Can Dogs Stand Cold Weather? When is it Too Cold for Dogs?

I live in Western New York, so I know what cold is.  Winter can be dangerous here – not only because of snow and ice that make driving hazardous, but because the temperature gets so cold that people and animals can actually die.  This is a serious issue, and dog owners need to educate themselves about dogs and cold weather.  Our dogs are no more capable of surviving in frigid temperatures than we are…so let’s not expect them to! Can dogs stand cold weather? When is it too cold for dogs?  Let’s review some of the times your dog is outside in cold weather and see what your guidelines should be.

Playing in the Snow with Your Dog

Can Dogs Stand Cold WeatherLots of dogs love (love love love) playing in the snow, so go ahead and let them enjoy it.  I had a poodle named Pepi when I was a kid and he loved the snow.  He’d go outside, put his snout down, then run as fast as he could, pushing the snow along with his nose.  And Huskies…they’re like polar bears!  So if your dog enjoys it, go ahead and let him play in the snow.  But always make sure you look for signs that he’s too cold.   A dog who gets too cold could develop hypothermia – that’s when their body temperature falls below normal. If their body temperature continues to fall, then muscles stiffen, breathing and heart rates slow, and he could actually die. Frostbite is also a possibility.  Ears, tail and paws are the most vulnerable to frostbite damage.

There is no absolute number that dictates what is too cold for dogs.  Wind chills, for example, can make the air feel colder than the thermometer reads, and this affects dogs as much as it affects us.  A freezing rain, sleet, ice – or a wet, heavy snow can all contribute to dangerous conditions.  The trick is, if you’re not comfortable and you have to bundle up, your dog could be in danger.

Which Breeds Are Most Vulnerable?

Some dog breeds are bred to live in colder climates.  Some examples are Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Alaskan Malamutes.  These breeds generally have fewer problems with cold weather if they are used to living in it.  However, dogs not used to cold winters may suffer even if they have a heavy coat of fur.  A Husky who lives in Florida, for example, won’t do well in frigid temperatures because he’s not used to it.

As a general rule, dogs with short fur will not cope well with frigid temperatures. Smaller breeds with short legs who have to wade through snow will get cold very easily.  Puppies, older dogs, and dogs who are ill will also feel cold more quickly. And some dogs, just like people, just get cold easily.  Do you live with someone who walks around bundled up like an Eskimo while you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt and sweating?  Well, dogs can be the same way.

You Need to Know Your Dog’s Limits When it Comes to Cold

Your dog should be visiting the veterinarian regularly.  Healthy dogs are more capable of handling cold weather, but dogs who may have developed things like kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes will be less able to maintain their body temperature.  Knowing your dog’s health status is crucial. For help paying for medical care for your pet, go to Help With Vet Bills – Ways to Pay for What Your Pet Needs.

Better Safe Than Sorry

You should stay outside with your dog if it’s really cold and especially if the wind is blowing.  Go outside with him, and after he’s done his business, bring him right back in.  Don’t leave him outside. Dogs don’t exhibit signs of trouble until it’s pretty serious.  Just don’t risk it – bring him in.

Dogs Who Live Outside

I personally don’t agree with putting dogs in dog houses.  I honestly believe if you don’t want the dog living in the house with you and your family, then you have no business having a dog.  So many families think it’ll be fun to get a puppy – then they put in no effort whatsoever to educate themselves about caring for the dog, training it, etc., then (and it’s usually after months of abuse of the animal), they get frustrated and the dog winds up living in the back yard in a doghouse.  If you know someone who this has happened to, please let them know there is help available. There’s a website called The Online Dog Trainer that has more than 250 videos on training dogs and solving absolutely any dog training issue you can think of. Maybe if the person you know can get control of the dog, they’ll let the poor thing back in the house.

Anyway, I just don’t agree with dogs living in doghouses.  Especially since it seems more common than not that dogs who live in dog houses are rarely let off the chain – get very little real exercise and even less love or affection, and some are even left out in scorching temperatures with no water.  And of course – and this is one of the reasons why I’m writing this article – some dogs are left outside to freeze (sometimes to death) in the winter.  Most dog houses, I’m assuming and probably assuming correctly, are not properly insulated and…here’s a question…do these dog owners know how to provide water for this animal that’s not frozen? Honestly, don’t even get me started.  Ugh…

Walking Your Dog in the Winter

If you and your dog go for walks in cold weather, realize your dog may need a coat and even possibly boots.  You can find dog coats and boots pretty cheap at Walmart, or even cheaper on Ebay. Unless your dog has a thick coat of fur, he’ll probably need a coat if you need one. And as for boots, remember that winter roads are generally treated with de-icers, which can seriously harm your dog’s paws.  If he won’t wear boots, then always wash his paws with a warm washcloth when you get home from the walk if he’s been walking on pavement where salt has been used.  Don’t let him lick his paws clean himself; some chemical de-icers can make him sick.

Watch for Signs He’s Getting Too Cold

The most important thing you can do when it’s cold is to pay attention to your dog whenever he’s outside.  Look for the following signs that he’s getting too cold:

Shivering. This is an obvious sign that he’s cold.

Stops Moving.  If your dog stops walking or playing, he may be too cold and you should take him back inside.

Barking or Whining.  If your dog starts whining or barking, especially while looking right at you, he’s probably trying to tell you he’s had enough.

Holding Up a Paw.  If your dog is holding up a paw, he may have balls of ice or snow between the pads of his feet, or his paws are simply getting too cold.

Getting Anxious.  If your dog is beginning to show anxiety or even fear, like trying to climb up your leg or get you to pick him up – he may even try coaxing/leading you back toward the house – then don’t make him get desperate.  Take him inside.

Looking for an Escape or Safe Place.  Some dogs will begin looking around (frantically if they’re freezing), trying to find a place that might provide shelter.

Winter can be a really fun time for dogs and their owners.  I’ve had a lot of fun over the years playing with my dogs in the snow.  But just be careful, make sure you’re paying attention to their condition, and take them inside immediately if they show signs that they’re too cold.  Have fun and be safe!

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How Long Can I Leave a Cat Home Alone?

It’s true that the reason many people own cats to begin with is because they believe cats can be left home alone for long periods of time. They think leaving out a big bowl of food, another bowl with water, and scooping the litter box before they leave is enough.  But after reading this article, I think you’ll realize that may not be so.

How Long Can I Leave a Cat Home Alone?

The truth is, leaving cats home alone for any longer than one day just isn’t a good idea. Here’s why:

how to stop your cat from peeing on the bedCats Get Sick

First, cats do get sick, and if no one is around for several days, your cat won’t get the help he needs until you return. Most veterinarians know at least one client who has come home to a desperately sick or dead cat. Read that sentence again…how would you feel if you arrived home to find your cat dead, then realizing he could’ve been saved if someone had been around?

Cats Shouldn’t Be Eating Dry Food

Most veterinarians will tell you that cats need a moist diet.  Kidney disease is the most common result of feeding a cat a lifelong diet of dry cat food.  A few crunchies here and there is ok, but the bulk of their diet should be moist (either fresh or canned food).  Obviously, you can’t go on vacation and leave moist food out. For more information on what you should be feeding your cat, refer to this article, Best Food for Your Cat.

how to get your cat to use the litterboxMost Cats Object to a Dirty Litter Box

Object.  That means won’t go in it!  Don’t act surprised when you come home to find the litter box overflowing, then a mess on the floor either near the litter box – or absolutely anyplace else in the house.

What To Do If You’re Going To Be Away from Home for Longer Than One Day

My recommendation is to arrange for someone to visit your cat at least once a day to feed him, scoop the litter box, make sure he has fresh water, and to spend a little time with him. If you have even one neighbor who has cats, it’s likely they’d be happy to check in on your kitty for you – especially if you offer to do the same for them when they’re away.  Otherwise, a friend, relative, or a professional pet sitter could do a daily visit.

A far less desirable option is to board your cat. This is almost never ideal, because cats can become stressed when kenneled away from home.  Stress leads to digestive upset, and a kitty who stops eating is very quickly a sick kitty. Also, most kennels require vaccinations that you wouldn’t normally choose for your pet. If you must board your cat, try to find a cats-only facility.  Cats do best in a quiet, calm environment free of barking dogs.

I Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!  Debra 🙂

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Cat Stress Relievers – 10 Things That Stress Your Cat Out!

Most of us know that cats are easily stressed.  Even a minor variation in your cat’s daily routine can make him a nervous wreck!  Major changes, like moving or the arrival of a new cat, dog or baby into the household can send even the most mellow kitty into crazy mode. In these circumstances, learning about cat stress relievers is a must.

One of the reasons cats get stressed might be because cats equate routine with control.  Change the routine, they lose control.  Or at least that’s the way they see it.  If cats don’t feel like they’re in control of their environment, then tend to get anxious.

Many people don’t realize how we can create stress for our cat.  Here’s a list of some triggers, as well as ways to relieve your cat’s stress.

10 Things That Stress Your Cat Out

1.  Punishing Him for Acting Like a Cat.

Don’t ever hit your cat – even a slight swat will accomplish only one thing – and that’s teaching him to fear you.  Yelling has the same effect – it will scare him off, but won’t teach the cat what behavior you don’t like. Instead of yelling at your cat or physically assaulting them (I mean it – knock it off!), distract him with a toy or activity to SHOW him what you want him to do instead of whatever behavior he’s doing that’s bugging you.  Teach your cat what’s acceptable and what’s not by SHOWING him. And when he does right – reward him with affection and/or treats.  And make sure your cat has things he can climb on and scratch.  Get him a scratching post or kitty play condo.  These things will keep him busy, active, and away from your stuff!

2.   Assuming He Understands What You’re Saying.

Most animals, including cats, use body language to communicate.  That’s why our talking to them and expecting them to understand just doesn’t make sense.  Instead of talking to your cat then getting frustrated when he gives you a blank stare, try teaching your kitty instead.  For example, show the cat what you’d like him to do (sit, for example) – by gently pushing him into a sitting position – then reward him with affection and treats.  If you want him to pee in the litterbox, pick him up, place him in the litterbox – when he’s done, reward him with affection and/or treats.  Whenever the cat is doing something you don’t want him to do, redirect him to what you do want him to do. Find much more information on how to train your cat in this article, How to Train Your Cat, or at this website.

3.  Grasping His Head.

Dogs like it when people come up to them, cup their head in our hands, and ruffle their ears…know what I mean?  But cats hate this. If you’ve approached a cat this way, I’m sure you’re noticed they throw it in reverse immediately and recoil.   Cats are much more comfortable with gentle, long strokes from the head or neck area to the tail, or a gentle scratching around the ears or under the chin.

4.  Holding Onto Him to Hug or Kiss Him.

When you try to hold your cat, he may perceive it as being restrained – which is what happens in the wild when a predator catches a cat.  In order to be comfortable, your cat needs to maintain his ability to move freely and escape. Sometimes cats will get stressed out when people hold them, even when we’re being affectionate.  Many a human chest (including my own!) has been torn to shreds by a cat launching off of us with claws out!  The general rule is that cats like to have all of their interactions on their own terms…it’s how they control their environment like we talked about earlier.  It’s just best to let the cat come to you instead of trying to catch or restrain it.

5.  Not Taking Care of the Litterbox.

Most cats will happily use the litterbox and not the floor or carpet as long as you keep the litterbox clean. (If yours doesn’t, you can get help on this website). Cats are clean animals by nature. I had a female cat who refused to use the litterbox if it was the least bit dirty!  The litterbox, ideally, should be scooped at least once daily (more often if you have more than one cat using it), and dumped with litter replaced at least every week.  Every two weeks is acceptable, but….well…gross in my opinhion.  Would you want to pee in a toilet that hadn’t been flushed in two weeks?  Eeeww!  There are self-cleaning litterboxes out there.  If you really hate scooping cat litter, maybe you could give one of these a try.

6. Picking a Bad Location for the Litterbox.

How would you like it if your toilet was located in the middle of the living room?  The same logic applies to cats.  Don’t put the cat’s litterbox in an open, noisy, high-traffic area of your home.  They want a private, safe spot to do their business just like us.  Put the litterbox in a quiet area of your home where the cat isn’t likely to encounter people, other pets or loud appliances.  If your cat is older, make sure the litterbox is in a location where it is easily accessible to your cat.

7.  Getting Mad When He Attacks!

It’s tempting and fun to wiggle your toes or fingers under the blanket to watch your cat’s reaction.  But it’s also really (really really) stupid of you to be surprised when he goes for it and sinks his claws and teeth into you!  Don’t get mad at your cat for being a cat.  If you mimick the behavior of prey, he’ll attack. Use toys instead of your fingers and toes!

8.  Leaving Your Cat Alone For Days.

Some people think that because cats are independent and don’t have to be let outside to go to the bathroom, that it’s OK to leave them home alone for days on end.  It’s not OK.  Read that again.  IT’S NOT OK.

Number one, cats really shouldn’t be eating a diet of dry food alone – they need a moist diet.  So leaving a big bowl of dry food out for them to eat off of for days just isn’t a good thing.  Also, many cats will gorge themselves in you leave out a large amount of food.  They’ll eat the bulk it if within hours after you leave, then throw up and have nothing to eat until you return.  This is stressful for your cat, not to mention downright dangerous for their health.

Another thing is the litterbox.  How long do you think it will take your cat to look for someplace else to relieve himself once several days have gone by without the litterbox being scooped and it’s overflowing with poop and pee? And finally, your cat could injure himself or become ill during your absence and no one would know.

I recommend asking a neighbor, friend, relative, or professional pet sitter to stop by each day during your absence to feed and water your cat, scoop the litterbox, and spend a few minutes with him to make sure he’s OK, content and healthy. If you have even one fellow cat owner in your neighborhood, then you almost surely have an available cat-sitter.  Most cat owners are happy to help take care of someone’s kitty while they’re away. And you can return the favor for them next time they go on vacation!

9.  Using Scented Candles, Plug-Ins, Perfume, or Strong Smelling Chemicals.

Cats are very sensitive to odors.  They can easily become overwhelmed by smells in the air, on clothing or bedding, and even on you. Try to keep your use of chemicals of all kinds to a minimum, especially the ones that have a strong odor.  Try using organic, non-toxic home cleaners instead of toxic pine-based floor cleansers, chemical wet mops, or ammonia/bleach-based cleaners.  Remember your cat lives on the floor, sleeps in the bed with the blanket you used half a gallon of strong smelling fabric softener on, and they visit the litterbox often that might have a terribly strong bleach smell from cleaning.  Keep in mind that everything you smell, they smell ten times stronger.

10. Bringing Home Other Cats.

Any new living thing you bring into into your home – a guest, a new pet, a new baby, will cause temporary stress for your cat.  This is way worse when you bring a strange cat home, especially if they aren’t properly introduced.  Introducing a new cat to the family should be done carefully.  Set them up in a separate area first, letting them get used to each other gradually, at their own pace.  This will help reduce the risk of their fighting and keep everyone’s stress levels down. Get more information about introducing a new cat into your home here.  For more information on fighting, read this article, How To Stop Cats From Fighting, and How to Break Up a Cat Fight.

I hope this article has been helpful.  Cats are such wonderful pets and the happier and more comfortable they are, the more affectionate and loving companions they will be for us!

Debra

How to Choose a Dog Breed – Getting the Right Dog for YOU

dog breedsIf you’re going to get a dog or puppy, it’s important to think carefully about what type of dog is best for you and your family.  And you should do this BEFORE you fall in love with the neighbor’s new litter of puppies, or BEFORE you walk into your local rescue center or visit a breeder.

The best way to learn how to choose a dog breed is learning what to expect from each breed. Asking a few important questions will help you with this process.

 

 

 

large and small dogHow Big Will This Dog Get?

Puppies start out small, but consider how big he’ll be when he’s full-grown. Do you want to pull a Paris Hilton and get a purse-sized pooch?  Or would you rather have a large dog you can get on the living room floor and romp with?  Consider whether you want a lap dog, whether you’ll be travelling with the dog, whether you need the dog for protection…these are the things to think about. And even more important are things like whether the dog is or isn’t good with children, other dogs, or cats.  Think about not only what kind of dog you like, but rather what kind of dog is good for you and your whole family – which type of breed will fit into your life.

 

dog groomingWhat Kind of Coat Does this Breed Have?

Some dog breeds have coats that require more care than others including daily brushing or professional grooming. Make sure your schedule and budget allow for it!  Also, dogs who have thick fur may become uncomfortable if you live in a hot, humid climate. If anyone in your family has allergies, consider a breed that sheds less. If you want a low-maintenance pooch, select a short-haired breed that does not require clipping or more than the routine bathing and brushing.

 

outdoor dogWhat Kind of Dog Fits Into Your Lifestyle?

Select a breed that makes sense for your life and activities.  If you are an outdoorsy type and like to go walking, hiking, camping – then you might consider a high-energy breed like an Australian Shepherd, Border Collie or Springer Spaniel.

If you’re more likely to enjoy evenings cuddled up with a good book, then consider breeds that require less exercise like Bulldogs or Greyhounds (yes, Greyhounds!), or a breed small enough to be a lap dog,  like Shih Tzus or Bichon Frises.

 

Consider Where You Live

Of course you have to consider things like whether you’re even allowed to have a dog if you live in an apartment or condo complex.  But I think one of the most important issues people who want a dog deal with is if they live in the city.  This video will help!

 

active dogHow Will This Dog Behave?

Certain breeds are prone to certain behaviors. Intelligent herding breeds like shepherds love to “have a job,” and if they don’t have one, they will find one — like trying to “herd” your children!  These breeds need lots of mental stimulation with games and exercise, or hobbies such as obedience training or agility.  Hunting breeds, such as Beagles and Dachshunds, have a keen sense of smell and an instinct to track down prey. This may drive you a little crazy if they start digging up the yard, so obedience training is a must for these active pups. Some breeds are better with children than others – some are less active and some are super active – so do some research on the breeds you’re considering so you’ll know what to expect.

 

dog with money bagsConsider the Cost of Medical Care and Dog Food

It’s impossible to predict what kind of health issues any breed of dog may have during their lifetime, but some are known to have certain health issues that you should be aware of ahead of time.  Research the breeds you’re interested in to find out what sort of health issues that particular breed is likely to experience. I strongly suggest getting pet health insurance for your pet.  It can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills over the lifetime of your pet.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Also consider the size of the breed and how much food he will eat!  My miniature doxy eats about 1.5 cups of food per day. Whereas, larger breeds may require anywhere from two to four cups of food per day.

 

dog home alone 2Do You Have Time for a Dog?

Consider your work schedule and social activities to decide whether you have time for a dog.  Not only time to manage their care, but time to SPEND with them.  Don’t get a dog if he’s going to be left alone ten hours a day while you work, then most evenings while you shop, go to movies, visit friends and family, then lucky to get a few hours of your time and companionship on the weekend. It’s not OK to get a dog then leave him alone most of the time. If you live alone, this is a huge concern, because you’re the only one available for the dog.  But if you have a spouse and/or children, you might be able to be a bit more flexible as at least one member of the family might be home most of the time regardless of work and school schedules.

 

Online Dog Trainer LogoTraining Your Dog

I suggest you consider signing up with The Online Dog Trainer.  This is a video-based website run by a professional dog trainer that teaches you step-by-step techniques to deal with absolutely any training issue you may run into with your dog.  Go to the site.  Check it out.  SIGN UP.  Honestly, it’ll make your life with your new dog so much easier…not only when they’re new, but for years and years to come!

 

I hope you found this article helpful in selecting the perfect pooch for you and your family!

 

CLICK HERE for other articles you may like…

Helping Dog’s Separation Anxiety – How to Teach a Dog to Stay Home Alone

natural pet remediesMy mini doxy, Taz, breaks my heart into a million pieces every time I leave the house. Sometimes she’ll actually try to sit on my feet while I’m putting my shoes on. I hate to leave her, especially since she seems to have a harder time of it now that she’s getting older. Finding tips for helping with dog’s separation anxiety has become more and more of a priority for me as Taz ages.

Separation anxiety can be defined with behavior such as drooling, barking, whining, destroying items in the house, scratching at walls, doors and floors, and attempting to escape from the crate or room. Fortunately for me, Taz’s symptoms aren’t as severe as these, but do include pacing and panting and of course, the sad, breaking-mommy’s-heart face.

Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety

I’ve learned that I sometimes unknowingly encourage Taz’s separation anxiety. I make a big fuss when I leave or come home, and in doing so I think I make her think it’s a big deal. What I mean is, because Mommy’s concerned that she’s leaving/absent, then Taz is concerned. But it’s hard to just unceremoniously walk out the door, you know? I’m always practicing not making such a big deal every time I leave.

I’ve also observed that a change in Taz’s routine makes separation anxiety worse. She’s always thrived on routine – it’s like she’s more secure if she knows what to expect next. I try hard to make her little doggie days as routine as possible.

Also, I know Taz does way better with anxiety in general when she has regular exercise/walks. A couple of days without walkies, and Taz is pacing the floors! If I have a day when we can’t go for a walk, I try to at least spend few minutes tossing the tennis ball around in the living room for her to chase.

How to Prevent and Reduce A Dog’s Separation Anxiety

I think this starts when they’re a puppy. I think, for example, that when we bring our puppy home, and they’re in their little bed at night and start crying/whining, we automatically go and pick them up and give them comfort. Tempting, I know, but what it actually does is reward that behavior. We need to focus on teaching the puppy to be quiet and settle down for increasing periods of time. We need to teach them patience and calmness – rewarding them when they are calm, not when they are crying/whining. And even when they’re back out of bed, or back out of their crate, we shouldn’t attempt to give them constant attention . They need to learn to entertain themselves with their toys.

The Importance of Giving Your Dog Confidence

I’ve learned that I have to stop doing so much for Taz. It’s my natural inclination to help her whenever I can, especially if I see she’s having difficulty. But doing everything for her only decreases her confidence. If she can walk from the back yard back to the house, then I should let her – not carry her. If she can find her food or water bowl and help herself, I need to let her do that – not take her to the bowl or bring food/water to her. I need to give her the freedom to interact with guests, neighbors, and even other dogs in the neighborhood without my intervention. In other words, I need to let Taz do for herself – so that she feels CONFIDENT.

Providing Comfort for Your Dog

My dad always used to make fun of me for this, but I often leave a radio on for my dog when I leave the house. I think it achieves two things: one is that it’s a familiar sound which I hope provides a sense of security, and the other is that it helps to muffle sounds of horns beeping, cars going by, etc.

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyTry Adaptil

I recently came across a product called Adaptil. It mimics a female dog’s pheromones, and the scent provides calmness and reassurance for dogs.   It comes in a collar (Taz wears one), a spray (like to spray their beds, the car for trips, etc), and also a room diffuser. The room diffuser is meant to help with overall anxiety and especially separation anxiety. Simply plug it in a few minutes before you leave, and the scent will help keep your dog calm while you’re gone.

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyTry PetCalm

PetCalm is a safe, non-addictive, natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients especially selected to temporarily relieve symptoms of nervousness, helping to calm your pet and promote a balanced mood.

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyFor More Help

For more help training your dog and dealing with common dog behavioral issues, visit this fantastic video based dog training website!  This website recommends learning How to Become a Pack Leader to treat separation anxiety and many other behavioral issues.

Helping Dog's Separation Anxiety

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyI recently came across Cesar’s Way, a website created by Cesar Millan, the professional dog trainer who had that TV show, Dog Whisperer (love that guy!)  I’ve just started checking this site out – I’ll keep you posted on what I learn from Cesar!

I hope this article has given you some ideas to help your dog. And please, if you have other ideas and techniques that have worked, share them in the comment section below! Thanks so much.  Debra  🙂

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyI Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

running-dogFor More Articles About Dog Training, CLICK HERE

Taking Your Cat on a Vacation – Tips for Traveling With a Cat

It can be fun to take your cat along with you when you travel.  However, there are many things to think about and be aware of before you take kitty on a trip. Your cat’s comfort and safety are most important!

Taking Your Cat on a Vacation

Plan Ahead

Provide comfort from home.  Bring along your kitty’s favorite blanket or toy.  Something that feels (and smells!) like home will help calm your cat.

Clip their claws. Trim your cat’s nails before the trip to reduce the chances or your getting scratched while trying to put him in and out of the carrier.  If you’re not sure how, it’s best to let your vet do it.  Most vet’s offices will provide a quick trim either for free or for a low fee. Places like Petco will also trim your cat’s nails for you.

Identification and vaccinations. Make sure your cat is wearing a collar with a tag attached showing the cat’s name and your phone number. You can purchase these at www.pettags.com. And make sure to use your CELL phone number – you don’t want someone calling your house if you lost your cat while you’re away.  And remember not everyone checks, or even knows about micro-chipping – so make sure your phone number is on your cat’s ID on his collar. If you’re traveling across state or country borders, you need to have up-to-date vaccination records with you.

traveling with your catCarrier Travel

Pick the right carrier. Carriers are a must for traveling with your cat.  Make sure you pick the right size carrier – the cat should be able to stand and turn around inside the carrier.  I find the best prices for cat carriers on Amazon. And always check that all the hinges are closed correctly – many cats have dropped out of carriers because the carrier wasn’t latched all around.

Train your cat to be in the carrier. It’s important to get your cat used to being in a carrier, not just for travel, but for regular trips to the vet as well.  Your cat will be much more comfortable and calm when traveling if he’s already used to the carrier.  I recommend starting by putting the carrier in your living room with its door open.  Let the cat explore it.  Put a soft blanket in the bottom of the carrier, along with a couple of treats.  Catnip too if your cats likes that.  If your cat won’t go inside on his own, put him inside the carrier – letting him jump right back out the first time.   Put him in more and more often over a period of several days – providing positive reinforcement each time (cuddling, petting, treats). Little by little, he’ll get used to being in the carrier.  Then start closing the door, leaving your cat in the carrier for just a few minutes at first, then longer periods of time.  You might also put him in the car, without the car running – for a few minutes.  Then maybe a short drive around the block…you get the idea.  Take your time allowing your cat to get used to the carrier before just tossing him in there and taking him on a road trip!  LOL

Car Travel

Keep your cat safe.  When driving, always keep your cat in a carrier in the backseat, fastened with a seat belt or harness to keep the carrier from being thrown in case of an accident, and also to keep you from being distracted with the cat wandering around the car.  Putting your cat in the car without a carrier is extremely dangerous – he could jump out and run when you open the door, he could crawl under the seats and up under the gas and brake pedals – he could distract you to the point of causing an accident.  Please always use a carrier.

Provide water.  The best way to provide water in the carrier is to use a hamster water bottle.  Put that in place when you’re training your cat to use the carrier so he’s aware he can get a drink from that when you’re traveling. A few drops of water from a hamster water bottle is enough to satisfy a thirsty cat.

Keep your cat calm. Keeping kids calm in the car requires entertainment. Keeping cats calm in the care requires QUIET and BOREDOM.  Don’t crank the music, and don’t constantly interact with your cat. If you feel your cat will not stay calm and is in distress, talk with your vet.  There are mild sedation medications that can help a scared kitty.

Feed your cat. Cats are more likely to eat a whole meal if it’s canned cat food instead of dry.  So if your cat doesn’t already eat canned food (which you should probably switch to, by the way, it’s better for them) – then for a few weeks before the trip start getting them used to it. Make sure you offer a small meal at regular intervals when traveling with your cat.  Try to keep the schedule as close to usual as possible.  And remember if your cat is taking any medication to help calm him, it usually needs to be taken with meals.  If your kitty tends to get car sick, talk to your vet about anti-nausea medication. For more information on what you should be feeding your cat, refer to this article, Best Food for Your Cat.

Never take your cat out of the car without the carrier!  People think their cats are calm and they have a, “He’ll stay with me” mentality.  But please – realize that when you’re away from home, it’s an unfamiliar environment, not to mention there are several things (car doors slamming, horns honking) that can startle your cat.  Don’t take the risk of your cat jumping out of  your arms while you’re away.  If they run, you may never seem them again.  It’s just not worth the risk. Put them inside the carrier with the door latched before opening the car door.

Plane Travel

Bring your cat in the cabin. Cats who are “checked” like baggage and end up riding in the belly of a plane are at risk in extreme weather and can get lost, just like luggage.  The safest way to fly with your cat is to bring your cat into the cabin with you.  Find an airline that allows pets in the cabin (which may include a fee) and make advance reservations. You will also need an airline-approved carrier and a health certificate signed by your veterinarian.

Anticipate emergencies. Be prepared.  Bring a couple of hand towels to line the carrier in case the cat vomits or pees, along with a few plastic bags to dispose of the soiled towels if necessary.  Carrying some paper towels and cat-safe cleansing wipes can also help with a clean up.

traveling with your catTraveling With Your Cat Doesn’t Have to Be a Traumatic Experience for Either of You.

By planning ahead, training your cat, and getting him used to traveling, you can take kitty lots of places! I hope you’ve found this article useful and please, comment below if you have more tips!  Debra 🙂

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Taking Your Dog on a Vacation – Tips for Traveling with a Dog

Before you decide to take Fido on a trip with you, consider whether it’s feasible – and whether it’s even beneficial for the dog.  Taking your dog on a vacation takes care and planning!

Tips For Traveling With Dogs

Any veterinarian or professional dog trainer will tell you that before you decide to take your dog on any sort of trip with you, you should always consider what you are going to be doing, where you are going, and whether you will have time for your dog. If you will be sight-seeing in places such as museums, galleries or restaurants, it may be best to leave your dog with a friend, find a pet sitter or board your dog while you are away.

Short Car Rides

Buckle up your pooch. When traveling by car, even if it’s just a short trip, consider your dog’s safety. Invest in an accident-tested safety harness or dog seat to help your dog stay safe and secure in the event of an accident, and also, so that your dog stays put and is not distracting you from driving.  I once had a miniature doxy who was small enough to fit under the car seats.  While I was driving down the highway at 55 mph, she got under the driver’s seat, then proceeded to go directly under my feet – under the gas/brake pedals!  I could not push on the gas or the break – we could’ve had a very serious accident.  Not to mention the distraction it is when your dog is running all over the car, jumping on passengers, etc.  Buckle them up – it’s safer for everybody!

Avoid letting your dog stick his head or paws out the window.  I know it’s one of the cutest sites in the world – a dog with his head out the window, lips flapping in the wind…but just like humans on a motorcycle, eyes exposed to high speeds and wind without protection are prone to dangerous debris. Keep the air conditioning on, or just crack the windows to let them sniff the fresh air instead.

Dogs should never ride in the front seat with you. They can distract you from driving, and if you stop short, they could be thrown into the windshield or injured by airbags.  The same little doxy I mentioned earlier was once thrown from the front seat violently onto the floor when I had to stop fast.  Dogs should stay restrained in the backseat either in a dog seat or a crate.

Long Car Rides

Keep their collar and tags on. It might seem more comfortable for your dog to have his collar off in the car, but if you crash and your dog panics, he may run away. Not everyone checks for microchips, so the dog having a tag with his name and phone number on it might be what gets him back to you should you have an accident.

Remember your dog needs food, water, and pee breaks. Feed your dog a small meal a few hours before your trip. Then stop for food breaks as needed.  Don’t allow eating or drinking in the car.  Keeping a bowl of water sloshing around in the car while you drive isn’t practical.  Stop every hour or two, or when your dog seems restless — so you can both stretch your legs, get a drink, and go potty.  And always make sure you get your dog on the leash BEFORE you open the car door. You don’t want to risk their getting away from you, especially if you’re far from home.

It’s never safe to leave a dog alone in a car, even if the windows are open and it’s only for a few minutes.

Realize you are taking a risk if you do this.

Taking Your Dog on a VacationI am an affiliate for a website called, The Online Dog Trainer, run by professional dog trainer, Doggy Dan.  I promote the site constantly because I use it constantly.  It’s become my #1 go-to place for information and help with absolutely any issue I have difficulties with in taking care of my little doxy, Taz. Here is a video by Doggy Dan about how to calm a dog who is anxious on a car ride.  I hope you enjoy it!

For more videos like this,

visit The Online Dog Trainer.

Flying

Travel in the cabin. The best way to ensure your dog’s safety on a plane is to travel with them in the cabin. Unless your dog is small enough to fit under your seat in a travel-safe carrier, it is recommended that you do not fly with your dog. If you absolutely must, then be in communication with the airline personnel, make sure your dog is in a travel-safe carrier or crate – make sure the carrier or crate is clearly marked LIVE ANIMAL.  And I would strongly suggest you talk with your vet’s office because they will likely be able to offer much more advice on making sure your dog is safe.  Also, learn the airline’s pet policy. There are often fees associated with flying with your dog, and certain breeds are almost never allowed to fly or only allowed to fly seasonally. Some airlines will not even accept dogs as passengers.

Select the right size carrier or crate.  Your dog should be able to stand, sit, and turn around comfortably inside the crate or carrier.

Prepare your dog to be alone in the crate or carrier for hours. Practice with your dog before you get on the plane.  The dog should associate his crate with positive experiences, and be happy to spend some time in the carrier or crate with you nearby. Give your dog several weeks before the flight to form a positive association with being in the carrier or crate, and practice being calm and quiet in it. Leave the carrier out in your home with the door open, with a comfortable blankie in it. Feed your dog with the crate or carrier door open, then work your way up to feeding with the door closed.

Create a comfortable crate. If your dog has to be checked into the belly of the plane, I suggest you freeze a bowl of water. This way, it won’t spill when you’re transporting it, but will melt by the time the dog gets thirsty. You might also attach a small bag of dry food to the outside of the carrier or crate so airline staff can feed your dog if he gets hungry.  And make sure your dog has a favorite blanket or toy inside to comfort him.

Camping

Camping is one of the most popular vacation activities for families. And with so many new smells to explore in the great outdoors, it can be exciting for a dog. But there are also dangers to be aware of — from wild animals, to poisonous plants, and, God forbid, your dog getting lost. So keep your dog on a leash during a camping trip.  And though it may not be appealing to have a dirty dog that’s been playing in the woods all day asleep beside you, a dog tied up outside is at risk for weather hazards as well as dangerous, even possibly fatal encounters with wild animals.  Keep them in the tent, cabin or RV with you.

Hotels

Check the hotel policy on pets before booking. If you are bringing your dog to a hotel, do some planning. You don’t want to arrive at the hotel only to find that they have pet restrictions.

Bring your dog’s crate. Bring along a crate (and a dog bed if it’s practical) from home, as it will be familiar to your dog and will help him feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. By having a crate, your dog has a piece of home, and a place to stay when you aren’t in the room. Make sure to train your dog before the trip, so he will be comfortable and at ease in the crate.

Make sure your dog has proper ID. Specifically, either a microchip or a tag with his name and phone number. And make sure it’s your CELL number.  You don’t want people calling your house if you’ve lost the dog while you’re away. You might also bring vaccination records in case your dog bites someone, and of course bring any medication the dog will need for the duration of your trip.  You can get pet ID tags cheap at www.PetTags.com.

Consider the Dog’s Comfort and Safety

I go to several festivals during the summertime and I always get upset when I see people have brought their dogs.  The poor dogs are panting – it’s way too hot – they’re being forced to spend the entire day walking on HOT pavement. Honestly, do you really think the dog is having a good time?  I think when it’s hot outside and the event you’re going to takes place on a street/pavement, it’s better to leave the dog at home where he can have easy access to his water dish and be cool and comfortable.  He may give you the sad face when you leave, but it’s up to you to make smart decisions for the dog and decide whether where you’re going is something that’s good for him…or Not.

Taking Your Dog with You On Vacation Can Be Fun!

As long as you do some planning ahead of time, and consider all aspects of your trip and your dog’s safety and comfort, you and your dog will have a great time camping in the woods, hiking the trails, or running on the beach.  And after all, your dog deserves a vacation too!  Debra 🙂

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Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

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How to Make the Dog Lose Weight – Dog Obesity is More Dangerous Than You Think!

Your dog being overweight is more serious than you think.  It may be cute that your dog is chubby and loves nothing more than to eat.  And I know from my own experience that making your dog happy by giving treats is a wonderful feeling.  But being overweight or obese is just as dangerous for dogs as it is for humans.  It can cause numerous health problems and shorten the dog’s life.  If your dog is overweight, it’s up to you to learn how to make the dog lose weight so he can stay slim and healthy!  You owe it to your dog to make smart decisions for him.

Dog Obesity

Dog obesity is one of the fastest growing health issues for dogs today. In this article I’ll discuss how to determine the ideal weight for your dog, how to maintain an ideal weight, and how to help your dog lose weight if he’s too chubby.

how to help your dog lose weightDog Obesity is Treatable