Are you Ready to be a Pet Parent?

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Are you thinking of bringing a cat or a dog home because you want to enrich your life with the experience of having a pet? Your life takes a turn for the better because you get a friend who brings endless companionship and joy into your life.

However, how do you know if you have what it takes to be a pet parent? To give a complete picture, here are some questions you need to answer before you make the jump and get a pet home:

Are you living in a property which is pet-friendly?

There are a lot of condominiums and apartments where the associations have strict rules about having pets. Some of them place restrictions on the size of the pet, while others don’t allow them at all. As you are planning to get a pet, you should find out about the terms and conditions of the place you reside. If the rules don’t allow you to bring a pet home, you might have to consider moving to a new locality, which gives you more freedom.

Do you have the necessary finances to support your pet?

Although you don’t require tremendous amounts of money to take care of your pet, it will still put a strain on your budget. Every month, you have to spend on purchasing the necessary supplies, such as food, toys, and cleaning products. You have to make at least two to three trips to the vet every year, to get the necessary vaccinations, health checkups, and grooming.

Is your work schedule hectic every day?

When you get a pet, you need to spend quality time with it every day, to keep it and yourself happy. You have to spend time with the pet, to teach it the rules of your house. Also, if you adopt a dog, you need to take it for walks as soon as you wake up, in the evening, and before you hit the sack. Even if you get a cat, you have to spend time with it, as it needs your company.

Is your house close to a highway or intersection?

If your house is near an intersection or highway, then you need to take the necessary steps to keep your pet safe from traffic. If you get a dog, you need to have a fence in your yard to prevent your canine from escaping. Cats should only be allowed to go outside with a safety harness.

What is your game plan if you find out that you or a family member is allergic to the pet?

It is quite common for owners to find out that they are allergic to pets only after they bring them home. What is your plan of action if you find yourself in this situation? Are you going to give away your pet or will you find an alternative to keep your friend?

By answering these questions, you will get to know if you are ready to be a pet parent. Do you have any questions about this subject? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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The Pros and Cons of Neutering a Pet

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The thought of spaying/neutering your pet may fill you with guilt. But many vets, rescue operation workers and shelter operators will urge you forward in your decision. In fact, you may prolong your cat/dog’s life by having it spayed and neutered. However, a case can be made for the opposite too. Let’s weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of both below:

Pros – 

  • Stops overpopulation of cats and dogs. Thousand of pets are euthanize in shelters every year because there is a lack of space and resources to accommodate them.
  • Neutered male cats are more docile and less likely to escape the house and wander around or get into fights. They are at a lesser chance of contracting FIV or feline AIDS.
  • Neutered dogs are similarly less likely to get into street fights or indulge in unwanted behavior like leg-humping. They almost never get testicular cancer and their risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease is also slim.
  • Ensures a longer and healthier life for your pets – Uterine infection risk and breast and testicular cancer chances are decreased by a sizable margin for neutered dogs and cats.
  • Makes for a more relaxed environment – When your pet is in heat, their only mission in life is to find a mate and multiply. A spayed and neutered cat will not only be less stressed out themselves but take away their owner’s worries too.

Cons –

  • Neutering/Spaying your pet can result in hormonal imbalances – Female dogs who have been neutered before their first heat have often reported Hyperthyroidism.
  • Obesity – Pets begin to gain a considerable amount of weight after they have been neutered. However, this can be controlled with proper diet and exercise.
  • Pain from castration – Pets suffer a certain amount of pain from castration and may even be at a slight risk of anesthesia related complications.
  • Behavioral changes – Neutered dogs may exhibit changes in behavior.

Conclusion

The decision of whether to have your pet neutered/spayed rests solely upon you, the pet owner. While many argue vociferously for the pros of having a pet neutered. There is another party that believes a pet can lead a healthy life without having undergone surgery. Breeding a pet is not easy and not many may be comfortable with the prospect of their cat/dog giving birth. Spaying/neutering proves to be a wise choice in such cases. Waiting can be an option for pet owners who do not want to see their pet go through the pain of neutering.

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How to Care For a Sick Dog

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No dog-owner likes to see their pet friend feel under the weather and act unlike themselves. If your dog is sick, sometimes he can benefit from the love and care offered at home. At other times, his condition may warrant a consultation with the vet. It is important to be able to tell the difference between each. If the illness affecting your dog is serious, it could result in a life or death decision.

Measures to Take

  • Familiarize yourself with your dog’s daily routine. By doing this, you will be alerted if he shows any abnormal pattern of behavior. Knowing when to call the vet is half the struggle.
  • Do not feed him if he shows signs of vomiting or diarrhea. Not even treats or raw-hides should be allowed.
  • Keep ready access of water for your dog to avail whenever he feels thirsty.
  • Gradually introduce a diet of bland food to your dog after the period of starvation. The diet should include 1/3 easily digested protein and 2/3 easily digested starch.
  • Don’t allow your dog to exhaust himself by playing or exercising excessively. Playtime should be restricted for a dog that is feeling unwell.
  • Keep a close watch on its urine and stool output. Additionally, always keep an eye on him for symptoms. If you have to step out, appoint a person to look after your dog while you are away. Don’t leave him alone while he is sick.
  • Set up your dog’s bed in an area where you can monitor it. Add blankets that exude your scent to keep him comforted.
  • Ensure minimum light and noise where the dog is resting. It will allow him to have uninterrupted naps.
  • Don’t let him near your other dogs, if any. You could risk transmission of the disease.
  • Clean his bathroom area more frequently to keep away potential health risks that may result in further chances of infections/illness.
  • Keep him from scavenging by securing your garbage.
  • Dogs that show a lack of appetite need to be tempted into eating. The dog parent may heat the dog’s meal to make it more aromatic which will draw the dog’s interest towards it.
  • Hide his medication in his meals, this will make the process of administering medication much easier.

Conclusion

If a dog is not severely unwell, he can be easily treated at home with some patience and kindness. Overseeing your dog’s condition, feeding him on time and cleaning after him are all that is required. However, if the dog begins to show symptoms that refuse to go away with time, it is wise to involve a vet.

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How to Handle Your Dog if it is a Picky Eater?

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As a dog owner, you know that canines love to eat food all the time, as they believe their stomach has unlimited storage capacity. Even if dogs had their meal just five minutes ago, they are always ready to eat again.

What if your dog is different from other canines as it is a picky eater? The first thing you need to do is, ensure there are no health problems with your dog. For example, stomach problems, allergies, and sore gums and teeth prevent your canine from enjoying its meal.

Reasons why your dog is a picky eater
Although there are several reasons, let’s take a look at the two most common causes which makes your dog a picky eater:

Boredom
How long can you eat the same type of food for the rest of your life? Even if it is the most delicious meal in the world, you will feel the need to eat something else, as you are tired of eating the same dish every day. Similarly, your four-legged furry friend feels the same, as its food is no longer exciting.

Excessive consumption of treats
Every dog owner treats their pet as a member of their family. Due to this reason, it is quite common for owners to feed their dogs with the food they eat in every meal. Over time, the canines lose interest in their food, as it is not as delicious or aromatic as what their owners eat, which leads to picky eating. If you have been feeding your dog with scraps from your meals, your canine will exhibit this behavior.

How to eliminate picky eating in your dog?

Change things up regularly
If you are giving your canine commercial dog food, then you can liven things up with change. For example, you can mix the dog food with beef or chicken broth, as they enhance its flavor significantly. You can also add canned food, as it increases the variety. Also, you can microwave the food for at least 15 seconds, so that it releases aroma, which increases your canine’s interest.

Limit the number of treats
One of the main things you need to do is reduce the number of treats your canine gets in a day. Your canine understands that if it doesn’t eat its regular food, you will cave in and give it treats. Instead, you should reduce the number of treats, while providing it with a balanced, and high-quality diet.
By going through this simple guide, you can handle your dog, even though it is a picky eater. Do you have anything to add to this subject? If yes, let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Introducing A Kitten To An Older Cat – 4 Steps To Make Them Friends

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As cats are solitary by nature, they are not happy when they have to share their space. Due to this reason, getting a new kitten into your house can be challenging, when you already have an older cat. Even though the kitten wants to make new friends, your older feline friend may not feel the same.

Create a safe room
You can’t just bring the new kitten and older cat face-to-face immediately and hope things will be okay. Instead, you should create a safe room, so that your kitten can understand the smells and sounds of your house. The best place for a safe room is a bedroom, as it has sufficient space for the kitten to explore. Make sure that all necessities are available such as food, litter box, bed, and toys.

Your kitten should stay within the boundaries of the safe room for at least a week or two so that it starts smelling like your house. Due to this reason, your kitten will seem less of a threat to the older cat, allowing them to bond at a faster rate.

Collect and exchange their scents
For your cats to start getting comfortable with one another, it is important for them to be familiar with their scents. Use a cloth and wipe around your kitten’s ears, chin, and face, as these are the locations of your scent glands. Do the same with your older cat to collect its scent.

Exchange the towels and give them to the kitten and your older cat. The next step is to remove the kitten from the safe room and allow your resident feline to explore this space. Allow the feline to spend at least an hour in this space so that it becomes familiar with the kitten’s scent.

Let them meet each other, face-to-face
Set up a baby gate at the entrance of the safe room, so that you can start the introduction process. As cats like to do things at their pace, never try to introduce them by force. Allow the cats to approach and sniff each other. They may moan or hiss, as this is their first meeting. If the cats start showing signs of aggression, separate them and try again the next day. Only proceed to the next step, if they don’t mind each other’s presence.

Allow the kitten and older cat to spend time under supervision
The last step is to allow the kitten and the older cat to spend time, under your supervision. At first, the cats should bond over short sessions. Slowly, you can increase the length of the bonding time, till they are at peace with one another.

These are the four steps which will help you introduce a kitten to your older cat, which allows them to become good friends. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

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Train your Small Dog with these 5 Tips

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Just like a large breed canine, training your small dog is extremely important. However, it is a challenging process, as you tend to forgive the canine for most of its errors, due to its small size. If you don’t train your small dog, it will suffer from behavioral problems in the future. Here are five tips which will transform your petit dog into a good canine citizen:

Always train at the canine’s level

As your small dog is still learning your body language, you should avoid standing up and training the canine, as it looks intimidating. Also, due to the canine’s size, your back will become sore after a while.

Instead, you should go down to the level of your canine, to make the training sessions easy for both parties. You can also place the canine on high ground so that it is at your level. Once your dog is comfortable with the training, you can start standing up, while your canine is on the floor.

Start with the basic commands

You should start with basic commands such as stay, sit, and down, as they teach your canine how to behave inside and outside your house. Also, you can use these commands to keep your dog safe from various elements. For example, if your dog is trying to cross a busy street, you can ask it to stay, preventing it from putting its life in danger. Over time, you can move to the harder commands as your canine is comfortable with the basics.

Keep distractions as minimal as possible

Have you ever been able to study properly or focus, in an environment which has numerous distractions? The same applies to your small dog, as even the smallest things can be distracting. Start training your canine in a quiet room, to minimize distractions. After the dog is comfortable with your commands, you can move to busier environments, to see the strength of your training.

Remain as persistent as possible

The saying practice makes perfect is appropriate when it comes to training a small dog. It is quite common for dog owners to give up after their canines exhibit the wrong behavior. Rather than giving up, you should continue with the training process, so that it picks up important skills over time.

Positive reinforcement is the way

Instead of resorting to punishment, you should practice positive reinforcement, as it is the best way to train your small canine. For example, you can give your canine a treat for listening to your command. If you don’t want to get your canine used to treats, then you can also praise it verbally, while patting on its back.

These are the five tips which will help you train your small dog. Do you have any questions on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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How to stop your cat from biting

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Many cats or kittens like to bite and does so at every opportunity. This is terrible for its owner and other family members. It is possible to end this disturbing feline behavior by adopting a few practices. The first action to do is to find out the reason the cat bites you. There is a possibility it gets overzealous while playing. There are other possibilities also, like the cat being frustrated or plainly bored. There are cases of biting when the cat has tried to communicate with its owner of being uncomfortable and started to bite when the owner did not hear it. If you know what your cats want, you could formulate a plan to stop this behavior.

Play interval

Cats, mostly kittens, become so immersed in play that they become uncontrollable. This is the reason you must not make any gesture which makes the kitten think of your hand as a kind of toy. Use an actual toy instead. Always remember to keep your hand a safe distance away from the kitten’s mouth. It is perfectly okay to stop playing with your kitten if it continuously goes after your hand. You will know that the cat is doing more than incidental contact. If the cat bites you, turn on your back and cancel the play immediately. Do not restart the play or even communicate with your cat for a minute. If you do this, your kitten will understand.

In many instances, your halt of play may not work. You have to send a stronger message. One way to do this is to change the scene. Stop play when the cat bites you. Pick up the feline and take it to another room. Drop the animal in the second room. Walk away. The cat will quickly learn the consequence of biting. It will get the message you want to send.

Petting and pointers

Some cats attack even when they are not playing. This happens when it has too much energy. The easiest way to solve this is to play with your cat until it gets tired. If the cat does not like to play with toys, then use a laser pointer. Remember not to overuse this tactic. Other than excess energy, cats also bite to relieve anxieties. A few cats transfer their feelings to another person by mounting unprovoked attacks. These could be extremely vicious. If this happens, but a synthetic pheromone and keep it around the house. The smell keeps cats calm as they feel secure.

Do remember each cat is unique. It is important to handle a cat as per its personal choice. Petting can be acceptable to a few cats but many would take umbrage. If you are unsure about the cat, use the back of the hand to pet it.

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Does Your Cat Like Music

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Some music CDs are engraved especially for cats. A few animal shelters play classical music to calm the feline species. It is apparent most cats like music. It is still a mystery as to why cats love music. The same question can be asked for humans as well. Scientists are still divided on the issue of cats having aesthetic sensibilities.

Imprint from birth

Cats, similar to humans, can respond to sounds from birth. This ability is crucial to survive in both species. Pleasing sounds can change the mood. Music can also be used for their amusement. This auditory stimulation has far-reaching effects.

All animals, regardless of species, respond to auditory stimulus in similar ways. A sudden sound will frighten both humans and animals. Cats are no exception. Conversely, a steady sound like a light breeze or gentle rain soothes the mind. Both cats and humans are accustomed to the voices spoken by respective species and sometimes cross species. Nature sounds like the singing of birds and chirping of crickets are natural and non-frightening. The same can be said of a cat’s purr and meow. Music composers utilize such common experiences to write new music. Contemplation is conveyed by a ballad, and a stimulation by a cymbal clash. A repetitive mantra could be hypnotic. Resolution and tension are created by the rise and fall of volume. It is noted that cats respond like humans to such sounds. This is the reason animal shelters play Beethoven but not AC/DC. Even faster classical pieces are not played.

Better ears

Cats have ears which are far more sensitive to sounds and have a longer range. Its whiskers can detect the littlest air movement. A feline could sense subtle variations. Some scientists believe your cat could even sense changes in electromagnetic fields. It is apparent cats could be more primed to music compared to humans. They can, however, be picky about their music. Scientists are divided on the subject of cats having favorite music pieces. Research goes on whether a cat loves a certain music what it heard when it was a kitten?

One thing is certain: cats form the strongest bond with music during their adolescent years. The felines, similar to humans, journey through multiple stages of cognition. It is known that the first two weeks of a cat’s life influence its behavior and attitude for the whole life. Like humans, cats comprehend when music is out of tune. This is similar to even a non-musician figuring out that something is off with the music being played. It is thought cats pick up happy vibes from humans when happy music is played. Some composers have written music, especially for cats. They created it from music samples which were known to be a favorite of felines.

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Cats and sleeping

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Cats are the masters of sleep. They can sleep everywhere and anytime. These make them extremely photogenic. They sleep as nature has made them so. A typical cat sleeps for about 16 hours every day. Older cats practically sleep away the day, with 20 hours of happy snoozing. This constant sleep is due to its genetics. Sleep is a product of physiology, evolution, and nutritional habits. Cats in the wild have to hunt to eat. This chasing, killing, and stalking of prey consume huge amounts of energy. Sleep helps cats to conserve energy.

Snooze more

A sleeping cat does not mean the animal is oblivious to the outside world. Far from it, Three-quarters of the total sleep is actually snoozing. The felines in that state enjoy all rest they require but could become aware any moment. Snoozing cat can be differentiated from soundly sleeping cat by their movement. A cat while snoozing will twitch its ears and rotate their heads towards noises. If anything new happens, their eyes will open a little. A cat can snooze even when it sits upright. The doze mode comes naturally to them.

This does not mean cats do not enjoy heavy sleep. They even dream. Deep sleep happens more in older cats. A cat in deep sleep can be found out by its eyes tightly closed. A few cats drop their tail over their face. These acts like a sleep mask. A cat must have sufficient deep sleep to stay healthy and also to regenerate itself. Only in deep sleep do a cat dream. A dreaming cat will twitch its paws or whiskers. Yes, cats snore as well.

Cats do snore

A cat snores when its airway gets obstructed by the extra skin from soft palate. This happens when the cat is most relaxed. Sounds of snoring from a happy cat are normal. A few specific feline breeds snore more than their counterparts. These include Exotic Shorthair, Persian, or Himalayan breeds. Do remember that a change in the sleeping habits of your cat is not a good sign. If that happens, contact your veterinarian at the earliest. If you cat sleeps too much, it could be a sign that the cat is in pain or suffer from illness. If the cat wakes up frequently, then hyperthyroidism could be the cause.

There are no restrictions on whether the cat could sleep with you. This depends on you rather than the cat. If you are a deep sleeper, then there is no problem in sleeping with the cat in the same bed. However, for light sleepers, this is not advisable. Your cat could jump on you any time of the night and thus disturb your sleep. If this is the case, make the cat sleep in another room.

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Why Do Cats Steal

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A vision of a cat is not as good as a human. Felines are essentially predators. Their eyes can see swift prey movements. This is true especially when lights are dim. The eyes of a cat can notice any slight movement if anything makes during dusk. They have a sharp and extremely detailed vision. Peripheral vision is much better than a human. They can see a lot more from the corner of their eye. A cat could catch the littlest movement. If the object of its attention shines, then it is a given that the feline will go to investigate what it is.

Attention is the key

A cat is naturally curious. Like humans, their eyes get attracted to shiny objects. These could be anything, from a keyring to a coin. It can be glass shards as well. Cats steal for two reasons: they want to play with the thing and they want attention.

Cats love attention. This is the reason they steal your things. A few cats steal silver products when they want attention. The cat would stand over a shiny object and guard it. If you extend your hand to take it, the cat will swat away your hand with its paw. This is a method of getting attention. Do understand your cat believes negative attention is still viable attention. The cat has quickly learned that if it steals your jewelry, you will pay attention to what it is doing. No wonder the cat steals objects which you use on a daily basis like silverware, coins, and jewelry. Christmas ornaments are a favorite!

It’s playtime

Play is another factor. Felines are drawn to any object not only due to its appearance and texture but also due to the smell of the owner. Cats are extremely good at locating things to play with. Felines love laser pointers. If it moves, it could be a possible prey. This provides the cat to practice its pouncing and stalking skills. If a Christmas decoration swings in the wind, then it becomes irresistible for your cat. A few cats steal things and hoard them in a secret place. Experts are still divided on the issue of why cats make a collection of what they steal.

Of all the cat breeds, a few varieties are more prone to find out shiny objects. No matter which breed of cat you have, it is wise to lock away your jewelry from the paws of your kitty. In case you have a shortage of time, leash your cat for peace of mind. To leash them, give them treats to smoothen the process. The four most active species are the Bengal cats,  Munchkin, American Bobtail, and Pixiebob. All of them are playful and intelligent.

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