What should I consider before buying a Royal Python?

What should I consider before buying a Royal Python?

From Length Lifespan Groups
Western and Central Africa 5 feet (on average) 20 to 25 years Best kept solitary

Royal Pythons, referred to as Ball Pythons outside of the UK, are an excellent starter species for someone who is new to keeping reptiles.

Their needs are very basic, they do not grow to a particularly large size and they are usually very placid (although it is important to remember that any animal will defend itself if provoked). This makes them ideal for beginners.
 

Have you got everything prepared?

  • Vivarium
  • Heat and Light Source
  • Bulb Holder and Guard
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Hide
  • Thermometer, Thermostat and Hygrometer
  • Spray Bottle/Humidifier
  • Feeding Tongs
  • Snake Hook (optional)
  • Food (make sure you have freezer space!)
  • Vivarium Lock
  • Substrate
 

Diet

Royal Pythons are obligate carnivores which means they will only eat meat. The size of this type of snake means they can be fed a variety of mice and small rats. Rats and mice are bought frozen, and they should be completely thawed out before feeding to the snake or you could risk dangerously lowering their body temperature. The size of the prey offered should correspond to the size of the prey itself – the prey should never be bigger than the widest part of the snake’s body.

There are two methods in which food can be presented to a snake. These are strike feeding and bowl feeding.

Strike feeding involves dangling the animal in front of the snake using feeding tongs and waiting for the snake to strike the prey and coil around it. Never offer food by holding it in your fingers! This can cause the snake to accidentally strike your fingers when aiming for the prey, or it could simply begin to associate your hands with food, which would make handling dangerous.

Bowl feeding involves laying the prey on a shallow bowl or rock and allowing the snake to find the food for itself. This may not be as effective, as in the wild the snake would expect to chase its prey, and may not be as likely to take an interest if it already appears dead (i.e. not moving).

Whichever method you choose, never ever use live animals.

These snakes can go a few weeks without eating, but if you are struggling to get your Royal Python to feed, try cutting the prey so they will smell the blood more strongly.

 

Enclosure

Royal Pythons are a terrestrial species, meaning they spend most of their time on the ground. They will, however, climb low branches you may choose to include in your vivarium. Due to their size, an enclosure for an adult should be at least 3ft wide, 2ft deep, and 1.5ft high. The vivarium should allow for a fair amount of substrate, which the python will enjoy burrowing in. It is also vital to check the security of the vivarium as snakes are excellent escape artists. Make sure the vivarium is securely locked and be aware of any damaged areas through which the snake could escape. The enclosure should be spot cleaned daily, with a full clean out once a month.
 

 

Heating and Lighting

Royal Pythons require a basking spot temperature of around 35°C with an ambient temperature of around 30°C. The cooler side of the vivarium should be around 25°C. At night, you should make sure that the temperature does not drop below 22°C. UV lighting is not essential for royal pythons, although there can be benefits such as brighter colouration if a low level “natural light” is used. This can come from their heat bulb. Their overall photo period should be twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness per day.
A hiding area should be included at the cooler end of the vivarium. Hiding areas are important as they allow the snake a place to retreat into a place where they feel secure. This is a natural behaviour that they instinctually follow even in captivity, because in the wild this would help them to avoid being eaten.
 


 
 

Substrate

Royal Pythons require a substrate which they can burrow in, and is also good at retaining moisture. Coco fibre is a suitable type to use, and mixing it with bark chips can help to maintain humidity levels. This will also help to prevent respiratory issues caused by finer dust particles. The substrate should be 2 – 3 inches deep.
 
 


 
 

Water and Humidity

The humidity levels in a royal python’s vivarium should usually be around 60%, but should never drop below 50%. The humidity level can be topped up by spraying with a water bottle or humidifier. You should aim to be misting the vivarium twice daily, which can be done manually or through a fogger system. A water source should always be available, in a bowl large enough for the snake to bathe in. This should be replenished regularly to maintain hygiene.
 
 


 
 

Behaviours to watch out for

  • As they get ready to shed their skin, the snake’s eyes will briefly go cloudy. They will return to normal during or after the shed.
  • Snakes can regurgitate their food if they feel stressed or threatened. It is best not to handle a snake for at least two days after feeding.
  • They may become a bit defensive when preparing to shed, so it may be best to avoid handling during this period.
  • Snakes will become much more aggressive when they sense food, so it is best to keep your distance when there is food nearby!
  • Snakes should shed their skin all in one go. Patchy skin is a sign of a bad shed. To combat this, make sure the humidity is optimal and provide a rough surface such as a rock or branch to help them shed.
  •  

    If this handy guide has piqued your interest in purchasing a Royal Python, everything you may need can be found in-store or on our website. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call on 01482 585315 or drop us an email to enquiry@peejaypets.co.uk.

What should I consider before buying a corn snake?

What should I consider before buying a corn snake?

From Length Lifespan Groups
Eastern United States 5 feet (on average) 10 to 15 years Best kept solitary

 

Corn snakes are an excellent species for people considering snake-keeping as a hobby. Not only are they simple to care for, but they come in a wide range of visually stunning morphs.

In general, corn snakes are a fairly docile species – which makes them very easy to handle and rarely aggressive. But you still need to remember to treat them with care, as any animal will seek to defend itself if provoked.
 

Have you got everything prepared?

  • Vivarium
  • Light and Heat Source
  • Bulb Fitting and Guard
  • Thermostat and Thermometer
  • Water and Food Bowls
  • Hide
  • Substrate
  • Vivarium Lock
  • Feeding Tongs
  • Snake Hook (optional)
  • Vivarium Lock
  • Food (ensure you have freezer space!)
  • Spray Bottle/Humidifier (not essential but can help with shedding)

 

Diet

Corn snakes are obligate carnivores, which means they only feed on meat.

The most common food used for snakes are mice. Mice are bought frozen so need to be thawed out completely before being fed to your snake, otherwise it can significantly reduce their body temperature which is dangerous. What size of mouse you feed should be determined by the size of your snake itself – it should be no larger than the widest part of your snake’s body.

There are two methods of feeding that snake owners should be aware of: strike feeding or bowl feeding.

Strike feeding involves dangling the mouse from some feeding tongs in front of the snake and waiting for them to strike the prey and coil around it. Never offer food by holding it in your fingers! This can cause the snake to accidentally bite you when striking the prey, or it could cause the snake to simply associate your hands with feeding, which can make handling more dangerous.

Bowl feeding involves laying the mouse on a shallow bowl or rock, and then allowing the snake to find it. The snake may not respond to this method however, as in the wild they would be more attracted to moving prey, not one that already appears to be dead.

Whichever method you choose, never ever use live animals.

It is not uncommon for a corn snake to go a few weeks without eating. However, if you are struggling to get your snake to eat, you may find it easier to cut the prey, causing the scent of blood to be more potent to the snake.

 

Enclosure

An enclosure that is 3.5ft wide, 2 feet deep, and 2 feet high will provide enough space for a fully grown adult snake, although this should be treated as a minimum size. Whilst corn snakes are mostly terrestrial, they will climb on low branches which you may like to include in your vivarium. The enclosure should be suitable for deeper substrates as corn snakes like to burrow. It is also vital to check the security of the vivarium as snakes are known for being escape artists; ensure that there is no damage anywhere and that the doors shut fully. It is recommended to buy a lock for the enclosure.
 

 

Heating and Lighting

A heat bulb will be required to keep the snake’s vivarium at an optimum temperature. The temperature should be maintained at around 20-24°C at the cooler end of the vivarium and 28-30°C in their basking area. At night time, the temperature should never drop below 20°C. It is recommended to buy a bulb guard as well to protect the snake should it choose to coil around the bulb. Corn snakes do not actually require UV lighting, but should have some form of low-level light – this can come from their heat bulb. Using low-level lighting can help to bring out brighter colours on the snake.
 
If you choose to use a heat bulb as the only light source in the vivarium, a basking or daylight bulb should be used alongside a dimmer thermostat.
If using another light source, ceramic heat elements are the most reliable way to heat the vivarium – they are much more durable and therefore last longer. This should be used alongside either a pulse thermostat or an on/off thermostat.
Heat mats can also be used, but they are far less effective than the aforementioned bulbs.
 
A hiding area should be included at the cooler end of the vivarium. Hiding areas are important as they allow the snake a place to retreat into a place where they feel secure. This is a natural behaviour that they instinctually follow even in captivity, because in the wild this would help them to avoid being eaten.
 


 
 

 

Substrate

As with most reptiles, the topic of substrate is often divided. Beechwood chips or bark chips would be recommended as they allow the snake to burrow and present a lower chance of respiratory issues compared to finer particles like sand. Aspen bedding may also be used, but it is important to note that the dust from this substrate can cause irritation in the nose and mouth. The substrate is best at around 2-3 inches deep.
 
If your snake is ever suffering from mites, it is useful to use paper towels as substrate. This makes the mites easier to see and gives them fewer places to hide. It is also very easy to clean as it leaves no particles behind.
 


 
 

Water and Humidity

Corn snakes do not need high humidity levels. Keeping the tank between 40-50% humidity is suitable for them. This can be topped up using water in a spray bottle or a humidifier. A water bowl should be available at all times, this should be deep enough to bathe in and the water should be changed regularly to maintain hygiene.

 

Behaviours to watch out for

  • Snakes are very good at escaping so maintaining the security of the enclosure is vital.
  • Snakes will regurgitate their food if stressed, therefore it is best to avoid handling the snake or rearranging the enclosure for at least two days after feeding.
  • When a snake is about to shed, its eyes will go cloudy. This is temporary and will clear up once the snake starts shedding.
  • Snakes will become more aggressive if they sense food, so it is best to avoid getting too close when there is food nearby.
  •  
    If this handy guide has piqued your interest in purchasing a corn snake, everything you may need can be found in-store or on our website. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call on 01482 585315 or drop us an email to enquiry@peejaypets.co.uk.

What Should I Consider Before Buying A Bearded Dragon?

What Should I Consider Before Buying A Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragons are a hardy species of lizard who get their name from the bearded crest on their throats. They are an entertaining species and make an excellent choice for anybody new to keeping reptiles.

Bearded dragons originate from Australia. They can grow to a length of 24 inches and have an approximate lifespan of 10-15 years. Due to their diurnal nature they are most active during the day. These animals are fairly docile and enjoy being handled, though they are best kept solitary unless wanting to breed.

 

What Equipment Will I Need To Care For My Bearded Dragon?

 

  • Vivarium (3ftX2ftx2ft minimum)
  • UVB Bulb
  • Heat source
  • Bulb Fitting
  • Bulb Guard
  • UVB Power Supply (If using fluorescent tube)
  • Substrate (e.g. Sand or Beechwood Chips)
  • Thermostat
  • Thermometer
  • Water Bowl
  • Hide/Shelter
  • Basking Area
  • Food Bowl
  • Food and supplement powder
 

Vivarium (3ftX2ftx2ft minimum)

Bearded dragons are terrestrial but will climb along small branches. Therefore, a fully grown adult will require a vivarium that is at least 3.5 feet (107cm) long, 2 feet (61cm) deep, and 2 feet (61cm) high. This will ensure that they have ample space to roam around their enclosure and some space to climb. Within their vivarium, they will also require an area to hide and a basking spot. Additionally, a deep substrate will be beneficial as they enjoy digging in the sand.

Please note: Vivariums are currently available in-store only. If you would like to organise a local delivery please contact us on 01482 585315 or enquiry@peejaypets.co.uk to book a delivery slot.

 

 

UVB Bulb

Bearded Dragons require a source of UVB light of around 12% (this could be a desert or intense category bulb), which will need to be replaced approximately every twelve months. They will also need a photo period of twelve hours per day – this means that the UVB light must be switched on for this length of time. You could do this manually or with a timer. It is also important to note that if a strip light is used the correct fitting will also need to be purchased to correspond to this.


 
 

UVB Power Supply

 
If you choose to go with a UVB strip bulb, it is important that you buy the correct fitting for it. These will allow for bulbs of differing lengths and wattages to provide light to your enclosure.
 


 
 

Heat Source

 
As with most reptiles, a bearded dragon’s vivarium should be set up so that there is a warmer area and a cooler area to ensure the animal can move between temperatures as it feels comfortable to do so. A bearded dragon will need a daytime basking spot of around 36-38 degrees celsius, whilst the cooler areas of the enclosure should reach around 25-29 degrees. Night time temperatures should never drop below 20 degrees. A bulb fitting (either Easy Screw or Bayonet) will be required to power your heat source, make sure you buy corresponding bulbs and fittings!
 


 
 

Thermostat and Thermometer

 

It is also important to ensure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure has a thermostat and a thermometer, this will help you to easily identify the temperature in the vivarium and alter it if needed.
 
The thermomether will constantly monitor the temperature of your vivarium in both celcius and farenheit depending on your preference. It can also display the minimum and maximum temperatures the vivarium has reached so you are aware of any dramatic changes.
 


 
 

A thermostat, on the other hand, will actually make changes to the temperature of the vivarium for you. It is best to use a dimming thermostat, although other options are available. Dimming thermostats work by changing the amount of energy that is being directed into the heat lamp – i.e. increasing the energy when the temperature falls too low and vice versa. This ensures that your bearded dragon will consistently be at an optimum temperature with minimal input from you!
 


 
 

Bulb Fitting and Bulb Guard

 
Once the correct bulb has been established, you must make sure it has the correct fitting and a suitable bulb guard to protect your bearded dragon.
 
This ceramic bulb fixture will support bulbs that have an easy screw fitting (not bayonet fittings) and a maximum of 200w. It is possible to use a bulb with a capacity of more than 200w with this fitting, however, it will only ever have an output of 200w. Equally, it is possible to use a bulb with a capacity of less than 200w, but in this case, the output will only ever be that of the bulb itself. This setup will be controlled by the dimmer thermostat if you choose to purchase one.
 


 
 

The light and heat guard serves a very simple purpose – to protect your bearded dragon from coming into contact with the lamp and causing itself any heat-related injuries. Therefore, it is not essential but highly recommended due to the risks associated with having a bare bulb.
 


 
 

Basking Area/Hiding Place

 
Beneath your heat lamp should be an area in which your bearded dragon can bask in the light and heat, mimicking the experience it may have had beneath the hot sun. This should include an area that it can climb on such as a rock or branch. The Komodo Basking Ramp is ideal for this purpose as there is a flat surface on the top for basking and a hiding spot underneath for shade.
 


 
 

Substrate

 
Sand is usually the favoured substrate for bearded dragons as it absorbs heat well and therefore best replicates the Australian outback from which they originate. However, it is important to consider that using sand particles that are too large can pose a risk to your pet’s digestive system if accidentally ingested. Therefore, it is advisable to use a fine or medium grain sand, or even avoid sand altogether and try Beechwood chips instead.
 


 
 

Food and Supplement Powder

 
Bearded Dragons are omnivores, which means they will eat both meat and vegetation. When they are hatchlings, the correct ratio is 30% vegetation to 70% insects, and as they get older this can move to a 50:50 ratio. However, most tend to prefer bugs to greens, so it is important that the vegetation is always available.
 
Bugs that can be used include crickets, locusts, and cockroaches, as well as mealworms and waxworms as a treat. Make sure any insects provided are no bigger than the space between the dragon’s eyes. It is also important to gut-load and dust the insects with supplement calcium powder to ensure optimal nutritional intake. Remove any uneaten insects as they can become aggressive and potentially bite the lizard.
 
The greens which can be used include dandelion leaves, pak choi, watercress, rocket, and butternut squash as staple foods. Carrots, bell peppers, peas, and sweet potatoes can be given every few days. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and apples can be given once a week. Vegetation to avoid includes lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, melon, citrus fruits, and avocado.
 
In a nutshell, salads should be provided daily, with 6-7 suitably sized insects every couple of days.
 


 
 

Food and Water Bowls

The aforementioned food – mainly the vegetation – should not simply be left on the floor of the enclosure for your bearded dragon. It is important to put it in a food bowl as your pet will then know that this is an area where food will consistently be available; unlike bugs that will roam freely around the vivarium. Although they are a desert-dwelling species, bearded dragons still need constant access to water. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a shallow water bowl. The humidity in the vivarium should be kept between 20%-40%, preferably with a spray in the morning to recreate the morning dew they would encounter in the wild.


 
 

Behaviours to Watch Out For

 
Arm waving behaviour is a submissive/passive display.
 
Dark beard and head bobbing is a dominant/aggressive display.
 
Brumation – a state of hibernation that bearded dragons can go into if there have been changes to light timing or temperature. Includes loss of appetite without weight loss and excessive resting.
 
Bearded dragons don’t shed their skin in one piece like some reptiles. Instead, their skin starts to shed in patches all over.

 
 
 
If this handy guide has piqued your interest in purchasing a bearded dragon, everything you may need can be found in-store or on our website. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call on 01482 585315 or drop us an email to enquiry@peejaypets.co.uk.

Itchy skin – could it be food allergies?

Itchy skin – could it be food allergies?

If your dog or cat suffers from itchy skin, it’s natural to assume that it could be nothing more than a simple case of fleas. But what should you do if, after treatment, the itching doesn’t stop?

When you first notice that your pet is itching more than usual, it is natural to feel a bit concerned. Itching that is particularly severe can cause your pet to develop hot spots, bleed, and be generally an uncomfortable experience.

Many people, seeing their pet itching, will begin a round of treatment for fleas – and will not understand why their pet’s symptoms do not alleviate. If this is you, then you might want to check: can you actually see any fleas? If not, then there is a pretty good chance it’s not this that’s causing the problem. Often in these cases, it tends to be allergies that are the real root of the problem.

The cause of your pet’s itching

The most effective way to cure your pet’s itching is to work out why they are itching in the first place.

There are several possible reasons why your pet could be itching. We can generally break these down into two broad categories: (1) food-based (allergies to specific components of food such as types of meat, wheat, soya, etc); and (2) environmental (grass allergies, a change of fabric softener, pollen, etc).

There are lots of products on the market designed to help soothe irritated skin or prevent your pet from itching (sprays, creams and medications). These can be helpful in easing some of the discomfort felt by an animal suffering from an allergy. But you need to remember that these don’t necessarily solve the problem – they only mask it. The problem is still there, bubbling under the surface, and can become worse if not addressed.

Common food-based allergies

Just like people, our pets’ allergies can be relatively straightforward (an allergy to one specific type of meat, for instance, can be easily removed from your pet’s diet), or they can be incredibly complex (an allergy to several types of meat and vegetables can be much more difficult to help).

Knowing some of the most common allergens can provide a good starting point for you to begin exploring what your pet may be allergic to. In dogs, chicken, beef, maize, wheat, and dairy tend to be the most common causes – in cats, it tends to be fish, lamb, corn, and dairy. Therefore you should try and avoid foods that contain these ingredients in the early stage of your investigations.

Dogs Cats
Meat and animal derivatives (this is always a potential issue because you can’t say for certain what meats are actually present in what quantities; so if your pet is reacting to something like beef you can’t guarantee it will not be in this food) Meat and animal derivatives (this is always a potential issue because you can’t say for certain what meats are actually present in what quantities; so if your pet is reacting to something like beef you can’t guarantee it will not be in this food)
Chicken Fish
Beef Lamb
Wheat Wheat
Dairy Dairy
Soy Soy

Please remember: This is not an ultimate or definitive guide (there are items on this list that some pets will be okay with eating, and others which may not have ended up on this list that your pet may react to). This table is offered to show some of the most common allergies that we’ve come across in recent years.

Where to start… create a “default” diet

Step one: Choose a food

To find which parts of your pet’s diet are the cause of their itchiness, you need to be able to break down the different aspects of their diet. We recommend you start this process by finding one single food that your pet does not react to. The aim of this is to create a “default” diet for your pet.

This is one of the most important steps you will take – as this forms the basis of your pet’s diet that you will always be able to return to if your pet suffers a reaction to a new food that you introduce. Depending on what is causing your pet’s allergy, it could also take a few attempts – but once you have one food that your pet is happy with, then you can then proceed to the next step.

Here are a few of our go-to options…

Dogs


Peejay Pets Superstore Grain Free

£12.95 to £48.95 (depending on bag type and size)

This grain-free dry food is packed with real meat and identifiable ingredients. Because there is so much protein, it’s not packed with filler ingredients – which means that poos are smaller and less frequent, and your dog will stay fuller for longer. This range comes in a wide range of flavours – but for the purposes of testing for an allergy we’d generally recommend one of the following flavours:
Lamb, sweet potato and mint;
Turkey, sweet potato and cranberry;
Tuna, sweet potato and broccoli;
Venison, sweet potato and mulberry.




Burgess Sensitive Complete

£6.95 to £35.95 (depending on bag type and size)

This wheat-free dry food is ideal for dogs with a common chicken or wheat-based allergy. Whilst it is perfectly tasty on its own, if your dog has a preference for a dry/wet mix of food, then this is ideal for mixing with Forthglade wet dog food. There are three flavours in this range…
Turkey and rice
Lamb and rice
Salmon and rice
(please note: the salmon and rice product contains a small amount of chicken fat – if you believe that chicken could be causing your dog’s allergies, then either the turkey or the lamb options may be better suited)..




Forthglade (wet and dry options available)

£20.95 to £23.95 (for a box of 18 trays)

With high-protein wet and dry food options available, Forthglade is well known for its quality pet foods. With a great choice of mixers, complete and grain-free options, there is no wonder it’s appeared on our list. Forthglade wet food comes in a range of mixer and complete options. If you are opting to use the “Just” range of mixers, make sure that you pick a flavour that corresponds with your dog’s dry food (so if you are feeding Burgess Sensitive Lamb, you could mix this with Forthglade Grain Free Just Lamb), and don’t forget to take out a handful or so of biscuits so your dog doesn’t get overweight! The other option is to go for a Complete Wet Food (which might be a better option for dogs that struggle to chew biscuits).

Forthglade dry food is a high meat, freeze-dried biscuit. The way it’s made locks in nutrients which means you don’t have to feed as much.

Whichever option you choose, you can be assured that your dog will be receiving a high meat product packed with only identifiable ingredients. This is why it’s on our list of recommended foods for allergies – because when you look at the ingredients label, you will only see ingredients that you can recognize.



Acana

£6.95 to £35.95 (depending on bag size)

Acana is one of the most protein-rich products on the market – packed with real meat that can attract even the fussiest eaters. The Acana range holds lots of variety, but at the early stages of testing your dog for allergies, we’d recommend one of the following to start off with:
Grass-fed lamb
Yorkshire Pork

 

Cats




Peejay Pets Grain Free

£12.95 to £13.95 (depending on bag type)

Cats can suffer a reaction to filler ingredients (like grains and wheats). By swapping to a grain free food with a higher meat content, you may be able to see improvement and additional vitality in your cat.

 




Applaws (wet and dry options available)

£11 to £15.95 (depending on food type and size)

Applaws have crafted a range of meaty delights that cats love. If you look at the ingredients label, you’ll be able to find that their products generally only have one or two main identifiable proteins (meats), which means it can be ideal if you are trying to whittle down which foods your cat may or may not be allergic to.

 

Raw diet

If you’re struggling to find a food that your pet won’t react to, and are thinking it could possibly be something to do with one of the filler ingredients located in most commercial foods, you could always consider trying a raw diet. We will caution you that this diet can be more complicated than a standard kibble, and will require continuous monitoring over time, but it can be really beneficial for cats and dogs struggling with allergies.




Nutriwolds Raw Food

£3.95 to £5.95 (depending on type)

Nutriwolds offer a high quality range of raw foods that are suitable for both dogs and cats. Their recipes contain chunkier blends (like their Unroast Beef) perfect for dogs and cats that like to chew and tear their meat, and finer blends (like Herby Turkey) that are ideal for smaller mouths.

 

Step two: Introduce your new food

Only feed your pet this food for three to four weeks. It can take up to six weeks for an allergen to fully work its way out of your pet’s system – but once on their new food, you should begin to see signs of improvement within the first two weeks.

Step three: Bringing new foods into your pet’s diet

After your three-week period has passed, you can then begin the next stage of introducing a new food. There are a couple of ways you can approach this – either introduce a new flavour of food into the diet (for instance, if you had been feeding turkey, then maybe consider lamb if it’s in the same brand), or introduce new treats. If you are opting for the treat-route, then we recommend opting for a natural treat with no (or few) filler ingredients. Just like with your starting point, doing this will make it easier to identify what could be causing the itching.

If the itching doesn’t start again, then you know that this treat or food is safe to give your pet. If it does return, however, then you know that this contains something that your pet cannot tolerate – you therefore need to return to their default diet for a few weeks to allow the allergen to pass through your pet’s system once again.

This process can take time – don’t stress

Because pet food tends to be formulated with several different combinations of ingredients, it can be difficult to find that one “right” food first time round – especially if your pet’s allergy is a result of one of the minor components of the food you provide. If you think this might be the case, then you could consider opting for a raw diet.

If all else fails most veterinary surgeries will be able to perform an allergy test to try and identify exactly what is the root of the problem – whilst this can be a more expensive option (particularly for more common allergies like those to chicken in dogs or fish in cats), it is definitely one worth pursuing if your pet suffers from complicated or environmental allergies.

 

Summary

  • Find one type of food that your pet is okay eating and does not suffer a reaction to and give them only this food for three to four weeks.
    • Try and find a food which contains only one type of protein (only one type of meat – for instance, go for an option which is just “turkey” instead of “turkey and chicken” or “poultry”).
  • After your pet has settled on its new diet, you can then look to introduce a new component, which you can try over the fourth or fifth week. If you’re feeding your dog a turkey-based diet, maybe introduce a rabbit hide roll or a beef stick.
    • Whatever treat you provide at this stage, try to keep it natural with as few ingredients as possible to keep matters simple.
    • Introduce only one new ingredient per week – and if your pet does have a reaction, then wait for another two to three weeks before trying a new food again (you want to give it long enough for the itching to settle once again).
  • Remember to take it slow and you will be able to gradually build up a picture over time of the foods that your pet is okay with eating.
  • Always bear in mind that the source of your pet’s allergies may not be limited to their food – environmental factors can also have a significant impact. If you are concerned that your pet may be suffering from a complex allergy that is particularly painful for them, then it is always advisable to speak to your vet.
Frenchie that keeps on farting? Here’s why and what you can do about it!

Frenchie that keeps on farting? Here’s why and what you can do about it!

Frenchies have built up a bit of a reputation for their cute features and happy nature – but one thing that lots of people don’t come to realise until they have a French Bulldog of their own is how prone they are to… errr… let it go…

If your French bulldog keeps farting, it can be a little embarrassing – and you’re not alone in trying to find a solution to make life a little less smelly. Luckily we’ve got experience in this area, so here are our top tips for clearing away some of the noxious gases from your life.

Why does this breed fart so much?

Lots of people who own French Bulldogs are quick to pass the breed off as being naturally flatulent. Is this true… well, yes and no.

Frenchies come within a family of dogs with short noses (called brachycephalic breeds; the same as Pugs, Boxers and Pekingese). Because their noses are so short they literally have to inhale their food into their mouth quickly – taking in a big gulp of air with every mouthful. The problem with this is all that air eventually has to come out again – and since you’ve found your way here i’m guessing you’ve become quite familiar with how.

So to this extent, the breed does have a natural tendency to toot. But another large cause of farting in Frenchies is actually linked to their diet – you’ve always got to remember that the quality of what you put into your dog will impact on what comes out the other end. Foods with a high dairy, wheat or grain content, or poor quality foods, will increase your dog’s natural emissions.

So now you know why it happens, let’s show you how you can help it.

Our top recommendations for reducing gassiness

(1) Slow feeder bowl

Because a large part of the flatulence of French Bulldogs is caused by gulping air when inhaling their food, one of the first things you can try is a slow-feeder bowl. By slowing your dog down, you are encouraging them to chew their food and so there is less opportunity for pockets of air to form during digestion.

You could also consider opting for smaller sized kibble. Because of the smaller surface area, there is less room for the air to get trapped during eating – which ultimately means there is less build-up during the digestive process so your dog will fart less.


Happy Pet Stainless Steel Bowl

£6.95

These stainless steel bowls from Happy Pet are really easy to clean. Their weightiness helps to ensure your dog won’t be able to tip them over and send their food scattering across the floor – meaning they’ll still get the benefit of the slow feed design.

 

(2) Wheat free food

Take a look at what food you’re currently feeding your dog. If you’re reading through the ingredients and finding a high percentage of wheat, then you could consider swapping to a wheat-free diet.

Wheat and oats are high in fibre and starch. You’ll find this in the majority of whole-grain products. Because these sorts of fibres are not easily digested, it tends to ferment in the gut and creates additional gas (sometimes leading to bloating).


Burgess Sensitive Complete Dog Food

£6.95 to £35.95 (depending on bag size)

Burgess Sensitive’s wheat free range are one of our go-to staples when it comes to Frenchie flatulence. There are four types to choose from: puppy turkey, adult lamb, adult turkey and adult salmon.


Forthglade Complete Wet Food with Brown Rice

£23.95 for 18 trays

Forthglade is another go-to when it comes to any form of wheat based allergy or intolerance. With a high meat content and only identifiable ingredients, it can entice even the fussiest eaters to enjoy their dinner.

 

(3) Grain free food

Removing the grains from your dogs diet will also help reduce flatulence – for best results to minimise farting in your French Bulldog, go for a diet that is both grain and wheat free.

Ideally you need to be looking for a food that has a high meat content. This is because your dog’s body finds it easier to digest meat proteins compared to vegetable proteins and grains. The other benefit of this is that, in terms of quantity, you don’t have to feed as much! This can be really beneficial for helping to reduce farting in your French Bulldog by limiting the opportunity for them to inhale air when they eat.

 


Peejay Pets Grain Free Complete Dog Food

£12.95 to £48.95 (depending on bag type and size)

When it comes to finding a good quality grain free food with a high meat content, then you should definitely consider the Peejay Pets Grain Free range of complete dry kibble. You won’t find a single product in this range with less than 50% meat/fish content.

 



Acana and Orijen Complete Dog Food

£14.50 to £73.95 (depending on type and bag size)

Acana and Orijen foods have some of the highest meat contents on the market. Their high protein content means your Frenchie will be getting all the nutrients they need in an easy-to-digest format.

 


Forthglade Complete Grain Free Wet Food

£23.95 for 18 trays

Forthglade is another go-to when it comes to to grain free meals also (if you haven’t guesses, their range of foods really is quite wide!) With a high meat content and only identifiable ingredients, it can entice even the fussiest eaters to enjoy their dinner.

 

(4) Raw food

With a French Bulldog that keeps on farting, you want to make digesting food as easy as possible – opting for a raw diet can really help with this because of just how quickly your dog’s body is able to process it. Because raw diets contain only digestible meats which your dog’s body can quickly convert into energy, not only is there less poo, but less chance for gases to ferment in your dog’s stomach.

 




Nutriwolds Raw Food

£3.95 to £5.95

Nutriwolds offer a range of chunky (or finer textured) complete meals for your dog. Packed with locally sourced meat, your dog will love this range of food.

 

(5) Granulated charcoal

Another way you could seek to address your dog’s flatulence is through use of charcoal. Charcoal is naturally porous which gives it a higher surface area – what this means for your Frenchie is that it helps to absorb gases and toxins in the stomach.

 




Granulated Charcoal

£5.50

Hatchwell’s Charcoal Granules are cost effective and really easy to use! Instead of struggling with getting your dog to swallow a tablet, you can simply mix a couple of tablespoons of these granules into their food. This means it will be effective almost as soon as they start eating.

 

What happens if it doesn’t go away?

If your dog’s farting doesn’t disspate, then the other thing to consider is whether it could be health-related. Irritable bowel syndrome, stomach infections and inflammatory bowel syndrome are a few possible factors that it could be. If your Frenchie’s flatulence is becoming a bit concerning, then speak to your vet.

Things to consider before putting your pet on raw diet

Things to consider before putting your pet on raw diet

Raw diets have grown in popularity in recent years as more owners have discovered the benefits that raw feeding provides. If you’re considering swapping your pet over to a raw diet, there are a few things you need to consider.

Lots of our customers feed their dogs, cats, and ferrets a raw diet. But the learning curve can be quite significant, both in terms of learning how to feed raw properly, and other practical realizations which occur only after feeding a raw diet has started. Here at Peejay Pets, we’ve been able to speak to our existing raw customers and discover what these are so that you can start raw feeding knowing what to expect.

Storage

This is by far one of the most important considerations of anyone wanting to feed a raw diet. If you don’t store your pet’s meat properly, it can cause them to become seriously ill.

Whilst one option is to make several small trips throughout the week to collect a couple of days’ food at a time, this can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Most people benefit from storing one to two week’s worth of raw and making the occasional top-up journey in-between.

To place this into context, if you have one moderately active dog fed at 2% of their body weight daily, then the average storage space you’ll require per week would be 1,750g raw for a 10kg jack russel or 5,250g raw for a 30kg labrador. If you’re planning to feed blocks of meat, can use this handy table to work out approximately how much room you’ll need to store your pet’s dinners here.

Defrosting

A raw diet can be really easy to prepare – as simple as taking it out of the freezer first thing in the morning before going to work, and last thing on the night. Many people when they first start out on a raw diet worry about what would happen if they forgot to take their meat out of the freezer. The answer to this is relatively simple – simply pop your raw food into a zip-lock bag or tupperware container and leave it in some warm water for a couple of hours (swapping the water over a couple of times to keep it a nice temperature).

But it is important to remember: you can never microwave or oven-cook your pet’s raw mince. Raw mince designed for consumption by dogs, cats, and ferrets contains bone (which is required for a nutritionally fulfilling diet) – which is soft when uncooked. When cooked in an oven or microwave, however, this bone solidifies and becomes sharp shards which risk becoming lodged in your pet’s digestive tract or oesophagus.

Waiting a couple of hours for your pet’s food to defrost when you forget to get it out of the freezer on the night/morning is okay for many people, but if you work a tight schedule then this may cause you some problems when it comes to managing time on an evening or in a morning before work. Therefore if you work uncertain hours, you may need to consider whether this would be the easiest diet to manage or not.

Food poisoning

Whilst your pet’s digestive system has stronger stomach acids which enable them to digest raw meat, there are not immune from food poisoning or salmonella. Making sure you handle their raw dinner properly is essential to ensuring their health.

The following should always be kept in mind…

  • Never feed your dog minces that have been defrosted for more than 24 hours;
  • Don’t defrost and then re-freeze raw meat;
  • Don’t give your dog meat that has developed a layer of fur or mould.

The majority of raw pet foods will also undergo a deep-freeze treatment to help kill harmful bacteria. Minces from the supermarket, however, do not (as we generally kill the bacteria by cooking it). This is one reason why feeding minces from supermarkets is not recommended (with the other reason being that they do not contain the required offal and bone components that dogs need as part of a healthy diet).

Nutritional imbalance

Another large concern is ensuring that your dog’s dinner is properly balanced – if it is not then you could make your dog very ill. Nutritional balances are particularly risky for puppies and younger dogs as their bodies are still developing – if they do not have enough of one element of their diet (like calcium, for instance), then this deficiency can have lifelong consequences.

You’ll already be aware of the 80:10:5:5 ratio of meat, bone, liver, and offal. Making sure you get the balance right is essential to ensuring the long-term health of your dog and ensuring they do not have difficulty going to the toilet. There are a couple of ways you can approach this…

  1. Daily balance: The first option you can consider is making sure that every single meal you feed your dog contains the right percentage of each component. This is a fairly easy way to ensure your dog’s overall health.
  2. Weekly balance: This option allows you to be a bit more adventurous by spreading their intake over the space of a week. This option tends to be easier if you are feeding raw treats (like knuckle bones, chicken wings, etc) alongside a complete mince. If you decide to feed a knuckle bone, for instance, you would reach an overall balance by feeding a meat-only mince.

Whilst either option is okay, you need to make sure you keep track of your pet’s overall intake. Feeding slightly more of one component won’t make much of a difference in the short term, but if you consistently fail to balance their diet then this can cause problems in the long-term. Take liver, for instance – whilst if you overfeed slightly every now and again it won’t make too much difference, but because of the really high levels of certain minerals overfeeding on a regular basis can lead to problems like Vitamin A Toxicicosis.

You should also remember that different meats contain micro and macro nutrients. To ensure a balanced diet for your pooch, you need to make sure that you are providing a variety of different proteins, and feeding oily fish at least once every ten days.

Affordability

There is no denying that raw meat can be expensive as a long-term option. Before you commence a raw diet, you need to consider how much you are willing to spend on your dog’s food on a weekly/monthly basis, and from there make the decision as to whether it is worthwhile.

Whilst a raw diet is an excellent choice, if you can’t afford to do it properly then you risk putting your animal in danger. Trying to reduce costs by opting for supermarket minces which do not contain the required bone and offal content increases the risk of your dog suffering health problems.

Fussy eaters

Raw diets are brilliant at enticing even the fussiest eaters to their dinner. Because of its stronger smell and meaty flavour, many fussy pets will be able to be coaxed into eating.

But this goes two ways – if your pet will instantly devour anything raw, but reject other types of food, then you need to bear in mind that this could cause problems later on if you decide that you cannot feed a raw diet anymore.

Holidays, kennels/catteries, and relatives

Another consideration you should make is what will happen if you decide to go on holiday. Regardless of whether you are taking your dog camping in the Lake District, or leaving them in kennels/catteries or with a relative when you take a trip to Spain, you need to consider how you will accommodate their raw diet. This is something lots of people worry about before putting their pet on a raw diet.

Most kennels/catteries (and, indeed, relatives) will be more than happy to accommodate your pet’s raw diet – especially since it is becoming an increasingly popular way of feeding animals. But there are those that don’t.

There are alternatives suitable for raw-fed pets, however. We often recommend owners turn to the Natures Menu Country Hunter range of pouches and tinned foods when an alternative to raw is needed. As this range is lightly steamed, it is one of the closest alternatives you’ll get you a raw diet whilst maintaining the convenience of pre-prepared complete meals.

Where do you go from here?

If you don’t think that you could feed a raw diet properly, and devote the required time and money to it, then there are plenty of very good dry and wet options available on the market which we would recommend you considering first. If you’re sitting on the fence, or would like to look at the other options available, then feel free to pop in store to speak to one of our trained members of staff.