Getting a New Dog

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by on February 26, 2013 · 0 comments

Are you thinking of getting a dog? Choosing to bring a new dog into your life is a major decision. Be sure you are ready for a dog before you start the process. It is also essential that you understand the cost of dog ownership. If you have decided that the time is right, congratulations! Now it is time to figure out what type of dog is right for you. There are several factors to consider before choosing a dog. Most importantly, examine your current lifestyle and consider what adjustments you are willing to make for a dog. Look at the needs of your family – especially if you have children or other pets. People with allergies, or those who prefer low-shedding dogs, might want to look into hypoallergenic dog breeds. Next, think about the ideal size, energy level and age of your new dog. Then, determine where to get your new dog. Just remember that getting a dog requires a firm commitment to responsible dog ownership.  Here are some tips to help you choose the best dog for you and your family. [click to continue…]

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Substances Unsafe for Cats

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by on February 14, 2013 · 0 comments

This is by no means a list of everything on the planet that’s bad for cats. But it’s a few of the things that should be avoided by themselves or as an ingredient in something else.

Alpha lipoic acid
Also referred to as lipoic acid. It’s an antioxidant that increases production of glutathione and can cause gastrointestinal distress and low blood sugar in cats.

Chocolate
This contains the alkaloid theobromine which is toxic to cats. It also contains caffeine and may contain sugar.

Dairy
Dairy products include milk, cream, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, whey, sour cream, kefir, casein, and ice cream. Milk is a hormonal growth fluid produced by a mother for her young of the same species. Cats do not “milk” cows (or mice) and, after weaning, have no need for dairy products. A weaned cat isn’t equipped with the enzymes needed to digest the protein and sugar in dairy products. Plus, studies with cats show that casein (a protein in milk) interferes with the absorption of other nutrients. [click to continue…]

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Why Switch to a Raw Food Diet?

Cats are obligate carnivores and their systems have evolved from thousands of years of eating a raw food diet in the wild. A raw meat diet supplemented with grains, vegetables and fruits, taurine, certain enzymes, and essential fatty acids will closely approximate the food your cat would get in the wild. Controlled tests using two groups of cats, getting either raw or cooked food (otherwise identical) revealed:

  • After three generations, the “cooked food” group could no longer reproduce
  • The same group developed serious medical problems, including mouth and gum infections, bladder problems and heart lesions
  • The weakened colony was switched back to raw foods and within four generations became completely healthy again [click to continue…]

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How to Play With Your Cat

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by on January 25, 2013 · 0 comments

You enjoy playing with your cat, or you wouldn’t be reading this article. Interactive playing with cats is not only fun, but it provides valuable exercise for cats of all ages; just as important, it strengthens the feline-human bond, which is all-important to genuine cat lovers.

Kittens

Kittens will play with anything. Just keep dangerous items like string, plastic bags, small ingestibles, and just about everything else away from the insatiable Mr. Kitten if you’re not supervising him. Many kitten owners will tell you that the only thing known to mankind that can keep up with a kitten is…another kitten. You’ll enjoy playing with him with interactive toys, but be aware that he should learn early-on that your hands are not toys. Ignore this advice, and you may learn to regret it when he grows up and develops full-sized teeth and claws. [click to continue…]

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Training your dog to go to his place can be helpful when you need him to settle down or get out from under your feet. You can pick one place in your home or a different place in each room to send your dog when you tell him to go to his place. This command is fairly easy to teach your dog. Here’s how to do it:

What You Will Need

Your dog should know how to lie down on command before you teach him to go to his place. Spend several training sessions working on down. Once your dog is able to reliably lie down on command, you’re ready to move on to the place command.

Next, decide where you want your dog to go when you give him the command that sends him to his place. A bed or area rug works well. If you want to be able to use the command in any room, use a portable bed or mat that you can easily move from room to room. [click to continue…]

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Dog grooming supplies are necessary in order to keep up with your dog’s grooming needs. Physical maintenance, like care of coat and nails, is one of your dog’s basic needs. When choosing general supplies for your dog, do not forget the grooming equipment. Here are a few basics to help you choose the best dog grooming supplies and equipment for your own dog.

1. Dog Brushes and Combs

Dogs can have so many hair types, so it’s no surprise that there are so many types of dog brushes available. Choose a brush or comb that best suits your dog’s hair. Your dog may benefit from more that one type of brush or comb.

  • Bristle Brushes work well for most hair types. Bristle types vary from soft to firm and from long to short.
  • Wire Pin Brushes are best for dogs with medium to long hair.
  • Slicker Brushes are used to break up tangles and mats in medium to long-haired dogs. [click to continue…]

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How to Train a Dog to Wave

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by on January 18, 2013 · 0 comments

Training a dog to lift his paw to wave hello or good-bye is not too difficult. Your friends are sure to be impressed by this cool dog trick!

What You Need

To train a dog to wave, all you need is your dog and some yummy dog treats. You should also have your clicker handy if you are using clicker training.

Here’s How to Do It

  1. Before you start training a dog to wave, he should first know how to shake paws. Waving is built from what he already knows how to do when he shakes. If he hasn’t learned to shake yet, you should go back and work on this skill with your dog.
  2. Give your dog the command “shake.” When he lifts his paw to shake your hand, move your hand up slightly so he has to move his paw up a bit to get to your hand.
  3. When your dog moves his paw up farther than he would to shake, click your clicker or tell him “good,” and give him a treat. [click to continue…]

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Dealing with a Growling Dog

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by on January 15, 2013 · 0 comments

Dog growling is one way dogs communicate with us. They growl to let us know they are afraid, or in pain, or need us to back away from their possessions or territory. Often our first instinct is to run from a growling dog or to punish him for growling. Because growling can be the first sign of more serious aggression, it’s important to handle a growling dog appropriately.

Never Punish a Growling Dog

Many dog owners get understandably upset when a dog growls. Their first reaction is often to suppress the growling by scolding or punishing the dog. This is never a good idea. By teaching your dog that growling is not an acceptable behavior, you are taking away his ability to warn you that he may bite. Often we hear stories of dogs who bite with no warning. In many cases, this is because the owners trained the dog not to give a warning growl first.

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Many of our dogs’ common behavior problems are caused by boredom. When your dog gets bored, he begins to look for ways to entertain himself. This leads to inappropriate chewing, excessive barking, and digging. While training can help with some of these problems, there are several other things you can do to curb your dog’s destructive behavior.

Here are some tips for busting your dog’s boredom, and putting an end to problem behaviors:

Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise

If your dog is being destructive, chances are he’s looking for a way to burn off energy and bust boredom. What better way to burn energy than exercise? There are a number of ways to add exercise to your dog’s daily routine. It can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood or a game of fetch in the backyard. High energy dogs may need something more. Border Collies, pit bulls, and other high energy dogs may  do well with jogging or getting involved in a dog sport, such as agility. [click to continue…]

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We all agree that a clean house is not only desirable, but essential to the health of both humans and the cats who share our homes. Ironically though, our homes are full of household cleaning supplies which can be harmful to our cats, things like chemical cleaners, disinfectants, and insect repellants. In an effort to protect our cats from exposure to toxic substances, while keeping our homes free from dirt and germs, the About Cats Forum members brainstormed and came up with a list of helpful “clean green” tips and ideas. We have discovered that there are a number of safe products we already have on hand that can be diverted toward safe cleaning.

Vinegar

Vinegar has a multitude of uses both inside and outside the home. Here are just a few:

  • Windows: Mix 1/8 cup vinegar with a pint of water for a great window and glass cleaner. Use in a spray bottle and use newspapers to wipe and polish. For a particularly dirty window, add a tablespoon of dish detergent to the mix. [click to continue…]

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