Flirting with the idea of owning both a dog and a cat — but worried you'll only be flirting with disaster? Canines and felines can live in harmony, as long as you follow these no-nonsense tips.
If you’re having doubts about adding a cat to your “dog house” or introducing a canine to your feline-friendly home, rest assured: Dogs and cats can live together in peace. The trick? Create a structured and healthy pet environment to smooth the transition.
The conventional wisdom that a cat and dog can’t get along is a pet myth, says Isabelle Hamel, head trainer and behavior consultant at North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization located in Port Washington, N.Y. “Cats and dogs can live very happily together,” she says.
In fact, millions of Americans live in a dog-and-cat household. According to a recent Gallup survey, of the 59 percent of Americans who own either a cat or dog, 16 percent of them own both a cat and a dog.
5 Must-Dos for Keeping the Peace Between Pets
Here’s how to avoid an unpleasant dog vs. cat showdown:
Keep kitty safe. Set up a safe haven for your cat that is inaccessible to your dog. “This area should contain the cat’s bed, food, and water on one side of the room and the litter box on the other,” says Hamel. Use a gate or chain on top of the door that keeps the dog out, but provides just enough room for the cat to slip in and out.
Put your pup on a leash. “It’s important to be able to control the dog without chasing, yelling, or grabbing,” Hamel says. She suggests using a light tether attached to the dog’s collar while at home. This will provide you with instant access to the dog. Since the tether is lighter than a leash, the dog will feel as though he’s free, but you will still be able to control him. To keep the dog from chewing on the tether, soak it in bad-tasting mouthwash. As the animals become accustomed to each other, gradually cut this cord shorter until it is no longer needed, she says.
Get them while they’re young. If possible, introduce a cat and dog while they are still young. “Youth is a formative time — most animals are curious, flexible, and resilient when they are young,” says Hamel.
Bear breeds in mind. “It’s important to research what tasks an animal was originally bred for,” Hamel says. For instance, hounds, spaniels, and retrievers were bred to work with groups of people or other dogs, making them very social. Says Hamel, “Terriers were bred to work independently and usually prefer the company of people rather than other animals — Jack Russells are a good example of this.” Siberian huskies have a strong prey drive and do not do well with cats, nor do Alaskan malamutes since they are natural predators, according to Hamel.
Let them work it out. Hamel says the biggest mistake pet owners make when introducing a cat and dog is interfering with the animals’ natural interaction. “If an animal growls or hisses, it is a clear correction toward the offending animal.” If you step in and try to stop the behavior, the cat and dog will hiss or growl more intensely, becoming more aggressive, she explains.
So if you think you’re ready to share your home with another pet, Hamel has this advice: “Examine your motivation behind the decision. Does your existing pet want another animal in its life? What role will the animal play in your life? This decision is a 14 to 25 year commitment, so it is important to consider everyone in your family, including your existing pet.”
Woof woof! Your dog may bark to alert you to danger or to just say hi. But constant barking can be a problem. Here's how to keep the peace.
Dogs bark to communicate with each other and with their owners, but sometimes all that barking can get out of hand. Constant barking can fray a family’s nerves and create turmoil in a neighborhood.
But keep in mind that your dog is trying to tell you something by barking. Before you quiet him down, you will first need to figure out what he's trying to say.
What’s Behind the Barking?
These are some of the reasons dogs bark:
Tips to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
There are a lot of stop-barking devices available on the market. The most commonly known are bark collars that deliver an electric shock, high-pitched squeal, or stinging spray of citronella mist whenever a pet dog barks. Other devices include ultrasonic emitters that are placed in a room and activated by barking and muzzles that keep the dog’s jaws held shut.
These devices may offer a short-term fix, but they do nothing to address the underlying cause of your dog’s barking. Eventually, the problem may surface through other behavioral problems, as your dog continues to try to communicate his need or problem to you. A dog prevented from barking caused by separation anxiety may instead take to destroying furniture or urinating indoors when his owner is away.
The devices also can be inhumane. Any dog’s bark can set off a bark collar or ultrasonic device, meaning your dog may end up receiving punishment for another dog’s behavior. Also, a muzzle will keep a dog from being able to eat, drink, and cool off through panting.
For these reasons, an owner frustrated by his dog’s barking is better off using some simple tricks to head off the behavior or taking the time to train the dog out of the behavior. Try these tips:
Training can be a lengthy process, but in the end you will improve your relationship with your dog and be better able to make sure his needs are met.
Does your pooch get uneasy when he's left home alone? He could have separation anxiety....here's how you can help:
Dogs with separation anxiety are usually overly attached to or dependent on one or more family members. They become extremely anxious and show distress behaviors of vocalization, destruction, house-soiling, or inactivity when separated from the owners.
Many of these dogs begin to show signs of separation anxiety as the owners prepare to leave. They often salivate or pant profusely, vocalize, eliminate, refuse to eat, and become destructive. Some dogs simply become quiet and withdrawn. Most dogs with separation anxiety also tend to become overly excited when the owner returns.
Because the underlying problem is anxiety, treatment includes reducing all forms of anxiety before the owner leaves, at the time of departure, and when the owner returns. In addition, the dog must learn to accept progressively longer periods of inattention and separation while the owners are at home.
During initial retraining, it’s usually best to find an alternative to leaving the dog alone while you are gone, to prevent damage and vocalization problems. Retraining involves developing a routine so that your dog settles down and relaxes before he is rewarded with attention. In other words, use the very rewards that your dog is seeking to teach independent behavior and relaxed times away from you. Until you can get your dog to settle and relax without attention when you are at home, he is unlikely to settle when you leave.
Formal retraining should be directed at teaching your dog to remain on his mat or dog bed, or in his dog crate or den area for progressively longer periods of time. During these training exercises, try to keep him as calm and relaxed as possible.
Activities that you consistently do before you leave (eg, jangling car keys, grabbing a purse, opening the garage door) signal or cue the dog that you’ll be leaving soon. Anxiety can be greatly reduced by preventing the dog from hearing or seeing any of these cues and by training him that these cues no longer predict a departure. One way to do this is to go through your pre-departure routine, but then remain at home. This is especially good to do when the dog is relaxed or otherwise occupied, so that the dog will learn that the usual cues are no longer a signal that you are necessarily going to leave.
As you depart, your dog should be kept busy and occupied, and preferably where he cannot see you, so that there is little or no anxiety. Giving special food treats in a kong or dog bones that have been saved for departures (and mock departure training sessions) can help keep the dog distracted and busy while you leave. Be certain that the distraction devices last as long as possible so that your dog continues to be occupied until you have left and been gone for a while.
Although medications can be useful during initial departure training, they do not improve separation anxiety. A solid program of retraining is needed to help your dog become more independent and well behaved when away from you.
Dogs with separation anxiety are usually overly attached to or dependent on one or more family members, so that the dog becomes extremely anxious and distressed when these persons leave. This distress often takes the form of vocalization, destruction, house-soiling, or inactivity.
Veterinary experts agree: Having your dog or cat spayed or neutered is the right, responsible choice. Need more convincing? Find out about some important benefits.
Want to do something for your pet that is great for his health and is also an act of responsible pet ownership? Have your animal spayed or neutered. When you make the decision to spay or neuter a pet, you are also making a socially responsible choice — each year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized.
So when would a pet owner not want to spay or neuter a pet? According to Bonnie Beaver, DVM, a professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, the only instance should be if the dog or cat is a breeding animal. Some hunters feel that if a male hunting dog is castrated, he will not work effectively, but this is just an old wives’ tale. “There really hasn’t been any strong scientific evidence that says that this is the case,” says Dr. Beaver.
Important Reasons to Spay and Neuter Pets
Here are some of the pet health benefits of choosing to sterilize your furry companion:
How Will Your Pet Feel?
Spaying or neutering a pet is a major surgery, but these are also some of the most commonly performed procedures. Your pet will be given general anesthesia during the surgery, and pain medications are often given after the procedure to minimize pain or discomfort. After the surgery, your veterinarian may recommend keeping your pet indoors in a quiet place to recover. She may also suggest ways to keep your pet calm and prevent your pet from running and jumping. Stitches are usually removed 10 to 14 days later.
It is recommended that female dogs and cats not be spayed while they are in heat since they may be susceptible to increased blood loss. If you want to have an older dog or cat undergo sterilization, have your veterinarian evaluate your pet to make sure the animal is in good health before undergoing the procedure.
Your pet will be calmer and better behaved after surgery — reducing the breeding instinct can eliminate the desire to roam to find a mate. More importantly, your dog or cat will be healthier, more content, and a more devoted member of the family.
IS YOUR LARGE BREED DOG GETTING THE RIGHT DOG FOOD?
Puppies of any size or shape are just about guaranteed to be adorable. Even though they seem similar, puppies grow at different rates depending on their breed. Large breed puppies like Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes, for example, need a much different diet for optimal growth than a tiny Yorkie or Chihuahua. For this reason it is extremely important to feed your large or giant breed puppy a food specifically formulated for his nutritional requirements.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and an absolute necessity for daily function and growth. Puppies require more protein than adult dogs because their bodies are busy growing. Puppy food should be higher in calories than adult food to compensate for how much energy puppies expend by growing, not too mention all that playing. About half of the calories they consume are spent on tissue growth and development. However, you must be careful and consult your veterinarian because feeding large breed puppies something that is too high in calories and protein may make them grow too quickly and cause health issues later in life.
Just like people, puppies and dogs do best with a balanced diet of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Excessive protein in a diet is not only unnecessary but in large breed puppies it can result in an unbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus. If this ration is not ideal a puppy’s bones may grow too quickly resulting in abnormal joint development, which can lead to arthritis down the road. Large breed puppy food has a specific calcium and phosphorus ratio to ensure the bones develop properly to help prevent joint disease.
How Do I Choose the Best Puppy Food?
You should choose a large breed puppy food from a dog food company that has undergone AAFCO feeding trials. This means that the specific formulation of the diet has been fed to dogs to make sure there are no deficiencies. As surprising as it may seem, many dog food companies make their food based on a recipe and never feed it to actual dogs before sending into the stores. You want to choose a pet food company which invests in scientific research and consults with veterinary nutritionists to provide a dog food that specially balanced for a puppy's development.
Should I Be Concerned About My Puppy's Weight?
Keeping your puppy at a healthy weight is crucial to lifelong health. Underweight puppies may not develop properly while puppies that are overweight are at increased risk of being overweight adult dogs. This can lead to diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even heat exhaustion during outdoor activities. Your veterinarian should evaluate your puppy’s body condition score at each visit to make sure you are on track with nutrition.
When Do I Switch My Puppy to Adult Dog Food?
Large and giant breed dogs will not stop growing for the first year or two, depending on the breed. You can continue feeding a large breed puppy formula until their growth plates have sealed as long as they are not overweight. However, you must work closely with a veterinarian to assess your puppy’s body condition score. This will ensure that your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food at the ideal time.
Available in miniature and standard varieties, the Poodle is a breed belonging to the non-sporting classification. Though its direct origin is questionable, it was the French that first bred its different types. Originally used as an aid for duck hunters, the Poodle has become a circus performer, a frequent dog show winner, a guide dog, and a loving pet.
Originating from the working retriever breed, the Poodle’s body type is a reflection of its athletic root. The square-proportioned Poodle has a graceful appearance and a proud carriage. Its gait is springy, effortless, and light. The coat is dense, curly, and harsh; if corded, it hangs tight. Traditionally the clips (or hair styles) were used for ornamental and functional purposes. Puppy, Continental, English saddle, and sporting are the types of acceptable clips for Show Poodles.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
This sensitive dog tends to be dedicated to a single person, and, initially, is shy with strangers. Some bark a lot. In general, they are good with dogs, other pets, and children. The lively, playful, and amiable Miniature Poodle is smart, responsive, eager to please, and obedient -- making it one of the most popular dogs today.
Poodles require a lot of socialization and interaction with humans, as well as physical and mental exercise. A short and challenging play or obedience session, in addition to a walk, is required everyday, although, poodles should not be allowed to live outdoors. Standard Poodles require more physical activities (e.g., they love swimming).
Show Poodles require daily hair brushing, however those with shorter coats need only a weekly brushing. During shedding, a poodle’s hair does not fall, but instead gets trapped in the adjoining hair, causing matting. Therefore, it should be removed at all costs. This can be done by taking the poodle for a pet clip (or haircut), which can be done once every four to six weeks.
The Miniature Poodle has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years and may be prone to minor problems like trichiasis, entropion, distichiasis, cataract, glaucoma, lacrimal duct atresia and major concerns such as progressive retinalatrophy (PRA), epilepsy, Legg Perthes disease, and patellar luxation. Urinary stones are sometimes seen in this breed. Eye, knee, and hip tests are advised for Miniature Poodles, as are DNA tests, which can identify PRA and von Willebrand's Disease (vWD).
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
The earliest ancestors of the Poodle were said to be curly-coated dogs of central Asia, but it is also identified with France. Many rough-coated water dogs are also associated with the dog’s ancestry. The earliest dog breed of this group was the Barbet, a type of curly-coated dog, which was seen in Hungary, France, and Russia. However, the German strain of the dog exerted maximum influence on the Poodle we know today. The German word pudel, meaning to splash or puddle, is the source for the Poodle’s name and reflects its water abilities.
In France, the dog was also named chien canard or caniche, indicating its duck-hunting qualities. Therefore, from its water and herding roots, it became an excellent water-hunting companion. It was also used as a guide dog, guard dog, military dog, circus performer, and wagon puller for entertainers. Its coat was clipped to help it swim, but was left sufficiently long on the chest to keep in warm in cold water. Some believe that puffs of hair surrounding the tail tip and leg joints were meant for protection during hunting, but stronger evidence implies that it started as an adornment during the dog’s performing days.
Fashionable women in France carried poodles as elegant companions, as did the French aristocracy, making it the official national dog. The typical clip of the poodle was accentuated in France, and there was a concerted effort by poodle fanciers to perfect the smaller varieties. In the late 19th century, poodles gained access to the show ring. Some early show dogs had corded coats which had long matted or thin tresses, instead of well-brushed coats. This made the poodles look very impressive. But as a style, it was difficult to maintain and the trend ended in the early 1900s. Soon, the bouffant styles replaced it and became fashionable. However, the popularity of the Poodle waned in the United States and by the 1920s, North America hardly had any dog of this breed. The Poodle made a successful comeback after a decade or so, now becoming one of the most popular dogs in the U.S.
A myotonic goat, otherwise known as the fainting goat, is a domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat feels panic. Though painless, this generally results in the animal's collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle.
When her beloved dog received a diagnosis of inoperable bone cancer, Riina Cooke needed a way to cope with the grief.
"When I found out, I was in shock,'' she told TODAY.com. "He watched me cry, and he would get upset when I got upset because he was a very sensitive dog. It took a couple of days to digest, but then I took him to the park, and we started putting together the bucket list."
Cooke, 32, wanted to maximize the time she had left with her boxer, Romeo, so she wrote out a list of fun things they could do near her home in British Columbia.
From getting a "pawicure" to a riding in a Vancouver police car to eating his favorite foods, Romeo was able to check off 22 items on the list until Cooke had to make the heartbreaking decision to have him put down on March 16 because he was in so much pain.
"The bucket list really helped with my grieving because it got me out and got him out to experience stuff we hadn't done before,'' Cooke said. "I think it kept him alive longer because I believe it kept him happy. I think he doubled the vet's projection of how much longer he had to live."
Romeo was able to live to celebrate his ninth birthday on Feb. 27, making it past the initial timetable given by his veterinarian.
"He was just such a happy dog right up until the end, sitting there with a bum leg,'' Cooke said. "We had a huge party in the park for his birthday."
Cooke's father used to be a fire captain, which helped fulfill the bucket list item of Romeo getting to ride in a fire truck, and a connection in the movie business helped hitch a ride in a police car.
"Romeo loved sirens,'' Cooke said. "Whenever he heard a siren, he would just howl and get so excited."
Cooke also let Romeo eat everything from cheeseburgers to birthday cake to a steak dinner.
"A lot of the bucket list items were food because we restricted his diet his whole life because of stomach issues," she said. "He was dying anyway, so if a cheeseburger is going to give him diarrhea, then whatever."
Once Cooke's Facebook friends began to see pictures of Romeo's bucket list, more people offered to help him check off more items. Cooke created a separate Facebook page for Romeo and began to hear stories from others going through similar situations with their pets.
"I've had hundreds, maybe close to a thousand messages from people, saying this helped them,'' Cooke said. "There were people saying, 'My boxer has same thing,' or, 'My German shepherd has lung cancer.' People are saying, 'It inspired us to live out the last days with our cherished family members, four legs or two, and end happy.' Why go down sulking?"
Cooke also has a Boston terrier pug named Yoshi, whom she bought for Romeo because Romeo had terrible separation anxiety when Cooke went to work. After Romeo was put down, Cooke bought a boxer puppy that she named Elvis Romeo to help with Yoshi's own separation anxiety. "He's been a lot happier now that he's got a new buddy,'' she said.
Cooke now hopes Romeo's story can help others going through the loss of ailing pets.
"I opened up his Facebook page for people who want to share their bucket list ideas and stories," she said, "to help them out after so many people helped me with Romeo."
Romeo on his 9th birthday.
Romeo on his birthday.
Romeo took a ride in a fire engine as part of his "bucket list."
Romeo with his burger.
Cooke with Romeo.
More dogs are testing positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
That's according to a new report released by the Banfield Pet Hospital, which found a 21 percent increase in the number of infected dogs.
A female deer tick seen under a University of Rhode Island microscope in the entomoloy lab in South Kingstown, R.I.
And while that may make pet owners worry about Fido, they should be much more concerned about themselves, experts say. That’s because the Lyme-causing bacteria are far more likely to make humans sick than dogs.
“Before pet owners panic, they need to realize that 95 percent of dogs that are Lyme positive don’t get sick,” said Dr. Meryl Littman, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine who is not affiliated with Banfield or the new report. “But dogs are sentinels for the fact that humans in the same environments are also exposed to ticks carrying these organisms.”
Of the dogs that do test positive for Lyme, 5 percent end up with symptoms like fever and lameness. A much smaller percentage of dogs end up with kidney problems, Littman said. So it’s best to do a urine test to rule that out in dogs that are positive for Lyme disease.
While veterinary products that ward off ticks can prevent your dog from becoming infected, they won’t do you any good, said Dr. Sandi Lefebvre of Banfield.
When it comes to tick bites, however, people have more to worry about than Lyme disease. The deer tick also carries another bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes a disease dubbed anaplasmosis.
The bacterium can cause many of the same symptoms as Lyme, including fever, headache and chills.
“The good news,” Littman said, “is that anaplasma is sensitive to same antibiotic, doxycycline, that people recommend for treating Lyme disease.”
The best way to protect yourself from both diseases is to stay out of bushy areas that ticks are fond of and also to check yourself carefully for ticks after you’ve been outside, Littman said, adding that it takes some 24 hours for an attached tick to infect you with the Lyme bacteria.
VICTORIA AROCHO / ASSOCIATED PRESS
"Guess which one of us likes to work out?
There’s nothing quite like the bond between a little boy and his four-legged friend. And, thanks to a mom and her camera, the rest of the world can enjoy the adorableness that's become an Internet sensation.
Grace Chon, a commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, has plenty of experience taking pictures of children and pets, and found a winning combo in the pair right in her own home: Jasper, her 10-month-old son, and Zoey, her 7-year-old rescue dog adopted from Taiwan. When she photographed them together wearing matching hats, the positive response led her to create a Tumblr photo series devoted to the pair.
“I have a lot of really cute hats for Jasper, and its just really fun to put him in them,” Chon told about what inspired the “Zoey and Jasper” series.
“And one day I realized it looked really good on Zoey; it fit her perfectly and she looked adorable. So I had this one hat and I took photos of [Zoey and Jasper] separately. And my sister was like, ‘you need to take a picture of them together wearing that hat.’ So we did it, and I shared it on Facebook and people reacted really well to it. So I kind of kept going with it ever since.”
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