Category Archives: Information

Guest Blog – Keeping Parrots safe at Christmas Time

Christmas Trees and Parrots

 This time of year, nothing beats sitting in your cosy living room, sipping a hot drink by the twinkling lights of your meticulously decorated Christmas tree.
If you are the proud owner of a pet bird, however, there is more to consider when choosing a tree than the colour scheme.
The welfare and health of your bird or birds is naturally your top priority, and so researching which options are safe for your beloved pet is paramount. We’ve turned to ExoticDirect for further information.
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Real Christmas trees
Not all real trees are poisonous to birds, although some have been known to cause problems for certain species of parrots. Pine is considered a safe tree for birds, but do be mindful of any sap produced by the tree, as this can stick to your bird’s feathers.
Additionally, pine has been listed as potentially harmful in some articles, but those mainly relate to wood shavings and so not relevant to bird keeping.
Further, even if the tree itself is not harmful to your bird, many Christmas tree farmers use fertilisers in the water used to sustain their trees and the trees are often sprayed with chemicals.
Your bird is likely to want to perch on the tree, and may nibble on the pine needles while doing so. This is potentially dangerous, as pine needles are naturally prickly and can cause injury when ingested.
So, unless you plan to trek into the wilderness to chop down your own tree (good luck with that!), it is probably best to have an artificial tree, just to be on the safe side.
Artificial Christmas tree
Generally speaking, artificial trees are not harmful to pet birds, including parrots. However, bear in mind that your bird may still try to nibble on the branches of the tree, especially if it is very realistic looking.
As mentioned before, pine needles, whether real or fake, are prickly and can cause injury when ingested, so be mindful of this.
Christmas tree decorations
If your tree has been sprayed with fake snow, glitter, or any other decorative element, this can be poisonous to your bird.
Christmas lights and decorations can break and become hazardous due to sharp edges (and exposed electricity in the case of fairy lights).
Cheaper decorations may contain heavy metals, which can also be toxic; and curious birds may peck on tinsel or ribbon, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
All in all, if possible, it is best to try and keep your pet bird away from your tree altogether, for the welfare of both bird and tree!
Other Christmas plants
It is important to remember that Christmas trees – both real and artificial – are not the only potential danger to your pet bird in your home.
Many plants traditionally used as part of the Christmas presentation, such as Ivy, Holly and Poinsettia can be poisonous to pet birds, as well as popular decorative flowers like Chrysanthemum and Yew.
Lastly, and some of you may find this one particularly disappointing, Mistletoe can also be toxic to some birds, so un-pucker your lips and take it off the door frame! (Or at least hang it somewhere where your pet bird cannot reach it).
A few more things to consider 
The festive season is a happy time for most humans. However, while you enjoy having friends and family over for some delicious food and a glass (or ten) of mulled wine, having to share its space with a stream of strangers can be very stressful for your pet bird. This is particularly true if any of your guests bring their own pets with them (especially the furry kind!). Do consider removing your bird to a spare room away from the party to save its nerves, and your guests from getting splashed with the possible outcome of said nerves!
Birds have a particularly efficient respiratory tract. While this is beneficial in many ways, it also means they inhale more of whatever the air in your home contains. Scented candles, potpourri and air fresheners may all make your home smell lovely for your guests, but can be very harmful to your pet bird. Cigarette smoke and fumes from cooking can also be poisonous, so make sure your bird is not exposed to them.
Even if you give Nigella Lawson a run for her money in the cooking department, most human foods (particularly those containing caffeine, alcohol and chocolate), are harmful to birds. So refrain from sharing your Christmas dinner with your pet bird, and definitely keep it away from that tin of Quality Street and the glass of sherry!
Ultimately, however careful you are, accidents can happen – even the most responsible bird owners occasionally require the services of a vet. The best way to help avoid being faced with high vet fees is to get pet insurance for your bird, before they become ill or injured.
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Here at Not Just Pets we endorse responsible pet ownership and advise all our customers on the best possible set ups and we sell all the products listed in the article. This guest blog regarding keeping parrots safe at Christmas time fits with the Not Just Pet ethos of they’re not just pets, they’re family!

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon; remember we are open in our Bath store 7 days a week!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at bathpets@aol.com or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!

Guest Post – Christmas is a time for giving – but is it a time for giving pets?

Christmas is a time for giving – but is it a time for giving pets?

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Christmas is a great time for buying the people you love something they’ll love. 

And often pets can top the list of the most ‘wanted pressie.  However, although your chosen pet may be super appealing at the time, you need to make sure that after Christmas the glamour doesn’t wear off.

Sadly, the number of exotic pets being dumped is on the increase and the RSPCA have recently seen a significant increase in the number of exotics they’ve had to rescue. 

So what are the kind of things you should consider before you make that purchase? ExoticDirect explain what you need to think about. 

Housing

1. What kind of housing will your pet need?  If it’s a lizard you may well need a heat lamp, a UV lamp, a thermometer, hide and suitable substrate. The vivarium will also need to be big enough to accommodate your growing pet.   You’ll also need to ensure there is a temperature gradient within the vivarium, to replicate the lizard’s natural environment.

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2. If you’re purchasing a tortoise, you’ll need to provide lighting and heating, UV lighting, a thermometer and suitable substrate.  You’ll also need to buy a tortoise table, or a vivarium. It’s essential that you provide the correct husbandry for your lizard or tortoise otherwise it could lead to significant health problems.  

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3. A bird will need a suitable sized cage, plenty of toys and suitable food.  Your home itself should be safe and secure, so that when your parrot is out of his cage, he can’t injure himself or escape outside.

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4. Small mammals will require a suitable sized cage, a ‘run’ and suitable food. 

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Food

1. Lizards: These pets love their live food! Are you prepared to pick out locusts and meal worms for your lizardIf not, these pets might not be quite right for you! 

You should ensure you know where you can buy good quality food from.  Poor quality live food can lead to such issues as parasites – where the parasite lives inside the live food, and is then transferred to your lizard when eaten.  You should also ensure your provide plenty of calcium in your lizards diet to prevent metabolic bone disease. 

2. Parrots also have specific food requirements.  You can offer fresh food and pellets; fresh food with a seed based diet or an alternation of both with fresh food added daily. 

3. Tortoises often eat herbage. A mixed weed diet is best for a Mediterranean tortoise, avoiding harmful weeds such as buttercups.  Dandelions are particularly good for tortoises. You can also feed your tortoise vegetables. Like with lizards, you should provide plenty of calcium in your tortoises diet to prevent metabolic bone disease. 

4. Small Mammals:  If you’re purchasing a Guinea Pig or Rabbit you’ll need to provide plenty of hay and/or grass. This is because their teeth continually grow, and chewing hay helps to grind down their teeth.  Dental issues are extremely common in Guinea Pigs and Rabbits, and can lead to a lot of pain for them, and a huge vet bill for you.  Hay also helps to maintain a heathy digestion.  

Guinea Pigs also need lots of vitamin C in their diet. This is because like us, their bodies don’t naturally produce it – they can only get it from their diet. Without lots of vitamin C, they can develop Scurvy – which isn’t nice!

Vet fees

1. With the best care in the world, exotic pets can and do get ill.  Vet fees can often quickly escalate. Especially if youpet is referred from a normal ‘cat and dog’ treating vet, to an exotic vet.

2. You should consider getting insurance in order to cover unexpected vet bills.  

House proofing

Does your house need to be house proofed?  And where will you keep the enclosure?  

Vivarium’s can be large, and you may need to move a room around in order to accommodate it.

Parrots have very specific environment requirements.  They have a very sensitive respiratory system, and common household scents can be toxic for birds.  The fumes from burnt Teflon (found on non stick cooking equipment) can be fatal.  Additionally, you need to ensure that there are no items in the house that can cause your parrot to get injured or choke.  Finally, you need to ensure safety – windows and door should be kept closed if your parrot is out of his cage.  

Going on holiday?

You’ll need to think about who’ll care for your pet if you go away.  Will your neighbour or friend be happy to care your lizard, giving him live food regularly?  

Will your parrot be happy with you going away? Parrots are very intelligent and emotional birds, and become very attached to their owners.  If you’re going away on holiday, its likely that your parrot could become very distressed in your absence.  This could lead to significant health issues – such as feather plucking.

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Will your friends and family be scared of your pet?

Not so much of an issue if you’re opting for a cute rabbit or guinea pig. But if you’re choosing a parrot or a lizard, visitors could become nervous.  A rogue parrot flying around thehouse can be scary.  And lizards, although adorable and fascinating, could make some people nervous if not kept in their vivarium.  

All pets love a bit of love, time and attention.  

1. Lizards: If you already own one of these, you’ll know how much time they can take up.  If its not showing them affection, its ensuring their housing is at the right temperature, their food requirements are met, and that they are clean, and free from any sign of illness.

2. Parrots:  These are probably one of the most demanding pets emotionally.  African Grey’s for example can have the mental age of a 5 year old child.  Parrots can get bored, distressed, excited, and attach to their owner.  They are often a full time job in themselves, as they require a lot of stimulation.  

3. Small mammals:  In the case of rabbits a hutch is just not a large enough space for the pet to roam. You should ensure that your rabbit is let out of his cage for a large part of his day – a ‘run is a great place for this.  Before you buy your rabbit, think about how you’re going to provide him with enough exercise. 

Finally, once you’ve done all your research, you’ll be armed with the right information to provide your new pet with a loving home. 

Fact: Did you know that nearly 55% of exotic pet owners were surprised at the level of care required for their pet? (Based on a study conducted by ExoticDirect in their 2014 “Fur Free Doesn’t Mean Care Free” report).  You can download the article here:  https://www.exoticdirect.co.uk/news/fur-free-doesnt-mean-carefree-report

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Here at Not Just Pets we endorse responsible pet ownership and advise all our customers on the best possible set ups and we sell all the products listed in the article. This guest blog regarding responsible pet ownership of exotic pets fits with the Not Just Pet ethos of being they’re not just pets, they’re family!

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon; remember we are open in our Bath store 7 days a week!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at bathpets@aol.com or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!

 

Christmas Gift Guide For Pets and their Owners

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With just a few days over 5 weeks to go until the big day we are feeling festive and getting into the Christmas spirit at Not Just Pets. We are stocked to the brim with festive treats and toys.

If you need some inspiration for buying gifts for pets and their owners then you have come to the right place. We have a fabulous range of gifts, stockings, outfits and accessories this year so everyone can join in the festive fun no matter what their species!

Dogs, cats and small animals can join you in the festive countdown with these fabulous advent calendars. Each day they can have a small treat that is made especially for them. Make sure you are ready for the first of December.

Reward your pet on Christmas morning with a stocking! We have a fantastic range of stockings for cats, dogs and small animals, containing treats and toys that will help them join in the festive fun.

christmas stockings

Christmas dinner time! Has your dog tried the Lily’s Kitchen 3 Bird Feast for Christmas Dinner? We have Lily’s trays for cats too. We also have the beautifully presented Christmas treats for cats and dogs that would make a lovely gift. The dog treats are in a red post box with a snowy Christmas scene and the cat treats are in a festive cracker shape with some carol singing cats.

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We have a lovely range of outfits and accessories to help your pet look the part this festive season. With the best range of Christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers, Santa hats and elf costumes your pets will be the best dressed this Christmas.

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luna christmas jumper

We hope this gift guide has given you some ideas and inspiration. Remember that if you do not know what to get we also sell gift vouchers that can be used in our stores on any products. Do you follow us on Facebook or Twitter? Look out for Christmas related promotions and competitions and join in with the festive fun.

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at bathpets@aol.com or telephone us on 01373 462068. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!