CANIDAE® Blog: Posted By Date

Summer Noises Are Scary! 10 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Calm

June 18, 2018


By Melissa Lapierre

Every year when the summer months roll around I can’t help but begin to channel the Grinch…

“Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
There’s one thing I hate! All the NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!”

Have you ever stopped to think about how noisy this time of year is? From thunderstorms to outdoor parties and noisy kids playing outside, to one of the things pet owners dread more than anything – 4th of July fireworks – summer is filled with things that cause anxiety for pets and their people.

I live in a part of the country where (thankfully) the summer isn’t very long, but all that really means is people feel the need to take full advantage of it while it lasts, meaning celebrate early, often, and as loudly as possible.

Summer is supposed to be fun, not scary, so here are a few tips to help ensure that both you and your pet enjoy a safe and relaxing season together when the outside world gets a little crazy:

1. Distractions are key: Play music, run a fan or AC, turn on the TV or radio.

2. Playtime! A rousing play session before events begin can help cats and dogs relax and might even tire them out! This would be a good time to break out a brand new toy, too.

3. Keep your cat inside. (Of course, this goes without saying any day of the year.) Take your dog out for walks during quieter times of the day and never leave them outside in your yard unsupervised.

4. Stay home with your pet if storms are in the forecast; they will feel safer with you around.

5. Keep calm and quiet yourself to assure your pet that all is well and normal in their little world. Don’t coddle them excessively. That only serves to confirm in their minds that there’s something to fear.

6. Make sure your pet has a safe place in your home to hide away, and stockpile it with their favorite bedding, toys and CANIDAE treats. Some dogs might prefer the safety of their crate. Don’t forget the litter box for kitty!

7. Lower the blinds and close the windows (make sure they’re secure!) to limit the amount of light and sound your pet is exposed to.

8. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario by making sure your pet’s microchip and/or ID tags are up to date. Current photos are a good idea, too. Statistics show that more pets go missing during the July 4th holiday than any other time of year, and July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters nationwide.

9. If you have friends over for a summer party, make sure they know you have pets in the house and ask that they help keep them safe. If your pet gets stressed out with a house full of people, you may want to keep them in the bedroom during the party.

10. Consider a calming remedy: Thundershirts, pheromone diffusers, flower essences, and even something as simple as calming treats can be very effective.

What do you do to keep your pet safe and calm during the noisy summer months?

Read more articles by Melissa Lapierre

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10 Reasons Dogs Are Better Than Cats

June 15, 2018


By Julia Williams

In yesterday’s post I talked about ten reasons our feline friends win points for being a better pet than a dog. As promised, today it’s the dog’s turn! I’m all about equality in the cat-versus-dog debate, and besides, there are just as many reasons why dogs make the best pet. Nevertheless, it’s really more of a personal preference and what matters most is the relationship you develop with your pet.

Whether you decide to give your heart to a dog or a cat, just give them your all, and they’ll be your BFF for life. If you’re on the fence about whether to adopt a feline or a canine, here are a few things to consider.

Dogs are Better Protectors

There’s a reason you don’t hear about many watchcats. It’s because cats typically run and hide at the first sign of an intruder. It’s pretty hard to protect you or your “stuff” from under the bed. Even if cats didn’t take cover, their small size isn’t much of a deterrent to a criminal. Dogs bark vociferously to announce the presence of a prowler, and many will stand their ground against anyone trying to attack their pack or take off with the TV.

Dogs Love to Go Places

Most cats are homebodies (feline agoraphobics if you will) and going out into the big scary world just isn’t their idea of fun. Most dogs see outings as invigorating; they eagerly explore new places and meet new people, and happily go along on your summer road trips. (In the interest of fairness to felines, I must point out that some cats actually do like going places, and much has been written lately about these intrepid Adventure Cats).

They’re Always Excited to See You

It’s pretty hard to beat the exuberance a dog displays when you return home, whether you’ve been gone an hour or most of the day. “She’s home! She’s home! Yippee!” Their tail wags a mile a minute, they gleefully dance all around you, and it’s crystal clear they’re happy to see you. Dogs make you feel like the king of your castle. A cat MAY meet you at the door (if they feel like it) and even act pleased to see you, but it’s much more subtle.

Dogs Help You Stay Fit

All dogs need regular exercise, which means that as a responsible pet parent you get out there and walk, run, bike, hike or play ball with them… whether you feel like it or not. Having a canine companion encourages you to adopt a more active lifestyle, which benefits both of you.

Dogs are Easier to Train

Oh sure…cats can be trained, but even the most experienced kitty wrangler would have to admit that it takes a lot more time, effort and patience than it does with dogs. It’s not that cats are less intelligent than dogs – they’re just not as eager to please a human, and they’d much rather do what they want than what we want. “Dogs have masters, cats have staff,” as the saying goes.

They Doody Outdoors

Nobody loves having a litter box in the house. It’s stinky, it’s messy, and in a small house it’s next to impossible to find a good location for it. Dogs do their business outside, and while it may not be fun to pick up after them, at least the doo doesn’t have to come in the house.

Dog Sports are Fun

There are dozens of cool sports you can try with your canine companion – dock diving, flyball, nosework, lure coursing, herding, agility, canicross, musical canine freestyle (dance), skijoring, barn hunt and disc dog, to name just a few. Most cats would rather curl up for a catnap than show off their athletic prowess to the crowd.

Dogs Make Better Bedwarmers

Cats take up less of the bed than most dogs do, but that’s precisely why dogs make better bedwarmers. In the winter, it’s so nice to crawl into a bed that’s been warmed up by your canine friend, and their body heat will keep you comfortably snug as a bug all night long.

Dogs Adapt More Readily to Change

Cats are notorious haters of change, and moving to a different home, adopting another pet or changing your work schedule requires more planning and patience to help them adapt.

Dogs Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

Although cats come in many different breeds, colors and coat patterns, they’re all roughly the same body shape and size. Dogs offer much more variety, so whether you like the look of a petite Pomeranian, the stockiness of a Bulldog or the horse-like gait of a Great Dane, there’s a dog that fits your idea of the perfect build. Of course, choosing the right dog breed depends upon a great deal more than appearance, but looks do matter!

Pet parents have a host of reasons why they prefer dogs over cats, or vice versa. There’s no one size fits all, no perfect pet that ticks all the boxes for every person on the planet, and no clear “winner” in the dog-versus-cat debate. I’m of the mind that sharing your home and your heart with any animal makes life more meaningful. The species isn’t what matters – it’s the special bond you create with your best friend!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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Should Pet Owners Be Worried About BPA?

June 14, 2018

BPA
Gone are the days of bland, boring kibble. Today’s pets benefit from a selection of wet and dry foods in a variety of enticing flavors. However, informed pet owners know that not all pet foods are created equal. It’s important to read pet food labels to look for the most nutritionally complete formulas free of corn, soy, and other fillers.

Just as important as the ingredients in your pet’s food is the packaging it comes in. If you’re up on current news, you might be aware of a chemical compound known as BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is commonly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins found in the linings of cans – including canned dog food.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. However, concerned pet owners can reduce exposure to BPA by identifying companies that use non-BPA cans, such as CANIDAE®. Consumers can look for product labeling that reads BPA-free, or contact the pet food manufacturer to inquire about BPA use.

Should pet owners be worried about BPA?

Ongoing studies of dogs suggest that those fed from BPA-tainted cans show connections to certain cancers and reproductive issues. These results are certainly upsetting, but additional research will further confirm or deny the dangers thought to relate to BPA presence in canned pet foods.

Scientists are still exploring the long-term effects of BPA in our pets’ diets. Though, we know that the compound is excreted in the urine of humans and primates, so it doesn’t accumulate in the body very quickly. Dogs and other species are being studied futher, and there is much more to learn about BPA and how it affects dogs and cats. In the meantime, pet owners should be cautious.

Take action

Pet owners worried about BPA should check labels on canned food and avoid storing dry food in plastic containers. Consider switching from plastic food and water bowls to stainless steel or ceramic. Consult your veterinarian with questions about BPA and for updates on the topic.

At CANIDAE®, our dog food and cat food recipes provide your pet with delicious nutrition you can feel good about feeding. And, all of our packaging is BPA-free, so you can rest assured you’re providing your pet with the highest-quality diet.

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10 Reasons Cats Are Better Than Dogs


By Julia Williams

Which makes a better pet – cat or dog? It’s an age old debate, and many pet lovers are firmly entrenched on one side or the other. I’m like Switzerland though; I refuse to take sides because I think both cats and dogs have heaps of endearing qualities. Each species has things that make them wonderful pets and cherished members of the family. So why does the title of this post claim that cats are superior to dogs? Because in many ways they are!

Now…all you dog lovers reading this, don’t get your knickers in a twist just yet. In my next post I plan to give the doggos their due and write about the many ways dogs are better than cats. Even though I do consider myself more a cat person than a dog person, I can be objective and discuss the merits of both.

So here are 10 reasons cats make better pets than dogs, and stay tuned for part two where dogs get the spotlight!

Cats Smell Better

Even a clean dog smells worse than a cat, and if that bath is a bit overdue, pee yew! The only time I notice an odor coming from my cat is when she has a dingleberry stuck to her fluffy pantaloons. Conversely, I can smell that distinct “eau de dog” odor from 50 feet away!

Cats are Remarkably Self Cleaning

Perhaps this is one reason why cats don’t have an odor problem – they spit clean themselves all day long. Cats wash their face after every meal, groom their fur before and after catnaps, and then again before bedtime just for good measure. There’s almost never a need to give them a bath, and unless you want to look like Edward Scissorhands went to town on your arms, don’t even try!

No Walkies Required!

This is probably the biggest reason I don’t get a dog. Where I live, winters are ridiculously long, cold and snowy, and the prospect of taking a dog out for his daily walk in blizzard conditions is just not my idea of living the good life. Cats need exercise too, but the cool thing is you can play with them in the comfort of your warm and cozy home.

Cat Kisses are Sweet, Not Sloppy

The thing I dislike most about my friend’s overly exuberant dog is that he’s continually trying to lick my face. Being slobbered on by a dog is just so wet and icky, and not at all my idea of a good time. Despite the sandpapery feel of a cat’s tongue, their gentle little licks are actually quite pleasant.

Cats Don’t Hog the Bed

You can still share your bed with a cat and not feel like you’re being pushed to the edge and about to land on the floor. Unless your canine bed partner is on the small side – a teacup Yorkie or a Chihuahua, perchance – your allotted bed space is considerably greater with a cat than a dog.

Cats are Less Expensive to Feed

Every time I see a Great Dane, St. Bernard, Newfoundland, Mastiff, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Weimaraner, Irish Wolfhound or similar sized dog, I can’t help but wonder how much food they put away every day. Granted, not all dogs are as big as these “eating machines,” but even small to medium sized canines will cost more to feed than a cat.

Cats Have Quieter Voices

Even when your cat is meowing insistently at 3 in the morning (because their last meal was hours ago and they’re staaaaarving!) it’s not going to wake the neighbors. Ditto when your cat is left home alone – no one is going to file a noise complaint because your cat’s meowing is disturbing the peace.

Cats Leave Your Guests Alone

Your cat won’t stick his nose in your friend’s crotch or hump his leg while you’re sitting there trying to have a conversation. They won’t annoy guests by jumping on them or barking, either. In fact, lots of cats will hide under the bed when company arrives, and stay there until the guests go home.

Cats Live Longer

If you want a pet that will be a part of your family for as long as possible, a cat is statistically the best choice. The average lifespan for a cat is 14 years; for dogs, its 11 years. Of course, there are lots of variables that make it impossible to predict how long either species will live—big dogs and outdoor cats have shorter lifespans, for instance.

No Training Needed

Show your cat where the litter box is (usually just once!) and your “training” is pretty much done. Can’t say the same for a dog; they need considerably more guidance and training in order to be on their best behavior at home, at the dog park, on walks and anywhere else you want to go with them.

There you have it… just a few reasons why a cat might make a better pet than a dog. And don’t forget to check out my canine rebuttal tomorrow, where I’ll discuss ten reasons dogs are better than cats. In the end the choice of which furry friend floats your boat is largely a personal preference. What matters most is that you and your chosen pet share a loving bond and an unforgettable friendship!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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9 Photos That Prove Cats Love Sitting on Their Owners’ Heads

June 13, 2018

If you’ve ever fallen asleep with your cat curled up at your feet, there’s a good chance you’ve woken up to her cuddled on top of your head. Why cats choose to sit and sleep on their owners’ heads is one of the great mysteries of the universe. What makes the top of our noggins so appealing to our feline friends?

Animal behaviorists suspect a cat’s chosen sleeping place has something to do with warmth. Our heads give off heat, and cats find the warmth comfortable. It could also have to do with the fact that cats don’t appreciate being kicked and nudged by our fidgety limbs all night long. Or, maybe our cats just like the way we smell, and settling in on our heads makes them feel secure.

Whatever the reason, there’s no denying cats enjoy nuzzling their bodies as close to our faces as possible. Here are nine photos that prove cats love sitting on their owners’ heads:

That feeling when it’s 4am and your cat is the only one comfortably sleeping…

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“Quiet mom! The night creatures will hear you.”

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“Oh wait, this isn’t my cat tree is it…”

“This is the best seat in the house!”

A post shared by Louis (@louey_the_bandit) on

Sometimes cats have no concept of personal space.

“What? No treats hiding in here?”

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Haven’t you heard? Cat helmets are the newest fashion.

A post shared by Megan (@musingsofmegan) on

“It’s so warm and cozy up here!”

“I can see SO MANY birds from up here!”

These cats sure look comfy perched on their adoring owners’ heads. Along with their chosen sleeping spots, there are so many other things about cats that leave us bewildered. Why do cats’ ears twitch, and what’s so appealing about cardboard boxes? We answer these questions and more in our article, “6 Strange Cat Behaviors Explained.”

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How to Keep a Hyper Dog Calm on Long Road Trips


By Laurie Darroch

It’s wonderful to be able to take your canine companion along on a road trip, but an overly active dog can be a challenge to handle in the confined space of a car. It’s not an impossible task though. You can help your dog adjust to traveling by planning ahead to make the experience more manageable for both of you.

Acclimate with Shorter Trips

Take your dog on some shorter drives before diving into an extended road trip. This will give your canine travel companion a chance to acclimate to the limited space and mobility. Shorter drives will also give you a chance to gauge your dog’s behavior in a car and assess what you might need for her on a long car trip.

Be Prepared

The more organized and equipped you are, the more smoothly the trip will go. It’s a good idea to make a packing list ahead of time so you don’t forget something essential. Be sure to bring along an ample supply of your dog’s CANIDAE food, as well as some tasty treats for rewarding good behavior. Other necessary items to pack include toys or blankets that give your dog comfort, bottled water, food and water bowls, wipes and/or towels for clean ups, and any medications your dog takes regularly.

Rest Stops

Map out your trip ahead of time and make notations for pet-friendly rest stops. Some rest stops not only provide pet areas, but they have a small fenced area where you can let your dog run to burn off some of that pent up energy from sitting in a car. Look online for special stops along the way that cater to dogs, such as local dog parks, dog-friendly restaurants, and hotels that allow pets.

Ventilation

If it is really hot and stuffy in the car, your dog may need a little help getting comfortable. Crack a window or turn on the air conditioning in extremely hot weather. Also, be aware that a dog confined in a crate can get warmer than simply sitting on the seat. If you’re traveling in winter, keep your dog warm with her favorite thick blanket or the heater. Making your dog physically comfortable may help her travel more contentedly.

Bring a Buddy 

If your dog is very hyper, consider bringing someone else along to help keep her entertained. Simply having someone to interact with when you are busy driving may help calm her down.

Restraints

Some dogs are so anxious or excited during car travel that they cannot be allowed to move around freely in the car. A good, comfortable fitting dog harness, crate or carrier may be a better – and safer – option for your dog.

Entertainment

Bring something fun for your dog to keep her from getting restless, anxious and bored during the trip. A chew toy or simple toys you can play with together will help your dog tolerate the long trip better.

Take Frequent Breaks

When you stop for potty breaks, let your dog walk or run her around to stretch her legs, loosen tight cramped muscles, and burn off some energy so she can relax again when she is back in the car. One stop is not enough on a long trip. Dogs need to be able to get out and move around periodically. Make the pit stop an enjoyable event each time. Your dog will enjoy sniffing around and exploring, and may even have a chance to socialize with people and other dogs. The stops stimulate her mind as well, and make the travel time a bit easier.

Feed Lightly

If your dog is prone to motion sickness, do not feed her a big meal right before you leave on a long trip. Save the big meals for rest times away from the car.

Medication

 If your dog is very vocal, hyper, anxious or gets ill in the car, check with your vet to see if there is medication she can take to help settle her down. Start with practice and training first, but if you really want your dog along and her issues severely hamper your travels, your veterinarian may have some options that will help her handle a long drive.

Not all dogs are great travelers. Some are prone to motion sickness and do not like car travel. Others are nervous travelers and have difficulty sitting still. Reward the times your dog behaves in the car, and be sure to let her know when her behavior is unacceptable.

Stay calm and patient when your dog is anxious. Her bad behavior may get worse if she senses you are anxious as well. Your dog needs to feel secure while she travels.

Being prepared will go a long way toward making sure both you and your canine traveling companion have a great time on your road trip!

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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10 Tips for Taking Photos of Your Dog

June 12, 2018

taking photos of your dog
Whether your photos will be displayed in gilded frames or added to an online photo album, you want those images of your prized pup to reflect their best qualities. I have seen snapshots of dogs that are in desperate need of a groom, shots that include a pile of household clutter, and those popular favorites—dogs with big, reflective eyes! I love that the owners of these pets don’t see the flaws in their photos; they only see the wonderful personality and the unconditional love captured for eternity.

Every pet photo is a work of art and a treasure to the person who pushed the shutter button. However, it is the aim of everyone who stands behind a lens to take the best-ever photo of its kind. Pet owners can learn to improve their chances of getting that magical shot by adopting a few “rules for the road.” With a few adjustments, your photos can become gallery worthy.

1. Before reaching for the camera, plan your attack. Choose a location and clean it of distracting items, such as shoes, newspapers, and dishes in the background. If your shot will be outdoors, remove patio furniture, bicycles, and gardening tools from the shot. If you are shooting in a natural environment, consider the background and how the sun will be positioned at the time of your photo session.

2. Ask for help. The best shots are a two-person collaboration. One person handles the dog, and the other focuses on the camera. They should agree on the positioning of the dog and the angle of the shot. The handler is responsible for placing the dog, settling him or her in the spot, and getting an expression for the photo.

3. Use toys. Bring a variety of toys to entertain the dog and keep his attention. A carefully placed squeaky toy or a flying paper ball can work wonders in getting that inquisitive, alert expression you desire.

4. Add treats. Dogs that have been trained with food reinforcers understand their purpose. An occasional reward of a CANIDAE® dog treat can encourage dogs to stick with the program. However, treats can be a little too exciting for some dogs, and they can distract them from the session. Practice ahead of time.

5. Use the best equipment you have. Many photographers recommend mirrorless cameras because they are compact, easy to handle, and have a good deal of power. However, you can get great photos from DSLR cameras and even from some of today’s great cell phone cameras. Be sure to learn about your camera’s features well in advance of the shoot.

6. Shoot at your dog’s level. A common error of amateur photographers is to shoot with the camera pointing down at the dog. To get the best angles, either raise the dog to your level, placing him or her on a table, sofa, hill, etc., or go down on the floor to the dog’s level.

7. With the advent of digital photography, you can take unlimited photos at little expense. Keep your shutter working, and get as many images as you need to find perfection. After the shoot, delete those unflattering images and hold on to the best of the bunch.

8. Most high school students have had a taste of photo adjusting on the computer. Use one of several available programs, perhaps with the help of a friend, and edit out red-eye, eliminate backgrounds, or place the dog in an interesting (fake) location. If needed, look for a Photoshop class at a local school and have fun with the world that opens to you.

9. Go artsy. Not all pet photos need be portraits. Be clever, and create art. The sky’s the limit here.

10. Be impulsive. Contrary to tip #1, be prepared for those situations that just call for a photo. The canine “selfie” could become your favorite shot of all.

Have you snapped a great photo of your dog lately? Tag us on Instagram so we can see! We’re always looking for goofy, silly, and adorable pet photos to feature.

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Water Intoxication in Dogs: How Much is Too Much H2O?


By Linda Cole

Responsible pet owners understand the importance of providing their dog with plenty of fresh clean water to drink on a daily basis. Water is a necessary nutrient needed for overall good health. We know that not drinking enough water can cause dehydration and can also indicate an underlying medical condition, but can dogs drink too much water?

Water accounts for about 80% of your pet’s body weight. It flushes waste products from the body, lubricates joints, aids in delivering oxygen throughout the body, cushions internal tissues, helps regulate body temperature, is vital for proper digestion and necessary for a healthy brain. Not getting enough water can cause your dog to become dehydrated, which can be fatal if left untreated. However, ingesting too much water can also be fatal.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication happens when more water is in body fluids than it can process. This causes sodium levels to become extremely depleted resulting in a shift in electrolyte balance. This is dangerous because sodium maintains muscle and nerve function as well as blood pressure. When excess water dilutes sodium levels it’s in extracellular fluid, which is the fluid outside of cells. As the body tries to balance sodium levels inside the cells while sodium levels outside the cells are depleted, the inflow of water causes cells to swell, including cells in the brain. It can also affect the nervous system.

Dogs at highest risk are those that love to play in a lake or pond retrieving balls and sticks, or diving for toys in a swimming pool. Water intoxication can happen when a dog ingests too much water while having fun. Even snapping at water from a sprinkler or garden hose can put a dog at risk. Some dogs can consume too much water during or after exercising. High energy canines who will jump and dive in water as long as they are allowed to, and dogs who are obsessed with trying to “catch” water from a sprinkler or hose are more at risk.

Any canine regardless of size or breed can develop water intoxication, but symptoms show up more quickly in smaller dogs because it doesn’t take as long for excessive water to build up in their smaller bodies. And dogs that are fit are more prone to water intoxication because they don’t have extra body fat tissue that can absorb extra fluid.

Dogs are much more at risk than cats, but a feline who is deprived of water for some reason, such as accidentally getting locked inside a building for an extended period of time, can end up drinking too much H2O once she’s free.

Symptoms

Water intoxication is a potentially life-threatening condition and can come on quickly, so if you suspect your pet has ingested too much water it’s essential to get him to your vet immediately. Symptoms include loss of coordination, staggering, vomiting, nausea, lethargy, bloating, glazed eyes, dilated pupils, excessive salivating and light colored gums. Severe symptoms include difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures and coma.

Thankfully, water intoxication is not a common condition, but pet owners need to be aware of the risk because it can happen. This condition can be treated with IV fluids to replace electrolytes, diuretics (water pills) to increase the amount of water and salt eliminated from the body in urine, and drugs to reduce swelling in the brain. With aggressive treatment some dogs will recover, but too often many dogs don’t.

Prevention

You can prevent water intoxication by monitoring your dog when he is playing in water. Rough water and pressurized water from a sprinkler or garden hose can cause a dog to ingest a large amount of water in a short period of time. If your dog dives to the bottom of a pool to retrieve toys, is holding a ball, stick or toy while in the water or has his mouth open a lot when in the water, he’s at risk of water intoxication.

There’s nothing wrong with allowing your dog to play in water as long as you have him take frequent breaks to rest. Don’t allow your dog to drink a lot of water after playing hard or exercise. It’s better to have your dog take frequent small breaks for a drink of water to make sure he stays hydrated and doesn’t drink an excessive amount all at once. If you spend time at the beach, make sure to carry fresh water with you. Drinking too much salt water can result in salt poisoning – another life-threatening condition which is the opposite of water intoxication.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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9 Reasons to Adopt a Cat This Summer

June 11, 2018

You’re someone who believes there are two types of pet people: dog lovers and cat lovers. You associate with the latter group with a fiery passion. You happily volunteer to cat sit for your friends and family, watch cat videos at work, and browse adoption websites before going to bed. You know all about the benefits of cat ownership and even have a name picked out, but you’re not sure if you’re ready for the commitment.

After being on the fence about adopting a cat of your own to cuddle and care for, you’re finally thinking about taking the plunge. If you were looking for a sign, here it is. We have nine good reasons you should adopt a cat this summer.

A cat will always help you finish your drink before the ice melts.

And they fit perfectly in your suitcase so you never have to be apart.

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Cats will even help you clean out the fridge!

Cats make the cutest work distractions.

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And they’ll always volunteer to help cook dinner.

Cats are really good about reminding you when you’re low on toilet paper.

And they’re really good study buddies.

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Did you know cats are also terrific mechanics? Just another perk of adopting a cat.

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And cats offer companionship when you’re getting ready for the day.

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These cats certainly are adorable, but taking the step into pet ownership is a big responsibility. Not only do cats need your time and attention, there are a lot of costs associated with welcoming a furry friend into your home. Vet bills, toys, treats, and litter are just a few of the expenses of owning a cat. Of course, you’ll also want to provide your new pet with high-quality cat food.

CANIDAE® Grain Free PURE formulas use simple recipes with limited ingredients for sensitive cats. Choose from a variety of formulas made with fresh meat or fish first, paired with whole ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas, or chickpeas—never corn, wheat, or soy. After you adopt your new best friend from the shelter, make your next stop to pick up a bag of CANIDAE® Grain Free PURE cat food for a happy and healthy future.

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Does Your Kitten Need Obedience School?


By Sierra Koester

You’ve most likely heard about obedience school for dogs. In these classes, dogs learn how to socialize with other dogs as well as how to obey basic commands. The classes also educate you on how to train your dog at home, how to meet your puppy’s needs, and how to effectively bond with your companion.

But what about obedience school for kittens? Contrary to popular belief, it’s essential for kittens to be properly socialized and trained, too! “Kitten kindergarten” gives you the opportunity to help your feline friend learn how to be a socialized and well-behaved cat.

What is Kitten Kindergarten?

Kitten kindergarten was created by the Australian veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Kersti Seksel, less than a decade ago. The idea soon caught on, and kitten kindergarten is now offered by SPCAs, Humane Societies, animal behaviorists and veterinary clinics across North America.

Kitten kindergarten is an educational, training and socialization program for kittens and their humans. Most classes accept kittens eight to 13 weeks of age. Kittens develop much faster than puppies, and this is the time frame in which kittens are most receptive to learning to socialize with other cats and people. When a kitten reaches 14 weeks of age, he becomes more fearful and is more likely to experience new situations negatively.

Before you attend a class, your kitten will need to be examined by a veterinarian and get a certificate of health. Your kitten will also need his first set of kitten vaccines to participate in class.

What Happens During Class?

•Socialization: Kittens have an opportunity to socialize with other kittens and people. The classroom often contains toys and scratching posts to encourage kittens to play. Sometimes kittens play games during class to learn how to socialize and play with other cats appropriately. Classes focus on making socialization a positive experience for your kitten. When your kitten has positive experiences interacting with other kitties, he is more likely to accept new cats as an adult, which will come in handy if you decide to add to your furry family.

In addition, kittens can learn to be less anxious of strangers by having positive interactions with them. When kittens learn to associate strangers with rewards, such as petting, play, or CANIDAE kibble (which can be used as treats),  they are more likely to grow up to be friendlier towards strangers. The socialization aspect of kitten kindergarten is especially important for kitties who were taken away from their mothers and littermates too soon, because they have not learned the important lesson of bite inhibition.

Kittens who are exposed to new situations, unfamiliar people and other cats during this critical developmental stage are more likely to grow up to be social and friendly adult cats. Additionally, socialized kittens are better able to handle everyday stresses, such as changes in their routines.

•Education: Kitten kindergarten teaches you about typical cat behavior, as well as how to use positive training methods to shape your cat’s behavior.

Kitten kindergarten will also teach you how to keep your cat healthy, how to prevent health issues, and how to know when you should take your cat to the vet. Because classes are typically led by experts, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions about cat health and behavior.

•Grooming and Handling: In class, you’ll practice grooming your kitten with a comb or brush. You’ll need to bring your own grooming tools to class, as these will not be provided or shared. You’ll also begin to handle your kitten’s paws, touch his tummy, and look inside his mouth. Handling your kitten in this way helps prepare him for vet visits. If the class is held in a veterinary clinic, your kitten will be able to adapt to the smells, sights and sounds at the office, which will help him feel more comfortable at vet visits in the future.

Most kitten kindergarten programs have weekly classes. This provides a great opportunity to help your kitten adapt to his carrier and traveling in the car. You’ll learn how to make your kitten’s carrier a safe and comfortable place that he actually enjoys.

Kitten kindergarten classes give your kitten an opportunity to learn to socialize with other people and cats, and the classes give you a chance to learn essential cat caretaking skills.

Have you taken kitten kindergarten classes? What was it like? Please share your experience with us in the comments section below!

Read more articles by Sierra Koester

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Should I Take My Dog to the Vet if I Find a Tick?

June 8, 2018

find a tick
The fear of contracting Lyme disease is very real for people who spend time outdoors. This disease is spread by ticks, whose bites deliver bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi into the bloodstream of their victims, which can include both people and pets. Ticks that carry the disease (the blacklegged tick [Ixodes scapularis], also known as deer or bear ticks) are commonly found in forest areas with tall grasses and thick brush. As dogs pass through woods and marshes, the ticks can jump on and cling to their skin with a blood-sucking bite.

Once a tick has been attached for 48 hours, it can transmit the disease, so it’s critically important to check your dog and yourself after every outing. But what should you do if you find a tick on your dog? It’s not necessary to take a dog to the vet if you discover a tick and are confident in your ability to remove it. However, if you need training or have any questions about your findings, the safest option is to seek veterinary care.

Symptoms

Lyme disease is especially worrisome to residents of the northeast United States, and the symptoms can be quite devastating. Infected dogs may exhibit fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, muscle weakness, stiffness, pain and/or swelling of the joints. The disease can progress to cause kidney failure, cardiac damage, and neurological abnormalities, so pet owners should take the disease very seriously, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors: hunters, hikers, campers, and so on.

Your veterinarian may test your dog for Lyme disease, but a positive result is not necessarily troublesome. Dogs who show no clinical symptoms may not need treatment, but not all veterinarians agree on this topic. Dogs who test positive to the initial screening can be further evaluated to determine if their disease is recent and active. In problematic areas, such as most of New England, annual Lyme disease testing is part of a dog’s annual physical, and vaccinations are available for pets to avoid contracting the disease. Discuss Lyme disease with your veterinarian to determine if your dog is a candidate for the vaccination.

Treatment of Lyme disease

Fortunately, most dogs infected with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotic treatment. Doxycycline or Amoxicillin may be prescribed when symptoms trigger owners to seek diagnosis—usually a few months after infection. Although both pets and people get the disease, they cannot transmit it to each other. However, if either brings ticks into the home or outdoor environment, the ticks could fall into carpet, clothes or plants, and then transfer to other dogs or people.

Removing a tick

Keep a pair of tweezers in your dog’s emergency medical kit and use them to grab the tick. Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, squeeze, and pull up to remove the parasite. Don’t twist or crush the tick; try to keep it in tact. Take a picture of the tick and keep it on your cell phone in case you need to share it with your veterinary professionals for identification. Place the tick in a sealed plastic sandwich bag, and dispose of the bag in your trash container. Wash your hands and disinfect the dog’s skin and coat. Thoroughly clean the grooming area, too.

Protection

You will find several products on the market to protect your dog from ticks, but using these products does not eliminate the need for thorough examination of your dog after each outing. You will find repellent collars and bandanas, which can be worn separately or together to protect your pooch. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to learn about sprays and other protection from these dangerous insects. Be prepared and you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors worry-free.

For more on protecting your dog from Lyme disease, read our article on “Should Your Dog Get the Lyme Disease Vaccine?

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Is Your Pet in Your Life for a Reason?


By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered why a particular pet was in your life? Beyond the basics of companionship, friendship, love, laughter and happiness, is there something else, something deeper perhaps? Could there be a specific reason why a pet is in your life, and vice versa? Is there a reason why it’s this pet and not a different one…a dog instead of a cat, or a Corgi instead of a Collie?

Coincidence or Divine Intervention?

Plenty of people are of the mind that nothing in life happens by chance and that every person – and every pet – that comes into our lives is there by design. Just as many other people believe there IS such a thing as coincidence and that the humans and animals in our lives are there purely by chance. Who is right? Who knows – there’s no real proof one way or the other. There is a saying that perfectly sums it up: “One man’s divine intervention is another man’s coincidence.”

I would like to believe there is a reason that each individual pet came into my life. I can even look back and come up with plausible theories for why certain cats came to me when they did. The reasons actually make sense to me, too, but in the end I just don’t know. We see what we’re looking for, I suppose. That said, if you really stop to think about your current pet and any that have come before, I’m willing to bet you might also come up with reasons for the union.

Kitten Saves a Soldier’s Life

I’ve read so many stories about animals who profoundly changed a person’s life that it’s hard for me to believe these relationships are merely a coincidence. One such story I came across recently told of a U.S. soldier who, while serving in Iraq, suffered a traumatic brain injury from an explosion. Once home, he grappled with PTSD and had to endure horrific headaches. Even more troubling was that he felt all alone. Because his wounds were invisible, he felt that no one understood what he was going through or even believed that he was suffering.

It got so bad that he decided he was going to end his life. He wrote a note and went outside to smoke his last cigarette. While he was sitting there smoking, a tiny kitten crawled out from the bushes, and came over to rub against his legs. He broke down and cried, and thought maybe the kitten somehow knew there were things he couldn’t handle. “I stopped thinking about all my problems and started thinking about all of his problem and what I could do to help him,” he said.

He decided not to end his life that night, and started feeding the cat. The kitten’s unconditional love and emotional support changed his outlook. It helped him to see that he could not only care for someone else but that others could care for him. There can be no doubt that this kitten coming into this soldier’s life at that exact moment in time saved his life.

James Bowen and Streetcat Bob

Here’s another man-meets-cat tale that perfectly illustrates how a pet can profoundly alter the course of a person’s life. James, a London street musician and recovering drug addict, was really struggling to find his way in life. One day he came across a stray ginger cat who was also clearly in need of rescuing. He took the cat in, and life took a dramatic upturn for both of them.

James wrote several bestselling books, one of which was turned into a movie. He now has an animated series and legions of adoring fans. It’s truly the most heartwarming rags-to-riches story I’ve ever heard. Who knows where James – or Bob – would be today if they had not found one another? Most likely not enjoying tremendous success and living life to the fullest. You can read more about James and Bob in our article, A Street Cat Named Bob.

Who Rescues Who? 

All of my own cats have been rescues of one sort or another. In every case, no matter what the circumstance, I have felt that they rescued me right back. They came into my life at just the right time, with just the right stuff to help me in the way I needed most at the time. I save them, and they save me!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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