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The 5 Most Affectionate Kitties in the World

If you’re searching for a cat, there’s a high chance you’re searching for one who is affectionate and ready to be loved at any time. There are those cat lovers who would rather a cat be more on the independent side, but if you’re searching for a loving kitty, this is a must-read.

Just as with dogs, every cat is unique and even cats within the same breed may have varied temperaments. But, we have done our best to put together a list for kitties to look into.

Cat Breed 1: Birman

·        Long-haired

·        Blue eyes

·        Silky smooth

·        Share their love with humans and other pets (even the family dog)

Click here for the full breed profile for the Birman Cat.

Cat Breed 2: Burmese

·        Loves to snuggle

·        Loves to play

·        Athletic

·        Sable-colored

Click here for a full breed profile for the Burmese Cat

Cat Breed 3: Cornish Rex

·        Attention hogs

·        Can never get enough love

·        Commonly used as therapy cats

Click here for a full breed profile for the Cornish Rex.

Cat Breed 4: Persian

·        Lap lover

·        Relaxed

·        Long coat

·        Cute, smushed faces

Click here for a full breed profile for the Persian Cat.

Cat Breed 5: Ragdoll

·        Blue eyes

·        Love to be held as long as you like

·        Extremely tolerant

·        Excellent family cats

Click here for a full breed profile for the Ragdoll Cat.

Which Dog Breed is Best for You?

You’re thinking about adopting a dog. Choosing and adopting a dog is both an exciting and a nerve-wracking time for your family. You’re taking on quite a large responsibility. You are choosing to take responsibility for another life for many years to come.

When choosing a new dog, there are tons of questions roaming through your mind. Most commonly, the first question is, “what breed of dog is best for me?”

Which dog will be best suited for my lifestyle? Which dog will be best suited for my family?

The first step in being a responsible pet parent is choosing a dog you can commit to for his or her lifetime. Be sure to do your research. Once you adopt her, she will count on you for the rest of her life.

Make a thoughtful, well-planned decision.

To assist you in making this huge decision, we have found a survey you can take to review your options by clicking here.

Let’s Check Out the Video! 

We’ve also included the video below to help you search for your new best friend!

Can DogTV Help Dogs with Separation Anxiety?

This week we want to highlight DogTV. Have you ever heard of it? DogTV is the first television channel designed specifically for dogs and is created with the intent to reduce your dog’s separation anxiety and increase her well-being.

Separation anxiety has been found to be the number one behavioral problem of dogs in the United States. Dogs are social animals and often find it difficult to be away from his or her family.

DogTV is a 24/7 service so you’re able to turn it on any time you feel necessary.

How Does DogTV Work?

DogTV has been created using scientific evidence pertaining to canine separation anxiety. Years of research has gone into the development of this special television broadcast. It’s been created by the world’s top experts.

When watching DogTV, a dog’s sense of vision and hearing are targeted. This increases your pup’s mental stimulation and assists in preventing boredom.

My Dog?

Now, you might ask, “do you really think my dog will watch this?” That’s a great question. And, a common one. Dogs have been found to respond to what they see on television especially when it involves other dogs or other animals of any kind actually.

If you do a quick search on YouTube, you’ll see there are thousands of videos of dogs watching television. Yes, it’s a real thing.

How Do I Get DogTV?

If you live in the United States, DogTV is available via Comcast Xfininity, DirectTV Nationwide, Dish, RCN, and Cox.

If you have a computer, it’s also available via Mac and PC.

There’s a DogTV app on AppleTV, Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, iOS, and Android.

There are many options for you to grab DogTV and see if it works for your dog to reduce separation anxiety while you’re gone. Or, if you dog commonly experiences anxiety when you’re home, it’s still worth a try.

And, for those dog lovers who just want to grab their dog something to do while they’re busy this is the perfect gift.

If you do subscribe to DogTV, you might be thinking ‘this doesn’t look right.’ Keep in mind, this wasn’t designed for us as humans. There are colors on the screen, contrast, and camera angles that may appear to be ‘off’ to the human eye but they’re designed to maximize your dog’s attention.

The Categories: Relaxation, Stimulation, Exposure

There are three different categories available when you subscribe to DogTV. You might be wondering which one you should choose; relaxation, stimulation, or exposure.

The relaxation category is designed to assist dogs with stress and anxiety relief using soothing music and visuals.

If your dog needs to be mentally stimulated while home alone, this is where the ‘stimulation’ category comes in handy. The stimulation channel offers your dog plenty of moving images, other dogs and animals to keep her attention, and sounds to encourage your dog to be playful even while you’re gone.

Finally, the third and last category, is exposure. The exposure channel is designed to expose your dog to different stimuli. If your dog needs to be more comfortable in his or her environment, this category is designed to assist with that.

Thoughts?

If anyone has used DogTV or is currently using DogTV, we would love to hear from you. Have you noticed a significant improvement in your dog’s behavior? Have you noticed her stress and/or anxiety decreasing?

If you haven’t tried it and your dog is a ‘separation anxiety’ pup, it’s worth a try! And, they even offer a risk-free trial to make sure it’s a good fit for your individual dog.

We’ve included a clip below so you can get a feel of what DogTV is like… take a look! 


Tips to Encourage a Pawshake

We’ve all seen those dogs who love to shake paws with their human counterpart. The command, ‘shake,’ is a fun trick to teach your dog. And, it’s generally quite simple to teach.

Introducing the “Shake” Command

First step? Reach into that treat back and grab a handful of treats for your pocket. Treats are an excellent reward to encourage your dog to complete the task you’re asking her to.

Have your dog sit down. If she doesn’t know how to sit yet, you’ll need to master that command before starting this one.

Next: Hold a treat in one hand (only one hand) and show the treat to your dog. Then close your fist. Say “shake” and let her get a sniff of that tasty treat as she’s listening to the command.

Then, shake her paw and give her the treat. She will begin to correlate delicious treats with the command you’re providing (low-calorie treats may be necessary here for some dogs).

Don’t get discouraged too easily. Some dogs catch on immediately whereas others take time. Every dog is unique.

Get Rid of the Treat

Eventually, we don’t want to give our dog a treat every time he does a trick or he’s going to one fat ball of fluff. Once your dog has mastered the ‘shake’ command, you can slowly ease off of the treats by not providing a treat every single time he follows your command. Reward him in other ways like praising- “good boy, Rover!” with some love.

Different Methods

As you can imagine, there are different methods which can be used to teach your dog a desired trick. We’ve found the perfect video for you. This is a must-watch.

The video we have chosen for you shows a different method to try with your furry family member- the clicker! You know your dog best; which way would she prefer to learn? Enjoy!


Top 5 Tips for Puppy Training

Yay! Your puppy is finally home! But, oh uh. Now what?

Training needs to begin immediately. Whether your train your pup yourself, enroll her in puppy training classes, or hire a private trainer, there are some basic training tips we can discuss today to get you started on the road to success.

Training Tip 1: Your Pup’s Name

Think long and hard about what you want your puppy’s name should be. Once you pick out a name, it shouldn’t be changed. Changing a name could result in extreme confusion and knock everything out of balance.

For training purposes, it’s best to consider a name with more than one syllable. This will help the training process go much smoother and your dog will understand that’s his name much quicker with repetition.

Side note: If you chose an older shelter dog rather than a puppy, he or she already knows what her name is (or at least there’s a good chance). Changing her name is completely out of the realm of possibility but try the name out you choose first and see how she or he reacts to it. With repetition here too, your new shelter doggy may easily adapt.

Tip 2: Set Ground Rules

Before you bring your new puppy home, you need to set some ground rules. What is she allowed to do? What is she not allowed to do? Once those ground rules are set, stick to them and don’t falter. If you don’t want her jumping on the counters and she is scolded for doing so but then one time you allow her to, she will easily become confused and all that work you have done to keep her from jumping up there will be gone.

Tip 3: Dogs Need Privacy Too

Dogs are den animals and they do enjoy having a place to call their own. Usually, this is a crate. But, it can also be a special room or area in the house that’s generally quiet.

If she’s feeling overwhelmed, this is the area she will feel comfortable walking into in an effort to escape and have some calm down time.

This area can also become extremely helpful with house training because pups don’t like to go potty in their sleep zone.

Tip 4: Teach Him to Come When Called

This is a critical point here. We want our pups to come when we call them. Not only is it a sign of respect to us, but it prevents them from getting into trouble or getting hurt.

“Come Rover!” in an excited voice. Good boy! Good boy! Teaching your pup this command the moment he arrives home is important. Of course, he may not understand immediately but he’ll get the hang of it. Start out by practicing inside. Then, find a fenced-in area outdoors you can practice. With continued effort, your dog will come to you whenever you ask her to.

Tip 5: Reward the Good

Positive reinforcement is extremely important. We want to ignore bad behaviors and reward all good behaviors in this stage of puppyhood.

Not only can you use treats for positive reinforcement; you can also use toys, a little bit of kibble, praise, and love. Let him know when he’s done something you’re happy with. He will be happy you’re happy and continue to do his best in keeping you proud.

All in all, make sure all training is positive. Punishment should never be utilized as this could severely damage the bond you have with your dog for the rest of his life. We don’t want that. We want our bond to be as close as possible. Our dogs are an important part of our family.

Plus, if you keep all training positive, he’ll always be ready to learn more from his very best friend, you.

Fun Winter Adventures for Max!

Got Snow? Let’s Go!

Here at PetKey we all know how overwhelming the winter season can be with nothing to do. But there are some benefits to winter. Many people who live in places of snow galore enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and sledding.

Did you know there’s an activity you can include your dog in, though? You heard that right. A winter activity you can enjoy with your doggies.

Snowshoeing!

At first this might not sound like the most glamourous activity, but you’d be surprised at how peaceful and enjoyable it is once you’re out there.

What’s the Human Need?

If you don’t know much about snowshoeing (don’t worry- most don’t), you’ll need a few things to prepare. Don’t fret, it’s not expensive.

Here’s what you’ll need: Cozy winter clothes, insulated hiking boots (or boots that stay warm), and snowshoes. If you want added balance, grab yourself some poles too.

You can rent or buy snowshoes. 

When you’re looking at snowshoes, you’ll see there are a few different types to choose from. 

You might want snowshoes tailored for walking on the frozen lake nearby or you may simply want to hike up your favorite mountain. Or, take it easy and walk down a regular snow trail.

Before you go out, make sure the weather won’t be too bad especially if it’s your first time.

A Dog’s Snowshoeing Accessories

Before you and your dog hike into the great outdoors, be certain to check the rules and regulations of place you’re choosing. 

There are some places that aren’t dog-friendly, and you don’t want to get in trouble. That won’t make for a fun experience.

You should consider your dog’s health and fitness level before choosing your destination. 

Pick somewhere both you and your dog will feel comfortable. And, don’t choose anything too strenuous if you and/or your dog have never done this before.

Even though it’s cold outside, your dog (and you) will still need to remain hydrated. Don’t forget the water.

Does your dog need a coat, too? Remember, if you’re cold there’s a good chance he’s cold. An insulated dog jacket could make a significant difference in your trip.

As we talked about earlier in the year, those dog booties also come in handy. We don’t want our dog’s paw pads to freeze. Grab those winter boots for your pup.

Stay Safe while Snowshoeing: Dog and Human

As with any hiking excursion, always let someone know where you’re going. 

There are many people who go out wandering without letting people know where they’re going and end up lost somewhere. 

If you are gone too long, and happen to get lost, people will know where to find you (approximately) and you’ll have help on the way much quicker.

Stay aware of your surroundings. The wilderness is beautiful, but you should remain alert for yourself and your furry companion.

Finally, prepare for the unexpected. 

You can’t never be ‘overprepared’ when going on a hiking trip. 

Don’t worry so much your trip is stressful. Just be sure you have packed all the essentials: extra food, extra water, an emergency kit, a compass, and a GPS if you have one.

Let’s Go Snowshoeing!

We highly recommend you dig deeper into this if you’re interested in this activity with your dog. 

We want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible and don’t want you to take on any activity you or your dog are not ready for.

As long as you’re prepared and ready for your adventure, you’ll have a wonderful time together snowshoeing and exploring the beauty of Earth with your furry companion.

Most importantly- have fun!

Happy New Year from PetKey!

Happy New Year from all of us here at PetKey! 

What Gifts Did Santa Paws Bring?

Hello, everyone! This week we waited to post this week’s blog post to find out what your furry friends received from Santa Paws! Do you have any videos you would like to share? If so, please send them to our Facebook page by clicking here. 

Happy Holidays from all of us here at PetKey!


27 Cat Facts That Will Leave You Speechless!

Since this month is Cat Lover’s Month, we thought we should give you another list of some neat cat facts before we dive into our Christmas blog post next week! We can’t ever have enough of those, right?

Let’s get to it.

1.      Did you know your cat is 95.6% tiger? That’s right. And, they share many behaviors with their wild ancestors. This comes from cat behavior expert, Layla Morgan Wilde. The behaviors they share include (but aren’t limited to) prey stalking, prey play, pouncing, and urine marking.

2.      Cats can jump up to six times their length. That’s not shocking though, right? We’ve seen cats jump pretty far to get that piece of chicken from the counter.

3.      You remember seeing fireman going to ‘fetch the cat’ from the top of a tree? She climbed up there, why can’t she get down? Cats’ claws all curve downward, which means they can’t climb down trees head first, but if they’re daring, they can back down the trunk of the tree.

4.      Ever wonder why your cat is searching around with her mouth open? Cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scents in the air. When she’s looking around with her mouth open, she’s likely showing something known as the ‘flehman response.’

5.      Your cat’s tongue alone has enough ‘scruff’ on it to clean any shred of meat.

6.      Cats use their whiskers to determine where they’re able to fit into. A cat’s whiskers are generally the same width as their body, so before entering a small space, they can check with their whiskers to make sure they’re able to fit.

7.      On average, cats sleep from 12-16 hours per day. Sleepy kitty.

8.      Do you ever wake up or fall asleep to your cat running around playing? Why is she so determined to prevent you from sleeping? It’s because cats are most active at dawn and dusk.

9.      Cats live longer when they are indoor-only cats.

10.   If you have a female kitten, she can get pregnant as young as 4 months old. Beware!

11.   Scientists believe catnip produces an effect similar to LSD or marijuana. The chemical effect in catnip wears off within 15 minutes.

12.   Spaying or neutering your cat can extend his or her life.

13.   Cats have over 100 different vocalizations! He has many ways of communicating with you.

14.   When your cat is rubbing his face and/or body against yours, he is actually marking you as his territory with scent glands in those areas.

15.   Hissing is known to be more defensive than aggressive, according to Wilde (mentioned earlier in this post).

16.   When you are sitting down, and your cat is kneading you with her paws, she is letting you know she is content and happy.

17.   Cats can learn how to use the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. Your cat can use the potty.

 For 10 more cat facts, watch the video below! 

That’s it for now! If you have any other cat facts, we’d love to hear from you! 

December is Cat Lovers’ Month. Many people say cats don’t get enough attention. Everything is all about dogs. So, cat lovers, this is your month.

Over 36 million households in the United States share their homes with over 74 million cats. That’s an incredible number of purring kitties.

To help you share your love for cats, we have compiled a list of a few ways to celebrate. And, we’d like to share a little bit of history with you.

The Gift of Time

It’s no shock this comes in to our discussion before anything else. There’s no gift that replaces the gift of time. The difficulties of every day life have us running around like crazy people. So much so that it’s difficult to spend time with our families (our human and furry family).

For the month of December, make an extra effort to carve out some spare time or all members of your family.

Volunteer Your Time

If you don’t have any cats of your own, but you’re still a cat lover, there is still a way to dedicate your time. Nearly every humane society has a shortage of volunteers. Whether you’re comfortable helping cleaning up their mess or just want to socialize, the gift of time to your local shelter is incredibly appreciated.

Get Her Painted

Every proud pet parent has something they have done to memorialize their pet whether it’s a framed photograph, a Christmas ornament, or a bumper sticker that says, “I love my cat.”

Did you know you could hire someone to paint you a portrait, though? This is becoming increasingly more popular, but we have found there are still many pet lovers who aren’t aware of this special gift.

Simply choose your favorite photo of your cat and visit Etsy.com. There are many artists to choose from to create the perfect painting you can hang on your wall for years to come.

The History of Cats

To give you a deeper appreciation of that furry kitty wandering around your home, we thought it would be a good idea to explain where she came from.

The Smithsonian Institute shares a popular quite in their article regarding cat history. And, that is, “As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat” and “A dog is a man’s best friend. A cat is a cat’s best friend.” If you have a cat, there is a high chance you know exactly what these quotes are meaning.

The domestication of cats has been quite puzzling to scientists. Wild cats and domesticated cats are more similar than one would think.

A revelation came in 2004, when a scientist found a cat who had been purposely buried with a human, in Cyprus. This led scientists to guess cats were first domesticated about 12,000 years ago.

The Use of Cats?

When discussing domestication, there’s no surprise the domestication of dogs would have been beneficial in many ways including hunting and protection. But, what could cats have to offer so long ago?

One guess. What are kitties good at still to this day?

Mice!

When people began to settle down, and there started to be extra crops, grain stores began to open. With the opening of grain stores came the mice. Scientists believe the wild cats wandered into town and found a ton of mice hiding in these stores.

The cats thought they were in heaven and the people were happy with the pest control.

The rest is history!

How Does Doga Improve Mental, Physical, and Emotional Well-Being?

Hello, everyone! This week we’re switching it up and talking about something that’s fairly new to the dog world. Although it’s fairly new, it can be extremely beneficial to both you and your dog.

Doga. Yes, you heard right. Doga. Dog yoga. We hadn’t heard of it either until recently when a professional trainer had approached us to give us some details.

Read on to find out more!

Instead of doing yoga with your friend (or you can include him or her if your dog is comfortable), start implementing yoga into your dog’s daily routine.

The meditation involved in yoga is calming to everyone, dogs included. That’s not really shocking though, is it? We discovered quite long-ago meditation helps relieve our dog’s stress and anxiety. But, we hadn’t exactly thought about teaching our dogs to do yoga with us.

The music involved also helps our dog relax (and ourselves).

Note: Starting this at home is probably the best idea. Your dog might not be ready to enter your regular yoga session with an overwhelming number of people and distractions in the room.

The Benefits of Doga

There are quite a few benefits to implementing doga into your daily routine with your pup. We’ll talk about a few of them today, but we highly encourage you to do some research for yourself if this is something you’re interested in.

Understanding Your Dog Even Better Than Before

Dr. Danni Shemanski, a leading influencer in dog yoga, has discussed how feelings of importance increase when you include your dog in your yoga experience. The love and the bond shared between the two of you is also likely to increase when this is implemented into your daily schedule.

While performing doga with your dog, you’re spending quality time with your dog. And, as you know, time is all your dog asks for. If your dog has been craving attention, this could very well be the solution.

If your dog suffers from anxiety, you may see a decrease in the anxiety she is feeling after a few doga sessions. The meditation, the physical exercise, the mental stimulation. All those factors assist in preventing anxiety.

The mind exercises involved in yoga may also increase the connection your dog has with you. This will help you understand your dog like you may never have before.

Improved Behavior

When researching Doga, scientists have found doggy yoga improves the focus of dogs as well. And, it can greatly improve their obedience.

Patience is another area you may see improvement. Your dog is likely to be more patient… as are you. Why not, right? With all this relaxation, physical, and mental stimulation, it’s not shocking that you’ll feel more patient and be able to stress less.

Reduced Anxiety Levels

Yes, we did already talk about doga reducing anxiety levels. But this is an area which needs emphasized heavily. The majority of clients taken by canine behaviorists experience some type of anxiety.  

Between the yoga, the music, and the time spent with you, your dog is likely to find her mind, body, and soul freed during each doga session.

Weight Loss

Whether you’re healthy and fit or have a little work to do (same with your dog), both of are you are going to benefit from your session’s calorie burning benefits.

You’re going to be stretching. You’re going to feel muscles you didn’t even know you had. You’re really going to be working at this.

Those who have never tried yoga will say, ‘that’s way too easy for me.’ It looks simple, but there’s much more to it than you think. And, it truly works your body.

Doga is Fun… and Funny

Many dogs will try to imitate you. You can count on her looking a little silly. That’s part of the fun of it.

Among all the fun and exercise, you will forget how much time has passed. You’ll notice each session seeming shorter and shorter as your mind and body become accustomed to the sessions. Yet another reason to implement yoga into your routine.

Social Skills for Your Pup

Once you’re both ready, you might want to start looking for other people and their dogs to join you. You may even consider offering your own doga class.

Dog parks provide a huge opportunity for you to meet other dog lovers and socialize. This could be the perfect opportunity to ask around, share what you have learned, and see if anyone would like to join you in this activity. There are many who don’t believe in the benefits of yoga or doga, but you would be surprised how many people do believe.

Once other dogs and people are involved with your doga class, your dog will enjoy the benefits of socialization. Your dog will not only have the opportunity to bond with other people but other dogs as well. And, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new friends, too.

The Bottom Line on Doga

Doga can be the perfect opportunity for both yourself and your dog to get fit while spending some good quality time together. There’s not a significant amount of information out there about doga yet, but there’s definitely enough to get you started.

Use Your Leftover Turkey for Your Dog: Doggy Meatball Recipe

Homemade Turkey Meatballs Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Makes 24 pieces

Are you wondering what to do with all that leftover turkey? Why not make your dog a healthy, delicious treat! Or, add these meatballs to their regular meal (be sure to reduce the amount of kibble if you choose to do this). These meatballs are good for about five days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them for future snacks.

Meatball Ingredients:

·        1 pound of leftover turkey (skinless, boneless)

·        2 eggs

·        ½ cup of rolled oats

·        1 cup of mixed veggies

·        2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt

·        ¼ cup of fresh parsley

Cooking Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400º

Step 2: Place leftover turkey into the food processor and pulse to break up the meat

Step 3: Add the rolled oats to the mix and pulse into there are no longer any large pieces

Step 4: Add the egg and yogurt pulsing until the mixture holds together

Step 5: Transfer mixture from food processor to a large bowl

Step 6: Add the cup of mixed veggies and parsley; mix with your hands

Step 7: Roll into 1” balls

Step 8: Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet

Step 9: Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown

Step 10: Wait to cook and serve (or refrigerate/freeze)

You may think it’s good to add seasonings to this mix, but seasonings could result in stomach upset or illness. Your dog will love these treats just as they are.

Enjoy!

This week, we want to share an emotional, heart-wrenching video with you that shows all of the trials and tribulations our soldiers (men, women, and canine) go through every day. 

Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you for serving our country! 

5 Winter Care Tips for Your Dog

Some dogs love winter whereas others would rather cuddle up with you under a warm blanket by the fireplace. Either way, she must go potty at some point. And, you should be ready to protect her from the bitter cold outside.

The Risks During Winter

Most pet parents believe the common misconception that a dog’s coat is enough to protect them from the cold. This isn’t always the case. Some dogs can handle the winter weather better than others, but all dogs should be protected and observed carefully during the winter months.

If your dog stays out for too long, there’s a risk of her getting frostbite. Frostbite begins when your dog’s body gets cold. Once your dog’s body (ours works this way too) gets cold, blood is pulled away from her extremities to maintain warmth at the core of her body. As your dog continues to be outside, her ears, paws, and/or tail could then form ice crystals and damage the tissue.

Frostbite is a scary thing because it’s not immediately recognized. You can watch for pale or grey skin and feel her skin to check to see if it feels cold.

The other life-threatening condition you need to worry about is hypothermia. Hypothermia sets in when your dog spends too much time outside in the cold temperatures. Dogs who are wet, senior dogs, and dogs with health conditions will likely be affected sooner.

In mild cases of hypothermia, your dog starts to shiver and her ears, tail, and/or feet get cold. As hypothermia continues, she might appear sleepy, depressed, and weak. Her muscles will begin to stiffen, and her heart rate will drop.

The general guideline is, if it’s cold to you outside with your coat on, it’s too cold for your dog. We’ll talk about more tips to keep your dog happy, healthy, and warm this winter below.

Tip 1: Let the Sun Shine

Avoiding times where the sun isn’t shining is a helpful tip. Take your dog for walks when it’s a little warmer and the sun can reflect off her coat. Plus, on top of keeping her warmer, you’ll both soak up some Vitamin D.

Tip 2: Is the Floor Cold?

If your floor isn’t carpeted, or you don’t have heated floors, the floor could become quite a cold place for your dog to sleep. Choosing the right bed can help your dog stay warm while indoors. A nice, comfy bed is just what the doctor ordered on those cold winter days.

If you have an older dog, you may want to consider purchasing a heated bed. Senior dogs may have aches in their joints which will worsen when they’re cold.

And, finally, make sure you don’t place her in a ‘draft-zone.’ Usually, this is next to a door or an old window. Make sure you pick out a warm spot in your home.

Tip 3: Avoid the Heaters

You don’t want your dog in a drafty area of the house, but your also shouldn’t put her bed right next to the heater. If she’s too close to the heater, she can easily get burned and/or overheated.

Tip 4: Moisturize Her Skin

You may have noticed when it’s cold and dry outside (like many days in winter), your skin also dries up and you need to go grab the lotion. Your dog’s skin is the same way. To prevent dry, itchy, flaky skin, you can rub her with coconut oil on an as-needed basis.

Tip 5: Take Care of Her Paws

We don’t know about you, but many people develop ‘foot cracks’ in the winter. Just as people do, dogs can develop cracks in their paws.

If your pup has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between her pads to prevent ice from building up.

The salt laid out in the winter can also become a huge problem for your dog’s sensitive paw pads. Winter salt is toxic and will burn your dog’s pads if it’s not washed off. If you go for a stroll around the block, be sure to wash her pads off afterwards. Or, if your dog will accept them, doggy booties can be worn to protect her pads from the cold temperatures and winter salt.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to enjoy winter with your dog but keep these tips in mind to make sure your dog is safe. And, don’t forget winter time is the best time for snuggles!

Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween!

Hello, everyone! This week we must discuss Halloween. It’s coming fast. Only a few more days and the time will be here.

Usually, we’re so wrapped up in finding costumes for our children and getting them ready, we don’t have time to stop and consider our pets. But, many pet lovers aren’t aware of the dangers their dogs face on this creepy crawly holiday.

Some adults absolutely love this holiday. Other’s don’t. But, our children sure love it.

Our dogs usually aren’t the biggest fans, though.  

Don’t stress. We will review a handful of safety tips to keep your doggy safe, happy, and healthy during the October 31 celebration.

Rover Doesn’t Need Candy

This one you may already know. All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous or even deadly to your dog.

If you’re worried your dog may have eaten some Halloween chocolates, take her to the veterinarian and keep a close watch on her behavior.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and/or seizures.

You might ask now, “my dog can’t have chocolate, but can’t he have a few pieces of candy?” Nope.

Most candies contain an ingredient that’s toxic to our dogs, too. Xylitol! Even the smallest amount of Xylitol can cause a severe, sudden drop in blood sugar followed by loss of coordination, seizures, coma, or death. That’s a serious risk.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

While small amounts of pumpkin can be fed safely to many dogs, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins can cause big problems.

Gastrointestinal upset is a potential result of your pup eating the ‘wrong’ pumpkin or too much pumpkin. And, intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed.

Another danger with pumpkin? Some types of mold produce mycotoxins which can cause neurologic problems in dogs.

You might be a bit confused right now because pumpkin can be good for dogs. Learn how much is too much and what types of pumpkin your dog can have by clicking here.

Keep Your Pup Confined

Keeping your doggy indoors is the best idea on Halloween.

But, if you’re staying home to hand out candy, your door will be opening and closing nonstop.

Plus, not only are strangers coming to your door, they’re strangers in all kinds of different costumes.

There’s no big shock that your dog may become uncomfortable, territorial, or even aggressive on Halloween with the chaos and confusion.

Putting your dog in her crate for a little while, or in a room she’s comfortable in, will significantly reduce your dog’s feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

With all the chaos and people coming in and out in their costumes, you may be tempted to find an alternate location for your dog.

Some dog lovers may be tempted to put their dog on a runner out back away from all the trick-or-treaters. Or, in a fenced in area in the back yard.

Unfortunately, our world is not the nicest sometimes and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Pranksters have been known to tease, steal, injure, or even kill pets on Halloween. I hate writing that. But, it needs to be said to keep your loved furry family safe.

If You’re Going Out with Your Pup

If you do decide to dress Rover in a costume and go out for the evening, make sure it isn’t dangerous or annoying to your doggy.

Costumes shouldn’t restrict your dog’s movement in any way, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. 

Your dog must always also be supervised when the costume is on to prevent any accidents from happening.

Dressing Rover for Halloween

Don’t wait until Halloween night to put your pet in a costume for the first time.

Remember, any time you want to introduce your pup to something new, it’s best to go slow.

Be sure to grab your pet costumes early and put them on for short periods of time (piece by piece, if possible).

Make this a positive experiencing by showering your dog with praise and treats. If, at any time, your dog appears to be distressed, anxious, or uncomfortable, immediately remove the costume.

If you don’t want to try the costume idea, you could always try a festive bandana for your pup to walk around with while you’re trick-or-treating.

Don’t Forget His ID Tag

If your dog were to escape and get lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that she will be returned.

Collars and tags are helpful if your pup finds someone who is willing to help him find his family, but microchips offer permanent identification just in case their collar or tag falls off.

If your dog has a microchip, make sure the information is up-to-date in the recording system. If she doesn’t have a microchip yet, this may be the right time for you to get this done. Not only is Halloween almost here, the other holidays are approaching quickly.

The Bottom Line on Your Pup’s Halloween

This article isn’t meant to worry you but rather to prevent accidents from occurring. And, make you aware of the dangers lurking near your furry family member(s). Keep your doggy safe this holiday season.

My Cat is Spraying and I Don’t Know What to Do!

The most common behavior problem in cats, as reported by pet parents, is going potty in the wrong areas. 10% of cats eliminate in an area that’s not their litterbox at some point in their life. These cats are usually urine marking which isn’t a litterbox problem (fortunately and unfortunately). Urine marking is a form of communication used by cats.

Exactly Why is My Cat Urine Marking?

Animals who live in social groups and depend on one another to survive have sophisticated communication skills. It’s important not to think of a cat’s behavior as like a dog. Cats have a unique social structure and are extremely different from dogs in their social life.

If give the opportunity, cats go off on their own and claim certain territories. They are independent animals, and although they may share their territory with other cats, they avoid one another whenever possible.

Cats are unlike dogs in that they don’t defend their territory (most of the time) with a fight. Instead, they mark their territory in a different way that leaves a message.

Most times, this is where the urine marking comes in. By urine marking an area, the cat is letting other cats know of his presence. He wants other cats to know where his ‘property lines’ are, how long ago he was in that particular area, and how long he’ll likely be away.

Cats can also leave a message like an advertisement, ‘I’m looking for a mate,’ with their urine.

Although our traditional cats who live in our houses don’t have to hunt for their food or search out a mate, they still look at their world the same. They don’t fully understand they’re in a house where ‘this isn’t permitted.’ They use the instincts nature has provided to them.

They will set their instincts aside in certain situations, though. These are situations you, as their pet parent, have to make possible for them. If they feel their world is predictable, and without conflict, AND they’re spayed or neutered, they don’t really have a reason to mark. But, if they are stressed about something, or they want to find a mate, that’s when you run into problems.

How Do I Know if my Kitty is Urine Marking?

Okay. This is the hard part. Cat who urine mark also use their litterbox to go potty. That’s where the confusion comes in.

There are certain ‘hints’ or clues you can consider when determining if your cat has a communication problem, doesn’t like his litterbox, or is truly urine marking:

·        Urine marks are generally deposited on vertical surfaces. If you have ever heard of a cat who ‘sprays,’ this is what we’re talking about. When spraying, a cat usually backs up to an object like the side of a chair or a wall, and stands with his body erect and his tail extended straight up in the air, while spraying urine onto the targeted object.

·        Urine marks usually contain less urine than your cat would generally pee into their litterbox.

·        The odor of the ‘marking’ urine is extremely strong. Not only does the spray contain urine, but also contains extra communication chemicals.

There are also certain qualities that would make your cat more likely to spray in your home including:

·        Being an unneutered male. 

·        Multiple cats in the household. 

·        Any change in the household that could cause stress.

·        Cat to cat conflict

Treating Urine Marking in Intact Cats

There are a few things you can do to reduce urine marking in an intact cat:

·        Neuter or spay your cat. 

·        Prevent your indoor cat from seeing other neighborhood cats.

Treating Urine Marking Caused by Conflict in a Multi-Cat Household

Before treating the issue as a behavioral problem, you must rule out any medical problems by visiting your veterinarian. Although there’s no medical problem that would specifically result in urine marking, if your cat is in any sort of pain or experiencing any medical issue, this could lead to stress which may lead to urine marking.

Once your veterinarian has cleared your kitty, it’s time to figure out which cat is marking. If you aren’t sure if your cat is spraying, or you’re not sure which cat is spraying, you can ask your veterinarian about something known as fluorescein which causes urine to glow blue under a UV light.

More tips include:

·        Be sure to provide enough litterboxes. The general rule is one litterbox per cat in the household. And, if you have a two-story home (or larger), be sure there’s a litterbox on each floor.

·        Make sure litterboxes are placed in low-traffic areas.

·        Scoop the litterbox at least once per day.

·        Play with your cats to reduce stress and conflict.

·        Thoroughly clean any accidents with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to neutralize pet odors. If you clean it without an enzymatic cleaner, and you can’t smell it, that doesn’t mean your cat can’t.

The Bottom Line on Urine Marking in Cats

Although this is extremely frustrating (and disgusting to us), remember to be patient with your cat. Remember he’s not doing this to hurt you in any way but rather following his/her instincts for survival. You should never punish your cat, rub his nose ‘in it,’ or throw things at your cat to get him to stop if you catch him in the act.

And, absolutely never clean up with ammonia. Ammonia attracts your cat to the same area because urine contains ammonia. Don’t forget to grab an enzymatic cleaner.

5 Ways to Socialize Your New Kitten

Everyone always talks about how to socialize your new puppy, but we don’t often hear about how to socialize a new kitten. Socializing your kitten is important, too.

Leaving the litter can be traumatic for a little kitty. Even when a kitten is over eight weeks old and fully weaned, a new environment is still new. And, it can be overwhelming.

Before Your Bring Your Kitten Home

Before you bring you adorable little kitten home, you want to make sure she will have a smooth transition into her forever home. A smooth transition requires many factors to be in order including introductions to other humans, other cats, and other dogs.

In this article, we’ll talk about five ways to ensure your cute kitty has a smooth transition into your home.

Socialization Tip 1: Don’t Overwhelm the Kitten

When your kitten first arrives home, don’t introduce her to a bunch of new people. You can introduce her to one or two people at a time to avoid overwhelming her. Don’t worry if she still appears to be overwhelmed. Remember, this is all completely new to her.

Choose a quiet place for your introductions. Let each person who sees her cuddle her for a decent amount of time. And, don’t forget the kitty treats. She will likely feel more comfortable associating new people with yummy snacks.

Socialization Tip 2: Introducing Pups and Cats

When introducing your kitten to another kitten or a dog, have someone who she trusts hold her from a distance. Offer her treats while you’re introducing her. Gradually decrease the distance from your other furry companions as long as your kitten feels comfortable.

Your other pets should also be provided with treats and obedience commands (for dogs). Don’t forget, your kitten is new for them too. Don’t forget your other furry loved ones while caring for your new kitty.

You want them to form positive associations to one another. Making sure you aren’t making any of your furry family members uncomfortable during this process is crucial. Repeat this process for each of your furry babies one at a time.

Socialization Tip 3: Give Freedom

Once you know everyone is safe, you should give your pets the freedom to approach one another if desired. Don’t forget to reward for good behavior.

P.S.- Make sure none of your furry family members feel as if they can’t escape the situation. Your dog should be able to walk away. And, your cat(s) should be able to hide or get away if they want to.

Socialization Tip 4: Confine Your Kitty

In the beginning few days, if you can’t supervise, your kitten should be confined to a specific area. Usually, this is the bathroom since it’s easy to clean up and large enough for your kitten to walk around.

You want your kitten to feel safe. Make sure she’s in the bathroom by herself so she has time to relax. She will become accustomed to new sounds, new smells, and new sights, as she is spending time to herself.

If you have other cats, don’t forget to grab another litterbox, too. Generally, the recommendation is one litterbox per cat. Some cats don’t like to use other cat’s potty areas.

Socialization Tip 5: Your Kitten Cuddling with Visitors

Most people absolutely love kittens. What’s not to love, right? Take advantage of your tiny kitten’s adorable face to socialize him or her with others.

Once your kitten appears to be relaxed in your home with your current pets and family members, you can allow your friends and other family members to come in and cuddle your new addition.

Ask your friends or family to hold your kitten, give her treats, and play with her. If possible, allowing both men and women to do so is recommended so your cat doesn’t have a gender preference when she gets older.

Allow your kitten to play with children also (ensuring children are acting appropriately with the kitten).

If your kitten forms positive associations with all different types of people now (all ages, both genders, etc.), she is more likely to hang onto those impressions throughout her life.

The Bottom Line on Kitten Socialization

Socializing a kitten doesn’t take too much effort, but you’ll notice the positive effects from socialization for her entire life. A socialized adult cat is friendly, confident, and happy to be in the company of others.

Make a point to hold your kitten multiple times per day. Touch her toes, ears, and tail, not only to ensure she is comfortable with others handling her but the veterinarian as well. This will mean less stress for both you and the vet.

Finally, don’t forget to be patient. Just as all dogs are unique, all cats are unique as well. Each cat has his own personality. Some cats are outgoing whereas others are shy and take more time to warm up.

Teach Your Dog to Stay in 5 Steps

Training your dog to stay is a useful command and it’s a part of the ‘general obedience’ guidelines for a well-rounded dog. A dog who knows the ‘stay’ command is more likely to have manners when you have guests, while you’re eating a meal, and during travel.

Like other commands, ‘stay’ may time some time. It’s important to remain calm, patient, and consistent while your dog is learning.

Don’t forget, positive reinforcement methods should be utilized to prevent behavioral problems and increase the bond you share with your dog.

What Do I Need for this Training?

You don’t need much to train your dog how to stay. All you need is a quiet area free from distractions and a handful of kibble or treats (don’t forget your dog’s diet should not be over 10% treats).

Before teaching your dog to stay, be certain she understands the ‘sit command.’ This won’t work if she hasn’t learned how to sit on command yet.

Step 1: Teach Her to Sit

As stated above, be certain your dog knows how to sit. If your dog doesn’t know how to sit, you’ll need to teach her this before moving onto step 2.

Step 2: Grab the Treats

Step 2 involves those treats we asked you to grab earlier. Place the treats in your pocket or cup them in your hand for now.

Then, tell your dog to sit when you’re ready.

Take a few steps back while saying the word ‘stay.’ You’re going to have to sound a bit like a broken record during this step. Repetition is important.

If your dog doesn’t move, say “okay” to let her know it’s acceptable to get up. Once she returns to you, give her a treat. She’s done a great job.

If your dog starts to follow you rather than stay put, simply say “no.” Walk your dog back to the same location she was sitting in before and try again.

Some dogs may catch onto this immediately whereas others may take weeks to learn. Every dog is different and learns differently (and some dogs are a bit stubborn, right?).

Step 3: Repetition is Critical

Be sure to repeat step two multiple times per day until your dog has mastered the command. Once a few days go by (or longer) you can move onto step 4.

Step 4: Increase the Distance

Now that your pup has mastered all the steps mentioned above, we’re going to move onto increasing the distance between us and our dog.

Increase the distance by taking a few more steps backwards than you did before while repeatedly saying the word ‘stay.’ If your dog isn’t quite ready for you to go that far away, bring her back to her sitting area and try again just as you may have before.

Step 5: Moving to Different Areas

Once your dog has mastered the ‘stay’ command inside the house, you can move onto different areas like your fenced-in yard, dog park, or other area where you know your dog is safe. Bringing your dog away from your home is also important as your dog will learn how to listen to you with distractions.

The Take-Away

Don’t forget to be patient with your dog while she’s learning a new command. To help her learn, you should bring her for a walk first so she’s calmer and better able to pay attention to you. You want your dog to be in a peaceful state of mind, so you know she’s listening attentively.

If you notice your dog having a hard time concentrating, don’t worry. Wrap it up and call it a day. Try again tomorrow.

Adopt a Black Dog, Save a Life

Today, October 1, is National Black Dog Day. This may sound a bit ‘odd’ at first. But, researchers at animal shelters have uncovered an upsetting truth.

When a dog lover is searching for a furry companion, dogs who are black or dark in color are passed by without the slightest consideration for adoption.

The adoption rates of black dogs is so low, the problem has now been coined ‘black dog syndrome.’

The phenomenon has also been coined as ‘dog racism.’ And, has inspired ‘black dog’ campaigns showing adorable professional photographs. The photographs are designed to show the beautiful features black dogs have and capture their personality in the portrait as well.

There are a few different reasons dog lovers may choose to pass that adorable, black lab mix.

Features Are Hidden

The color black absorbs light. Since black absorbs light, a black dog’s features may not be as apparent is a light-colored dog. This makes our adorable family friend harder to take pictures of.

The other aspect of this component is black is associated with evil. Dogs in horror movies are also generally black. People may unconsciously pass by that black dog due to misconceptions in their lifetime.

And, some dog lovers think black dogs are simply too plain. There is nothing ‘special’ about them. Dark-colored dogs are thought to be bland and ordinary.

Black Dogs Aren’t Appealing

Researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted a study where members had no idea what was going on. The participants didn’t know the purpose of the study.

The main researcher, Stanley Coren, selected 60 colleagues and students and showed each of them photographs of black, brown, and yellow Labrador Retriever.

The results were just as expected. Black labs had lower ratings regarding attractiveness, adoptability, and friendliness.

Are Black Dogs Mean?

The previous section leads us to this one. A study conducted by three psychologists from Penn State supported Coren’s findings that ‘black dog syndrome’ may truly exist.

Sixty-five participants were chosen for this study. After the participants were recruited, they were to look at pictures of dogs and cats from various breeds and colors. The participants were asked for their impression of each animal as a pet.

Not only was ‘black dog syndrome’ confirmed in this study, but ‘black cat syndrome’ was as well.

Black animals, dog or cat, ranked at the bottom of the score chart for perceived adoptability and friendliness.

Black dogs were also perceived to be more aggressive than dogs of other colors.

You Can Help: Take Action and Make a Difference

Even if you already have dogs in your household and aren’t interested in adopting another, there are other ways you can help spread ‘black dog’ awareness.

First, if you know of anyone searching for a puppy or adult dog, share a bit of information about how the black dog is least likely to be adopted.

Share as much information about Black Dog Syndrome as you can. Lets spread the word!

And, of course, if you are searching for another furry family member, remember this article and go back to the low chance of adoption. We’re not saying you absolutely need to adopt a black dog, but recommend providing them the same consideration provided to lighter-color dogs.