Should You Trust Your Pet’s Food Label? Tuesday 19 September 2017 @ 10:39

Lost Dog

Guest Blog by Zara Lewis

If you have a pet in your home, we’re sure that your days are filled with joy and the incredible amount of happiness this little one provides on a daily basis. If that’s true, you should always give your best to keep your pet healthy in the first place, which largely depends on the food it’s eating. If you want to know how to read the label properly and pick the right food for your beloved pet, just stay with us and keep on reading!

What does a label tell you?

Even though everyone says ‘when in doubt, read the label’, the truth is that pet food labels can be a bit tricky to decipher – especially you’ve recently got a pet. These contain a huge amount of information you need to pay extra attention to. You should also know that the Australian Standard for manufacturing and marketing of pet food (AS 5812 – ‘The Standard’) is what you should rely on since it provides detailed guidelines for pet food labelling in Australia. The words ‘pet food only’ have to be on the packaging, as well as an illustration of the head or the whole body of the animal species it’s intended for. There should also be a nutrition information panel, a nutritional adequacy statement, ingredients list, directions for use, date labelling, general consumer information, product branding, the name and the address of the company responsible for the product, weights and measures, a badge of honour, and the barcoding information marked on the packaging.

How to read the pet food label properly?

Dry Dog FoodIf you want to ensure that your pet gets the right diet, you should definitely read the label carefully in order to identify the ingredients and decide whether they’re appropriate for your pet or not. Pet food names should be informative and accurate so that they describe the food and its flavour in the best possible way. The feeding guide is also here to help you out so that you can decide what’s most appropriate for your pet. However, you should bear in mind that each pet is different, with its individual characteristics like life stage, metabolism, and lifestyle in general. This means that it may require more or less food than recommended, due to those characteristics.

 

Know what your pet is eating

Dog ChewsThe quality of your pet’s food is essential for its health, so read the label attentively because the picture and words on the front don’t necessarily tell the whole story. You should know that whichever ingredient is listed first, it’s actually the main component of the food – so if you’re looking for meat-based food, make sure that it’s listed first. Also, you should look for specifically named meat, like ‘beef’, ‘lamb’, or ‘chicken’. If the ingredients are vaguely named, like ‘meat’ or ‘meat meal’, be sure to stay away from them. You should also skip animal derivatives and by-products in pet’s food. More and more people are turning to natural, additive-free food for their pets, which is always a good idea as it improves their health. Besides that, pet owners often switch to home-cooked meals or canned wet foods when their puppies or kittens start teething, but that’s actually a wrong approach. Many experts claim that dry pet food is still the best choice since their teeth will fall out much faster and therefore the whole process will be more stress-free for your pet. In my experience, dry dog food is the best option, simply because it speeds up the teething process. It helped my dog get over it in no time.

As you can see, there are many things you need to pay attention to when picking proper food for your pet. After all, only a healthy pet is a pet that will live a happy and long life, which is the only thing that counts, right?

 

Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Highstylife.com and a full-time animal lover. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members.

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Another part of your pet-finding toolbox: Lost Pet Facial Recognition Tuesday 12 September 2017 @ 13:23

Dog RunningSo your pet has gone missing. You’ve posted about it on Facebook, handed out flyers and sent out a Pet Alert through Lost Pet Finders. What else can you do to get some peace of mind while your furry friend is out exploring?

Well, you can check out our Top Ten Pet-Finding Tips, but you could also consider looking into lost pet facial recognition apps like PiP or Finding Rover to speed up your pet’s return. These are apps, available to Android and iPhone users, which use facial recognition technology to reunite families with their missing pets.

Are apps like this reliable?

Cat PawBecause your pet is an individual, they won’t be as perfectly predictable or “reliable” as a number or a string of code. This basically means that no app (or other pet-finding service - not even ours!) can be 100% guaranteed to reunite you with Mr Fluffy. That said, the facial recognition technologies used by these apps are bringing us that step closer to revolutionising the pet-reuniting process.

The process is fairly simple, and works something like an automated version of our own system. When Mr Fluffy is found, her finder uploads a photo to an app like PiP, which is then analysed and compared with photos of pets who are registered on the app as missing. If her owner has also uploaded a photo and added her unique identifying features to the app’s database, the system will recognise that the two photos match and inform the people involved.

How does it work?

Uploading a photo for use on these apps is fairly simple, and this photo is then scanned and remembered in case they ever go
missing again. Taking a photo with Finding Rover, for example, is done in three easy steps:

Dog MirrorOne: Take a forward-facing photo of your pet, filling the frame with its whole head. The Finding Rover app has its own camera, while others will allow you to upload pre-existing photos of your pet.

Two: Aid facial recognition by marking your pet’s eyes and nose in the photo. This is generally done using different symbols for the different features.

Three: Wait for the facial recognition app to scan your pet’s unique features and add them to its system. Simple!

There are loads of great methods out there for finding lost pets, but sadly none of them are 100% reliable. Tags and collars can easily fall off, and even microchips malfunction sometimes. We’re excited to see new methods emerging, especially ones with a community focus like our own. Whether or not you decide to try out these apps along with your Pet Alert, you can rest assured that there is a strong network of people out there, all of whom are working to reunite you with your missing friend.

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5 Mistakes Not to Make When Looking for Your Lost Pet Tuesday 12 September 2017 @ 13:03

Ginger CatWhen you’re looking for a beloved pet who’s gone missing, you’re not always going to be thinking straight. This is completely understandable - someone you care about has gone missing. You’re upset. You’re stressed. You’re going to make a few mistakes, and that’s okay. Today, we’re going to talk about 5 major mistakes that people sometimes make when searching for their missing pet. Hopefully, this will help you avoid making similar mistakes, so that you can spend more of your time searching for your pets effectively.

1. Unhelpful “Lost Pet” Posters

Of course, the hope is that you’ll never have to search for your pet with “Lost Dog” (or cat or bird) posters but if it does come to that, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid.

First of all, you want as many people to be able to see your poster as possible so that there are lots of people keeping an eye out. Avoid using small print on your poster so that people in moving vehicles can still read it. If someone needs to pull over, slow down or squint to see what you’ve written, they won’t read it. The vast majority of people aren’t going to go out of their way to read a poster.

Second, make sure people who see your poster can make out what your pet looks like. Small, poor quality photographs are better than nothing, but what you really want is a large, high-quality image to show people what they’re looking for. A large, eye-catching image has a better chance of staying in someone’s mind, whether they want it to or not.

Finally, don’t try and fit too much writing on the poster. Only include the essential information, so that the text that matters can be displayed in large, eye-catching type.

If you register with Lost Pet Finders, we design a printable lost pet flyer, which is available for free as soon as you register your pet.

Portrait of a Smiling Young Woman With Dog2. Don’t Put All of Your Faith in a Microchip

Microchips are a spectacular piece of technology, and easily the best tool we currently have when looking for a lost pet. But pet owners can fall into the trap of putting a little too much faith in them. It’s important that you know that microchips are not foolproof.

Microchips are not GPS trackers, and cannot tell you where your pet is. Most importantly of all, microchips will only help you if you register them, something a shocking amount of people forget to do.

This technology works using radio frequency identification technology, with each chip holding its own unique serial number. If a missing pet is brought into a pound or veterinarian’s office, it’ll be scanned for a microchip. If the microchip is registered, the vet will be able to match your details to the unique code and return your pet to you. If the chip isn’t registered, there’s nothing it can do for you.

Cat & Kittens 3. Don’t Wait Too Long

It’s pretty common for a lot of pets - especially cats - to go exploring every now and then. This can make it difficult for pet owners to know if their pet is missing, or if it’s just out on an adventure and knows to return in its own time.

If you’re uncertain whether you should start searching yet, your best bet is probably to get looking. It’s better to start searching early and find out you didn’t need to, than to find out too late that you should have began your search a long time ago.

Tricolor Short Coat Dog Running4. Don’t Just Call Them

You might have the most well-trained pet on this planet, but that still doesn’t mean they’ll definitely come when you call. Being lost can be a pretty traumatic event and just like humans, your pet is capable of suffering from shock. It’s common for pet owners to rely on their pet’s ability to recognise their owner’s voice and their name, but this is often a waste of time.

A lot of humans have very similar voices, especially when heard from a distance. Our smells, however, are far more unique to us!

Jordy5. Don’t Fall for Lost Pet Scams

We love our pets, and that’s a wonderful thing. But sadly, some people might use this fact as a way of making an easy buck.

If you’re offering a reward for your missing pet and someone claims to have found them, try to find a way of verifying this person definitely has your pet before moving forward with them. Does your pet have any unique features which aren’t visible on your poster? Can you ask the person to provide a photograph of your pet?

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to be wary of anyone who expects to receive their reward money before returning your pet.

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Pet of the Month: Jordy! Tuesday 29 August 2017 @ 09:40

The main topics we’ve covered over the past few months have been caring for shy cats, long-haired cats and rescue pets with abusive previous owners. We chose to discuss these issues in honour of our sponsored pets, Misty, Russia and Lucy.

Lucy, Misty and Russia were three pets we had the good fortune to sponsor through Hunter Animal Rescue, an amazing non-profit whose goal is to place pets - who have been abandoned and are facing euthanasia - in their forever homes. All of the pets rescued by this not-for-profit organisation are given foster homes where they are looked after until they find their new families, so nobody ends up in the pound. This means they get all the cuddles and love they could possibly want, even before they find their new homes.

This month, we’re continuing our new sponsorship tradition and sponsoring Jordy.

JordyMeet Jordy

Animal Number: 17002
Sex: Male (desexed)
DOB: 25/2/13
Size: Medium 25.5kg

Jordy is a loving, fun and super-active young Vizsla X (Kelpie/Bully) who loves a hug and a big sloppy kiss every now and then. His favourite pastimes include running, fetching and talking long walks on the beach, but he’s happy to take part in any sort of game (even frisbee). Jordy isn’t that high-maintenance in terms of attention - he loves snuggling with his humans in warm or comfy places but is still relaxed and happy enough in his own company.

Portrait of a Smiling Young Woman With DogRight now, he lives in a foster home with a human who works during the day, so he’s getting very used to entertaining himself. Unlike many other excitable pups, Jordy isn’t interested in digging up the garden or chewing things, so he can be trusted to behave while you’re out and about. In his current foster home, he has free reign both inside and outside the house, and his favourite thing to do is snuggling up on the lounge when it’s time to go to bed.

Jordy is both crate- and toilet-trained and is just a very polite gentleman in general. He’s really good at travelling in cars and loves to go on adventures with his family. He has a meat allergy which means he needs to eat special grain-free fish bickies, but he likes these a lot and sits very patiently when he knows he’s about to have some for supper. He even knows how to sit, stay and drop, so he’s a pretty keen learner!

Tricolor Short Coat Dog RunningIdeally, Jordy would love to play a big role in a really active household. He doesn’t really mind if he lives with a big family, a couple or just one person, so long as he’s able to hang out with them indoors and go on outdoor adventures with them. With Jordy, you just need to put on your shoes and grab the keys and lead and he’s ready to go anywhere you’re going.

Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating because he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want! He’s even suitable for kids and loves to play with children with proper supervision. He does get very excited, though, so it’s possible he could accidentally knock a small child over if they’re not properly supervised.

Person Giving High Five to Grey CatJordy has lived as part of a big group of dogs and got on with them just fine, but he’d definitely prefer to live in a one-dog household. A polite boy like him can find other dogs a little annoying at times, especially if they’re impolite and pushy! He gets on alright with cats too and currently lives with three feline companions. He tends to find the cats interesting more than anything else, and generally only chases them if they’re already running around.

If your cats are happy to hang out with a dog without getting spooked and are generally laid back in nature, Jordy is ready to become firm friends with them. He gets on well with the three he lives with right now, who are constantly stealing his toys, teasing him and rolling around on his beds. He’s annoyed them once or twice and received the odd slap as a result, but they usually get along pretty well!

If you’re interested in getting to know Jordy a little better, head on over to his page on HAR’s website!

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

AliAli
“Great advice and tips during a stressful time for the family.
Distant neighbour found and returned our boy. We live in an amazing caring community.”

SoxSox
“Thank you all so much for your caring and supporting our search for our lost girl.
Sox was found a group of dog lovers on Monash Fwy today and they all got together to reunite us. One lady rang me to get my address, 2 men got her into the back of a car and the lovely owner of that car brought her home. We are so thankful to these people has she had travelled approx 14kms since Wednesday afternoon up Eastlink and the Monash and managed not to get hit by a car.”

ChifleyChifley
“Many thanks for your fantastic service.....a happy ending.
We knew a paid alert was the best way of maximising the prospects of his return. The Pet Network support was awesome. The immediate responses were very encouraging. Chifley was recognised by a Good Samaritan as a result of the LPF alert and returned to us.
Simply put, if you want your lost pet back, have LPF get an alert out to its membership that is on watch and vigilant.”

Dusty


Dusty
“Thanks for all the information provided and a dedicated member call I found dusty save and sound within 24hrs”


ArchieArchie
“Dog found in 2 days after a dedicated member responded to an alert after seeing my dog running the streets. There are good people in the world! So thankful to the member and Lost Pet Finders for enabling it all to happen.”

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Why You Should Consider Getting Pet Insurance Tuesday 18 July 2017 @ 15:12

Introducing a pet into your family can be one of the most joyful events in your lifetime. 66% of families originally acquired pets as companions but once acquired, 64% of families considered pets to be an integral part of the family.i

Pets are also being part of families longer as their lifespan has greatly improved over the past 25 years. The average lifespan for dogs increased by 1.5 times to 11.9 years and cats by 2.5 times to 13.1 years. The increased lifespan has been a contribution of pet owners providing greater care to their furry friend, improvement in food quality, medical treatment, vaccinations and many pets being kept indoors.ii

In 2016, Australians spend close to $2.4 billion per annum of veterinary services, however, only 19% of pet dogs and 9% of pet cats have insurance cover. When you consider 1 in 3 pets require urgent veterinary attention each year and the cost of a common claim such as fractures from a fall or a snake bite from running around the garden can cost on average $2,000 each.iii Veterinary bills can add up and sometimes cause families into financial distress.

As such, pet owners should consider taking up pet insurance where the monthly outlay can range from little as $15 for basic cover up to $150 for a comprehensive plan. In Australia, there are more than 18 pet insurers offering similar products so it’s important to spend time researching which policy suits your pet.

During the research phase, reading pet insurance reviews could improve your understanding of the different types of insurers/policies available and feedback from existing policy holders. All of which will allow you to make an inform decision on which insurer is suitable.

An example of relevant insurance reviews could be, Woolworths Pet Insurance Reviews, where you can easily compare the different level of coverage from Woolworths. In addition, you can see the benefits and downsides of each plan saving yourself time. If the price and coverage meet your expectations, then you will need to read the product disclosure statements carefully for specific inclusions and exclusion on the policy. For example, Woolworths do not offer coverage for working dogs whereas the Guild Dogs of Australia do.

Other inclusions that might be important to you could be coverage for finding your lost pet. PetPlan Pet Insurance offers coverage of up to $2,000 in advertising & reward if your pet gets lost. Adverting your pet in local papers and providing a reward would enhance the chances of your pet being found or returned. In the worse scenario, if your loyal companion could not be found, PetPlan also provides up to $2,000 back.

Choosing the right pet insurance can be a difficult task, however, if you have spent the time researching and also asking the pet insurer questions you are unsure about before signing up, could prove to be one of the best financial decisions you have made. Finally, it also provides your pet with the best possible care they deserve and limiting the financial impact it could have for your family.

i http://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AMA_Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2016-Report_sml.pdf

ii https://www.banfield.com/state-of-pet-health

iii https://www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au/dog-insurance

Blog provided by petplans.com.au

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