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March 2015

Understanding Cat Behavior with Socialization

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Understanding Cat Behavior with Socialization

Why cats do the things they do and how they behave towards their human owners, other people, and other cats and animals depends on several factors including their individual personalities. But to a large extent, it depends on their socialization; more precisely on whether they are well socialized or not, whether they have been socialized as kittens or adults and their experience during the socialization process (having positive or negative experience with particular situations and environments).

The Best Time for Cat Socialization

The best time for cat socialization is between 2 to 8 weeks of age when kittens are most susceptible for interaction with people and other cats (and animals). During this period, kittens are also more likely to learn to be comfortable and relaxed when exposed to different sounds, smells, situations and environments. After the age of 8 weeks, they become less and less comfortable with unfamiliar people, environments and situations, and consequently, more and more difficult to socialize.

Well Socialized Kittens are Better Companions and More Affectionate Pets When Adults

Kittens that are well socialized are generally better companions and more affectionate pets when adults than their unsocialized counterparts. If they are handled by people from a very early age and if they have been exposed to most things they will encounter later in life, they are more likely to enjoy human company and be more receptive to less familiar and completely new things.

Cats that have never been handled by people while kittens often remain fearful and suspicious of people for a lifetime. Socializing such a cat can take several months to several years. And even then, she will never be truly relaxed with people. Instead, she will remain very shy and cautious.

Positive Experience Just as Important as Socialization Itself

Early Socialization

In order for a cat to fully trust her human owner and enjoy human company, it is crucial for her not only to be well socialized but to have a positive experience from the socialization period. In other words, it is crucial for her not only to get used to being around and handled by people but to associate interaction with humans with fun and enjoyment. If the experience was stressful, painful or unpleasant, the cat will to try to avoid it at all costs, often into the adulthood. For that reason it is of utmost importance to make interaction with people as enjoyable and pleasant as possible. The same counts for things such as veterinary examination, bathing and other grooming/care procedures, strangers, other pets/animals, children, etc.

Socialization Doesn’t Require Early Separation of Kittens from the Mother

Due to the above mentioned reasons, it is crucial to start socializing kittens at a very young age. However, there is no need for them to be separated from their nursing mother. If she is well socialized, she won’t mind if people are touching and petting her kittens although she may be very protective during the first few days. If the protective behavior continues, kittens should be handled when their mother is away.

Puppy Vaccines and Schedule

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Puppy Vaccines and Schedule

Puppy vaccines are intended to protect your pet from various diseases and provide a foundation for a long, healthy and happy life. In the first few weeks after birth, puppies are protected from a wide range of diseases by maternal antibodies which are received through colostrum. This milk-like fluid, however, is produced only a few days and provides protection only for a short period of time. The protective effect of maternal antibodies wears off in a matter of several weeks and when it does, the puppy becomes vulnerable to a range of potentially fatal diseases. And here is where vaccines step in.

Core and Non-Core Puppy Vaccines

There are several different types of vaccines and combinations of vaccines which can be divided into core and non-core vaccines. The former refer to vaccines that should be received by all dogs. They provide protection from some of the most serious diseases: rabies, canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis and canine distemper.

Unlike core vaccines, non-core vaccines are not recommended for all dogs. Instead, they are recommended for dogs that are at increased risk of being exposed to particular diseases. These include Borrelia burgdorferi, Bordetella bronchiseptica and Leptospira bacteria. Ask your veterinarian for advice on non-core vaccines.

How Puppy Vaccines Work?

Puppy Vaccines

Puppy vaccines protect your four-legged friend from particular infectious diseases by introducing harmless amounts of disease-causing microorganisms into the body. The quantities are too small to cause symptoms of disease or any other health problem but large enough to strengthen the immune system to the extent that it can fight off the actual disease if being exposed to it. In other words, puppy vaccines make your pet virtually immune to particular diseases. It isn’t impossible for him to develop symptoms of infection even if being vaccinated but he is a lot less likely to develop a severe form of disease.

Risks and Side Effects of Puppy Vaccines

Unfortunately, puppy vaccines aren’t entirely risk-free. They have saved many canine lives (and human as well!) and they have been shown to be very effective. And in the vast majority of cases, perfectly safe. Adverse effects – if they do occur – are usually mild and short lasting. Serious side effects such as severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are extremely rare but the risk is there. Please discuss potential risks and side effect of puppy vaccines with your veterinarian.

When is the Best Time to Have Your Puppy Vaccinated?

There is no need to have your puppy vaccinated right away because he is protected by maternal antibodies. What is more, puppies younger than 6 weeks don’t have immune system developed enough for the vaccine(s) to have the desired effect. However, it is very important not to wait too long to avoid the risk of exposure to potentially fatal diseases without any protection whatsoever (as mentioned above, the effect of maternal antibodies wears off relatively soon).

Ideally, puppies should receive the first dose of core vaccines (and if necessary, non-core vaccines as well) at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. Follow-up vaccines are usually administered every 3 to 4 weeks until the age of 12 to 14 weeks. You are recommended to contact your veterinarian before your puppy is 6 week old to make an appointment and clarify any questions/concerns you may have about puppy vaccines and vaccination schedule.

3 Tips to Stop Excessive Dog Barking

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3 Tips to Stop Excessive Dog Barking

From the words of Cesar Milan:

“It is completely natural for dogs to bark, and it’s one of their most important forms of communication after energy and body language. Dogs will bark as a warning, to protect their pack and territory. They will also bark to express excitement.

Those forms of barking are rarely a nuisance and don’t last long. That is why nuisance barking almost always has the same cause and the same solution. When a dog barks excessively, it’s telling you that it is bored and is looking for stimulation or a challenge.”

Tips for Stopping Barking

Dog Walking Etiquette

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Dog Walking Etiquette

If you’re heading to the dog park for a little socialization and exercise, here are a few Do’s and Dont’s that you should look out for when heading over. Some are pretty self explanatory, but others you might have never considered.

 

Dog Walk Etiquette

Questions? Comments? Add it below.

Dog Training and Socializing

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Training and Socializing

If you want your dog to be well-behaved, obedient, calm and balanced, it is of utmost importance for him to be properly trained and socialized. At a very early age. But before starting with the process of training and socializing, it is important to be well informed about different options, how they work and how effective they are.

Reward vs Punishment Training

Most training methods are based on rewarding good behavior or punishing misbehavior. The end goal of both is a well-behaved, obedient and balanced dog but while the reward approach focuses on the positives, punishment-based training methods focus on discouraging undesirable behavior.

Both reward and punishment training can be very effective. When the dog is rewarded for a particular behavior either by receiving a treat, praise or something else that brings him pleasure, he will associate that behavior with enjoyment and will be happy to repeat it in the future. Punishment of unwanted behavior, for example being taken away or denied the things he finds enjoyable, on the other hand, will discourage the dog to repeat it to avoid negative consequences.

There is also a third approach which foresees asserting dominance and establishing oneself as the “pack leader”. This method has become increasingly popular in the recent years but not all cynologists and dog experts/trainers support it. On the other hand, there is no agreement on the reward and punishment approaches either. While some claim that dog training should involve only rewarding good behavior, others say it is just as important to sanction misbehavior. But they all agree on one thing. No matter which training method you choose, it is necessary to stick to it and be consistent.

Dog Socialization Just as Important as Training

Poorly socialized dogs are much more likely to bite, bark excessively and get into fights with other dogs or be abnormally fearful of unfamiliar people, dogs, environments (e.g. vet’s office) or noises. So if you want your dog to behave well when other people and animals are around, and stay calm and relaxed in a wide range of situations and environments, it is crucial for him to be well socialized.

The Best Time to Start Training and Socializing Your Dog

It is never too late to start training and socializing your dog. But the longer you wait, the more difficult it will get. This is because after the age of 18 weeks, dogs become very wary of everything that is new including people, places, other dogs and pets, noises, etc. If you don’t want your dog to bite other people, bark like crazy on everything and everyone passing by your house, or hide/run away when being exposed to something/someone unfamiliar, it is highly important to start socializing your pet early – ideally, at the age of 7 to 8 weeks. The same counts for training. The earlier you start the better.

Professional Help and Training/Socialization ClassesWell Trained Dogs

If you think that you need some professional help and guidance, don’t hesitate to seek it. Dog trainers and experts are eager to help you train and socialize your dog through group classes and private sessions. If you are having difficulties choosing a class or/and trainer, ask your veterinarian for advice.

 

Caption Contest Official Rules!

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Pet Caption Contest Rules

Welcome to March’s Competition.

This is a best pet picture with caption contest. Email us a picture of your pet being a goof and add a caption in the email. Email us your picture HERE

How it’s done

Each week we will choose a winning picture from the total pool of submissions for the month. For the last week of the month we will post the weekly winning pictures and take a poll on our website for the finalist.  Anyone can weigh in on their favorite. Updates will be posted on our Facebook page as we go along.  There is a maximum of one submission per Pet!

We will add the “best of” submissions to our gallery on our webpage under About Us / Pet Gallery

Prize

The winning Pet Caption Picture will receive a
FREE Kindle Fire HD Tablet!

 

Caption Pet Contest

 

Questions? Click HERE

The Importance of Spay / Neutering Pets

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Importance of Spay/Neuter

Spaying/neutering is recommended for both dogs and cats and for both male and female pets. The term spaying refers to sterilization of female pets by removing their ovaries and uterus, while the term neutering is used to describe the removal of testicles in male dogs and cats. Both spaying and neutering are routine surgical procedures that are done at your veterinarian’s office. All surgical operations including spaying and neutering pose a risk of complications but they are extremely rare. Your veterinarian will explain the potential surgical and post-surgical complications including signs to watch for after the procedure.

Why Your Pet Should be Spayed/Neutered?

– Prevent reproduction and unwanted litter. An average cat can produce more than 100 kittens during her lifetime, while a pair of cats and their offspring can produce tens of thousands of kittens in just a few years. In dogs, this figure is lower but despite that, there are not enough homes for as many puppies as can be produced by unspayed/unneutered dogs. In fact, the majority of homeless pets – and there are millions of them – are the result of uncontrolled reproduction. To reduce the number of pets that are either homeless or euthanized (only about one half of all dogs and cats in animal shelters are adopted), it is of key importance for as many pets to be spayed/neutered as possible.

– Reduce the risk of a number of health problems and increase longevity. Spaying/neutering brings a number of health benefits and reduces the risk of a variety of health problems including potentially life-threatening conditions. These include various infections and infectious diseases, and several types of cancer. Spayed/neutered pets also have a decreased urge to roam which in turn reduces the risk of getting struck by a car and other accidents/injuries they may suffer while trying to find a mate. As a result, spayed/neutered pets live a longer life. According to a recent study, neutered male cats live more than 60 percent longer than unneutered males, while spayed female cats live nearly 40 percent longer than unspayed females. Spayed/neutered dogs live longer than their unspayed/unneutered counterparts as well although the difference in life expectancy is not as dramatic as in cats.

– Improve behavior/discourage unwanted behavior and reduce aggression. Spayed/neutered pets are much calmer and behave a lot better than their unspayed/unneutered counterparts. They are more attached to their owners and don’t have the urge to roam or the latter is dramatically reduced. Spaying and neutering also eliminate/minimize unwanted behavior such as urine marking/spraying (in both males and females!), roaming and yowling/howling, while neutered male dogs and cats are less aggressive (towards both humans and other animals) and are less likely to engage in fights and display dominance. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unneutered male dogs are more than twice as likely to bite than neutered males.

When is the Best Time to Have Your Pet Spayed/Neutered?

You can have your pet spayed/neutered while still a kitten/puppy. In order for your pet to fully benefit from spaying/neutering in terms of health and to prevent bad behavior such as urine marking, roaring and fighting other animals, it is best to have her/him spayed/neutered before reaching sexual maturity (in contrary to popular belief, there is no need to wait for female dogs and cats to have a litter). However, older pets can be spayed/neutered as well. To determine the best time for your pet to be spayed/neutered and other questions you may have about the procedure, please consult your veterinarian.

Spay and Neuter