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5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Dog
Images Sources : Wikimedia.org/ Dogs are a bundle...
Images Sources : Wikimedia.org/ Dogs are a bundle of joy. They are always happy to see you, even if the last time they saw you was 5 minutes ago. They are a man’s best friend. True to the saying, dogs are the best companion a human can have as they show unconditional love to their owners. At times, you wish you could have a better relationship with your dog. You want to understand them better. Bonding with dogs is about spending time with them and showing them you love them as much as they love you. Here are 5 ways to improve your relationship with your dog
  • Pay attention to what your dog likes and dislikes Every dog has a unique personality, just like humans. Some dogs love playing fetch, some like lazing around the house, some like cuddling with their owners while others prefer their space. If you want to have a deeper connection with your dog, pay attention to its preferences. Find out kind of social situations it is comfortable with, games it enjoys, food it likes and become the source that only brings happiness to them. Your dog will begin to believe that it can trust you completely.
  • Play with your dog All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! You wouldn’t want that happening to your dog, right? Set aside some time to play with your dog. It will stimulate their mind and body, strengthening the bond between you guys. It is also been observed that dogs are closer to those who play with them regularly. Go out with your dog and play a game of fetch or anything they like playing.
  • Spend time with your dog Spend time with your dog every day. This means giving them your undivided attention for at least 30 minutes. A relationship will work only if you spend quality time. The same applies to your dog. Groom them, go on long walks, or just sit outside and hang out with your dog. It may not seem like much to you, but to them, it means the world.
  • Train your dog Dogs with their almost limitless energy love having things to do. Train with them every day and provide positive feedback when they finish a task. Dogs learn from you even when you aren’t trying to teach them anything. Make the most out of this by making a conscious effort. A trained dog will have more freedom. If they are obedient, they have more time off the leash, if they don’t steal food from the table, they are welcome to stay nearby when the family is eating.
  • Keep it cool Dogs can understand body language and they can pick up your feelings. When you get angry and start yelling, even when it isn’t directed towards them can make them feel uneasy. Stay calm so that your dog can count on you.
Giving importance to the relationship between you and your dog is a healthy aspect. Your dog will be healthier as it will be happy all the time. We love keeping dogs around because they become a part of your family. Even if you have a wonderful relationship, working to improve it the life of your dog and yours subsequently.
Importance Of Socialization For Your Adult Dog
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Image Source: Staticflickr.com/ Socializing is as important for dogs as it is important for us. Socializing for dogs involves exposing them to a variety of places, situation, objects and people. Dog trainers have long pointed out that exposing puppies from a young age to different things helps in the growth and development of the dog. When the dog becomes an adult, it becomes easier for him to accurately differentiate between people and situations. A dog that has been exposed to people and situations is less dangerous as compared to a dog that has never been exposed to strangers. Importance of socialization It has often been observed that dogs that don’t socialize too much, show erratic behavior towards people whom they consider a stranger. That means that if your dog does not socialize and if he sees your aunt for the first time, it is likely that he will growl at your aunt. The behavior of a dog that does not socialize and that of a person in the same situation is almost similar. People who do not socialize a lot find it hard to interact with strangers. On the other hand, dogs that socialize do not behave violently when they see a stranger for the first time. For them it’s common to have strangers around and they are used to the situation. Socialization from a young age allows dogs to read situation and people well. They won’t do anything unless they are provoked or if they realize the life of one of their loved ones is in danger. How to increase socialization Take your puppy out for walks in the park every day and allow it to interact with people and other animals. You can also have friends at your place interact with the puppy. Take him to different places around the neighborhood and allow him to explore. Also, get different toys and train him to recognize different objects around the house. This will ensure that the puppy is comfortable around you, the objects and the neighborhood. Additionally, there are socializing clubs for dogs where dogs and their owners are taught tricks to improve socializing skills. You can attend a few sessions and see if it helps. Conclusion Socialization is important for both humans and animals in today’s world. It improves mental health and directs the individual towards growth. In dogs, socialization should start from an early age and should involve exposure to a variety of place, people and situation. The more a puppy explores, the more comfortable it becomes and the more comfortable it becomes, the less erratic behavior it shows. Socialization also helps the dog develop skills that distinguishes the right from the wrong, which is very important if you have a lot of people coming over to your house.
5 Tips To Host A Dog Party!
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Image Source: Freegreatpicture.com/ Your dog’s birthday is around the corner and you want to show him how much his best friend loves him by throwing a party? Not a problem! There are many ways in which you could throw an awesome party and make your dog and his pals have the best time ever. Here are 5 awesome ways in which you can do host the best birthday party for your dog ever:
  1. Plan early Early planning is the key and making plans way before the birthday will not only ensure that the party is a success but will also allow you to avoid unnecessary complications. Mark the date on your calendar. If you have adopted a dog and don’t know the date, then make one up and every year celebrate your dog’s birthday on that day.
  2. Send Invitations in advance Invite guests in advance so that you have plenty of time to consider whom you need to invite and whom you don’t. Inviting people who don’t have dogs is pointless because it is your dog’s birthday bash after all.
  3. Create a list of fun activities No birthday party is complete without fun activities and for your dog’s birthday you need to do the same. It’s best to host it outside, either in your backyard or on your lawn. If you’re hosting the party during the summer, make sure you do it by the pool. If you don’t have access to a pool, keep some inflatable bath pools at hand.
  4. Make sure you have a cake Ah, yes! What is a birthday party without the cake cutting ceremony? Make sure you have enough cake for everyone and also make sure that the cake suits everyone’s diet. You can confirm this easily by talking with the owners.
  5. Have a theme Having a themed birthday party is fun and there are literally hundreds of themes to choose from for ex., it could be a Game of Thrones or a Star Wars themed party. You can additionally create games centered around the theme. Fill the place with toys and other fun stuff that the dogs can play around with.
Conclusion Birthday parties are fun but if it is for your dog, then you must make plenty of preparations first. You have to start by creating a list of whom you would invite for the party. Then you need to create a list of the activities you want to have at the party and how it can be done. Make sure the party is themed and you have a cake ready. You need to start at least a month ahead of the actual date in order to ensure that the party is a success.
5 Things You Need To Know About Dog Grooming
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ There was a time when d...
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ There was a time when dogs were taken care by only their owners. But not anymore. Professional dog grooming has become popular and many individuals are grooming dogs to earn their daily bread. The profession of dog grooming is interesting for people who love animals and want to take care of them. Whether you’re picking dog grooming as a profession or you want to know how it’s done, the following 5 things about dog grooming are import and might come in handy if you’re handling dogs.
  1. Dogs tend to bite You might have seen videos of dog grooming where the dog looks relaxed while the groomer does his job. You might have also thought that every dog behaves the same way when it gets groomed. But it’s not! There are many cases where dogs try to bite or scratch the one handling them.
  2. Creativity works While handling dogs, you have to be creative. If you wish to be a dog groomer, then you should focus a lot on creativity. Creativity will help you develop handling skills and improvisation that are very important in grooming professions.
  3. Expect dogs to be fussy Handling animals is not an easy task and most of them can be fussy. It is the same with dogs and understand their needs should be one of your talents. Some dogs can be trained with treats while others need a different approach.
  4. Don’t lose your calm According to experts, dog grooming is one of the dirtiest jobs in the world. Remember to keep your calm and treat them as you would treat a child. It may not be fun dealing with dogs all the time. Sometimes you can even expect a bit of dog poop or vomit on your hands. But that should not keep you off from doing your job.
  5. Groom them from a young age One of the reasons why you need to start early at the grooming process is to train them. Puppies are easier to handle and train than older dogs. Grooming will also allow them to trust you when you are doing your job. If you want to be a professional groomer, then tell your clients to do the same so that it becomes easier for you to handle dogs.
Dog grooming is a fun profession if you understand the job requirements and the kind of temperament you require to do the job. Be creative at your dog and find out new and interesting ways to groom. Teach your clients simple grooming tricks that they can do at home. That way the dogs get adjusted to the grooming process and they won’t create a fuss. Keep calm and groom!
Canned food vs. fresh food: What to feed your pet?
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Image Source: Pixabay.com/ Being unsure about what to feed your pet can be quite a confusing choice to tackle. With numerous options available in the market, let alone the many options available with raw or cooked food, what makes the best meal for your pet? Read on to learn about nutritional facts about canned and cooked food, and which type would suit your pet better. Canned Food Canned foods can be a great source of water for those pets that aren’t in the habit of keeping hydrated during the day. A more palatable option, canned food works great for older pets and those with a diminished sense of smell, being both high in scent and rich in flavor. Always a good option for a sick pet, canned food gets their appetite going and helps boost healing being packed full of nutrients. Your pet is certain to receive a meal full of vitamins, essential proteins, minerals and oils needed for a healthy body and glossy coat. Though canned food can have its downfalls too, its soft nature causes an easy build up of plaque and tartar. The shelf life of canned food once opened is quite short it should be consumed within the day to avoid spoiling. Canned food is expensive and can start to bore a hole through your pocket, if you begin to use it as a daily option for your pet. Fresh Food Fresh, either raw or cooked, food is a healthy option for your pet. The process takes a lot more planning and organization than just chopping up a chicken or some beef and chucking it into a bowl. You should first decide if you’d want your pet to eat raw or cooked food. Some pets might not be able to digest raw meats due to the poor gastrointestinal system or if suffering from intestinal problems. Decide on the type of protein you would like for your pet, you could even alternate proteins and keep an eye out for the ones your pet prefers. Cut the meat up into bite sized pieces, use organs or spare parts too if you like. Avoid using chicken bones as far as possible, since they are sharp when they splinter and can cut or scrape your pet’s intestines. Beef or larger bones are okay for your pet to gnaw on after they’ve finished their meal. Add a bunch of nonstarchy vegetables like carrots, spinach, turnip, chard, etc. that add healthy nutrients and provide roughage and fiber.
How Much Exercise Do Senior Dogs Need?
Image credits - Pixabay As an animal grows older, ...
Image credits - Pixabay As an animal grows older, the enthusiasm to run and jump or have fun starts declining. Compared to a puppy or a 2 or 3year-old dog, an older dog will have less interest in doing fun activities. As an owner, it becomes your duty to understand your dog’s limit and create an exercise routine that will keep them active and healthy. Indoor exercises Exercise for dogs does not necessarily mean they have to go out of the house. There are plenty of ways in which they can stay indoors and still get the right amount of exercise. For ex., make your dog move around the house. The stairs are a great place to get some physical exercise and have your dog move up and down. Additionally, you can set up ramps and small roadblocks around the house that your dog must cross before they can move from one place to the other. Outdoor exercises Taking your dog for short walks is the best way to ensure that they get the right amount of exercise. However, don’t overdo it because your dog might end up having a strain in the muscles. Swimming is another great way to exercise the muscles and the chances of getting a cramp or joint pain is reduced. Other exercises include catching Frisbees, fetching balls and running. Other measures Weight management is also an important part of staying healthy and along with exercise you must make sure that your dog is fed the right amount of food. The diet should consist of vital nutrients that help with bone growth, immunity, stamina and reduces the chance of contracting diseases. Apart from a healthy diet, adequate amount of sleep is also important for a healthy growth. Make sure your dog gets the required amount of sleep as it grows older. Proper sleep-wake cycles also ensure that your dog stays fit and is able to do at least the minimum amount of exercise that it should do for its age. Conclusion The exercise pattern for senior dogs is different than younger dogs because as dogs grow older their strength and stamina keeps decreasing and they get tired easily. There are many indoor and outdoor exercises available for your dog and most of them can be easily done. From brisk walking to catching Frisbees, exercises for senior dogs should include the maximum workout with the least amount of effort. Along with exercise, diet and sleep are also important.
Tips to Make A Feeding Schedule For Your Kitten
Image credits - Pixabay Like all animals, the grow...
Image credits - Pixabay Like all animals, the growth of a cat depends on its eating habits as a kitten. If you have a kitten, then feeding the right amount of food will ensure that it grows into a healthy cat. However, cats are fussy and moody creatures and will tend to eat whatever they feel like eating. Creating a schedule for the first six months of growth should be your main aim. A good schedule that covers all the necessary nutrition requirements for your kitten is enough to ensure your cat eats well. Additionally, stick to the schedule and train your kitten to follow it no matter what. What to feed your kitten? The nutritional needs of kittens are different from adult cats. There are plenty of cat food available in the market but buy those that have the age group specified on their label. Feeding a kitten food that is meant for adults may have adverse effects. Take extra care while feeding your kitten because only food that has been approved by a food trial should be given. This information too will be available on the label. Feeding schedule Morning meal After your kitten wakes up, give some fresh water in a bowl. Follow that with half a can of cat food. You can refrigerate the rest of the food. Additionally, give some kitten kibble and observe its eating habits. You can also give some cat food that is high in protein content. It is expected that your kitten will play throughout the day so giving high protein will be beneficial. Afternoon meal Refill the water bowl with fresh water and follow it with about a quarter cup of kitten kibble. You can use either homemade or store bought treats to exercise your kitten. Train your cat to respond to its name through the use of treats. It will make it easier for you to give it treat. Evening meals For the evening meal change the water if required and give about half a can of kitten food from the morning meal. Also, keep about a quarter cup of kitten kibble for your kitten to eat whenever it feels hungry. Make sure your kitten gets enough exercise after each meal so that the calories get burned. Taking care of your kitten’s eating habit is the best you can help your kitten grow into a healthy cat. Prepare a schedule that contains the essential elements required for growth. Also, keep a tab on the amount of water and food consumed because quantity is very important for proper development. Follow the schedule for six months and soon you will see the difference in your kitten’s growth.
How To Keep Your Pets Away From Garbage
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ Some pets have a keen a...
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ Some pets have a keen affinity towards the garbage and are always curious to find out what’s kept inside the trash can. It’s a horrible sight when you come home and find out the mess your pet has made while you were away. As a pet owner, you obviously love your pet a lot but somewhere you know you need to draw the line. And you also know that if your pet eats something that they are not supposed to, they can fall sick. So, how do you go about making the changes? Here are five changes you can make in and around your house to make sure your pet stays away from the trash.
  1. Buy a trash can with a tight lid Ditch your old trash can for one with a tight lid. It will keep your garbage secure and even if your pet drops the bin on the floor, it won’t come off easily. You can choose one with a lock function. Your pets may be smart but they’re not that smart to open the lock by themselves and take out the garbage.
  2. Limit the access to the trash can Change the position of your trash can and put it somewhere which is out of your pet’s reach. You can try by putting it in the closet, in the garage, in the bathroom or even under the kitchen sink when you leave the house. That way, your pet won’t find the trash can so easily. Additionally, keep changing the position from time to time.
  3. Keep your pets well-fed Your pet may be rummaging through your garbage because he is hungry. If it is so then it is clearly your fault. Make sure that they are well-fed and well taken care of. Feed them small meals throughout the day. It will ensure that they don’t ever stay hungry.
  4. Keep them engaged One of the reasons why your pet is so interested in the trash can is because he is bored. Your dog or cat might feel that there is something interesting that you keep inside the can and thus the curiosity. Keep chew toys and other games in the house to keep your pets engaged and away from the garbage.
  5. Train them Training your pets to keep away from the trash can is probably the best way to keep them away from it. Teach them that your trash can is off-limits and soon you won’t be needing any other precaution.
Conclusion A messy floor with garbage scattered all over the house is every pet owner’s nightmare. If you wish to avoid such a sight, take care of your garbage and train your pets to keep away from it.
Dealing With Common Potty Training Problems With Dogs
Image Source: Wikimedia.org/ Dogs, especially pupp...
Image Source: Wikimedia.org/ Dogs, especially puppies, sometimes don’t have control over their bladder. It is common for puppies to urinate in the wrong places. But that does not mean they are misbehaving or they are doing it on purpose. Often, they do it by “accident”. It is therefore your duty to train them from a young age so that they learn about proper potty habits. Here are some of the common potty training problems and solutions which might be useful for you the next time you take your dog for potty.
  1. Inconsistent potty timings Inconsistent potty timings is a big problem dog owners face when they deal with puppies. The main reason for this is improper food timings. Don’t feed the puppy throughout the day. That way you will lose track of the time it takes for the puppy to digest the food. Usually, puppies feel a need to urinate as soon as their food gets digested.
  2. Lack of communication Another reason why your dog needs potty training is because it helps bridge the communication gap between you as an owner and your dog. You must learn to read your dog’s body language. It will help you understand what you’re trying to say and your dog too will learn to trust you more. Moreover, it creates a friendly environment which is very important.
  3. Doing it indoors Many puppies have the habit of doing it inside the house. Part of it may be because you can’t understand your dog when he’s trying to talk to you or he is suffering from a problem. For the first you can use training as a means of communicating more with your dog. For the latter, if you don’t see any other symptom then don’t worry because puppies have a small bladder and it is natural that they can’t hold it for too long.
  4. Lack of training Training is the best way to ensure that your dog develops proper potty timings and behavior. It increases communication and helps you both understand each other. Every morning take your dog out for a walk and adhere to the timing. Keep fixed timings for food and water. That way you’ll be able to understand when your dog goes for potty. Adhere to the routine and create a separate one for days when you’re not at home.
Conclusion Giving dogs proper potty training is one of the toughest jobs for dog owners. There are common problems that every owner has to face but through proper training, the problems can be solved. Creating a routine that includes eating, drinking water and potty time and teaching dogs to follow that routine is one of the best ways to make things work.
5 Brain Games To Play With Your Dog
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ It is important for dog...
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ It is important for dog owners to train their pets and stimulate their brains through new and challenging activities. A dog grows when he is exposed to different situations that makes him use his brain. Also, it helps develop a strong bond between the owner and the dog. Usually, learning for any pet happens through games and play. Below is a list of 5 games that you can play with your dog for better brain development.
  1. Hide & Seek A dog uses his sense of smell to seek out different things in his vicinity. One of the simplest games to play is hide and seek and the best way to do it is with treats. Build obstacle courses and hide treats in boxes. Additionally, rub the scent from the treat in different places. It helps your dog become a natural problem solver and helps him get some exercise as well.
  2. Ring Stackers Ring stackers is a great game to teach dogs the eye-paw or eye-mouth combination. Don’t expect your dog to be perfect with it even as he grows because a dog’s brain development and a child’s brain development is not the same. It will take some time but it is a fun game and will keep your dog engaged.
  3. Shell Game The shell game is favorite among people who like to bet and it helps increase observation skills. You can do the same with your dog by putting a treat under an opaque plastic cup and exchanging its position continuously with one or two other similar looking empty cups. The game requires observation and thinking in tandem. Your dog is bound to love the game because treats are involved.
  4. The chase game The best way to teach a pet anything and help them grow is through play and what better than the classic chase game. Tie a string or a stuffed animal at the end of a stick and watch your dog jump and run around as it tries to catch it.
  5. Hot and Cold The hot and cold game is a great way to shape new behavior in your dog. Teach your dog to respond to “hot” or “cold” with a specific trick that you have taught him. If he does it correctly, he gets a treat. It’s a simple game but very effective when it comes to brain development. It will increase memory and help dogs learn discipline through a fun-filled activity. Conclusion It’s important for dog owners to train their dogs and help them grow both mentally or physically. By engaging them in a variety of fun games, owners can help their dogs become more responsive and more disciplined.
Feeding Habits In Older Cats V. Younger Cats
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Image Source: Maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/ Our eating habits and lifestyle change according to our age. As we grow older, we become more conscious of what we eat. The overall nutrition depends on our health and certain restrictions must be followed. Cats may not look old after a certain period of time but they do grow old and their feeding habit changes accordingly. Food digestion As opposed to dogs or human beings, a cat’s metabolism does not decrease as they age. Till the age of 11, their energy needs decrease but after that it continues to increase. As a result, older cats eat more but do less physical activity and it leads to obesity. Studies have shown that older cats don’t digest their food and therefore absorb the protein and fat. The same is the case with younger cats as well. It means that senior cats must consume more protein and fat to get the same level of energy as younger cats. The adjustment in their diet leads to greater consumption of food. It is interesting to note that cats require more proteins than most animals. Therefore, the amount of protein in a cat’s diet should be adjusted according to its age. Water Like other animals, cats don’t like drinking water unless it is needed. Both older and younger cats can show signs of dehydration if they have kidney problems. One way to help cats increase the consumption of water is by flavoring it. Another way is to keep small bowls in places where the cat likes staying. Dietary needs A cat’s dietary needs change according to its health. Cats who suffer from diseases like diabetes or bowel inflammation find it difficult to digest food that is rich in fiber. There are specific diets available in pet stores for cats who suffer from heart or stomach diseases. Again, cats with oral and dental disease have separate diets. So, a cat’s diet, irrespective of age, depends entirely on its health. Supplements Animals need supplements in food for growth and development. As cats grow older, the level of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals keeps decreasing in their body. When cats eat less food, the required level of supplements don’t get absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys and must be supplied separately. Supplements can be added in cat food but it is better to consult a doctor first before giving the supplements. Conclusion Feeding habits in cats are quite different from other animals in that they don’t necessarily eat less when they grow older. In fact, older cats consume more food than their younger counterparts. The water intake and dietary requirements doesn’t differ much for young and old cats. Food supplements are usually needed by older cats who lack them in their body.
5 Tips For Traveling With Your Pet
Image source: Staticflickr.com/ Pet owners are oft...
Image source: Staticflickr.com/ Pet owners are often in dilemma regarding their pets when they go for a vacation. Most owners don’t like leaving their pets behind. But they know that traveling with a pet and traveling with a person are completely different things. If you are one such traveler, then here are 5 tips that will make your traveling easy.
  1. Identification is a must ID cards and documents are important and in your pet’s case, ID tags. Before leaving the house, make sure that the Id tag on your pet has important information like name, address and phone number. Some tags are also fitted with microchips for better identification. Also, carry multiple copies of your pet’s photo in case he gets lost.
  2. Pack plenty of food and water Pack plenty of food and water for your pet when you’re traveling because you never know whether you’ll be able to make frequent stops or not. And you also don’t know whether there will be an availability of pet stores on the way. If you are traveling during the summer, then pack foods that are rich in fat or that has added fish oils in it. Make sure your pets are hydrated because dehydration often causes strokes in animals.
  3. Keep them cool during summers During summers animals are prone to heatstroke in the same way that humans are. If the car gets heated up too much, you can pull over to a place that provides shade. It takes time for dogs and cats to cool down.
  4. Make pit stops at pet friendly places One of the challenges that you will face when you’re traveling with pets is that unlike you, your pets won’t be allowed everywhere. So, before leaving the house, make a list of all the places that allow pets to stay with their owners. If you’re heading over to your family or friends place, make sure they know you are bringing a pet with you. If you’re traveling by air, go through the guidelines for owners who travel with pets. Also, avoid extreme weather changes if you can.
  5. Learn first-aid techniques for pets You never know what situation you might end up in when you’re traveling. One of the most useful things you can learn while traveling with pets is first-aid techniques. Keep a small kit for your pet if you can. Also, carry your vets phone number in case an emergency arises. Conclusion Traveling with pets is a fun and enjoyable experience. However, it can be a nightmare if you don’t take measures to protect them. Carry food and water and protect them from the heat. Choose pet-friendly places to stay and learn first-aid techniques that might come in handy.
How To Get An Emotional Support Animal Certification?
Image source : Pixabay.com/ Overview Over 40 milli...
Image source : Pixabay.com/ Overview Over 40 million Americans have a mental health condition today. In fact, statistics show staggering figures of worsening mental health condition of Americans. As such, mental health experts worry that the country will be plunged into a dark hole of depression. Despite several efforts both at state and national levels, little has been achieved to alleviate the situation of people. Clinical counseling and therapies are good in their place, but a lot more needs to be done to achieve a high happiness index. Emotional Support Animals If you are one of the many Americans who is going through mental distress, you must have heard the therapeutic benefits of animals, especially dogs and cats. Such animals are called Emotional Support Animals (ESA), which are designated specifically to help individuals with psychological or emotional disabilities. These animal-companions include several animals and may be the individual's current pet. They differ from service animals in the sense that they are untrained to perform chores and identify diseases. They are a symbol of strong companionship and emotional bond between the owner and the animal. Emotional Support Animal Certification The Federal Law guides the ownership of Emotional Support Animals. Disabled individuals who feel they would benefit from such animals must have a psychological evaluation to be termed disabled by a licensed professional. In order to own such animals, one has to get the emotional support animals certification. The common psychological disabilities covered under the law are as follows:
  • Depressive disorders
  • Stress disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety/Panic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Phobias
Though ESAs become like family members, they are quite different from general house pets. These animals provide emotional support and are governed by strict laws. The Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act are the two main federal laws applicable to Emotional Support Animals and their owners. The former act, passed in 1990, restricts airlines from refusing transportation or charging fees from disable individuals, while the latter act, passed in 1998, requires housing and apartment communities to make reasonable accommodation for ESAs. How to qualify for Emotional Support Animals? If you have an emotional disability, which is certified by a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapists or other licensed mental health professional, you can own an ESA. The ESA certification is a formal letter, which contains the following details of the patient:
  • Proof of mental or emotional disability described in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) by a mental health professional
  • Proof of being under the treatment and care of the mental health professional
  • Proof of prescription of ESA as an integral part of treatment
  • Date of issue, which should be less than a year from the date of departure
How to Care for Disabled Pets?
Image Source: Publicdomainpictures.net/ Charles, a...
Image Source: Publicdomainpictures.net/ Charles, an owner of a German Shepherd named Brandy, was extremely excited to welcome the dog as a member of the family. The dog filled the first few years of their lives with immense joy and happiness. His family, comprising his wife and two sons, doted on Brandy like a friend. But after a few days, things changed. They made several attempts to make the dog walk, but they failed. Nothing seems to make the dog move, not even his favorite plastic bone. After several failed attempts, they finally consulted a vet who identified the issue as dog paralysis. This is one of the many cases where pet owners are faced by an intimidating and helpless situation with their beloved pet. Disability is painful, both for the animal and the owner, because nothing much can be done about it. Most of such disabilities are age-related, but they strike when they have to. Signs of disability in pets As a dog owner, you can look for the following signs of disability:
  • Inability to stand up without helpless
  • Difficulty in climbing stairs, running and walking
  • Accidental or uncontrolled urination
  • Unusual growths on your pet's body
  • Mood and appetite changes
Living with a disabled pet Living with a disabled pet is challenging but rewarding. Even if your pet is born disabled, or suffered an injury that made him so, you can still give your pet the best life. You don't have to make your pet realize that he is different. You only have to motivate him to live life normally. Here are a few coping strategies that you can adopt for giving your disabled pet the best life: When your pet is blind Dogs rely more on their sense of smell than sight, while cats rely more on their vision to acquaint themselves to their surroundings. You can take the following steps to deal with your pet's blindness:
  • Talk to your pet in a comforting tone
  • Keep them distracted with toys that have distinctive smells
  • Help your pet orient themselves to the new setup in case you have moved your furniture
  • Keep passageways and floors clear for preventing accidents with your pet
  • Keep your pet indoors and do not leave it alone.
When your pet is deaf
  • Make eye contact or touch them gently to get their attention
  • Always keep it leashed
  • Use a flashlight to alert them
  • Consider a tag that informs others about your dog's deafness
When your pet is immobile Harnesses, carts and slings help immobile or paralyzed pets to navigate with assistance. Some dogs respond well to acupuncture, chiropractic and massages. Such therapies in conjunction with veterinarian help can help you achieve specific goals.
Cat’s Purr: The Healing Power Nobody Knows About
Image Source: Pexels.com/ Introduction Cats, with ...
Image Source: Pexels.com/ Introduction Cats, with their tiny noses and fluffy bodies, can touch the heart of anyone. Their docile and solitary nature makes them adorable creatures. Merely looking at your fluffy friend running around in the house allays a lot of distress. But there is more than just emotional support that your feline friend gives you. Have you ever heard your cat purr? If yes, then you will be surprised to know that your cat's purr can heal you in a number of ways. Besides being relaxing and stress-busting, your cat's purr is physically beneficial for you. The fact is backed by science which focuses more on the vibration than the sound produced by your cat's purr. The healing power of cat purrs Cat's purr produces a vibration in the range of 20 to 140 Hertz, which is considered medically therapeutic. Scientists have dived deeper into the subject of frequency-based healing process, and found that cat's purring frequency brings healing changes in the body. Sound frequencies that range from 20 to 140 Hertz induce bone growth and speeds up the healing process. Besides this, cat's purr is linked to various other health benefits, which are as follows:
  • Reducing stress Petting your purring cat immediately has a calming effect on your nerves and de-stresses your body. Since stress is the underlying cause of many heart and neurological diseases, cat's purr is seen to alleviate it to prevent the onset of such diseases.
  • Reducing dyspnoea Shortness of breath or dyspnoea is a common problem faced by people, and also animals. Dyspnoea is the symptom of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is surprising to see that cat's purr can reduce the symptoms associated with dyspnoea. The sound frequency of 100 Hertz, which falls under the range of cat purrs, is seen to reduce dyspnoea to a great extent.
  • Reducing blood pressure High blood pressure, or hypertension is a direct result of stressful lives of people. Since the sound frequency of cat purrs reduce stress, you can also experience a fall in your blood pressure because of the calming effects induced by the purring cat.
  • Healing injuries The frequency is seen to heal muscle, tendon and ligament injuries in humans. The low frequency heals fractures, and relieves pain and achy muscles. The frequency of 20-50 Hertz is seen to increase bone density, an interesting fact to consider about cat purrs.
  • Reduces chances of heart attacks Purring cats are believed to reduce chances of heart attacks by 40 percent. Everything is very prominently related to reduced stress levels when exposed to the cat's purring frequency.
The Common Problem of Excitement Urination in Dogs
Image credits - Pixabay The best thing about dogs ...
Image credits - Pixabay The best thing about dogs is their friendly nature. The way they jump and pounce on you when you come back home makes them even more adorable. They are super-excited creatures that love to love and be loved. But their excitement sometimes comes with a problem- excitement urination- that may irritate you at times. What exactly is excitement urination? Excitement urination occurs mostly in puppies and young dogs during playtime and greeting and doesn't have signs of submissive urination. It happens when dogs are yet to develop full control over their bladder. With age, the problem usually resolves itself, but in some cases, it continues to persist if the dog is ill-treated by pet owners. However, it also seen that dogs get excited and urinate when pet owners talk to them in a soothing tone. Over-excitement or fear may cause puppies and young dogs to briefly lose control over the muscles in the urinary bladder, which causes smart squirts of urine to pass out. Excitement urination is a physiological response to the feeling of excitement it gets on seeing known people such as you, your friend or your children. Your dog may not even realize it until it feels some wetness. How to deal with excitement urination in dogs? Cleaning up puddles of urine can be frustrating for you, but scolding the dog for it will not solve the problem. Excitement urination is beyond the control of your dog, and scolding or beating it would be cruel. However, there are better ways to deal with the problem than projecting your frustration on it.
  • Decrease initial excitement Although you may feel like cuddling your dog as soon as you enter the house, you have decrease the initial excitement of the dog. Try avoiding greeting your dog as soon as you come home. Keep your shopping bags or purse or do something else for a few minutes before you greet your canine friend.
  • Keep greeting a little low Just because your dog urinates when you greet doesn't mean you abandon it completely. Greet it calmly and quietly, and avoid looming over it. Put you hand out to her so that she can come and reach you. Pet it under the chin instead of the head, and teach your visitors to do the same.
  • Go outdoors If you see that your dog urinates on being greeted, then you should greet it outdoor, where you don't have to mop puddles of urine. This will spare you from the frustration and anxiety of mopping floors.
  • Consider health checks If your dog urinates even after attaining adulthood, then you should consider visiting a vet because it may be a sign of other health issues such as urinary track infections.
How to Convince Your Boss To Allow Your Dog at Work?
Image credits - Pixabay If you love your dog, you ...
Image credits - Pixabay If you love your dog, you would hate to leave it alone at home. After all who likes to think of a lonely creature locked up inside the house, while you go through the day's drudgery? The only solution for this is to get your pooch to work. But will your boss allow you to get him to work? Sadly, most bosses blatantly say a piercing no. Many workplaces have considered keeping pets as a stress-buster for employees, but if you are unfortunately not a part of such a workplace, then perhaps you can try convincing your boss about this good idea. As a matter of fact, there is no reason why having a friendly and well-behaved dog in your workplace a bad idea. You should however train your dogs and run a trial before making it a full-fledged part of your work culture. Arguments for the decision You can try the following arguments to convince your boss for allowing your dog at work:
  • Your dog will increase business Having a dog at your workplace, for example a store, can attract a number of customers. Businesses that work directly with consumers can find it advantageous when their employees bring their pooch to work because customers come to pet and play with the dog and likely to stay longer there longer to shop.
  • Your dog will be a stress-buster Work piles increase employee stress. Playing with the dog as a brief break from work can greatly reduce stress levels of employees. Relaxed brain think and work better, as a result of which employee productivity and efficiency increases. This is perhaps the best argument you can present to your boss.
  • Your dog will nurture healthy habits at work First and foremost, having a dog at work will reduce the number of smoke breaks you take during the day. Instead of flying into the smoking room or office basement, you can walk your dog around the office. This will stretch your legs and snap you out of your sedentary work-life, thus making you a healthier employee.
  • Your dog can identify personality traits Dogs are loyal animals that follow their master. A trustworthy and amiable dog reflects the same personality traits of the master. Thus it becomes a strong argument for allowing dogs at work because it can identify the traits of employees.
  • Your dog can popularize the company on social media Instead of uploading a selfie of yourself with a hackneyed hashtags, you can try the same with your dog in your office. This can popularize the company on social media, and make it count among few workplaces that allow pets for employee well-being.
How to Choose the Best Toys for Your Pooch
Image credits - Pixabay Your pooch is like your be...
Image credits - Pixabay Your pooch is like your best friend; it accompanies you on evening walks, plays and stays with you through thick and thin. The sweet sight of it in the morning prepares you for any conundrum that the day may present to you. However, have you ever thought what your dog likes to play with? A dry, artificial bone is good, but is that all you can give your dog for pleasure? No. Dog toys may sound like an old hat means of entertaining your dogs, but they are an important part of your pooch's wellbeing. Choosing the right toys for your dog If you are considering to give your dog some nice toys to play with, you should make a careful decision. You need to consider the following factors before making a purchase:
  • Age Age of your dog is an important factor to consider. A three-week old puppies still have baby teeth, for which the toy should be soft and snug. If your dog is between three and nine months, don't worry if you see it chewing on your loafers. This is the teething phase and you should consider chew toys for your pooch. After the teething phase, your dog will develop strong jaws. Now you can consider giving it harder toys. However, on attaining seniority, your dog needs to be switched back to soft toys because their jaws lose their strength.
  • Size All dog toys should correspond to the current size of the dog. A big dog will need a bigger toy lest they may crush it with their teeth. The right size of the toy is also important to consider because a very small toy may be ingested by it and block gastrointestinal tracks. Make sure that you choose a toy that does not fit behind your pooch's rear molars.
What dog toys are available? Now that you are careful about the factors associated with dog toys, you can consider the following toys:
  • Active toys Hard rubber toys come in various sizes and shapes and are great for chewing. If you dog likes tug-of-war and chewing on different textures, then you can consider woven and rope toys which are generally available in the shape of a bone with done up ends.
  • Distraction toys Feeder or busy box toys, which come in rubber shapes can be filled with treats to distract dogs. By moving the cube around the dog's nose, paws and mouth, it gets to the goodies. This is great for dogs that tend to eat quickly.
  • Comfort toys Soft stuffed toys are good if your dog likes to carry it around or wants to shake or “crush” their toys. These toys are usually sturdy that prevents accidental swallowing.
Do You Need Multiple Litter Boxes If You Have More Than One Cat?
Image Source: Staticflickr.com/ Cats are mysteriou...
Image Source: Staticflickr.com/ Cats are mysterious creatures, they are particular, observant, intelligent, and unlike dogs they demand your time, and enjoy their personal space. Cat psychology is complex; they’re selective about certain things like sharing toys, sleeping spots, and especially the litter tray. While keeping a cat is fun, finding a compatible companion for your cat is wonderful. It’s lovely and comforting to know that your cats have each other when you’re not around. Along with the perks of a multi cat household, comes the literal obstacle of the litter question. Freedom to Litter Cats aren’t pack animals, even in the wild, they’re usually solitary creatures. The hierarchies they form, along with their characteristics and personalities govern the way they maintain their space and express their feelings. Several multi-cat houses might face issues with a single litter box. To each one, plus one Cats like their space, especially when going through private processes like evacuating. Sharing the same litter box can get your cat all stressed out, especially if being dominated by another, or simply if they think the box to dirty for them to ‘go’ right then. All cats no matter how close they are otherwise prefer to have their own special box to go when nature calls. Even if you have siblings living together, they would not necessarily be comfortable sharing the same litter box. Ideally households with more than one cat should have a designated litter box for each cat, plus one litter box on the float. For instance, if you have 3 cats, you should have at least 4 boxes. It’s all about location, location, location When adding extra litter boxes in your home; pick and choose your spots carefully. Lining several boxes together doesn’t quite work. Try looking at things from a cat’s perspective. Many boxes lined together makes one big litter box, which might lead to the same stressful situations for your cats. Eliminate the possibility of a cat stalking or being territorial about a box. Spread the boxes across your living space. Sure it might not be convenient, though it helps reduce anxious and potentially harmful situations. If you have a house with more than one level then keep boxes on each level. Keep it Clean Rule of thumb bids a clean litter box at all times. A seemingly impossible task, especially if you aren’t in the vicinity to make sure the boxes are clean every single time your cat goes to the toilet. Alpha cats tend to claim a litter box for themselves, one other cats wouldn’t frequent. Keeping multiple boxes prevents overcrowding, and helps keep things cleaner in the house. Multiple boxes encourages your cats to behave better toward each other and leaves them free to get their business done without ruffling anyone’s fur.
How to Become a Dog Trainer
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ There is no denying the...
Image Source: Pixabay.com/ There is no denying the fact that dogs can be excellent companions for people of all ages. If you’re a dog lover, then you could seriously think about making your passion a rewarding profession. Yes, you could become a ‘dog trainer’! This could be the ideal way for you to enjoy and make some money, all at the same time. Of course, there are some necessary skills that you need to acquire in order to become a dog trainer. Here is a brief overview of the training process. Do you need to attend a ‘dog training school’? Dog training does not really mimic other professional training programs. In fact, a large percentage of the dog trainers may not actually have ‘certification’ from a dog training school. These people have simply read up a lot on dog ethology and behavior modification. They may have also attended certain workshops, conventions and seminars and received guidance from seasoned trainers. But this does not mean that there aren’t any dog training schools. A dog training program will typically enlighten you on the following subjects:
  • Dog-training history: This would be an overview of the complete dog-history training, starting from the end of the 19th century to the present. It will give you information about the dog training methods used over the years and how they differ from various other animal training programs.
  • Learning about animals: In this subject, you will get introduced to operant and classical conditioning, negative and positive punishment, negative and positive reinforcement, discrimination, motivation, habituation, sensitization/desensitization, conditioned emotional responses and other similar areas.
  • Dog behavior: This subject would throw light on dog ethology and development, fixed patterns of action, behavior genetics, social development, hormonal factors, breed-specific characteristics, body language, social signs etc.
Finally, upon completion of the course, you will also learn how to design classes and courses and become acquainted with the different ways of counseling individuals and motivating owners or caretakers. Quick tips on becoming a dog trainer
  • Read extensively on the science of animal behavior science, especially animal learning.
  • Work as a volunteer at any local dog shelter. This will help you build and/or improve upon your existing dog handling skills.
  • Try and find a trainer who is willing to make you his/her apprentice.
One of the first things to understand about dog training is that this profession is a lot about engaging with people. This means that as a prospective trainer, you must enjoy not only dog but also human interaction because you would have to ultimately train the dog owners to handle their dogs and not really handle them yourself. Use these guidelines to kick-start your career as a dog trainer now!
How Do Ticks and Fleas Survive The Winter?
Image source: Freegreatpicture.com/ cat or dog is ...
Image source: Freegreatpicture.com/ cat or dog is at a lesser risk of falling prey to a flea infestation during winters if it is living in the natural environment. This is because fleas tend to lay dormant in very cold weather conditions. However, pets are mostly kept indoors during winter months where there is central heating. And this warm artificial environment can allow the breeding of fleas throughout the year. Let’s put it like this. It may be a myth that fleas do not survive during winter months. They can very much live through the winter, particularly in the indoor environment which is warmer and more humid. As a pet owner, you would have to take certain important steps for ridding your home and pets from these parasites. Otherwise, they will continue to breed even in the extreme winter months. No hibernation for fleas It is true that no flea (egg, pupae, larvae or adult flea) is capable of surviving in a near-freeze temperature environment for a very long time. But fleas are quite innovative and opportunistic creatures and find their way into warm-bodies hosts such as opossums, raccoons, cats and dogs. They may also survive in warm shelters like your home, garage or a shed. This way, they are able to live throughout the year. Further, fleas do not hibernate in the way other animals and birds do during winter. It is possible for an adult flea to stay in an inactive state inside its cocoon for 5 to 9 months. However, temperatures falling below 37.4°F (3°C) have the potential to kill pre-emerged fleas. Hence, adult fleas try and seek insulated or warm areas for laying eggs. The flea larvae come out of these eggs during spring time when the weather conditions are more suitable. Winter survival for ticks It is true that ticks will be more active during selected months of the year and this largely depends on the region and the species. While summer is known to be a suitable time for breeding of ticks, the might survive the winter months too. Surprised? Let’s find out how ticks are able to live through the winter. They may latch onto a host or go dormant. Ticks often tend to hide leaf litter that is commonly present in bushy or wooded areas. With snowfall, these dormant ticks stay protected under the debris layer and manage to survive. Soft-shell ticks are able to survive since they stay underground in dens or burrows. Generally speaking, a lot of the tick species may be harmless as far as your pet’s safety is concerned. However, some precaution definitely needs to be taken to avoid infestation even during winter time. It’s best to tick control done throughout the year, including the winter season.
Debunking Dog Myths
Image Source: Pexels.com/ Welcome to the world of ...
Image Source: Pexels.com/ Welcome to the world of pet-care! It is so much fun to have a dog, but it also brings with it a great deal of responsibility and knowledge. There are some common myths associated with pet dogs. Let’s debunk some of them here! Myth#1: Dog saliva is an antiseptic This old wives tale is definitely untrue. In the ancient times, dog’s saliva was thought to have antiseptic properties. Some people continue to believe that it can heal wounds. This belief was built upon the assumption that dogs commonly lick the wounds on their body and these wounds hardly ever get infected. This implies that the mouth of a dog must definitely be ‘clean’ and may even have a healing effect on wounds. However, this is actually false. When a dog licks its wound, it basically removes the dead tissue and this can help counter infection. Basically, a dog’s salvia isn’t really an antiseptic and may not ever be truly clean. Myth#2: Your dog can eat anything Dogs have the ability to identify sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes. But the way humans perceive taste and dogs perceive taste is different. Dogs can possibly gain enough information about the food in front of them just by smelling it. Even though they are often attracted by smelly foods, this does not mean that you should feed them takeout or curry leftovers. This is definitely not good for them and can make them sick. Instead, prepare fresh and nutritionally-balanced meals for your pet at home. Myth#3: A warm or dry nose implies that the dog is unwell The actual signs of illness in a dog are loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and other similar distresses; not a warm or dry nose. If you dog’s nose is warm, it may just be that he’s been out in the sun for a long time. If you want to check your pet for fever, simply put your hand on his head. The normal temperature for a dog is in the range 101-101.5 degrees and therefore he may feel a bit warm to the human touch without any fever. Myth#4: It’s safe to kiss your pet dog According to vets, the dog’s natural mouth bacteria may not be harmful for human beings, but the tongue which has been in several unclean environments, could definitely be a cause of worry. Pet owners have complained of salmonella poisoning after they have been licked by the dog on their face. It’s true that a lot of dog owners still don’t deter from cuddling face-to-face with their friendly four-legged companion, but it is advisable for people with unsteady or weak immune systems to avoid such exposure.
How Do You Get Rid Of The Dog Smell?
Image source: Pixabay.com/ Introduction Your love ...
Image source: Pixabay.com/ Introduction Your love for your dog is indisputable. Your dog is perhaps your best friend who accompanies you on evening walks, plays with you and your kids, and behaves like a family member. But that stench! It can be a huge turn off for you. Some dogs tend to have a natural smell, which may be pleasant, but some dogs, especially the ones with a thicker coat, carry a lifelong smell that you have to deal with every day. How to get rid of the dog smell? Giving your dog a deep-soaking bath every day is not possible, given your busy lifestyle. But there are a few simple ways in which you can get rid of that smell without disrupting your daily schedule, which are as follows:
  • Use baby wipes to wipe your dog's fur Baby wipes are gentler than the dog wipes available at pet stores. You can use them to wipe your dog's fur, but make sure to keep away from the eyes. Baby wipes are pre-moistened with conditioners, cleansers and deodorants, and they work wonders in removing the unpleasant stench of dogs. You can even use baby wipes to clean your dog's soiled paws.
  • Take care of your dog's ears Surprisingly, the smell emanates from your dog's ears, for which you need to clean its ears. You can consider using three to four drops of baby or mineral oil on a cotton ball to clean its your dog's ears. However, you have to be careful otherwise you might hurt the eardrum.
  • Use cornstarch or baking soda as a dog shampoo Cornstarch and baking soda are considered good for addressing a number of dog-related issues. It can help in stopping the blood your dog's toenails if you cut them too short, or reducing itching from dry skin and hot spots. But the best part is both cornstarch and baking soda can help in reducing dog smell. You can sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch directly on your dog's coat and gently message it with a soft towel. It acts as a great dry shampoo.
  • Brush it regularly Brushing your dog regularly helps in removing dirt and allergens from its coat. It prevents allergens and dirt from accumulating in your dog's coat and significantly reduces the smell.
  • Wash its bedding If your dog's bed, where it spends most of its time smells, the you should considering washing its bedding. Washing the bedding prevents germs and dirt, which may have accumulated over a lot days, to latch on to your dog's fur and cause it to smell. You should also consider cleaning your furniture and carpet if you dog sits on it.
Is It Safe To Switch Your Pet’s Food?
Image Source: Mlapp.org/ Introduction If you have ...
Image Source: Mlapp.org/ Introduction If you have a dog at home, then you may be aware of their exacting nutritional requirements. In order to meet them, many pet food companies have emerged these days. The variety of pet foods available in the market is overwhelmingly large as each pet food brand offers different selling propositions. However, it is a long-held notion that changing your pet food would alter your pet's eating habits, which makes many pet owners bound to the same food forever. It is therefore important to understand that your pet's dietary requirements change over time due to several factors such as age, health condition, and activity level. Signs that call for food change You don't have to keep your pet on the set diet for its entire life. You will have to change its diet for some reason or the other. The following signs show that its time for you to consider switching your pet's food:
  • Flaky and dull coat
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Seniority attained by the pet
  • Increase in weight
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Onset of allergies
How to change your pet's food safely? Regardless of your pet's age, you can change its food gradually over a period of at least a week. Care should be taken while switching your puppies' food because they have a sensitive stomach and a change may upset it. A gradual change is possible by mixing the new food with the old food for allowing the pet's body to adapt well to the change. The directions mentioned below lays down the proportion that could help you change your pet's food safely:
  • Day 1: Use 80% of old food and 20% of new food.
  • Day 2: Use 60% of old food and 40% of new food.
  • Day 3: Use 40% of old food and 60% of new food.
  • Day 4: Use 20% of old food and 80% of new food.
  • Day 5: Feed the pet with 100% of the new food
Additionally, you must ensure that the new food closely matches with the old food. A sudden change in ingredients may cause vomiting or diarrhea in your pet. To ensure that your choice is appropriate, read the list of ingredients on the package thoroughly. If the first few ingredients match, then you are safe to go ahead with the change. Pro-biotic supplements can help in reducing diarrhea on changing the diet. It is also recommended that you should avoid huge changes in the quantities of fat, fiber and protein as much as possible. If the diet change has caused unwanted diarrhea and vomiting in your pet, then you must consult a vet immediately to avoid further complications.
The Lowdown On Pet Insurance
Image source: Pixabay.com/ If you feel that owning...
Image source: Pixabay.com/ If you feel that owning a pet just means taking it out on a walk or playing with it in your spare time, then perhaps you need to rethink. Owning a pet is similar to having a kid; there are so many things you need to take care of – diet, exercise, health, and not to forget, insurance. If you are wondering whether pets can be insured like humans, then the simple answer is yes. Pet insurance is gaining popularity in the United States in the recent times, which is seen by the proliferation of pet insurance companies that help pet owners in covering the cost of veterinary treatment. Why do you need pet insurance? Animals are never far from health issues. They may counter different conditions at different times, which can be extremely overwhelming in terms of vet bills. Some health conditions of pets are so acute that immediate veterinary treatment is required. However, there is much debate on the worthiness of pet insurance because it brings an additional cost for pet owners in terms of premium payments. But opinions are skewed much in favor of having an insurance and paying regular premiums than incurring heavy veterinary expenses at one go when they arise. Moreover, pet insurance policies cover a wide range of pet-related health issues, which ultimately relieves a lot of trouble for pet owners. What is covered under pet insurance? Pet insurance policies provide coverage for simple accidents to surgeries and treatments for illnesses, as well as routine vaccinations and check-ups. The following items are usually covered under a pet insurance policy:
  • Theft or loss of pet, where pet owners can get the purchase price of their pet. Some insurance companies also cover the cost of advertising the lost pet and reward for its recovery.
  • Treatment for behavioral disorders in pets, which requires owners to treat it in a professional set up or under the guidance of a veterinarian.
  • The death of pet by injury or illness, where pet owners can get the purchase price. Some companies cover the cost of euthanasia if the pet shows no sign of recovery.
  • Veterinary bills, which include costs incurred on general veterinary professionals, treating congenital diseases, dental care and certain alternative treatments.
Types of pet insurance policies You can avail for the following types of pet insurance policies:
  • Accident-only policy, which is a low-cost policy covering accidental injuries within a fixed time limit and fee.
  • Per condition policy with time limit, which covers accidents and illnesses within a set maximum fee for 12 months.
  • Per condition policy with no time limit, a comprehensive insurance policy that covers accidents and illnesses throughout the pet's life for a maximum fee set for a year. The policy, however, requires periodic renewal.
Are You Having Trouble With a Hyperactive Kitty? Here’s What You Can Do
Image source: Wikimedia.org/ With their tiny noses...
Image source: Wikimedia.org/ With their tiny noses, little whiskers, and incisive teeth, kittens can allure anybody. However, these lovely fluff balls can wreak havoc in homes by sprinting all around, jumping on tables and chairs, and climbing up closets and curtains. If you own a kitten who behaves this way, then perhaps it is a little hypersensitive but normal. A little knowledge of hyperactive kitten behavior can help you tackle the problem easily. Why do kittens become hyperactive? Much of the hyperactive behavior in kittens is caused by their playful and predatory nature. Cats are nocturnal animals. So it's normal for it to run around in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning when their energy level is at its peak. Usually kittens are brought home when they are 8 weeks old. But you cannot expect your kitten to differentiate between meat and furniture that it has been scratching and biting at such a tiny age. Hyperactivity is usually seen in bored and lonely kittens that are brimming with energy, but no outlet to channelize it. Similar to all young mammals, your kitten's frantic behavior is its own way of transitioning towards adulthood. Kittens explore new areas because they have a predatory nature. They try to get accustomed to their environment by following their natural tendencies such as jumping, biting and running after things. It is simply not their fault at all. How to calm a hyperactive kitten down? It may seem impossible to calm your hyperactive kitten down, but some fun-filled playtime can help you achieve this easily. Consider the following tips to calm your hypersensitive kitten down:
  • Provide ample space to your kitten Create a space for your kitten which it can call its own. This private space will let your kitten unwind and keep distractions and people away. The space should allow your kitten to play own its own and channelize the stored energy productively.
  • Play sessions  Spending quality playtime with your kitten helps in strengthening the bond between you both, and also releasing the stored energy from the kitten's body. You can imitate the kitten's hunting activity to attract its attention and inspire its natural predatory tendencies.
  • Consider adopting another kitten  Hyperactivity is often caused by boredom in kittens. Bringing another kitten home can give your existing kitten some good company, and will encourage it to play and release energy.
  • Cat trees and scratching posts  Consider giving your kitten a cat tree or scratching post to perch itself on so that it can release its energy by climbing up to get.
These tips can divert the attention of your cat from destructive activities and help you to calm its hyperactiveness down in a big way.
All You Need To Know About Lure Coursing
Image Source: Pixabay.com What is lure coursing? L...
Image Source: Pixabay.com What is lure coursing? Lure coursing is a sort of sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanical lure. It gives dogs the chance to chase, jump, and sniff the ground- everything that dogs love doing. Modern lure courses utilize an artificial lure which is attached to a pulley for the dogs to chase. Competition in lure coursing was usually limited to purebred sight-hound breeds of dogs. However, the sport is now open for all dogs irrespective of their breed. Why is lure coursing so special? The best part of lure coursing is it allows dogs to participate in an activity that comes naturally to them. They are able to enjoy themselves in a controlled and safe environment without the danger of obstacles. Lure coursing is the best way to exercise your dog as it involves chasing, running and jumping. Dogs are thrilled by the chase and makes them active in a big way. How is lure coursing done? Lure coursing uses a simple equipment consisting of 300 meters of fishing line looped around many pulleys that are set to form a course. A plastic bag is attached to the fishing line and a battery-operated motor is used to power the pulleys. The motor can stop the lure or change its direction at any time. A system of tin pipes, in which the lure goes through and stops inside, is developed for regular dogs. The system causes dogs to search for the lure either by sniffing the ground or looking in or under the pipe. The lure is fun because it can either make its way through the pipe or reverse to trick the dog by emerging out from the opposite side. Which dogs can participate in lure coursing? The American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) are two groups that sanction the sport in the United States. Participation in lure coursing is usually open to purebred sight-hounds, but the ASFA has made some exceptions by opening the sport for all kinds of breeds. However, dogs must be at least a year old to be able to participate in the sport. Spayed and emasculated dogs are also allowed to participate in lure coursing, but dogs with retained testicles do not qualify for the competition. Health concerns associated with lure coursing Although lure coursing is an appealing sport for dogs, it is not free from health concerns. Dogs exert their joints to a great extent; thinner dogs exert less pressure compared to fatter and larger dogs. Dogs having short noses such as pugs must be taken care of because their bodies tend to overheat. Lure coursing is a great sport for dogs because it does not require rigorous training. The sport allows dogs to follow their natural instincts and make a huge difference in their overall behavior.
Oral Tick and Flea Treatment For Your Dog
Image Credit - Pexels.com/ Common pests like ticks...
Image Credit - Pexels.com/ Common pests like ticks and fleas are easy to prevent, but the damage they can do once they latch on to your dog's skin and hair are not so easy to fix. That makes it vitally important to keep your dog on an effective preventative, if you want to keep bug problems like flea infestations, Lyme disease and other skin infections at bay. Up until now, topical preventatives were the standard option for preventing ticks and fleas, but the advances in pharmacology have flooded the market with oral preventatives that are slowly gaining popularity. Are oral medications more effective? Oral medication can effectively kill up to 99.9 % of the adult fleas in your dog's body. Topical treatments on the other hand have a success rate of 88.5% The difference is huge, especially if your goal is to keep you dog healthy and flea-free. The convenience of oral medication is another big factor that tips the scales in its favor. Unlike topical preventatives, they are much more easy to administer and don't leave behind a sticky mess. Most of the oral medication come as soft chews or beef flavored pills. Your dog will just eat the medicine like a treat, and stay protected from ticks and fleas for up to 3 months. If you are a dog owner, we are sure you been in a situation where you have had to get separate preventatives for ticks, fleas, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. We all know that this can be quite expensive and inconvenient, especially if you have more than one dog in your household. Fortunately, most of the oral flea medications are also effective in preventing other pests. You have tablets that need to be administered just once a month to prevent hookworms, heartworms, whipworms and roundworms. How to choose the right oral preventative for your dog? You need to consider your dog's lifestyle into account when choosing an oral preventative. If your pet does not stand the risk of getting exposed to ticks and you want to stick to an easy regimen, you can go for chewable tablet that has o be administered just once every month. If you are concerned about a possible tick infestation, then there are targeted medications in the market that guard against both ticks and fleas. You will still have to give your dog heartworm medicine separately, but you get to avoid the sticky mess of topical treatments. Bear in mind that most of these medications are given on a prescription-only basis. So, you need to check with your dog's vet to figure out your options. He/she will help you choose a product that is tailored to your dog's needs and lifestyle. If your dog still has fleas after the treatment, then you need to clean your home to get rid of the pesky little eggs and larvae.
What Should You Do if Your Dog is Suffering From Pancreatic Insufficiency?
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Image Source : Pixabay.com/ What is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)? Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is a condition where the gastrointestinal system of dogs is affected by the lack of digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and digestive enzymes to digest starches, proteins and fats from the diet. When the pancreas does not produce sufficient digestive enzymes, the dog is unable to digest the food. Many dog owners fail to realize the effects of the disease, as a result of which, dogs with EPI starve to death without getting proper treatment. There have been many cases where EPI took a toll on the lives of dogs such as German Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd. However, the incidence of EPI, albeit rare, does not depend on the breed, and this life-threatening dog disease has affected dogs across the globe. What are the symptoms of EPI? As mentioned earlier, many dog owners fail to identify the disease and give appropriate veterinary care to their dogs. Unfortunately, many vets also fail to understand the disease because of its uncommon nature. However, an understanding of the symptoms may help in giving proper veterinary care to your dogs before it becomes too late. The following are few of the symptoms seen in dogs with EPI:
  • Orange, yellow, gray or pale-colored stool.
  • Uncontrollable diarrhea that doesn't go away.
  • Rapid and excessive weight loss.
  • Polyphagia, which is caused due to increase in appetite.
  • Abnormal stool.
  • Burping as a result of gas.
  • Dry and dull coat.
  • Vomiting
  • Intake of non-food items.
  • Changes in mood and temperament.
Diagnosis and treatment of EPI Diagnosis of EPI in dogs include the following:
  • Determining the levels of digestive enzymes in the blood
  • Measuring chymotrypsin activity
  • Determining the levels of digestive enzymes in fecal matter
  • Stool examination under a microscope.
The treatment of EPI in dogs can be an expensive and lengthy process, but it can be accomplished easily. The process involves replacing the pancreatic enzymes of the dog with EPI with enzymes from other sources, such as freeze-dried, ground-up pancreatic tissue from a hog or cow. Although an expensive process, enzyme replacement is a large part of the treatment, and the dog begins to improve rapidly once the supplementation begins. The supplement powders are usually mixed with the dog's food, while tablets are given half an hour before meal. The supplement powder should be mixed properly with the food and hydrated with water. It is recommended that the enzyme replacement is allowed to incubate for a few minutes prior to eating. The treatment is seen to provide beneficial results by restoring the dog's ability to produce digestive enzymes, but the number of successful cases has been less.
The Best Way to Care For a Feral Cat
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Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ Feral cats stir up a lot of positive and negative emotions across communities. A large number of animal activists work everyday to protect and control the stray cat population. Individuals and organizations offer them food and healthcare to ensure that they stay healthy. If you are interested in caring for the feral cats in your neighborhood, don't just go out to the pet store and buy a bag of cat food. You might want to think it through first. A primer on feral cat care As you might have guessed, caring for the feral cat in your community involves a significant amount of time and money. You need to provide the following:
  • Daily water and food
  • Get them in a trap-neuter-return program where cats are trapped, sterilized and medically treated.
  • Shelter them from the elements
  • Monitor their health concerns by arranging vet care when available
  • Keep them up-to-date on Rabies vaccinations
If you want to be more ambitious, you can also provide:
  • Parasite prevention medication
  • Vaccines (apart from Rabies, to prevent cat-specific diseases like the feline leukemia virus)
  • Care for the litter of kittens born to pregnant cats who weren't altered or trapped in time
  • Find indoor homes for the more social cats. If you come across a cat that has strayed away from its home, report it to the local shelter immediately.
What about medical care? Medical care for stray cats can be overwhelming, both in terms of time and money. But there are certain basic steps you can take to make sure that they stay healthy. For starters, get them neutered or spayed. Not only is that the right thing to do it will also help you control the population of feral cats in your neighborhood. Your colony might have just six or seven stray cats at the moment, but if you don't spay/neuter them, you will end up with fifty or sixty. If it ever gets there, then you can kiss your dreams of caring for them goodbye. If you need assistance with medical care, find an animal rescue service and ask for their help. They have a working relationship with most of the veterinarians, and they can get the cats neutered and spayed at a much cheaper price than you will ever be able to on your own. Enlist the help of your neighbors as well. And most importantly, don't start something that you cannot finish. Don't ever welcome a cat into your home one day only to turn your back on him the next day. The financials are secondary to your commitment. Don't forget that feral cats are no different from domestic cats. Once you welcome them into your life, they become dependent on you. If you suddenly stop feeding them, they will wait on you for weeks before they give up, even if it means starvation.
Choosing The Right Food For Your Kitten
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Image Credit - Staticflickr.com/ Kittens need certain key nutrients to grow strong muscle and bones, to build immunity, and to aid the proper development of their brains. The market is chock full of cat food designed for specific life stages. Just a cursory glance at the packaging should give you a fair idea of where to start. You need to make sure that you choose food that meets all the nutritional needs of your kitten if you want to avoid paying for vet visits, special diets and medication later on. Protein and carbohydrates Cats are obligate carnivores. They cannot subsist on carbohydrates or vegetables. So, it is crucial to have a meat source as a main component of your kitten's daily diet. If kitty does not receive the correct quantity of meat proteins, the body will start breaking down the muscle to get the nutrients you don't provide. Animal protein is absolutely necessary for the healthy growth of tissue and muscle. They supply amino acids, which are the building blocks of all the tissues in the body. Having said that, some of the amino acids are more important than the others. For instance, kittens need taurine for a healthy heart and vision. Without it, your cat will suffer from heart problems and grow blind eventually. And it can be found only in meat sources. A lot of the cat foods in the market are made with grains and carbohydrates. So, it is hard to avoid them completely. But you need to take care to ensure that they constitute a very small percentage of the food. Excess carbohydrates in the diet can lead to intestinal problems and weight gain. Fats Fats are a very important part of every kitten's diet. They help absorb the important vitamins, like vitamin K, A, D and E, and add flavor to the food as well. They are also a very good source of energy and contain oils that maintain healthy hair coats and skin. If the diet is low in fat, it can lead to scaly, dry skin and increase the chances of your cat contracting a skin infection. Arachidonic fatty acids are essential for skin growth and blood clotting. Vitamins and minerals Vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, calcium and vitamin D are needed for the development of teeth and bones. The amount and ratio of these nutrients is important for maximizing skeletal stability and density. Lack of mineral and vitamin balance will result in joint and bone problems when your kitten grows up. What to avoid You need to stick to a formula that is tailor made for kittens. Under no circumstances should you share your food with your kitten. Try to avoid canned fish as much as possible as a prolonged diet of canned food can lead to a thiamine deficiency. Also, avoid raw eggs as they can lead to a biotin deficiency and are a common source of salmonella.
How to Train a Fearful Cat?
Image Credits: Pixabay A number of reasons can cau...
Image Credits: Pixabay A number of reasons can cause a cat to develop anxiety and fear. Limited socialization during the early period in a cat's life is one of the main reasons. A bad experience with a human being or another animal in the past is another. Genetics play a part in the fear factor as well. For instance, some cats are fearful and timid by nature. Poor maternal care or a lack of nutritional food while young can affect the emotional development of a cat. Training a fearful cat can be difficult, however, with proper methods and patience, it can be done. The first thing to do is to learn the cat's body language in order to determine the current mood of the cat. The signs that show that your cat is scared includes dilated pupils, hissing, crouching (as if to pounce), growling, eyes going wide, keeping the ears flat and raising the hackles. Most of the cats tend to hide when afraid. The following are some ways how you can train a fearful cat. Offer rewards Just like training a normal cat by offering rewards, you can train a fearful cat the same way as well. At first, he/she may refuse to take the treat from your hand, so just toss it near them. Slowly, decrease the distance between you and the cat. Eventually, your cat will take the treat from your hand. You may resort to clicker training as well. Take it slow A great deal of patience is required to train a fearful cat. Do not set a pace, go with your cat's pace. If you are trying to get your cat to interact with your family members, do not forcibly take him/her to them. Let the cat approach them on his/her own terms. If you force your cat, he/she will lose their trust in you, and they will refuse to come to you as well. Play with your cat using interactive toys Your fearful cat may be afraid to play with you in close proximity. So, keep your distance and play with him/her using interactive toys. For instance, you can use a fishing pole toy to play with your cat. Your cat can stay in his/her comfort zone. Eventually, he/she will warm up to you and play with you more freely. Training your cat to play with other cats/pets in your home Place your fearful cat's cage next to the other cat's cage. Do not lock the cage, let him/her be free. However, place the feeding dishes inside the cages during the feeding time. Eventually, your fearful cat will feed while the other cat is also feeding. Then, you can place both the feeding bowls in one cage. Slowly, your fearful cat will bond with the other cat/pet. Create hidden paths to resources In case your cat ventures out from under the bed only when you are not home or when you are sleeping, create hidden paths to his/her litter box, to the scratching post, and so on, with paper bags or cardboard boxes. He/she will come out since they are hidden from you. Eventually, your cat will get used to your presence and stop using the hidden ways. There will be many setbacks while training your fearful cat, however, it is imperative that you do not get discouraged and stay consistent in your training process. The pride and joy that you will experience after successfully training your fearful cat will be well worth the effort.
The Fundamentals of Dog Nutrition
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Image Source: Wikimedia.org/ When it comes to dog nutrition, it is not much different from that of us humans. Dogs require the same kind of nutrition as we do. It is important for dogs to eat the right kind of food to be healthy and safe from contracting any kind of disease. Although they need the same kind of nutrition, does not mean that they should eat our kind of food. Dogs should have their very own diet plan, which while takes care of their nutrition needs also abides by the kind of food they are allowed to eat. Like humans, dogs are also susceptible to gaining weight or contracting cancer. Eating the wrong kind of food which is rich in acid and irritate their abdominal tract can lead to many kinds of diseases as well. Therefore, good knowledge of what kind of food and diet is good for your dog can help in ensuring a long and healthy life for them. Diet rich in protein Your dog’s diet should provide it with good amounts of protein in the forms of meat, fish and eggs. Puppy chow offers good amount of protein for puppies but it is not enough protein for grown up dogs. Poultry should be included in their diets in the right amounts. Soybeans and cornmeal are not healthy for both humans and dogs. Hence, both these protein sources should be avoided. If you are buying dog biscuits, make sure they do not contain cornmeal or soybean. No cookies policy Cookies can do a lot of harm to a dog’s health. You can feed your dog cookies sparingly, but in excess it can cause major health issues. You can give them sweet treats as they are absolutely fine. Make sure that the sweets you give them are rich in dietary fiber which helps the dog have a balanced diet. Oatmeal cookies are the one type of cookie that is great for dogs. Limited treating Too many treats is not a healthy feeding pattern. You should restrict treating your dog with dog biscuits as much as possible. Use them as a reward or when you are out but not as a substitute to proper dog food. No over feeding Each dog should be fed according to their size. There are packaged foods available in the markets that specify the amount of food each type of dog should be fed. Study the labels well to ensure you are not over-feeding your dog. Don’t feed leftovers Food leftovers should not be given to dogs as our food is not necessarily good for them. For example, giving your dog sloppy joe sandwiches and broccoli is not a good idea as these are not healthy for them. The fat from steak is fine as it is good for them.
How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails?
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Image Source: Pixabay.com/ If scratch marks on the furniture is not your idea of fetching décor, then you should seriously consider trimming the nails of your cat on a regular basis. Granted, taking your cat to the groomer can to the groomer can be the more glamorous option, but it's also the more expensive one. If you are among those people who like to take care of things themselves, then trimming your cat's claws at home is your best bet. The simplest way to get your cat acclimatized to the process is to start when he is young. So, how exactly do you trim Felix's nails without throwing him into a tizzy? That depends on your cat. Some cats take to it more easily than others. But most of them suffer through it. Here is a step by step guide to help you do it right. Before you begin, inspect your cat's claws under the lights. Squeeze his paw gently to make the nails jut out. You should be able to see pink tissue in the middle of his nail. Make sure you cut below that to avoid pain and bleeding. When you start out, it's better to cut a small part of his nail instead of getting overzealous and cutting it too close. It is very important that you don't associate the process of nail clipping with discomfort. As for the clippers, you will be able to find ones that are specially designed for cats. You will also need treats and a styptic powder in case you accidentally cut into the connective tissue that underlies the nail. Let's get started:
  • Pick a comfortable spot and make sure that it is well lit. Make sure you have everything you need by your side. Also, have treats ready for after the trimming.
  • Firmly hold your cat between your knees, or in a position that is best for both of you. The idea is to ensure that your cat is secure. Grab his front paw and squeeze it gently. This will make the claw stick out.
  • Once you have a good hold and view, position the nail clipper at a comfortable distance from the connective tissue.
  • Clip the nail vertically. This will prevent it from splitting. Make sure you do it in a single stroke.
  • Once you are done, reward your cat with a treat. This is a very important step as it will associate the act with a positive outcome. Repeat this with the other claws once your cat allows.
Don't worry if your cat does not allow you to do more than one claw. Just try doing it again after a while. If you are facing difficulty doing it on your own, have a friend or a family member assist you.
The Dangers Faced By Search and Rescue Dogs
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Image source: Wikimedia.org/ More often than not, when tragedy strikes, emergency and rescue service personnel take the help of four-legged rescuers in disaster recovery. These dogs have been an important part of every recovery plan, from tragedies like the Oklahoma city bombing and 9/11 to man-made catastrophes like Katrina. Search and rescue dogs undergo intense training and have an incredible instinct to go to places that are out of the reach of human rescuers. With their extraordinary sense of hearing and smell, these life savers often find victims that human rescuers can't see, hear or reach. Immediate adverse effects It goes without saying that these dogs face a lot of immediate danger on a regular basis. In many cases, the immediate danger can turn into chronic, long-term health conditions. The immediate health concerns for search and rescue dogs include pad damage, dehydration, abrasions and cuts. Their human partners take all the necessary care, including baths and frequent eyewashes, to make sure that they are healthy and fit. Such decontamination procedures are generally meant for visible wounds on the body. Risk of accidental exposure However, as is the case with any disaster, there are a lot of health hazards that humans cannot see, taste, touch or even smell. This can lead to chronic, long term health conditions not only for the rescuers but also their canine companions. Human rescuers have access to protective gear when they work at a disaster site, including gloves, helmets, boots, clothing ad masks. Some dogs have protective covering for their feet depending on the type of disaster. While humans can use masks to prevent the inhalation of toxins at the disaster site, dogs don't have any such protection. Dogs use their keen sense of smell to explore the world around them. Constantly sniffing the ground and air, and licking their noses leaves them at a much higher risk of inhaling toxins compared to their human partners. Uneven surfaces, broken glass, fires and damaged buildings are not the only dangers to worry about. For instance, during the 9/11 tragedy, the collapsing buildings and the explosions released an incredible amount of toxins that both the humans and rescue dogs were exposed to. At Pentagon and Ground Zero, the dogs were practically walking through puddles of gasoline, fuel, oils, cleaning products, glass, asbestos, metal and acids, among other materials. Potential health risks Dogs can develop mesothelioma by inhaling harmful particles. A lot of equally deadly diseases can develop in rescue dogs depending on the lethality of toxic exposure at the disaster site. These include, but are not limited to, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses. The gestation period for these illnesses is much quicker in dogs than it is in human beings and the symptoms might present themselves almost immediately.
Herbs to Help Relieve Your Cat Of Stress
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Image Source : Pixabay.com/ Some cat have a naturally anxious demeanor while others freak out during vet visits and car trips. This leaves a lot of pet owners in a fix as they try to look for ways to calm their cat down. Fortunately, there are a lot of natural remedies to help with stress relief, and the best part is that they are easy to administer. Try these flower essences and herbs the next time your cat gets stressed:
  1. Catnip – We know what you're thinking. Giving a substance that riles up Felix in an effort to calm him down seems counterintuitive. But they key to effectively use catnip for stress relief is to give it to your cat 15 minutes before the stressful event, like the much dreaded vet trip. After he hangs from your ceiling and bolts around the living room at lightning speed, he will tire himself out and remain unusually calm.
  2. Valerian – This herb mimics the effects of catnip, but with one major difference. After your cat comes down from the high, not only will he be calm, he'll most likely go to sleep. In fact, this herb is used as a remedy for people suffering from insomnia and it tends to have the same effect on cats. The herb will induce euphoria and chill your cat out, making him more docile in the process.
  3. Chamomile – Chamomile tea has a calming effect on people, and the dried flowers of the plant have the same anti-anxiety properties on felines as well. Animal studies have demonstrated that chamomile contains compounds that act on the same parts of the nervous system and the brain as anti-anxiety medication. They promote relaxation by reducing stress.
  4. Rescue remedy – Bach flower remedies are known to relieve anxiety and stress in humans. However, they can also be used on cats and dogs. Though it is technically not a herb, it is an excellent stress buster. The immediate effectiveness of the remedy is what makes it stand out from the other treatments. If you want to calm down your kitty pronto, this is a great choice. Make sure that you buy the alcohol free version for Felix.
How to administer herbs to your cat Most of these herbs come in many forms – dried leaves or flowers, tinctures, teas and essential oils, to name a few. However, you cannot administer essential oils to cats as their liver cannot break down the compounds. Dried herbs are the safest. To prevent your cat from eating the flowers and leaves, put them in a tube collar. That way, your cat will benefit from the relaxing qualities of the herbs without over-ingesting them. If you prefer to go the tincture route, make sure you buy the product from a reputable pet company.
How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears?
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Image Credit - https://c1.staticflickr.com/ Most pet owners believe that cats are self-sufficient and are capable of taking care of themselves, thanks to all the meticulous grooming they do. However, that is only partly true. If your cat has ear problems, then he has to rely on you for a safe cleaning. If, for some reason, you aren't able to take your cat to the vet for an ear cleaning session, then you should know how to do it yourself. Why should you clean the ears? Cat have a built-in cleaning mechanism where the wax migrates towards external ear canal. However, if your cat has an ear issue, like blood blisters, ear mites or an ear infection, then you need to clean it thoroughly before you apply any topical medication. Make sure that you regularly check your cat's ears for any abnormalities. How often should you clean the ears? If your cat has healthy ears, then check them once a month for any odor and debris. If you notice any abnormalities, you need to take him to the vet for a thorough evaluation. However, if your cat has ear inflammation, then you need to clean them once a week after treating the inflammation. How do you clean your cat's ears? If you have never cleaned Felix's ears before, then it might take a little practice to get it right. Fortunately, it is a fairly straightforward process and once you get a hang of it, you're all set. Perform the following steps with a gauze and cleaning solution nearby:
  • Pull back the earflap delicately and fill the ear canal with a cleaning solution recommended by the veterinarian.
  • Gently massage the base of the ear for ten seconds, and allow your cat to shake the solution out of his ear.
  • Wrap a gauze around your little finger and clean out any excess liquid from the ear canal. Your finger cannot go far enough inside to cause any real damage.
  • Repeat the same process with the other ear.
Tips to help you clean your cat's ears effectively Even if you are convinced that your cat needs to have his ears cleaned, there is a good chance that he might not share your position. Here are a few tips to make the cleaning process easy:
  • Have a friend/family member hold your cat while you clean his ears.
  • Don't use a Q-tip as it can damage the eardrum and push the debris deeper into the ear. You can use the Q-tip on the earlap folds.
  • Before you start cleaning, wrap your cat in a towel so that he remains still.
  • Make sure that you close your mouth and eyes before you let your cat shake his head.
Everything You Need to Know About Designer Dogs
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ The term “designer d...
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ The term “designer dog” is used to refer to dogs that are a hybrid of two purebreds. While the term is fairly new, the concept is not. Avid dog breeders have been crossing purebreds for hundreds of years. The only difference is that the early hybrids were meant for work purposes – to breed better shepherding or hunting dogs, in most cases. The Australian Shepherd is an excellent example, though not the only one. One of the sticking points with hybrids is that they are not officially recognized by breed clubs. This may lead some people to wonder as to why anyone would pay hefty price for a hybrid, but that has done nothing to slow down the burgeoning movement. The kennel club for designer dogs currently recognizes over 500 designer dog breeds, and some of the top breeders take hybrid breeding very seriously. Breed qualities Most of the designer dogs in the world today are meant to be companion dogs rather than work mates. They are selectively bred for their temperament, appearance and hypoallergenic qualities. The Labradoodle, one of the most popular designer dog breeds in Australia, originated in the 70s as a working dog. The Labrador was chosen for its superlative guiding abilities and the Poodle was chosen for its trainability, intelligence and low shedding. Together, they made the perfect guide dog for disabled people who were allergic to dander. The Labradoodle has still not been recognized as a pure-breed, but it's only a matter of time before it joins the ranks of other purebreds. The hypoallergenic quality of the Poodle makes it one of the most popular dogs for crossbreeding. It is the progenitor of the Yorkie-Poo, Cocka-Poo, Saint Berdoodle and the Pug-a-Poo. How to choose a responsible breeder? Just like tech enthusiasts are willing to hand over all their hard earned cash for the latest gadget in the market, dog lovers are willing to fork over heavy sums for the cutest and the newest puppy breed. However, we highly recommend that you resist the temptation to buy from the first breeder you can find. While ethical breeders take their job very seriously, the high demand in the market has also given rise to a lot of opportunists who are only interested in making money. It takes a lot of dedication to bring a hybrid dog to its full potential. Makes sure that the breeder has given serious thought to the compatibility of both the dog pairs, has proof of both the parents' health, along with test results that rule out genetic disorders like hip dysplasia and eye problems. Lastly, you will be able to find a lot of designer dogs at your local shelter. So, adoption is a viable option as well. You'll help save a life and get a wonderful companion in return.
Pet Care Guide For First Time Owners
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Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ Are you thinking of getting a pet for the first time? Are you worried you wouldn't know how to provide proper care? Don't worry – we have put together a handy list of things every new pet parent must know about:
  • Pet proofing your home – Pets love to explore their surroundings in a number of ways – licking, smelling, jumping, eating and scratching. A lot of pet owners don't factor in the amount of pet work they need to do before they pick out an animal. As a pet parent, you need to ensure that items like cleaning agents, chemicals, shoes and clothes are either out of your house or out of reach from your furry friend. Keep the floor and countertops clear, lock the cabinets and tuck away the electrical cords out of reach. If you are getting a dog, buy chew toys and if it's a cat, get a bunch of scratching posts.
  • Creating a schedule – Routines are the best way to encourage good behavior in your pet. They are not very different from children in this regard. For starters, potty train your pet. Kittens and puppies tend to urinate quite often on account of their small bladders. If this happens with your pet, don't fret. Clean it up and show your pet where the potty should go (litter box for the cat and outdoors for the dog). A daily exercise schedule is equally important. You should encourage your pet to participate in it at least 15 minutes a day. Last, but not the least, come up with a feeding schedule and make sure that you stick to it. Use high quality pet food and measure out the portions so that your pet learns portion control early on.
  • Watch out for behavioral problems and practice positive training – Ensure that you are consistent with the training regimen from the very beginning. Make it clear to your pet that you are the pack leader and insist on good behavior even when doing the simplest of daily activities, like eating dinner or preparing to go outdoors. If you encounter any behavioral issues, consult with the vet. He/she can help you determine whether the behavioral problems are caused by an underlying health issue. Also, find a way to deal with the problem of separation anxiety early on. Many pet parents unknowingly encourage this behavior by spending every moment of their weekends with their pets and leave them alone for the major part of the day during weekdays. Avoid this by leaving your pet alone with toys for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the alone time. Start doing this the very first day you bring your pet home.
How to Tell Skin Allergies From Bug Bites?
Image Credit - Staticflickr.com/ Itching is one of...
Image Credit - Staticflickr.com/ Itching is one of the most common reasons pet owners take their dogs to the veterinarian. It goes without saying that, just like humans, there are a number of reasons behind why canines lick, chew and scratch themselves. Why does your dog scratch himself? Inflammation is also referred to as dermatitis. This condition causes intense itching in dogs. Parasitic and allergic dermatitis are the to most common types of dermatitis. The allergic variant is caused by food allergies, seasonal allergies and non-seasonal allergies. Parasitic dermatitis is caused due to insect bites and stings. Both these conditions have similarities in their clinical signs. How can you tell the difference between the two? If your dog is suffering from an acute case of allergic dermatitis, then he may have allergies due to one of the three aforementioned causes. Seasonal allergies are prevalent during summer, spring, and fall. If you live in a region that has predominantly warm/humid weather, then the allergy can persist all year long. Blooming flowers, plants, weeds, grasses and trees are the most common culprits behind seasonal allergies. Non-seasonal allergies can be caused due to molds, dust, environmental materials, chemicals and other factors. Some dogs are allergic to certain protein sources (beef, chicken, dairy) or grains (corn, wheat, rice). If your dog is suffering from allergic dermatitis, then you will see signs of the condition all over his body, but most commonly on the ears, feet, armpits, legs, groin, muzzle, and around the anus. Redness, hair loss, oozing, crusting, hyperpigmentation and skin thickening can occur at the itchy locations. Ticks, fleas and other stinging insects can cause inflammation and discomfort to varying degrees. Some dogs are sensitive to insect bites and some of them are even allergic to the saliva. Your dog will lick, chew or scratch himself on the affected site. The itching pattern will vary depending on where your dog has been stung or bitten, as well as on how sensitive he is to the saliva or venom of the insect. Fleas tend to congregate around the neck, head, tail base, inguinal area and the perineum. The most common sign of a flea infestation is the appearance of black pepper like deposits on the infested site. If your dog has flea dirt, then use a moist cloth and gently wipe the area. If you see an orange or pink tinged reside, then it is a sure fire sign of a flea infestation. Mites, on the other hand, are microscopic insects that dig deep into the skin layers to feed and survive. As they chew their way through your dog's skin, they cause inflammation and secondary infections (yeast, bacteria and so on). Redness, swelling, crusting, oozing, hair loss are the most common signs of mange in dogs.
Herbal Remedies for Inflammation and Joint Pain in Pets
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Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ If your pet has joint pain, then medical supplements like glucosamine and fish oil are the best course of treatment. However, using botanicals along with pharmaceuticals can highly benefit some animals suffering from osteoarthritis. Multi modal therapy is extremely effective at combating pain at many different levels. It goes without saying that you need to check with your pet's vet before you start botanical therapy. After all, botanicals are drugs that are waiting to be refined into a purer pharmaceutical form.
  • Turmeric – This is quite possibly the most widely used medicinal herb for treating inflammation and joint pain. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant. They neutralize the free radicals responsible causing painful inflammation and joint damage. A high dose of turmeric acts as a blood thinner and can lead to an upset stomach. So, you need to consult with a veterinarian before you start administering turmeric to your pet. As a rule of thumb, the suggested dosage is 15mg per pound of body weight.
  • Boswellia serrata – The resin of this herb has been used in traditional medicines for centuries. Recent lab research has demonstrated that Boswellia serrata inhibits the production of a particular leukotriene, which is responsible for modulating the immune response of the body to inflammation. Although more clinical research needs to be done on this herb, preliminary in vitro studies clearly show that the herb has a positive effect on the body as a whole. The best part is that there are no known side effect to the compound. So, you can treat your dog with a formulation made for humans, as long as it is free from other compounds. The typical dosage is 6mg per pound of body weight.
  • Cinnamon – Cinnamon is known to help with a wide variety of disease conditions like IBD, diarrhea, stomach cramps as well as joint pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb will slow down joint tissue degeneration. If your dog weighs 50 pounds, then add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to his food daily for a couple of weeks. If it shows beneficial results by relieving arthritic pain, then you can continue the regimen. However, if your dog is about to undergo surgery, then you need to discontinue the treatment at least two weeks before the surgery as cinnamon thins the blood and causes increased bleeding.
  • Hawthorn – Hawthorn helps to stabilize collagen, the protein in the joints that's destroyed by inflammatory processes. Hawthorn also helps to increase circulation, thereby ridding the body of toxin build up in the joints. Please note that Hawthorn can interact with drugs that are designed to treat heart disease. So, speak to your vet before you start administering Hawthorn to your pet.
Is Your Dog an Optimist or a Pessimist?
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Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ According to a recent study, dogs show signs of being optimistic or pessimistic. The researchers who performed the study trained the dogs to touch a target that would spurt out either milk or water. They also assigned specific tones to each of the stimuli, one coinciding with milk and the other with water. Once the dogs learned t tell the difference between both the tones, the real experiment began. What happened next? Following this, the researchers gave the dogs new tones that lay in between the two they were already familiar with. So, basically they gave the dogs ambiguous signals that said “this one sounds a bit like the milk tone, but isn't exactly that”. If the dogs thought that it was closer to the milk tone, they touched the target. If they thought that it was closer to the water tone, they didn't go anywhere near it. Based on the way a dog responded to the ambiguous tone, the researchers were able to tell whether the dog was an optimist or a pessimist. What is even more interesting is the point at which they decided whether the unclear tone meant milk or water. Some of the dogs kept on hitting the target hoping for milk even after it spurt out water, while others gave up quite early. The experiment started out with 40 dogs and gradually pared the number down to 20. Some dogs did not like milk while others were not persistent enough to learn the difference between both the tones. The study was evenly spread out over a period of two weeks. At the end of it, the researchers concluded that six dogs were optimists, six of them were pessimists and the rest were evenly spread out across the spectrum. Does environment dictate your dog's mental outlook? The researchers postulate that the personality ranking of a dog has a lot to do with his respective background. For instance, a lot of the optimistic dogs were the pets of professional dog trainers. They probably get a lot of physical and mental stimulation at home with clicker training, reinforcement and a lot more. Mot of the pessimistic dogs were recruited from a training program for service dogs. It is not all that surprising that environment should play such a key role in your dog's mental outlook. If you are a dog who has spent his entire life in a puppy mill, then you have probably had a very tough life. That might make you express a more pessimistic world view. However, that does not mean that you are a pessimistic individual. If you are moved to a different environment, then you begin to understand that people are enjoyable and safe.
How Do Cats Trick Their Human Companions With the Frequency Of Their Mewing?
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Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ Although the soliciting purr of a cat might not be as jolting as the morning alarm, it can still work wonders in prying cat owners from their sleep. And if it gets sufficiently annoying, it can drive them from the comfort of their beds to go fill kitty's food bowl. Scientists conducted a simple study and discovered that this particular kind of cat meow – embedding a high frequency cry with a low-frequency purr is designed to wake people up. This is very different from the plain old meow which is much more likely to get them ejected from the room. What did the study entail? To study how cats expertly manipulate their owners, the researchers involved in the study recorded the purrs of 10 different cats. Some of the purrs were recorded when the cats actively solicited food and the others when they were not. The sounds were played to 50 different people at the same volume. All the participants in the study judged the pleading purrs as the more urgent ones compared to the normal ones. Following this, the researchers re-synthesized the purrs to exclude any trace of the hungry cry and played it back to the participants. This time around, almost all of them thought that the cries were not urgent. What do the results indicate? These results seem to point to the fact that cats do a very good job of cashing in on our nurturing response to the cry of a baby. We're sure that there are many among you who have heard what sounds like the plaintive cry of a baby and went looking for the source of the sound only to discover that it is a cat crying for help. It helps to know that it is an evolutionary trait that they have developed over time to survive better. Jut like kids, domestic cats completely depend on their owners for survival. It is only natural that over time they understood that the sound of a baby's cry is something that almost every human being responds to. What is remarkable though is the fact that their vocal cords have evolved in such a way that they are able to mimic this sound with uncanny precision. This is not the case with dogs. While the soliciting whining of a dog does work on humans as well, it is not engineered with such calculating precision. Considering the fact that cats have specific frequencies at which they communicate specific things, there are many potential applications to this discovery. It can be used to train veterinarians, animal behaviorists and pet owners to decipher what cats are experiencing and attend to it better. This study has opened the doors to further research in that direction.
Does Your Dog Prefer a Belly Rub Over a Treat?
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Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ When humans started the process of domesticating dogs, they practically laid the groundwork for a strong and enduring cross species social bond that would only get stronger over time. Wherever humans go, dogs are wont to follow. If it has ever occurred to you that dogs are more interested in you than the treat in your hand, you'd be glad to know that it is not entirely in your imagination. Animal researchers at Emory University just discovered that dogs value affection more than food. Animal trainers who have successfully trained dog to perform tasks to food rewards might find this a little hard to believe. But science seems to disagree. The results of the study were published in a paper that explored the subject of treats versus praise in detail, and they incontrovertibly point to the fact that dogs do find human affection more intrinsically rewarding. Apart from reminding us of the social origins of dogs as a species, this discovery could also provide a lot of valuable tools for training working dogs. It bears mentioning that this is not the first study of its kind, but it does certainly add a lot to our understanding of dog behavior. Three experiments The researchers involved in the study used functional magnetic resonance imaging in 15 wide awake dogs to explore the neural basis behind their preferences for food reward and social interaction. In the first experiment, they used readings of the ventral caudate as a statistical measure of intrinsic reward and compared the region's activation to conditioned stimuli like praise, food or nothing. Compared to the control stimulus, it was observed that the caudate was much more active to rewards and even more so when it came to praise. This was uniformly the case in 13 of the 15 participating dogs. The second experiment was done to confirm the results of the first. To make sure that the differences in the readings was driven by the intrinsic value of praise, they withheld the praise on a subsection of trials. They noticed that there were considerable differences in the degree of caudate activation relative to withholding praise and the results had a very strong correlation to the differential activation in response to the conditioned stimuli in the first experiment. In a final experiment, they had the participating dogs complete a Y-shaped maze in which they had to choose a treat or their owner. The results of the MRI scans correctly predicted their response here as well, thereby demonstrating that this trait has deep-seated biological routes. The testing was done over a number of sessions to make sure that the dogs get a break in between and do not get tired of being handled or frustrated of the food. Since the responses were consistent across the sessions, it is not just an afternoon whim that drove the dogs to prefer praise to treats. This study conclusively proves that early socialization and positive enforcement is much more important than the food we dole out to our dogs during meal time.
Were Dogs Domesticated More Than Once?
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Image Credit - Auggie.com.au/ Where exactly dig dogs come from? For decades, scientists have tried to find a definitive answer to this question. Did wolves forge their first human relationships in Asia or Europe? According to a new study, the answer is “yes” for both. Scientist conducted a genetic analysis of over 500 canines and found that dogs were domesticated more than once – in Europe and in Asia – although their European ancestry has vanished with time. The findings are a big step towards resolving a rift that has been roiling the scientific community for years on end. However, the case is not definitively closed yet. The study A unique specimen was a part of the study: the ear bone of a 4500 year old dog that was unearthed from a football field in Ireland. Researchers sequenced the entire genome of this canine and compared it to the DNA of over 600 modern dogs. They proceeded to create a family tree and found that there was a deep divide between Asian dogs and European dogs. This was hitherto unknown owing to the lack of samples. To understand when the divide occurred, the unearthed specimen was critical. The researchers used it along with the modern dog genomes to calculate the canine genetic mutation rate. The numbers suggest that the split between the East and West happened over 13,000 years ago. This analysis also shed light on a key genetic bottleneck that has been observed in Western dogs – a lack of genetic diversity that was tied to a decline in population numbers, which usually happens when a small band splits off from the main group. Taken together, these findings suggest that dogs were domesticated first in Asia before a small subset of them migrated through Eurasia to the West with their owners. This means that almost all of the modern dogs have Asian ancestry. However, there's a twist – archaeologists previously discovered the remains of a 16,000 year old dog in Germany, which goes to show that dogs were domesticated there even before the Asian dogs set foot there. Although it is not possible to say whether the dogs that evolved in Europe are an evolutionary dead end, it is safe to say that their legacy has been erased. Going forward However, even if the mutation rate is a bit off, it could mean that the European dogs have ancient roots as well. Moreover, interbreeding between wolves and dogs could muddy the picture. We need more samples of both ancient wolves and dogs before we solve this mystery once and for all. Hundreds of scientists from across the globe are now pooling their resources and gathering samples from all over. As of now, dual origin seems like an intriguing possibility, especially since research has indicated multiple domestication for pigs and cats as well.
How Does the Dog Brain Process Language?
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Image Credit - Pexels.com/ Language grew out of evolutionary convenience. In the course of our daily conversations with out fellow human beings, the way we say things matters jut as much as what we say. A recent study has established that dogs tend to pick up on these details as well. This study adds to our growing knowledge of how dogs process human language, and raises important questions concerning the differences between processing speech and understanding it. The Hungarian team behind this study is one of the few across the world that has been training dogs to voluntarily get into an fMRI machine. Once they were in, the researchers presented the dogs with a number of different stimuli while observing their brains under the figurative microscope. In the most recent study, dogs were presented with both neutral words and praise words. The researchers discovered that just like humans, dogs separated the vocabulary from the intonation in their auditory regions. They came to the conclusion that dogs understand both the words and their intonation. What does this mean? Before you go ahead and tell your dog “I knew all this while you could understand what I was saying”, you need to understand that word processing is not the same thing as understanding. Understanding is more complicated. FMRI studies are not enough to conclusively establish that activation of a brain region necessarily entails understanding. Sure, the dogs that took part in the study reacted to meaningful words, but it must be noted that these words were often used by their owners when they wanted to attract the attention of their dog or provide positive feedback. So, in a sense, it could be argued that the dogs recognized familiar words and knew that it meant something good. Can dogs understand words as we intend them at least? Well, of course. The Border Collie, Chaser is famous for being familiar with the names of close to 1000 objects and her prowess has been documented in two separate scientific journals. She knows the difference between the objects and toys in her life. She knows that slug is not acorn, and that Tie Face is different from Crybaby. She has also proven herself capable of performing actions like tease, fetch, and tug in response to different words. In other words, her left hemisphere is in a class of its own. Another important discovery made in the study was that the left hemisphere of dogs' brains processed the meaning of the words independently of how it was intoned. This means that their brains can recognize the phrase 'good boy' irrespective of how it is said. However, it is advised that owners learn to praise their dog and use the expression in a similar way the next time. Consistency is very important when it comes to praise and communication.
Does Gene Deletion Hold The Key to Your Dog’s Obesity?
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Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ Dog owners, there is no need for you to body shame your Labs anymore. Recent research has revealed that close to 23 percent of the breed's population has a missing region in the gene that is responsible for controlling hunger. The gene deletion in the POMC region is responsible for signaling your dog's body when it feels full. Dogs that have this mutation tend to weigh 2 kilograms more on an average and are much more likely to fish for food scraps, according to a survey. This discovery would go a long way in explaining why Labradors tend to be the most overweight dog breeds. Labs are the most popular breed because their motivation for food makes it easy to train them. As a matter of fact, over 75 percent of the service Labradors wee missing regions in their POMC gene. This would explain their motivation to get trained for treats. Lab report The researchers involved in the study started with 18 lean and 15 obese Labrador retrievers. After assembling the sample set, they examined three genes that cause obesity in humans. The first analysis revealed that all of the obese dogs had a scrambled up POMC gene end. This deletion hinders the ability of the dog's body to churn out the neuropeptides Beta-Endorphin and Beta-MSH, which play a key role in turning off hunger pangs after a satisfying meal. In human beings, POMC variants have long been linked to unaccountable differences in body weight. In fact, some obese people lack the same portion of the POMC gene as their canine counterparts. To substantiate their initial theory, the researchers expanded the sample set to 310 dogs, only to discover that there are a whole host of behavioral patterns that are associated with the gene deletion in the POMC region. Not all dogs that had a DNA variation were obese, but in general the missing chunk had a correlation to excess weight, and from a survey of pet owners, the affected dogs begged their pack leaders for food much more frequently, were highly attentive at mealtimes and rummaged for leftover scraps more often. In conclusion, if you want to keep a dog with a POMC mutation slim, you have to be on your guard. You have to be mercilessly rigorous when it comes to portion control, and not to mention, steel yourself better from the big, brown, beseeching eyes. If you manage to keep a Labrador with a gene deletion slim, then you deserve a pat on the back. And in spite of your best efforts, if you are not able to control your dog's weight gain, you need to understand that it is not entirely your fault. If your friends ask, just tell them that your dog isn't fat, he is just a little husky.
How to Select Cat Friendly Flora for Your Garden
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Image credits: Pixabay There are so many programmes on television these days demonstrating how to create a perfect garden for your home. But very few people have actually ever thought about designing a ‘cat-friendly’ garden. So what is a cat-friendly garden? In simple terms, it is an outside area where your cat can freely roam about without endangering its life. It is typically fenced and blooms with flora that is non-toxic for cats. With such a garden, you will be able to enjoy complete peace of mind while your cat runs around, plays in the garden or even chews on the plant species. It is observed that cats primarily like nibbling on grass and avoid touching anything else in a garden area. But it is vital to be aware that there are certain garden plants which could be poisonous for cats. Foxgloves and lilies could be quite dangerous to plant in a garden with your cats running around. This is because the pollen present in these flowers has the effect of damaging kidneys. But the good news is that there are plenty of non-toxic plants that you can choose from in order to keep your cats safe and also add color to your garden! Here are a few excellent tips on selecting cat-friendly flora for your garden: Tip#1: Plant tall climbing structures It is important to remember that cats are curious animals and love exploring almost all the time. You can keep your cat/s happy by designating a space in the backyard exclusively for them. These animals love hiding, climbing and pouncing. This means that it would be a good idea to plant climbing structures like trees. Bamboo in fact is an excellent choice of plant to have in a cat-friendly garden. The bamboo plant looks very exotic and adds a lot of height to your garden. Above all, it can serve as the perfect hideout for your cat! Tip#2: Make room for cat grass Despite being carnivores, cats strangely love nibbling on garden grass. But not all kinds of grass are non-toxic for your cat. Cat grass is a special variety of grass which can be purchased in seed form. The good news is that it is very easy to grow cat grass. You simply need to sow the seeds in pots or borders and the grass will grow within 3 to 5 days. Cat grass is known for its medicinal properties and also aids digestion. Tip#3: Add a beautiful catnip Catnip is considered to be quite an obvious choice when it comes to planting a cat-friendly garden. Cats find this plant to be extremely attractive and feel very happy to see it around them! And of course, this plant is absolutely safe for your cat.
How to Deal With Petting Induced Aggression in Your Cat?
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Image source: Wikimedia.org/ Aggressive cat behavior can be a hurtful and a difficult situation for cat-owners. You love your cat but somehow you are unable to figure out when your sweet cat turns hostile and bites like it means it. It is not only a behavioral matter but is also a dangerous situation, particularly if you have children around. Children may not know how to react in case the cat turns aggressive which can quickly turn into an ugly situation. Apart from the pain and scratches the risk of transmitting diseases in inevitable in such scenarios. What causes this behavior? Cats by nature are not close-contact animals. They are not very accustomed to human contact and stroking. Some cats have a lower threshold than other cats which defines how much touches they would tolerate before they lash out at the kind human who was stroking them. One of the most important factors to consider here is the feline body language. You will need to read it well and understand if you are over-stimulating your cat. By understanding your cat’s body language well, you can ensure a pleasant and peaceful relationship with your feline friend. Handle cat aggression purr-fectly!
  • Watch out for the warning signs – Beware of the warning signs your cat might be giving you in the way of tail thumping and lashing, twitching the skin, direct looks straight into your eye, or shifting body position. These are indications that the cat is done with petting, at least for then.
  • Lashing tail – This is one of the first signs that you should watch out for. If you see your cat lashing her tail, stop any kind of interaction, right away.
  • Know when to stop – Don’t make your cat think that the only way she can make you understand when to stop petting is by lashing out at you. Know when is a good time to stop petting it.
  • Don’t rub your cat’s belly – While some cats enjoy belly rubs, most don’t. For cats, an exposed belly means defensive aggression, which can lead it to use its four claws and teeth at the same time. Even if your cat is relaxing with belly face-up, avoid giving belly rubs. A relaxed cat can become an aggressive cat.
  • If you have kids at home then you should pay particular attention to supervise all child-cat interactions. Ensure the children aren’t chasing, grabbing, or picking up the cat. Younger children often do not understand that cats are living things and not playthings. This can lead to serious injury. Let the cat sit on their lap and if none of the warning signs are visible they can slowly pet the cat.
By being mindful of your feline friend’s body language and respecting their wishes of not being stroked and touched, you can reduce petting related aggression in your cat.
Why Should You Consider Adopting a Senior Cat
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Image source: Wikimedia.org/ Are you looking to adopt a cat? Before you head out to get a cute little kitten, pause and consider some of the reasons why a mature feline (above the age of 7 years) might be a good companion for you. #1: They have steady, predictable personalities Here is the thing: with a kitten, you never know what his/her personality would be like by the time she grows up to be an adult cat. But with a senior cat, the risk of unpredictability with regards to personality is nearly absent. What you take is what you get. So if you’re adopting a senior cat that behaves sweetly, she is most likely a loving, sweet cat. She has already developed his/her personality over the years and is not going to surprise you with his/her erratic moods and behaviors. #2: They don’t chew on things as much as kittens “Chewy” cats can sometimes create a lot of nuisance by biting on all your precious things: books, shoes, carpet tassels, plants, electrical cords and much more! This happens especially when they are teething and are at a very young age. Cats are curious animals and love to go around exploring everything in and around the house. Senior cats however, have a lesser tendency to chew on things. They like to conserve their energies for various other important tasks. So you will have a more relaxed time with a senior cat as a pet as opposed to a hyper-active kitten. #3: Senior cats are better at self-grooming Kittens aren’t very good at licking themselves, which is basically a self-grooming exercise. On the other hand, a senior cat may end up spending nearly half of its waking time licking fur. Unlike kittens, they avoid running around too much, doing tricks or playing and hence have sufficient time to clean themselves. Also, unlike senior cats, kittens usually lack adequate litter box etiquette. #4: They usually have standard appetites With senior cats, you do not have to think too much about changing food portions or weight/size monitoring. Irrespective of whether you’ve adopted a 16-pound or 8-pound adult cat, you would the exact amount of food that needs to be bought for them. Lastly, senior cats are excellent napping buddies! They love to curl up and take nice long naps several times during the day. They are much calmer as compared to kittens and are unlikely to disturb your night sleep.
Cool Cat Whisker Facts
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Image source: Pixabay.com/ Have you ever looked at your cat’s whiskers and gone “whiskers are so cool!” Well, we’re sure most cat owners have felt that at some point in time. But, here’s the thing, cat whiskers really are that cool. That’s not just something people think. Your cat’s whiskers serve a wide range of purposes that are essential to his/her living and even, survival. Here are a few amazing cat whisker facts we’ve gathered to show you how amazing those things are. Whiskers are Highly Sensitive Your cat’s whiskers take root from deep within his/her skin; far deeper than you would think. The area surrounding these whiskers is full of blood and nerves. This allows the whiskers to function like antennae. They can detect even the slightest change in movement. That’s exactly why you shouldn’t be playing with his/her whiskers. They are too sensitive and touching them can actually cause pain. In fact, they can experience discomfort even when they eat from small bowl. So, the next time you feed your cat, use a flat plate. Whiskers Help Your Cat Measure Apart from detecting movement, a cat’s whiskers are also designed to help it figure out where it can fit through and where it can’t. So, when you see your cat avoiding entering via a certain opening; don’t force her/him just because you think he/she can make it. The whiskers are giving your cat a fairly accurate measurement, so, your cat knows what’s possible and what isn’t. In fact, there are theories out there suggesting that a cat’s whiskers grow in size if when the cat puts on weight. But, no evidence exists to support that theory. Whiskers are Found in Other Spots Too When we think of a cat’s whiskers, we generally imagine them being on the nose. However, that’s not the only place where cats have whiskers. Apart from the numerous whiskers on each side of the nose, there are whiskers present on the chin, over the eyes, and behind the lower front legs. However, these whiskers tend to be shorter, which is why they aren’t noticeable right away. Whiskers Aid Hunting Cats are far sighted, which means they can’t focus on objects located nearby. This is where the whiskers come in handy. They allow your cat to detect the movement of nearby prey. In fact, they even tell your cat if the prey is positioned properly for attack. The whiskers over the eyes protect the eyes from debris or any other object that can hurt the eyes. They do this by triggering a blink when necessary. Whiskers are Mood Indicators A cat’s whiskers can tell you a lot about its mood. For instance, if your cat’s whiskers are flattened to the side, it indicates that the little guy/gal is angry. If they are pushed forward, it means your cat is alerted or excited. If they are sticking out sideways, then it means your cat is relaxed and calm.
The Physics Behind Your Cat’s Tongue
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Image Credit - Staticflickr.com/ Cats like doing things their way, even when it comes to something as simple as drinking water. Researchers recently discovered that cats have their own style when it comes to lapping up water. Their tongues are capable of performing one of the most complex maneuvers that pits inertia versus gravity in a delicate balance. Surprisingly, science has little to offer on the physics involved behind lapping. Dogs, and many other animals, have incomplete cheeks which makes them incapable of sealing their mouth to produce enough suction. They curl up their tongues into a ladle-like shape to scoop up all the liquid. Up until now, researchers had erroneously assumed that cats tend to do the same, albeit with raspier and smaller tongues. But researchers from MIT started to question the assumption and wondered whether there was more to their dainty drinking than met the eye. Over time, they filmed over ten cats with a high speed camera. To their surprise, they discovered that cats tend to rest their tongue tips on the surface of the liquid without penetrating it. The water stuck to the tongue of the cats and was pulled upward as they drew their tongue into their mouths. When they closed their mouth, it created a break in the liquid column while simultaneously keeping the whiskers and the chin dry. It is a much more well-controlled and delicate mechanism than the run-of-the-mill lapping. But the physics behind it is delicate in its aspect. To understand the mechanics behind it, the physicists built a prototype of a robotic tongue with the aid of a glass disk with the same dimensions as that of the cat tongue. They calibrated the disk to move up and down over the surface of the liquid, breaking and making contact with the surface while trying on different lapping speeds. They came to the conclusion that the lapping balances the tendency of the liquid to keep moving upward as the cats drew their tongue in, against gravity, which is responsible for drawing the liquid back into the bowl. Basically, if they want to have a satisfying drink, then they must lap faster to keep the gravity from overtaking the inertia. Timing is the key, as the column of the water is at its thickest and longest before gravity has its say and pulls the column down. Surprisingly, the cats seemed to know the speed at which they should lap. If they closed their jaws sooner, they would miss out on some of the water. If they closed it later, they would lose the entire column. So far, this behavior has been observed only in felines, but robots are soon set to join their ranks. Soft robots could mimic the natural behavior of the cats and give robotics experts a fresh way to approach the problems that require a delicate handling of the liquids.
Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction in Your Cat
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Image source: Pexels.com/ Cats are increasingly being accepted into households nowadays because they are able to provide similar companionship as that of a dog. As such, there has been an improvement in their nutrition, medicines, and home care facilities, increasing their lifespan to about 20 years. As cats grow old, they are susceptible to various mental and physical disorders as humans. A highly disturbing mental condition commonly seen in aging cats is cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) or feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD). It normally affects cats that are over 10 years old. Cats suffering from CDS display bizarre and unusual behavior. Use the acronym DISH to confirm if your cat is suffering from CDS. DISH includes the common signs associated with CDS and helps you diagnose the problem early.
  • Disorientation – Cats with CDS have trouble navigating around familiar spaces and situations. They often tend to get lost in their own home, sometimes wandering around aimlessly. Staring at random objects, walls, or space at length is a sign of CDS. They also tend to lose balance a lot and are unable to move over simple obstacles.
  • Interactions – Cats are quite playful and jolly when they are active. CDS causes them to lose interest in common interactions. Activities that they loved at one time are no longer stimulating. Aggression, irritability, and restlessness in often-calm cats are red flags for CDS. Even grooming becomes a chore and they clean themselves less often. Check for changes in behavior with you, other pets, family members, and their surroundings. If they are too detached or even too attached than before, it’s time to visit the vet.
  • Sleep – It’s no secret that cats love to sleep, but did you know it can be a symptom of CDS in senior cats? Cognitive dysfunction meddles with their sleeping cycle. Instead of a few hours, they sleep almost the whole day. In addition, cats that used to sleep soundly before may wake up during the night or sleep restlessly. They may keep you awake at night due to their vocalizations.
  • House training – Cats eliminate outside the litter box for a number of reasons – the litter box may be dirty, they want to show their displeasure, or for some medical attention. CDS can be diagnosed by eliminating these reasons. Cats with CDS ‘forget’ to use the litterbox. They may instead eliminate in other areas of the house.
Before you conclude that your cat is suffering from CDS, take her to the vet. Make sure she isn’t suffering from any other condition that can cause the symptoms listed above. Urinary tract infections, liver disease, kidney disease, hypertension, cancer, and other medical conditions can also result in your cat’s unusual behavior. If your cat does have CDS, follow the instructions of your vet and provide medication as prescribed. Create a stimulating environment for her by reducing stress and increasing activity.
How to Treat Redirected Aggression in Your Cat?
Image Courtesy: Pixabay As the owner of a cat who ...
Image Courtesy: Pixabay As the owner of a cat who exhibits signs of redirected aggression, life can be quite tough. Redirected aggression is defined as the aggressive behavior displayed by a pet cat, when it experiences over-stimulation, fear or over-arousal. The cat’s aggression is usually aimed at the human owner or anything that is close by. For instance, another pet could end up facing your cat’s wrath. So, why does this happen? Well, as stated earlier, something has triggered your cat. It could be another pet, prey, or even something as mundane as a doorbell. The cat, as a result, becomes agitated. There have been stories of cats destroying curtains because they could detect odors on the owner that reminded them of the vet’s office, which they obviously weren’t too fond of. Dealing with this sort of thing certainly be a tough challenge. But, with these tips and strategies, you can make a difference. Safety Safety comes first. So, if your cat is in a bad mood, don’t try to pick her/him up or pet him/her. They are too upset to be bothered by you. The only thing that’s going to happen when you do this is that your cat’s going to attack you and you don’t want that. So, keep away. Isolate Him/Her You don’t want your cat hurting anybody else nearby, so make sure he/she is separated from prospective victims. What you can do is place items such as pillows or cardboard around the aggressor. If you have another pet, make sure he/she is kept in another room or any other safe location. Positive Reconditioning Positive reconditioning involves using something that your cat likes to distract him/her from this sort of aggression. For instance, there have been cases where owners have used food to deal with their cat’s redirected aggression. This has often worked. You can also distract your cat with his/her favorite toy or any other such item. Medication Talk to your vet and see if they can prescribe something that can calm your cat down. There are anti-anxiety drugs such as diazepam that can offer some relief. However, make sure you discuss everything with your vet. Never do this without your vet’s approval and supervision. Take it Seriously Redirected aggression is a big deal and ignoring it can only make things worse. Talk to your vet immediately and seek their advice on the issue. In fact, ignoring it can make the aggression worse and lead to some serious harm. Your cat is also under a lot of stress, which is one of the reasons why he/she is acting this way. This kind of stress can also cause over-grooming and hair loss.
Were Cats Domesticated Twice?
Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ In retrospect, the r...
Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/ In retrospect, the rise of cats was inevitable. A recent study found that Chinese farmers started domesticating leopard cats over 5000 years ago. If this is true, it would certainly indicate that cats, just like dogs, were domesticated at least twice – in China, and the Middle East. It also points to the fact that the rise of agriculture inevitably led to the rise of the domesticated house cat. Who let the cat loose in my backyard? Unlike dogs, cats played a greater hand in domesticating themselves, and if this is something that happened more than once, it indicates that a number of animals – from sheep to donkeys – might have been domesticated with little involvement from humans. The scientists involved in a previous study analyzed cat bones that were unearthed from a millet farming village in ancient China and found that all of them contained forms of nitrogen and carbon indicating that the cats ate small animals, most of whom sustained themselves on a grain-based diet. This supported the hypothesis that wild cats slunk into human farming settlements to hunt for mice and other rodents, and humans decided to keep them around to combat the threat of rodents. The pawful truth However, a big question remained to be solved. Were these cats in any way related to the Eastern wildcats, domesticated over 5000 years prior in the Middle East, which were the ancestors of today’s domesticated house cats? Or were they a completely different species altogether? If the former is true, then the domesticated cats most likely arrived in China from the Middle East through trade routes. If the latter is, then it implies that Chinese farmers embarked on a completely different domestication process, unaware of the previous efforts of their Middle Eastern counterparts. The latter is what the new findings seem to suggest. The scientists used geometric morphometrics, a technique that employs computers to take measurements of the shape and size of the bones from all angles, to study the mandibles of the unearthed cat bones. They concluded that all of the unearthed bones belonged to the leopard cat and not their Near Eastern counterparts. Many other animals could have also been domesticated in these ancient Chinese villages, but none of them had the advantage that the cats had as they were obsessed with killing all the small animals, which was a skill that was very useful to early farmers. Moreover, cats had a leg up as they were nocturnal. They could hunt all they want at night without having to worry about competition from their canine compadres, who were much more active during the day. Up until now, it was believed that pigs were the only animals that were domesticated twice. However, mounting evidence for at least two feline domestications, millennia apart, suggests that farming did give rise to the house cat as well.
Does the Autism Gene Hold the Key to Dog Sociability?
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ Variations in just fiv...
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ Variations in just five genes in a portion of the dog genome, linked to their social behavior, have also been implicated in behavioral and neurological disorders in people, like schizophrenia, autism, and aggression, according to a recent study involving more than 430 untrained, lab-raised beagles. The goal behind the study was to understand the genetic underpinning of domestication – What is it that played a role in turning the wolf, which is not really a social creature to begin with, into the sociable domestic dog. Scientists discovered that there was some genetic play at work. In the study, the scientists provided each of the beagles with a box that held three treats. All of them could be smelled and were perfectly visible as well, but there was a catch. The dogs had to move a sliding lid to access the treat. For the third treat, the lid was locked. After easily gaining access to the first two, the dogs became confident that this is not a difficult task. However, when they came face to face with the third lid, the problem seemed impossible. After a couple of attempts, the dogs started to look at the woman observer present in the room, who for all practical purposes was a stranger as far as the dog was concerned. Some of the animals glanced at her and then back at the locked lid. Other dogs approached her and even made physical contact with her. Following this little exercise, the scientists scanned the differences in DNA between the dogs that spent the least and most time close to the woman after they failed to gain access to the third treat. While doing this, the researchers were able to identify genetic markers on the 26th chromosome that was linked to social interactions. They concluded that there were genetic variations that made some dogs more sociable than the others, and these were the variants that were selected during the process of domestication. One of the genetic markers was in the SEZ6L gene, which is one of the genes that is most commonly linked to the autism spectrum disorder in humans, and two of them were located in the ARVCF gene, which is linked to schizophrenia. Another gene found in the region, the COMT gene, is most commonly linked to aggression in young children who suffer from ADHD. These results indicate that the dogs might serve as a good model system for studying social disorders in human beings. Of course, it goes without saying that these genes don't explain the individual personalities of the dogs themselves. The genetic contribution to the variation is close to 30 percent and the rest of it has more to do with their experience. Even if one of the five genes involved exerts an effect, then it is highly likely that it is only a small part of the story.
Decoding the Dog Bark
Image Credits - Pixabay.com/ Have you ever wondere...
Image Credits - Pixabay.com/ Have you ever wondered what your dog is trying to communicate when he seems to bark at nothing? For some dogs, barking seems to be a non-stop activity, especially if there is a leash or toy around. Here are some of the most common types of dog barks and what they mean:
  1. Rapid and continuous barking at midrange pitch – This is a sign that your dog is trying to alert his pack. They usually do this when an intruder comes into their territory. If the pace of the barking drops and the pitch gets lower, it means that the danger is closer and he is getting ready to defend himself.
  2. Barking in a rapid string, with intervals between each utterance – This is a sign that your dog suspects that there might be an intruder in the vicinity. It is a plea to the pack leader to look into it.
  3. Incessant or prolonged barking, with intervals between each individual utterance – This is a sign that your dog is lonely and is looking for companionship. This type of barking is most often seen when dogs are confined or left alone for a long time.
  4. A couple of short barks in the midrange pitch – This is the most typical dog greeting sound.
  5. A sharp, short, single bark in the low to midrange pitch – This is the bark a mother dog often uses on her puppies when she is disciplining them. It might also indicate that your dog is annoyed, like when he is disturbed from his sleep or if you pull his hair during grooming and so on.
  6. A sharp, short, single bark in the mid to higher range – This is every dog's staple surprised sound. If they repeat it more than once, it means they are calling you to come check something out. It is their way of alerting the pack to a unique and novel event. The same type of bark, a little longer, means that they are trying to call you towards themselves. Some dogs also use this kind of bark to indicate that they want to get out of the house. If they lower the pitch of the barking to midrange, it means that they are excited with your response.
  7. A short high pitched yelp – This is their response to sudden and unexpected pain. If it is a series of yelps, it means that they are responding to sever pain and fear.
  8. Rising bark – This is a little difficult to describe, although it is unmistakable after you have heard it once. It typically comprises of a series of barks, starting at midrange and slowly rising in pitch. This is a play bark and dogs use it during rough games and it indicates excitement.
Delayed Imitation in Dogs
Image credits - Pixabay As the saying goes, imitat...
Image credits - Pixabay As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; and your dog may be adhering to it. Ever wonder if your dog can copy your behavior and reproduce the same? Well, research suggests she can, albeit after a short delay. A 2013 study revealed that dogs are able to retain what they see and replicate it after almost 10 minutes of it happening. This kind of ‘deferred imitation’ in dogs was known since 2006. Until then, this process, which is mentally tasking, was only seen in humans and apes. The feat was first observed in a dog named Philip, where researcher József Topál used an imitation method developed for chimpanzees to train him. The method, called ‘Do As I Do’ was developed in the 1950s by Keith and Catherine Hayes. It was merely a study of the dog’s imitative ability and was largely brushed under the rug. In 2013, ethologists Dr. Adam Miklosi and Claudia Fugazza from the University of Eotvos Lorand in Hungary, set out to prove that dogs do indeed possess imitation skills. They put forth two steps that a dog usually follows for repetition.
  1. Do As I Do – The dog follows the action being shown to her.
  2. Do it – The dog imitates the action.
Between the two steps, the dog had to have time to process the action and imitate it. The researchers wanted to see if ‘deferred imitation’ was possible. To make this possible, dogs in the research were given the ‘Do As I Do’ command, made to wait for a period of 30 seconds (with an increase each time), and then given the ‘Do It’ command. After a series of tests, they found out that dogs could imitate actions with a break of up to 10 minutes. This enabled them to observe that dogs have a declarative memory where they are able to recall facts and events. Basically, dogs can repeat actions even when the final command was given by someone other than the demonstrator (the person who performed the action). The research showed that dogs can imitate familiar and novel actions after different delay times. Novel actions were performed after a delay of a minute or two whereas familiar actions could be imitated even after a delay of ten minutes. And this, even with distractions during the break. In conclusion, the research suggests, “The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration.” In basic terms, it means dogs have a specific type of long-term memory similar to humans. They are able to watch an action and repeat it after a considerable delay. Thus, it becomes easy to teach them simple and useful tasks to copy.
Why Does Your Dog Wag His Tail And What Does It Really Mean?
Image credits – Pixabay Like humans, dogs too ha...
Image credits – Pixabay Like humans, dogs too have a number of complex emotions, not just happy and sad. Humans display their emotions through body language and speech. But how do dogs show them? Through their tails, of course. Dogs communicate with humans and other dogs via their tails. While other dogs can understand this language, humans do not. Many dog owners are unaware of their loyal friend’s emotions and often react with mixed signals. This can lead to a lot of frustration, confusion, sadness, or even heartbreak for the dog. Get this; if your dog wags his tail it does not always mean he’s happy. It is a sign of openness and can mean a number of different things. By wagging his tail, your dog is opening channels of communication between you and him. Therefore, he is engaged with his environment and is able to react to it. Interpreting a dog’s tail wag is complex. You have to include its body language and environment to be able to gauge the right meaning. There are four important factors to consider when reading a dog’s tail.
  1. Height or position – A dog can wag his tail at different heights. If the tail is in a higher, almost vertical position, then it is a display of confidence. This means he can get aggressive and threatening. A medium lift is when he is relaxed and calm. When you see a horizontal tail, that means he is alert and paying attention to his surroundings. If the tail goes lower than his buttocks, it means he is becoming submissive. A tail between his legs, tucked under his body is a sign of helplessness and fear.
  2. Stiffness – The stiffness of a dog’s tail also matters in communication. A gentle, loose wag shows that he is approachable. A stiff and almost fixed wag shows tension or aggression. The broader a wag, the better. It indicates friendliness.
  3. Speed – If you see your dog’s tail vibrating, it means he is up to something (mischief or fight). The vibration combined with the tail in a high position is a threat and you should be wary.
  4. Side – Researchers say that dogs wag their tails on the right when they are happy or positive about their environment and people. They wag their tails on the left when the opposite happens.
The dog’s body language also plays an important role in communication. Eyes, ears, nose, and position of the body are also indicators of your dog’s mood but the tail is a key part of his communication. These factors differ from one dog breed to another. Therefore, as a dog owner you should pay attention to him and his environment before reacting to his emotions.
Can Your Dog Survive on a Starch-Rich Diet?
Image credits: Pixabay Dogs are a source of joy an...
Image credits: Pixabay Dogs are a source of joy and happiness to their owners. It is, therefore, not surprising to see owners pay the same amount of attention to what they are buying for their dog as they would their own food. Dog owners and animal lovers, in general, are wary of the foods advertised for their beloved pets. Sometimes, they even let their four-legged friends eat off their dinner plates. Take a closer look at the nutrition information on dog foods and you can see that it contains about 40 percent carbohydrates. Even the food you eat – potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. – that you loving feed to your dog, are rich in carbohydrates (and starch). These starchy foods, when fed in excess, can cause high blood sugar levels and obesity. Therefore, while you may think that your eating habits are bringing you closer to your dog, it is also harming your friend’s digestive system. All this information may turn you off from feeding carbohydrates to your dog. But, fret not! Geneticists at Uppsala University in Sweden have found that dogs have evolved to be able to digest starch-rich foods. Comparing the DNA and evolutionary biology of the dog and the wolf, the geneticists concluded that dogs are able to handle their starch better. When you compare the digestive characteristics of dogs with other pets, you will find one significant difference- the presence of the enzyme, Amylase. This enzyme, produced in the saliva, is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates before it reaches the stomach. Since starch is plant-based, Amylase is abundant in herbivores and omnivores, not carnivores. Dogs, despite their diet, are considered carnivores. Their biology affirms it. Thus, evolution dictates that they cannot produce Amylase in their saliva. However, the enzyme is present in their digestive system and is added in the pancreas and small intestine. The presence of Amylase in their bodies enables dogs to consume and process starchy carbohydrates without any side effects. Some pet food companies use this single research as proof that dogs can survive on starch-rich foods and promote the same in their ads. This cannot be further from the truth. The fact that dogs are able to digest starch does not mean you can make an extra helping of rice or pasta or feed that “carbohydrate-rich” pet food as your dog’s meal every day. In conclusion, starch-rich foods are not really life-threatening for dogs if given in small portions. Ensure it does not form a majority of the dog’s meal. Excessive starch can lead to a number of digestive problems. Obesity is also caused by feeding starch-rich meals to your pooch. While the energy and fiber from these foods are essential for your dog, it is vital to ensure a wholesome meal consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
What You Need to Know About Chigger Infestation in Dogs
Image Credits: Pixabay Among other parasites that ...
Image Credits: Pixabay Among other parasites that can latch on your dog, few are as troublesome as Chigger larvae. The worst thing about Chiggers is that they cannot be easily detected by naked eyes. Chiggers not only pose problems for dogs but for all other animals- including humans. Chiggers are found in areas that have little or no sunlight falling on the ground. Especially dangerous areas are wooded areas with a lot of grass and plantation. One walk through such an area, and your dog would end up scratching himself continuously. Chiggers are found concentrated in a patch. An animal which accidentally sets foot in such an area will be infested with swarms of Chiggers. As they are found on the ground, they hook themselves on more to a dog’s belly, feet, face, and other parts that are in close proximity to the ground. Are chiggers very dangerous? Chiggers often scare people because of certain misconception. Contrary to what people may say, chiggers don’t burrow themselves into the host’s body. Besides, chigger infestation is not very hard to cure. However, it can be difficult to identify a chigger infestation as it ca be easily confused for other skin conditions. Generally, a Chigger infestation is followed by reddish rashes in areas that have less fur and are in closer proximity to the ground. It’s important to identify chigger infestation and check it on time as there is always a danger of secondary infections caused due to over-scratching. How to treat Chigger infestation Dog-owners who have had nasty experiences with Chiggers insist that green tea is of amazing help in case of Chigger infestation. Brew some green tea, dilute in some water, and give your four-legged friend a good rinse. Green tea, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin and washes away the larvae. Green tea has a reputation for being an enemy to pests and bugs, and the same applies to chiggers as well. Other owners simply give their dogs a warm bath in which they mix an adequate quantity of water and a tiny quantity of dish-washing soap. The salt has anti-inflammatory properties and soothes the skin, while dish-wash soap is poison to chiggers. In case the infestation is very aggressive, it would be a good idea to consult a vet or an expert. In these cases, it’s also a great idea to use medicines that have been made especially for this. Like mentioned already, although a chigger infestation itself may not be dangerous, the constant scratching can cause secondary issues like breaking of the skin. Ideally, be careful where you take your dog for a walk, and in case you know your dog has been to places where there could be a chance of chigger larvae thriving, it would be a great idea to give them a green tea or Epsom salt bath even if symptoms haven’t flared up.
What You Should Know About Fleas
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Image sources: Pixabay.com/ Fleas are one of the most annoying creatures that your pet has to suffer from. Once your pet is infested with these parasites, it can be very difficult to get of them. As a result, you will end up looking piteously at your pet, who constantly scratches itself. While there is no permanent solution to the problem of fleas, knowing a few things about these creatures can really help you in dealing with this problem. Fleas have four stages in their life-cycle Just like butterflies, the life-cycle of a flea begins from an egg. The egg hatches in 7 days to give out larvae, which eventually turn into pupae. The pupas burst after a period of time to give out fleas. The eggs are very difficult to find as they are ‘bouncy’ and keep falling off the host’s body. These eggs and the larvae that come out of them will be found in greater density in areas where the host spends most time. Fleas thrive in the dark Flea larvae hate the light. Larvae tend to move away from bright areas and try to hide in dark spaces as cracks and crevices. Such dark spaces around areas where the host spends a lot of time have a greater chance of being infested. Keeping your pets away from places that have little or no light at all- such as basements and attics- can really help check infestation. If your pets frequent these areas, there is a chance they will leave some eggs or larvae there, which could be a perfect environment for them to breed. Flea dirt is the richest food for larvae Larvae thrive on flea dirt. Flea dirt is nothing but the excrement of fleas, which is nothing but dried blood. The presence of flea dirt on your pet is a sure sign of flea-infestation. Getting your pet cleaned off this flea dirt can cut off the source of nutrition for the larvae, thereby preventing them from breeding. You can identify flea dirt by looking for tiny dot-like blackish particles on your pet’s skin. Try to extract these particles and try to moisten them, perhaps by placing them on a moist white paper. Flea dirt, which is actually blood, will release reddish-brown streaks. Getting rid of fleas can be a painful task, although one that is very important. If you know that your pet is infested with fleas, try using medicated sprays and applications, or giving baths in medicated soaps and shampoos. Besides, keep your home very clean and pay extra attention to areas where your pet spends more time, especially to dark spaces in those areas. Try to keep your house aired and bright.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs
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Image source: Pixabay.com/ The magical benefits of apple cider vinegar for health are well-known. Apple cider vinegar has so many uses, from internal consumption to boost immunity to external applications to treat infections, that it is difficult to enumerate them all. Naturally the question arises whether apple cider vinegar is good for dogs too. A number of people have been trying to experiment and find out if apple cider vinegar can help dogs deal with issues such pruritus. Results show that apple cider vinegar does actually help in checking itching and infections. Although the effects may not be fast, using apple cider vinegar is definitely an ideal solution for people looking for an easily available option and makes an excellent option to use alongside medical options. How it works: Apple cider vinegar is one of the most hated enemies by pests and insets. Just like a diluted apple cider vinegar can drive away insects and lice; it also helps in keeping ticks and fleas away from dogs. Apple cider vinegar, with its strong odor and composition makes the environment too hostile for pests to survive in. Besides, apple cider vinegar also helps in checking the spread of fungal infections as well. How to use apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar should be diluted in water before use in equal quantities. Spray this mixture on your dog’s coat. Regularly doing this will not only discourage the fleas and ticks from thriving off your dog, but also help in keeping them away from your dog’s body. You can also consider giving your dog bath with water that has been mixed with a little bit of apple cider vinegar. However, be careful to not let this water get into sensitive areas like the eye as it may irritate your pet. Besides, the water ca also sting when it comes in contact with open wounds. Can my dog drink apple cider vinegar water? After consultation with your vet or an expert, yes. This is especially helpful if your dog’s itching is caused by yeast infections. Orally ingesting apple cider vinegar however can have problems related to the digestive tract. Apple cider is an acid that may not really harm our internal organs, but its effects on a dog’s organs have not yet been fully discovered. That said, you can still try mixing very small quantities of apple cider in your dog’s water to cure yeast infections. Getting your dog to drink the water may be a challenge as apple cider vinegar has a very obvious taste. Try getting your dog used to this by introducing your dog to this, little by little. The best thing to do in cases of pruritus would still be to use a specially formulated medication. Apple cider water should only be used as an alternative to actual medicines, which will have the right components to cure the problem.
Is The Wrong Diet Causing Itching (Pruritus) in Your Dog?
Image source: Pixabay.com/ Itchiness is one of the...
Image source: Pixabay.com/ Itchiness is one of the most common problems that dogs have. There are a number of reasons that could be causing itchy skin in dogs such as the products you use to clean him/her, the food, insects, illnesses, allergies or simply the weather. The first thing you need to do is try and identify what is causing itchiness in your dog. If your dog itches more after a bath, then it’s time to make changes in the cleaning products that you use. If your dog itches more in a particular season, then it could be caused by season. If you’re unable to identify what’s happening to your dog, use the following guidelines to determine if the skin condition is a result of what your dog eats: Two guidelines for things your dog should never eat:
  1. Grains  As a rule of thumb, remember that a grain diet is one of the most notorious thing in a diet that cause itchy skin. The body of dogs have not been designed for a highly domesticate, human diet which is very much grain based.Grains have substances that the dog’s body will not be able to process and synthesize, thereby giving a rise to allergic reactions. The substances present in grain, such as carbohydrates and fibers are unknown to a dog’s digestive tract, which results in allergies. Besides grains and even vegetables nowadays are genetically modified and contain harmful chemicals from pesticides and manure. All this could really harm your dog’s health.
  2. Consult a vet  This is essential because there is no saying what exactly is causing pruritus in your dog. There are differing views about what should and shouldn’t be fed to dogs. For example, some people theorize that meat like chicken, fish and lamb cause increase the ‘heat’ in the body, leading to itching. Others disagree.The fact is that different foods react differently with different dogs. An expert can help you understand better. For general guidelines, you can also contact Petplus. What you can consider feeding your dog Try avoiding too many seasonings and ingredients in your dog’s diet. Let the food be very simple, boiled chicken, fish and meat. Foods rich in omega fats are known to be good for dogs that have itchy skin. You can also purchase supplements that contain these essential oils such as fish oil capsules and omega oil capsules. Even olive oil when incorporated into your dog’s diet in small quantities can show good results. Keep your dog’s vet or some other expert in loop about any dietary changes that you’re making. Besides these dietary changes, you can log on to Petplus and check out the supplements and nutritious dog food that are available.
How Swimming and Hydrotherapy Can Benefit your Dog?
Image Credits -Wikimedia.org/ Swimming is a great ...
Image Credits -Wikimedia.org/ Swimming is a great way to cool off and get a core body workout, not just for humans but also for dogs. Whether you want to ease your dog’s arthritic pain, keep your dog in shape or get him up and running again after a major surgery, getting him in the water is the best option. What are the advantages of aquatic therapy? There are a number of reasons why pet owners consider taking their dogs to aquatic therapy, whether they decided to do it themselves or their pet’s vet recommended it. From the point of view of preventative care, hydrotherapy is excellent for fitness and is also the best form of aerobic workout your dog can get. Its impact on joints and bones is minimal and it is a great way to keep your dog healthy and in shape. Post-surgical recovery is also one reason why dogs are commonly taken to aquatic therapy, especially for conditions like an ACL tear. Arthritic dogs get to work out their joints and maintain their muscle mass with this therapy. It will also help them move around comfortably and minimize the discomfort they feel. When dogs aren’t moving, they can lose a lot of muscle in a period of just six weeks. The best part about swimming is your dog gets to give his muscles a workout without bearing any weights. The buoyancy and resistance that water offers makes it a great form of exercise for pets suffering from arthritic pain and for pets recovering from an injury. Since water is denser than air, your dog’s movement through water and the resistance to the movement helps give a good workout to the muscles. Your dog will have to exercise for a lesser amount of time in water than he does on land. From underwater treadmills to hydrotherapy pools where your dog can do laps and fetch balls, there are a number of aquatic exercises designed to give your dog a good workout. What if your dog does not know how to swim? Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Many of them need to be trained, just like people. Every swimming facility has a different method for teaching the dogs to swim and making them less afraid. As an owner, you need to make sure that your dog is comfortable in the water. No matter what the training is, comfort and safety is always the key. You should never force them if they’re scared as it can cause an injury to the person, pet or both. If the vet believes that swimming might benefit the pet, but your dog seems anxious about getting into the water, then get in touch with a good animal behaviorist.
Dog Saliva: Facts and Myths
Image credits: Pixabay The many myths linked to do...
Image credits: Pixabay The many myths linked to dog saliva contradict one another. There is a persistent belief that human wounds heal faster when dogs lick them. Your vet, on the other hand, warns you not to let your dog lick faces of your family members. Vets list the number of harmful bacteria and parasites that could possibly be present in the dog saliva. New scientific evidence has proved that both views can turn out to be correct. Bacteria present in dogs' intestines can benefit asthmatic children. According to scientists, saliva in dogs has three components which have the capability to heal:  Histatins: They are simple proteins found in saliva. These repel infectious activity and assist the skin cells to close over wounds  Lysozyme: This is an enzyme known for killing harmful bacteria. It stops bacteria overgrowth in mouth.  Nerve growth factor: It is a protein found to minimize the healing time of a wound. It took 50 percent less time to heal. The lick of any dog has a number of benefits. The saliva present in a dog's tongue functions to loosen any kind of debris which could be present on the wound surface. The saliva moisture will attach debris and dirt and thus the wound will be cleaned. Dogs' saliva as a health hazard Dogs' mouths can contain parasites and bacteria which could be harmful to humans. They can be transmittable as well. If they pass onto any human, medical complications may occur. Parasites Your dog can be a host for a number of single celled parasites and parasitic worms. Infection in humans from such parasites may result in skin problems, brain disorders, intestinal disease and even blindness. These may happen in humans even if these parasites are benign in pets. The main route of such infection is oral and through the faeces. If your dog has licked its anus before licking you, then there is a bigger chance of being infected. Bacteria The bacteria Pastuerella is commonly found in dogs' mouth. It may cause lymph node and skin infections. Another harmful bacteria is Bartonella henselae, commonly found in cats. Humans can be afflicted by such bacteria transmitted when he dog licks a person. A majority of bacterial infections, however, are due to scratches and bites. Infection due to licks is common. Incidences of severe human intestinal diseases are due to the presence of Salmonella, Campylobacter and E.coli. These are passed on to humans by hands touching the faeces of the pet or the residue. Since your dog licks its anus, the bacteria could be present at the mouth as well. Face licking by your dog can then transmit the disease to you. Young children and the aged are especially vulnerable to such diseases.
Does Your Dog Need a Sweater in Cold Weather?
Image credits: Pixabay The question of dogs needin...
Image credits: Pixabay The question of dogs needing clothes is no laughing matter. Many dog owners have seen their dogs shiver from the cold in winter. They were afraid to buy clothes for their dogs as they thought that people will regard the dog-and by extension its master and mistress- as an odd animal. It is perfectly normal for a dog to wear clothes. Granted, dogs come with external layering system. However, a few breeds have a lighter layer of fur and not genetically suited to cold hard winters. Dogs that need a coat Little dogs are the obvious choice for needing a coat. Toy terriers and chihuahuas are much less equipped to deal with cold temperatures. Other susceptible breeds include short haired canines like Greyhounds also need an external coat. They will enjoy daily walks more if their owners have wrapped something around them. Dog coats can be compulsory in case you live in a place where the mercury dips below zero. It becomes vital if your dog loves to play outside the house. A coat is a necessity when a dog recuperates from an injury or an illness and sensitive to colder weather. This is specifically applicable to puppies and older dogs. However, sweaters should not be bought for long haired canines as they are better suited to survive dip in temperatures. Choosing a dog coat These are available in a number of materials. Fleece and wool are the most popular. If you reside in a snowy area, it would be better for you to buy water resistant fabrics. Ensure that you buy a fabric that is easy to maintain. The sweater should fit the dog snugly and must cover the stomach of the dog completely- the only exception being if it’s a male dog- and must end at the tail base. The legs must be kept free so that it may run and walk. Do not opt for coats having full length sleeves. Dogs find it harder to adapt in them and may not feel comfortable. Before buying the coat, give it a trail on your dog so that it fits comfortably. A majority of sweaters are sold in four sizes-small sizes, medium, large size and the extra-large ones. A handy guide to what your dog will wear is that toy breeds tend to wear extra small. The small size is worn by Beagles and Retriever wear large sizes. Bigger dogs tend to be covered with extra-large sweaters or coats. Do know that dogs can wear only sweaters and jackets. Pants cannot be worn. You must verify that your dog has enough freedom of movement around the neck. The pieces must be easily put on and taken off.
Diet Plan for a Hyperactive Dog
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Image credits: Pixabay Any dog enjoying adequate exercise and a balanced diet will be active and lively. A few dogs are more active than others. It does not mean they are hyperactive. A hyperactive animal will have a perennially busy mind and always search for stimulus of some kind. If you believe that your dog is hyperactive, check its resting heart rate. In case this is higher compared to standard heart rate, then your dog can be considered hyperactive. What your dog eats is important A few owners observe changes in dog behavior when its diet is changed. Like humans, dogs which eat poor quality food will in all probability be lethargic ones. Premium pet foods contain the highest quality ingredients. They are also digestible and offer optimal nutrition. It is natural hat active dogs will have a much better weight compared to dogs that eats cheap food and stays barely awake in a fixed place all day long. Inactive dogs have greater risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus. There may also be degenerative joint diseases. Circulatory problems are also common. Diet intolerance This must not be confused with any food allergies. Intolerance of the dog towards a few ingredients may be linked to its hyperactive behavior. The term food intolerance means abnormal response to that food. This may be the result of the inability to digest a specific ingredient. It may also occur from pharmacological, toxic or metabolic reactions. It follows that premium quality pet foods are free from artificial additives like flavorings and colorings. In such foods, only natural and safe preservatives are used. Diet with limited ingredients There is a strong possibility that your dog could have an allergy for a specific grain or protein or any other ingredient. The reactions may appear like hyperactivity. If your dog continues to be hyperactive even after you give it natural foods, then go for limited ingredient diet. Give a protein the dog has never had before. Turkey, venison and buffalo are excellent choices. If possible, find a food that has no hyperactivity causing ingredients like grains to eliminate food allergy. Exercise is an excellent solution There may be reasons that your dog's food may not play a role in its hyperactivity at all. In case you have a working dog, change its exercise. Retrieving and herding dogs are trained to spend long hours working. They seem hyperactive as they simply want to do what they were actually bred for. You should train your dog for participating in competitions. Consider hiring a daily dog walker to get your dog the exercise it sorely needs. Do understand that a canine version of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD exists. Have it checked by a veterinarian.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR DOG IS AUTISTIC?
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Image credits: Pixabay Overview Can autism affect canines the same way it does humans? It is a debate that has interested scientists for years. Some claim that canines don’t have autism while some say they do. Scientists are studying the neural network in canine brains and are trying to understand whether autism can occur or not. It has been found that the lack of some neurons may cause autism in canines. But diagnosis and treatment can be difficult because unlike humans, canines may not exhibit clear symptoms of autism. What is autism? So, what is autism? It is a developmental ability that affects a person communication and social interaction with others. When we talk about autism, we generally talk about Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is a set of different disabilities that affect each person differently. Autism is not caused by a single factor. Early detection of autism in children lead to better treatment and improved results. Some known behaviors exhibited by autism patients are delayed learning, poor socializing skills and inability to reason and plan. Additionally, it includes poor sensory and motor skills. Symptoms of autism in dogs In Puppies with suspected canine autism, the most common symptom can be disinterest in playing either with mother or siblings. Other behaviors include withdrawal from experiencing new things, distancing from others and staying alone. Avoiding new people, things and minimal interaction with other canines are other signs of canine autism. Some puppies have a blank stare when they look at different things. This could also suggest canine autism. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a characteristic of autism. It means doing something repeatedly. In dogs, it could be walking around one place repeatedly. Lack of energy and appearing lethargic when other dogs are playing and interacting is another sign. Additionally, avoiding eye contact and over reacting to certain noises could suggest autism. Treating autism in dogs As of now, there are no known cures but there are certain measures you can take to treat dogs. Ask a vet if there are any possible treatment methods or therapies that can help your dog. Pet counselling is available in some places and it could be useful. But the most important treatment should come from you. Being an owner, it is your duty to make sure that your dog gets lot of love and care. Give attention and never make them feel isolated even though that might be their disposition. Do not change things around your dog as this could affect them negatively. It is ultimately up to you to take care of your dog and it depends how you do it. Meet people who have faced the same issue and take advice from experts.
How Does Your Dog’s Diet Affect His Mood?
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ Nutrition has a big im...
Image Credit - Pixabay.com/ Nutrition has a big impact on the physical and mental health of your dog. Let us look at a few ways in which diet can impact the behavior of your pet.
  1. Feeding time – Not long ago, feeding pets once a day or leaving food out all day (known as free feeding) was considered to be standard regimen. However, it is unwise to do so unless recommended by the vet for a specific medical reason. Just imagine how you would feel if you were able to eat only once every day, or kept munching on a high calorie diet all day. Ask your vet whether feeding your dog 2-3 times a day would be better suited for him. Sometimes, feeding adjustments and exercise are all it takes to improve your dog’s overall demeanor.
  2. Ingredients in pet food – The ingredients in your pet’s food can also affect his behavior in a number of ways. Consider docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is added to kitten and puppy food quite often. DHA is known to increase mental acuity in kittens and puppies. As a matter of fact, some studies have demonstrated that puppies that eat dog food containing DHA are more trainable. Antioxidants are also considered great brain food for cats and dogs. A number of studies have shown that senior dogs that were on an antioxidant rich diet had greater success learning complex tasks than the ones that were on a control diet. This is consistent with the finding that links oxidative damage to an aging brain. Another study found that an antioxidant rich diet protects dogs from age related changes in behavior like excessive licking, cognitive decline and patterned pacing. Dogs on an antioxidant rich diet were also able to recognize their family members, other animals much more easily than the ones that were on a control diet, apart from displaying greater agility in physical tasks.
  3. Unbalanced diet – Your pet might face health issues if you feed him an unbalanced diet. You will encounter a whole bunch of behavioral issues that you didn’t notice before. For instance, a cat or dog suffering from a UTI (urinary tract infection) brought on by an unbalanced diet might be stressed and irritable from the discomfort and pain caused by the condition. The body is a complex vat of biochemical reactions and dogs require more than 40 key nutrients, and the pet food must have a careful balance of all the components.
The best way to ensure your pet’s health and happiness is to take him to the vet for regular examinations and discuss his dietary needs. If your dog has a sudden mood change, it might indicate an underlying behavioral, nutritional or health issue that needs to be addressed.
CPR and Artificial Breathing For Kittens
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Image Source: Pixabay.com/ Artificial respiration and CPR for kittens can be a challenging thing to do due to their delicate and small bodies. Although you may not always have to administer Artificial respiration and CPR, knowing how to do that can go a long way in saving the life of your feline friend. Precautions: You need to keep in mind that the body of your kitten is very, very delicate. Obviously then you cannot administer CPR and artificial breathing to it in the same way that you would do to a human being. You must be very careful when handling a kitten which is having difficulty in breathing as one wrong move can cost the life your kitten. When you administer CPR and artificial breathing, it’s a good idea to have someone call for professional medical help too. Preliminary steps: First, you need to assess if your kitten really needs CPR. Check for its pulse, heart-beat ad body warmth. You need to do this to determine if your kitten is actually alive or not. Besides, if your kitten can already breathe, and you carry out CPR and artificial breathing procedures anyway, you may be doing more harm to your kitten than good. If your kitten has received an electric shock, turn off the source of electricity that has caused this so that you will not end up harming yourself. If it’s suffered from an accident in a crowded area, you should first gently move it to a safe place. Be careful not to injure its bones or organs in case of deep wounds and injuries. Administering artificial breathing Check for any obstructions in the air passageway. If you find anything, do not rush to take it out. Gently pull out the tongue, which may cause dislodging. If this doesn’t work, then you will have to very gently and carefully put your fingers in and try to remove it. Be careful to not push it deeper! Here it’s important to remember that a kitten’s throat will have delicate bones that you may mistake for foreign objects. This done, close the kitten’s mouth gently and hold it firm. Slowly, yet steadily breathe into its nostrils, all the while checking if its chest is expanding. Continue till your kitten can do this on its own. Lift its chin to straighten its neck while doing this. CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is administered when the heart beat is coming to a halt. Lay your kitten on its side and place your hands on its chest in the heart region and gently, yet firmly compress. Repeat at a rate of around 120 per minute, interspersed with artificial breathing. Ideally, there should be 5 compressions for one breath. The trick is to be gentle, yet firm and steady.
4 Ways to Improve Your Cat’s Immune System
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Image Source: Pixabay.com/ Apart from feeding your cats with supplements such as Vetri Lysine Plus Feline Formula to boost its immune system, there are also certain things you can do to help your cat’s immune system improve. Here are a few tips to get you started.
  1. Diet: Cats need to be on a diet that is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and proteins and amino acids. Antioxidants are important so that your cat’s health is safe from the harmful pathogens and pollutants in the environment. An antioxidant-rich food minerals and vitamins such as Vitamins A, C and E. These nutrients are important agents in helping your cat’s body survive under heavy stress. A sick cat’s body can have a break-down in the immune system, exposing it to a number of harmful pathogens. An anti-oxidant rich diet comes to the rescue of your cat’s immune system in such times and saves it from dangerous illnesses and conditions. Amino acids help in the production of T-cells. These cells aggressively attack hazardous growths and developments in your cat’s body. These cells prevent the development of cancerous and infectious cells. Fatty acids like omega-3 oils are all-rounders for your cat’s immune system. Omega oils reduce the production of harmful substances that can lead to causing cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other auto-immune illnesses.
  2. Exercise: Create an environment for your cat that gives it ample opportunity to exercise and have physical activity. A cat that does not move around much is more prone to immune system issues. Making your cat’s life exciting by providing opportunities to run about playing, hunting, walking- anything that can help it balance food-intake and prevents it from becoming overweight can really help boost up your cat’s immune system.
  3. Environment: Just like in human beings, an environment that is highly stressful can cause a break-down in the immune system. An environment with too much stimulation can keep your cat’s nervous system constantly active, thereby leading to immune system problems. For example, a place where there are too many cats could lead to fights, competition and other ugly duels between the cats, so that their autonomic arousal is constantly high. On the other hand, an environment which is peaceful provides ample opportunity to sleep and relax and to play will help your cat’s mental health to be undisturbed. This will, in turn, reduce autonomic arousal, and boost up your cat’s immune system.
  4. Hygiene: Any cat owner will know that cats do not like to be dirty. Keep the surroundings of your cat clean to reduce the chance of infections and diseases. Cats clean themselves by constantly licking on their body. A dirty environment may lead to a cat ingesting harmful substances.
Why Do You Need to Take Your Cat to the Vet Regularly?
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Image source: Pixabay.com/ One of the most common mistakes that pet cat-owners make is to ignore regular vet visits. Of-course, your cat may look healthy and free from problems. However, showing your cat to the vet regularly is just as important as the regular checkups you go for to your physician. If you haven’t been showing your cats to the vet on a regular basis, here are a few reasons that should convince you to start doing so now:
  1. Vaccinations: Vaccines are not only for dogs. Cats too require vaccinations on a regular basis. The highly polluted world and environment of today leaves cats exposed to a number of pathogens and risks of falling ill. Although vaccinations may not prevent all illnesses, they definitely prevent a few major ones which can be all the difference it takes to see your cat healthy and alive.
  2. Detection of hidden problems: Your cat may seem normal and healthy to you, although there may be a number of health-issues that are hidden from your eye. This is one of the most important reasons to take your cat to the vet. A lot of ugly incidents can be prevented by early detection and diagnoses by professionals.
  3. Helpful for future visits: When you take your cat regularly to a vet, the doctor is able to know the cat better. This means that your vet will have all the history he would need to help your cat better in case of major illnesses in the future. If you take your cat to a doctor who doesn’t know the cat’s medical history so well, there can always be chances of misdiagnosing, which could even prove to be fatal for your feline friend. This is why it is advisable to stick to visiting only one vet.
  4. Helpful in gaining important insights: A vet will be aware of a number of things that you may not be aware of, such as diet, cleaning, supplements and so on. Regularly visiting a vet can help you gain information about these things so that your cat will receive the attention and care that is exactly suited for its current age and health status.
  5. Ensuring your cat’s overall health is intact: In general, regular visits are going to help you understand what your cat’s current health status is. This will enable you to know where you should make changes, such as in your lifestyle, in the cat’s diet, or even in terms of mating. Simply put, regular visits are vital to ensure that your cat is always in the pink of health and happy. And a happy cat makes a happy you!
If you need the consultation of experts and/or medications for your cat, simply log on to Petplus.com and find everything you could need to help your cat live happier.
Intestinal Parasite Infestation in Cats
Image credit - Pixabay.com/ Cats can fall prey to ...
Image credit - Pixabay.com/ Cats can fall prey to a number of intestinal parasites, including worms. An intestinal worm infestation can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms or remain asymptomatic for a long time. Some of the worms are a hazard for human health as well. What are the most common worms found in cats?
  • Roundworms – These are the most common intestinal parasites found in cats. The adult worms look like spaghetti and can reach up to three to four inches in length. Kittens can get a roundworm infestation from their mother’s milk and cats can get it by ingesting infected rodents or the feces of another infected cat.
  • Hookworms – They are smaller than roundworms and are just less than a couple of inches long. They reside in the small intestine and since they feed on the blood of the animal, they can cause severe anemia, especially if they infect newborn kittens. Hookworm eggs are usually passed in the stool and they hatch into the larvae. Your cat can get infected through skin contact or ingestion.
  • Tapeworms – They are segmented parasites and can be anywhere between 5 and 30 inches in length. A tapeworm infestation can cause weight loss or vomiting. Cats usually acquire tapeworms when they ingest an intermediate host, like an infected rodent or flea. If your cat has a tapeworm infestation, you’ll usually be able to see rice grain-like worm pieces on the fur near the anus.
What are the general symptoms of a worm infestation? The symptoms tend to vary depending on the infection’s location and the type of the parasite, but some of the most common clinical signs include:
  • Bloody stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Worms in the stool
  • Segments of worms near the cat’s anus
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Constipation
  • Trouble breathing
Are some cats more prone to worms than others? Cats that spend their time predominantly outdoors and cats that routinely expose themselves to soil where other animals defecate are more prone to a worm infestation. Cats that have a flea infestation can also get tapeworms. Cats and kittens that don’t get preventative health care are more prone to developing parasitic complications. What should you do if you think your cat has a worm infestation? Take your cat to the vet immediately. He/she will be able to confirm the presence of worms. Avoid diagnosing it yourself, since worms are not always identifiable or visible. Can you catch worms from your cat? If your cat has roundworms, a large number of those eggs can accumulate he defecates. If children ingest these eggs accidentally they can end up developing serious health problems. People can also acquire tapeworm if they ingest an infected flea. So, make sure that the yard and home is flea free.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Become a Part Of Your Family?
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Image Credit - Staticflickr.com/ Although cats are known for being indifferent and independent, they have their own ways of showing that they love you and need you. However, it is not very easy to tell if you don’t know what to look for. Here are a few signs that your cat loves you and considers himself to be a part of your family:
  1. The touch to the forehead – This one might last just for a split second, but if you see your cat head bunting you or giving you a slight muzzle from the forehead to the chin, then it means that he completely trusts you and enjoys spending time around you.
  2. The kneader – You might have noticed this behavior in your cat umpteen times before and wondered what the hell it meant. The milk tread, or kneading, is when your cat relaxes his paws against any soft object. The gesture originated from when cats are young and they use it to stimulate the release of milk from their mother’s teat. However, many cats retain this trait once they grow up and it is a sign that they are feeling content.
  3. The twitch of the tail – Not all tail twitches mean the same thing. It is true that cats tend to puff their tails out when they are scared or annoyed. But if you see your cat with his tail hoisted up midair with a slight twitch at the tip, it is a sign that she is showing you affection.
  4. The purr – The steady and rhythmic sounds your cat makes when he exhales or inhales is one of the most well-recognized signs of his contentment in your presence. A throaty purr from your cat means that he is more than happy to kick back, relax and enjoy your affection.
  5. Attention seeking – If your cat is growing frustrated by the constant entreaties for your attention from elsewhere, you can rest assured he will be sure to let you know. You will notice him cramming himself into your arm’s nook while sleeping or take a leisurely stroll on your laptop while you are working. These interruptions means that your cat loves you and is ready for all the extra affection he can get.
  6. Gift giving – When your cat brings a dead bird, mouse or some other animal to your doorstep, it can be quite gross. However, it also happens to be one of the most commonly encountered signs that indicate that your cat now considers you to be a part and parcel of his existence. Sharing prey is a very affectionate gesture as far as they are concerned. Just don’t look directly at it.
Safe Weight Loss Tips for Your Cat
If you are worried about the sudden weight gain of...
If you are worried about the sudden weight gain of your loving feline pet, your worries may not be totally unfounded after all. Obese cats run a number of health risks and if you want to keep your cat safe and healthy, you need to follow some tips that will help it to easily lose the extra weight. A fluffy, plump cat may look cute but the health risks far outweigh the cuteness quotient. But as in humans, if a cat takes more calories than it can burn, it will very soon gain weight. What do vets have to say? On an average, an indoor cat needs 20 calories per pound to stay healthy and maintain weight. An outdoor cat may need 35 calories to maintain weight. Although not all cats have the same rate of metabolism, a rough calculation would suggest that a 10 pound cat needs about 200 calories of energy ev