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Halloween Can Be a Scary Time for Your Pets

While Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults, it can be a very scary night for your pets.  While we are all dressed up and having a fun time (and some of our pets dress up too), it is important to keep your eyes on your pets so they don’t get too scared or sick.

Below are some tips and/or reminders of what to look out for to keep your pets safe on Halloween.

1. Watch out for the trick or treats. That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for your dog or cat. Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach aches in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your dog or cat could suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

Halloween Pet Advice

 

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive and part of the ritual, but please be careful if you decide to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume if your pet resists it (some pets don’t mind it, while other hate it). For pets who prefer their native fur, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your dog or cat, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict your dog or cat’s movement, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your dog or cat seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, put a fun bandana or something festive that doesn’t bother him or her.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. Keep your dogs and cats confined and away from the door. Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

9. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. Outdoor cats’ are known to get lost on Halloween.  Black cats are especially threatened as well.

10. Make sure that your dog or cats have their proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

If you follow the necessary precautions, it can make Halloween a much less scary time for your pets.

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Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language – From Eyes to Tails

Dogs are very expressive animals. They communicate when they’re feeling happy, sad, nervous, fearful and angry and they use their faces and bodies to convey much of this information. Dog body language is an elaborate and sophisticated system of nonverbal communication that we can learn to interpret.  As you get to know your dog and spend more time with your pups, you can learn their non-verbal communication fairly predictably.

Dogs use facial expressions, ears, eyes, tails and their overall demeanor to signal their feelings to others. There are so many nuances in understanding your dog’s body language and one way to approach a fundamental understanding is to learn what their different body part are telling us.  This can also be helpful when approaching or meeting a new dog.

Your dog’s facial expression

Your dog’s basic facial expressions can tell you a great deal about how he’s feeling.  You can see it in his or her face whether he or she is content, scared, sleepy or just calm.  It’s the first place to look and then you can get more specific.

Your dog’s eyes

The direction of your dog’s eyes can also be telling. Dogs rarely look directly into each other’s eyes because this is considered a threat. However, most dogs learn that it’s okay, even pleasant, to look directly at people. A dog who looks at you with a relaxed facial expression is being friendly and hoping that you’ll notice him. A dog who looks directly at you, actually staring at you with a tense facial expression, is not exactly friendly. A direct stare is much more likely to be a threat, and if you’re near a dog with this expression, you might want to look away!

Dog Body Language Parts

This is my friendly look!

If your dog doesn’t look directly at you, but instead looks out of the corners of his eyes so that you see a more of the whites of his eyes, he might be leading up to an aggressive outburst. This usually happens when a dog is guarding a chew bone, toy or favorite spot. It’s different than the eye of a dog who is resting with his head and opens his eyes to give you a sideways glance. In this case, he won’t appear rigid or tense, and you won’t see much of the whites of his eyes.

Your dog’s mouth

Dogs do a lot more with their mouths than just eat and drink. Even though they can’t use their mouths to talk, the way they position their lips, jaws and teeth speaks volumes. When your dog is relaxed and happy, he’s likely to have his mouth closed or slightly opened. If your pup’s mouth is open, he may be panting-this is how dogs cool their bodies. You might see his teeth because his mouth is slightly opened.

A dog that is frightened or feeling submissive probably has his mouth closed. His lips might be pulled back slightly at the corners. He might flick his tongue in and out, or he might lick if he’s interacting with a person or another animal. When he’s feeling uptight, he might yawn in an exaggerated fashion.

Some dogs show a half grin when they’re feeling submissive. They pull their lips up vertically and display their front teeth. This half grin is usually accompanied by an overall submissive body posture, such as a lowered head, yelping or whining, and squinty eyes. Only some dogs “grin” this way.

Your dog’s ears

When your dog is relaxed and comfortable, he’ll hold his ears naturally. When he’s alert, he’ll raise them higher on his head and he’ll direct them toward whatever’s holding his interest. Your dog will also raise his ears up and forward when he’s feeling aggressive. If your dog has his ears pulled back slightly, his intention is to be friendly. If his ears are completely flattened or stuck out to the sides of his head, he’s usually frightened or feeling submissive.

Your dog’s tail

When your dog is relaxed, he’ll hold his tail in its natural position. If he’s feeling happy, he may wag it gently from side to side. If he’s really happy, like when he greets you after being apart from you, his tail will wag more forcefully from side to side or might even move in a circular pattern. If your dog feels nervous or submissive, he’ll hold his tail lower and might even tuck it between his rear legs. He may still wag it from side to side, often at a more rapid pace than if he’s relaxed. If he’s really scared or feeling extremely submissive, he’ll hold his tail tucked up tight against his belly.

When your dog is alert or aroused about something, he’ll probably hold his tail higher than normal. He’ll hold it stiff, without any movement. If he’s standing his ground or threatening someone (a person or another animal), your dog might holds his tail stiff and high and moves it rigidly back and forth. It might look like he’s wagging his tail, but everything else about his body tells you that he’s not feeling friendly at the moment.

There are so many nuances to understanding your dog and as you get to know the different body parts and what they are ‘telling you’, you can interpret in advance how your dog is feeling as a whole!

 

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Why Do Our Cat’s Meow?

 

While our cats are usually quiet little felines, and don’t ‘bark’ as much as dogs, they do meow as a way to communicate with us. Adult cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at people (unless they are provoked or attacked). Kittens meow to let their mother know they’re cold or hungry, but once they get a bit older, cats no longer meow to other cats. Cats also yowl—a sound similar to the meow but more drawn out and melodic (also known as the night meows).

Below are some of the reasons why our cat’s meow:

Cats will meow as a meet and greet

Your cat will usually greet you when you arrive home, when he or she meets up with you in the house or and when you speak to her.  They will often look you in the eyes and meow to say ‘hello’.  Or if not the meow…it’s the beautiful double closed eyes which means they adore you!

Why do our cats meow loud

Cats will meow to get attention or noticed

Most cats enjoy social contact with people and some will be quite vocal in their requests for attention. Your kitty will meow because he or she wants to be pet or stroked, played with or simply talked to. Cats who are left alone for long periods of time each day may be more likely to meow for attention.  They are lonely and want you to pay attention to them!

Cats will meow to ask for food

Most cats like to eat, and they can be quite demanding around mealtimes. Some cats learn to meow whenever anyone enters the kitchen, just in case food might be on its’ way. Other cats will meow to wake you up to serve them breakfast as they are hungry! Cats also learn to beg for human food by meowing.

Cats will meow if they want to go outside (even if you won’t let them)

Meowing is the cat’s primary way to let you know what she wants. If your cat wants to go outside, he or she will learn to meow at the door. If you’re trying to transition a cat from being indoor-outdoor to living exclusively indoors, you may be in for a period of incessant meowing at doors and windows. This is a difficult change for a cat to make and it will very likely take week for the meowing to stop.

An older cat will meow out of a pain and confusion

Elderly cats suffering from mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, may meow if they become disoriented—a frequent symptom of this feline version of Alzheimer’s.  Or sometimes they just meow out the window for no reason at all.  But, not to worry, this is normal.

If your cat meows excessively, take him or her to the vet

A cat that meows excessively should be checked thoroughly by a veterinarian to ensure a medical condition is not the cause of the cat’s distress. Numerous diseases can cause cats to feel unusually hungry, thirsty, restless or irritable, any of which is likely to prompt meowing. Even if your cat has a history of meowing for food, you should still have her checked by your veterinarian. As cats age, they’re prone to developing an overactive thyroid and kidney disease, and either one may result in excessive meowing.

When your cat meows, don’t ignore your kitty or scold him or her

Do not ignore your cat when she meows. The one exception is if you know that she’s only meowing to get you to do something she wants. Otherwise, it is safe to assume that there is something wrong.  It could be as simple as he or she is hungry, the water bowl is empty or your cat might not have access the litter box.  It also could be your cat is in pain.

Don’t ever scold your cat for meowing too much. While the yelling may just send your cat running away, it will not have a lasting effect on her meowing behavior but instead will make your kitty fearful of you. So, then you end up with two problems.  Just sit down and pet your cat instead and the meow will most likely end up in a purring session.

 

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Crate Training Your Dog Can Be Effective When Done Correctly

While not all dog owners like the idea of crate training their puppy or dog, there can be many benefits.  The experience can actually be positive for both dogs and their owners. In fact, crate training your dog can provide your dog with a sense of security. Dogs naturally live in dens. Dens protect them from danger, keep them warm and dry, and help them to keep their young safe and protected.

By using a crate as a modern dog den, your dog’s natural instincts will ensure they keep their crate clean and dry. So you’re not only providing a safe and comforting place for your dog to rest, you are using the den to help with house training.  However, each dog is different and you need to decide whether crate training is even an option.

Crate Training For Dog Owners

 

Crates can be easily misused, however. Crate training is best used as a relatively short-term management tool, not as a lifetime pattern of housing. Your goal should be to work on any behavior problems and train your dog so that it’s not necessary to crate her 8 to 10 hours every weekday throughout her life.

Using a Crate to House Train Your Dog

You can use a crate to safely contain your dog during the night and whenever you can’t monitor her behavior closely. Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping areas, so your dog will naturally avoid eliminating in her crate. If used for house training purposes, the crate should be sized so that your dog can lie down comfortably, stand up without having to crouch and easily turn around in a circle. If the crate is any larger, she might learn to soil one end of it and sleep at the other. If the crate is any smaller, she might be uncomfortable and unable to rest.

Using a crate will help you predict when your dog needs to eliminate and control where she eliminates. If she’s been crated overnight or for a few hours during the day, the chances are extremely high that she’ll eliminate as soon as your dog release her from the crate and take her outside.

Crate training can prevent destructive behavior

Dogs and puppies need to learn to refrain from doing a lot of things in their homes, like digging on furniture or rugs, chewing table legs, cushions or other household items, and stealing from garbage cans or counters. To teach your dog not to do things you don’t like, you must be able to observe and monitor her behavior. Confining your dog to a crate can prevent unwanted behavior when you can’t supervise her or have to leave her home alone.  Again, this is a temporary solution and should only be done while training.

Choosing the correct crate for your dog

Crates come in every size, shape, material, and color. Before purchasing a crate, consider the size of your dog and how the crate will be used. Your dog's crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around. If it is too big, it won’t feel comfortable for him. If you’re buying a crate for a new puppy, choose a crate size that will fit him when he’s an adult.  Simply block off the excess crate space so he is unable to eliminate at the back and sleep in the front.

You need to work with your dog in short sessions to use the crate effectively

Depending on the age of your dog, you’ll have to time your crate use strategically. Young puppies can’t hold their bladder and need to go outside every hour or two. Once they’re more than three month’s old, they are able to hold their bladder a bit longer.   You will get the hang of it depending on your dog’s needs.

An older dog sometimes has elimination issues as well.  Therefore, at this point in his or her life, you will need to monitor his needs when he or she is in his crate.

Don’t ever use a crate for punishment

Don’t ever use the crate for punishment. Your dog’s crate is supposed to be a safe and happy place. It is where he or she sleeps and will become his little home. If you use his crate for punishment, then it loses its value. It is no longer a safe place and will lead to resentment and potentially destructive behaviors.

If you use a crate correctly and not for a long term solution (unless your dog just loves it in his or her crate), crate training can be a very effective house-training solution.  If our dog whines or is unhappy in it and/or scared, try to find another way to train your puppy or dog.

 

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Petpav’s Friendliest Pet Contest!

Petpav is the friendliest pet social network.  Now is your chance to not only make new friends and get pet advice on petpav.com, but you can win one of six different prizes! And, of course, joining the site is free and no purchase is necessary to participate.

Social Media Pet Contest

How to participate:

You need to build a complete pet profile on petpav.com (including a picture of your pet or pets) and be friendly on the site (from October 14th thru November 12th 2014) to qualify.  This means that you need to be active on the site:  make friends, comment on the petworking wall (news-feed) and be your cute, friendly self. Current members may also participate in the contest.

The top winner gets his or her first choice of prize, the second winner gets the next choice of prize and the third winner gets their choice up to the final sixth prize!

The Prizes include:

1.  An awesome Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier for your dog or cat from Quaker Pet Group!  ($65 dollar value)

2.  A fantastic KaninoBox Travel Pack from American Paw for your active pup!  ($75 value)

3.  A $50 gift certificate from the adorable Snoots & Boots Boutique

4.  A matching leash and collar set from the fabulous Fancy Furbaby ($37 value)

5.  A Kookamunga Funky Fish Cat Bed, refillable Cat  Beaver Toy and some Advanced Litter Box Oder Destroyer (24oz) from the pawesome All Pets Discount Supply-  ($50 value)

 6.  A funtatstic Doga Unleashed DVD which is a fun yoga workout for you and your pup and a custom-designed calendar from Doga Unleashed ($30 value)

Remember, if you have more than one pet, only one pet per email address can enter.  All participants must be eighteen (18) years or older at the time of entry.   Upon designation of a winner, the owner must be able to prove that they are 18 years old.

By participating, entrants agree to:

Be bound by these Official Rules, the site’s Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy as dictated by petpav.com.

Each participant who enters the contest does so at his/her own risk. By entering the contest, each participant acknowledges and agrees that Petpav.com has not made nor is responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied in the contest.  Petpav.com also reserves the right to extend the contest due to lack of participation.

Winning the Prize:

The winners will be announced on November 14th and will have 72 hours to respond and accept the offer before an alternate winner(s) will be selected.  All winners shall be subject to verification of age upon selection. The contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

By acceptance of a prize as a winner, consent to the unrestricted use of his/her name, city, state, likeness and photograph of his or her pet for advertising, promotional and trade purposes in any medium throughout the world in perpetuity by petpav.com and potentially the Sponsor and its related and affiliated companies (and those acting pursuant to their authority) without additional compensation, notice, review or approval, to the extent permitted by law.

Join petpav.com today and start making friends!  Why wouldn’t you!