The golden rules of gold fish care

There is more to fish care than just water and food. See how to master it properly here.

The golden rules of gold fish care

Gold fish make great pets – they are carefree and generally easy to maintain. They don’t talk back and all they really expect is some food and pet care in return. Life is not much easier than that of a gold fish.

As one of the first domesticated aquarium fish, these guys are now more common in pet shops than a pie is to a smoko truck.

People often underestimate the attention needed for their proper care, which is generally pretty easy if you get the fundamentals right.

Tank size

Aside from a common misconception these fish are not happy kept in small bowls. The surface area is restricted by the curved glass resulting in less oxygen for the fish and nowhere to house a filter.

Gold fish

An 80-litre fish tank is the ideal size for a single fish. Increase the tank size by 35 litres for every additional fish.

Gold fish grow to impressive sizes and produce a lot of waste material. A tank with the appropriate quantity of water will ensure they flourish and remain healthy.

Filtration

Fish produce both mechanical and biological waste from their intake of food and the fossicking around in their tank. You need to have a good quality filter to maintain their water quality. A submersible or cannister filter designed for the tank size are both suitable for gold fish tanks. Clean the filter at least once a month to maintain its working condition.

Water maintenance

Regular water changes are required for every fish tank. For gold fish it is recommended to do a 25% water change every week. These changes get rid of waste materials, ammonia, nitrates, phosphorous, and provides regular fresh, nutrient-rich water.

Items to include in the fish tank

Gold fish tanks should include a substrate like fish tank gravel on the bottom. Include rocks, drift wood or somewhere for your fish friends to take shelter and rest.

Your fish tank must have a lid and a fish tank light. A heater is not a necessity for gold fish although will help to keep your fish comfortable in the cooler weather.

If you include live plants in the tank choose a hearty option like Java Fern as gold fish are hard on live plants.

Gold fish food

It is important to provide your gold fish with a proper diet of fish food. They will eat both animal and vegetable matter and spend most of their day in search of a snack. You can buy specialised gold fish food from the pet shops.

Feed your fish twice a day but do not overfeed them. Brine shrimp is also a favoured treat for gold fish.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your fish as much food as they will consume in 2 minutes.

If provided with the right pet care, gold fish are a hearty, colourful and interactive pet for family members of all ages. They can live to see 20 years and will become a cherished member of your household.

Have a house with pets? Hire an Airtasker for quality pet sitting next time you go away.

How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture

If your furniture looks like it is owned by Edward Scissorhands, here is how to stop kitty making it worse.

How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture

Although it is a natural behavioural instinct for a cat, scratching furniture is not appropriate. Scratching can become destructive and cost a lot in furniture repairs or replacements. Thankfully it is easily managed without the need for an around-the-clock cat sitter.

Your household pet knows nothing other than what comes natural, and that bringing mice to the front door causes plenty of attention. When they feel the urge, they will scratch.

It is important to have a proper understanding of their behaviour in order to harmonise with your cat.

Why do cats scratch?

Cats scratch for various behavioural reasons but here are some of the most common.

Marking their territory

Cats are territorial animals and they scratch to indicate to others that the residence is indeed cat-occupied. Cats are known to scratch surroundings like gardens and exteriors of new homes. They will amp up their scratching tactics when a new family member is introduced, whatever the breed that be.

Claw relief

Just like humans need nail pampering, cats also get the urge to file their nails. When their nails are getting too long they will scratch a surface to tidy them up. The bonus is at least most of the time they take care of their own nail care.

Stress relief

When we feel a little stressed we often soak in bubbles, go for a run, or get a good massage. When a cat feels on edge they poke out their nails and get themselves some scratch therapy. Cats will scratch when they are tense, perhaps after a run in with a dog or a neighbourhood cat. Scratching helps them get their frustrations out and wind down. It also helps them to exercise and feel good.

How to stop a cat scratching furniture

Now we get why they scratch, the following will get your cat focused on scratching where they should be.

Get a scratching post

Scratching posts are available at pretty much all pet shops. Most of the major retailers who stock pet care will also stock scratching posts.

Scratching posts come in a range of sizes and textures, the most popular of those being carpet and rope. The post you select needs to be tall enough to allow your cat to stretch up and sturdy enough to take your cat’s weight.

cat scratching pole

Place the scratching post near the area that your cat has targeted already. If your furniture or goods have not fallen victim to scratching yet, put it in a convenient area for your cat. Near the front door or their favourite sleeping spot are usually effective places.

Remember that cats are territorial. You should have at least one scratching post for every cat you own.

Exercise and playtime

Exercise your cat by offering plenty of play time with them. This will help to ease any tension they are feeling instead of targeting your furniture.

Redirect their behaviour

If you witness kitty cat undertaking some sneaky scratching where they should not be, encourage them to move. Use a toy or call them away from what they are working their claw magic on. Yelling at or smacking your cat in action will only give them reason to run away and avoid you.

If you need to redirect scratching behaviour from furniture, cover the item with a blanket or sheet until kitty’s focus moves away from that item.

 

Just like we love some good stress therapy from time to time, cats love a good scratch. Do away with unnecessary furniture repairs by offering the appropriate tools and encouragement they need.

Need a pet lover for some cat sitting anytime soon? Find the perfect sitter for your cat on Airtasker.

Top interactive dog toys for bored dogs

Furry friends get bored too. Interactive toys will keep them from destroying your possessions when you are not home.

Top interactive dog toys for bored dogs

One of the biggest complaints from new pet owners is the destructive behaviour of their pet while they are home alone.
Garden beds and clothes on the line are target number one for bored dogs. Regardless of how much dog walking and attention offered when you are around, bored dogs will play up without any dog sitting.

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety which makes the matter worse when they have nothing to do. Chewing, digging, leaving ones and twos in places they shouldn’t, howling and concocting escape plans better than Houdini himself. This can all come about from an anxious or bored furry buddy.

Bored dog without toys

Doggy behaviour does not need to be destructive. Just give your furry friend interactive toys to cut the waiting time and turn naughty puppy into a star student.

Dogs need plenty of physical and mental stimulation. Exercising your dog’s mind will enrich his life with less stress and opportunity to do what dogs love to do – play, sleep and eat!

Read on for our list of interactive toys that will keep pooch happy.

KONG

The KONG is one of the most successful and original interactive doggy toys. KONG founder, Joe Markham, invented the toy when his trained pooch acquired a dangerous liking for chewing rocks and sticks. While fixing a motor, Joe tried to lure his dog from the rocks by tossing out car parts. The dog took to a rubber suspension part, Joe had a brain wave, and the rest is history.Interactive KONG toy

KONGs are made of durable, soft rubber material which is satisfying for a dog to chew.

How a KONG works

As well as using as a toss and play toy, KONGs can be filled with all sorts of treats for your dog to work out gradually. From mashed pumpkin, chicken and peas, to pieces of kibble, cheese and vegemite. KONGs can keep your buddy entertained for hours as he licks and nibbles at the KONG to release the food inside.

KONGs bounce in all directions when thrown and are great to leave out to keep dogs engaged.

Food puzzle toys

There are many different food puzzle toys on the market for dogs. Offer your dog his meals in a puzzle toy or stuff them with cream cheese, avocado or whatever takes your dog’s culinary fancy. These toys encourage licking and chewing which are renowned to have calming behavioural effects on dogs that are left alone.

Hanging interactive toy

If your dog gets bored easy, an interactive hanging toy would be great for them. Hanging toys, like the one we found online here, include a rattle ball on a bungee-style rope and a durable loop on the end.

How to use a hanging toy

Hang the interactive toy on a sturdy base like a fence, tree branch or pergola. The strap will spring back as your dog plays tug of war with the bungee rope.

Put some kibble into the ball to get released as the ball rattles around. That is hours of fun for your dog right there.

Tips for relieving doggy boredom

Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to playtime with your furry friend. Taking your dog walking in the morning before you leave for work will help them relax and rest for longer when you are away.

Are you going away on holidays sometime soon? Just hire an Airtasker to so some dog sitting with your furry bestie!

How to fox proof your chicken coop

Here is all you need to know for protecting your feathered friends against one of their oldest enemies.

How to fox proof your chicken coop

It has been an age-old battle – the fox versus the hen. And when you own a chicken coop this battle becomes real.

There is no secret that foxes love the taste of a chicken. Old geezer or fresh out of the nest, no chicken is safe unless you take the appropriate pet care precautions for your brood.

When did foxes first meet Australian hens?

It was back in Victoria in 1855 when the European red fox was introduced to Australian soil. Foxes back then were part of an acclimatisation program for recreational hunting. Fast forward to the tweens, foxes are now the third largest carnivorous mammal on the mainland.

Chicken, other breeds of poultry, lambs, small mammals and reptiles are all culinary favourites for foxes who are now considered pests.

Foxes are experts at climbing, digging and sniffing out a chicken a mile away. Here are the handyman secrets for building an area that will keep your chickens safe from their cunning arch enemies.

Why is it a good idea to build a fox-proof chicken pen?

Custom made chicken coops are great if you are not so keen on supplying a fresh meal for a fox every night. Secure chicken coops are considered one of the easiest to master and most humane ways of controlling foxes.

Features of a fox-proof chicken pen

Effective fox-proof chicken coops need to include some important design features:

  1. A fully-enclosed chicken house with a fox-proof door, roof and floor netting.
  2. Foxes can climb and scale fences with ease, even if they are electrified. A secure chicken coop needs to be gap-free, including around the base, roof and door area.
  3. A curved overhang should be included to prevent foxes from jumping and scaling the fence.
  4. Bury wire netting a minimum of 450mm below ground level to prevent foxes from digging under the fence.
  5. Include an apron of netting at the base of the fence angled outwards for 500mm. This will also discourage foxes from digging under.
  6. Place a 600mm strip of metal sheeting or shade cloth material around the bottom of the fence on the inside. This will harbour the ability for foxes and other predators to see what is inside the pen.
    10mm bird or mouse wire is the most effective wire to use.

Other humane methods of controlling foxes

  • Add sensor lights to the exterior of your chicken coop. The bright sensor light will scare away foxes and other predators when activated.
  • Listen for cues from your family dog, they are generally good at knowing when there is a fox about.
  • Do not leave your chickens roaming free at night time. This is too much of a temptation and easy target for foxes who will thank you for the free meal.
If you are encountering ongoing problems with foxes on your property, contact your local council.

With some appropriate pet care for your chickens, foxes will become just a problem of the past.

Not so handy on the tools? Just hire an Airtasker handyman to fox proof your chicken coop. They will have it done in no time at all.

How to toilet train a puppy

All you need to know for toilet training the new fury addition to your household

How to toilet train a puppy

Taken the leap and got yourself a new puppy? Congratulations! Your shoes will never be safe again, your dryer is not the only thing that will eat your socks, and your garden will gain more holes than a pin cushion.

Now it is time to get ready for your next step – puppy toilet training.

When you bring home a new furry bundle of joy, toilet training is usually the last thing on your mind. Caught up in those butter couldn’t melt in their mouth eyes, cute puppy tummies and puppy playtime, it is easy to leave the discipline for another day.

A puppy can make even the toughest of toughest melt. But, it is important to instil some rules from the get-go. You don’t have to be a professional dog trainer to master these easy-to-follow tips.

When to start toilet training your puppy

Toilet training should start the moment your puppy arrives home. This shows them what to expect and inhibits bad habits forming from the onset. Puppies urinate frequently so for ultimate success give your puppy the opportunity to relieve himself every two hours.

Smaller breeds of dogs have smaller bladders and therefore need to go more often.

How to toilet train your puppy

Command toilet training

Take your puppy outside directly after they have napped, had something to eat, drink, or after a play. Go to the same area each time and voice a command like okay go now so they learn it is time to relieve themselves. Praise them when they go but do not react when they fail to do so. Once they are done bring them back inside. This time should be kept strictly for toilet pees and poos and nothing else.

Paper toilet trainingPuppy toilet training

Newspaper or wee pads are useful for toilet training small breeds of dogs. Introduce your puppy to the pad after food or some drink to encourage them to use it. A lot of praise is needed when they are successful at using the paper or pad, but it is important to ignore them if they fail. If you see an accident about to occur on the floor, be stern with no and direct them over to the wee pad to finish their business.

As time progresses move the paper closer to the door then outside.

Taking a soiled piece of paper outside will also encourage puppy to go there as they can recognise their own scent.

Night time toilet training

When your puppy is in the midst of toilet training you should try to set some timeframes during the night to wake up for training. This will need to be kept up until you are confident they can hold on till morning.

Puppies will generally get the idea pretty quick and will do everything they can to alert you through the night when they need to go (like singing you a puppy song…).

Two to three relief periods during the night is a good starter until puppy is trained.

Tell-tale signs

Some signs that will help you identify when your puppy needs to go to the toilet are:

  • your puppy looks anxious
  • your puppy walks around in circles
  • your puppy starts sniffing in corners of the room
  • your puppy disappears out of the room by himself

If you see any of these behaviours, take him outside for a walk.

Accidents happen and unless you want your puppy to hide their mishaps next time, never rub a dog’s nose in their urine. Simply clean up any accidents immediately to mask the smell in the area and to discourage a repeat incident.

Always remember that puppy toilet training takes practice and patience. With persistence and some gentle encouragement your puppy will know the difference between toilet stop and toilet not in no time at all.

Don’t have as much time to dedicate to dog training your new puppy as you thought? Just hire an Airtasker to do some dog walking and training with your new best friend.

DIY Pallet Furniture For Your Dog

Everyone loves a comfy sleep at night and we bet so does your pet dog. Instead of your beloved pooch "DIY Pallet Furniture For Your Dog"

DIY Pallet Furniture For Your Dog

Everyone loves a comfy sleep at night and we bet so does your pet dog. Instead of your beloved pooch sleeping on an old blanket or even the sofa, you could put together a customised dog bed using pallets.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds to DIY pallet furniture for your dog, just take a look in your garden shed for some paint and pick up a pallet from a hardware shop or purchase online.

Not sure where to start and need a little bit of inspiration? We’ve put together all types of pallet furniture ideas from dog beds to dog bowls.

Dog bed

With a little bit of inspiration you can make a DIY dog bed look great, plus your dog is guaranteed to enjoy sweet chew-toy dreams in its new digs.

Dog-Bed-DIY_edited-1-500x400
Source: Shanty2Chic

If your dog is your pride and joy, maybe a little something like this below is something you’d like to make.

pallet-pet-bed
Source: 99Pallets

But what if you have more than one dog….

Bunk Beds

Yes if you have more than one dog it’s possible to make bunk beds, they will just have to work out who gets top bunk.

dog-bunk-beds
Source: Pinterest

Dog Bowls

Most people have a designated area where they feed the dogs, so why not get some bright bowls or use your handyman skills to put together this food/water holder.

dog-bowl-pallet
Source: Etsy

Dog Kennel

You can still use pallets to create a bit of shelter for bigger outside-only dogs. For a classic look, the triangle dog kennel will only require a few pallets and a coat of weather-safe lacquer.

dog kennel pallet
Source: Pinterst

Modern/Minimalistic Kennel

For dogs in apartments saving space can be an issue, that’s why this compact dog station is ideal. It has a place to store toys, sleep and eat – plus it looks awesome for any designer abode.

8158490906_4e38e1f431_o
Source: Flickr

Puppy Potty

Another apartment essential is a place for them to do their ‘business’ whilst you’re at work during the day. For young pups, you could train them to use something like this fake grass pallet potty. This way they’ll learn not to go inside.

doggy-potty
Source: The Adventures of Kym and Dustin

Dog Sofa

Does your dog try to dig a whole on the couch or make it smell like wet dog? Both a common issues, but you can fix this by making them their own dog sofa like below.

dog sofa
Source: Comfort Spring Station

If you’re more of a cat person, we’ve looks at IKEA furniture hacks for cats too.