Is it okay to leash your cat?

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An increasing number of cat owners take their pet out for a walk on a leash. Most-but not all- felines love being outside, an environment of birds’ mellow chirping and the scent of trees and grass. If your cat is of the outdoor type, then walking it on a leash will strengthen the bond which exists between you two. It is perfectly okay to leash your cat.

Do understand not all cats like a leash to put around their body. They may not like to walk outside the home. If your cat is of the indoor type, do not force it outside. Respect its decisions.

Not all cats love unadulterated nature

Not all cats love to go outside the house. Some may actually detest trees, grasses, and wild animals. Those who do love being outside may love it so much that they scratch everything, especially trees. Once they understand you have no problem if they scratch outdoor things, they will be extremely happy. Remember a cat outside will be much more intelligent than an indoor cat. This is as the outdoor kitty thinks more. It will find out how to use its body and the smells of different things which come its way. The cat will be more engaged.

Taking your cat outdoors may transform the always scared kitty into a brave feline. When your cat knows that nothing bad is waiting for them around the corner, it will be more confident. Being confident means a happier animal.

Train before leash

Do not put the leash on your cat one fine day and then take it outside. Train it indoors before you open the main door. Buy a harness and keep it in the house. Allow your kitty to get familiar with it. When it does, strap your cat in. Ensure the harness makes a comfortable fit. Allow your cat to wear the equipment inside the house. It will drag the strap around. Give it time to get conditioned to the fact that it is fine to wear something. Reward it regularly. Give it wet treats when you slip the knot around its head. In a sentence, the cat must be comfortable with the harness.

When you are sure your cat has no problem with the leash, it is now time to take it outside. Open the main door. Allow your kitty to smell its surroundings. Permit it to choose the walk direction. Do not take your cat the first time to a place filled with traffic. Noisy conditions will frighten your cat. Take him to a calmer place instead. Do be warned that your cat may try to escape at the slightest opportunity. It may do this once you open the main door. Make it amply clear that you will open the door only after it opts to wear the harness.

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Simple tricks you can teach your dog

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Training your dog will keep its brain sharp. It will keep your best friend happy, mentally active, and obedient. The exercise is an excellent way to bond. Best of all? Both you and your pet could show some cool moves at the next party!

It is assumed that your dog has already mastered fundamental obedience commands like “down” and “sit”. If it has done so, then trick training is a cakewalk. In case your pet is a total newbie, teach it some fundamental obedience moves before you teach the following tricks. Each training session must not go beyond 10 minutes to a maximum of two times every day. It is vital that both you and your dog are in a good mood. Do not hesitate to reward your pet when it does what it is told. Do not express frustration on your friend. Do not be a brute and use physical force under any circumstances. Feeling angry? Stop the session immediately.

Roll over

Put the dog in “down” position. Take a treat in hand and then move hand slowly behind the neck of the dog. The aim of this move is to get your dog to gracefully turn its head sans standing up. When its head pivots back to sniff your treat, slowly roll it over. When your dog rolls over, praise it and give the treat. Repeat the process and say “roll” when doing so. Give treat after completion. Continue for 10 minutes.

Try the same process again later the same day. Do not do these actions in excess of 10 minutes. Your dog will in time learn to associate the action with the word “roll”. Do not give the treat after a few days. Praise every time when it completes the roll.

Shake hands

This is easy as dogs raise their paws by own accord when they want a treat. Begin by commanding your pet to “sit”. Take a treat in the hand and then slowly move the treat to the ground near the paw of the dog. Your dog will move its paw in anticipation. Use the “shake” verbal cue and give your pet the treat. Praise it fulsomely. Repeat these moves and gradually hold your hand higher and higher. This will force your dog to raise a paw higher as it wants the treat. Your aim is to raise the dog’s paw to your chest height. Use the same paw for practicing. When the dog becomes adept in one paw, switch to the other paw. It is important your pet comprehends the “other” word so that it automatically raises the correct paw. Your dog after a while will learn to do these by itself. Once it does, do away with the treat.

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Cat diseases transferable to humans

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Diseases transferable from animals to humans are classified as zoonotic diseases by physicians. For pet owners, these fear becomes acute when they see their cats vomiting in close proximity to them. One thought crosses their mind: will they get infected by them? Is the disease contiguous?

Zoonotic disease list

The answer is in the affirmative. Your cat can give you multiple diseases, all of them known as zoonotic ones. Rabies is a common and much feared zoonotic disease. The list of common diseases of this particular kind is Ringworm, Campylobacter infection, Cryptosporidium infection, Hookworms, Toxoplasmosis, Salmonellosis, Giardia, Roundworms, and Cat Scratch Disease. This being said, the actual chances of you being infected by your cat is in reality minimal. Chances rise, however, if your immune system is weak or a compromised one. You are at greater chance of a zoonotic disease if you have a pre-existing medical condition or disease. It is not advisable to own a cat of you have AIDS or HIV. Pregnant women are also advised not to come in contact with cats.

Cats are a no-no if you are presently undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Felines are not for people suffering from chronic diseases and those who were recipients of bone marrow or organ transplants. The elderly are also at risk.

Protective steps

If you have one of the above, it does not mean you have to sell or give away your beloved kitty. You just have to be more cautious. If any doubt enters your mind about any condition, do not hesitate to call your physician and describe exactly the symptoms you suffered. One easy way to protect yourself is to keep your kitty inside the house. This constitutes the best way to protect your cat from contracting any disease. Follow to the letter the recommendations of your veterinarian when it comes to vaccination and parasite testing with treatment and also prevention.

Most of the above diseases are transmitted via contact with cat’s feces. You can take multiple measures to keep yourself safe. These steps involve common sense and simple hygiene. Under no circumstance you should make bodily contact with your kitty’s waste product. Ensure this by keeping the car litter box a safe distance away from the kitchen or any other area where you store or prepare food. It is also a good idea to hire someone to daily clean the litter box. Some diseases like Toxoplasmosis gets activated only after 24 hours. By then, it will be too late to take preventive measures. Buy and use disposable liners for the litter boxes and change them at regular intervals. Do not dump litter. Pour slowly into the trash or wrap litter box tightly and throw away the container.

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Select a dog treadmill

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You must take into consideration the ability of your dog and its age before zeroing on to a specific dog treadmill. The machine must also be able to accommodate your dog’s size and its leg length. Different kinds of dog treadmill are sold in the market.

Motorized treadmill

Buy a motorized treadmill only when your dog is a fit animal. These are pricier than the dog powered treadmills. Various kinds of machines are available in the market and you can choose the one best suitable for your dog. To give an example, choose the basic motorized model if your dog has just begun his exercise routine. When you purchase a motorized treadmill, your dog can enjoy custom run sessions and you can control its speed. Adjustments are possible to mimic an uphill run.

Dog powered treadmill

These are cheaper compared to the motorized ones. Your dogs will find such machines more comfortable as it holds the control while exercising. The movement of the canine powers the machine. It is also quieter. This machine will not overwork the dog. It will run at the speed it could manage as per its fitness level. If you and your dog travel frequently then it is a good idea to invest in a portable treadmill.

Before you select a specific treadmill, take into accounts the lifestyle of your dog. The present crop of machines can be easily and quickly foldable to keep in your luggage. They also take up much less space compared to the previous ones. These treadmills should be collapsible and can be easily stored. The better ones come with side panels which can be collapsed easily. Buy one with safe materials. Addition of soft-side panels makes your dog more secure. It is buffered while it runs. Buy an easily portable treadmill. These come with handles and wheels. Your dog must have the incentive to complete its workout. Keep its favorite snacks in a single place when you travel. Always purchase a better product. The machine should be stable and provide a secure surface for your dog to walk or run.

Buying a treadmill for your dog makes sense. It helps your dog to be active. The animal gets to be physically active despite physical limitations and restraints. Yes, it can partly solve your guilt of not taking the dog for longer outdoor walks. You can program the treadmill in multiple ways. Some programs will make your dog fit and raring to go, while others can help you to make it tired so that both you and your dog enjoy a good nights’ sleep. If you are disabled and unable to walk your dog in the park, then a treadmill will save you money on a dog-walker.

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Best Low Maintenance Dog Breeds for Lazy People

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Okay we get it, you’re not lazy, you just already have a lot to do and you really want to keep a dog as well. Keeping a dog can be a lot of work but fortunately not all dogs are created equal. While some breeds might need a lot of care and maintenance, there are other breeds that don’t need too much work. For those of us who don’t have a ton of time and resources at our disposal, these low maintenance breeds could just be the answer.

Here’s our pick for the best low maintenance dog breeds

  1. American Staffordshire Terrier: We love this terrier for a number of reasons – they have short coats that don’t need a lot of care and doesn’t get all over the place. But besides the easy care this breed is also very intelligent so training is relatively easy and the big plus point is that these pups are very affectionate.
  2. Miniature Pinscher: These cuties really are a delight to have in the home. Cute looks aside, the short coat of fur makes brushing and grooming a breeze while not making a mess of the house. The little fellas are a healthy breed and for the most part don’t need too many vet visits.
  3. Chihuahua: This tiny, tiny breed it practically a stuffed toy. With their small size and short coats, grooming Chihuahuas only takes a few minutes. Exercising this breed is easy too as you don’t need a lot of space and just a ball to keep them occupied and running around for a bit.
  4. Russell Terrier: This is another healthy breed of dog that doesn’t need to see the vet too often saving you both time and money. Easy to groom short fur, and a playful attitude make these little dogs a good addition to the family.
  5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: These dogs do love the attention and hate being left alone but for the most part they don’t require any extra special care. They are easy to groom, easy to train and are very friendly around both adults and kids.
  6. Italian Greyhound: True to the greyhound breed these dogs are sleek and have short coats. You will need to take them out for a run every day but hey, that would be good for you too. This breed is friendly and lovable and a treat to be around.
  7. Rhodesian Ridgeback: These smart, affectionate and loyal dogs are a strong and healthy breed. Short coats means less grooming time and good health means fewer vet visits. Take them out once a day for a good run and you will have a happy puppy.

And there you have it; these are our top picks for the best low maintenance breeds.

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How many cats are too many?

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The occasional newspaper reports speak of crazy cat people who have too many felines in their house. The number of cats is so much that even their owner is unable to tell the number of cats present. Too many felines could be a bad thing as the owner will be unable to take care of individual felines and some may even die of sickness as the owner was not even aware that the animal was sick.

Dirty houses

Contrary to popular perception, all cat hoarders are not comfortably rich. They range from all kinds of the economic spectrum. Many of them, however, are unmarried and a majority of them are females. No wonder these people have even found depiction in movies and television soaps, leading sad, unfulfilling lives. Both owners and cats live a less than ideal life as a staggering 69 percent of such households were found to be dumping grounds of feces and urine, even in the living areas. Beds are found to be soiled in about 25 percent of cases.

The negative statistics does not end here. About 80 percent of the reported hoarding houses have sick or even dead animals inside without the owner knowing about it. Cats are the most hoarded animals (65 percent) followed by rabbits and small dogs.

Maximum six

According to experts, an individual must not have more than five cats. If you really love cats, six is the maximum. There is no going more than this amount. This is as it is impossible for any person or even a household to care for more than six cats. Someone with an excessive number of cats will surely show behavioral problems. Animal behavior experts also warn against too many felines in the house. Since the litter box has a finite area, there will be urination problems, and fighting between the cats will be a regular affair. For a cat owner, keeping track of the health of the pets will be a huge problem. Infections, if any, will spread quickly from a single cat to multiple cats in a swift manner.

If you love cats, then it is advisable to have a two cat household. One cat must be older than the other and the two must be of different sexes. A lot of joy can be had from the sight of two cats playing. Both of them can play with you too. It is good to have a companion- both for you and also for your cat. If you elect to own two cats then you must go for compatible ones. Do not bring home two of the same sex. It is an excellent idea to join a cat club so that you can interact with other feline owners in case of trouble.

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How do dogs know the route home

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A number of feel-good heartwarming films show dogs finding their route back home. The owners are overjoyed when they suddenly see their long-lost family member back in their midst. Like most aspects, things may not be as rosy as the above in the real world. A number of research studies were done as to how the animals find their way back home.

Scent and GPS

If one goes by hearsay, it is suggested that if your dog gets lost, place anything which has your scent on them at regular intervals by the wayside. The logic is that since the dogs know your smell, they can then find a way back to the home. Research shows that such a phenomenon is actually possible. Canines can follow a scent for as long as 10 miles if wind conditions are favorable. Dogs can zero on into a particular smell and then follow that specific scent for longer distances. The animals are reliant on overlapping familiar scents. This does not mean leaving a cloth with your scent on it by the roadside is a guarantee of your dog will come back. Scent trials are temporary. Yes, a few dogs find their way back home, but most get lost along the way.

Many animals use the earth’s magnetism as their personal GPS. Small biological compasses have been found in a number of animals. Tiny magnetic field sensors are found in fruit flies. Identical protein structures have been discovered in the retinal cells of pigeons’ eyes. They are also found in butterfly, whale, and rat cells. Humans also have them in trace amounts.

Magnetic direction and the celestial bodies for migration

A few studies have revealed that a number of animals have ears containing iron and this could help them to navigate towards the target’s magnetic direction. The pigeon is the best example of this particular phenomena. It was discovered that the birds utilized low-frequency sound waves for navigation. This was effective for longer flying distances equating thousands of miles. This particular theory also explains why the pigeons sometimes get lost in case of interruptions like jets or high winds.

Scientists believe seabirds use the stars and the sun as a compass and they get lost if the sky gets overcast. A few animals like voles, deer, and cattle probably use magnetism like birds to find a way home. They probably use mental maps as well. The science of animal navigation remains a mystery. Many scientists believe that evolution provided animals to find multiple methods to sense the magnetic fields. It is clear that the science in such a case continues to be wide open for investigation. It is clear that animals navigate longer distances but the jury continues to be out on how they do it.

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Deadly Dog Diseases that You can Totally Prevent

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Having a dog can be a very rewarding experience. Their affection and unfailing loyalty can be a mood lifter when you are down and their presence can be very comforting. However it can be heartbreaking when your furry baby gets sick, and watching it suffer can be absolutely gut-wrenching.

With a little extra care and caution you can ensure that your dog stays protected from a bunch of deadly diseases. Putting in the little extra effort can go a long way in keeping your pet healthy and free of pain and discomfort.

Here are a few potentially deadly dog diseases with tips on how you can prevent them

  1. Parvovirus or Parvo: The Parvovirus is spread through the feces of infected dogs. The disease affects the heart and intestines of the animal and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and extreme weight loss. Fortunately there is a vaccine for this highly contagious viral infection which can protect puppies and young dogs from contracting it.
  2. Lyme disease: This disease that is spread through tick bites leads to kidney failure and death when not detected early. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, pain while walking, decreased appetite, fever and listlessness. The disease can be prevented by keeping your dog tick free through regular grooming, checking the fur after time outdoors and using a tick repellent. Treatment includes a course of antibiotics prescribed by the vet.
  3. Canine Distemper: This is also a viral disease that is highly contagious. The virus spreads quickly between dogs in close proximity to each other and can cause widespread infection in shelters. Symptoms include, coughing, vomiting, discharge from the nose and eyes, convulsions and seizures. Distemper cannot be treated and is fatal. However the disease can be prevented by vaccinating your pet.
  4. Kidney disease: Many dogs develop kidney disease as they get older and some breeds are more prone to others. Symptoms of kidney disease can include fever, vomiting, reduced appetite, reduced intake of water and less frequent urination. There could be several causes for kidney disease but a few preventive measures can help protect your dog. Keep gums and teeth clean to prevent infections that can enter the blood stream and damage kidneys. Dogs can also get kidney disease from accidentally ingesting household chemicals like antifreeze, so be sure to keep these out of reach from your dog. Make sure that your dog is drinking sufficient water daily.
  5. Chocolate poisoning: Now this one is absolutely preventable. Yes, chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause death. Be vigilant and make sure that you don’t leave candy bars lying around the place where your furry baby can reach them. All it takes is a bit of caution to prevent a heartbreaking incident.

Stay safe and keep your pups safe too.

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How to Prevent Sunburn in Dogs

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Let’s start with the burning question: Can dogs get sunburned? The answer is yes, despite their furry coats excessive exposure to the sun can cause sunburn in dogs. What is worse is that this can make the poor creature miserable by making the skin sensitive and painful to touch.

But the problem with sunburn doesn’t stop there. Repeated exposure or overly sensitive skin can develop skin cancer which is something no pet parent ever wants to see happen.

How can sunburn in dogs be prevented?

Here are a few ways you can prevent your dog from getting sunburned:

  1. Limit sun exposure: Many dogs like to sun themselves and will sit in a sunny patch if given the chance. Let your dog out in the mornings or evening for a few slanting rays of sun but keep them indoors during the hottest times of the day. If the dog is left out of the house all day make sure it has a kennel or a sheltered area with lots of cool drinking water.
  2. Use sunscreen: Yes, on your dog. Child safe sunscreen with SPF 30-50 should work well for your dog and needs to be applied on those areas that are not well protected by the fur. Apply sunscreen on the muzzle around the nose, on the ears, and on the belly of your pet to keep them protected. If you are spending the day at the beach and your dog has splashed around in the sea then make sure to reapply the sunscreen on these areas.
  3. Use a coat: If you do need to take your dog out in the middle of the day use a light dog coat to protect the skin. Get a coat with a thin material so that the dog doesn’t overheat and make sure all the sensitive areas are covered. Remember that the sun’s rays can reflect off concrete surfaces and burn the underside of your dog so always keep the belly area protected.
  4. Protect the paws: On very hot days your dog’s paws can get burnt by walking on hot sidewalks. Protect these sensitive areas with little dog shoes.

Breeds that sunburn more easily

Dogs with longer thicker fur are better protected from the sun than their short haired relatives. Dogs with lighter colored fur and pink skin are also more prone to sunburn that dark colored dogs. If you have a breed that falls in any of these categories i.e. short fur, light fur, and pink skin then take extra care to avoid sunburn.

If your dog does get sunburned contact your vet immediately. You can recognize sunburn if the skin is too red and over sensitive. The vet will be able to prescribe a topical application ointment to treat the damaged skin.

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