing to supply foods that they ‘like’ to eat when trying a new diets … then your Glider(s) will wait for you to bring them the food they are used to eating, rather than be willing to try new foods. You have to be persistent and withhold all of the old diet, supply only the new diet for 2-3 days. When they get hungry enough, they will try the new foods and get used to eating them on a regular basis within a week.

Jasper’s Favorite Things: Magnetic Ledge

IMAG0262With any enclosure you always want to give your reptile as much floor space as possible, with these magnetic ledges you can instantly give your Bearded Dragon or other climbing reptile additional places to go as well as enhance visual interest. Jasper’s enclosure has thick glass sides and he was delighted when I installed two of these in his home. I have found the magnets to be strong enough to easily hold my full grown Beardie Jasper without slipping or letting go.

I also want to add that even with the largest of enclosures it is important that you give your pet as much time out of their home as possible (always supervised of course). Jasper has staked out his territory to include our whole first floor and is given the opportunity to explore everyday.

IMAG0320Large Magnetic Powered Rock Ledge. Perfect for all reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates up to 2 pounds! Take advantage of the vertical terrarium climbing space as well as giving your terrarium pet a natural outlet for their climbing behavior. MagNaturals Rock Ledges will create a beautiful, natural and beneficial addition to your pets environment. Size 13″ x 8″ Not only are MagNaturals original and innovative, they are also made in the U.S.A. We are dedicated to developing new products that will enhance the lives of terrarium pets ad well as creating more natural and beautiful environments for you to enjoy.

  • Install or relocate in seconds. No glue or velcro.
  • 100% non-toxic materials. Made from Polyurethane Foam Resin. Easy to clean.
  • Magnetic force guaranteed for life. Works on habitats with glass 1/4″ thick.
  • Maximize enclosure space.
  • Create exciting terrariums with multiple units… then recreate them at will

Magnaturals Large Extra Strength Rock Ledge Earth – Magnetic Decor

Low-Fiber Diets Negatively Affect Horse Behavior

Low-Fiber Diets Negatively Affect Horse BehaviorResearchers have found that horses deprived of fiber in their diet exhibit considerably different behavior to hay-fed horses.

Despite the fact that horses have evolved as foragers, with a diet high in fiber and water, many horse owners feed their pets high-calorie pellets which are low in fiber. Researchers at  Pomona Animal Hospital have published findings that demonstrate how horse behavior changes with diet. In the paper, titled “Horses’ Behavior and Welfare Negatively Impacted by Low-Fiber Diets,” the authors outline how horses that are deprived of a natural foraging diet are at risk of developing gastric ulcers and negative behavior such as destruction of their stalls.

The study assessed eight mares fed two different diets, either unlimited orchard grass hay or a complete pelleted feed for three weeks. The horses were also trained to press a panel to obtain a food reward. The study found that horses fed hay spent 61.5% of their time eating, while horses fed pellets spent only 10% of their time eating, and that horses fed pellets spent 58% of their time standing while horses fed hay spent 37% of their time standing. In addition, horses fed pellets spent 11.5% of the their time sifting through the bedding of their stall looking for food whereas horses fed hay only spent 1.2% of their time practicing this “searching behavior”.

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Dental Treats for Pets

Pet TreatsFebruary is Pet Dental Month in the US, Canada and several other countries. Not only can you save up to 40% on dental procedures for your cat, dog or horse- many dental hygiene items may also be on promotion. Many people take advantage of these reduced prices and have their pet’s teeth cleaned at the veterinarian. But how can you take care of your pet’s teeth during the other 11 months of the year? Can brushing your pet’s teeth or providing dental treats help prevent the need for professional care?  Let’s take a closer look.

Over time, just like humans, dogs can develop dental disease if oral hygiene is poor. Buildups like tartar and plaque can become prime real estate for bacteria to live and can infect the gums, causing gingivitis. This unsightly buildup and inflamed gum line are not only disgusting, but it can also be causing your pet pain. Often the bacteria will spread and infect the tooth root, causing painful abscesses.

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Guinea Pig Cages Store…..for the Love of Piglets Everywhere

Guinea Pig Cages Store 2C&C, cubes and coroplast enclosures are, in my opinion the only way to go for your guinea pigs. They are expandable, relatively inexpensive for what you get, easy to assemble, easy to clean, lightweight, durable, adaptable and the Guinea Pig Cages Store gives you quality care information about your piggies and guides you in making the correct choice of enclosure size. How much space should you give your pigs? There is no limit, they love to run, jump frolic and explore; the more space you give them, the happier they will be and the more entertained you will be. My number one rule…..never keep just one pig and remember adopt, adopt, adopt. There are hundreds of piglets out there in shelters of all ages who need homes. Check out my adoptions section for available piggies in your area. For more of the benefits of C&C enclosures definitely check out http://www.guineapigcagesstore.com your piggies will be happy you did.

Exotic Nutrition, Slow Loris Rescue Project

Exotic Nutrition AdExotic Nutrition is currently working with International Animal Rescue/Indonesia providing Gumivore-Fare as a food source for the endangered slow loris that are being rehabilitated at their facilities in Indonesia. Gumivore-Fare is an acacia gum based soft food that provides nutrition for the slow lorises being rehabilitated at their facility in Java.

The slow loris in Indonesia are under serious threat of extinction as a result of habitat loss and the illegal trade for pets and for traditional medicine. The Javan slow loris is included in the category of ‘endangered’ species on the IUCN Red List and named as one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.

Slow Lois Rescue Story - Exotic NutritionInternational Animal Rescue has established a facility specializing in the care of slow lorises in Ciapus, West Java. The center and its rescued lorises feature prominently in the BBC Natural World documentary, Jungle Gremlins of Java (25 January 2012 BBC 2). The center also featured in the BBC Indian Ocean series with Simon Reeve (3 June 2012 BBC 2). The team is currently caring for nearly 100 slow lorises that have been surrendered by their owners or confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade. Here the animals undergo treatment, rehabilitation and socialization in preparation for release back into the wild. However, many of the lorises have had their teeth cut out and therefore may no longer be able to fend for themselves. They are working with veterinary dental specialists to determine whether their teeth can be repaired or replaced. A number of slow lorises with their teeth intact have been released into the wild and are being closely monitored using radio collars. Working closely with universities and scientists, research into successful rehabilitation and reintroduction programs for slow lorises is ongoing at the center. Their education officer also goes into schools to give talks to local children about the danger that slow lorises could be driven to extinction.

Watch the video below for insight on the situation and we encourage you to contact International animal rescue to help. http://internationalanimalrescue.org

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Vegetarian Dogs

Vegetarian Dogs 103013Vegetarianism is becoming more popular than ever among animal lovers for environmental, health and ethical reasons. Due to this, many vegetarians want to feed their families and canine friends like they feed themselves.  This can be a bit of a challenge but with proper research and some know-how, your dog too can ‘go veggie’ and still eat a balanced, canine-appropriate diet.

Dogs evolved as omnivorous animals and are able to eat a variety of foodstuffs from meat to grains to vegetables. Some veterinarians and dog enthusiasts may seem skeptical about all-vegetarian diets for dogs, but it is possible to provide them with sound, balanced vegetarian nutrition.

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Salmonella Risks for Your Pets

Salmonella Story 102813Today it seems that we can’t watch a television news program or go on Facebook without seeing news about another pet food recall. These news reports are troubling, especially since most pet lovers rely on major pet food companies to provide their pets with sound and safe nutrition. Many argue that these ongoing problems are simply a symptom of a larger problem in both the human and pet food systems in North America.

One of the biggest causes of pet food recall is Salmonella contamination. Salmonella spp. is a type of bacteria that lives naturally in the gut of poultry and in the environment. There are over 2000 ‘serotypes’ of Salmonella that can potentially cause disease in dogs, humans and other mammals. (1) Salmonella contamination is common in food animal processing, especially in poultry. When people or animals ingest contaminated or improperly cooked meat or product, sickness can ensue.  Common signs of Salmonella infection in dogs include fever, watery or bloody diarrhea, lethargy, reduced appetite, vomiting, and rear leg weakness. If the infection is severe, dehydration and sepsis (bacteria or chemicals in the bloodstream) can lead to death. There are other bacterial contaminants that can cause similar ‘food poisoning’ symptoms in dogs, including Campylobacter and E. coli.

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Want a Pet Tegu Lizard? Watch this First!

People always want to know if I think Tegus make good pets, and if I would recommend them to anyone/everyone. Here’s the answer.

As always with pet care, sharing information is the key to a happy healthy pet, and MacGyver is no exception, so before you take home that cute little baby 12″ Tegu from the breeder or pet shop check out MacGyver’s website for more information as well as his You Tube channel. As with all species, but especially with reptiles it’s important to know as much as you can BEFORE you make a decision that will affect your life not to mention the animals quality of life.

I myself am fascinated by the Tegu, but after careful consideration of the other critters in my life and the fact that when full grown an adult Tegu is upwards of 20lbs, I realized that a Tegu would not make the best pet for me and my family. If you truly love animals you will make sure to take the time to honestly assess whether you would be able to care for them and make them happy for their whole life and make your decision based on that.

Other channels mentioned in this video: TheTeguGurl, JakesGotHerps, TeguBuzz, CidsreptilesNpets, Repidemic

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