National Cat Day & Cat-Sitting

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This past Saturday was National Cat Day.  I was in charge of feeding the four cats of a friend who said to me, “Tell them I love them!” Well, that was mostly impossible because 2 of the 4 rarely came out of hiding while I was there. Pet sitting can be stressful for both those taking care of the pets and for the pets themselves. They’re already concerned because Mom and Dad aren’t home and then a stranger comes in!   Feeding and caring for someone else’s cats means trying your best to care for pets exactly as their parents would.

Clockwise from left: Meet Macy (Gray), Ember and Bogey, and finally, Jasper who is as much of a scaredy cat as he looks in this picture. My friends feed their cats a mix of wet and dry food, which is smart. Wet food is necessary for many cats because they don’t drink enough water and can be prone to bladder issues.

In this household Bogey, the tabby, is the most social and vocal of the group. He met me at the door each time, led me to the kitchen and proceeded to “Meow-splain” to me how to do everything.  Then, when I went to check the litter boxes (always a good idea to have multiple litter boxes for multiple cats) he would try to eat everyone else’s food!

Almost no one would come out to visit while I was there.  If they WERE out, then as soon as I showed up they ran to hide. In any case, they all survived until Mom and Dad got home, and so did I.  Cats are such funny creatures and they all definitely have their own personalities. Before pet sitting or deciding to adopt a shelter cat, know what you’re getting into and what type of pet you’re after!

 

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Basic Dog Training Commands

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When it comes to training your new puppy, we know it can be an uphill battle! Here are a few tips and commands to use when first teaching that new pup to sit and stay.

  1. With the dog’s attention focused on you hold one finger up so that your dog’s eyes and head naturally follow it up into the air. When this happens, his bum will drop to the ground. Do this while saying “sit.” Reward your dog with belly rubs and treats and repeat.  Eventually try giving the command to “sit” without using the hand motion.
  2. For stay, once the dog is sitting, use a flat palm and extend it in front of his muzzle while saying “stay.” Stand in front of your dog for a few seconds and then back away. If the dog remains sitting, reward him and use a phrase you like such as “good stay.” Repeat this and each time you’re successful move slightly further away.  When you call your dog and he comes, reward with plenty of love, praise and treats.
  3. When other dogs want to play, first have your dog sit and stay and then, when you’re ready for him to play, give a command such as “go get it” or “check it out” and allow the dog to go.  This will teach him that you are in command.

1 cat + 1 cat = chaos?

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Introducing a new cat to your current cat(s) can be a tricky situation. Cats by nature are territorial and don’t like to share. Therefore, introducing a new cat into your home could lead to aggression, the marking of territory (maybe by constantly peeing all over your favorite beanbag chair…) and worse, harming you or your new cat.  Below are 8 ways to introduce a new cat to your household without causing massive chaos.

Vet talking to children with their cats

  1. Take it slow.  No matter which of the tips below you follow, start with this one.  Don’t expect to just walk into the house with a new cat and have your current cat walk over and shake its hand. That’s just not going to happen.  These cats need to get to know one another over a few weeks’ period of time.
  2. If you can, try to choose a new cat that has the same personality as your current at or about the same activity level. If your current cat enjoys sleeping more than anything else, it probably won’t take kindly to a small kitten that wants to play. However, if you have a young cat and you bring in a new frisky cat for it to play with, the two might get along quite well.
  3. Anytime you bring a cat home, even if it’s your first cat, you need to allow it to slowly learn about its new surroundings.  Cats adjust best when, at first, they are given one small room to explore. They will feel safe in this room with their own litter box, food and toys.
  4. When introducing the pets, start by feeding them on either side of the new cat’s door.  So, place your new cat’s food and water somewhat close to the door and close it. Place your current cat’s food and water on the other side of the door. The cats will sense that the other is there, but they’re enjoying their food, so these cats begin to associate each other with something positive.  Once the cats seem ok with this situation, you might try using a baby gate instead so that they can see each other, but still don’t have to interact.
  5. Once the cats are again ok with this scenario, you can try introducing a toy that they can play with together – one on one side of the gate and one on the other.
  6. Try letting the new cat out to roam around the house while confining your current cat to the new cat’s room. This continues to reinforce their scents to one another without forcing them to share space.
  7. Eventually, let your new cat roam the house, supervised, for a bit while your current cat is there too. Watch for signs of aggression like growling or hair standing on end.
  8. Keep the peace by having one litter box per cat and by making sure there are various places to which each cat can escape when he or she needs some space.  For cat furniture ideas, stop by J&M Aquatics and Pet Center in Grand Junction, Colorado.

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.

Playing with the snow

When your (and your dog’s) routine changes

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This is Riley.  Riley is a toy poodle and his mom’s routine recently changed.  Here are some ways Riley’s mom is handling this routine change for both of them:

  1. Riley has been having some digestive issues since his mom’s return to a standard 8-5 job.  He’s used to being with her more often and the change has produced some stress and anxiety.  Riley’s mom plans to take him to her groomer to have his glands expressed and hopes that will help with some of his issues.
  2. When she gets home in the evenings, Riley’s mom tries to give him extra attention. Extra belly rubs, head scratches and play time can help your pet feel better and can also help to soften some of your own guilt about leaving your pet alone.
  3. Riley’s mom is able to go home on her lunch break to take him for walks.
  4. Riley’s mom knew that Riley might get bored and destructive, so she leaves him with a frozen marrow bone or Kong toy filled with treats.  These keep him occupied for a while so that he isn’t as likely to destroy the house.
  5. Finally, Riley’s mom says that when leaving, you shouldn’t make a big deal about it.  Instead of saying things like, “Bye Riley! I’m so sorry! I’ll miss you so much!” his mom keeps things low key.  She feels that her anxiety and stress will rub off on him if she makes a big deal of leaving.  She also suggests having a favorite toy that he only gets to play with when she’s leaving. That way the event is more of a moment of excitement than one of sadness.

Whenever your routine changes, remember that it can have a definite impact on your pet’s health and well being as well.  Take steps like these to ensure a smoother transition for both of you!

Coconut Oil and your pets

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This is a great post from Red Barn Premium Pet Foods about coconut oil and your pets.  Here’s a snippet:

What is Coconut Oil? What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs and Cats?

Coconut Oil is a super food, consisting of more than 90% saturated fats. While fat sometimes makes people nervous, in the case of Coconut Oil there’s no need to be. The majority of the saturated fats in Coconut Oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which have benefits like improved digestion and immune system support. MCTs also have metabolic functions that assist with kidney health, lower cholesterol levels, and skin and coat health.

Click here to read more! 

Canidae: Jealous dog vs Possessive dog

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This blog post from Canidae Pet Foods highlights differences between a dog who is just jealous and a dog who is possessive.

It’s not always easy to determine if your dog is acting out because he’s trying to protect you or is a jealous or possessive dog. Sometimes it could be all three, but there is a difference between the behaviors. Just because a dog is jealous doesn’t necessarily mean he’s possessive or protective. Your job is to figure out what’s bothering him before you can address his behavior.  Read more here.