Hoogland Newsletter October 2015
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To Snip or not to Snip?!

My dog is constantly trying to get out our property lately!
Although dogs’ reproductive cycles go on all year round, it seems that in summer months, there are definitely more female dogs on heat. Male dogs can smell a bitch on heat as far as 2km away, and  will try their best to get to her. In the process of reaching her, the male often gets into fights, motor vehicle accidents and they sometimes just get plain lost. Some bitches will go looking for a male dog to cover her when she is on heat, subjecting her to all the same dangers.
Castration and sterilisation of dogs is the easiest way to remove the motivation for escaping the property, and can prevent heart ache and pain.

My cat suddenly started behaving very oddly but she is only 4 months old!
Female cats or queens, are quite peculiar in that they start to cycle when the day length gets longer and nights become shorter. It is therefore possible for kittens to start cycling from 4 months old if this coincides with the onset of spring.
The typical signs of heat are unusual vocalisation, rolling on carpets, becoming extremely affectionate and shoving their behinds in other pet’s and people’s faces.
This behaviour will generally continue until she has been mated frequently enough by a tom cat to stimulate her body to ovulate. Cats will not go off heat after a certain time period like dogs do. Once a queen has started a cycle, she will have continuous heat periods every 2 weeks until she falls pregnant. 
The only real solution if you do not want to have never-ending kitten production, is to sterilise your cats.

Is it really necessary to let a dog or cat have puppies or kittens once before sterilising them?

There is absolutely no scientific basis for this wide-spread myth. If one sterilise a female before she reaches sexual maturity, she will not be able to develop the cancers which plague female tissues -  most commonly mammary gland cancers which are equivalent to breast cancer. The sex organs and teats also remain small, and are less likely to develop problems later in life due to trauma to these unusually prominent parts.
There is also the misconception that the dog will have a sweeter personality if she has puppies before sterilisation. This is untrue, as is the belief that she will become more aggressive or have a behavioural change. We assume that she will be a good mother, will not be traumatized by the puppies and nothing goes wrong with the pregnancy or birth but having kittens or puppies can turn out to be a nightmare should things start going wrong!
But shame the children need to see the miracle of birth? HONESTLY it is nothing but gross, and is far more work than you think, so rent the kids a movie or switch to animal planet – that way at least you will escape the weird smell!

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REMEMBER if your bitch is now on heat and gets mated you can kiss your Christmas holiday in Ballito goodbye!
You will be waiting for the bitch to whelp or looking after the newborns!


Have to give your fur buddy pills regularly?
Why not try these home made pill pockets?

  • ½ cup peanut butter (containing NO XYLITOL)

  • ½ cup low fat milk (can substitute with water, or use half milk, half water)

  • ¼ cup oats

  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour

  • A big pinch of cinnamon

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

  2. Knead till it forms a pliable putty ball.

  3. If too dry, add a bit more liquid. If too sticky, add a little more flour.

  4. Form Small round balls from the dough (depending on the size of the pills you need to give).

  5. Use your baby finger/chopsticks to poke a hole in the balls to fit the tablet into. And Voila!

  6. Put into an airtight container or wrap them in plastic – you can even freeze and defrost them in small batches. If you use milk, the milk expiry will determine the shelf life.

If your dog cannot eat oats, use chunky peanut butter and double the flour.
If your dog is sensitive to wheat, use rice or potato flour.


The recommendation is for pets to be sterilised before sexual maturity.
Cats can be sterilised from 5 months (some females sooner).
Small & medium breed dogs can be sterilised from 5 months old.
Large and Giant breeds can be sterilised from 6 months old.



This is a great idea for making toys for pet birds, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and rats! You can also adapt them to make hides and snooze spots.

  • Balloons
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Thin paper – newspaper, brown packaging paper or paper bags
  • Dry treats and filling materials like toilet paper, newspaper etc.
Good materials to use for chinchillas, bunnies and guinea pigs: teff, timothy and Lucerne hay, specially dried,safe herbs and dried fruit snacks, safe wood, commercial snacks and home made treats.
For birds, you can use dry noodles, safe dried fruit and woods, popcorn (air popped, NO salt or butter), commercial and home made treats.


  1. Blow balloons up to the desired size
  2. Shred the paper (small strips work better for smaller balloons)
  3. Add a little flour to the water. Soak paper strips in water for a few minutes (stir water occasionally).
  4. Apply wet strips to the balloon, overlapping them slightly to cover most of the balloon. Leave a small area around the knot of the balloon uncovered.
  5. Let the first layer dry completely (this can take a few hours), and then apply a second layer.
  6. Depending how sturdy you want your piñata to be, once the second layer is dry you can apply another layer.
  7. If you want to decorate your piñata, add some normal food colourant to water and soak the second layer paper in it before applying or paint it onto the dried piñata.
  8. Once your piñata is completely dry puncture the balloon and pull it out the uncovered space.
  9. You can now poke a hole through the other side of the piñata and pass some plain sisal through to hang the piñata if you want to hang it. Otherwise it can be a floor toy.
  10. Stuff with yummy things! You can use any safe, dry treats in them. Do not use fresh treats – they will make the paper mache too damp.
  11. You can make holes in the sides of the piñata and pull little strips of treat or hay through to entice your little friend.
  12. Let the play begin!
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