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Animal Care and Welfare

Guinea Pigs are companionable pets but they need a lot more care than most people realise. ​Handling carefully from babies is important for them to be used to humans and even then some will still be shy of such. They should be kept in pairs due to their sociable nature and whilst keeping them with other animals has always been thought of as good they should not be kept with rabbits. They should be kept in their enclosure to prevent them escaping or indoors getting out and chewing wires etc. They are after all a member of the rodent families.
The site below has lots of information about guinea pigs and their care.

Just Ask Guineapiggles

When we think of Rabbits we see cute fluffy creatures but they are one of the most abused and neglected creatures. Why is that? Simply due to owners not fully understanding a rabbits needs. 
Remember a hutch is not enough.

The site below  has lots of information about the care and welfare of rabbits and can help with queries about their care.

The Rabbit Welfare Association

Rodents as pets!  Yes both Rats and Mice make good pets and are very sociable creatures. Ideally you keep them as pairs and same sex! Breeding will be overwhelming if not. There aren't any specific websites that deal with both mice and rats and so I refer you to The National Rat Society from which you can get some information and from there find other places with useful information. 
For mice go to​ the site below where they have straight forward advice on what you need for your mice and how to care for them.

The National Rat Society The Blue Cross (for mice)

Reptiles are not cold creatures but warm blooded. Reptiles includes Tortoise, Snakes and Lizards.
Most are not indigenous to the UK. Thus you need to  understand climate and environment of the country of origin to help in their proper care and welfare. The site below has a lot of easy to follow and  well laid out information on reptiles. Do take time to read up you'll save yourself a lot of heartache and misconceptions about keeping a reptile as a pet.

Evolution Reptiles

Bats are protected because they are at risk and it is illegal to handle a bat unless it is to help an injured one. There are 1400 species of bats worldwide. They account for 25% of mammals in the UK. 
The Bat Conservation Trust (link below) has lots of information about bats and you can find all you need to know on their site. 
If you want to help bats thrive consider putting up a bat box. It can go on house walls, trees and barns. If you find bats in your loft or barn you must not destroy it or move it. It is an offence to do so.
 
Contact the trust above for information about what to do especially if you are planning building work. 

The Bat Conservation Trust

Hedgehogs are such wonderful creatures. Often misunderstood! The page below provides lots of fabulous advice and ideas for you to help them with a feeding station and housing for winter time to encourage this rather than the large bonfire pile you might be accruing.
There are more details on their site in the link below. If you find an injured hedgehog please take it to the vets. If it is concerning you bit doesnt appear injured use gardening gloves to collect it up, bring it indoors and put it in a high sided box with an old towel or fleece in the bottom for the hedgehog to hide under. Fill a hot water bottle so that when it is wrapped in a towel there is a nice gentle heat coming through and put that in the bottom of the box with the hedgehog, ensuring it has room to get off the bottle should it get too warm.  Don't let the bottle go cold. Put the box somewhere quiet. Then call me.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Seabirds need our help too!

"The UK is home to roughly 8 million breeding seabirds, almost 50% of the seabirds which occur in the EU. 

Twenty-five species breed here, 13 of which breed in internationally important numbers including 90% of the world’s Manx shearwater, 68% of the global Northern gannet population and 60% of the world’s great skua.

Many of our most important seabird breeding colonies are on islands that are naturally free of mammalian predators such as rats, stoats and mink. Seabirds are one of the fastest declining and most threatened group of birds globally, and predation of their eggs and young by invasive, non-native mammalian predators is one of the leading causes of this decline. 
Over the last few centuries, many seabird colonies in the UK have also suffered from falls in population or been lost completely in this way."

extract from Wildlife and Countryside Link

Top Tips to keep you dog safe

  • carry water for you and your dog
  • Always keep your dog in sight - so you know what its doing, chewing, drinking.
    Don't let them drink water from puddles that doesnt look clean. A blue/green paint-like scum of algae floating on the water can be irritating or even fatal.
  • Seek veterinary advice early if your dog show signs of being unwell during or after your visit.
  • Dos love sticks BUT don't throw them, sticks cause injury. Always use an approved toy for dogs.
  • take time to rest and seek shade in warmer weather and careful not to exert you dog or puppy, several miles into a forest is  long long way for older dogs and puppies to walk back
  • avoid a potetial fatal 'bloat' or stomach torsion by not exercising your dog for at least an hour after meals or drinking lots of water.
  • check your dogs skin for pea-sized ticks every day. Remove them immediately with a tick hook. Do NOT squeeze or pull them off or try to burn off or use vaseline. Ask your vet for approved produicts to keep your dog safe. Don't forget Lyme's Disease affects humans and is contracted from ticks.  Arran has a prevalence of ticks due to its stock of sheep and deer.