Beat the Monday Blues: Hamster 101

They are small, furry and super adorable! Here's a crash course video introduction on hamsters. If you are new to these furry creatures, then you have to watch this video (:

We now know that the name 'Hamster' comes from a German word 'Hamstern' which means 'to hoard'. Earlier this year, we wrote an article to talk about this unique body feature. Here it is: Pet Care Tips: Hammie's Puffed-Up Cheeks!

For more news and information, join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

New Beginnings: Bunny, my hunny

"Bunny", the bunny, flops between her owner's feet, content and loved. However, things could have been very different for this little white rabbit. After all, she was found wandering alone in East Coast Park without her previous owner. (View Bunny's story here.) She was one of the lucky ones who was rescued and rehomed to a loving family, the Khoo household.

In this week's "New Beginnings", we interview Ms Khoo Hui Lin to find out more about life with Bunny.

Q: How did you come to adopt Bunny?

Khoo Hui Lin (HL): Around 7 years ago, my aunt found Bunny roaming around at East Coast Park. She tried looking for Bunny's owner without success. My aunt decided to bring Bunny back with her as she was worried that Bunny could have been abandoned and it was unlikely that Bunny would be able to fend for herself.

However, my aunt could not keep Bunny with her for long as she has other pets in her household. So my family decided to adopt Bunny.

Q: Is Bunny your first pet?

HL: No. We had a pet dog, Scotty before Bunny. He passed away from old age about a year before we adopted Bunny. We didn't keep any pets after Scotty because we didn't feel ready to take in any animal then.

Q: How did your family take to Bunny?

HL: We all love Bunny! We see her as part of the family. In fact, when I was holidaying in Egypt, I found myself missing Bunny and I asked my then-fiance and now husband if Bunny would be ok back home. I really miss her soft fur and ticklish licks when I am away from her.

Q: As you never had a rabbit for a pet before, how did you and your family learn to care for Bunny?

HL: When we received Bunny, the first thing we did was to bring her to a vet for a check-up. During the check-up, the vet advised us on how to care for Bunny and what to feed her. Later on, we learnt about rabbit care from various sources.

Q: Any rabbit care tips you would like to share?

HL: Yes, and that is rabbit owners should take note of their pets' usual food and water consumption. As rabbits are not as vocal as cats and dogs, their food and water intake can be tell-tale signs that something is wrong.

There was once we realised that Bunny was not drinking her usual amount of water. She usually drinks one bowl daily, but one weekend we noticed she was drinking less than her usual amount. Even though she behaved rather normally, we decided to bring her to the vet. Turns out her stomach wasn't doing too well. We had to feed her medication (which she didn't like) for about 2 weeks and give her regular tummy massages to move her bowels!

Q: How is it like living with a rabbit?

HL: She's almost like a dog! Bunny is intelligent and she seems to be able to read our actions and tone of voice. She knows when I'm scolding her for making a mess and she will stay away. When I walk around the house and call for her, she knows how to look for me by the tone of my voice.

Although she is naturally curious and loves to explore, she can also be trained to know her boundaries. She now knows which parts of the house to stay out of. She also knows our routines as well as her own: when do we change her bedding, feed her favourite vegetables and fruits and when is it time for her to return to her cage for the night.

Q: What are some of Bunny most interesting characteristics?

HL: She runs in circles around my feet when I get home. She flips over when she sleeps between my feet. She only does that when she feels very secure with a person, because it exposes her under belly. Sometimes, when I pet and talk to her, she will lick me as if she's responding to what I've said.

She also loves to huddle between our feet! When we sit around the house, she would come to us and nudge our feet. We have learnt that that's her way of telling us that she wants to lie between our feet. On warmer days, she is quite content to just lie beside our feet though.

Q: How has Bunny made a difference in your life?

HL: I am glad we have Bunny. Most pet owners will know the feeling of blissfulness when they are just sitting and enjoying a peaceful moment with their pet. She has also brought my family closer together.

There's hardly a moment when she's not with us when we're at home. Either demanding for pats, massages or feet to squish her, sitting under the dining table when we're having family dinners (between my feet of course), or positioning herself to sit and watch my mom and me when we're in the kitchen. Even my dad's heart softens when she's "manja" with him. She has definitely touched our hearts.

Pet Adoption Friday: Pearl and Cosmo from Cat Welfare Society

Pearl

Name: Pearl
Age: 3 years old
Gender: Female
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: White
Litter-trained: Yes
Good with people: Yes

Pearl is docile, gentle and an active kitty.

Cosmo

Name: Cosmo
Age: 6 weeks old
Gender: Male
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: White
Litter-trained: Yes
Good with people: Yes

Cosmo is among a litter of four kittens who are waiting to go to good homes. He is an active and intelligent little fella who loves human interaction.

Both the kitties' profiles are on Cat Welfare Society's official website. Be sure to check them out!

Pearl's Profile
Cosmo's Profile

For more news and information, join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Cat-ne, Cat-ne, Go Away!

One little black dot here, one little black dot there... Many little black dots everywhere (under the chin)! Dear cat owners, behold! Here's another strange fact we're about to add to your long list of feline quirks - feline acne.

Yes. Cats get acne too.

Feline acne is a common skin disorder and is also known as superficial dermatitis. Normally, you'd spot blackheads on the cat's chin and lips. Swelling of the entire chin, and pus from erupted acne may be seen in severe cases. Feline acne can affect cats of any age, sex or breed. Let's call it "cat-ne".

So, what causes cat-ne? It isn't really known but here are some possible contributing factors:
- Stress
- Poor grooming
- Bacterial overload (i.e. from dirty food bowls)
- Abnormal sebum production
- Contact sensitivity
- Suppressed immune system
- Concurrent infection or disease

If your cat is prone to getting cat-ne, you may want to replace her plastic food bowl with a glass, metal or ceramic one instead. Plastic dishes may trap more bacteria.

And, if Kitty's cat-ne is not improving, we suggest you bring her for a check-up with her vet. Treatment may include topical medication, special skin cleansers, changing food bowls, and using a different shampoo.

Do remember to check your cat's chin regularly. Do not let blackheads and small pimples develop into large, painful acne!

We would also like to share that it is also possible to train your cat! Please watch this link on training using positive reinforcement.

Resources: WebMD, About.com, Cat World

Images: Feline Acne, Fanpop

Missed an issue of Pet Care Tips? Be sure to check our entire collection!

For more news and information, join our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us onTwitter.

Beat the Monday Blues: The right way to pick up your rabbit!

Pets such as rabbits are fragile and generally do not like to be carried. In today's video, let's learn how to carefully pick them up so as to not cause injuries to them.

Unless necessary, try not to carry your rabbit. Give them the freedom to roam and play in their playpen. (:

Here's to a good week ahead!

Join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Minty and Melon from Animal Lovers League

Minty

Name: Minty
Gender: Female
Age: 6 weeks old

Minty is a calm and affectionate puppy. She has a very sweet temperament and in good health condition.

Melon

Name: Melon
Gender: Male
Age: 3 months old
Vaccinated: Completed second vaccination

Like Minty, Melon is also an affectionate and calm puppy. He has a nice shiny black coat with good health condition.

Both Minty and Melon can get along with other dogs, cats and humans.

If you wish to adopt Minty or Melon, please contact Ada at 9693 2850 or Melissa at 9389 7263.

For more information, visit Animal Lovers League's (ALL) Facebook Page.

Be sure to also join our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

World Animal Day: Greatest moments from the event!

What a weekend it was at United Square Shopping Mall as we celebrated World Animal Day with SPCA! We are going to cut to the chase and let you feast your eyes on these photos!

Welcome to World Animal Day!

Just look at the crowd!

One of our officers explaining to a young member of the public on completing the passport activity

Look at all the exciting things in the goodie bags!

All of the lovely hamsters and mice from SPCA found new homes at the end of the three-day event!

I want to be forever young...

A corner for our little ones to 'hang out'. It was such a cozy corner that it got the Moms and Dads hooked as well

We had a talented balloon sculptor on-site to make funky balloons for all!

"Whoa! That's a cool body art!"

Take me home!

"Will you adopt me, please?"

"Hey, you checking us out?"

Some of the Animal Welfare Groups that supported the event...

It's always a good time!

Just look at him jump!

Ms Cassandra Chiu and her guide dog, Esme made an appearance at the event to share with the visitors a little bit more about their special relationship

"Come to Mama"

Owners of the pets for the competitions were smiling and laughing their nerves off just before they went on stage

Celebrity cat, Garfield had a member of the audience grooving along to the music!

If you were one of the those that attended the event, we would like to throw you a huge THANK YOU! We hope you have enjoyed yourselves! For those who missed it, not to worry, we will be back on 9 and 10 November for our BIGGEST ROADSHOW of the year!

Stay glued to Pet Central for more updates (:

For more news and information, join A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Decoding your dog’s body language – 8 emotional states you should know

Dogs are incredibly social and that's why we love them. They're also very expressive. Surprisingly though, many dog owners and dog lovers do not actually understand some of the intrinsic behaviours that our canine friends display, thereby leading to misunderstanding and possibly, unpleasant incidents at times.

Let us decode the eight emotional states of a dog that you should know and learn to identify.

1. Happy and Contented

A happy, contented dog appears relaxed. His tail and ears are held in their natural positions. He might wag his tail a little. His facial expression is neutral and he appears 'smiley'. He's unconcerned and unthreatened by any activities going on in his immediate environment and is usually approachable.

2. Excited

The excited dog displays a mixture of alert and playful body language. His body is ready for action. He looks at the individual or object that's the source of his excitement. Excited dogs often hold their mouths open and they might bark.

3. Playful

When a dog wants to play, he invites you to engage him with the most adorable gestures. He might bounce around in exaggerated twists, turns and leaps. He might also dodge around you, paw at you and then take off running to invite a chase. When your dog play bows, he means to tell his playmate, "It's play time! Please don't take it seriously." Some dogs also show a happy facial expression that almost looks as though the dog is smiling. A playful dog might also growl or make high-pitched barks.

4. Alert

A dog on alert appears intense and focused. He stands upright with his ears pricked up and forward and his head and neck are erect. His tail is held in its natural position or vertically, rigid and immobile. His gaze is directed toward whatever he's detected. His mouth is typically closed.

He might growl or bark. The hackle on his back may or may not be raised. When this happens, the dog is beginning to show signs of anxiety and if the situation does not change, this emotion may escalate to any of the four emotional states that will be covered below.

The following emotional states are therefore various manifestations of anxiety:

5. Fearful/Scared

A fearful dog tries his best to look small. He hunches his body, tucks his tail between his rear legs and flattens his ears back on his skull. He might also cower close to the ground. He will plan a hasty retreat if it's possible. Else, he leans to the side so he can recoil. He might look directly at the source of his fear or he might look away. The muscles of his body and face are tense and rigid. He might yawn in an exaggerated way.

6. Fearfully aggressive

If your dog is fearfully aggressive he won't look any different than when he's fearful, except that he might show his teeth and growl. A fearful dog isn't likely to bite a person or other animal unless all avenues for escape are blocked and he feels trapped. If he snaps or bites, it's usually lightning quick, and then he retreats as far away from the threat as possible.

7. Dominant and Submissive

During interaction with a person or another dog, the dominant dog stands tall, sometimes on his tiptoes, and tries to look large. He arches his neck. He appears tense, like a coiled spring. His weight is squarely on all four feet or he's leaning forward slightly. His ears are up and oriented forward. His tail is high and rigid, sometimes flagging or quivering at the end. His hackle may or may not be standing up on his shoulders or along his back. He usually makes direct eye contact with the other individual. He might growl, but his mouth will typically be closed.

On the other hand, the submissive dog makes his body appear small by hunching over and getting low to the ground. He holds his tail low or tucked, sometimes rapidly wagging it back and forth. He flattens his ears or holds them off to the sides of his head. He keeps his neck low to the ground, but he turns his muzzle up toward the other individual. He might nuzzle, lick or flick his tongue. He averts his gaze so as not to look directly at the other individual. Some dogs, particularly puppies, urinate.

8. Dominant Aggressive

If your dog feels anger and confidence at the same time, you might see offensively aggressive body language. He attempts to appear large and intimidating - his head is held high, ears up and forward, tail raised and rigid. His hackles might be up. He positions himself over his forelegs, ready to lunge or charge forward. He stares directly at the person or animal. He flashes his teeth by wrinkling his muzzle and retracting his lips vertically to display his front teeth. He growls, snarls or barks in a low, threatening tone. He's on the attack, and he may or may not stop if the person or animal he's focused on stays away or retreats.

A little understanding goes a long way. Having mutual respect for each other's space applies for our doggy friends as well. If you don't have a pet dog but enjoy meeting other people's dogs, you may want to read the guide in our Animals & Our Community publication on how you can do so politely and safely.

Adapted from: ASPCA and Modern Dog Magazine

Images from: Dog Behavior Tips, Flickr, Spectator Tribune, The Dog Training Secret, Pet Wave, Pet Questions, Canine Good Citizens, The Balanced Canine and Aggressive Dog Training

Missed an issue of Pet Care Tips? Be sure to check our entire collection!

For more news and information, join our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Beat the Monday Blues: ‘Click’ with your Cat!

How time flies and it's Monday (or should we say Meow-day) again!

We often hear of clicker-training for dogs but we seldom on cats. The video you are about to see will show you that cats can be clicker-trained too! Looks like our feline friends too are catching up with our doggie friends.

Training your pet is important as it allows your pet to stay active and sociable. Also remember that as you spend more time training your pet, the bonding between you and your pet also becomes stronger.

For more news and information, join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

New Beginnings: Color My Life

Meet Brownie and Blackie which was adopted from HRSS. These furry boys have a peculiar habit. Want to know what it is? Check out today's "New Beginnings"!

(If you're keen to share your story or personal experience of adopting animals, do send us a message on Facebook! )

No.. those are not my furry slippers... (:

I grew up with lots of pets in the house, as my father loved animals. We had dogs, birds, fishes, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. I adopted an abandoned dog a few years ago. When my dog passed away due to an illness, I decided to adopt a pet that requires lesser maintenance, as I am not at home for long periods due to work demands. I decided on rabbits, and approached the House Rabbit Society of Singapore (HRSS) at the AVA's Responsible Pet Ownership Roadshow at Singapore Expo last year. HRSS told me that most adopters preferred white rabbits. I have no colour preferences though, and HRSS recommended this pair of rabbits, both sterilised males, to me.

Meet my new friends, Brownie and Blackie!

My family loved them! After all, who can resist rabbits? They look so cute and cuddly. When I have visitors to my house, my rabbits receive lots of attention. My mum named the rabbits Blackie and Brownie. No prizes for guessing who's who. Blackie is a lop eared rabbit, while Brownie is a local.

Their favourite hangout corner

I don't cage my rabbits. They roam free in my room, and this fact often prompts the question of whether my room will smell. Actually no, as my rabbits are litter trained and do their business in the litter box only. Their favourite hideout is under my bed, where they spend most of the day napping. Blackie and Brownie are very bonded, often grooming each other, which is really sweet to watch.

And Brownie goes SPLAT!

Rabbits are inquisitive creatures, and whenever I come home with shopping bags, or sit on the floor doing something, Blackie and Brownie will come over and check things out. Brownie, the daring one, takes the lead, while Blackie follows timidly. When the bunnies want a snack, they will follow me around the room, and occasionally bump my foot with their noses as a reminder.

They just love to bask in each other's company.

Rabbits look cuddly, but being prey animals, they hate to be lifted off the ground and cuddled. Rabbits also shed a lot, about once every 3-4 months, and they need a nail clip monthly. Rabbits do not need to be bathed, as they can clean themselves like cats do.

Brownie doing his favourite thing..chomping on his food and eyeing on the next cable to chew!

A thing to note when living with rabbits is that they love to chew, so there is a need to rabbit-proof the house. Strangely, they have a thing for chewing on electric cables/wires. Owners have to keep electric cables, cords and wires out of reach of rabbits, or face the consequence of having to replace wires or even electric appliances which cords have been chewed through. My damage count - 2 pairs of headsets, an extension cord and a pair of jeans, in addition to chewed off edges on most plastic items in my room. Oh well, they sure have added colours to my life, ironically, despite the damaged caused! (:

Pet Adoption Friday: Meet the pets at World Animal Day!

From today till Sunday, we will be celebrating World Animal Day with SPCA at United Square Shopping Mall! Among the guests that will be there to grace the event are our animal friends that will be up for adoption by the Animal Welfare Groups. We give you a sneak preview of who you will get to meet in this week's special edition of Pet Adoption Friday!

Animal Lovers League (ALL)

Name: Tanker
Gender: Male
Age: 3 months old

Tanker is an affectionate and outgoing puppy. He has a nice shining black coat and in good health condition.

<

Cookies is an extremely affectionate puppy who loves human touch. She has a very sweet temperament and in good health condition.

Both Tanker and Cookie get along very well with cats, dogs and humans.

Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS)

Name: Ben
Gender: Male
Age: 4 years and 7 months old
Breed: Local
Size: Medium
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Yes
Paper-Trained: No
Basic Commands: Yes
Good with Children: Yes
Good with Pets: Yes

Ben was rescued from a home that did not give them the love and care they deserved. He is affectionate, active and a good loyal companion.

Name: Ah Siao
Gender: Male
Age: 5 years and 6 months old
Breed: Cross
Size: Medium
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Yes
Paper-Trained: No
Basic Commands: Yes
Good with Children: Yes
Good with Pets: Yes
Special Needs: He needs a lot of free space for him to roam about
HDB approved: Yes

Ah siao was rescued from a construction site. He loves to be cradled like a baby and can be such a silly boy at times. He walks on leash well and understands basic commands. He pees and poos outdoors only

Cat Welfare Society (CWS)

Name: Ginger
Gender:
Male
Age:
3 years old
Breed: Pedigree Cross
Colour: Ginger

Ginger is a sweet and affectionate cat with a straight long tail and fluffy coat. While he is moderately playful when teased with a toy, he is also very relaxed in a calm and peaceful environment and his personality shines through as a laid back easygoing cat. He loves being stroked and enjoys lying beside you while you read a book, watch TV or put up your legs to rest and relax. He makes a perfect companion if you want a cat to unwind with at the end of the day.

Name: Ah B
Gender:
Female
Age: 2
years old
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: Black and White

Ah B is an absolute lap cat who loves being cuddled and stroked. With her excellent temperament and easygoing nature, she is suitable for busy working adults or families with children. All she wants is to be loved.

House Rabbits Society Singapore (HRSS)

Name: Charlotte, Caramel, Cinnamon
Gender: Females
Breed: Local

Charlotte, Caramel, and Cinnamon are three beautiful trio rescued from a family where they were kept outside an HDB unit in a very poorly-maintained cage. As a result, these rabbits contacted coccidia due to the unhealthy environment they were subjected to. One of them passed away which the remaining 3 had survived and were medically treated. They are now very healthy and have a clean bill of health. All 3 rabbits are very human-friendly and loves to be pat. They are litter-trained and well maintained. They can be adopted individually or as a group.

Humane Society (Singapore) (HSS)

Name: Mini Mimi
Gender: Female
Age: 10 years old
Toileting: Outdoor Trained
Sterilised: Yes
Microchipped: Yes
Vaccinated: Yes

"I'm a mini mongrel. Short and only 13kg. I'm affectionate. Pretty chill. Outdoor trained. My only flaw? Probably my skin. I was returned by my previous family because of that. But my skin condition can be managed if my fur is trimmed down and I'm showered with medicated shampoo. I'm already much better now.

The other thing that might stop you from adopting me is my age. But seriously, the golden years can be the best years of our life!

If you are still not convinced, just look at my face! They say I look like a bear cub. And remind them a little of dear sweet Hayley."

Name: Nancy
Gender: Female
Age: 8 years old
Toileting: Outdoor Trained
Sterilised: Yes
Microchipped: Yes
Vaccinated: Yes

Hi! My name is Nancy. I certainly age with grace.

I used to have a family. But they never came back for me. Although I have some buddies that I hang out with, like Oreo and Bailey, nothing beats having my very own home again. I may not be that young. But if "true beauty is reflected in the soul" then I sure am beautiful!

Name: Roger
Gender:
Male
Age:
1 year old
Toileting:
Outdoor Trained
Sterilised:
Yes
Microchipped:
Yes
Vaccinated:
Yes

Hi! My name is Roger. Some also call me the Heartbreaker.

If you need a dash of charm, a splash of exuberance or a dose of good manners, I am the man. With my piercing brown eyes and winsome smile, I make a dashing companion to any party. Always the perfectly groomed and suave gentleman a mother will be proud of!

Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD)

Name: Peanut
Gender:
Female
Age:
1 year old

Peanut is a playful girl with a good temperament and a pleasure to go for walks with. Though sensitive to her paws being touched, she is brimming with affection and tends to show her fondness by jumping onto people.

A bright young girl who needs a firm owner to teach her the ways of right and wrong.

Name: Hershey
Gender:
Male
Age:
10 months old

Hershey has been having it hard since young, roaming the streets and wondering where his next meal would be and if he could ever have a warm and comforting home to give his forever love to. With eager perky ears and big bright eyes, he is always ready for play time and kibbles. Hershey has a sunny personality with two little brown eyebrows that expresses his curiosity for his surrounding and a black nose to sniff out everything and anything!

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

There are hamsters up for adoption at SPCA! Do come and visit them. Hammies are great for people who have to work all day. They sleep in the daytime and are ready to play when people come home from work. Remember to always keep your hamsters in separate cages! Contrary to popular belief, they are solitary animals who fare better alone!

Mice are curious, charming pets, and will be active at various times throughout the day. However, they are fragile and should be treated gently, and children caring for them should always be supervised by an adult. Do not house males and females together, because these critters breed really quickly!

Come and meet these cuties in action! They will be at United Square Shopping Mall from today till Sunday as we celebrate World Animal Day with SPCA!

World Animal Day: Quiz (Part 2 of 2)

Here's your chance to win another pair of movie tickets!

Simply answer the question below:

Question: Name ALL the Animal Welfare Groups that will be participating in the upcoming World Animal Day organised by SPCA Singapore.

Submission of answers: Simply visit our AVA Facebook page and drop us a direct message!

Closing date: Monday, 16 September 2013, 1pm.

Winners will be notified by Monday, 16 September 2013, 5pm via Facebook.

Here's a clue on where you could go to find your answer: World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 1 (Saturday)

Here's a clue on where you could go to find your answer: World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 1 (Saturday)

Best of luck!

Pet Care Tips: 4 ways to a happier, healthier fish!

The elements of the environment can wear us down and make us sick. Without mental stimulation, we will suffer psychologically as well. All these are not any different for our pet fish!

A healthy fish swims actively in the tank and does not just hang out at the bottom, float near the surface or hide behind plants and ornaments unless he belong to a reclusive breed. Besides spotting a good appetite, here are other signs of good health:

  • Does not have white spots or blemishes on its body
  • Is brightly coloured with vibrant scales
  • Does not have bulging eyes
  • Expands its gills regularly (not rapidly) to breathe
  • Has fins that should be straight with scales intact and no red spots
  • Has gills that's red on the inside, not discoloured, distended or swollen
  • Has clear eyes
  • Regular water changes are the single most important thing you can do to maintain your aquarium. Change 25% of the water every two weeks. Your fish also needs an approximate 10 to 12 hours of light each day. Another important thing to do would be to house your fish tank away from very noisy areas in your home.

    To enrich your fish's environment:
    1. Add plants and vegetation: Be it live or artificial, adding these allow your fish the opportunity to play hide-and-seek, weave around them and keep the tank attractive too.
    2. Blow bubbles: To create bubbles using an air stone or an air powered ornament such as a diver or a treasure chest, you'll need an air pump. With a short tubing, connect the air pump to the device and a check valve to prevent the water from draining from the tank when the air pump is off.
    3. Throw in rocks and ornaments: Caves and driftwood provide hiding places for the fish and offer security and seclusion in your pet's home.
    4. Supplement with treats: Just like other pets, fish enjoy snacks occasionally. Give them a bottled baby shrimp treats or bloodworms to supplement their regular food.

    Now, your fish is happy - we're happy too!

    Resources: Aqua-Tech, About.com

    Images: Tails

    For more Pet Care Tips, check out the entire collection here.

    Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter and get the latest news and updates.

    Regular water changes are the single most important thing you can do to maintain your aquarium. Change 25% of the water every two weeks. Your fish also needs an approximate 10 to 12 hours of light each day. Another important thing to do would be to house your fish tank away from very noisy areas in your home.

    To enrich your fish's environment:
    1. Add plants and vegetation: Be it live or artificial, adding these allow your fish the opportunity to play hide-and-seek, weave around them and keep the tank attractive too.
    2. Blow bubbles: To create bubbles using an air stone or an air powered ornament such as a diver or a treasure chest, you'll need an air pump. With a short tubing, connect the air pump to the device and a check valve to prevent the water from draining from the tank when the air pump is off.
    3. Throw in rocks and ornaments: Caves and driftwood provide hiding places for the fish and offer security and seclusion in your pet's home.
    4. Supplement with treats: Just like other pets, fish enjoy snacks occasionally. Give them a bottled baby shrimp treats or bloodworms to supplement their regular food.

    Now, your fish is happy - we're happy too!

    Resources: Aqua-Tech, About.com

    Images: Tails

    Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter and get the latest news and updates.

    World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 1 (Saturday)

    To prove our point, we have so many activities prepared for you we need two blogposts just to share them with you! So, come join us at the SPCA's World Animal Day at United Square this weekend!

    Time Saturday (14th September) Brought to you by
    12.30pm -1.00pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media
    1.00pm - 1.30pm Best Groomed Cat Competition Purina
    1.30pm -
    2.00pm
    Responsible Pet Ownership Puppet Show Ngee Ann Polytechnic
    2.00pm - 2.30pm Dog Sitting Contest (dog who can sit for the longest time) Purina
    2.30pm - 3.00pm Singapore Kennel Club Dog Obedience Demonstration Singapore Kennel Club
    3.00pm - 3.30pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media
    3.30pm -4.00pm Pet Grooming demonstration Bubbly Petz
    4.00pm - 4.30pm Meet Tzvika, the loveable canine that inspired the book "Toby Wants a Home" SPCA
    4.30pm- 5.00pm 1 Min of Fame DogTalent Competition Paw Mart
    5.00pm - 5.30pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media

    1.30pm - 2pm
    Responsible Pet Ownership puppet show by students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic MOPpets Club
    Benny has just adopted 2 lovely pets - Latte the cat and Smudge the dog. Being a first time owner, Benny still has a lot to learn about pet care especially when it comes to their diet. Find out what happens when the wrong feed is given and ends up with his pets in a vet clinic. Learn the importance of feeding your pets appropriately through this interactive puppet show performance by the MOPpets Club students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

    If you are... Interested in grooming matters

    3.30pm - 4pm
    Pet Grooming Demonstration
    Not for yourself, but your pet! Let the skilful groomer from Bubbly Petz share with you the tips and tricks to grooming your own pet!

    If you are a...Dog owner

    2.30pm - 3.00pm
    Singapore Kennel Club Dog Obedience Demonstration by Singapore Kennel Club
    Do you find it a challenge to get Waggie to listen to you? SPCA has invited trainers from the Singapore Kennel Club to perform some obedience demonstration which you could learn and try it out yourself!

    4pm - 4.30pm
    Meet Tzivka, the loveable canine that inspired the book "Toby Wants a Home" by SPCA

    "Toby Wants a Home" is a book that is inspired by the true story of a dog named Tzvika, adopted from the SPCA earlier this year. This book will be launched at the event and it gives an insight into a dog's life at an animal shelter - from the time it is taken in to the time it eventually finds a forever home.

    ALL-WEEKEND ACTIVITIES

    ADOPTION DRIVE and BOOTHS

    There will be animals up for adoption too! Watch out for our this Friday's special edition of Pet Adoption Friday to see lovely photos of some of them! If you think you are ready to welcome a new member into the family, adopt a pet and save a life from the following Animal Welfare Groups that will be taking part in the event with an adoption drive:

    Animal Lovers League
    Causes for Animals
    Cat Welfare Society
    House Rabbits Society Singapore
    Humane Society (Singapore)
    Save Our Street Dogs

    Animal Welfare Groups that are participating but not doing adoption drive are:

    Action for Singapore Dogs
    Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)
    Noah's Ark CARES

    Get more information on pet care and responsible pet ownership from the respective animal welfare groups present at the event! They will also be bringing along their merchandise for sale and get them for your family and friends!

    EXCITING FRINGE ACTIVITIES FOR ALL!

    For the little ones, bring them to the children's corner where there will be fun-filled activities such as colouring, face and hand painting, and more! Here are some of the designs that we will be having!

    4pm - 4.30pm
    Watch your image come to life with our amazing caricaturist who will be there so you canget your portrait drawn for free!

    Animal mascots, Max the cat and Patches the dog, will also be moving around the event venue for photo opportunities! *snap**snap*

    PASSPORT ACTIVITY

    This is your chance to earn yourself a goodie bag by taking part in our passport activity! Look out for our upcoming feature where we will show you the exciting goodies that you will get to bring home!

    With so many programmes in-store for you, it will definitely be a weekend of great fun and excitement for all!

    The event starts on Friday, 13 September. If you want to bring home your very own animal-shaped balloon from our balloon sculptor, pop by at the following times 12pm - 1pm and 4pm - 5pm!

    Wonder what is World Animal Day all about? Check out World Animal Day: "WAD" is WAD?!

    Don't forget to join us at our A Pet is For Life Facebook group, World Animal Day event page and follow us on Twitter.

    World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 2 (Sunday)

    If you think that Saturday is jam packed with activities (World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 1), wait till you see what we have in store for you on Sunday! Get excited as this is Part 2 of our Activities Galore!

    Time Sunday (15th September) Brought to you by
    12.30pm - 1.00pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media
    1.00pm - 1.30pm Happiest Dog Addictions
    1.30pm -
    2.00pm
    Singapore Breed Specials Talk by SOSD, A.L.L and Causes for Animals (featuring Singapore Specials) SOSD, A.L.L and Causes for Animals
    2.00pm - 2.15pm Esme and Cassandra from the Guide Dogs, Association of the Blind Guide Dogs, Association of the Blind
    2.15pm - 2.30pm Longest "Leave It" Command Competition The Barkery
    2.30pm - 3.00pm The Wonders of Cats and How to Take Care of TheseElegent Felines Cat Welfare Society
    3.00pm - 3.30pm "Make The Right Choices" Game AVA
    3.30pm - 4.00pm Most Number of Commands Completed in 2 mins Competition Addictions
    4.00pm - 4.30pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media
    4.30pm - 5.00pm 1 Min of Fame Pet Talent Competition Paw Mart
    5.00pm - 5.30pm Garfield Meet-and-Greet Innoform Media

    If you are a...Dog owner

    1.30pm - 2.00pm
    "Singapore Special" Talk by SOSD, ALL and Causes for Animals
    Who are the "Singapore Specials"? Here's your chance to get your answers as we have representatives from Save Our Street Dogs, Animal Lovers League and Causes for Animals who will be coming together for a special sharing.

    If you are a...Cat owner

    2.30pm - 3.00pm
    The Wonders of Cats and How to Take Care of These Elegant Felines by Cat Welfare Society
    Learn more about our feline friends during this interesting talk by speakers from Cat Welfare Society.

    If you would like to...know more about Guide Dogs

    2.00pm - 2.15pm
    Meet Esme and Cassandra from the Guide Dogs' Association of the Blind
    Get up close and personal with Esme, one of three guide dogs in Singapore that belongs to Ms Cassandra Chiu and listen to her talk on how guide dogs help the visually-handicapped.

    If you are in for a...challenge!

    3.00pm - 3.30pm
    Make The Right Choices Game by AVA

    Are you game for a challenge? Take part in this fun and interactive quiz and you get to walk away with exciting goodies.

    EXCITING FRINGE ACTIVITIES FOR ALL!

    12.00pm - 1.00pm and 4.00pm - 5.00pm
    Get ready to be impressed by our roving magician as he enchants you with tricks (no animals involved!) which will make you ask yourself "how did he do it?".

    Animal mascots, Max the cat and Patches the dog, will also be moving around the event venue for photo opportunities! *snap**snap*

    Check out what's in store on Saturday as we bring you World Animal Day: Activities Galore! Part 1 (Saturday)!

    Wonder what is World Animal Day all about? Check out World Animal Day: "WAD" is WAD?!

    Don't forget to join us at our A Pet is For Life Facebook group, World Animal Day event page and follow us on Twitter.

    Beat the Monday Blues: A magical bond

    We have heard of the many remarkable stories on the special bond that humans and pets share. Today, we want to share with you another one.

    Owen Hawkins, a little boy with Schwartz Jampel Syndrome, finds comfort and friendship in Haatchi, a three-legged dog.

    Pets don't just take from us. They also give themselves freely to us. Shower your pets with lots of love and care to show your appreciation.

    Join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

    World Animal Day: Quiz (Part 1 of 2)

    It's quiz time!

    Stand a chance to win a pair of movie tickets just by answering this simple question below:

    Question: What is the theme of SPCA's World Animal Day?

    Submission of answers: Simply visit our AVA Facebook page and drop us a direct message!

    Closing date: Monday, 9 September 2013, 1pm.

    Winners will be notified by Monday, 9 September 2013, 5pm via Facebook.

    If you're scratching your head trying to find the answer, we strongly suggest that you refer to our special post: World Animal Day: "WAD" is WAD?!

    Stay tuned as we have another pair of movie tickets to give away next week! Look out for quiz #2!

    All the best!

    Pet Adoption Friday: Ziggy and Zuma from Action for Singapore Dogs

    Ziggy

    Zuma

    Names: Ziggy and Zuma
    Gender: Males
    Age: Two-months' old

    Ziggy and Zuma are two out of a litter of four from a stray female in Seletar. They are like little cute, furry bears. Both are sweet, loveable and friendly.

    These boys are looking for a forever home. Are you ready to welcome them into your family?

    If you wish to adopt these lovely brother or know more about them, please contact ASD at 6100 2737 or send an email to info@asdsingapore.com.

    Do visit ASD's website and Facebook page for more information.

    Also, become a member of our Facebook group and keep updated with all the latest happenings on Twitter.

    World Animal Day Feature: "WAD" is WAD?!

    We are celebrating World Animal Day (WAD) with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Singapore (SPCA) this year as part of our RPO Roadshow!

    Now, here's the lowdown:
    Date: 13 to 15 September
    Time: 11am to 7.30pm
    Venue: United Square Shopping Mall

    We were first invited to SPCA's WAD last year. The one-day event was held at East Coast Park. In case you missed it, here's a snippet of what happened:

    For more than 15 years, SPCA has been celebrating WAD with animal lovers all around our sunny island. Ms Selina Sebastian, the SPCA veteran shares with us that "We are excited about this as this is the first time SPCA is working with AVA on WAD and it has opened up opportunities for the betterment of animals".

    This year's partnership with SPCA will bring you an even bigger show! The three-day celebration will be held at the Basement Atrium. In this joint-effort, AVA will be providing attractive goodie bags and activities fun for the whole family! For the little ones, they can look out for an all-day of colouring fun and more! The theme of this event is "Friends for Life".

    WAD is celebrated each year on 4 October. It started in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists. Till this day, animal life in all its forms is celebrated, and special events are planned in locations all over the world. 4 October was originally chosen for WAD because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. Numerous churches throughout the world observe the Sunday closest to 4 October with a Blessing of the Animals. World Animal Day has now gone beyond being the celebration of a Christian saint and is today observed by animal-lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds.

    Do look out for more updates from us as we will also be giving away movie tickets by answering our simple questions! (*Update: We have the post with the question here!)

    Sources: World Animal Day and SPCA Singapore

    You can also find more information on World Animal Day on SPCA's website.

    Join our community at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

    Pet Care Tips: And the beak goes on...

    Imagine life without your upper limbs. How handy (pun intended) would you be? Besides the abilities to belt out enthralling tunes, soar into the skies and even speak, birds also never cease with amaze us with the array of tasks they can perform with their trusty beaks. With its beak, a bird can chew, preen and play and of course, nip you if you come too close for comfort. ; )

    There is a great variation in the size, shape, and strength of beaks. The type of beak a bird has is usually related to the type of food the bird normally eats.

    Signs of a healthy beak
    A bird's beak could provide some indication of its health. Normal, healthy beaks should appear:
    - Smooth, symmetrical appearance
    - No peeling or unusual textures
    - No abnormal discolouration
    - Proper length and alignment

    Common beak problems
    If your bird's beak is causing discomfort in some way, he will avoid using it for essential activities like eating and grooming. What are some possible beak problems, then? Let us explore:

    Overgrown Beak
    Overgrown beak can be a result of several factors such as liver disease, viral infections, nutritional deficiencies, or simply a lack of an appropriate surface for it to file its own beak. It's the most common beak problem for the birds. Overgrown beaks require trimming or filing which should be done by a veterinarian; it is a fairly simple and pain-free procedure.

    Scissor Beak
    Scissors beak is a developmental abnormality that occurs most commonly in cockatoos and macaws. Thought to be caused by improper temperature during artificial incubation, genetics, or incorrect feeding techniques, other possible causes also include calcium deficiency, trauma, or a viral or Mycobacterium infection.

    Prognathism - "Parrot Beak"
    Resembling an underbite, this condition takes place when the tip of the upper beak rests on or inside the lower beak. This developmental abnormality is most commonly seen in cockatoos. The cause of this condition is unknown but may include genetics, improper incubation, and hand-feeding techniques.

    Others
    If you notice anything else that's wrong with your bird's beak, such as lesions, abnormal growths, or swelling, be sure to contact your veterinarian to give your bird a good check.

    Beak care and maintenance
    Because a bird uses his beak for many essential things in his life, it is critical that your bird is getting all the nutrients and proper care he needs. Again, the mantra is that a healthy bird has a healthy beak (we can't stress that enough!)

    Birdie would require:
    - Balanced nutrition: Select appropriate foods and where appropriate, whole foods to promote use of their beaks
    - Chew toys: Cuttlefish bone or toys (e.g. rope, wooden blocks, plastic beads, and natural coconut pieces) can keep pet occupied, and at the same time maintain healthy beaks
    - Perches: Bird-safe perches will encourage birds to exercise their beaks by chewing them, which is what birds do in the wild
    - Treats: Certain treats, such as un-shelled nuts are great for birds to break into. Be careful not to overdo it to prevent obesity!

    Like our all-important opposable thumb, your bird's beak makes it possible for him to perform daily actions that can affect his well-being. Let's make sure this essential tool is in the best shape possible and it will go a long way towards keeping him happy and healthy!

    Resources: Hartz, Dr Fosters and Smith, Pet Education

    Images: Companion Consultancy, The Bird Nerds Rescue and Sanctuary,

    Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter and get the latest news and updates.

    Beat the Monday Blues: I surrender!

    What happens when a dog shoplifts? Well, it has got to return back to the store to repay its debt. That was the case for an 11-year-old Husky named Akira who escaped from its house, went to a supermarket located about 10KM away from home and stole a bone. Do not just take our word for it. Watch today's Beat the Monday Blues video and see it for yourself!

    Remember that it is very important to dog-proof your home so that it is kept safely at home with you. When you bring your doggy out, always remember to keep it on a leash and close to you.

    Here's to a good week ahead!

    For more news and information, join us at our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and send us your tweets on Twitter.