Archive for July, 2016

How to Help Cats and Dogs Get Along

If you already own a cat and are planning on introducing a dog into the family (or vice versa!), it is important to know right off the bat that chances are low for the two of them to just get along.

By nature, dogs are hunters, which means that they might see your cat as a form of prey; the exception being dogs that have been around other cats in the past and not had any problems with them.

However, if you are bringing home a puppy that has never had any experience with them, or if you are bringing home an adult dog that has a high desire to chase and catch, then you will need to work to ensure harmony in your home.

Don’t think cats are innocent, either! Many times cats will feel threatened by a dog’s mere presence, causing them to lash out by scratching or trying to mark their territory (in not-so-subtle ways). Cats can be just as loyal to their humans as dogs can – and they typically hate when their daily routines are upset by anything.

In either case, the stress from new arrival can wreak havoc on both parties. It can cause sickness, such as lack of appetite, vomiting, and hair loss to either or both of the animals, not to mention the fact that the stress on either animal isn’t fair to them – after all, the current pet is used to being there first, and everything belongs to him or her, and now you’re asking them to share with a new arrival!

Let’s take a lot at some ways we can work to help cats and dogs get along, and alleviate all of that stress and tension that might pop up in this situation.

Introductions

The very first time your cat and dog meet it is vital to introduce them in a calm, relaxing manner. Don’t just place the two of them together on the floor – make sure you are holding your dog or cat as you introduce them to the new arrival. Let them sniff each other and stare at each other – and don’t expect the initial encounter to go too smoothly – time can change things!

After the introduction, make sure to keep the animals separate for a while. You can either keep them in separate rooms or put up a divider. Whatever you decide on, after a while you should make sure to allow them the chance to smell each other or interact – even if it is only though a small opening cut on the bottom of the divider.

If you are putting them in separate rooms, make sure to change what rooms you put them in. This will not only give them a change of scenery, but it will also allow your pets to smell each other’s presence in the room, thereby getting used to one another.

Repeat this process a few times if necessary, giving them time to get used to each other and the fact that they will be spending time together now.

Reducing Problem Behaviors

If your cat and dog are starting to get along, but still have several behaviors that are somewhat of a problem, try and reduce these behaviors in a positive way.

For example, if your dog likes to bark at your cat, then be sure to distract your dog instead of scolding or using a harsh tone. Offer your dog a toy or show him or her something of interest. By trying to distract from the behavior rather than react negatively, you are helping ensure that there will be more positive encounters in the future.

If you yell at your harshly scold your pet, it will remember the interaction and how it was treated negatively, preventing him or her from wanting to engage in the future.

Keep Food, Water, Sleeping, and Litter Separate

A key component to your pets existing harmoniously is to make sure that their food and drinks stay separate from each other.

Don’t allow your dog or cat near each other’s food dishes – their automatic feeders, trays, and water dishes are for them, and them only.

The same can be said for the pets’ sleeping areas. Allow your cat and your dog to have their own designated areas for sleeping – it will give them a sense of security knowing that they won’t be bothered.

Another thing to remember is to keep your cat’s litter box away from your dog – cats will get territorial if they believe their safe space is threatened, and this includes spraying or urinating in other areas of the house if their litter box is disturbed. This is their safe space for going to the bathroom, so make sure to keep it feeling safe for them!

Some Other Tips for Helping Your Pets Adjust

You may be tempted to give your cat and dog each their own water and food dishes, beds, and then leave them alone together until they “get used to each other.” However, this isn’t the way you should help your pets to adjust. Make sure the animals are one hundred percent comfortable with each other before you do this – as it can end poorly if one of the animals turns hostile.

Always make sure to reward good behavior, either with praise or treats. If your pets can play together or sit together nicely without fighting or attacking each other, they deserve that praise! Reward positive behavior!

Allow your cat to have somewhere he or she can go to get away from the dog if necessary. Either a cat tree or a special room that only he or she can get into are both good choices, as this provides the cat a feeling of safety and the reassurance that if it feels threatened, it has somewhere to go to be alone. Always make sure that neither animal is afraid of the other before leaving them alone in the house or overnight.

Also keep in mind how different breeds can get along – whereas breeds like German Shepherds, Sheep Dogs, and Pit Bulls might see the cat as an animal that needs to be “herded” or as “prey,” dogs such as Labrador Retrievers or even smaller dogs might be more willing to accept this member of the family, due to their sweeter and more mellow personality.

Many households have cats and dogs that coexist wonderfully, and even play together happily. Following proper protocol when introducing your pets and allowing them time to get used to each other is crucial to keep them healthy and happy, and having the whole family get along well!

BIO: Emily Parker runs Catological, a blog dedicated to helping cat parents love their kitties better. She has lived in both dog and cat homes, and is excited to introduce a new dog to her family (which includes 2 cats) in the coming year.

Pet owners really love their cats and dogs. Unfortunately, they often equate their own needs with that of the pet’s needs. All humans need food, companionship, water and sleep. Animals, just like humans, need to live a healthy life that includes regular exercise and proper nutrition.

From birth through old age, our nutritional needs change. As a baby, you drank formula and slowly graduated to solid foods. Pets are much like humans in that they require certain nutrients at different times in their lives. Switching your dog’s food may be necessary for a variety of reasons, such as digestive troubles or maybe, the brand is no longer sold. In addition to these issues, there are other reasons why it may be necessary to make a change in your dog’s diet. Continue reading to learn more about these reasons and how to introduce a new pet food into your pet’s diet.

Dog Enters a Different Stage of Life

There are three distinct stages in a dog’s life according to pet experts and veterinarians. The first stage is the puppy stage. During this stage, a puppy is actively growing and needs more protein and calories than the other stages of growth. Pet food for this stage of your puppy’s life is generally labeled as a “growth” formula or “puppy” food. The Association of American Feed Control Officials, also known as AAFCO, sets strict standards concerning the nutrients contained in this type of formula. It is imperative that you give a growing dog this type of pet food. Otherwise, your pet’s growth may be stunted or an illness may occur.

The second stage of life for a dog is called adult life. During this stage, the adult dog no longer needs the extra calories or protein that puppies need because they are no longer growing. Pets in this stage of life can become overweight if they do not receive enough exercise or are allowed to continue to eat puppy food. You want a food that is rated as an adult to help protect against obesity that can be detrimental to the health of your pet. There are pet foods that are marketed as pet food for all the stages of your pet’s life. These type of foods should be avoided as they contain excess calories, nutrients and fats that can lead to obesity.

The last stage of your pet’s life is considered senior life. During this stage of their life, pets may experience medical issues that require changes in their diet. If you pet has mobility issues, your vet may recommend a pet food that contains fatty acids to help lubricate their joints. If your pet suffers from kidney or heart disease, it is especially important that they are fed a pet food that is specifically made for these diseases. Unfortunately, the AAFCO does not have a formula specifically made for the senior pet. So, look for an adult formula that says that it is recommended for senior pets.

Pets are considered to be in the senior stage of life when they reach 7 to 8 years old. During this stage in your pet’s life, they will need a formula that offers extra immune and joint support to help them remain healthy and happy throughout their mature years.

Activity Levels

Another reason that you may need to switch to a different dog food is your dog’s activity level. Much like humans, the more active your pet is, the more calories it will need. Conversely, if your pet lives a sedentary lifestyle, he will require fewer calories. You want to ensure your pet is receiving the calories she needs without consuming too many that can lead to obesity. Read your pet food label to help you determine the number of calories in each serving size to ensure you pet is getting the proper nutrition.

Special Needs

Some dogs suffer from food sensitivities. Others have health problems that require different nutritional requirements. For this reason, it is important that your pet has regular veterinarian visits. During these visits, discuss your pet’s nutritional requirements and ask your vet to recommend a food based on their unique needs.

Different pet food formulas contain different nutrients. You want one that will supply your dog with the nutrition he needs during each stage of life. For example, if your pet has mobility issues or skin problems, you want a formula that contains essential fatty acids. Look for a dog food that contains both Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids, as they work together to ensure that your pet’s joints stay lubricated and their coats remain shiny and healthy.

If your pet seems weak or lethargic, schedule a visit to your veterinarian to ensure that your beloved pooch is receiving the nutrients he needs.

Another common problem in pets is gastrointestinal upset. This generally is due to a food sensitivity or stress. If you pet is suffering from upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea, it is essential that you take him to see the vet. He will get to the bottom of the problem and may recommend changing what you feed your pet.

Proper nutrition is one of the best ways to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy life. If you suspect you need to change you dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian as sudden changes in your pet’s diet can lead to further complications. Proper nutrition throughout all the stages of your dog’s life will help ensure that your pet has a happy, healthy life.

Martyn Williams is a record-holding extreme explorer, author and successful entrepreneur. He is a yoga teacher and practices natural and Ayurveda healing. To learn more, check out his site, Haritaki.org.