Category Archives: Guest Post

Ask the vet … are reptiles scary?

by Dr. Kristin Claricoates
Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital

Kristin C iguanaSome may call them cute
Others are a little wary.
Don’t be afraid, though,
Reptiles aren’t that scary! 

Happy October! Did you know that October 21 is Reptile Awareness Day? When considering a reptile as a pet, it can be a little daunting to determine exactly what they need—especially when they are growing. Some common pet reptiles include ball pythons, bearded dragons, and leopard geckos. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I myself have a ball python named Dorian (a fantastic reference to the lovely scales of my snake. Did you know Dorian is a type of musical scale? I digress …) who is my cuddle bug when I settle in for an evening of reading or watching a movie.

Contrary to what many people think, you have nothing to be scared of from these sweet-natured pets.  This is what makes them so popular. But which one may be right for you, and where do you begin? If you are a night owl, ball pythons and leopard geckos may be your pet of choice. If your free during the day, the bearded dragon may make a great addition to your family. For easy reference, here is a quick chart of pet reptile facts. This is just a summary of the basics. The folks at The Animal Store can answer your more detailed questions.

small-reptile-comparison-chart

If you are considering a reptile, please be sure to have him or her checked over by a veterinarian to make sure your new pet is healthy and so a vet can answer all the questions you have about your pet. 

We were not able to discuss all reptiles above, so I covered three of the pets most commonly owned in the reptile world.  Here are links to our snake and reptile care sheets, which include a good number of other common cold blooded critters we see.  The care sheets discuss the care and handling of each species listed, as well as food and enclosure requirements.

Finally, I would like to recognize two groups that appreciate reptiles everyday:


Welcome to Ask the Vet, a regular feature on The Animal Store Blog. We have teamed up with the great veterinarians at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will answer your most pressing pet questions right here! Do you want to see your question answered on the blog? Leave a comment below or submit it on our contact form.
Advertisements

Beagles and Kong Guest Post

This guest post is reprinted with permission from the fabulous blog of Melisa Wells called Suburban Scrawl. Thanks Melisa!

One Pet Peeve Down…
by Melisa Wells
from Suburban Scrawl

If you’ve ever known the joys of owning a beagle, you know that the breed comes with all kinds of eccentricities and baggage that show themselves just often enough to keep you in line and remind you who’s really in charge.

When Roxie was a puppy, a friend of mine took care of her for a weekend while we were camping, and upon our return said to me, “She’s just cute enough that all of your friends will want to watch her…ONCE.” Roxie has electrocuted herself once. She has been skunked once. She has escaped from the back yard around five times (including the time she was discovered running down the middle of the golf course behind our subdivision, big ears flapping in the wind). Where our late, great Bijoux had that adorable beagle bay that everyone loves because it sounds so dang cute, Roxie was “blessed” with the annoying type of surprising, blood-curdling howl that scares the bejeezus out of anyone who is hearing it for the first time (and sometimes the second). She does that “reverse sneeze” that is common for the breed, and, well, I love her dearly but it’s embarrassing to take her anywhere.

Roxie will also do anything for food. Anything. She has stolen more food in her seven years of life than Bijoux did in her entire thirteen, I think. Roxie has eaten entire loaves of bread just like her predecessor, and chocolate (never enough to warrant a stomach-pumping, but nonetheless), and crackers, and cookies, and, well, anything she can get by standing on her hind legs and swiping off the countertops or dining room table with her paws. She has even been known to slurp up a glass of milk or soda if I accidentally leave it on the table next to the couch when I get up to get something from the kitchen. She does this without spilling a drop, leaving the glass standing proudly on its coaster as if I put it there fresh out of the dishwasher. It drives me insane. INSANE, I tell you! She will stealthily carry off an empty wrapper that one boy or the other leaves in his trashcan, and lick it for dear life, in case there might be a microscopic crumb of its former contents stuck to the inside.

Not only does she eat anything she can get into her mouth, but she doesn’t even chew. She inhales. When it’s time for her to eat what we intentionally give her (dog food) in the morning and the evening, she sucks up the little nuggets so quickly and violently that over the past couple of months she’s been choking herself. (But it doesn’t stop her from eating, oddly enough.) I worry that one day, she’s going to excitedly run over to her food dish, start her inhaling process, and die because nobody was right there to give her the Heimlich.

I think I’ve found a solution, though.

(Note that this is NOT a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form.)

I read somewhere a couple of weeks ago that you can slow down your rapid-eating dog by putting her food into a container that acts like a puzzle: she has to use her mental and creative skills to figure out how to get the food, and thus doesn’t choke herself to death from the lack of a challenge. I took her to get her nails trimmed today, and remembered to look for this amazing contraption. Lucky for me, they were in stock:

Truth be told, I love this brand. Ages ago we bought one of the smaller toys and stuffed it with dog treats: Roxie, being really smart (as beagles tend to be), learned how to pick up said toy in her teeth and flip her chin so the toy would go airborne before bouncing on the floor, the impact making the treat slot open enough for the treat pieces to pop out. As I stood there at the store today, I imagined the entertainment possibilities for something like this.

Then I saw the picture of the spokesdog, in the corner of the package. She looked very familiar …

As I inspected the package, I had a great laugh:

Contrary to what this company thinks will happen, I know that beagles are not usually truly appreciative about anything, especially something that is going to stand in between them and food. In fact, I figured that the purchase of this meal tool just might cause Roxie to hold a grudge against all four of us for longer than you would think possible, for a dog and all.

As it turns out, we all had a great time! (Mostly us, watching her.) It took her about eight minutes to eat her dinner, as opposed to the 45 seconds it usually takes, and tonight’s mealtime was silent except for the sound of that red plastic Wobbler being pushed all over our living room. It was glorious.

Now if I can just find a way to change the way she howls …

*****

Thanks so much to Melisa for this great post. In honor of Melisa and her beagle, we would like to offer a 15% discount* off all Kong products to our readers. Just come in to the store and mention this post when you check out to get your discount. No coupon necessary.

*Offer expires July 22. Good on white tag prices only.

A New College Graduate’s Search for the Perfect Pet (Part 3)



Welcome back to Lisa Shoreland, with the final installment of her three-part guest post.  Let’s see which pet she finally chose.

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching aerospace engineering scholarships as well as health administration scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

My Final Decision
by Lisa Shoreland

Drum roll, please … After considering all the pros and cons, I’ve decided to purchase a cat as my pet. They have a little bit of a startup cost for the shots and them spayed or neutered, but I should be able to work that into my budget.

In my opinion, female cats seem to have better dispositions than males (although this is not universally true; I’ve met male cats with nice dispositions as well). While female cats don’t spray like males, they do still go into heat and can keep you up at night screeching like a banshee at doors and windows in there quest for a mate, so having my new female kitty spayed is my first order of business as soon as she is old enough.

If I find my kitten gets too lonely in the house by herself all day, I can always get a second cat so that they have a buddy to hang out with while I’m at work. It seems only fair to consider the needs of the animal as well as my own needs. I hope my kitten isn’t too mischievous. I had some friends that had a couple kittens that stayed up all night making all kinds of noise, the last thing I need when starting a new job.

My sister has a Maine Coon, and considering her disposition, personality and furriness, I think that’s what I’m going get. The Maine Coons do have some common physical ailments that plague their breed, so I will spend the extra money to have the cat screened first. I’m so excited to finally get my own kitty!

Were you surprised by Lisa’s choice? Let us know here. Cats can make a great first pet. Our own new family kitty, Pekoe (named for the tea), is incredibly friendly. She even comes when we call her. If cats aren’t your cup of tea, let us help. Whether you have a small space, no back yard, allergies, a limited budget, small children or other special considerations, we can help you find just the right pet to add to your home.

In honor of Lisa’s guest post and all you new grads out there, The Animal Store would like to give you a graduation gift. Bring in some proof of your recent graduation and get 25% off your entire purchase• of a new pet and all the supplies you need to get started. For those who have already graduated or are still in school, mention Lisa’s post for a 10% discount.*

*Offer expires June 30. Good on white tag prices only.

A New College Graduate’s Search for the Perfect Pet (Part 2)



Welcome back to Lisa Shoreland, with Part 2 of her search for her first post-college pet. Today she shares her decision-making process. Tune in on Thursday to see what she finally decides.

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching aerospace engineering scholarships as well as health administration scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

Pets I’m Considering
by Lisa Shoreland

I’ve compiled a list of the different pets I think could possible fit all of my needs. I’m going to consider the pros and cons of each pet to determine which one I’d like to buy. Although there are some pets that might fit this list of needs, I’m going to rule out lizards, snakes, spiders, rodents, and birds because none of them appeals to my personal tastes. Although a ferret or a hamster might fit my needs, personal childhood experiences have led me to take them off the list as well.

Small Dog
Pros
Cons
Great personality
Shots and spaying/neutering can be expensive
Furry and nice to pet
Need a carrier for travel
Will curl in your lap
Require more attention and care than other animals on list (e.g., regular baths)
Can be paper/litter trained, but tend to take longer to house train
Some apartments don’t allow dogs
Can be destructive to furniture
Have that dog scent, even with regular bathing
May bark and anger neighbors

Cat

Pros Cons
Independent Shots and spaying/neutering can be expensive
Quiet Need a carrier for the move
Clean Male cats are known to spray furniture
Have a personality Can be mischievous and claw furniture
Furry and nice to pet
Cat’s purring is soothing
Will curl in your lap

Aquarium with Fish

Pros Cons
Visually Stunning No personality
Very low maintenance No real companionship
Difficult to move

While we don’t necessarily agree with Lisa’s assessments of each type of pet, we do like and recommend her process of creating a list of pros and cons about which pet will work best for you. If you have questions or we can help you overcome a particular “con”, let us know. Part 3 with Lisa’s final descision will be posted on Thursday evening, June 16. In the meantime, what was factor that tipped the scales in determining which pet you would choose? Let us know here.

In honor of Lisa’s guest post and all you new grads out there, The Animal Store would like to give you a graduation gift. Bring in some proof of your recent graduation and get 25% off your entire purchase• of a new pet and all the supplies you need to get started. For those who have already graduated or are still in school, mention Lisa’s post for a 10% discount.*

*Offer expires June 30. Good on white tag prices only.

A New College Graduate’s Search for the Perfect Pet (Part 1)



This is our first guest post on The Animal Store Blog. Please welcome Lisa Shoreland, who will discuss her search for her first post-college pet in a three part series. Stay tuned this week to see what she decides.

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching aerospace engineering scholarships as well as health administration scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

Why Get a Pet?
by Lisa Shoreland

Having just recently graduated from college this last semester I’ve been excited to finally go out into the workforce. I’ve been interviewing with companies and trying to find that perfect fit. While I am quite excited to get started with “real life”, I’m finding that I’m not spending quite as much time around people as I used to. While I was in school I got to see my friends almost every day and, although we still hang out on the weekends, my days are filled with talking to HR reps and trying to find that next interview. In light of all this, I’ve decided to get a pet, just a little companionship for me while I’m getting settled into a working life.

Due to my situation, I have some specific requirements when it comes to owning a pet. I will likely be moving shortly, so I have to take that into consideration. I’m a new grad, so I don’t have tons of disposable income and I have to make every penny count. I will most likely be moving into an apartment, which will probably be pretty modest. I may or may not have access to a yard. Most of the jobs I’ve been interviewing for are either shift-work and/or salaried with lots of overtime.

So my pet is going to have to provide some amount of companionship while being relatively inexpensive, somewhat self sufficient, easy to move, be an indoor animal without needing too much room, and have a quiet disposition so as not to upset any neighbors.

Which pet will Lisa choose? Part 2 of her search will be posted on Tuesday evening, June 14. In the meantime, what was your first pet as a “grown up”? Let us know here.

In honor of Lisa’s guest post and all you new grads out there, The Animal Store would like to give you a graduation gift. Bring in some proof of your recent graduation and get 25% off your entire purchase• of a new pet and all the supplies you need to get started. For those who have already graduated or are still in school, mention Lisa’s post for a 10% discount.*

*Offer expires June 30. Good on white tag prices only.


Photo credit: COMMENCEMENT
© Attila Huszti | Dreamstime.com