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Being a Neighborly Dog Owner

Pet

Image via Pixabay

By Aurora James

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Harris Poll, 95 percent of pet owners consider their animals members of the family, with many devoting a considerable amount of effort to pampering their pets. In fact, 45 percent of pet owners polled said they occasionally or frequently bought their pets birthday gifts.

But some of the greatest gifts we can give our pets are safe play areas and plenty of attention. Providing those necessities will go a long way toward making you a good animal owner who not only keeps the people and pets in their own home happy, but maintains a positive relationship with neighbors, friends, and other creatures who may come in contact with your pet.

A Fence for Your Fur Baby

While keeping your pet on your own property isn’t a pressing problem for animal lovers who own birds, gerbils, or other caged critters, the same can’t be said for dog owners. So, whether you are moving to a new neighborhood, getting a canine companion for the first time, or upgrading your property to better suit you and your furry friend’s needs, here are some things to consider to keep everyone happy — including your neighbors.

A fenced yard will give your pup a place to play and reduce the odds of unannounced visits to other’s private property. Your ideal option will depend on factors including your climate and the primary purpose for installing the fence, according to Better Homes and Gardens. For example, a fully enclosed wooden fence might be a good choice if you’re looking for an option that blocks noise and wind while providing privacy and keeping pets and kids safe in the yard.  According to HomeAdvisor, having a wood fence installed costs an average of $2,008 to $4,682 in the Dallas area and should take about three or four days. But, before you schedule an installation, you should share any plans to add fencing to your property with neighbors who will be affected.

Other Canine-Related Considerations

Those with a fully fenced yard may think the next logical step is installing a doggy door. And while the convenience that comes with allowing your canine companion to let himself in and out can be tempting, you might want to think twice before buying one. For instance, some pet doors can provide access to outdoor critters such as raccoons and squirrels, which could also become a nuisance to neighbors if they start invading homes and trash cans.

And, ideally, you’ll be outside with your dog frequently, which will help keep her happy and healthy and allow you to get some exercise, too. In addition to romps around the yard, consider taking her on walks frequently and making visits to a local dog park to provide her with a variety of places to play. Paying plenty of attention to your pet will also help reduce barking and other undesirable behavior that may annoy you and your neighbors when your dog is in your yard.

Finally, even if your dog is well watched and exercises often, there’s always a chance he could escape in search of more adventure. Or another animal could find its way onto your property. So you should make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. And, unless you have specific plans to breed your dog, he or she should be neutered or spayed because it helps keep animals healthier and reduces the problem of pet overpopulation. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered tend to also be better behaved, which will carry over into how they act on walks around the neighborhood and visits to the dog park.

If you give your dog plenty of love and attention and a suitable space to stretch his legs, chances are he’ll be more than happy in his own yard, making him a neighborhood favorite and you a conscientious canine owner.

Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further. [Read more…]

4 Ways Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

Dog-Fence-150x150As pet owners and lovers, we do whatever it takes to keep our pets safe. Because they spend the majority of their lives at our homes, we make sure our living spaces are suitable for their safe enjoyment. If you have a yard that your dogs can use for exercise and play, you must ensure they’re kept inside your property lines to keep them from getting lost or wandering into the road. Invisible fencing is an excellent tool for containing your dogs in your yard, but did you know it can even be used inside the home and to keep other types of pets safe? Here are just some of the ways you can utilize a DIY electric fence to promote the safety and well-being of your pets. [Read more…]

FIV in cats, do you own an FIV+ cat?

My FIV+ kitty Thomas

My rescue kitty Thomas

I adopted my FIV positive cat named Thomas in 2008 when he became an orphan after the death of his owner. Thomas’ veterinarian agreed to take him in and find him a forever home. Or at least a foster in the mean time. Being an adult cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, finding him a home was going to be a challenge. Many FIV+ cats in this type of predicament are euthanized. Caring for an immune deficient cat involves a little more time and money than caring for a healthy cat. I’ve learned a lot about FIV in cats along the way.

So what symptoms does an FIV+ cat have? Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has an article which thoroughly covers the feline immunodeficiency virus:  “An infected cat’s health may deteriorate progressively or be characterized by recurrent illness interspersed with periods of relative health. Sometimes not appearing for years after infection, signs of immunodeficiency can appear anywhere throughout the body…”

Symptoms of FIV in cats (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus):

  • Diverse symptoms owing to the decreased ability to develop a normal immune response. Associated immunodeficiencies cannot be distinguished clinically from feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Recurrent minor illnesses, especially with upper respiratory and gastrointestinal signs
  • Mild to moderately enlarged lymph nodes
  • Inflammation of the gums of the mouth and/or the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth is seen in 25 percent to 50 percent of cases
  • Upper respiratory tract disease is seen in 30 percent of cases – inflammation of the nose; inflammation of the moist tissues of the eye; inflammation of the cornea (the clear part of the eye, located in the front of the eyeball); often associated with feline herpes virus and calicivirus infections
  • Eye disease – inflammation of the front part of the eye, including the iris; disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye is increased (glaucoma)
  • Long-term (chronic) kidney insufficiency (see more)

Next Article :Exercising Your Pets

Reliable Pet Sitter Wanted?

If you have a reliable pet sitter, you probably did some of the following things to make sure you found one who is reliable and honest. Having the neighbor’s kid watch your pets and home is not good enough, you want a professional. For those who are in the market for a pet sitter, here are a few tips to help you pick the right one, a reliable professional.

First, and most importantly, is the reason to hire a reliable pet sitter. Professional pet sitting goes way beyond tending to your pets needs. The person in charge of taking care of your fur kids is also in charge of your home and every worldly possession you have. The average vacation is about 7 to 10 days long, that’s a week or  more of your home being mostly unattended. Unforeseen disasters can and do happen at any time, things like the electricity going out, pipes bursting, a fire, a break in… just to name a few. Professional pet sitters are equipped to deal with emergencies of all types, it’s essential to being reliable.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has created a thorough check list to help you pick the right pet sitter:

“Hiring a pet sitter is a serious process.  Make sure the person you choose is trained and professional.  He/she will not only be responsible for your pet, but also will have regular access to your home.” (read more)

The care of your pets involves working with your sitter as a team. Providing specific information about your pets and home will help the sit go smoothly. NAPPS provides a guideline to get the most out of your sitter.

“Once you’ve decided to hire a pet sitter, you’ll want to maximize the experience for you and your pet. The following pages list some simple guidelines that will ensure that that your get the most out of the relationship… Provide background on your pet’s history and habits…” (read more)

Part of a pet sitter’s job is to provide you with peace of mind while you are away. It’s worth the time to find the right one.

Next Article: Pet Dander

Reliable Pet Sitter

Walks are my favorite!

I love Halloween, don’t you?

Unfortunately many pets don’t! Someone knocks on the door every few minutes sending Spot into a flurry of barking to alert you, yet again, that you have visitors. You open the door to a group of little ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns who suddenly shout “TRICK OR TREAT!!” which sends Spot into another flurry of barking as these intruders surely should not be there! Meanwhile, Fluffy has been hiding since the first ghoulish creatures appeared, will not come out for dinner and you’re wondering if Fluffy’s brother, Tomcat, is with her or has slipped out the frequently opening front door.

Halloween can be a very confusing, and yes, scary time for our pets, especially those who are shy or not used to lots of activity. If your dog barks at strangers who come to the door or if your cat is skittish, it’s best to protect them from these stressful events right off the bat. Many pets escape from home on Halloween so the first precaution is to put them in a closed room, preferably one that is furthest away from the front door. Noise phobia can be soothed by having a radio on in the room with your fur kid making sure it’s loud enough to drown out the alien invaders that come for sweets. A favorite toy or blanket tops off the short term distraction created for maximum comfort on All Hallows Eve.

In addition to anxiety and stress, Halloween hazards for pets include food toxins from candy like chocolate and xylitol, opportunities to escape from home and susceptibility to cruel treatment by pranksters if outside. Plan ahead and Halloween can be both fun and safe for you and your fur family. Heck, your pet may even let you dress them up!

Next Topic: Pet Food Ingredients

Do You Know What to Do in a Pet Emergency?

If a pet emergency occurs, the goal is to get to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. An initial visual evaluation of the pet and area will be essential, so stay calm and be observant.

Look for abnormalities on the scene such as blood or vomit around the pet, access to poison or additional hazards in the area. Also, take notice of the pet’s condition – conscious or unconscious, disoriented, unable to walk, and other physical or behavioral abnormalities. All of this information will help you properly assess the situation before taking action, so staying calm and observing the environment first is vital. The information you gather will also be very helpful for the veterinarian and their staff once you arrive with the injured pet.

The most important thing to keep in mind is YOUR safety. If you are injured, you will not be able to help the pet. For example, if we see a dog get hit by a car, we may panic, not watch for traffic on the road then run into harm’s way as we try to get to the injured pup. Also, a pet in pain may lash out and bite, so handling an injured pet on the scene of an emergency may be very tricky. Once you assess the situation and ensure your own safety, then you can begin transport to the veterinary hospital. If possible, call the vet immediately to let them know you are on your way and what the situation is. This will give them time to set up the proper pet emergency equipment to treat injuries.

In addition to proper observation and safety skills, knowing our pets’ normal vital signs may help us administer basic first aid in a pet emergency. So, in our next blog, let’s find out what’s normal!

Here are some excellent resources on pet first aid by the American Red Cross:

Pet First Aid: Dogs and Cats

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 3: Cat First Aid

Pet Emergency

First Aid for Pets


Next Topic: The ABCs of CPR