Pet Forum

How to Help Your Overly Active Dog

If your dog is filled with an abundant amount of energy, he or she is probably an overactive dog.  An overactive dog typically has endless energy, loves to walk for hours and never seems to get tired.  As a dog owner, there is no need for alarm with an overactive dog; just make sure that an overactive dog gets enough exercise and training.

However, a hyperactive dog is more problematic as he or she is similar to a child that is hyperactive… his activity is almost frantic.  A hyperactive dog will pant constantly and has a heart rate that is elevated.  And, this behavior continues until he or she is so tired, that the poor pup passes out.  This can be dangerous in dogs and should be monitored.

Take your dog to the Vet

The first thing you should do if you think that you have a hyperactive dog is take him or her to the vet to see if there is a medical issue.  Make sure to properly document why or how you think your dog is hyperactive.  If your dog truly is hyperactive, he most likely will demonstrate this behavior while you are with your vet.

 

 

Based on a full medical examination of your seemingly hyper dog, your vet can come to a conclusion about the reason for his excess activity levels. She may prescribe medication to treat any medical causes of his behavior.  There are some medications that you can try to see if it helps the issue.

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise

Even if your vet does describe medication, you should first try exercising your dog more and see if this helps his over-activity.  If you take him or her on runs and teach him after to sit down on a mat and rest, this could help. Remember, that behavioral changes take time so don’t expect results overnight.  With time and effort, you might be able to calm your dog merely by working him out more.

Your dog might be hyperactive due to lack of training

Some hyperactive dogs become this way due to lack of training.  Maybe you adopted a dog that won’t settle down.  Or maybe you have given your dog too much attention even when they are barking, jumping or biting your furniture and he likes the attention.  Your dog will need to learn the basics of dog training and if you think he is hyperactive, you should hire a dog trainer.  A trainer will be more skilled to teach you how to work with your dog.

Some dogs are not hyperactive but suffer from anxiety

Some dogs suffer from anxiety and are constantly stressed out.  This usually manifests itself by dogs that pace the floor and pant heavily.   These dogs might have a compulsive disorder and as in humans can repeat the same behavior over and. These dogs aren't hyperactive; they just need help to settle down.   A vet will know if your dog has a compulsive disorder and will prescribe medication or it could be time to see an animal behavior specialist.

If your dog is seemingly hyperactive, make sure to give him plenty of time, love, attention and exercise and that might just be the cure.

 

Is Wet Food Better Than Dry Food for Your Cats?

Some of our cats are very finicky eaters and will only eat a certain kind of food.  Some cats like wet food better while others like dry food better.  There are benefits of both wet and dry food, but if your cat is not a finicky eater, the choice is yours and your cats!  So what’s a cat owner to do?

What is the real difference between wet and dry food?

Both canned and dry foods are (if you buy a high quality food) nutritionally complete. The biggest difference between the two is moisture content with canned food having a much higher moisture content.  Many cats do seem to find wet food more palatable and this can be especially important if you have a cat with a finicky appetite. 

Wet food is beneficial as it has a higher water content

Due to its higher water content, wet or canned food can be of particular benefit for cats with kidney problems (it helps keep them better hydrated) or lower urinary tract disease (it helps produce more dilute urine that can alleviate or reduce the frequency of symptoms).

 

The higher water content may make it easier to put your kitty on a diet (if necessary) because most cans of cat food contain roughly the same number of calories as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry food, but in a larger volume of food, so the cat may feel fuller at meal time.

The benefits of dry food are the following:

Dry food is good for your cat’s teeth

Dry kibble can be more convenient and many vets feel that dry food is better for a cat's teeth. However, dry food is not a substitute for dental care and most cats, regardless of whether they have eaten canned food or dry food, will need professional dental care at some point in their lives.

Dry food can be left out all day

Dry food is also convenient for cat owners who leave their cats at home alone every day and want them to be able to graze during the day.  Some cats that are not big eaters will nibble at it all day until they are full.  However, if your cat is overweight or tends to eat a lot, only leave out a certain amount of dry food during the day so that he doesn’t gorge when you aren’t around!

If you feed your cats’ dry food, make sure that your kitty drink water

If you feed your cat dry food, he or she should drink at least one cup of water for every ten pounds of body weight daily. In warm weather, your cat will need even more. Cats on canned food diets only need to consume one-third to one-half that amount of water.

Ultimately, wet or dry food is up to you and your kitty

The real decision should come down to your cat and your lifestyle.   If your cat is happy with both, feed your kitty wet food in the morning and leave dry food out all day.   If your cat only likes dry, then just make sure to have plenty of water for your cat due to the lack of water in the dry food.  If you feed your cat a premium cat food, with very few additives and enough crude protein, he or she is likely to thrive whether the food is wet or dry.

 

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Cats are such beautiful pets and each cat has his own personality, look, and temperament.   All cats do have many of the same physical traits and attributes, such as your cats’ whiskers.  And most cat owners, including myself, love the look a cat’s whiskers but have never really thought about why cats actually have whiskers. 

Cats use their whiskers for a wide variety of functions. Whiskers provide some of the most important way for cats to gather information about their environment. Cats also use whiskers to communicate their emotions.  Further, cats use their whiskers as a sort of navigational tool which is why it is critical to never trim or cut them off.

Some fun and useful facts about your cat’s whiskers!

Cats use their whiskers to navigate and feel their way around

Whiskers help a cat feel his way around. Whiskers are so sensitive that they can detect the slightest change in an air current or breeze. The air current in a room changes according to where things are located. As a cat walks through a room and approaches a couch, chair or table, your cat knows which direction to turn based on the change in the air current and/or direction of the furniture.

 

 

Whiskers help measure openings

Whiskers also help our cats measure an opening.  Our kitties love to climb through things and in and out of closets, doorways and narrow areas.  The whiskers give our cats the information they need to make sure that they can fit through the opening.  Most cats’ whiskers are approximately the diameter of his or her body width.

Whiskers are used to communicate and are a mood indicator

Cats communicate with their whiskers and are also a great mood indicator. Understanding or being able to monitor your cat's whiskers will give you some good information about your cat's mood and if they are open to playing or want to be left alone.

When a cat is angry or feels defensive, his or her whiskers will be pulled back. Frightened cats hold their whiskers back against their cheeks to appear less threatening, while angry cats also pull back their whiskers. Otherwise, when the cat is happy, curious or content, the whiskers will be more relaxed and pushed forward.  This is a good time to play, cuddle and hang out with your feline friend.

Cats are unable to function without whiskers

Without whiskers, cats can become confused and often get lost. Whiskers help guide them in the dark to avoid running into objects.  Whiskers are a vital part of a cat’s mobility and sense of security. Without whiskers, cats would not be able jump around and/or protect themselves from dangerous situations.

Never cut your cat’s whiskers!

It is important to leave your cat's whiskers alone and never cut them. Cats are at a great disadvantage without their whiskers as they depend on them for so many things.  Your cat may lose whiskers from time to time, but not to worry. Whiskers normally shed like other hairs in your cat's coat.

 

3 Ways to Make Raw Feeding More Affordable

by Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging

What attracted me to raw feeding was that it sounded simple, inexpensive, and was the answer to all of our dog’s digestive issues, allergies, and joint pain.  When I started my research, I quickly realized that raw feeding wasn’t inexpensive; especially when you’re raising several big dogs.  Over the past few years, I’ve learned enough to allow me to feed four dogs a raw food diet without breaking the bank.

1. Choose Homemade Over Pre-made Raw

Whenever someone asks me how to get started with raw feeding, I recommend starting with a reputable pre-made raw brand, because you don’t have to worry about ingredients, sourcing, and creating a balanced raw diet.  Of course, you’re going to pay premium for someone to do this for you.

If you have the storage space, you can buy meat and other ingredients in bulk when you find good deals.

 

2. Find a Local Raw Food Co-Op

I belong to a co-op that services Oregon and Washington pet owners.  Not only can I order meat from local farms, I can order canned food, dry food, cat food, treats, supplements, toys, and other supplies.  Most of my shopping is now conducted through our local co-op.  As a member, I’ve been able cut our shopping budget by 50% - the annual membership is less than $50.

Find an updated list of US raw food co-ops at Keep the Tail Wagging

3. Feed a Partial Raw Diet

This option isn’t ideal, however, in my opinion - some raw is better than no raw. 

When our dogs were transitioned to raw, I fed them pre-made raw in the morning and dry dog food in the evening.  It worked out really well for our dogs and our budget.  If you choose to go this route, don’t mix the raw and dry dog food in the same meal - this can lead to stomach upset.

I started making our dogs’ raw meals at home two years ago.  At first, it was a lot of work, but once I developed a system, it became easy.  If the cost of feeding raw is holding you back, know that it is possible to afford a raw diet for your dog.

 

About the Author:  Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding, dog supplements, and raising littermates.  Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore.  Kimberly finished her first e-book on raw feeding called Raw Feeding from A to Z.  Rodrigo, Sydney, Scout and Zoey are all herding mix dogs, including Blue Heeler, Border Collie, Catahoula, Australian Shepherd, and Labrador (a lover, not a herder).

 

 

DepositPhoto/photo- deti

 

6 Tips to Cut Your Cat’s Nails Quickly and Painlessly!

Our cats are inherently scratchers. They love to stretch, stick out those claws and scratch anything they can!  We love to keep our furniture and skin intact, so it’s important to trim your cat’s nails every few weeks.   If you start the process while your cats are young, it makes it much easier to maintain throughout adulthood.

The key is to take your time, bring treats, and to trim your cat’s nails right after he or she has woken up from a nap and is groggy. 

1.  Get your cat used to your playing with his or her paws

It’s important for you to simply play and/or stroke your cats’ paws so your kitty can get used to your touching them.  Sit down and place your kitty on your lap.  Stroke your kitties’ paws and go back to petting your cat.  This is the first way to build trust and that touching paws equals petting.

 

 

2.  Choose the correct cat trimmers

There are plenty of tools available to trim a cat's claws; use the one that works best for you and your pet.  Whatever your tool of choice, be sure the blade remains sharp; the blunt pressure from dull blades may hurt an animal and cause a nail to split or bleed. Keep something to stop bleeding, such as styptic powder, cornstarch, or a dry bar of soap (to rub the bleeding nail across), nearby.

3.  Approach your kitty slowly while ‘hiding’ your trimmers

If you approach your kitty with a sharp object in one hand while trying to grab his or her paw with the other, odds are you'll come up empty-handed. Some cats do well with no restraint at all, but most cats need to be held firmly but gently to make sure that no one gets hurt. Try taking your kitty in the crook of one arm while holding one paw with the other hand. Or, you can put your cat on your lap and start this way

4.  Trim one paw at a time as fast as you can

Take your cat’s paw in your hand and use your thumb and pointer finger to gently press down on the top and bottom of the paw on the joint just behind the claw. This will cause the claw to extend so you can quickly but carefully snip off the sharp tip and no more.  Then, onto the next.  Don’t get too close to the pink part of the nail called "the quick" as cutting into this area will likely cause bleeding and pain. 

5.  You can get away with only cutting the front nails

It's common to only cut the front claws, but take a look at your kitty’s rear claws just in case they've gotten too long or their sharp tips hurt you when your cat leaps on or off your lap. Since most cats fuss more about having their rear claws clipped, start with the front claws.

6.  You might need more than one session to cut your cat’s nails

If you aren't able to trim all ten nails at once, don't worry. Few cats can stay still for more than a few minutes, so take what you can get and then be on the lookout for the next opportunity to cut your cat’s nails.  ALWAYS praise your cat with love and/or treats after a cutting session so your kitty can start associating the process as a good thing that gets rewarded.  As always, practice makes perfect and the more you try to cut your kitty’s nails, the easier it becomes for both of you.

If the process it too hard for you, you might need one more person to help.  You can always have your veterinarian cut your cat’s nails or you can also take your kitty to a professional groomer.  Some cats don’t mind getting their nails cut, while others just won’t tolerate it. Either way, it is very important for your cat’s health and your furniture to keep your cat’s nails short.  Good luck!