If the thought of training your pet cat seems like a difficult feat, consider the daunting task of training one of nature’s biggest cats. Consider these tips and tricks from professional tiger trainers that you can use to train your cat at home.
How to Train Your Cat
5 tips from a professional tiger trainer
(Family Features) If the thought of training your pet cat seems like a difficult feat, consider the daunting task of training one of nature’s biggest cats.
After welcoming two 4-year-old Sumatran tigers, Frances and Huntley, the keepers at Nashville Zoo are doing just that. The training program, which is sponsored by TEMPTATIONS™ Cat Treats, is on display for the public to learn about how these colossal cats are trained.The trainers offer these tips and tricks from their experiences working with their tigers that you can use to train your cat at home. For more information on cat behavior, visit TemptationsTreats.com.
When beginning the training process, identify your cat’s likes and dislikes. Some cats are motivated by toys while most are motivated by food. When starting the training process, try out a few different treat flavors to identify what gets your cat’s attention. Treats such as TEMPTATIONS™ Cat Treats come in a wide variety of flavors, making it easy to find one that will make your cat come running. For cats with health or weight restrictions, utilize toys or tactile reinforcement like petting for motivation.
Focus on Practicality
Celebrate the Small Victories
Dental care for dogs is important, but it’s an aspect of care that is frequently overlooked by dog owners. Making sure you are aware of what your pet’s mouth typically looks like and talking to your vet if you spot any issues can go a long way toward protecting your furry friend. Also consider this advice to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and his or her breath fresh.
Make Sense of Doggy Dental Care
(Family Features) Dental care for dogs is important, but it’s an aspect of care that is frequently overlooked by dog owners. One of the few outward signs of dental problems lurking just below the surface is bad breath.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common clinical dental condition occurring in adult dogs. However, it is preventable with consistent home dental care and regular vet visits.
Knowing there’s a problem with your pet’s mouth starts by understanding what a healthy dog’s mouth should look like. Teeth should be intact (not jagged or broken) and free of plaque and tartar buildup. Tongues should be moist without any lumps or cuts and gums should be salmon pink, though some dogs naturally have black or black and pink gums.
Making sure you are aware of what your pet’s mouth typically looks like and talking to your vet if you spot any issues can go a long way toward protecting your furry friend. Also consider this advice from veterinarian and host of Animal Planet’s “Evan Goes Wild” Dr. Evan Antin to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and his or her breath fresh:
“Practicing good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans,” Antin said, “I recommend DentaLife ActivFresh chews, which are designed with nine ridges and have an active-ingredient blend of honey and natural spirulina that has been scientifically tested to fight bad breath at the source.”
To learn more about protecting your dog’s dental health, visit purina.com/dentalife and consult with your veterinarian.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (veterinarian checking dog’s teeth)SOURCE:
According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives. Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients.
(BPT) - For pediatric patients, being in the hospital can be a frightening, vulnerable and lonely experience, especially for those undergoing serious medical treatments. However, research has shown that dogs, with their playful, comforting and loving nature, can have beneficial, long-lasting effects on pediatric patients.
According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives.
Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients:
1) In-residence dogs are highly trained service dogs that work in healthcare settings and perform specialized tasks. They are also trained to create an emotional connection with pediatric patients, helping to provide them with joy, comfort and other medical benefits.
2) Different from volunteer dogs that visit a hospital for a short time, in-residence dogs have a similar work schedule as their human counterparts, working closely with their handlers. They often have access to non-sterile clinics and inpatient units.
3) In-residence dogs can be an integral part of a child’s treatment team. They perform a range of tasks that help medical teams achieve their clinical goals. In-residence dogs can be trained to do incredible things like keep kids calm during medical interventions, teach them how to take a pill or model how to put on a hospital gown.
4) In-residence dogs can help lower a pediatric patient’s stress and anxiety by serving as a pleasant distraction. Hospital staff report that children who interact with in-residence dogs often require less medication.
While in-residence dog programs have potential, they are relatively new. Out of more than 220 children’s hospitals in the U.S., only a few have in-residence dog programs. By implementing such programs, hospitals could give more pediatric patients the opportunity to experience the joy and health benefits that come with in-residence dogs.
Dr. Jana Stockwell, a pediatric critical care physician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, serves as a handler for an in-residence dog named Tidings. “Our Children’s dogs are full-time employees with a meaningful job to do, and on a daily basis, Tidings helps children be more engaged, encourages them to get out of bed, and even inspires them to tell us about a pet at home that they’re missing," she said. "Our in-residence dogs never fail to lift the spirits of kids and adults alike.”
Foundation brings dogs to hospitals
To fill this unmet need and further its mission to bring joy to kids battling illness or hunger, the Joy in Childhood Foundation, the independent charitable foundation of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, has launched “Dogs for Joy,” a program to bring in-residence dogs to children’s hospitals nationwide.
Dogs in this program are bred and trained as service dogs but “work” full-time in children’s hospitals. Through more than $2 million in initial grants, the program will increase the number of in-residence dog programs in pediatric healthcare settings around the country and the prevalence of animal-assisted therapy as part of treatment.
The Joy in Childhood Foundation invites children’s hospitals nationwide to apply for a Dogs for Joy grant if they’re interested in launching a new in-residence dog program or expanding an existing program. Funds awarded cover costs for launching and maintaining an in-residence dog program at a hospital, including adoption of the dog, training of select staff, dog food, dog grooming needs, dog toys and more. Applicants can apply via www.joyinchildhoodfoundation.org/dogsforjoy.
Summer social gatherings and celebrations involving fireworks can add up to a lot of fun for humans, but it’s an equation that may test the limits for a fearful pet. The break in day-to-day consistency and the chaos that comes with festivities can cause pets to escape in search of solace, which often times results in them leaving their loved ones behind. These tips can help prevent your pet from running off.
Prevent Pets from Fleeing in Fright
(Family Features) Summer social gatherings and celebrations involving fireworks can add up to a lot of fun for humans, but it’s an equation that may test the limits for a fearful pet. The break in day-to-day consistency and the chaos that comes with festivities can cause pets to escape in search of solace, which often times results in them leaving their loved ones behind.
“During the summer months, we tend to take a step away from our usual routines and that can be very unsettling for a pet,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president of PetSmart Charities. “While July 5 is known as a day of high intake for local animal welfare organizations due to the noise and chaos associated with the Fourth of July holiday, even small barbecues and other summer events can cause distress that results in a pet fleeing for perceived safety.”
In honor of National Pet Loss Prevention Month, the experts from PetSmart Charities recommend these tips to prevent your pet from running off.
Practice effective “stay” techniques with your pet: Pets and pet parents who participate in behavioral training courses can learn effective ways to communicate during times of leisure or stress. Knowing simple commands like “stop,” “sit” or “stay” can help prevent a pet from running away.
Ensure your pet has proper identification: Microchips are a great way to ensure your pet is armed with the proper identification. To help decrease the number of pets that enter shelters each year across North America, PetSmart Charities supports low-cost microchipping programs in local communities. Whether you use tags, embroidered collars or microchips, make sure you update the information provided at least once a year to ensure the latest contact information is available to those who may find your pet.
Secure your pet’s surroundings: To prevent your pet from running away, provide a comfortable, yet contained environment that he or she may safely explore. This could include a fenced-in backyard during a family barbecue, the use of a leash at a local parade or access to favorite toys for a soothing escape. Don’t forget an ample supply of shade and water to help your pet stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Inquire about calming solutions: Just like pet parents, pets can become sensitive to unexpected events and develop anxiety over time. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to destructive behavior, excessive barking or panting despite lack of exertion. If your pet is exhibiting extreme behavior, ask a veterinarian if calming solutions are a fit ahead of a large gathering.
Know how to handle a lost pet: If you see a lost pet, check his or her tags and contact the pet parent. If the pet shies away from contact, reach out to your local animal control department for assistance. If you lose a pet, contact your local animal control department or your neighborhood shelter to request assistance.
For more information about helping local pets in need, visit petsmartcharities.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
Your Cat’s Scratch Has Met Its Match
Why cats scratch and how to safely stop it
(Family Features) Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
It’s a normal human response to be angry or frustrated about damage inflicted by cats’ scratching, but equally normal is a cat’s need to scratch. Cat scratching is a behavior that fulfills both physical and emotional needs. Cats scratch to stretch their bodies, maintain their hunting and climbing skills, groom their claws and mark their territory, showing they’re in a safe space.
However, these behaviors cats exhibit to establish a safe living space can be anything but pleasant for their human companions. This can lead frustrated owners to take drastic measures to modify behavior, but those decisions can be risky, especially when it comes to a permanent and potentially harmful practice like declawing.
Many pet owners believe that declawing their cats is a harmless and quick fix for unwanted scratching, similar to trimming one’s nails. However, if a declawing procedure were performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
“Not only does the practice cause pain, it removes an important self-defense tool and the surgery itself poses risks related to anesthesia and infection,” said Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, licensed veterinarian and veterinary services specialist at Ceva Animal Health. “All of this can lead to behavioral issues that may be worse than a shredded couch.”
Declawing is an irreversible measure to address a normal behavioral issue in cats. Declawed cats may be less likely to use a litter box, more likely to bite and the disruption of the natural scratching behavior can cause lasting physiological problems.
That sentiment is echoed by national organizations such as the American Association for Feline Practitioners, which deems the practice of declawing an ethically controversial procedure that is not medically necessary in most instances. In fact, declawing cats is now illegal in several U.S. cities.
Find alternatives to declawing, and cat-scratching solutions, at savethecouches.com.
5 Humane Alternatives to Declawing
There are numerous safe and painless alternatives to declawing, including these ideas from the pet behavior experts at Ceva Animal Health:
1. Routinely trim nails. Regular nail care is an important part of general care and hygiene for your cat, but it can also help prevent scratching damage by eliminating the sharp, destructive claw tips. Properly trimmed nails are less likely to snag or split, and cats with well-trimmed nails are less likely to resort to scratching as part of their own self-grooming rituals.
2. Create scratch-friendly zones. Keeping cats from scratching areas you don’t want them to bother is far more likely if you provide areas where they can scratch at will, such as scratching pads and posts. Pair these scratching areas with a product such as Feliscratch by Feliway, which is clinically proven to prevent destructive scratching by redirecting cats to scratch in the right place. Cats are attracted to the drug-free, naturally derived product and will feel compelled to scratch where it’s applied, leaving that chair or couch alone.
“Cat owners can now have damage-free home decor without putting their cats through the stress and potential physical harm of the painful declawing procedure,” Tynes said.
3. Reinforce off-limits areas. Cats are highly tactile, so applying textured materials like double-sided sticky tape or rough, crinkly aluminum foil to areas you don’t want scratched can be an effective deterrent.
4. Consult a behaviorist. Not all cases have easy answers, but an expert with experience in animal behavior can provide guidance based specifically on your cat’s personality and circumstances to help create a custom solution.
5. Eliminate negative reinforcements. Avoid punishing your cat for undesirable behavior. This includes shouting, spraying with water or swatting your cat. Punishment can increase stress and anxiety. It can make the problem worse and may even make your cat afraid of you.
DIY Scratching Post
Designating a spot for your cat to safely scratch is one of the most effective ways to minimize damage to your possessions. A homemade scratching post is a quick and easy project.
1. Cut foot-long length of 4-by-4-inch wood and a 1-foot square piece of plywood. The exact sizes can vary, but these are good starting points that you can adjust up or down, depending on your space.
2. Sand away splinters and rough edges.
3. Add a sturdy fabric wrap or paint to lend aesthetic appeal to the plywood base.
4. Wrap the post tightly with heavy-gauge rope or carpet scraps (or both), securing tightly with glue and reinforcing with a staple gun.
5. Securely attach the post to the base using a long bolt.
6. Place the post in an area your cat enjoys spending time, and consider adding a pheromone therapy spray to attract your cat to the post.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Women on the sofa with black cat)SOURCE:
Ceva Animal Health
(BPT) - With good weather and flexible work schedules, summer time is the best season for spending some extra time with your pet. However, once fall comes, the kids aren’t the only ones in the family that experience the back-to-school blues. Separation anxiety can happen for many reasons among pets, but with the changing routine and lack of attention due to busy schedules, back-to-school is a common time when pet owners may start noticing changes in their dog or cat’s behavior. To support them during this time Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina’s Chief Veterinary Officer offers five tips to address separation anxiety in pets.
1. Get your pet into a routine. Pets love routines because it makes them feel secure. During the summer, kids are always around to make things entertaining and exciting. When they suddenly disappear, some cats and dogs will feel sad and confused while others may experience real separation anxiety. It’s important to get your pet acclimated to the change by replacing their old schedule with a new one. This new schedule should include allocating time to play after work and keeping a consistent schedule when coming and going from the house.
2. Burn off some energy. Some pets deal with separation anxiety by engaging in negative or destructive behaviors, such as howling, excessive barking or chewing on inappropriate objects. A great way to keep your dog from doing this is to take them on a walk in the morning before you leave the house to help burn off some of that extra energy. For cats, consider playing with them at night as well — whether it’s making them chase a feather wand or play with a ball.
3. Create an interactive environment. Back-to-school season is a great time to buy your pet a new, interactive toy to play with. This will help mentally stimulate them and keep them occupied during the day when children are away at school. For dogs, chew toys are a way for them to relieve their anxiety, frustration and boredom. For cats, creating a play area — including scratching posts and cat furniture — can keep them entertained even when you’re not home.
4. Turn up the tunes and start with baby steps. Try leaving some soothing music on at your home while everyone is out of the house. The music will help drown out distracting noises that your dog may mistakenly associate with their family coming home. Some animal shelters have even found that playing calming music helps animals in their facilities relax. Additionally, help your pets adjust to a new routine by providing them with clear cues. For example, jingling your car keys prior to leaving for work each day can provide your pet with an important audible cue and ultimately, help with the transition to a new family schedule.
5. Spend time with your pet. It’s important to remember that while you may have had a long day, your pet may have been sitting at home feeling lonely, waiting for you to come home. Spending some quality time with your pet at the end of the day is critical to helping keep them active and mentally sharp. It may be tough to fit into a busy work schedule, but be sure to build some interactive time — whether it’s a walk or cuddle session —to benefit both you and your pet.
For more information on helping your pet deal with separation anxiety, check out this article on Purina.com.
(BPT) - Millions of people every year open their hearts and homes to rescue dogs to find their new best friend. It’s an act of compassion that is beneficial and fulfilling for person and pet.
But, a new study shows adoption is not an option for everyone. In fact, even if shelters were cleared, there are not enough dogs for everyone who wants one.
Findings from a recent study by the Moore Research Group show an annual demand of at least 8.1 million dogs and growing. Yet, according to the latest research from Mississippi State University, there are only 2.6 million dogs available for adoption from shelters every year. That means 5.5 million people looking for dogs need to search elsewhere. And, without options for those people, we would simply run out of dogs.
Where to find dogs
So, where do you go when you are ready to welcome a four-legged friend with a wet nose and wagging tail into your home? It starts with what you are looking for.
You might be OK with any dog, no matter the size, mix, age or temperament that nuzzles its way into your heart. But, for others, specific needs often require certain canine traits only found in individual breeds.
Parents of children with allergies might need a dog breed to be hypoallergenic. Those living in big cities may not have enough space for a dog with high exercise needs. Families with small children may need a dog with patience and playfulness. Some people seek a dog for home or personal protection. Having a range of options increases the chances you will find the perfect match and a dog won't end up in a shelter due to a poor match.
Snap up rescues
Adoption is a wonderful option that comes with the benefit of giving a homeless animal a second chance.
But, this new research from Mississippi State University also shows that thanks to the good work of animal shelters and rescue organizations, more lives are being saved and fewer dogs are homeless in shelters.
When looking to adopt, there are several different possibilities to choose from, including shelters, rescues and animal control facilities.
Before you adopt, ask what is known about the dog, including its age, breed, temperament and health. Has it been seen by a vet, is it spayed or neutered and microchipped? Spend some time with the dog, introduce it to other family members to see how it interacts.
Finally, make sure you fully understand the organization’s policies and procedures so you have peace of mind should the adoption not work out as hoped.
Buy from a good breeder
If you are looking for specific traits in your canine companion, getting a dog directly from a breeder gives you a great opportunity to learn about your new pup from an expert.
Be prepared to wait as sometimes a breeder might not have puppies that are at least 8 weeks old.
If you can, visit the facility in person or have someone else visit on your behalf. If not, ask for references and get information about the puppy’s parents and its health records. Ask if there’s a guarantee, so you can go home feeling prepared and confident about the road ahead! A responsible breeder will not only share that information, they might interview you.
Purchase at a pet store
Pet stores can be a great place to get your next pup if you just do a little research. Does the store look and smell clean and is the staff friendly and knowledgeable? Does the puppy look good from head to tail? Ask the staff where the puppies come from and if the store owners have visited the breeders.
Are the breeders USDA licensed or do they participate in any certification programs? Ask about the puppy’s health, has it been seen by a vet? What is its daily exercise and routine care? Has it been socialized with other dogs and people? Do they provide a guarantee on its health?
Find friends or family
When someone you know has a litter, news travels fast. Don’t let a puppy’s cuteness skew your judgment. When you talk about the dogs, don’t be shy — ask questions. They should give you a good picture of what life will be like with your new pup.
As consumer demand for dogs and puppies continues to grow, having options available for selecting your next pet is essential. The right choice is the first step in establishing that deep and lasting bond with your loyal companion. A variety of responsible options ensures everyone who wants a dog can responsibly get one. To learn more about the availability of dogs and finding the right one for you, visit protectpetchoice.com.
The boom of fireworks or the crash of thunder may create a wave of excitement for you. However, for many dogs, these loud noises trigger fear and anxiety similar to a panic attack. This anxiety is a progressive medical condition called canine noise aversion. At least 1 in 3 dogs suffer from noise aversion, but there is a simple solution available for treating noise aversion at home.
Feeling Safe During Fireworks
How to help manage your dog’s noise aversion
(Family Features) The boom of fireworks or the crash of thunder may create a wave of excitement for you. However, for many dogs, these loud noises trigger fear and anxiety similar to a panic attack.
This anxiety is a progressive medical condition called canine noise aversion. You might know it as noise phobia or noise anxiety. At least 1 in 3 dogs suffer from noise aversion, which can leave dog owners and their families feeling helpless during summer fireworks celebrations and rolls of thunder.
A scary struggle
“Harley is my baby, and I hate to see her in any discomfort,” Buell said. “She pants, shakes, tries to hide under furniture or takes cover in the bathtub when she hears thunder or fireworks.”
Harley’s reaction to loud noises is typical of a dog with noise aversion. Other symptoms may include vocalizing fear by barking or whining, seeking extra attention from her owner, destroying furniture or even attempting to escape from home.
Over the years, Buell discussed Harley’s reaction to fireworks and thunder with her veterinarian, Dr. Peter Eeg of Poolesville Veterinary Clinic in Poolesville, Maryland.
“We tried behavior therapy, naturopathic therapies and medications, but nothing helped Harley’s fight-or-flight response to noise,” Dr. Eeg said.
A simple solution
“Harley responded exceptionally well to treatment with SILEO,” Dr. Eeg said. “It also completely resolved my own dogs’ anxiety and fear of loud thunder.”
Clinically proven to be safe and effective without other treatments or training, SILEO is a practical, fast-acting, at-home treatment for noise aversion. It begins working in about 30 minutes to one hour and provides relief for up to 2-3 hours. Your veterinarian should show you how to administer SILEO when it is prescribed.
“We have lots of thunder, fireworks and construction in the neighborhood each summer,” Buell said. “The first time I gave Harley SILEO, she napped through the thunder. It was such a relief to our family to see her relaxed and happy.”
Talk with your veterinarian
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION:
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
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