Walking Your Cat
Walking your cat is a great way to get him or her exploring the outdoors and a better alternative to allowing your cat to roam free. Roaming cats can become a nuisance and lead to bad neighbor relations but some cats are just not satisfied being indoor cats. The good news is you can take your cat for a leash walk and it's all the rage lately. Here are some tips for safe kitty walking:
- Always use a harness. Cats throats are more sensitive than many dogs and don't withstand the pressure exerted by a collar. This can cause gagging and choking.
-Acclimate your cat to the harness for short periods of time indoors before attempting a walk. Wearing body equipment can be intimidating and upsetting to some cats and they will need time to adjust. Always supervise as entanglement and strangulation are potential hazards.
-Check out various styles of harnesses and leads. There are strap harnesses and vest type harnesses. While vests provide greater security and less likelihood of escape, strap harnesses may feel freer to some kitties simply because it is less material to wear. You can use any lead but bungee style leads provide your kitty with some give for jumping and exploring. Always make sure your harness fits securely.
- When your cat is new to the outdoors, steer clear of areas with lots of traffic, loud noises and other roaming animals as this may spook your kitty.
-Walking a cat is quality over quantity. Long walks and covering lots of ground is not near as important as good old exploration time in an interesting and safe area.
-Don't forget to use a good flea and tick repellent and make sure your cat is up to date on all necessary vaccines.
-Never tie your cat out on a lead unsupervised. Your cat can't escape if approached by another animal or predator and as always, there is a danger of entanglement and strangulation if kitty panics.
Now go and enjoy the outdoors with your cat. Your cat will thank you.
Emergency Preparedness with Pets
In light of recent terror attacks in Paris and at home, it is important to be prepared in emergencies that may require evacuation. Don't forget to include your pets in this planning. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you as you may not be able to return for them later due to human safety reasons. Here are a few things to know when preparing for an emergency with pets:
- Baltimore County's companion animal & human shelter is at Eastern Technical High School but only applies in small scale emergencies. In large scale emergencies, pets cannot be accommodated. They also only take pets under 80 lbs
- make prior arrangements with a friend or relative outside your immediate area to shelter you and your pets in an emergency. If this is not possible, locate hotels or motels outside your area that will accommodate pets in emergencies. Vet hospitals and animal shelters may be an option but it is recommended to keep your pets with you if at all possible.
- have 2 weeks worth of food, water and pet medications as well as medical and vaccination documents in a waterproof cover.
- bring leashes, collars, crates to secure your pets and ID tags in case a pet gets lost
- for cats, bring a portable container with some litter
Have these things in a plastic storage container ready to go and replace expired items as needed and you will always be prepared in an emergency that involves evacuation.
I had a couple people approach me yesterday while walking a client's dogs. The conversation went quickly to behavior problems they were experiencing with their dogs, most notably leash reactivity.
Does your dog get overexcited or lunge forward in the presence of other dogs while on leash? Sometimes it is fear aggression and sometimes it is an over enthusiastic response by a very social dog who wants to play. Either way, the resulting behavior is unpleasant. Here are a couple quick tips:
-1) Provide a highly valued treat when another dog appears but is still far enough away that you can get your dog's attention. Eventually your dog associates the appearance of another dog with something pleasant. Do not try to give a treat when the dog is already in the ZONE- barking and pulling on the lead. You may not get his attention at this point and if he takes the treat, you inadvertently reward the bad behavior.
2) Enlist a neighbor or friend with a calm nonreactive dog to help. Start with enough distance that your dog notices the other dog but is not reacting yet, then work to get your dog to sit and look at you for a treat. If necessary, put more distance between you until you have success, then gradually try shorter distances. Your goal is a calm, nonreactive dog in the presence of other dogs.
Be patient and consistent with your routine as every dog is different.
Like many dog owners, I used to board my dogs while on vacation and the boarding facility was a great place. It was in the country, offered camp activities and the price was reasonable. After a few unfortunate experiences though, I now use a pet sitter when I can't take them with me.
Here are a 5 reasons to consider a pet sitter, even when your boarding facility is great:
Homemade Dog Treats
Have you ever considered making your own dog treats? News headlines and numerous recalls in recent years have made us ever wary of store bought treats. From salmonella contamination to unknown harmful ingredients from China, store bought dog treats have had their share of problems and have sometimes resulted in pet illness and death. I admit, I avoid store bought jerky treats at all costs since the recalls and illness reports. Knowing that your dogs are consuming treats that are made from ingredients fit for human consumption offers a certain peace of mind.
I have recently experimented with making my own dog cookie treats. I have come across two recipes so far that my dogs love (not that they are picky!). Blogs that deal in the topics of pets and baking can be a great resource to find yummy dog treat recipes. The first was Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats and they made great stocking stuffers at Christmas. The second is Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats which I just spent some time whipping up on this very rainy day. Both recipes have natural, healthy human grade ingredients and little to no added refined sugar which can always be tweaked to your liking or replaced with a more natural sweetener such as honey.
Give them a try. I think you will love them and your dog will love you even more for them. Just remember to check with your vet if your dog is prone to allergies and always give treats in moderation.
Puppies are adorable and their behaviors entertaining. But some puppy
behaviors can be difficult to live with like puppy mouthing or playful biting.
This can be even more concerning if you have young children. Puppies play fight
with their littermates, boxing with their paws, wrestling and pinning each other
down, and play biting. Wild dogs and cats do it too. This ritual prepares the
young animal for the real world of defending territory and hunting and also
works to forge a bond with littermates. Given this scenario, a puppy may not
realize how rough he's being. So what can you do to eliminate this behavior in
your interactions with your pet?
1) Redirect the chewing/biting behavior to an acceptable chew toy.
2) When a puppy play bites too hard, tell him "ouch" or "no" loudly enough
to get his attention and stop playing momentarily. Walk away. Do this
consistently every time the behavior repeats.
3) Lastly, if the puppy is engaged in rough play biting of you or your
child, place your hand over the top of his snout and use your thumb and fingers
on either side of his mouth to curl his lips under his own teeth while he is
biting. You do not need to squeeze. His own bite pressure will do the work. He
should immediately feel the pain of his own bite and decrease pressure. Tell him
"no" or "no biting" while doing this.
Any method takes patience and work. Be consistent in your correction and
you will have a gentle, well behaved pup.
Meeting the Cat
The free consultation (a.k.a. meeting your pets) is an important part of arranging pet sitting services. Imagine how frightened your pet might feel being left alone and seeing a stranger enter the home and approach them. They were not privy to your phone conversations with the pet
sitter. This fear could lead to unexpected aggression or behavior issues like accidents or not eating.
Cats are no exception. While some of them may hide from the pet sitter during the consultation, they will come out and sniff around after that person leaves. They will "remember" these scents when your pet sitter visits to care for them. This familiarity will reduce their fear when the pet sitter arrives and they may eventually come out of hiding during visits.
Hi! I'm Joanne, the owner/operator of Brewster's Buddies. Brewster's blog is the place where I share information on pet care and behavior or address issues I come across daily in my business. Enjoy and hope you find it helpful!