Litter Box Training Tips

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Adopting a new cat is so much fun; there are toys and treats to buy, adorable pictures to take, and a kitten to play with! However, one of the most important aspects of kitten ownership is training your kitten to use a litter box. The sooner you’re able to do this, the happier you’ll both be!

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When I had kittens, litter box training was a cinch.  I took each cat to the litter box, put him or her in it, and scratched around in the litter with its paws.  From that moment on both of my kittens had no trouble using the litter box.

It’s not always this simple, and even cats who are great at using a litter box can sometimes have a set back.  Moving to a new place, for instance, can cause cats to revert to bad behavior when it comes to avoiding their litter box.  So, here are a few tips that may help you overcome any difficulties in getting YOUR kitten or cat to use a litter box.

  1. Make sure the litter box is clean.  You have to clean it at least once a day (clean out any clumps) and rinse it with warm water at least once a week. Each day when you clean it, add an inch or so of new litter too. Cats like a clean place to go, so if the litter box is dirty they’re going to avoid it.
  2. Be mindful of where the box is located.  It needs to be in a quiet and easily accessible place.  It does not need to be near where your cat sleeps.  Make sure it’s a place easy for the cat to get to – not a place where a door might accidentally close and leave the cat without litter box access.
  3. If  you’re training a new kitten, take it to the litter box and scratch around in the litter.  This will show the kitten that this is a nice, clean place to use the bathroom.
    1. Make sure the litter box is one your kitten can easily get in and out of.
    2. It needs to be large enough for the kitten to turn around and kick a bit of litter around in order to bury any waste.
    3. At first, try to put your cat in the litter box after it eats, wakes up from a nap, or finishes with a play session. These are the most likely times for it to use the bathroom and if you begin taking it to the box early on, you’ll help the cat form a routine.
    4. Finally, the number of litter boxes in your house should ideally be equal to the number of cats you have plus 1.  So if you have 1 cat, you need 2 boxes.  2 cats? 3 boxes. This will ensure that the cats always have a clean box to go to and are also able to have their own privacy.

Cats and the Vet

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We love this video from Simon’s Cat about a cat’s trip to the vet.  We know it can be difficult to get your cat into a carrying crate, especially without the use of any relaxing drugs.  But what if there were an alternative?

Here in Grand Junction we have a mobile veterinary service, Aspentree Veterinary Care. They will come to your house and provide basic shots, minor surgeries and wellness check ups for your cat or dog.  This way you don’t have to get frustrated, like Simon, or get your cat agitated.  You can contact Aspentree Veterinary Care at 241-3700.

Canidae’s Top 10 Pet Articles of 2016

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We love Canidae Pet Foods, not only because they create great food products for cats and dogs, but because they also provide a blog with lots of useful information.

Read their top 10 pet blog posts of 2016 to find up-to-date articles like:

  • 7 Commands Dogs Need to Know in Public
  • What is Whisker Fatigue?
  • The benefits of having two dogs
  • Is it safe for dogs to eat insects?

Watch for information soon from J&M Aquatics as their blog moves to a newly designed and updated website!

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10 Holiday Pet Dangers

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When the holidays roll around, it’s especially important to make sure your pets stay safe.  Here’s our list of top 10 dangers for pets during the holidays:

  1. Fireworks at New Year’s (dogs especially can get spooked and run away)
  2. Leftovers / Bones
  3. Chocolate
  4. Holiday plants like mistletoe and holly
  5. Tinsel / Ribbons
  6. Electrical cords
  7. Stress from visiting people
  8. Alcohol.
  9. Liquid potpourri (cats will drink it)
  10. Tree ornaments / trees

Watch out for your pet this holiday season and do what you can to keep them safe!

Baby it’s (getting) cold outside!

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Colder temperatures are arriving here in Western Colorado and we want to make sure your dog (and outdoor cat if you have one) is set for the winter.

  1. If your dog has short hair and enjoys the outdoors, make sure to provide him or her with a coat or vest.  Small dogs especially, like chihuahuas, are prone to cold and vests, sweaters and coats can keep them more comfortable.
  2. If you plan to take your dog hiking in the snow, invest in a pair of shoes.  Many dogs end up with ice balls in the fur around their paws and this makes for an uncomfortable hike.  Plus, that snow is really cold!
  3. If you have an outdoor cat, try to provide a place for it to get in out of the cold.  Many people use insulated coolers and design nifty “cat houses” using hay or straw, old blankets, etc.  You might also install a cat door on an outside shed.
  4. Aim for shorter hikes and walks with your pet when the temps get really low.  Just like us, the cold can affect them and, while exercise is great, we don’t want our pets to develop health problems because of the cold.
  5. Make sure your pet has a nice warm place to sleep in the winter. If your cat usually sleeps in the garage, provide some added warmth with a pet bed or old blankets. If your pet sleeps inside, providing some insulation from the floor, with a dog bed or blankets, is nice.

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Keeping your dog off the furniture

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Recently a friend lamented that her methods of keeping her dog off her office chaise lounge just aren’t working.  Even fake mouse traps that make a “snapping” noise haven’t phased him one bit.  As soon as her back is turned, there he is!  So how can you keep your dog off the furniture? Here are some tips.

  1. Make sure the dog has something comfortable to lie on.  Whether it’s a big throw pillow, a chair he can call his own, or a nice plush dog bed, the dog needs something comfortable and warm to curl up on/in.  This is partly why he likes sleeping on your couch or in your favorite chair. It’s comfortable!
  2. Use rewards to train your dog.  Perhaps after sitting when asked or laying down, the dog can get on the sofa.
  3. Make sure the dog knows being on his dog bed is something that gets rewarded too.  When the dog gets on his bed (instead of on your couch) offer him a small treat.  Maybe not every time, but enough so that he remembers he gets treats for sitting there.
  4. Make your furniture uncomfortable when you’re gone.  By placing tape, upside down floor mats, or even aluminum foil on furniture you can make it less desirable for your pets and keep them off the furniture even when you’re not home.

Treat your pet well at the holidays – know which people food is good and which is bad!

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If you’re like me, whether you’ve got pets of your own or you’re watching someone else’s, you want them to have a special holiday too.  Ideally this should mean that they get a pet-appropriate toy or treat.  Still, sometimes it’s hard to resist giving them a little people food treat. Here’s a quick rundown of which foods you should AVOID giving your pets this holiday season:

Alcohol – Duh. This can cause all sorts of problems from vomiting to difficulty breathing, and even death! It’s not funny to get the dog drunk.

Avocado – Is more dangerous for for small pets, birds and animals like horses and sheep.  Still, it’s probably not the best for your cat or dog either.

Chocolate – we all know chocolate is bad for pets.  It, along with coffee and caffeine, contains methylxanthine.  This causes all kinds of problems and sickness for your canine.  Just say NO to chocolate cookies for the dog.

Citrus – Citric acid can cause irritation to your pet’s central nervous system and digestive system.

Coconut or Coconut Oil – Small amounts are probably ok, but it can cause digestive problems and diarrhea.  Why risk it?

Grapes and Raisins – you know these are toxic to your pet.  They can cause kidney failure and are best avoided at all costs.

Macadamia Nuts (or any other nut for that matter) – can cause weakness, depression and even hyperthermia in dogs. Other nuts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Milk and Dairy – Dogs are basically lactose intolerant. Don’t give them an upset tummy 😦

Onions, Garlic, Chives – Cats are more prone to this than dogs, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.  These cause digestive irritation and can cause damage to red blood cells.

Raw or uncooked meat, eggs or bones – These can contain E coli which is dangerous to humans and pets. Bones are never a good idea because your pet can choke on them, or they can splinter and cause injury to your pet’s digestive tract.

Salty foods like potato chips – Too much salt causes excessive thirst and can lead to sodium ion poisoning.

Xylitol – That fake sugar stuff that’s in everything from candy to toothpaste, can lead to liver failure due to an increase in insulin production.

Yeast Dough – You’ve all heard the story about the dog who ate the yeast rolls…don’t let this happen to your pet! Too much yeast can bloat and swell your dog’s stomach, which could cause it to twist.

The best choices for your pet are natural, unflavored and unseasoned products like pumpkin, carrots, and plain baked chicken.  Actually, the best choices are treats made specifically for your pet!  Come in and see us and find just the right treat for your cat, dog, fish, bird, gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, lizard, snake or any other pet you’ve got!