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Pet Crazy Issue #1: 1st May 2015

Pet care . Conservation . Awareness

Reptile is the new cool? The facination with owning a reptile.

Doggy Depression What can you do?

Elegance has a new name The poised

Black Swan The Reality of Puppy Mills

Dhs 5.00

What you dont see. Pg

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Image by: Savana Christy

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ome of the most rewarding experiences in life comes from owning a pet. Be it the little gold fish in a glass bowl, or a hundred pound Mastiff, The minute you decide to allow an animal into your life, things change. You are accountable for another living being. There is alot that goes into owning a pet than people realize. Responsibility is inevitable and something you cannot afford to shirk. Your pet does is not just another livning thing that shares the same space with you, rather they become a part and parcel of your entire life. Pet Crazy is a for the loving companions in our lives. The ones whos wet nose and wagging tail is all that you need to make things better. For those who make a difference in our lives. This two part magazine attempts to give all pet owners a basic guide to keep their best buds in top shape. You can never get enough of tips and tools that will help you to care for your animal. With all the fun that comes along while looking after your pets, it is important to know where they come from and what goes on behind the scenes of your local pet shop. With increasing demands for pure and exotic breeds, pets shops have a field day with all the demands people put forward. Being aware of industries that mint money on the expense

of attention just to survive. Snakes, Lizards, exotic birds etc. often find themselves caged up and dying slow deaths. People need to understand the care and effort that goes behind takeing care of exotic animals from diet and enclosures to sleeping patters and handeling. Caring for your pets is a commitment that starts right from the time you bring them home, and ends the day they move one from this life to another.

of innocent creatures is necessary to help put a stop to these vicious practices. People have always been facinated with animals that are out of the ordinary. The rise in the demand and trade of exotic animals have grown with each passing year. Many people don’t realize what they get into when they get themselves an exotic animal. As the name suggests, these animals are not your everyday furry buddies and require alot

Editor’s Note


Pet Crazy . Domestic

Cont e Domestic Pets A Million Dollar Industry 7. puppy mills. 11. Not Just Another Wallflower

Betta fish Say Hello To My Little Friend 13. The perfect introduction 15. A Day Well Spent

A look at Posh Paws petting zoo Not Every Dog Has His Day 19. An introduction to doggy depression Pg 3. Pet Crazy . Domestic

t ents Exotic Pets 21. Feathers of Beauty

The splendor of Black Swans Terrapins 23. How to care for your pet turtle 27. Wings That Cannot Fly The life of an exotic bird As Easy As 1,2,3.. Basic Training


33. I Think I Love My Reptile

Talking about owning reptiles as pets Pg4.

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Image by: Savana Christy



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A MI LLi on D

All pictures by : Savana Christy


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n Dollar Industry h

Savana Christy talks about The reality of puppy mills.


ome of the most rewarding experiences in life comes from owning your pet dog. Dogs are considered to be extremely popular as pets and with good reason. They are a joy to keep, blend in perfectly with the family and almost immediately become a very important part of our lives. With over 500 established breeds, prospective dog owners find themselves in a bit of a dilemma when looking for a new puppy.

like the cuteness factor, self-image, and most importantly the purity of the breed. Attitude like this have opened up an exploitive and cruel industry. Opportunistic business minds did not take long to devise a plan that involves cute ‘pedigree’ puppies, low maintenance, and sky rocketing profits. The reality of puppy mills is something a lot of people don’t think about, nor do they realize the seriousness of the situation.

Factors like lifestyle, temperament, and size are typically a few things to consider before bringing home your best bud. However, there are those that are more worried about things

It is important to realize that dogs are living creatures and not comodities that can be bought at a store. They rely on you for the most basic needs, and look upto you for care.


Pet Crazy . Domestic


nlike responsible breeding, puppy mills are purely designed to reap maximum profits without giving the slightest thought about the welfare of the animal. This growing industry has claimed the lives of millions of dogs over the years just to satisfy people’s selfish desires. A typical mill will have multiple breeds that are indiscriminately bread until the animal is physically too weak or sick to breed further, in which case they are killed. Dogs are kept in extremely poor conditions with cages stacked one on top of the other. For easy maintenance, the animals are often kept in cages with a mesh or a wire flooring which causes swollen and blistered paws. Puppy mills do not necessarily have to be big farms that produce fifty breeds. Any breeder that does not maintain breeding standards and are raising puppies solely for a profit are responsible for harvesting mini mills. Although animal rights agencies are doing all they can to control and regulate this industry, the number of illegal mills are still rampant solely because of the demand people create. The ever-increasing need to own a dog for its breed has built strong foundations for puppy mills in the pet trade world. People fall victim to attractive claims made by pet stores. Most of the time, individuals also believe that by buying an animal form a store, they are saving a life and rescuing them from that horrible glass pen. Sadly people don’t realize they are feeding a nasty industry regardless of how sincere their intensions may be. The puppy trade has managed to manifest itself in major cities all over the world. It is not an uncommon thing for an animal in a mill to spend their entire life in cramped and unhygienic cages. Female dogs are treated more like factories, with them having to nurse little after litter of puppies. This not only keeps the mother in extremely poor health condition but also increases the rate of genetic diseases with every generation (due to constant in-breeding). Animals in small cramped up cages tend to mindlessly pace up and down because they are so badly constrained for space. Traders also separate puppies way to early from their mothers where they are bundled up and sent to a customer or a pet shop. Sadly most of these puppies don’t make it out alive, with most of them dying during the time they are transported.

The Journey Puppy mills are not very different from concentration camps. They are designed to bring suffering, have no humane treatment what so ever, and worst of all they are well kept secrets. Mill owners generate loads of income and are kept busy all the time. A typical mill functions like a factory with almost no regard for life what so ever.

The Mother This female dog, often called a ‘Brood bitch’ starts her torturous journey right from the time she first goes into heat. She is then allowed to mate with a dog and does so every six months of her en-

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tire life. When the mother is pregnant, she is boxed up in a small cage that usually measure 2x2 foot wide wire cages where she Will spend all her time in. Health checks and decent nutrition are out of the question and she is forced to endure a painful and unhealthy

pregnancy. When she eventually gives birth the space she is confined to is soo small, she cant help but step on her new born babies. The mothers are soo neglected, they often develop tumors on their nipples from constant feeding and nursing litter after litter. Their coats are extremely matted and a lot of them develop uncontrollable mange. Their eyes often have a watery discharge and get crusty from infections.

The Litter These little guys get a grim and a cruel start to life. They are taken away from their mother almost immediately after they are born. This gives them absolutely no time to feed, or even learn to feed. Most of them die of starvation. For the few that survive, they get bundled up and are prepared to be transported to some pet store. From the time these puppies are born, they are introduced to the stench of urine and faeces and hear the painful cries of all the animals at that torture house. These puppies are often crammed into extremely small cages that do not even provide space for them to move about. These animals have no human contact, and end up extremely scared and cautious to anyone that they come across. In the long run, they develop personality disorders that are often too engraved to be treated. Frustrated owners end up abandoning their dogs.

Transportation As mentioned earlier, puppy mills are a well kept secret that unfortunately remain hidden to a lot of people. These mills are most often located on the outskirts of the city away from people. This way they manage to keep a low profile and don’t draw attention to themselves. Moreover, the constant screaming and crying from the animals along with the overwhelming stench is all disguised and locked far away from everyone. Because of the distance these mills are located, transporting an ‘order’ to the city can take several hours or even days. During this time, all the puppies going to pet shops are packed in trucks with cages stacked one on top of the other. They receive little or no food during this journey nor are they let out at all. Alot of the puppies do not even make it to the pet stores and end up dying on the way. Mill owners account for this a ‘collateral damage’ and anticipate the deaths. The vans that carry the animals are not equipped with cooling or heating systems because of the smell that will linger. Very few or none of the puppies receive vaccinations and contact life threatening diseases.

What can you do?

What does a puppy from a mill look like The puppy will often look a little emaciated and Not vaccinated. weak. This is probably the most noticeable feature when screening puppies. A healthy puppy jumps at the first opportunity to greet and play with you. Puppies regardless of the breed are extremely energetic and full of life. However, a puppy from the mill will not be in top shape. This will cause him/her to be lethargic and weak. They will display very little physical activity and wont be enticed by either treats or toys. Moreover, the puppy may look really thin and skinny. Puppies like Husky’s, German Shepherds or Chow Chows have extremely thick coats which makes it difficult to judge. Rubbing your hand gently against his/her back will allow you to judge better and asses the puppies health.

A Dull coat. Puppies carry on them full, soft coats that will easily allow your fingers to slide through. Puppies that have a thick coat will feel extremely soft and silky. Their coat should typically be light and fluffy without dirt or dust on it. Some puppies unfortunately have matted coast that tend to leave permanent scars on their backs. However if the coat appears dull, rough, and flaky (a condition commonly known as walking dandruff) chances are he or she does

Puppies that come from mills are not given the adequate care and treatment they require. The animals may not receive their vaccinations at all, or in some cases the breeder may lose track of the number of puppies vaccinated and administer double doses. Either way this is extremely dangerous for the puppy and can be life threatening. Puppies that are not administered the appropriate vaccinations easily contact infections and practices just from everyday exposure to the outside world. Most common diseases that occur due to lack of vaccinations are hear worms.

It is always tempting to give into buying a cute puppy at the pet store. If you decide to bring home a new addition to the family, always make the right choice and adopt. There are numerous dogs at your local shelter that are looking for good homes. However, be responsible and adopt according to your lifestyle. There are also specialised centres that house or care for particular breeds. If you are looking for a specific dog type, adoption is still a very viable option. In the U.A.E breeds like Salukies, Great Danes, etc. Have dedicated centres. § §

not have a healthy diet.

Skittish and timid. By nature most puppies look for any opportunity to play. Puppies born and brought up in a mill do not receive the sort of Human attention and socialization that is required for them. This causes them to scare easily and will most likely cause behavior issues that will last for a long time. In really bad cases, the puppy may try to bite when touched. There are also a few cases where puppies have known to urinate or defecate out of fear. Unfortunately cases like this see a very sad end, as they are humanely euthanized. Some lucky ones receive treatment and rehabilitation which gives them a second shot at a good life. Others however are not so lucky.

Way Too young. Puppies from mills are taken away too early and have most likely not been weaned off their mother. Typically a puppy Should stay with its mother till he or she is 8-9 weeks old. At this point, the puppy is well equipped to socialize properly and has also been administered their vaccinations. Puppies that are taken away too young tend to have health issues as they do not receive all the nutrition they require from the mother. They have lesser chances of surviving and are prone to illnesses.

Image by: Savana Christy

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Image by: Savana Christy

Not just another Wallflower

Savana talks about the Betta fish trade, and their fate as pets.


ow many of us have walked into pet stores and have ogled at that colorful little fish in a plastic cup? My guess is most of us. With bright vibrant colors like royal blue, blood red and salmon pink, it does not take much convincing to buy one of these guys and perch them up on some showcase in the same container they came in. The salesperson would probably dish out a few ‘facts’ about how this species thrive in small spaces, and where they originate from. All of this coupled with a little ignorance has created a thriving market for Betta fish in local pet shops. These fish come in a variety of shapes and colours, and with an even bigger variety of fin types. Unfortunately not a lot of people take the time or effort to understand the habitation requirements for these beautiful creatures.

These beautiful fish inhabit the tropical waters of Southeast Asia, where they lie in rice fields, warm flood plains etc. Bettas are known to lurk in very shallow water that extend to great lengths and are extremely bio diverse. They have the capacity to withstand relatively high temperatures and thrive in warm climates.

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Typically the waters they inhabit have a temperature that roughly range from 50-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The streams they inhabit have a wide variety of insect larvae and plant species that constitute their diet. Being omnivores Betas are accustomed to consuming a considerable amount of plants, which help in digestion and satisfies their fiber requirements. In their natural environment, Bettas are known to live for as long as 10 years.

In captivity most Bettas are unfortunately forced to lead a different lifestyle. Large shipments of Bettas are frequently send to different pet stores all around the world to meet the growing demand for these popular house ‘pets’. People are misled and are forced to believe that these fish are low maintenance and do not require much space. This however is not true. To start off with, the minimum space required for a single Beetts is a 4 litter tank. Keeping them in small fish blows or worse plastic cups, will not allow them to thrive or lead a long life. Betta fish are known as Labyrinth creatures the reason being they have an additional organ that allows them to absorb oxygen from the surface of the

water. If however the surface is blocked with a plant or weeds, the fish finds it difficult to breath. Hence, not matter how ‘pretty’ it looks, Bettas don’t do good in flower vases. When it comes to diet, folks at the pet shop seem to think pellets will do just fine, but this alone cannot be substituted for the diverse and rich diet they consume in their natural habitat. A mixture of different forms of dried larvae, blood worms, and even certain plants must be provided in order for them to develop completely. Another factor that often skips peoples minds is heating. A warm environment should be provided since Bettas don’t take too well to the cold.

offspring from getting eaten. In captivity, the females are usually removed from the tank. If your are breeding bettas at home, make sure there is alot of space for the fry (ideally a 10 gallon tank) that is equipped with a heater. Also the breeding pair requires privacy, so ensure there is a lid on top of the tank, and that the tank is secluded. At the end of the spawning session, you will be surprised at the sheer number of fry that are fertilized. A good 50-100 individual bettas will be present in the tank waiting to grow into individuals. Breeding bettas is an extremely demanding and expensive affair and should be attempted only when you are sure about what your are getting yourself into.

There is a lot of work that goes into breeding Bettas. If you are considering breeding these beautiful creatures, I suggest you brace your self for what is to come. Bettas are extremely demanding and their fry (baby bettas) require even more attention and care. When spawning, Bettas have the unique ability to build their nests in bubbles. The male counterpart will form hundreds of tiny bubbles at the surface of the water that will contain the fry after fertilization. The time period for fertilization to take place is 24-48 hours. In the wild, the females are driven away by the males to protect the

If you are planning on adding a Betta to the family, be sure to do your research and equip yourself with all that is required. Don’t get too carried away with the beautiful fin patters and the vibrant colours. Be responsible and invest in a betta only if you can do justice caring for them. Bettas are not ideal for children because of the amount of care the fish requires as a pet. However it will be a good learning opportunity for you to teach your child a lesson in responsibility while caring for your betta. § §

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Image by: Savana Christy Pg 13. Pet Crazy . Domestic

“Say hello to my little friend” The perfect introduction By Savana Christy


ntroducing a new member to the family involves a lot of excitement and preparation. There are significant changes in your household and your lifestyle. However, many families remain skeptical with keeping their pooches after the arrival of the baby. Factors like hygiene, space, time etc. Are important and need to be considered. The most dramatic part of the entire process revolves around how excepting your dog is to the new family member. Introductions have the power to make or break relationships. Here are a few pointers as to how you need to control things, and built a potential lasting friendship.

Focus on Leadership

Pregnancy can bring about very strong emotional changes that can be picked up by your dog. Even before the arrival of the baby, you furry companion knows something big is about to unfold. Before bringing the new born into the house, establish a clear chain of command, and build a trusting relationship with your dog. This involves discipline and obedience from the dogs part and patience and assertiveness from yours. By establishing yourself as a leader, your dog is more likely to obey and take you seriously.

Claim you babies scent

All dogs have an extremely strong sense of smell which they use to identify everything. Before bringing the baby into the house, get a piece of cloth or anything that has the baby’s scent on it. When introducing the object to your dog, ask him to maintain a comfortable distance and create an invisible boundary. Doing this will get him accustomed to the real deal.

Boundaries around the nursery

Establish a clear boundary around the nursery and it is advisable to keep it off limits to the dog. He should learn to respect this and not cross it without your permission. Gradually invite him in, where he can explore the nursery and get used to himself.

Control the introduction

Before the big introductions take place, be sure to drain all his excited energy. This can be done by taking him on a long walk, or exercising him according to what he likes best. The dog should be in a calm submissive state before entering the house. The moment he steps in, the new or familiar scent will hit him straight away. Allow a family member to hold the baby and bring him close. However, it is crucial for the person to remain clam, and vigilant. Allow the dog to sniff the baby from a comfortable distance and in time, allow him to come closer to the baby. This will establish respect and understanding among the two.

Teach your baby

With introductions out of the way, your job is not yet over. As your child is growing and getting comfortable with the dog, be sure to teach the kid to be respectful and gentle with the dog. It is important to supervise all interactions at the beginning phases. Children that are not taught a lesson in mutual respect tend to provoke a peaceful dog and invites trouble.

Breed doesn’t matter

People often assume breeds are a key to having the perfect family pet. This is not true and solely depends on how the dog is raised. The key is leadership. § §

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A Day Well Spent

Savana Christy takes you to Poah Paws Animal Sacntury and Petting Zoo

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e it kids, adults or anything in-between, if you consider yourself an animal lover then brace yourself for the most rewarding experience. Located on Al-Khwaneej road, posh paws is an institution that promotes animal care and rehabilitation. The animal sanctuary and petting farm is one of the finest places in Dubai that allows you to get up close and personal with a wide range of animals.

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Who are we?

How to get in touch with us?

Posh Paws is a nonprofit organization that is run purely on donations, and dedicated volunteers. Their aim is to educated people on animal welfare and impart knowledge of various species. Almost all the animals present at the shelter are rescued from farms, donated or were unwanted. They are given another shot at a good life and well deserved attention form the people visiting and the volunteers. The animal sanctuary and petting farm opened its gates to the public on 1st April 2009 and since then has quickly gained a lot of attention. Posh Paws also houses sister organizations like the Kennels and Cattery that run on donations alone.

The Animal Sanctuary and petting farm is located on Al-Khwaneej road, ahead of Dubai Municipality Veterinary Section. Further details can be acquired form their Facebook page or call 050-2730937

What do we have in store for you? All animal lovers, families with kids and even schools are welcomed to visit the center to get glimpse of a whole load of personalities that come in all shapes and sizes. The animals at the farm are extremely friendly and are used to Human contact. Feeding bowls are available where in you can pick up a hand full of fodder and personally feed the animals. Plenty Volunteers are available to assist and help you spend supervised quality time with the animals. Residents at the center include emus, goats, pony’s, ducks, swans, exotic birds, Meerkats, geese, baboons, dogs, and loads more. Guinea pigs, rabbits, and dogs are currently available for adoption and are looking for a good home.

Services we offer Posh paws are open to visits from anyone that wants to dish out much needed love to all the animals at the center. If you want to through the coolest birthday party with your own personal petting zoo in your backyard guess what, Posh Paws will set you up. There is also a designated area at the enter that provides the space to host a party. The cattery and kennels have a wide range of animals up for adoption, and also offer pet sitting services. When you visit the center, also be sure to check out the amazing range of books up for sale. § §

“An amazing place that provides you with the most rewarding experience. This is heaven on Earth for all the animal lovers out there.” - Wendy Murrian

Being a complete non-profit venture, the center can use all the help they can get. The upkeep and maintenance of the center along with its animals are purely covered up donations from the public. If you are interested in donating funds, you can refer to the contact information provided below. The center also accepts help in kind, in the form of donating books, supplies, food etc. If you have the time to spare, and don’t mind getting your hands messy, you can also volunteer at the center to clean the pens, and help out with yard sales.

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All pictures by Savana Christy

What can you do to help?

All pictures by Savana Christy

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Image by Savana Christy

Not Every

Has His Day

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Depression in Dogs, causes, symptoms and what you can do. - By Savana Christy


ogs are known as man’s best friend for good reason. There is a personal and deep rooted connection between us and our fury friends that has been developed over centuries. Our canine companions are not very different from us and we share more in common than we think or like to admit. Domestic dogs have been on the scene for centuries and have always been an integral part of Human society. Be it for hunting, companionship, guarding, or even as work, dogs our canine companions have never failed to be there for us. As pets, dogs immediately take up a special place in our lives. They are a constant source of comfort, joy and love. Any person who has ever had a dog in their lives will know exactly how important a relationship they share with their pet. It is without saying that people will not think twice to go an extra mile for their best buddies. What causes depression in dogs? As is the case with humans, there are a million reasons that could cause depression in dogs. Our canine companions have more in common with us than we think. Dogs are extremely social animals and tend to get attached to certain people or the entire family. The passing away of a family member or even when someone moves out, the separation can trigger depression. One of the most common reasons for depression in dogs is loneliness or lack of companionship. If dogs are left on their own for the majority of the day, they tend to slip into depression due to the lack on activity in their lives. Owners must always look for means and ways to stimulate their dogs senses and keep them engaged. Leaving a chew toy, taking him for a long walk before you leave, having someone check up on him during lunch are all means and ways to ensure that your dog stays comfortable when you are not around.

How can you tell if your dog is depressed There are a many ways that can help you identify if your dog is suffering from depression. However there are times if you don’t pay enough attention you will completely miss the red signals. Here are a few signs to look out for. A depressed dog will most likely be extremely lazy and will not be involved with much physical activity. Regular walks might also prove a task as you pooch will not be willing to move an inch. Another sign is loss of appetite. Things that generally would entice your dog, wont seem to make much of an impact anymore. On the contrary, a lot of dogs may also increase their food intake when depressed. This may eventually lead to obesity. Some dogs are pretty vocal and will cry and whine more than usual. The most noticable sign however is when you notice that your dog stays aloof, and is withdrawn from the family and from people in general. He will not be as social as he used to, and would prefer to be left alone. In most dogs, extensive paw licking is a sign that your dog is not happy. He/ she will persistently lick or chew on their paws. What can you do? If you notice one of the mentioned signs in your dog, do all that you can to get him back to his normal, cheerful self. To start off with, spend more time with your dog. Play with him every chance you get (even if he doesn’t respond in the beginning). Entice him with a variety of treats, preferably something he has not tried before. The best thing you can do is stimulate his senses particularly his nose. § §

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As Easy As 1,2

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ven if you do not aspire to having a pet with the skills of a guide dog for the blind or a champion sheepdog, you must accept that all dogs like their owners, require certain amount of training if they are to be civilized.

House Training First ofcouse there is the business of toilet training a puppy. This should begin as soon as it starts on solid food which is typically around six weeks old. If you are at home for most of the day, the pup can easily be taken outside. Do so when it wakes, after every meal, after every period of activity, when it has not urinated for sometime, and crucially when it shows signs of wanting to. Do not carry it out, make sure he/she follows you to learn the route. At night put down newspapers outside your door. If you live in an apartment or out for long periods during the day, confine the pup to one room where the floor can be covered with paper. The pup will soon pick one ‘toilet area’ that it likes. After this, remove the rest of the paper and allow on the one sheet to remain at the spot the puppy picked. Gradually move that piece of paper until it is by the door. When the wether is good enough move the paper outside and then discard it altogether. Clear up once any accidental mess the puppy makes, and spray the spot with strong smelling deodorant aerosol. This prevents it from being attracted back to the same place and “triggering off ” by lingering aromas to do the deed again. Be patient. Never punish a puppy for being slow or taking time to learn. Things like shouting, hitting, rubbing its nose in its urine etc. Are all pointless practices and will create fear and distrust in your puppy. However, when ever the puppy does what you want him to do, make a big deal out of it and give him all the praises you possibly can.

General Training If you are interested in specialized dog training as a hobby or as a part of your work, there are loads of training clubs or schemes that you can join. But there are certain desirable things that all owners must teach their dogs to do. The best idea is to join a dog training club or class, where dogs and owners can all learn together from an expert. You will find that this considerably enhances the relationship between you and your pet. Training should begin when the dog is typically three or four months old. The puppy should be accustomed to behaving calmly and obediently when out and about with you. Do not stop for other dogs. Do not let it sniff lam posts. Only gradually introduce it to crowds and noisy traffic. Always use pleasant, clear and reassuring tones when talking to your dog. Positive reinforcement goes a long way and will eventually be rewarded. The dog can be taught to heel by holding the lead firmly and then shortening it so that the animal comes into a position with its right shoulder beside your left leg. This is first practiced while you stand still. Then you do it at the walk, going in a straight line and saying “heel” firmly when you start. Next come right turns, moving away from the dog so that the leash wont get entangled with your leg. And finally, left turns. After learning to walk and heel correctly, train the dog to sit on command and every time you come to a halt on a walk. For example at the edge of a curb before you take the turn. During a walk in a quiet surroundings, stop and press the dog gently but firmly into sitting position with your hand on its back, just in front of the pelvis. As you do this, say “Sit”. It will soon get the idea. A lot of times, hand gestures are also used to accompany the command. If practiced properly, the gesture will trigger the command.

2 ,3..

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Getting your Dog’s attention Claim the attention of your dog by enticing him with what he likes the most. All dogs are different, with their own personalities, likes and dislikes. Few of them are food motivated and others are motivated by toys. What ever be the case, get to know what catches his/her attention and work with what you have. One very effective way of stimulating your dog, is to get his nose working. A particular scent may drive your dog to pay attention. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell, and hence work best when their noses are at work.

Sit and Stay Teach the dog to sit when you come to a halt. Holding the lead in one hand, stroke your other hand down your dog’s back and push down on the rump to make it sit. Say “Sit” and praise the dog when it obeys. With the dog sitting, give the command “stay” Keep a firm leash, and walk around the dog to see if he obeys. Always reward the dog with a treat and plenty of praises when the task is complete. Positive reinforcement is key to your dogs progress.

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Shake Hands


Assuming your dog knows to sit, get him/her into a sitting position, and then hold out a treat in the palm of your hand. Make sure he smells the treat. This way, you will engage his nose and have his attention. Offer your dog your hand. Initially he will nose it, but eventually he will offer his paw to you. Repeat this till he automatically paws your hand every time you offer it to him. Once this is consistent, do the same but with an open fist and without a treat. Introduce a verbal cue like “shake” or “paw”.


Using a long leash, command the dog to sit, then command “wait”, and turn and walk away. A few meters away, turn, say “wait”” again and be assertive. Again, reward when the dog listens to your command. § §

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I Think I Love My

Reptile Pg27. Pet Crazy . Domestic


dding a new member to your family typically Involves a lot of excitement and unfortunately a little less planning. Owning a pet is extremely rewarding and not to mention fun. Be it a small aquarium, or a 75 Kilogram English Mastiff your pet becomes an indispensable part of your life. They depend on you for just about everything. That’s why knowing what you are getting into is the most crucial step in the whole process. Being a responsible pet owner doesn’t just mean showing your buddy with treats, or kisses and goes beyond than just refilling their food and water bowls. Making the right decision about what kind of animal will best suite your lifestyle is something that many of us don’t think about before falling for those puppy dog eyes, or that luscious plume of feathers. Getting a pet is a commitment and is not always fun and games.

Diet. A variety of rich green vegetables should be a part of their daily meal. Fruits like apples, mangoes, papaya and banana’s can be used as treats. An important factor to keep in mind is, feeding should be done after the animal has had a chance to warm up. However, there are those that know exactly how to take care of their pet Iguana’s and treat them just right. Before you make that impulse decision and get yourself a reptile do your research. § §

Besides devoted pet owners, there are those that get way too carried away with the ‘cool’ factor and are only interested in how the animal makes them look. It is an extremely common sight to see big cats, crocodiles, and even apes in the backyards and mini pools of few villas. The fascination of owning an exotic animals dies down when people realize the sort of commitment and effort it takes to keep the animals healthy. Iguanas and different species of Monitor lizards are developing a reputation as house pets. Almost every pet shop offers their fair share of exotic lizards that are on display and attract a wide range of customers. From what people see at the store, they often assume that the only thing needed to keep an Iguana is a fairly big aquarium with a log of wood stuck in it. To start off with, lizards like Iguanas can be extremely temperamental and are known to be snappy. Handling the animal properly is very important and should be done with extreme caution. Juveniles should be handled 2-3 times a day in order for them to be hand trained. Being cold blooded, all reptiles need just the right amount of heat in order to function properly. On average an Iguana requires 5-10 hours of natural sunlight a week and to keep them warm and cosy at night their enclosures must be equipped with heaters and infrared lamps. Too hot and they are at risk of dying, too cold and they go dormant. Another major factor people tend to take lightly is feeding. Pet shops tend to advice people to keep their lizards on processed dry food that offer little nutritive value. Dry food should merely be kept as a substitute and not used as a staple

A Green Iguana up for sale at a local pet store in Dubai. hoto by : Savana Christy

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That Fly

Savana Christy talks about the extre birds

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t Cannot

extremely active pet trade in Exotic

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he global economy of the late twentieth and early twentyfirst centuries has given rise to a multi-billion-dollar industry that remains largely unrecognized and undocumented due, at least in part, to the ugly truths of its existence and a lack of adequate enforcement of existing trade regulation. Interpol and its International Wildlife Working Group estimate that the mostly illegal trade in wildlife (including live animals, skins and parts) is the third-most-profitable illegal trade in the world today, exceeded only by the worldwide trade in illicit drugs and arms. As the public demand for novel, “exotic pets” has steadily increased on every continent, the traditional pet trade has been quick to respond, cashing in on the sale of these animals, as well as supplies for them. Aviculture (the practice of keeping and/or breeding birds in captivity) has bourgeoned into one of the most lucrative segments of the pet industry, and it is generally accepted that captive birds (including parrots, finches and canaries) are the fourth most popular animal kept as “pets” after fish, cats and dogs (2013-2014 American Pet Product Association National Pet Owners Survey). However, this ranking remains somewhat problematic, since population statistics vary widely from source to source, birds are not required to be licensed, bird breeding and other commercial facilities that house birds remain largely unregulated, and birds are rarely taken to a veterinarian. As a result, the actual number of birds kept in captivity remains a subject of intense debate. Still, avian rescues and sanctuaries and other animal welfare organizations recognize that determining an accurate estimate of the captive bird population is crucial to effectively addressing many avian welfare issues. The term “captive bird” can describe almost any bird kept in captivity. It is not necessarily limited to those birds commonly kept as pets in private homes. It also includes those living in zoos, breeding facilities, entertainment venues, research facilities, conservation programs, shelters and sanctuaries. What we can say with confidence is that the number of “birds in homes” or kept as “pets” is a smaller percentage of the total population of birds kept in captivity, and that “captive parrots” represent an even smaller percentage of that total number. The fact that population studies often fail to correctly identify exactly what type of birds are being surveyed or clearly define the environments they are living in creates confusion and results in wildly differing population estimates. Also, it is important to consider the entity conducting the study, the target audience surveyed, how and where the research is being conducted, and the intended use of the study. Keeping this in mind, the 20.6 million birds in 6.9 million U.S. households, as reported in the 2013-2014 American Pet Product Association National Pet Owners Survey, provides only half the picture. A study based solely on pet owners with birds doesn’t come close to representing the vast and diverse population of birds kept in captivity; nor does it adequately reflect the nature and extent of the myriad of issues involved in addressing all aspects of captive bird welfare.

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nearly one third of all parrot species worldwide are close to extinction because of the exotic bird trade

Habitat loss and extreme demands in the pet trade world have led to one third of all the parrot species in the world to be on the verge of extinction. These two threats go hand in hand, and are responsible for decimating species at alarming rates. Species like the orange-bellied parrot in particular is on the brink of extinction.


the process of capturing birds for the trade involves horrific cruelty.

Unfortunately people don’t give much thought into how their beloved birds came to the pet shop in the first place. The manner in which these beautiful creature are caught is horrific and absolutely inhumane. Poachers employ the use of nets, guns, and a lot of tools to try to scare and eventually capture the birds. For example, the process of “liming” involves coating a branch with a sticky substance and wait for the bird to perch itself upon the branch. Caught birds are left hanging for prolonged periods of time and are eventually forced to die painful and agonizing deaths.


exotic bird breeding continues

In major metropolitan cities, as well as places all around the world, the horrific practice of capturing and breeding exotic birds for profit continues. The fact that we still see Macaws, and Toocans in pet shops are living proof of this malpractice. Domestic bird breeders accelerated their operations to meet the continuing demand with some parrot species fetching thousand of dollars each. However, rescue organizations and animal welfare groups are doing all in their power to stop this vicious industry.


the idea of the “domesticated” parrot is a myth.

There are a number of occasions where pet shops have convinced potential customers, that a parrot is completely domesticated. However this is a myth and not entirely true. Even when bred in captivity, parrots retain all of their wild needs and instincts and these instincts do not involve performing for the sake of human entertainment. When they are not found amusing as their new owners hoped they would, many of these birds are ‘set free’ only to be faced with hostile weather conditions and other threats like starvation and predation. § §


the conditions in which these birds are kept, resemble the infamous ‘puppy mill’ Large scale breeding are known to house large number of birds

In rows upon rows of barren cages, which deprive them of any social activity what so ever. There are hundred animals that are imprisoned at a particular centre. This not only invites hostile behavior but also hosts large number of diseases. The cramped spaces in which these birds are kept leave them frustrated and depressed. Lush, bright plumages that are typically found in the wild are destroyed because of the neglect these birds face.

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Feathers of


Elegance, charm, and much more.


deep orange bill, plumage dark as ebony and the longest neck in the business. Black swans are known for their grace, elegance and beauty. Indigenous to Australia the black swan holds high ranks when it comes to prestige, with the bird being featured in the quote of arms. This species is also popular as an ornamental water bird in parts of Europe. These charismatic giant birds are truly a sight to look at and have earned a reputation of dignity and poise. Cygnus atratus (the scientific name for black swans) literally means swan attired in black. The feathers are colourd in rich black with a grey fringe that has a slightly ruffled appearance. However underneath that black plumage, the swan’s secondary feathers are white. This can been seen when the swan is in flight during migration. One of the most striking features of this water bird, is its long neck. Compared to every other species, the black swan has the longest neck (in proportion to its body). There is an unmistakable ‘S’ pattern formed by its neck that only adds to its stealthy appearance. Males and females of this species look pretty similar, with the females being a little smaller with a slightly dull plumage. Found exclusively in the terrestial regions of south-western and south-eastern regions of Australia, black swans inhabit swamps, lakes, and rivers. Thre are a considerable amount of birds that also occypy regions of New Zealand. Being an indiginous speaces to Australia, this species is protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974. Unfortunately they do not share the same protected status in New Zealand and are frequently hunted. Being monogamous Most adult birds usually tend to stick with one partner for life, however, it is not uncommon for individuals to desert their nests and look for another mate. another common breeding occurance that is common to this species is homosexual paring. Here, birds of the sam sex (mostly males) have the tendancy to look after diserted nests, or highjack an already cared for nest to incubate the eggs. Typically a nest contains 4-8 pale green eggs, that require an incubation period of 35-40 days. Both partners share equal responsibility over incubating the eggs, with the femails sittiing over them at night. Inorder to synchronize hatching of the eggs, incubaiton starts as soon as the last

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egg is layed. The nests are usually made up of a clump of sticks, twigs, and dried leaves that are found floating on the surface of the water. Black swans are known to create high pitched musical sounds that come in the form of baying, bugling or trumpeting calls. They are also capable of creating softer crooning and whistling sounds. §

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Savana Christy talks about Terrapin care.


mall, compact and feisty terrapins are fascinating creatures and even more interesting pets. They are a versatile lot that come in about 150 different species. Originally Terrapins were native to coasts of U.K. some 8000 years ago, but eventually found their way to the coasts of the United States and parts of Asia. Today this species has a reputation as popular house pets, and are sold across the globe in various pet shops. The illegal trade in Terrapins, and tortoises have risen due to the demand it has created in markets across the world. Pharmaceutical companies have had a major hand in boosting the illegal trade by concocting ‘medicinal products’ made out of shells and skins of these beautiful creatures. The cosmetic industry have also exploited this species by using the fat from these animals as a main ingredient in their products. A lot of cultures treat turtle soup as a delicacy with farms being raised for the sole purpose of harvesting turtle meat. However, these beautiful creatures can make long term and interesting pets that require attention and work. Despite the manner with which they are advertised in pet shops there is a lot of work that goes into actually caring for these little guys. If you own one or a potential terrapin enthusiast, here are a few pointers to get you started on basic Terrapin care. The distribution of these small creatures across pet shops have created a high demand for terrapins of all species shapes and sizes. This well knows creature often finds itself in small cramped up fishing bowls or kidney shaped plastic tanks. Unfortunately, people are unaware of the kind of care and habilitation these animals require, and tend to get carried away looking at these stunning creatures. There is a high demand for baby terrapins across the globe. Some nations like the United States of America have strict regulatory policies regarding the owning and trading of baby terrapins. One of the most sought after terrapin breed is the Diamondback. As the name suggests, they have

Very distinct markings on the backs of their shells.

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In the wild, terrapins inhabit brackish waters or swampy regions where they spend their time both in water and on land. Experts believe that the terrapins shell is sort of a rare mix between the streamline shape of a turtle, and the rounded shell of a tortoise. Another popular pet among this diverse species is the Red Ear Slider. As the name suggests, this species has very distinctive markings on them. A bright orange red strip runs on both sides of the head. The Shell is usually dark green with yellow markings on them. Red Ear Sliders have very distinctive markings of yellow and black on their underbelly. All turtles need to feed under waters because they lack movable tongues. As babies, it is difficult to tell the sex of the individual as both of them look very much alike. Proper distinction can be made when the individuals are adults. Males have a dark green carapace that is slightly smaller to a females. The female carapace measures around 15cm at maturity. During winter, unlike mammals and other species, reptiles burmate as opposed to hibernate. When it gets too cold, these turtles swim to the bottom of the lake and remain dormant or inactive. Their metabolism slows down, and they do not require much food. Occasionally, these creatures will surface toward the lake for food or air. At this time, the turtles enter a phase called sopor where they don’t eat nor do they defecate. Their breathing patters change and slows down. Mating and courtship occur during the months of July. Mating takes place under water. After mating, females spend extra time basking in the sun to absorb heat. She then lays her eggs in a hole dug in the mud. The number of eggs can range from 2 to 30 depending on the size of the female, climate, nutrition, etc. Normal incubation period ranges from 59 to 112 days. As pets, Red Ear Sliders can live anywhere between 15-20 years depending on how well they are taken care off. They are pretty aggressive and can cause serious damage when they want to. This behavior is typically seen when they are given live food as opposed to dry canned food. Before you invest in one, make sure you do your research and equip yourself to cope with what is to come. Here are a few pointers to get you started.


icking the right one Terrapins are versatile creatures that come in a variety of different species, with subtle differences. Choosing the right breed can be a bit of a task, but nothing good research can’t fix. Don’t be deceived by the size of your terrapin at the pet shop. These little guys can grow anywhere between 9 inches to 2 meters. However apart from the misconception of small tank equals small turtle, terrapins will continue to grow till they reach their fully mature state. This time may vary depending on the breed. (Red ear sliders typically take 3-5 years to grow into 5-9 inch adults). Check for your turtles vital signs to make sure he is in perfect shape. The eyes should be clear and without any discharge. The shell much be firm, and clean without slime or cracks on it. Living space Caring for you turtle is extremely fun. They require constant attention and have the ability to keep you on your toes. Terrapins are extremely rewarding pets with some of them living for up to 10 to 20 years. Like all pets, this depends on how well you care for them. The most important aspect of your terrapin’s life is its enclosure. Typically an enclosure of 18”x12”x14” is ideal for a pair of baby terrapins. The tank can be made up of glass or plastic, provided it is clear and sturdy. The enclosure should be kept in a place that is well lit, and at a temperature of around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The tank should be equipped with a heater and a filter. Terrapins are messy pets, and require regular water filtration and cleaning. Another important feature to your pet’s enclosure is the provision for dry land for him to bask and dry off.

Sizes of meat like beef, chicken, pork, fish and shrimp. Oily fish like Sardines and Tuna are good treats and are rich in vitamin D. Apart from this, a good vegetarian feast will always be welcomed. Apples, lettuce, pears, etc. Together will provide them with a good balanced diet. Handling your pet Terrapin Terrapins are feisty creatures and won’t hesitate to get a little aggressive. If you have children around, be sure to supervise them while handling the turtle. Terrapins are not too friendly with a whole bunch of people, and hence have the tendency to bite. One way to ensure you won’t be mistaken for a treat is to entice your pet with food. This will allow him to gain your trust and hence will be a little less snappy. Finally, all turtles regardless of the breed are individuals with their own personalities and likings. Spending time with your pet will establish a relationship that will be designed to last a long time. Before you commit to your turtle, be sure to do much needed research and get equipped. § §

Diet As different as their personalities, their diets are also demanding and require variety. Terrapins are Omnivorous and thrive on various plant and animal substances. Be sure to feed them bite

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“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no critisisims” - By George Eliot

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Pet Crazy . Domestic

Student Project - Magazine  

'Pets Plus’ is a magazine that delves into animal care, responsible ownership and awareness.

Student Project - Magazine  

'Pets Plus’ is a magazine that delves into animal care, responsible ownership and awareness.