Animal Care Helpful Sheets

Making proper animal welfare information and care accessible to all.

Environmentalism

Animal Care

Rescue having fun

Dogs

Feeding Dogs:

  • Puppies eight to 12 weeks old need four meals a day.

  • Feed puppies three to six months old three meals a day.

  • Feed puppies six months to one year two meals a day.

  • When your dog reaches his first birthday, one meal a day is usually enough.

  • For some dogs, including larger canines or those prone to bloat, it's better to feed two smaller meals.

Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet for adult dogs and may be mixed with water, broth or canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg or fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than ten percent of his daily food intake.

Puppies should be fed a high-quality, brand-name puppy food (large breed puppy foods for large breeds). Please limit "people food," however, because it can result in vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits and obesity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and be sure to wash food and water dishes frequently.

Exercise

  • Dogs need exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and stay healthy. Individual exercise needs vary based on breed or breed mix, sex, age and level of health. Exercise also tends to help dogs avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Supervised fun and games will satisfy many of your pet's instinctual urges to dig, herd, chew, retrieve and chase.

Grooming

  • Help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding with frequent brushing. Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don't need to be bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or the dirt will stick to soap residue.

Handling

  • To carry a puppy or small dog, place one hand under the dog's chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting the hind legs and rump. Never attempt to lift or grab your puppy or small dog by the forelegs, tail or back of the neck. If you do have to lift a large dog, lift from the underside, supporting his chest with one arm and his rear end with the other.

Housing

  • Your pet needs a warm, quiet place to rest, away from all drafts and off the floor. A training crate or dog bed is ideal, with a clean blanket or pillow placed inside. Wash the dog's bedding often. If your dog will be spending a lot of time outdoors, be sure she has access to shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather, and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it's cold.

Licensing and ID

  • Follow your community’s licensing regulations. Be sure to attach the license to your dog’s collar. This, along with an ID tag and implanted microchip or tattoo, can help secure your dog’s return should she become lost.

Fleas and Ticks

  • Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods of flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options.

Neutering and Spaying

  • Female dogs should be spayed and male dogs neutered by six months of age.

Dog Supply Checklist

  • Premium-quality dog food and treats

  • Food dish

  • Water bowl

  • Toys, toys and more toys, including safe chew toys

  • Brush & comb for grooming, including flea comb

  • Collar with license and ID tag

  • Leash

  • Carrier (for smaller dogs)

  • Training crate

  • Dog bed or box with warm blanket or towel

  • Dog toothbrush

Source:

"General Dog Care." ASPCA. Accessed June 30, 2018. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/general-dog-care.

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Cats

Feeding

  • We recommend purchasing high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your new cat or kitten and determine the best diet. Factors such as age, activity level and health make a difference in what and how much a cat should eat.

  • Cats require taurine, an essential amino acid, for heart and eye health. The food you choose should be balanced for the life stage of your cat or kitten. Properly balanced foods will contain taurine.

  • You will need to provide fresh, clean water at all times, and wash and refill your cat’s water bowls daily.

  • Treats should be no more than 5-10% of the diet.

  • Many people feed baby food to a cat or kitten who is refusing food or not feeling well  Please read labels carefully: If the baby food contains onion or garlic powder, your pet could be poisoned.

  • Take your pet to your veterinarian if signs of anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting or lethargy continue for more than two days.

Grooming

  • Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but you should brush or comb your cat regularly. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat's coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs.

Handling

  • To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck or by the front legs.

Housing

  • Your pet should have her own clean, dry place in your home to sleep and rest. Line your cat's bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats do not live as long as indoor cats. Outdoor cats are at risk of trauma from cars, or from fights with other cats, raccoons and free-roaming dogs. Coyotes are known to eat cats. Outdoor cats are more likely to become infested with fleas or ticks, as well as contract infectious diseases.

Identification

  • If allowed outdoors, your cat must wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. And for both indoor and outdoor cats, an ID tag or an implanted microchip can help ensure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.

Litter Box

  • All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary, but if you must do so, move the box just a few inches per day. Keep in mind that cats won't use a messy, smelly litter box, so scoop solid wastes out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent and refill at least once a week; you can do this less frequently if using clumping litter. Don't use ammonia, deodorants or scents, especially lemon, when cleaning the litter box. If your cat will not use a litterbox, please consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes refusal to use a litter box is based on a medical condition that required treatment.

Scratching

  • Cats need to scratch! When a cat scratches, the old outer nail sheath is pulled off and the sharp, smooth claws underneath are exposed. Cutting your cat’s nails every two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely to harm the arms of both humans and furniture. Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least three feet high. The post should also be stable enough that it won't wobble during use, and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark. Many cats also like scratching pads.

Health

  • Your cat should see the veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and annual shots, and immediately if she is sick or injured.

Spaying and Neutering

  • Female cats should be spayed and male cats neutered by five months of age.

Vaccinations

  • Your veterinarian will make recommendations based on your cat's age and health.

Cat Supply Checklist

  • Premium-brand cat food

  • Food dish

  • Water bowl

  • Interactive toys

  • Brush

  • Comb

  • Safety cat collar with ID tag

  • Scratching post or scratching pad

  • Litter box and litter

  • Cat carrier

  • Cat bed or box with warm blanket or towel

Source: "Cat Care." ASPCA. Accessed June 30, 2018. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care.

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Ducks

Ducks need housing that meets their physical, behavioral and social needs. They are social animals and should be kept with other ducks for company. They are also very curious and intelligent animals that need sufficient space to move around freely and access to water facilities to carry out their natural water-related behaviors.

Ducks and Your Garden

  • Ducks love to forage around a garden. They search in mulch and under plants for tasty grubs and worms. Ducks like to eat grass, so they will enjoy grazing on lawn and keeping the weeds down. You will need to fence them out of your vegetable garden or they may eat it all! Ducks do not dig (unlike chickens) but they will make little holes in soft or wet earth with their bills, ‘drilling’ for worms. Let the ducks in when you are digging in your veggie garden– they will have a wonderful time finding earthworms and other treats.

Water

  • Ducks love water and use about 1 litre of drinking water per duck per day. They need water to keep their eyes, bills, feet and feathers in good condition. The water should be deep enough for them to stick their whole head into and to wash their body. The water container needs to have a shallow edge so that the ducks can get out again easily if they happen to climb in. They love pools where they can climb in and splash. A kids pool (clam shell) or a tub about 20cm deep is perfect. Supervise access to swimming water until you are sure that the ducks can get in and out of the pool easily. Old baths are not ideal because they are slippery inside and ducks can find it hard to get out. Although ducks are usually great swimmers, they can still become waterlogged and drown.

Housing

  • Ducks need to be kept in a secure pen or house when you are not at home that will protect them from predators. To be secure, housing needs to have solid sheeting or welded mesh (with wire at least 1.2mm thick) on the roof, floor and walls. Provide as much space as possible for each duck. At a minimum provide at least 1.5 sq metres area per duck in their house or pen if they are to be confined in it during the day. For a night house provide at a minimum, at least 0.5 sq metres per duck.

  • Duck housing should be out of the sun and should provide wind protection. Ducks don’t really like to be in direct sun. Metal housing in particular should be insulated or shaded to avoid it becoming dangerously hot inside (ducks can die from heat stress so precautions must be taken). Housing must also be well-ventilated. A simple three-sided shelter with a mesh base, front and door is suitable. The open side should face North, to get the Winter sun and avoid cold, wet Southerly winds.

  • The duck house or pen should be easy to clean as ducks poo a lot. Rice hulls are an excellent pen surface for ducks as they are soft but last a long time and also drain very well. Rake the rice hulls over each day. Do not use bare concrete or pavers over more than one third of the pen floor or your ducks will likely develop sores on their soft feet.

  • Inside the house, provide a ‘private’ spot for a nest (a sturdy cardboard box on its side, or an old lawnmower catcher will do). Keep the nest topped up with clean mulch, wood shavings or straw. Ducks often bury their eggs in the nest. Ducks don’t generally need a perch - they will sleep on the floor.

  • Keep their food container inside the duck house under cover so it doesn’t get wet. Keep the water and food at least a metre apart to discourage them from dribbling water in their food. Ideally, put the water over an area that drains well. Sitting the water container over a drainage pit or platform wider than the water container and filled with smooth pebbles is ideal.

Health Care

  • Ducks kept in a clean environment and fed good food are generally very robust and hardy animals. Ducks rarely suffer from intestinal worms or mites (especially if they have regular swimming sessions) but they usually need to be wormed every 6 months with a poultry wormer. Talk to your veterinarian for advice about worming.

  • Ducks can be a bit clumsy and prone to tripping over things, and are easily injured. Ducks kept on a rough or hard surface can develop foot ‘ulcers’. Swellings, sores on their feet or limping need attention from a vet.

  • Never give mouldy food to ducks – mould spores can cause respiratory diseases or sudden toxic reactions in ducks.

  • Keep their water clean – change drinking water every day. But don’t worry that they turn their new, clean water brown within minutes – that’s normal!

What Should I Feed My Ducks?

  • Feeding your duck a complete and balanced diet is essential to ensure they live a long and happy life.

  • Ducks should be fed a commercially prepared age appropriate food as their main diet. Ducks should be provided with suitable vegetables and fruits to supplement the commercial diet. Zucchini, peas, leafy greens, corn, vegetable peels, non-citrus fruit and worms are suitable. Check with your veterinarian and/or an experienced duck owner if you're unsure about the safety of a particular food stuff.

Up to 3 Weeks of Age

  • Duck starter crumbles are ideal. This is a high nutrient feed with a protein level of around 18-20%. Avoid chicken feed at this age as it is deficient in some of the nutrients that growing ducks need.

3-20 Weeks of Age

  • Ducklings can now be fed a good quality grower food suitable for ducks or for pullets (young chickens). Protein level for this food should be around 15%.

20 Weeks and Older

  • The ducks can now be fed a good quality layer or breeder food suitable for adult ducks or chickens. Pellets or mixed grain are best. They also need daily access to shell grit as a source of calcium to ensure strong shelled eggs.

  • Supplement the commercial diet with suitable vegetables and fruit.

  • Ducks need plenty of clean water provided to wash their food down with. Ensure the food and water bowls are close to each other.

DO NOT Feed

  • Bread, popcorn, chocolate, onion, garlic, avocado or citrus fruit

  • Although bread is commonly given to ducks, excessive amounts are not good for them. Ensure any bread or bread products are only ever given as an occasional treat.

  • Please also note that feeding ducks is not the same as feeding chickens.

  • If you notice any changes in your ducks' eating behavior please consult with your veterinarian.

Source:

"RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase." Why Is the RSPCA Opposed to the Tail Docking of Dogs? - RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase. Accessed June 30, 2018. http://kb.rspca.org.au/How-should-I-keep-and-care-for-my-pet-ducks_520.html.

"RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase." Why Is the RSPCA Opposed to the Tail Docking of Dogs? - RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase. Accessed June 30, 2018. http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-ducks_519.html.