Pet Advice

Grooming Your Cat At Home – Quickly and Efficiently!

One of the benefits of having a cat is they tend to groom themselves all day long.  Unlike dogs, kitties include grooming as a part of their daily routine.  However, sometimes our cats come across something smelly, roll in the mud or doe some other activity that would actually require a good clean.  And as our cats get older, it’s harder for them to groom themselves.  Sometimes, all they need is a good bath.

Below are some tips to help with grooming your kitty at home: 

Prep your bathroom before you even start

First you need to prep your bathroom with a towel, pet shampoo, and a way to rinse all the shampoo off.   And, then you hope your cat doesn’t freak out and you need to remember the end goal.  You will get your cat smelling his or her best.  Fill your tub with a few inches of water to get ready.

Use a shampoo made specifically for cats or, in a pinch, a mild baby shampoo. Cats' skin are more delicate than humans' skin, and a harsh shampoo can make it dry and cause flaking and itching. Conditioners work well if your cat has a medium to long coat.

Brush your kitty thoroughly before washing him down

Don't be tempted to skip this step. A thorough brushing removes dust and other particles and loosens tangles, a step which is especially important if you have a longhaired cat. Wet tangles are much worse to comb out than dry ones. You'll also want to make sure your cat doesn't have any mats because matted fur can trap soapy residue next to his skin and cause itchy, flaky patches.

Remember our kitties use their claws as defense

As we cat owners are painfully aware, our cats will not hesitate to use their claws when they feel threatened or scared.  It would be a good idea to wear long sleeves or a jacket while cleaning you cat.; even something to cover your face would be advised if your cat is a real scratcher. 

Is it over

Is it over?!

 

Try to catch your kitty by surprise

Pick up your cat like it’s just another day and pet him or her. Get your kitty to be a little happy and carry him towards the bathroom.  Once you get to the bathroom, close the door and you are half-way there.  This is not so different from trying to get your cat in his crate or box when you go to the vet.

Focus on the job at hand and remember that you are in control

Even though cats are quick, nimble, and can shred a shower curtain in two seconds sharp, you CAN control them.  Hold your cat as best you can and if you have a sliding glass door, close all openings except where you are kneeling.  If your cat is really miserable, you might consider getting into the tub with him or her and closing the glass shower doors completely. Sit on the ledge and begin wetting your cat down. Be careful of your kitties’ face and ears. You don’t want to get water in their eyes, ears, or nose.

The faster you can wash your kitty, the better

Remember, the quicker that you get your cat washed, dried, and cleaned, the sooner it is over.  So if possible, wet your cat down, shampoo, and rinse in one motion! Having a few inches of water in the tub will not only slow your cat down but will also wet his feet, legs, belly, tail, and give you a few seconds to get his back wet. The head is last and often the hardest. You may want to avoid your kitty’s head or do it after he or she is out of the tub. Shampoo your kitty quickly and begin rinsing by turning on the shower or faucet and quickly moving the water over his body.

Grab your towel and lift him up

Obviously, a wet cat is slippery cat. Don’t expect to be able to hold your kitty for more than a few seconds at a time. This is when the glass doors of the shower come in handy. Your kitty may run around but he can’t get out. Rinse like crazy and then get ready for the final step – drying.

Drying is going to be simple compared to the previous steps. Reach for the towel, wrap it around your cat, and carefully lift him or her out of the tub. If he squirms let him sit on the floor as you dry his fur and get most of the water off his tail, legs, and belly. Now you’ll have a clean, cat (most likely, angry) walking around the house for a few hours.  

Of course, make sure to give your kitty a treat or toy for his the misery you have just caused him or her.  And a nice rub down and kiss if your kitty lets you near him or her. Treats are a nice way of saying ‘thank you’’ and “sorry” at the same time and rewarding your kitty’s excellent behavior. 

Good luck and know that the next time you decide to groom your kitty, it will only be that much easier.

 

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How to Stop Your Dog from Chasing Joggers or Other Dogs

Dogs instinctively chase after other dogs, people, or anything that moves as objects or any movement stimulates dogs to chase.  It isn’t unusual for a dog’s predatory nature to kick into high gear and then start chasing what or who is closest.  It usually is simply a dog’s ‘play’ response as dogs love to chase and be chased.

This happens with dogs, joggers or even cars as the fast movement of the person (or dog) jogging by and your dog want stop chase after them.  It becomes a game and the dog might try to catch up with the jogger. Most dogs will stop if the jogger stops. However, they might bark showing that they are happy to chase a jogger.

You need to train your dog in a controlled setting before venturing outdoors

Before exposing your dog to a situation where he will want to chase, you must train your pup in a controlled setting. It is important that you set up a situation where your dog can concentrate and understand the behavior you want. He must have the opportunity to perform the correct behavior repeatedly since up until now he has probably only had practice misbehaving.

Practice in your back yard (or even inside)

When your dog is in the yard and running along the fence barking, you can try to curb this behavior by saying “No” and then bring your dog inside. You might have to change the time your dog is out. Joggers tend to be active in the early morning before working hours and after work. Again, you can train your dog to ignore the joggers with games, treats, and toys that are more interesting than watching people.

Chasing Joggers

Ready to go outside!

Your focus is to make sure that your dog understands your commands, such as “stop” or “no” when he is inside.  You can even practice with a toy and start the “no” process.  When he gives up to the toy, you can commend him or her with praise and/or a treat.  Once you have conquered this behavior inside or your yard, take your pup and some treats outside.

When joggers or another dog surge past, teach your dog to sit or stay

If your dog shows an interest in runners or other dogs, try to curb this behavior by teaching your dog to sit, stay and let the jogger go by.  Or, more specifically, if you see your dog looking at a runner, call your pet’s name. The instant she turns toward you, praise her and give her delicious treats. (Reward your dog with something really exciting, such as small pieces of chicken, cheese or hot dog.)

If your dog doesn’t look at you when you say her name, wiggle a treat right in front of her nose. Using the treat like a magnet on your dog’s nose, lure her head around toward you. When she looks at you, give her the treat. Continue to do this every time a runner is in view until your dog automatically looks at you in anticipation of treats whenever she sees someone running.

If the treat is especially tempting like a piece of meat, make sure that your dog looks at only you and ignores the jogger completely. This will take some time and training. Eventually, your dog will learn to sit and look at you and let the jogger go by without paying them any mind.

Try jogging or walking at a quick pace with your dog

If you personally are a jogger or can walk at a very quick pace, take your dog with you. Some dogs will lose interest in other joggers as you and your pup jog by. If your dog jumps up on you as a game, stop jogging and say “no”.  When your dog has relaxed, you can try the jog again.  

Every time your dog interferes the run, stop and wait. Your dog should make eye contact with you and then you can begin the jog again. Even though this will break your exercise routine, it will provide exercise, training, and bonding between you and your dog.

If your dog chases after cars, enlist a friend to help

If your dog is chasing cars, ask your friend to meet you on a quiet, secluded street to help you train your dog. Again, repeat the 'No' exercise or simply calling your dog’s name as your friend repeatedly drives by. It's important that you practice this in a set-up situation. You must know that the driver is aware of the training so he/she can stop the car should you lose control.

Always use good judgment with your dog. If the real situation seems too tempting, too distracting or too stressful, don't ask your dog to perform miracles and take your dog out at odd times. However, if you practice with your dog daily and with every opportunity that arises, you will succeed.  Praise your dog profusely every time you say “no” and he exhibits good behavior and/or lets a jogger or dog run by without chasing him or her.  You will both be very proud of your pup’s success.

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Dog Walking Basics – For New Puppies and Old Pros

If you haven’t owned a dog before and either adopted a puppy or an older dog, it seems as if dog walking is a natural, easy thing to do.  The truth is that walking a dog is a skill that needs to be developed with time, effort and the correct leash.  You need to make time each day to walk your dog, practice with a leash and get you both used the correct rhythm that works for you and your pup.

Below are some overall basics to get you started on your daily walks with your dogs:

What are the different leashes that you can use?

Flexi-leads are best for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.

Chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.

Dog Walking Article

Is it time for our walk yet?

Nylon leashes can cut into your hands or give a pet parent leash burn if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.

Every dog is different and with a little trial and error, you can find the best leash for your dog.

Try not to pull on the leash

If you constantly pull on your dog’s leash, it will make the walk stressful and uncomfortable. If your dog runs  after another dog, it may help to walk him when other cats or dogs are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk.   Make sure to have a leash long enough and comfortable enough to give your dog enough room to walk, but you still have the ability to stop him if necessary.

Give yourself enough time for the dog walk.

Dogs, like humans, need their morning exercise and it’s a good way to tire them out before you start your day.  Try setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour for your morning walk. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog's behavior to see if his needs are being met.

Bring treats along with you on your walks

If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside.  And don’t forget the treats. Walks are great training opportunities. Bring treats along and try to practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world.

Remember to bring some extra poop bags with you especially if you’re going on a long walk. 

Watch out for mosquitos particularly if you are hiking

Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.

If you take your dog to a dog park, make sure he is OK off leash

Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for dogs to run around is a great way to make new pet pals.  However, you need to make sure that your dog is OK off leash and will come to you when you call him or her.  If there is an issue with his being off leash, you can still enjoy the dog park and keep your pup’s leash on him or her.

Tips to make the walk enjoyable for both you and your dog

Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:

  1. Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds of a new spot.
  1. Choose fun destinations. If possible, walk to a friends’ house or the dog park.
  1. Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.
  1. Go for a long weekend hike where you can practice leash training where there aren’t a lot of people around.

There are many nuances and tips for walking with your dog.   Some dogs take to a leash immediately while others have trouble.  If your dog is not keen on walking with his leash on, it is best to get some training so that you and your dog can be safe outdoors.  If your dog sits or lies down on walks, here are some tips to help: Click Here!

 

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Spaying and Neutering Your Cat Is Important and Necessary

If you just adopted or brought home a young kitten and this is your first, you will soon be told that you need to spay or neuter your kitten.  There are so many reasons why you should spay or neuter your kittens including improving their health, temperament and to help prevent overpopulation of our felines.  This article is an overview of why you need to spay or neuter your cat and what you can expect.

Spaying and Neutering defined

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that stop cats from breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female cat is spayed, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. Neutering results in the castration of males and the complete removal of their testicles.  While it sounds horrible, the procedure is done routinely by our veterinarian and your kitty will be fine.

There are many health benefits to spaying and/or neutering your cats

Spayed cats are less likely to develop breast cancer and will not be at risk for ovarian or uterine cancer, while neutered males will not get testicular cancer. By neutering male cats, you also reduce the risk of injury and transmission of disease, since male cats have a natural instinct to roam and get into fights with other cats that might have contagious diseases or parasites.

Spraying or Neuter Cats

Let’s just get it done!

 

Spaying or neutering your cats helps prevent overpopulation and kitties without homes

In addition to the many health benefits, spaying or neutering your cat ensures that he or she won’t contribute to feline overpopulation. Even a cat who lives indoors may escape and produce kittens if not sterilized. Each year, millions of homeless cats are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes.

Spaying and/or neutering can help with behavioral issues

Any cat can spray urine to mark his or her territory yet unneutered males are those who most often engage in this behavior. Both intact male and female cats may try to escape their homes to roam outside. When female cats are in heat, they yowl and attract male cats and you know what that leads to!

It’s best to neuter or spay your cats while they are young

It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In most rescue shelters, the surgery is performed at a young age so the kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s best to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat, but not always recommended since she’s susceptible to increased blood loss.

Spayed or neutered cats are generally calmer and more sedate (but their personality is still there)

After sterilization, your cat may be calmer and less likely to exhibit certain behaviors, but his or her personality will not change. Not to worry, a neutered cat does not become lazy and overweight. As always, speak with your veterinarian about the best food and diet for your kitties to help maintain their weight.

Prepping for your cat’s neuter or spaying

Your veterinarian will provide pre-surgical advice that you should follow. In general, avoid giving your cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. A kitten, however, needs adequate nutrition, and your veterinarian may advise that food not be withheld.

After the neutering or spaying is done, make sure your kitty is in a nice quiet environment

Although your cat may experience some discomfort after surgery, he or she shouldn’t be in pain. Depending on which procedure is performed, your vet might recommend pain medication.  Make sure to keep your kitty in a quiet place indoors and away from other animals. Try to prevent your cat from running or jumping for the first few days following surgery.  And, make sure to check the incision daily so that you can see that it is healing properly.  If you notice any redness or swelling, call your veterinarian immediately.

While spaying and/or neutering might cause your kitty some initial discomfort, the long term benefits are worth the pain.  Most kittens heal quickly and never remember the surgery was performed.  And you, the owner, get the benefit of a mellow, healthier cat and are helping yet another cat become adopted by controlling overpopulation.

 

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Every Month is Dental Health Month for Our Cats and Dogs!

 

February is dental health month for our pets, when in reality, every month should be dental health month!  Dental health month is just a way to increase awareness that it is important for our pet’s overall health to keep their teeth in good condition.  We, pet owners should be mindful of our pet’s teeth and overall dental condition as lack of proper dental care can lead to many health risks for our beloved cats and dogs.  Regular home check-ups and brushing your dog’s and cat’s teeth can improve their dental health.

Below are some ways to check your dog or cat’s dental health without even going to the vet:

Have you smelled your cat or dog’s breath?

Have you smelled your dog or cat’s breath lately? Take a sniff of your dog or cat’s breath (preferably not right after eating!) It doesn’t have to be a long one and it doesn’t have to smell like fragrance, but it shouldn’t be offensive or off-smelling either. If your dog or cat’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, your beloved might have a digestive problem or a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet. 

Take the time to examine your dog or cat’s gums

The easiest and most efficient way to examine your dog or cat’s gums is to do so with care!  Make sure that your dog or cat is facing you and then gently push back his or her lips and take a look. Your pets’ gums should be firm and pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling (really not that different from human gums). The teeth should be clean and free of any brownish tartar, and none should be loose or broken obviously!

Dental Health For Cats and Dog

Make sure to check our teeth?!

 

Make sure to peruse your dog or cat’s mouth for anything unusual

If you see any of the below, there could be a bigger dental issue in your cat or dog’s mouth:

  • Dark red line along the gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus or extreme salivation
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive pawing at the mouth area

If you find any swelling or inflammation, you should take your dog or cat in for a veterinary exam. If you leave it untreated, gum disease can develop which could lead to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or a virus.

Look out for tooth decay in your dog or cat

Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup your dog or cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.  Regular teeth cleanings, of course, helps combat tooth decay (as it does in people).

Schedule a time to brush your dog or cat’s teeth

While it’s not always easy, it’s important to brush your dog or cat’s teeth.  You’ll need cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and a type of toothpaste formulated for dogs or cats. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest some brushing supplies and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people as the ingredients can be unhealthy for your dog or cat.  You can also see my article on brushing your dogs’ teeth and same idea in cats:  Click Here! 

 

Implement chew toys in your dog or cat’s lives

Chew toys are great for your cats and especially dogs for so many reasons.  It keeps your pets’ occupied and can also make their teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away soft tartar.

If your dog or cat has dental issues, look for a food that helps their teeth.

If your dog or cat has dental troubles, ask your veterinarian to recommend a food that keeps your beloved’s teeth healthy and helps to remove plaque buildup.  There are a lot of different type of food on the market today that are made specifically for your dog or cat’s dental health.  If you implement this type of food in their diet, that should help dental issues.

Make sure to take the time to check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly for any issues that might occur.  If you see anything out of the ordinary, make sure to schedule and appoint with your veterinarian.  If you keep up with dental cleanings with your vet, you will help your pet’s long term dental and overall health.  Preventive care is the best care of all.

 

 

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