Category Archives: Pets

animal rescue and shelters

Animal Rescue & Shelters for your Next Pet?

If you’re at a point of thinking about looking for a new pet for your family it’s a fun and exciting time. Often the kids have a million suggestions, everyone wants this one or that one and even walking past a pet shop can be a challenge in itself.

animal rescue and shelters

Before you jump out to buy a new pet, consider adoption for a moment, you might be surprised at how rewarding an experience like this could be for your family. As I kid I remember when we took in a dog from the pound. We named him Casper, because he was white like a ghost. Casper had a troubled past but he was a good dog at heart. He taught me a lot of valuable lessons about training an animal and he grew to become a much loved family member.

It’s not always the path most traveled but it can be a good one. This is not a guilt trip suggestion, merely a reminder to think about it. You can find a range of young, old, pre loved or troubled animals through your pound/RSPCA or places like Sydney Pet Rescue where animals from all walks of life are up for adoption.

Not only can you save money but you can also enrich the life of an animal in need. Not a bad result all-round really is it? Smiley Pets will try to focus more on different groups in the community that are making a difference like Sydney Pet Rescue in the future. Stay tuned to this blog.

pet rats

Rats as Pets – Getting Past the Stereotype

There are few pets that evoke the same reaction from people as rats. We are so familiar with the ‘normal’ domesticated animals that the concept of owning a rat is a bridge too far for many regular pet owners. But is the stigma justified and what kind of pet is a rat afterall?

Many rat owners will testify that they make excellent pets. They consider them to be smart, clean and friendly animals that very rarely bite and they play, do tricks and smell less than mice.They are considered good pets for children too. They can be potty trained too, which is always a nice bonus.

On average a adult male rat can grow to about a foot long including the tail. There are a wide variety of breeds that are hairless, big eared, smaller and tailess. Their coats can have great variety, just like dogs and cats, though it’s harder to find that range at your typical pet store.

rats can grow to one foot in length

You can keep rats in pairs, they make good companions for one another and they like to groom each other too. Introducing older rats to live together is not a wise idea, however babies that grow up together will form a strong bond.

Female rats can produce big litters of 15 or more and they will naturally be very protective during this period. Having babies will shorten their life as rats can get pregnant every 20-25 days, the whole cycle of birth and feeding can be very taxing on the mother. Once the babies are old enough to fend for themselves the mother will return to normal temperament.

So although a pet rat was probably not on your radar before you read this article (and it still might not be) there is a lot of really positive things about owning a pet rat that people should be aware of. We will hopefully be able to document more about these unique creatures in future posts so be sure to pop by again to check up on the Smiley Pets blog.

dog at beach off leash

Dog Friendly Walks and Beaches Sydney

Sydney is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscape and natural coastlines in Australia. It’s a gift Sydney siders really should make the most of as much as possible. If you’re a dog owner, you should be mindful and respectful of the places that are dedicated dog friendly areas.

Manly Lagoon

Now this is clearly not a beach and the water is not the sort you will plunge into, but for dogs it’s great. You can walk leash free 24 hours a day. It’s really close to Manly, so that means on weekends it can be tough to find parking, but the beginning and end of the day are best.

Rose Bay 

Finding dog beachs around the city beaches is a challenge, but Rose Bay is a handy little gem that locals love. Your dog is allowed on leash anytime and off leash after 4.30 pm until the next morning at 8.30. Which works for most owners looking for the before and after work walk shifts. It’s a narrow when the tides up so check the tidal report if that concerns you.

Bicentennial Park

This is a off leash area all day everyday. The nice thing about this area is that is runs into Blackwattle Bay and where there are now new access points into the water at various locations.

Smiley Pets will keep you posted with future updates about newly developed dog friendly areas as they pop up in and around Sydney.

cats and laser pointers

Are Laser Pointers Bad for Cats?

Sitting on the couch with a laser pointer and playing with your cat can seem like a lot of fun for owners and the cat. The elusive light can dance anywhere and even the most agile of cats struggles to keep up. But are they having fun and is it helpful or harmful?

From an owners perspective it’s easy to see why you playing with your cat in this way seems like a great idea. They respond really well to the stimulation, they stalk, hunt and jump after the light and it gets them moving.

From the cats perspective things are a little different though. Cats through life and play like to stalk, hunt, watch and then pounce on their prey. The laser can never be ‘caught’ though and this can be frustrating for the animal. Because they are used to have a tangible or tactile outcome to these games, the laser can be a source of frustration.

Cats can become overly aroused, frustrated, confused and annoyed by these games. The results can at times be aggression towards other cats or biting and scratching.

How to Play with Lasers the Right Way

Cats need a prize or a reward for their efforts, so a way around this is to set up soft toys in the area where you will play. Then as you begin your game, start with having them chase the beam, when it’s time for them to be rewarded with a ‘catch’ shine it onto the top of one of the toys and leave it there so that they can feel the catch and rough it up for a second.


Don’t just go from 100 miles and hour to stopping the play. Decrease the speed of play down to a slower pace, before finally leaving the light on a toy to end the session with a ‘catch’. Before ending the session reward them with a treat or a meal.

They will be happy and enjoy the play feeling less frustrated over all.

What to Avoid in Laser Play with Cats

  • Shining in their eyes
  • Long sessions with no reward
  • Stopping the session abruptly

Smiley Pets don’t recommend the use of laser pointer play, but there are safe ways to do it if you are going to play that way.

dog lovers show sydney

The Dog Lovers Show Sydney

Sit up and pay attention dog owners, this is an event on the Sydney animal calendar that you should not miss. The Sydney Dog Lovers Show is in August on the weekend of the 15th and 16th. It’s usually a whole lot of fun and great for the whole family.

You can expect to see talented dogs showing their skills in a whole range of areas like flyball, frisbee and agility skills. There will be a huge show with over 30 dog breed clubs competing this year.

flyball dog in action


You can expect to learn a lot too – this year there will be expert advice available on training, behaviour and new puppy skills. You will also be able to learn about the different breeds and which is the best match to your personality.

Working dogs like the search and rescue dogs and Australian military dogs will be doing their thing to keep everyone entertained and there will be a tonne of food and performances for the kids.

Important Information for the Dog Show

  • Although this is a dog event, it’s indoors so Sydney dog owners that means it’s a leave your pets at home event
  • Fox Studios Moore Park location means you can drive or take the bus from town

Million Paws Walk May 2015

The Million Paws Walk is Australia’s biggest dog walk so don’t miss the chance to get involved.

million paws walk


Sponsored by the RSPCA it takes place on May 22nd and it’s the idea way to show your support to this great cause while raising money for animals in need.

What ever breed of dog you have, any shape or size it’s welcome. Even if you don’t own one, you can join in on the fun. All funds raised will help the RSPCA NSW to continue their great work in the region. You need to register – so jump online and get involved. It’s always a great fun day out for young and old, canine or human. Smiley Pets Sydney loves to promote this event and in the coming years we hope to contribute more where possible.

Why do Cats go Nuts for Catnip?

What is catnip?

Catnip is a herb that is closely related to the mint family. Not all cats fall for it, but those that do absolutely love it. The key ingredient is nepetalactone and this can bring even the most docile cats to life, sometimes with funny side effects.

Smelling Variety vs Consumed Catnip

One form of catnip works via smell only. It’s believed to be related to pheromones – in particular happy pheromones. When cats eat the herb, it can have a different effect, more of a mellowing pacifying effect. The reactions can be very profound with those cats that do love it. Jumping, running, rolling, rubbing are typical reactions.

It can last for 5-10 minutes and then the cats will slowly lose interest. Most will typically play with it, rolling in it as it’s the smell that is working for them.

It’s considered safe to give to your cats, although the exact science of it is not known, it’s a short term effect that wears off quickly for the animal. It’s considered a fun and harmless form of entertainment that is fine to use from time to time. Many owners use it to spice things up for their pet, especially if the cat is left alone at home during the day.

Are certain dog breeds dangerous?

Is it fair to label certain breeds of dogs dangerous? Should we be labelling owners or dogs and what is best for all in this?

This can be quite a contentious debate among the public and it’s obvious to see why. On one hand you have people who have been bitten or attacked by a dog and on the other you have owners who claim that it’s the fault of the owners – basically the nature vs. nurture debate.

The nature of dogs

Certain breeds of dogs are trained to do specific tasks and behave in a certain way. Farm dogs like Kelpies and Blue Heelers and Border Collies are naturals at working and herding animals, it comes naturally to them. Others are excellent hunting dogs due to their ingrained nature to sniff out, retrieve and chase and at times kill, this includes Pit Bulls. Other dogs like Huskies are born to run, so does that mean others are born to fight and pose more risk to humans. Yes and no.

Although there are certain breeds with a greater disposition to hunting, biting and blood sports this does not automatically mean that they are to blame. Dobermans, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls are commonly in the spotlight and labeled as dangerous dogs. However, an argument in their defense is that the number and popularity of these dogs dramatically increased in a short space of time, meaning more attacks occurred compared with in the past.

It is more the upbringing of a dog that is going to shape it’s behavior in later life. A bad owner will do more than a ‘bad breed’. If you love one of these so called dangerous breeds, there are some pointers that will help you along the way.

  • Neuter your animal – 80 percent of attacks occur from dogs that are not neutered
  • Don’t let your dog bite your hand in play, train them to only bite toys
  • Socialise them with other puppies from a young age
  • Be aware of signs of aggression from an early age


Should You Dress Your Pet in Winter Clothes?

We are into the Autumn months here in Australia, and it’s a sad season. We all start to put away our summer clothes and break out the winter jackets and scarves. But what about our pets, what are the options for them as the colder weather approaches. Should you be worried about their welfare and rug them up with dog jackets and kitty mittens too?

It tends to be dogs that people worry about dressing up the most. Cats tend to be inside minding their own business, keeping warm on window sills as the colder weather rolls in. They’re not silly. Our furry canine friends can feel the pinch a little more. Now depending on the breed, age, size and thickness of coat of your pooch there are going to be different cases. Also do they live inside or in a dog house?

Some breeds just aren’t cut out for the cold. Their thinner coats do thicken up, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Older animals who can get arthritic and weary boned and are less mobile, give them a hand. Toy breeds and smaller animals tend to require warming too. It can be just as much the owners wanting to look fashionable that leads them down this path anyway…

Pet Fashion for Fashion’s Sake

Sometimes we wonder whether dogs are more of a fashion accessory than a pet at times. The lengths these owners will go to to make them and their dogs look in vogue can be next level. We’re not against it, just saying that’s all…






Are you this type of dog owner?

The choice of whether to dress your pet in a winter woolies is a logical one.

  • Are they shivering after medium to long periods outside?
  • Are they reluctant to go outside to the bathroom?
  • Are they less excited to go on walks?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then splash out and keep your dog comfortable this winter.

Some tips on Training Your Pet

It is essential to begin educating your brand-new pup when you take them home. You can do it yourself or choose to use a pro. Local canine training courses are often offered. Ask a local vet for some advice regarding sourcing an instructor or check the local paper for one in your area.


There are 2 sorts of training: behavioral and obedience.

Behavior training stops as well as or addresses naughty traits that your dog could create or already does. It is essential to be constant during the training procedure. As an example, do not allow your new puppy on the couch unless you are preparing to allow it on the couch when it’s fully grown. This will puzzle it, creating issues. Making the effort to learn organic canine behavior as well as satisfying the dog’s all-natural reactions in addition to proper workout will certainly aid you to communicate to your dog and also could suggest the difference between success and also failure.

Obedience training is educating the pet to comply with particular commands such as rest, stay, come and also teaching it to heel. Educating sessions should be regular yet brief to prevent your dog from ending up being burnt out; ten to fifteen min sessions, 2 or 3 times a day will be sufficient.

Just before commanding your pet, use its name to get its interest; With commands like “come,” “rest,” “sit” or “heel.” You will most likely need to do this several times over. Never utilize negative reinforcement. Do not call your canine ahead to you for punishment due to the fact that this will associate negative connotations with having their name called. Make certain to keep any type of aggravation. If you feel yourself coming to be frustrated, pause. Your pooch can notice this as well as will start to connect training with your misery. You can’t conceal your stress from a dog.