Looking After Your Horse’s Health in Summer

Summer is a great time of year as a horse owner – light mornings and evenings, long and leisurely hacks and a packed itinerary of shows. However, with the warmer weather there are a few things you need to be aware of when caring for your horse. Here’s a look at what to keep an eye on.

Make sure they have plenty of water

It’s essential that your horse has access to a plentiful and clean supply of water. They can become dehydrated in warm weather. Make sure your horse can easily reach their water supply and that it remains uncontaminated by insects, algae etc. If you’re out and about with your horse at show, consider taking along your own water and buckets so you don’t have to keep taking your horse to shared troughs and risk the spread of disease from other horses via shared water.

Protection from the sun

Lots of horses enjoy lazing in the sunshine, but make sure they also have access to some shade for when they need to get out of the heat. If your horse has pink skin or white markings they can become sunburnt. Their muzzle can also get burnt, so keep an eye on this and apply sun cream or consider a mask, visor or light rug to protect them. You could also try zinc oxide on this area, which will soothe sore skin and form a barrier.

Flies and Insects

Flies are a real problem in the summer, and not only are they annoying to your horse, they can also cause further problems; for example watery eyes can attract insects and lead to eyes becoming inflamed and infected, and similarly with cuts and grazes. If you think your horse needs protection there are plenty of fly repellent products and also fly masks and sheets available.

Watch out for Sweet Itch

Sweet itch is a reaction to the bites of certain midges which can result in extremely itchy skin and excessive scratching. This can then lead to further skin problems if the skin becomes broken as it can attract other flies and infection. Check your horse for signs of scratching and apply a sweet itch lotion to any inflamed areas. You could also consider a fly rug if it seems to be causing your horse a problem – just make sure you remove it daily to check the skin and give your horse a groom.

Working and competing in hot weather

If your horse is working or competing they can get very hot and sweat a lot. To help them cool down after exercise use a sponge and cool water to help them regulate their temperature, give them plenty of water and walk them slowly to avoid muscles stiffening. You might want to consider using electrolytes if your horse is sweating a lot, which replace the salts lost through sweat and help to rehydrate your horse.

Cages and Toys for Budgies

Choosing a cage for your Budgies is extremely important. The following are some of the tips for someone searching for a suitable cage for their budgies.

Budgies are extremely active birds. When choosing a cage it is important to ensure that the cage is wide enough for the birds to fly across the cage and exercise themselves.

Place two perches on either ends of the cages for the birds to perch themselves. The perches should be at least an half an inch thick to prevent damage to the budgies’ feet.

The bars of the bars should be spaced not more than 1/2 inch apart. A larger spacing can cause budgies to stick their heads out of the cage with the risk of the head getting trapped between the bars.

There should be a sufficient number of horizontal bars as budgies are avid climbers and love to climb the cage walls.

The cage should ideally be rectangular in shape. Avoid circular cages as they make budgies a bit insecure.

The cage should have a removable tray at the bottom to remove waste and keep the cage clean.

The cage should have doors which can be secured effectively. Budgies are clever birds and will soon find a way to open doors that are not adequately fastened.

Budgies are intelligent and playful creatures. They love to play with toys, bits of paper and whatever they can find. It is good to provide your budgies with toys they can play with. The adage “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” holds true for Budgies too.

Selecting Toys for your Budgies

A wide varieties of toys are available for your budgies. Rings, steps, geometric blocks and a whole lot of designs. Budgies love climbing and toys such as a block of steps provide endless entertainment to budgies. Bells are another great idea. Rings and hoops hung from the ceiling of the budgie cage provide interesting perches.

Beads also make good toys for your birds. Beads can be used individually or strung up into beautiful shapes which can also look decorative.

A mirror placed in the cage also provides entertainment for your budgies

When designing or buying toys for your budgies you must take some precautions.

The toys should not be painted as paint can be toxic.

Do not use metals such as zinc or lead in the toys

Wood if used should be untreated.

Do not use glue.

Toys should not have small holes or cracks/splits in which the feet of the birds can get caught.

Check the toys for sharp edges which can injure the bird.

Food for Aquarium Fish

Fish like all animals require food. The food they eat should contain all the ingredients necessary for healthy growth and wellbeing. Too often, owners give only one type of food to fish.

This results in deficiencies which result in stunted growth and other abnormalities.

Healthy fish should be vigorous in motion, bright-colored with proper proportions. Examine your fish regularly for any signs of poor nutrition.

To provide proper nutrition, it is first necessary to understand the dietary habits of fish. Some fish are carnivores (meat-eating). Some are herbivores (plant-eating). While most fish are omnivores (eating both plant and animal food).

Carnivorous fish need a protein based diet. These include dried worms, shrimp, etc. Herbivorous fish require plant-based food. Examples are Spirulina, peas, etc.

Hence, try to find out the natural food for the fish you keep. There are different types of fishfeed available in the market. If you have a community aquarium, it is best to add a mixture of animal based and plant-based food.

Adding natural plants to the aquarium gives a source of food to herbivorous fish.

Another reason for poor nutrition among fish is the wrong of choice of type of fishfeed. Fish feed can be broadly categorized into floating food and sinking food.

Choose the type of food depending on the fish you have. Surface floating food will not be accessible to fish living the middle regions or in the bottom. These fish will become malnourished. Sinking food which slowly sinks to the bottom gives a chance to these fish to have food.

Hence, provide a combination of floating and sinking food to your fish. Ensure that the food are in proper size. Small fish with their small mouths cannot handle big chunks of food. These fish will go hungry.

When food is added to fish. The food may float in the surface of the water. This makes the food available to surface fish which stay in the surface. However, there are many species of fish which do not come to the surface.

These fish will not get food. Hence, when feeding it is necessary to choose your food depending on the fish you have. Sinking Food is a special type of food which sinks once it is dropped into the tank. This ensures that middle level fish also get a chance to eat.

There are different types of sinking food depending on the rate of sinking.

If you have nocturnal fish, drop some food before switching the lights off. This will ensure that the fish which forage at night will be able to eat.

Flaked Food is fish food which has been made into flakes. The food is mixed and then extruded or heated which produces the layers known as flakes. Flakes are very popular among hobbyists. Virtually all types of fish food can be made into flakes. flaked food

The flakes are small in size and usually float in the water. This gives time for the fish to eat them. The Flake are usually fortified with minerals.

The size of the flake should be suitable for the fish. Small fish may not be able to eat large flakes.

Flakes usually come in sealed containers. They usually have a best-before date.

You Must Admit You Have An Aggressive Dog

One thing that always amazes me is how a dog owner will not admit that they have an aggressive dog. They come up with all types of excuses and reasons why the dog is showing aggression and it is never the dogs fault.

If you have read any of my articles on dog aggression you know that I have mentioned that aggression has become an epidemic. Yes, you would be really surprised what a large percentage of dogs have aggression towards other dogs, people and sometimes even members of their human families.

I always explain to an aggressive dog owner that to be successful with rehabilitating an aggressive dog they first have to admit that there is a problem. Without that the training and behavior modification are usually merely a waste of the dog and the owner’s time and the dog does not get better.

Once I have that commitment from the owner the process of rehabilitating the dog can begin. The next commitment I need from an owner is that they will be willing to work with the dog at least once a day for no more than a 15 minute training session.

Of course repetition is the number one principle of dog training so if the owner has the time 2 or 3 sessions a day is even better. I do tell them however that if they can only train once a day they will be amazed at what they will be able to accomplish with their dog and how quickly the dog’s attitude toward the owner, the ALPHA, will change.

Besides the obedience exercises that the dog needs rehabilitation will also include some behavior modification. Each dog needs something different and we actually design a behavior modification program that is specific for each individual dog.

Rehabilitating a dog that is showing aggression does involve work and commitment from the owner. On some occasions the dog owner is not willing to commit and instead chooses to find a new home for the dog and in extreme cases even have the dog euthanized.

Rehabilitating or rehoming is always a decision that the owner and family must make and there is not one right answer instead it has to do with the commitment that the owner is able and willing to offer.

Remember, that a very large percentage of aggressive dogs are that way because they did not receive proper socialization as puppies. When you get the next puppy make sure that you find a well-qualified trainer that can teach you how to properly socialize your puppy.