Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

  • How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Sofa

    how to stop your cat from scratching the sofa

    You absolutely can teach your cat to not use your furniture as a scratching post — but before we delve into the specifics of how to stop your cat from scratching the sofa, let’s start by talking about why he may be doing this in the first place.

    Since cats often scratch to shed their outer nail sheaths, regular nail trims might help reduce the scratching. But there could be something more serious going on: Retreating beneath the sofa could indicate that your cat isn’t feeling well, either physically or emotionally.

    A cat who is fearful, anxious or stressed may take shelter under a couch or bed to escape an upsetting situation — for example, a new baby or new pet in the home. And cats will often mask pain or illness, so your cat may be hiding, because he’s sick or injured.

    In either case, the first step in dealing with the behavior is to schedule a visit to the veterinarian to determine if your cat is suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition, is in some type of physical discomfort, or if he’s anxious or stressed about something in his environment. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist for extra help as needed.

    Redirect the Scratching

    Once your cat has a clean bill of health, you can start to address the behavior. The goal is to redirect your cat’s scratching away from the furniture to something more cat-friendly, like a designated scratching post. This is the best way to stop your cat from scratching the sofa.

    Cats will frequently scratch furniture because they lack acceptable replacement activities and spaces that suit their tastes. Teaching your feline to stay clear of the furniture will require providing cat-specific spaces that are more desirable than the area under your couch.

    Create resting and play spaces that cater to your cat’s preferences, including spaces where he can sleep, hide and survey his surroundings.

    Burrow beds, tunnels, cat trees — especially those with covered areas and den spaces — allow your cat to watch the action in your home — or escape from it if needed.

    Tunnels and boxes also provide spaces to play or just chill. Your cat’s crate or carrier can also serve as a quiet resting place when he wants to be alone.

    This article was originally posted here.

  • Don’t Make These 5 New Dog Owner Mistakes

    I love meeting first-time dog owners. They’re so enthusiastic about their pups — or their adult dogs if they’ve adopted from a shelter. I want to do everything I can to make sure they get off on the right paw with their new pet. Because I talk to so many of them, I see some of the same mistakes over and over. They probably don’t seem like mistakes, especially to a new pet parent, but they sure can cause problems with a dog’s health and behavior in the long run. If you have just acquired a dog or know someone who has, here are five common new dog owner mistakes and my doggy do-list for doin’ it right.

    Doggy Don’ts

    1. They’re not hands-on. Dogs need lots of handling throughout their lives. They’ll be visiting the veterinarian — at least I hope so! — and maybe seeing a groomer. They’ll meet kids, neighbors, and strangers who may want to pet them — with permission, of course. They need to have their teeth brushed and their nails trimmed, and they will likely need to take pills or other types of medication. The best thing you can do to prepare your dog for all of this necessary attention is to get him used to have all parts of his body handled. He should be willing to let you touch him anywhere, including his paws and more private areas.

    This is an easy thing to practice every day. While he’s lying next to you or on your lap as you watch television, handle his paws, grasping them firmly but kindly. Look inside his ears or give them a sniff. Lift up his tail and check out his behind. Stroke his belly and give the groin area a going-over. Lift his lips and look at his teeth. You get the idea. This is also a way for you to learn what’s normal so you can monitor his body condition and catch problems early.

    Start brushing his teeth on day one. The earlier he’s accustomed to it, the more accepting he’ll be of it as a normal part of his life. Same with trimming his nails. Do one or two nails a day, just barely shaving off the edge. Be careful not to “quick” him.

    To get him used to take medication, pinch off bits of Pill Pockets or cheese and give as treats. When he needs to have one with a pill tucked inside, he’ll usually accept it eagerly.

    2. They don’t measure food. Of course, it’s important for puppies to grow, but we don’t want them to grow too much or too fast. That can put undue pressure on their still-forming musculoskeletal structure, which can lead to orthopedic problems later in life.

    Talk to your veterinarian about the best type of food for your dog. Growing large breeds can benefit from diets that permit slow but steady growth, while small dogs tend to need energy-dense foods. In either case, it’s important to measure your dog’s food and give it at specific times rather than free feeding (leaving food out all the time). This helps to ensure that he doesn’t eat too much and become overweight.

    3. They don’t use food puzzles. I tell people to throw out their dog’s food dish. Instead, exercise his brain and body by feeding him using a food puzzle or food-dispensing device. Measure out the appropriate amount of food, place it in the toy and watch him “hunt” for his meals by pushing or otherwise manipulating it to get the food out. This is a great way to keep him busy while you’re at work and to make sure he gets some physical activity and mental stimulation.

     

    This article was originally posted here.