A friend of mine recently adopted a cute little mutt from her local shelter. She already has a big dog at home and is hoping that her new dog, Shelby, will get along well with her bigger dog, Captain. As with all dogs, it isn’t merely about size when introductions are being made, but temperament and history can also come into play.
Below are some tips to help make the transition easier.
If possible, try to introduce your small dog to other small dogs
If you can introduce your smaller dog to another small dog or one of equal size, it is a great place to start. See if a friend or neighbor has a dog of similar size to your pup that is already accustomed to being around other dogs. If your dog appears comfortable and happy with other small dogs, then set up a date with a friend who has a medium-sized dog, and then continue to work up in size until you get the official meet and greet with your big dog.
If you can’t find another small dog or don’t have the time, start the introductions slowly.
Start the introductions from a distance
If your small dog seems to be nervous around your big dog, try introducing him or her to the bigger dog from a safe distance. Use gates to contain both dogs in individual spaces, but let them sniff each other and see one another. This will help you determine how comfortable they are around each other. Once they seem comfortable/and or like each other, you can go on to the next step.
Make sure to keep both dogs on a leash
When you let your dogs out of a controlled environment such as a gate, make sure that both dogs are wearing leashes. A dog harness might even be more preferable as you can have better control over your dog’s movements. If possible, let the smaller dog lead the way as they are usually shyer around big dogs. Let the small dog smell the big dog, play with her and set the pace.
Once they seem to be OK this way, you can let them off leash and see how they do. But, make sure to only let them off leash when you are there to supervise and observe. If you have to leave them unsupervised at the beginning, make sure that each has their own space such as a crate or keep one dog inside and one outside while you are away.
Reward your dog(s) for good behavior.
Always reward your dogs for behaving well with each other, especially from the start. Whenever you introduce your dog to any other dog, make sure you praise him or her and offer his favorite treat when he behaves well to reinforce that good behavior. The constant rewards and reassurance of making ‘nice’ while meeting other pups will consistently reinforce the fact that making friends with other dogs is a great thing!
With time and patience, your dogs will invariably become great friends and happy comrades!
As we all know, there are unfortunate events that can take place that are beyond our control. There are natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wild fires that can occur. Hopefully, you will never experience one of the above, but as always, it is best for you to be prepared for you and your pets.
Below are some important tips to help you be prepared:
Plan ahead and find a safe place for you and your pets
For the most part, evacuation shelters don’t allow pets; therefore, you should plan ahead to make sure that your family and your pets will have a safe place to stay. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to do your research.
Ask friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area if they would shelter you and your pets if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you might have to house them separately. You should also make a list of veterinarians and boarding facilities that shelter pets in emergencies.
If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.
The most important thing that you can do to protect your pets if you evacuate is to take your pets with you! If it’s not safe for you to stay at home, then it’s not safe for your pets. Pets that are left inside your home can escape through broken windows or other storm-damaged areas of your home.
Once you leave your home, you don’t know how long you’ll be away and you might not be able to go back for your pets. If you leave, even if you it will be for a short time, make surer to take your pets with you.
Your pets need to wear identification.
As always, your pets should be wearing identification at all times. It’s a good idea to include a number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area as well as your phone number.
Disaster Supply Checklist for Pets
Be prepared and know ahead of time what you need to take with you when you evacuate. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Try to stock up on non-perishables ahead of time and have everything ready to. Keep everything stored in sturdy containers that can be carried easily (such as Tupperware or even a duffel bag).
Make sure to bring food, water, bowls, cat litter and litter box, and a manually-operated can opener. You can also bring pet toys and beds, only if they are easily moved.
If you wait out the disaster at home, find a safe place for you and your pets
If your family and pets must wait out a disaster at home, find a safe area of your house where you can all stay together. Try to keep your dogs on their leashes and your cats in their carriers. Have your pet medications and a supply of pet food and water inside containers with your other emergency supplies.
If you’re not at home, contact a neighbor or friend that lives nearby
If a disaster strikes when you aren’t home, try to find a neighbor or friend to help. They can check on your pets and/or even get them for you (assuming it is safe). Make sure they know where a key is or how to access your home.
I hope that you and/or your pets never experience a natural disaster or any other bad experience at home. But, as in all emergency situations, if you are prepared, than you and your pets will survive it safely.
As we all know, our cats come in different shapes, sizes and temperaments. Some cats are gregarious and love being around all sorts of people. They come out and greet your friends and let them pet him or her. And, then other cats run and hide under the bed or the nearest couch whenever a guest arrives.
A cat’s temperament could be just inherent in its make-up or it could be a factor of having a fearful event as a kitten. This can happen when adopting a pet and your kitty or adult cat came from a less than desirable environment.
Cats that haven’t spent a lot of time with people can be afraid
To be social around all types of people, a cat must have had many opportunities to meet numerous new people while still a kitten. The more time spent with new people, the more social your cat will be when meeting new friends or guests.
Even cats who did meet lots of people when they were kitties can be afraid of specific kinds of people that they didn’t meet often, such as young children or men. Having a bad experience with a person can also make a cat fearful around people. This fear might remain specific to the person or it might include other people as well.
If possible, try to introduce your kitten to many people
If you have a kitten, give your little feline friend a lot of opportunity to meet all different types of people. When your kitten is social with this new person, make sure that your friend rewards your kitty with praise or treats. Some kittens don’t even need ‘rewards’ and are simply gregarious around new people while others might need some coaxing.
For adult cats that are fearful of people, introduce them slowly.
If you have an adult cat that is afraid of people, the best way to conquer his fear around guests is to ask your guests to approach your cat very gradually and give him lots of rewards along the way. It is even better to let your cat approach your new visitors on his or her own timetable. If your cat will come within several feet of visitors, ask your guests to gently toss treats or toys for him.
If your cat doesn’t come out from where he is hidden, you can shake his food bag (if he is an eater like my cat!) or place one of his or her toys near his hiding place. Call him or her out with a soothing voice and let him come out on his own time. If he or she remains hidden, try again next time. It can take many attempts to get your cat comfortable.
Provide high places for your cat to observe
If your cat has a place where he can watch what is going on around him or her, this might help him feel more comfortable. You can use a kitty tree or let him jump on a shelf and watch how much fun you and your guests are having. Maybe he will then come out and join the fun.
If the change is sudden, there could be an underlying medical condition
If your cat has been social in the past and that is no longer the case, it might be attributed to a medical condition. If you notice any unusual physical or behavioral changes, or if your cat stops eating, see your veterinarian right away to rule out medical problems.
I hope these tips help and your cat becomes more ‘social’ around new people.
My friend, Wanda, has a dog named Poggibonsi (one our of our beloved Petpav members) that recently lost her hearing. Her loss of hearing was gradual and Poggibosni was at first confused. Yet, after her parents learned how to communicate with her, it eased her anxiety.
As we all know, it is so hard to watch our dogs’ age and become less responsive to us and their environment. It’s even harder when we have trouble communicating with them especially as they lose their hearing.
Below are some ways to help you and your dog communicate and be fulfilled even without their hearing.
Communicate with your hands
Try to communicate with your hands. You can point things out to your dog when it is time to eat. You can also show your dogs his or her leash when you plan to take your dog out. It might take a little time to get used to communicating with your hands, but our pups are smart and will learn hand signals in a short time. Practice and patience is key and the more hand signals you can use to communicate, the better.
Use touching as a way of communication
You can touch your dog and then use your hand signals. If you need to make a point, touch or pet your dog (preferably from the front so you don’t scare your pup or a light touch to his back) and then gesture with your hands what needs to be done. If your dog is sleeping, you can even tap next to him as he should feel the sound vibrations. And, of course, pet your older dog often as your dog ages as a sign of love and caring; this is a scary time for him as he transitions into old age.
Buy a disaster whistle
Buy a disaster whistle and use it to condition your dog as a means of communication. Even deaf dogs tend to hear this high pitched whistle. You can train your dog that this is a good sound and a way to communicate. When you blow the whistle, pair it with some rewards or treats, so when your dog comes to you and can associate the sound as a positive experience. This means of communication can be very important if your dog gets out and can’t hear you calling his name.
Make your house manageable for a deaf dog
Try to manage your house to prevent situations that might cause accidents due to your dog’s lack of hearing and response. Just think of your dog as a puppy and a lot of the things or sounds he might encounter could seem new and be a potential threat. If you have more than one pet, you might want to separate them when you aren’t home. The other pet or pets might not be sensitive to your deaf dogs needs and unintentionally hurt him or her.
Be extra cautious when you take your dog out
When you take your dog out for a walk, make sure not to let him or her off-leash. Your dog might not hear oncoming cars, a barking dog or other outside noises or threats. Your dog further might not notice approaching bikes or runners so keep an eye and ear out for your pup. If you decide to go to a dog park, supervise your dog and make sure that the playing doesn’t get rough.
As our dogs get older, just like humans, we need to be more gentle, understanding and patient. It is so hard to watch our pets’ age, but we can help them live a long, fulfilling life.
It is pretty rare for a cat to cough. I have heard my cat, Sammy, sneeze but not cough. There are a few reasons why your cat might cough. If the cause is not medical, than you have nothing to worry about. However, if your cat has a persistent cough, it is important to have your cat examined by your vet.
Below are the non- medical reasons why your cat might cough:
Your cat has a hairball.
Cats with hairball issues will often cough a few times before eventually expelling the matted, yucky looking fur or hairball. You can always tell by the lovely leftovers on your floor if this is the case.
Your cat ate something that didn’t digest well
Cats who like to eat leaves, grass, and other strange items might cough as the food makes its way down their throat. You will know if you have one of those cats that likes to eat everything. Usually your cat won’t keep it down and will throw up the item as well.
The following are possible medical conditions that could occur if your cat is coughing
This is a very prevalent disease in this area. It is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; however, even indoor cats are susceptible to heartworm disease. Prevention is available for cats in topical products and/oral prevention. Your veterinarian can recommend some different medications.
Asthma or Bronchial Disease:
This is the most common disorder usually triggered by allergies. An inflammatory reaction in the bronchial tubes can cause a constriction of the airways and excess mucus causing a cough. Have your veterinarian examine your cat if you think he or she has asthma. As in humans, there are antihistamines that can be taken to minimize the asthma or medication for a bronchial illness.
Bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections can cause pneumonia which creates fluid excess in the lungs, causing a cough. Again, a vet can test for this by taking blood work.
An object is stuck in your cat’s trachea
A cough can be caused by something stuck in the throat or trachea such as a ball or mouse. This is very serious and hopefully you will know if your cat has swallowed a foreign object. If you think this is the case, get your cat to the vet or emergency room as soon as possible.
Heart disease can cause fluid buildup around the heart and in the lungs creating a cough. This is a very serious condition and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
I hope that your cat never has a persistent cough. But, if he or she does, the above can give you some guidance on what could be the source or cause.