If you have a puppy, you might have noticed how your pup loves to chase his own tail. This is normal puppy behavior as your puppy thinks it is a play object and hasn’t quite figured out that his or her tail is part of his body. However, if the tail chasing is frequent, vigorous and occurs in an older dog, it may be time to show some concern. Dogs can injure themselves while chasing their tails, particularly when they finally catch it.
Below are some reasons why your dog might be chasing his or her tail.
Your dog could be chasing his tail out of boredom
Your dog could simply be chasing his tail because he or she is bored. If he or she has nothing to do or play with, he might try his tail. If you think this could be the reason, make sure that you take your dog on walks every day as exercise will help calm him down. Further, a toy such as a Kong that he can chew on will distract your pup so he or she is playing with that toy rather than his own tail.
Your dog could be chasing his tail for attention
Your dog could simply be chasing his tail because he wants attention. When your dog chases its’ tail, it can make us laugh and sometimes our dogs simply enjoy the reaction from us. Most pet owners are quick to lavish attention on their pets when they do something funny or out of the ordinary. While the dog may not consciously appreciate the entertainment value of his actions, your pup will soon learn to correspond an activity with a response. Dogs crave attention, so make sure not to praise your puppy when he does this. Walk away and ignore your dog.
Your dog might be chasing his tail because he is anxious
Some dogs begin chasing their tails as a nervous habit. Stressful situations, sudden noises or constant surprises may even lead to obsessive compulsive tail chasing. If you have ruled out the other situations, your dog might need a companion or toy to calm him or her down.
Your dog might be chasing his tail because he is itching
Sometimes your dog is chasing his tail because he is itching or might even have an infestation. Parasite infestations, such as fleas or ticks, can cause itching around the bottom of your dog’s tail. Worm rashes or dry skin may produce similar symptoms. If you think this is the case, take your dog to a professional groomer (and/or try apple cider vinegar on the itch to see if this helps). If this isn’t the case, take your dog to your veterinarian.
Your dog could be chasing his tail due to a medical issue
There are some canine diseases and neurological disorders like epilepsy that could contribute to your dog chasing his tail. If you think this might be the case, it would be wise to bring your dog to the vet to see if this is causing the chasing. This is very rare but if your dog just started to chase his tail, there could be an underlying medical issue.
If you’re bringing a new cat into your home or have adopted one who is aloof or shy, it can take some time for your kitty to be comfortable. However, if you try to socialize your cat early in his or her life, he or she will be more well-behaved and trusting. It’s also important to socialize your cat if you have other pets or young children so neither gets hurt during play time. Or maybe your cat is shy or fearful and you want your cat to just be happy and easy-going!
Cat socialization should not take a lot of time and it gives you and your kitty some bonding time. As mentioned above, the younger you socialize your cat, the easier it is to accomplish. However, there are many older cats who adjust to anything or any new environment with a little practice.
Pet your cat and find out what he or she likes
It’s important to start bonding with your cat by petting or stroking your kitty. Find out what are the safe zones for your kitty and/or areas your cat likes to be touched. Your kitty will let you know if she likes her belly rubbed or hates it. Try petting your cat first on the outside – stroke his or her fur, the side of your kitty’s face and your cat will most likely love it. If your cat becomes agitate or riled up, it’s time to end the session and leave your kitty alone.
Keep repeating what your cat likes and give your kitty praise
Each time, make your petting sessions a little longer by stroking and handling of the feet and toes, including extending the nails. Stroke her ears and rub her face. These exercises will help her win a loving praise and a treat later as she becomes used to socializing. Remember that if your cat misbehaves, never yell or scream at your cat as if will only exacerbate her anti-social behavior. Always approach and handle your cat calmly, and speak in a low soothing voice.
Play with your cat with his or her favorite toy
Learn what your cat's favorite type of toy is by process of elimination and schedule playtimes several times daily. When you play with toys, your cat can use his predatory attacks on the toy and/or object of play and not you or anyone else. As with every interaction with your kitty, if your cat becomes too hyper or lashes out, end the session, walk away and your cat will know that he or she has misbehaved. Time out!
Introduce your cat to new people
Once you are comfortable with how your cat behaves, try introducing your kitty to new people and your friends. However, before you have other people play or pet your cat, make sure they know to keep their voices low and calm, at least until the cat is comfortable with them. Make sure that your cat comes to them and don't force interaction. It may take a couple of visits before your cat is comfortable with people she doesn't know. When your cat does come to them on his or her own volition, praise and a treat are in order.
Socializing your cat can take time
Socialization takes longer with some cats than others. Some cats will always be scared at some strangers and/or noise or might lash out with nips and scratches from time to time. That is just their inherent being. However, with time, practice, treats and continual loving behavior, you can turn the most unsocial cat into a sweet- loving kitty.
A lot of our dogs (and even some cats!) love to dig through the garbage. We turn our backs only to find our dogs rummaging thorough the kitchen trash can. It’s important that we train our dogs to avoid the garbage can early in their lives so they don’t think it is an extension of their food dish.
It is a natural instinct for our dogs to check out the trash can; yet while rummaging for food is a normal behavior pattern, it’s potentially dangerous. There could be something toxic in the trash cans or something that could cause your dog to choke such as chicken bones.
Below are some tips to help you stop this behavior:
Observe your dog when he's near the trash can.
When your dog starts to go towards the garbage can, clap your hands or shake a can of coins or even just a loud “no” will do. The loud or unsettling noise will stop your dog from misbehaving. When you have your dog’s attention, show him a dog toy and when he shows interest in it, give him praise and dog treats. With consistent reinforcement, he'll stop going in the trash to avoid the unpleasant noise and towards the toy that you have left for him or her.
As always, positive reinforcement is the best technique for training any dog to behave as you would like. If you consistently show them that the trash is a bad thing, but going for his toy is a good thing, your dog will learn to go to the toy. Praise and snacks are the best way to treat your pup for the correct behavior.
Make sure that your dog isn’t hungry
Sometimes your dog will scour the trash simply because he or she is hungry. Try to feed your dog several small meals throughout the day so he's not hungry and tempted to go looking for food in the trash. Consult your veterinarian about the right amount of food to feed your dog every day, and divide this into three or four equal portions.
Spray a non-toxic repellant on your trash can
Try spraying a non-toxic dog repellent on the trash can. Your furry friend will dislike the smell of the repellent and will stay away from the trash. Or try sprinkling some baking soda on top of the trash in the can. When your dog tastes the baking soda, he'll instantly stop eating the trash and will probably run the other way. You need to only put a small amount to get this effect.
Make sure to provide your dog with activities and stimulation
Provide your dog with a daily dose exercise and mental stimulation as your dog could be gravitating towards the trash can out of boredom. Take your dog on walks and play games with him, such as tug-of-war and fetch. Let him run enough so he burns energy and tires himself out and is less likely to dig through the trash as he is too pooped to care.
Block your dog’s access to the trash can
Block your dog's access to the trash can. Place the trash can up high where your dog can't reach it or put it in a cabinet secured with a child-safety lock. Set a heavy metal lid that you dog can't open on the trash can or block the entrance to the room with the trash can with a baby gate.
As always, it takes a little time and patience, but you can get your dog to stop scouring and becoming uninterested in the trash.
There are many reasons why our cats howl or meow excessively at night. First and foremost, our cats are nocturnal creatures and tend to get their ‘second wind’ during the evening hours. However, if you have an older cat, there are other reasons why he or she is howling during the night. As in humans, our older cats tend to get a little more disoriented at night and/or are starting to feel the stress of aging.
If your older feline has just begun her nightly howls, here are some tips and/or recommends for your favorite feline.
Why does your cat howl at night?
A cat may howl at night for reasons that are not age-related. Your kitty could simply be responding to frustration or anxiety due to a recent move or any other household change. Or maybe your cat is simply bored and trying to get attention. If your cat is not spayed, she will grow more loudly vocal during heat cycles.
On the other hand, howling usually begins are our cats become older. It can indicate illness, particularly high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism both of which can be treated with medication. Senior cats that are about nine years old or older can suffer any number of syndromes and can be in pain or expressing anxiety by meowing loudly at night. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), the onset of dementia-like behavioral changes in older cats causing them to be confused or anxious.
Older cats may become confused
An older cat may exhibit other signs of confusion, including going back to her empty food bowl having eaten apparently forgotten that he or she has just finished a meal. Or your kitty may be distressed at being separated from you or other family members at night, when you’re busy sleeping and not giving her attention. If your cat’s hearing is impaired, your kitty may cry out more loudly, just as a human who cannot hear well will talk louder. If your cat’s eyesight is dimming, her frustration at trying to maneuver around her home may cause her to howl.
In an otherwise healthy cat, such symptoms are indicators of aging and signs that she may suffer from CDS. Your kitty will be understandably bothered by the changes taking place in her body and brain, as CDS also affects her sleep cycle, leaving her restless and anxious. Instead of sleeping at night, your cat might sleep more during the day and wander the house crying at night.
Making it easier on your cats at night
If you can keep your older cat comfortable, especially at night, it will help ameliorate your cat’s anxieties. Because older cats cannot regulate their own body temperatures as efficiently as they once did, they gravitate toward warmth. Be sure your cat’s bed is out of the path of any draft, and provide an extra blanket in his or her bed and on any other favorite napping spots. If your cat’s vision is deteriorating, a nightlight will help your cat navigate in the dark. Removing obstacles and keeping your home clutter-free will reduce your cat’s stress, especially if his or her sight and hearing are fading.
Because older cats are also are extra sensitive to humidity and heat, try to keep them indoors and away from conditions that could cause heatstroke. Whatever your elderly feline is coping with, try to find out the issue and give your kitty the comfort he or she needs.
Take your cat to the veterinarian for a check up
If your cat has just started howling and/or if he or she shows any signs of senility, it’s always best to take your cat to your vet for a check up. Your vet will determine the right medication and/or treatment to make your senior cat comfortable and adjust to this new lifestyle with more ease.
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Guinea pigs can be wonderful pets and companions. These docile, friendly members of the rodent family rarely bite and are known for squeaking with delight when their favorite pet parents enter the room. Guinea pigs are a great starter pet for older children who know how to properly handle these little guys. But, don’t be fooled. Guinea pigs need the proper care to prosper.
The home for your guinea pig
Guinea pigs are social animals that prefer to live in small groups. If you keep two or more females together, they will become great friends. If you want two males, it’s smart to choose two babies from the same litter. Since guinea pigs, like all rodents, multiply rapidly, keeping males and females together is not recommended.
You’ll need to provide a minimum of four square feet of cage space per guinea pig; however, the larger the cage, the better. You’ll need a solid-bottom cage without wire floors as they can irritate your pets’ feet. Plastic-bottom tub cages with wire tops also make great guinea pig homes. Never use a glass aquarium, due to the poor ventilation that it provides. Line the bottom cage with aspen or hardwood shavings or some other form of safe bedding, such as grass hay.
Have a hiding and sleeping place for your guinea pig
Guinea pigs love to hide when they play, so be sure to place cardboard tubes and/or empty coffee cans with smoothed edges in the enclosure for this purpose. Plastic pipes and flower pots are good, too, and bricks and rocks for climbing will be much appreciated. All guinea pigs need a cave for sleeping and resting, so make sure to purchase a covered sleeping box, readily available at pet supply stores.
How to properly feed your guinea pigs
Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. Nutritionally complete, they’re available at pet supply stores, and are made from plants, seeds and veggies. Feed your guinea pigs twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.
Unlike other animals, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so you’ll need to ensure that your pets get enough of this essential nutrient every day. A quarter of an orange will do, but you can also include some fruits and veggies that are high in C to their daily ration of fresh foods, such as kale, dandelion greens and strawberries.
Fresh, clean water should be readily available at all times. Use an inverted bottle with a drinking tube, and change the water daily.
Make sure to clean your guinea pig’s cage daily
Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.
You should handle your guinea pigs with care
It’s crucial that you get your pets used to you—and used to being handled. Start by feeding them small treats. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick up one pig at a time, one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back.
Guinea pigs are very conscientious about grooming themselves, but brushing them on a regular basis will help keep their coat clean and remove any loose hairs. Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily in order to prevent tangles and knots from forming.
Make sure to keep up your veterinary care
If you think one of your guinea pigs is sick, make sure to bring your guinea to your vet immediately. Common signs that something isn’t as it should be include sneezing, coughing, diarrhea and lethargy. Guinea pigs are very susceptible to external parasites such as mites and lice. If you think your pet is infested, head to the vet for treatment.
With love and care, your guinea pig will thrive and be a great addition to your home.