Archive for August, 2013

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September is National Preparedness Month … What’s Your Plan?

August 31, 2013

If disaster strikes your home, do you have a contingency plan for your pets?

save my petA disaster doesn’t have to be on the scale of a national terrorist attack to create havoc in your household; even a small issue confined to your family (like a hospital stay) warrants having a preparedness plan for your animals.

In recognition of National Preparedness month, take some time this week to create a preparedness checklist for disasters small and large.

Things to think about:

  • Make sure if you have enough pet food and fresh water to last several days. Not just for you and your family, but for your animals as well.
  • Have pet carriers accessible for each of your pets in case you need to leave your home for any reason.
  • Make sure your pets are trained to get into their carriers quickly and without fuss.
  • Have a first-aid kit packed and ready to go.
  • Make sure your neighbors know you have pets in case you’re stuck away from home.
  • Keep your vet and emergency numbers handy.
  • Talk with the other members of your family about who is responsible for which pets and what to do in case of emergency.
  • Think about where you could take your pets if you needed to board them without a lot of notice.
  • Anything else?

Sharing our homes with pets is an amazing privilege, but one that comes with some extra responsibilities and a bit less flexibility than if you only had to look out for the humans in your family. Make sure you have a contingency plan for your animals if something were to come up so that you don’t miss anything important in a moment of stress or time crunch.

What’s your plan for your pets if disaster strikes? Leave your tips on being prepared in the comments below.

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Cleaning Cages … at the Car Wash

August 30, 2013
Miracle Car Wash

Bird cages get crud on them. Not just in between the tightly spaced bars, but in the crevices where the bars join, inside the wheel housing, behind the screws of the food dish holders, etc. If you have a powder-coated cage like Stewie and Mika have, food and poop (and anything that sticks to food and poop) cling to the coating of the cage. You can wipe it down when it’s still fresh, but if stuff dries between the bars, in the crevices, in the corners and behind the screws, a simple wipe-down won’t suffice.

So you can sit there with a spray bottle of special enzymes, a toothbrush and a rag and scrape out the dried up crud (and you DO have to keep your birds’ cages clean!) all the while cursing yourself for not cleaning more often so it’s easier.

If you have a backyard, you’re in luck. You can wheel the cages out the door (assuming they fit through the door) and power wash the gunk right off. Poop and food, after all, are water soluble. The first spray softens it up and then it blasts right off.

Unless you live in an apartment building without the ability to power wash anything. Our cages, after all, are way too big to fit into a bathtub.

Or… you’re lucky like me and discovered that there’s a car wash in the garage of your building!

No, not a covered full-featured drive-in car wash. Just a space with a coin-op hose. Four quarters (and a friend to help me schlep my cages down to the garage) was all I needed to finally get Stewie’s and Mika’s cages extra, super, sparkly clean. Barely had to use the toothbrush at all. Of course, it goes without saying, I just used water and did not use the sudsy/waxy cycle. Ten minutes of a high-powered spray got the gunk out of the corners that I could never reach with the toothbrush (and various other MacGyver methods to try to clean out the crevices) and then I dried everything with a rag. The cages looked better than ever.

If you don’t have access to a power washer next to your building, maybe you can throw your cages in the back of a pickup and find a gas station car wash that has a “rinse only” option. Maybe this advice won’t work for everyone, but it just goes to show that a little out-of-the-box thinking could make life a little bit easier.

Happy cage washing!

Creative Commons photo credit: Dayna Bateman

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Goldenfeast Bird Food Recall

August 28, 2013

According to the FDA, Goldenfeast has issued a voluntary recall of several of its bird food varieties due to possible Salmonella contamination of parsley flakes.

No illnesses have been reported so far, but if you’ve purchased affected product, contact Goldenfeast at 1-800-344-6536 for instruction on returning your purchase(s).

Please note that Salmonella poisoning is serious business and should not be taken lightly. If your birds act lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, or vomiting or show signs of decreased appetite, fever or abdominal pain, please contact your veterinarian.

You can get more details on the recall, including which products are being recalled, on the FDA website here: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm366526.htm