What is an "Underfoot" Dog?

Quite simply, an “Underfoot” dog is a small dog breed which can receive serious injuries if stepped on.

Some of the most popular small breeds are the Pomeranian, the Chihuahua, Miniature Poodle, Maltese, Shih Tzu and the ever so popular Yorkshire Terrier, known as the Yorkie.

There is a huge demand for not only small breeds, but for small dogs who are at the very low end of the accepted weight scale. The AKC, the largest and most respected dog club organization in the United States lists an accepted weight range.

Even so, thousands of people want to have a dog who is either at the very bottom of that accepted size or even under it.

What these owners or potential owners do not realize is that having a very tiny dog equals a great amount of responsibility. Sadly, many owners have obtained a small breed dog only to severely injure that dog by accident.

People must realize that having a dog, especailly a small one, is very much akin to having a baby. The dog will be an “Underfoot” dog. You must be constantly aware of where the dog is. If you trip over or step on one of these dog breeds, you will not just say “opps!”, you will most likely be rushing your Pom, Chi, Yorkie or other dog to the animal hospital.

These breeds can receive broken limbs, even if you do not put all of your weight down. One element that makes these small dog breeds so prone to being under your feet is that they are known for being very loyal, very personable and following their owner around the home, like a shadow.

People tend to get busy, they may be walking around the house while talking on the phone, cleaning a room, carrying laundry or other. The dog will be right underfoot, and this is when it only takes a split second for the dog to be accidentally stepped on.

Recovery from broken limbs takes a long time. The dog will be fairly immobilized. Sometimes, the bones will not heal just right and the dog may have a limp for the rest of its life. Sadly, some dogs are killed when stepped on.

Beside having to be aware of where you dog is at all times, so that he or she is not stepped on, one must also be aware that sitting on a small breed dog can be fatal to the dog. If you are not looking and your 4 pound Yorkie in lying in the corner of your sofa and you sit down, this can be devastating.

These small dogs can be injured when jumping down from furniture, when being yanked by a leash and more.

Please take the time to learn about a dog breed before you bring one into your home. Toy breed dogs are wonderful companions. However, to make sure that your new fluffy friend lives a long, happy and safe life, take a bit of time to learn about how to care for them and how to keep them out of danger.

Waterland Turtle Tub – The Pond Experience?

The pond experience is an alternative to turtle care. It basically consists of having a pond area and a nesting area. The concept is quite unique in that it separates the pond section with a large tank area for swimming and then provides a deeper section for burying eggs or just sitting under the heat lamp.

The design is such that it consists of a large tub that is molded out of one big piece of plastic. It is typically labeled a turtle tub or turtle tank. The placement of the unit is usually on the floor or on a counter top type setting.

Because it sits on the floor and can be put in a corner in an apartment or living room; it gives the turtle enclosure more a touch and feel to it.

This style of enclosure is called “the pond experience.” There are some issues however with the pond experience and they are:

– Small children need to be guarded when using this container. They can fall in and more seriously touch the critters in the tub and get serious debilitating illnesses such as salmonella.

-The tank is very large and not transparent (see-through) so it necessitates an over the top viewing for it to be useful. What this means is that it needs to be placed on the floor for optimum viewing, or it must take up counter space.

-Cleaning of the unit requires full evacuation of the tub so that it can be cleaned as one piece.

Turtles, red eared slider turtles or aquatic turtles require a large tank for swimming, so the pond venue works well for that; however, turtles that just bask and do minimal swimming do not need such an elaborate system, but really only need a pool to swim in and a basking area to get thermalized.

An alternative to the pond environment is the aquarium tank with wading pool, or moderate swimming pool. Typically a structure is developed such as a glass partition or escalating racks so that the turtle has a place to climb and bask, and then climb down and swim. These systems have their limitations and usually end with mixed results.

The most favored system is a basking area with an associated swimming pool. This is similar to the pond concept, accept it uses an aquarium with siliconed glass partitions, instead of fully molded tub.

The problem arises for cleaning the pools which can be a big minus from owning any reptile for that matter. The water must be cleaned almost daily in some instances and makes maintenance a labor intensive endeavor.

As with the pond environment cleaning requires a full evacuation of the unit.

A Solution You Might Not Have Thought Of

A final alternative which is to have the pool be separated and removable. Most will use a clay dish, or even a Tupperware container to facilitate the pool container. Trouble with these solutions is that they are ugly and not pet friendly when it comes to climbing in and out of the pool.

Some manufacturers have developed pools that have steps that ascend and descend into the pool. This helps aid the pet in and out of the water. Additionally some are even designed with rock serrated surfaces so they appear real and aesthetically uniform in the reptile environment.

The ideal size pool for most pets is around 3 gallons or more. Shallow pools are usually more suitable for smaller pets such as frogs and salamanders.

A word of final note: some animals are not smart enough to get out of the water and can drown if the water is too deep. Hermit crabs and even some frogs can be this way. Make sure you understand your pets behavior before committing them to a pool environment. Talk to your local pet store or your veterinarian for their basking and soaking behaviors.

Ferret Food – The Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet

The lack of truly ideal ferret foods is one reason there is growing interest in more natural diets for ferrets.

Basic Feeding Rules

Ferrets have unique feeding requirements, which are now finally being addressed by commercial pet food manufacturers, though with varying success. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, and food passes through the digestive system of a ferret very quickly. They have a sweet tooth but do not give in — avoid sweet treats (including raisins and other fruits).

Ferret diets should list meat, poultry or fishmeal, or animal by-products as the first ingredient. Ferrets love fruits and veggies, but their systems don’t. They do not digest fibre well at all; a banana in comes out a banana. For this reason, a ferret diet must be high in animal protein, high in fat, and low in fibre.

Feeding Young Ferrets

Whether you are feeding raw or commercial food you should always feed at least two types of food in your young ferret’s daily diet to prevent them from imprinting on one food. Ferrets imprint on foods when they’re young, so varying the diet will make things easier if you need to change your ferret’s food later on.

There are vitamin supplements for ferrets and hairball remedies, which ferrets generally love, and they provide some benefits.

Raw Diet Pros

Good diets tend to be expensive, but are worth it. I researched raw food diets further and found a diet combining raw meaty bones and mince which keeps our ferrets in top condition. Feeding whole raw meaty bones help to prevent tartar forming on the teeth and provides calcium in the diet. Even if not feeding a raw food diet they can be fed alongside dry complete a couple of times a week to keep the teeth clean.

You will see an overall improvement in your ferret’s energy and coat condition. One bonus of a natural diet is that the stool volume decreases as more of the food is absorbed and the smell is greatly decreased.

There are many websites containing information on raw feeding. When feeding groups of ferrets watch to ensure no fighting occurs over bones.

Raw Diet Cons

The biggest drawback to feeding any fresh, cooked meat would be the ferret’s normal habit of stashing food for later. It is pretty unhygienic and dangerous to have a pile of stashed meat in the corner of the cage. Make sure you collect any leftovers after every feed. When first fed raw bones it can cause your ferret’s stools to turn a white/grey colour, the ferrets digestive system will develop stomach acids to break down bone and should soon return to normal.

(Note not all veterinarians promote a raw food diet) In the wild a ferret’s natural diet is a mixture of small mammals, some birds, fish, amphibians and invertebrates. When feeding groups of ferrets watch to ensure no fighting occurs over bones.

Getting the balance right

Perhaps the best thing to do is to pick up a bag or two of the highest quality ferret food on the market. Make sure you check the ingredients on the pack and see that the first ingredients are meat. Make up a meal of some dry food, some raw bones and meat and even a vitamin supplement. Gradually you can increase the amount of raw food in the diet. Make sure you keep up the vitamin supplements to ensure your ferret is not missing out.

Canned ferret food can be given as a treat or supplement, but only occasionally.

The diet you feed your ferret is vital to their health and overall well-being and could even help your ferret live a long and happy life.