Helping Your Overweight Cat Stay Healthy

It has been conservatively estimated that at least half the domestic cats in this country are overweight. This is a situation which real pet lovers should take seriously, rather than brushing it off. In fact, it’s very unhealthy for your cat to be overweight, and it can seriously affect its overall health, as well as the cat’s expected lifespan. Excess weight is relatively easy to identify in your cat since pouches of flesh can protrude on both sides. A healthier, slimmer cat will have a ‘straight-line’ profile down to the ground, rather than the saddle-bag look characteristic of an overweight cat.

Given the fact that your cat’s health and longevity can be severely affected by being overweight, as a pet owner, you should do what you can to help your cat lose weight so that it can enjoy better health and greater longevity.

Manage Calories and Fat Intake

The healthiest foods for cats are highly digestible, with a high meat content. Domestic cats have evolved over centuries from predators in the wild which were obligate carnivores, creatures with digestive systems adapted to extracting their nutrition from meats. Domestication has changed many of the habits of house cats, but not their natural digestive systems.

A great way to control fat intake for your cat is to feed it canned or raw foods. If your cat’s primary diet consists of dry foods, make sure that the dry foods you’re feeding it are specially formulated to promote weight loss. These kinds of dry foods will include sufficient levels of nutrition, with only small amounts of calories and fat.

In general terms, the most beneficial approach to feeding your overweight cat is similar to the ideal eating approach for humans – feed them smaller and more frequent meals. Most packaged or canned cat foods will include guidelines for how much to feed your cat each day, and in some cases, will even recommend measured portions.

This is a good idea, because these recommended portions do follow nutritional guidelines on how to maintain good health. You can go a step further by calculating the total recommended food portion to be given your cat each day, and dividing that into five or six smaller portions. This way, the total amount will be the same, but smaller portions each time will space out the meal times, and keep your cat from feeling too hungry.

An overweight cat eats wet food.

Even though cats prefer dry food, it’s high in carbohydrates. Often, wet food is a better option for helping overweight cats slim down.

Keep Your Overweight Cat Active

Studies have shown that pet owners who play with their cats frequently, and who encourage their cats to play on their own with toys, will generally have healthier pets that are less prone to being overweight. There are of course, other benefits to frequent playtime with your cat, such as bonding more with family members, but keeping it more active with increased play is one of the most beneficial for its overall well-being.
It may take you a while to find out which kind of toys your cat prefers, but start out with toys that look like prey, such as a mouse, a big insect, or a bird. Many cats also have favorite colors, and with a little experimentation, you might be able to find out if your own cat has a favorite, which you can then exploit by purchasing toys of that color.

You can also increase your cat’s interest in any particular toy by including a dab of honeysuckle or catnip on the toy, which will appeal to its sense of smell. If you want to get creative, you can build your own indoor obstacle course or fitness trail, where you create little tunnels, plank ramps, chairs, and tables for your cat to navigate. By including healthy treats along the way, you will encourage participation, and increase the likelihood of their continued interest.

Cater the Environment to the Cat

In some cases, you may need to adapt your home environment somewhat to encourage more active behavior from your cat, especially in situations where you have multiple cats at home. It’s typical in such cases for one cat to be more dominant, and to eat a larger share of the food provided. You can prevent this by feeding the larger cat on the floor, and create feeding areas more elevated for the other cats, or you can feed the less dominant cats in separate rooms entirely.

In single-cat homes, you can add to your cat’s enjoyment of the home environment by providing empty boxes or bags, paper towel tubes, or toilet paper tubes, cat trees, or scratching posts to make your cat more comfortable and more active. When a cat feels less anxiety or stress at home, it will generally be more inclined to participate in fun activities that represent good exercise and healthy activity, all of which contribute to helping your overweight cat shed pounds and enjoy better health.




Picking a Small Pet at the Pet Shop

Veiled chameleon on a branch, which is a small pet.

What small pet will you bring home?

Pets come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s usually the little ones that grab our hearts. Most small pets are adorable and fluffy, which only add to their appeal. You’ve probably thought about stopping by the Pet Shop and grabbing a small pet of your own. Before you do, find out your options.

What Type of Small Pet Do You Want?

If you are having trouble finding the right small pet, we think we can help. At the Pet Shop, we have a whole catalog of small and wonderful animals to choose from. There are plenty of pets out there, and you should consider the ones that fit your lifestyle. We guarantee that you can find your new best friend here!

The Lovely Pets at the Pet Shop

  • Rodents – All types of cute rodents come here. That includes domestic mice and rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, and hamsters. That’s not all. We even have some of the more exotic animals. For example, we have chinchillas with the softest of fur and degus with the cutest eyes.
  • Sugar Gliders – These tiny marsupials are usually confused for rodents, and it’s hard not to see why. A fun fact is that they are more closely related to kangaroos and koala bears. The advantage of having a sugar glider is that they are smart ones. They’ll bond with you, learn new commands, and bring joy to your life.
  • Hedgehog – What’s not to love about these spiky friends. Hedgehogs are known for the spines on their back. While they are prickly, they are equally adorable and adventurous late-night creatures. You’ll even love the moments when they curl up into a ball and turn into a spiky little ball.
  • Birds – There is nothing more majestic than seeing our avian friends fly through the air. If you are fond of our feathery friends, we have a whole selection of birds. When you come down to the Pet Shop, say hello and find the right one for you.
  • Reptiles – They’re scaly, they love the sun, and they’re the coolest friend you’ll make. Reptiles are quite awesome with their colorful scales and wonderful personalities. They also have the best smiles. Our selection of herptiles will liven up your live as you try to figure them out and pet their scaly back.
  • Fish – Fish swim to their own tune and make great small pets because they are quiet, easy to take care of and keep you calm. If you want peace in your life, a fish is the way to go. You’ll also love buying their aquarium, decorating it with all types of rocks and plants.

Visit the Pet Shop

As we said, the Pet Shop is the best place to find your new friend. As a bonus, we offer new and exciting deals every single month. If you are located in the Allston area in Massachusetts, then come down and give us a visit. We are open every day. Mention our latest online order, and you’re sure to find your pet and everything you need for the right price.

How to Play With a Pet Chinchilla

A cute pet chinchilla in its cage.

Have some fun playing with your pet chinchilla.

At the Pet Shop, we can’t deny how easy it is to fall in love with some of our smaller animals. In fact, one tiny critter, the chinchilla, seems to draw the attention of many pet lovers. It’s their soft skin that makes these rodents irresistible. If you decide to make this adorable little one a part of your life, you are going to need to know a few things.

The first is that a pet chinchilla is a small creature, but full of energy. These animals will crave your attention. The second thing you need to remember is to approach your chinchilla with care; they are very different from other animals. When it comes to playtime, make sure they are comfortable and enjoy your bonding experience.

They Love the Night Life

By nature, chinchillas are nocturnal animals. These pets are active and move around once the evening begins. You can’t force them to play in the middle of the day as you’ll only interrupt their sleep schedule. Take time during every night to play with your pet chinchilla for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Make Sure Your Pet Chinchilla Is Safe

We cannot stress enough how important it is that you take precautions with your pet. Chinchillas can be a bit curious, which can get them into all sorts of trouble. Have their play area prepped by placing cables, wires, and electrical out of their reach. If you can’t move these items, cover them in protective tubing. You should also look for certain spots in your home where your chinchilla might hide. You’d be surprised by how many small spaces like cracks and gaps they can fit into. Cover those spots and quarantine them somewhere they cannot get lost.

Toys Make Them Happy

There are plenty of pet toys that you can buy for your chinchilla. In fact, you don’t even have to go to the pet store to find something for them. Chinchillas like playing with the same chew toys as parrots. You can also use the cardboard rolls from paper towels.

Give Them Something to Climb On

It’s important to keep track of where you chinchilla is at times. As we mentioned before, these pets tend to find themselves in small spaces. A chinchilla is also very active and playful, meaning they will climb, jump and bounce off of everything in sight if they get the chance. We suggest buying a small step ladder or doggy steps. You can let them play on the couch or stairs in your home, just carefully watch them and make sure they don’t get into space they should not be.

Play With Them

You can’t force your chinchilla to play with you. Have some patience and wait for your pet to come to you. You can encourage them to play with you by talking with them. When your little friend makes their way over to you, pet them. Over time, your chinchilla will become more and more accustomed to being around you and come to you on their own.

Why You’ll Love Hedgehogs as Pets

The woman one of the African hedgehogs in hand.

Fall in love hedgehogs and bring one home today.

Hedgehogs are the best. It’s amazing how delightful these spiky little companions are. However, we know how hard it can be to introduce a new pet into your life. That’s why we came up with this handy guide for you. Find out why bringing a hedgehog home will be the best decision you will ever make.

Wonderful Personalities

Hedgehogs are similar to hamsters when it comes to how they act. At first, they will be hesitant to do anything because they are adjusting to a new environment. If you learn to be patient and give them positive attention, the both of you will grow to have a positive relationship. You’ll find them to be shy at times but willing to interact with you if you are kind.

Hedgehogs Are Unique Creatures

There are plenty of reasons to love hedgehogs. They are cute, adorable, and their mousy little faces will melt your heart. They are also the perfect pet to show off to friends and family. People love to pet and look at their unique spines. The spines are what protrude out of their back, giving them their distinctive look.

Easy to Manage

Usually, most pets are troublesome to manage. However, you will find that hedgehogs are quite easy to maintain. For instance, they make very little noises and are less likely to cause mischief. Other small pets like rodents or hamsters love to chew on any and everything. You won’t find the same problem with a hedgehog.

Allergy-Friendly Pets

Another great aspect of hedgehogs is that they are allergy friendly. They don’t leave any pet dander around to trigger allergy symptoms. You’ll be able to hold them, play with them, and clean their cage with no issues.

We hope this convinces you to come down to the Pet Shop and bring home your very own spiky little friend. In fact, we are offering $100 off of all hedgehogs this month! Just mention our online pricing offer when you visit.

What to Look for in Your Cat’s Pet Food

A gray cat walking on a window sill and looking at his pet food.

Choose your cat’s pet food wisely.

Taking care of your pet is a lot like taking care of a child. You will always want the best for them. More than showing them tender love and care, you have to feed them right. For your furry feline friend, their pet food is extremely important. What’s in their food can make the difference between them being healthy and them having a poor diet.

Stick to Wet Pet Food

Wet food is just easier to eat for your pet. While dry food may look enticing because it requires less clean up, they are high in carbohydrates. This can cause tartar and plaque to grow in your cat’s mouth. Avoid it and stick to the old, reliable can.

Look for Foods With Better Nutrition

Just like humans, your little kitty needs to eat the right nutrients. First, avoid pet foods that use grain as an ingredient, as this has a high concentration of carbohydrates. The reason you want to avoid giving your pet a lot of carbs is because it is harder for them to digest.

The next thing to look for is protein. Cats should be eating the same kind of meat we eat. This is where they will get their necessary intake of protein. It comes from real beef, chicken, and turkey. And the food that they eat should be all natural. This means no GMO’s and the food is organic.

Scale Back the Fish Food

When you think of cats, you think of fish. Their love for fish is as old as time, but believe it or not, they shouldn’t have it all of the time. Some fish has high amounts of heavy metals, toxins, and phosphorus. These can cause your pet to develop health issues. So, stick to feeding them this type of food only once of month.

Keeping Mischievous Pets From Hurting Themselves

A cat, one of many mischievous pets, peeking curiously out of a cylinder.

Are your mischievous pets causing trouble at home?

We all love our pets. They’re our babies, our precious little friends, and our confidants. However, they have a tendency to misbehave. It’s not their fault, pets are naturally curious beings. As a responsible pet owner, you have to protect your home and make sure these mischievous pets don’t get into too much trouble.

Protecting Your Home From Mischievous Pets

The biggest reason to proof your home and protect it is to keep your pet out of harm’s way. Your lovable companion’s pension for messing with your stuff can end in disastrous consequences. And that is the last thing you are going to want to happen.

Here are the things you are going to want to pet-proof:

  • Kitchen/Bathroom – The kitchen and bathroom are no place for pets, especially bigger ones. They tend to get messy and you don’t want fur or dirt roaming around in those areas. Also, the garbage and toilet paper rolls tend to be their number one target. Childproof bottom cabinets, cover trash cans, and always remember to close the bathroom door.
  • Electronics – Wires from electronic devices just end up looking like another toy to your mischievous pets. They will go out of their way to chew or pull on them. You need to either keep low hanging wires out of reach or cover them with cord covers.
  • Bedrooms – You have to regulate your pet to certain areas of the house, otherwise they will see everything as their plaything. In the bedroom, you will often find perfumes, medications, and (in kids’ rooms) toys. Invest in a baby gate if you want to completely keep them out of an area and make sure you put everything away, in an area, they can’t reach.
  • House Plants – Many people keep plants in their home. They make a great decoration. However, they are dangerous. If your pet eats or ingests certain plants, it could potentially harm them. Once again, keep things like this high and unreachable or out of the home.

Once you start pet-proofing your home, you rest easy knowing that your home and your pet are safe.

Bringing Home a Pet Bird: What You Need to Know

Colorful parrot bird sitting on the perch, which makes for a wonderful pet bird.

Looking for a pet bird to bring home? Here’s what you need to know.

Does anything look more majestic than a bird flapping its wings through the air? We didn’t think so. Birds are fascinating creatures and having them as pets can be a wonderful journey. However, like any other animal, a pet bird is a responsibility. So, here are a few things to keep in mind as you take care of your brand-new pet bird.

Know Your Bird, Know It’s Species

Taking care of a bird is not as simple as just bringing it home. It’s important to know what kind of friend you are bringing home with you. Whatever feathery little friend you have your eye on, be sure to ask the pet store owner about its species. Inquire about food, temperature, and personality traits. You are not just bringing a pet home but you’re introducing a friend into your life. Be prepared.

Already Own a Pet Bird? Consider a Few Things

If you already own a pet bird and want to get another one, we can’t blame you. Birds are fantastic creatures. On the other hand, you have to once again consider its species. While some birds get along just fine, other do not. Some can be aggressive or possibly dangerous towards others. Do some research and figure out if the two need separate cages.

Buying a Cage

Along with the purchase of a new pet comes its living area. For most pets, this comes in the form of a cage. You have to remember; a bird will end up spending most of its life in its cage. That cage needs to be comfortable, safe, and most of all, it needs to keep them happy.

That means that they need enough room to fly around in, especially bigger birds. You also have to think about the bars on the bird’s cage. If they are too close together then your feathered friend can potentially get caught in it and hurt themselves. Last but not least, if you find two birds that are friendly with each other, then buy a cage big enough for two.

Why Do Frogs Make Great Pets?

A curious red eyed tree frog hiding in green background leafs. Frogs like these are typically found in Central America.

Always smiling, always happy. Frogs make great pets!

They are slimy and wet, green and colorful, and believe it or not they will hop their way right into your heart. That right, we’re talking about frogs. Pet frogs make excellent companions. You’ll be fascinated by everything this amphibian brings to your life.

Frogs Are Inexpensive

While there is always a cost that comes with bringing a new pet into your home, frogs are relatively affordable. Yes, you will have to buy them a habitat. Terrariums work best. However, these chill pets are low maintenance. They eat less than other animals, including small pets like hamsters and gerbils. Even better, most frog food is cheap as well, lasting you a long time.

Quirky Doesn’t Even Begin to Describe Them

Frogs are kind of funny. You’ll have the time of your life observing this pet’s everyday activities. They move at their own speed and hop onto the weirdest places. They are also adorable in their own quirky way. Most frog owners love looking at their big eyes and are fascinated by the mystery of what they are going to do next.

They’ll Stick With You

If there is one thing that you should not confuse a frog with, it’s other small pets like fish. While you won’t be getting your frog to do any tricks, they offer a bit more interaction. It’s fun to hold them in the hands, watch them crawl around, and pet them from time to time.

Another advantage that these pets have over most aquatic pets is their life span. The general life span of most frogs last 5 to 10 years and some even live to be 20 years old! If you feed them well, keep them happy in their terrariums, and take great care of them, they will return the favor by sticking with you for a long, long time.

A Guide for a First-Time Rabbit Owner

A little girl, who is a rabbit owner, kissing her brown rabbit.

Every first-time rabbit owner needs a little guidance.

Was it the fluffy tail? How about their cute little paws? Perhaps it was their energetic personality that caught your eyes. Whatever it was, you are now the proud owner of an adorable rabbit. Your new furry friend is going to need some proper love and care. However, as a first-time rabbit owner, where do you start?

Start by Making Them Feel at Home

Rabbits make great house pets. However, as with any pets, you have to ease them into their new environment. Keeping your rabbit comfortable is not as hard as you would think. It starts with the cage.

For rabbits, cages are their bedrooms. So, you have to be sure that they have enough room move and lay in them. A good cage is about four feet wide, two feet deep, and two feet tall. You can go a little bigger if you want to spoil them.

The bottom of their cage should be lined with some form of flat surface and hay. If you have a wire bottom cage, line it with wood planks. A flat surface prevents them from getting their feet caught in the bottom and the hay is comfortable enough to sleep on.

A Rabbit Owner Needs to Keep Their Pet Safe

Rabbits like to move around outside of their cage. They are fast moving and energetic creatures, so it’s to be expected. You are going to want to keep them safe from their own curiosity. If you want to know where they are at all times, then use a gate so you can know where they are at all times.

Rabbit-proof the areas of your home where you let them play. That means keeping small objects, dangerous chemicals, and other hazards away from them. If you have electronics with wires, buy cord protectors to prevent them from chewing on them.

Give Your Rabbit Space to Do Their Business

Everybody has to go at some time. If you have had your pet for a few days, then you’ll notice that they like to do their business in one spot of their cage. Don’t let them sit in their own filth. Clean it out occasionally. If you need to easier, buy a small litter box (filled with hay) and place it in that same spot. This should keep them comfortable and happy.

Don’t Let Summer Get Your Reptiles or Amphibians Down

A chameleon on a branch. Reptiles and amphibians like this need to stay cool.

Reptiles and amphibians need to stay cool during the hot summer days

If you have an amphibian as a pet, you may already know that hot temperatures can be dangerous. Even though most reptiles like the heat, it can actually be dangerous for them. Here are a few things to watch out for during hot weather if you have any reptiles or amphibians around.

Keep Amphibians Cool and Moist

Very few amphibians will survive hot, dry conditions for long. In fact, your amphibian may not even love your normal room temperature. Be sure they can stay moist in the terrarium, and don’t be afraid to keep them in a cooler part of the house. Remember too that cool water holds more oxygen, so if you have a pet with gills (certain salamanders, for example), be sure to keep the water cool, too.

Turtles Need Cooler Temps than Tortoises

Turtles seem to do better in cooler weather so you may need to chill the environment for your pet during the hot summer months. Some species of tortoise, on the other hand, can survive in the desert. That doesn’t mean you should let the terrarium become one. Keep the water dish full and provide a warm basking spot rather than letting the temp get above 75. And, if your house is warmer than usual, the terrarium may also be warmer than usual, and you may need a different bulb that gives off less heat.

Snakes and Lizards Can Beat the Heat

While you may need a basking spot for some of your reptiles, they also need a place to cool off in the shade and dip in the water. Don’t automatically assume your reptile or snake prefers the summer just because they are coldblooded. You may need to check on the optimal temp range for your particular pet, and then change the heating bulbs accordingly during the warmer months as you would with a tortoise.

The specific species you are maintaining will have its own needs. These were just some general guidelines to remind you to consider the conditions your pet is in as the seasons change.