Check out this heartwarming story here on the Huffington Post detailing how a dog named Opie found an abandoned new born kitten and alerted his owner. After some much needed veterinary care, the kitten (who was named Roscoe) came to be in fine health as well as a much loved companion for life to Opie, his life-saver. While there are many testaments to be found of dogs and cats growing to be inseparable (We’ve even seen the unlikely kinship of a rabbit befriending a cat!) there are a lot of factors to consider before one commits to housing a dog and a cat together. There is truth to the common loony-toon idea that cats and dogs are mortal enemies and there are some things to consider before you match up your pets.
Raising a kitten and puppy together is no guarantee of affection toward one another in adulthood. Like humans, pets have individual personalities and while they may accept they have to share their space with a “brother” or “sister”, that doesn’t mean they have to like it! Puppies and kittens are often playful with anything and anyone. Remember though that just because the two species have some playful tumbles in their youth, don’t expect them to have a trouble free existence. Having said that, if you are going to attempt to pair the two creatures it is best to introduce them while young. They may never reach the level of loving affection as Opie and Roscoe, but they should at least be able to comfortably tolerate each other. Should you not have the option to pair them when they are young and are instead bringing a new cat or dog into anothers already established domain, take some basic precautions:
Making a Match Between a Dog & a Cat
Introduce them both on an equal eye level
Make introductions in an open space so that neither animal feels trapped. Plus, if there is a scuffle you can move more quickly to restore peace
Make introductions slowly. Allow the two supervised play dates before you allow them to coexist in the same space.
Never leave a match unfamiliar with each other alone. Even if it seems like they are getting along well in a very short period of time, it could still lead to injury on one or both parts.
Feed and bed them in different spaces. If each animal still feels like they have their own domain, it will be easier for them to tolerate and learn to like each other.
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If you’ve had a pet for any amount of time, chances are you’ve witnessed some weird behavior. While there may be many things that pets do that are puzzling to us humans, most of it is a lot more normal than we think!
Weird Behaviors of Pets
Gifts from you cat – Does your pet cat sometimes bring you dead rodents or birds? Maybe the occasional reptile? Don’t punish them! From their perspective, they have plenty of food and have managed to obtain excess, they have brought it back to their home in case you, or the other members of their “family” may be in need. It’s a cat’s act of generosity and while it may be gross, you should consider it an honor!
Your dog eats dirt – They don’t just roll around and nose in it, they eat it! While dirt isn’t particularly ‘digestible’ to your pet, it does contain nutrients like potassium, magnesium and others. This may be a sign that you need to adjust your pet’s diet!
Your rabbit eating its feces… – This one is really gross to us! Whatever you do though, don’t stop them! Rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts that require a certain bacterial balance. They MUST eat what are called ‘cecotropes’ in order to live! It’s similar to why humans eat yogurt and probiotics.
Your cat and too small spaces – Did you invest in a spacious, luxury kitty bed only to have it shunned for that tiny box your Amazon order came in? What is up with your cat always picking the most cramped, uncomfortable locations for a nap? In the wild, animals are vulnerable when sleeping. Cats (and many other animals) like to feel that they are protected on all fronts from attack while sleeping. Tight spaces make them feel more secure.
Does your ferret steal? – Ferrets are VERY fond of hoarding. Think of them as smaller dragons who like to stash treasures away in secret hiding spaces. It’s seems weird when ferrets do so in our homes, but in the wild they often kill excess food and hide it for later. While it may not be food, it’s the same instinct that drives them to carry off your watch, pen, or other small items to their secret lair.
Does your pet have weird tendencies? Be sure to share them with your pet sitter or dog walker so they don’t worry if they notice something out of the ordinary!
Just like in humans, obesity in the animal kingdom can have similar unhealthy side-effects. Overweight pets can end up suffering from diabetes, heart and liver disease as well as joint pain. How can you tell if your pet is a bit on the pudgy side? Aside from hearing the prognosis from a vet, there are some tell-tale signs you should watch out for with your pet. In most pets you should be able to feel their spine and ribs when you press on them. (Feel, NOT SEE!) If you’ve identified that your fuzzy friend may be overweight, check out our tips to help your pet shed the pounds and live a longer, healthier life!
How To Help An Overweight Pet
Re-examine Your Pets Food – If you’ve tend to go for the cheaper pet foods be aware that they are often more difficult for your pet to digest the nutrients and have a higher fat content to account for the lack of flavor. Consider upgrading your pets food to a better quality with more protein! Ask your vet what food they recommend!
Overweight pets can live significantly shorter lives…
Exercise – Just like with humans more activity equals health. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time to spend being active with your pet? Consider hiring a pet sitter to come and interact with your animal while you’re at work. Pet sitting and/or dog walking rates are usually very reasonable and it could mean a world of difference for your pet! In home pet sitting will mean that your pet will be encouraged to interact and play, instead of moping around waiting for you to come home! This improves their physical and emotional health!
Cut out scraps – Set a regular eating schedule for your pet that you don’t detour from it. Cut out feeding them scraps on the side and keep them out of the kitchen and dining area while the family is eating to prevent the temptation! Also be certain to not “over-reward” your pet with treats!
Rule out pre-existing conditions – Take your pet to a vet to rule out any pre-existing disease or conditions that may be causing your pets weight gain. Your pet may become overweight from lack of activity, but they may not be active because of arthritis or other painful conditions.
Still unsure what a healthy weight for your pet is? Click here to see a healthy weight chart for different popular breeds of cats and dogs!
Keep your pet from becoming overweight!
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According to PawNation, dog bites in the U.S. have reached “epidemic proportions”. Looking at dog bites by the numbers, statistics show that in the U.S. last year 4.5 million Americans were bitten by dogs. Half of that 4.5 million were children. Insurance companies paid out $483 million dollars in claims and 26,935 surgeries were performed as a result of dog bites. Whatever the reason for these unacceptable numbers, it’s clear that America’s dogs need some better training and discipline. It’s very important for pet owners to remember that not only does not properly containing and training your dog pose a threat to others, but it poses a threat to your dog too. If your dog bites someone, often times the animal is quarantined and put down. Dogs, much like children, are only as good as their raising. If they are not trained to behave themselves then they will act like their distant kin, wolves. They become territorial, and on occasion predatory. So what can you do as a dog owner to protect others and your pet? Check out our suggestions below!
The ugly truth about dog bites…
Preventing Dog Bites, 101
Spay/Nueter – A lot of aggression in animals comes from their hormones. Spaying or neutering your dog helps curtail that aggression while serving so many other purposes!
Socialize your dog – the more varieties of people and pets who your dog is around the less likely it is to become hostile or confused. The less unfamiliar social situations your dog is in the better so be sure to introduce your dog to kids, cats, elderly people and more! The younger you start, the better!
Train your dog – A well trained dog that knows how to obey commands is much less likely to act out. Furthermore, if your dog is well trained and you see them acting unusually you have more power to get their actions under control before things get out of hand.
Train yourself – Make sure you know your dog well and are attune his/her communications. Dogs give off signals and as a pet owner you should be able to read these.
Don’t let your dog run free – When in populated areas or neighborhoods be sure to obey area leash laws. At home, keep your dog in a fenced in yard. Your dog should not be socializing unless you or another person close with the dog are near.
Remember that the responsibility for dog bites lies with the owners. Unfortunately it is usually the pets that end up paying the price. Lets help decrease dog bites in America!
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The trend of pet rabbits has been growing across America for the last few years, following on the heals of the rabbit obsessed country of Japan. In Japan, bunnies are so popular they have rabbit cafes that allow both pet owners and their hoppy little friends to mingle while enjoying snacks. Their bright personalities and round fuzzy bodies make them hard to resist when it comes to cuteness. This is both a blessing and burden however… Many people, (especially around Easter) are quick to scoop up the fuzzy bundles and bring them home thinking they will be a great companion for their child. The truth is, however, that pet rabbits and children generally don’t mix well. Due to “pet shop impulses” tens of thousands of pet rabbits are abandoned each year. In fact, pet rabbits are now the most neglected pet in England. Rabbit ownership is not something to take lightly (really, no pet ownership is). Unlike dogs and cats, pet rabbits are prey animals which means owning them has to be approached differently. You can’t just scoop one up and expect it to love you, it’s terrified of you. In fact, it usually takes around a week, sometimes longer, for pet rabbits to bond with their humans. Even once bonded, you are still at the mercy of the rabbits wants and needs, not your own. Because of their peculiar (yet rewarding!) nature as pets, we’ve compiled a great list of what you should know about pet rabbits before you make the commitment. Furthermore, we’ve provided some great resource sites for those of you seeking more information about creating a happy loving home for your new pet!
Pet rabbits in the fall!
What To Know Before You Get A Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are territorial – they need to have their own space where you don’t go. Fully loving bunnies can turn aggressive should you invade their private space. Even a free roaming house bunny should have a cage or hutch where it can drink and eat and relax in private. Pet rabbits are happiest when they can escape!
Pet Rabbits are the easiest of the house pets to litter box train – There’s a catch though… they choose where it goes. Rabbits are creatures of habit so once they decide where their bathroom spot is going to be, all you have to do is place a litter box there! Don’t use kitty litter though, look for litter specific to pet rabbits, often made of recycled paper or wood chips.
You can not punish a rabbit – They are prey animals so they are always on the look out for aggression or signs of a threat. If your pet rabbit is doing something inappropriate, it is best to distract them from the task.
Because of the inability to punish pet rabbits, rabbit proofing your home is a MUST – rabbits will get into everything! And they love to chew and dig! You must either hide all power cords, or run them through plastic tubes so that they are inaccessible to your bunny. Additionally, anything you care about must be kept out of a rabbits reach – record collection, books, house plants, shoes – ANYTHING.
Rabbits are very different from cats or dogs – they will likely never come when called, can be occasionally stand-offish, and rather demanding creatures. Some pet rabbits have been known to thump their back foot at their owner when they want petted or fed!
You can, however, train them with Pavlovian responses – It is advised that rabbit owners condition their pets to certain sounds. Like making a little ‘clicking’ noise when the rabbit is getting a treat. That way, in the future, you can make that sound when you need your rabbit to come to you, like when it’s time to get in their cage.
Rabbits can not be carried around like other pets – some bunnies are cooler about this than others. Some rabbits simply will not tolerate being picked up. First of all, you must know how to properly pick up a rabbit. The number one cause of pet rabbit deaths in the home are caused by broken spines from owners improperly handling their pet.
Rabbits can be an amazingly rewarding pet to that can live anywhere from 5-12 years with proper care. They make soft oinking noises and will circle your feet to tell you they love you. They will groom you occasionally as repayment for petting them. They are happy, playful creatures who will do special hops and dances to show you their joy. They are certainly a pet that it’s worthwhile getting to know how to care for! If you’d like to explore more about the world of pet rabbit ownership, check out our links below!
As a recent pet sitter for a great friend’s dog, keeping him in his routine was very important to her and I think I did pretty well. Most of the time he was happy and content, with a few moments of occasional whining for his “Mom” in the evening when it was time for bed. Otherwise, he was his lively and energetic self.
The following tips are helpful in taking care of pets for owners who are out of town:
Keep daily normal routine.
Have automatic lights set to make it look like someone is home, and pets aren’t left in the dark.
Close doors to rooms that pets are not to be in, so there will be no unexpected messes.
Make sure to have extra food, treats and medicine for late returns and delays.
Have fresh water available at all times.
Leave a contact number for your local vet, who has your pet’s medical records.
Always have plenty of paper towels and cleaning supplies in case of accidents.
Never crate pets more than 5-6 hours between intervals.
Of course, your pet will want their normal toys, daily walks (if they are walked every day), treats, food, bed, etc.
The most important? Make sure you have the right person taking care of yoru beloved pet, as they should be attentive, warm and loving.