Litterbox Training Tips

Kitten in LitterboxFortunately for cat owners, most kittens have a natural predilection for using a litter box to eliminate.  As with most things in life, however, there are exceptions.  If you have a stubborn kitten, you may have to backpedal and be sure your feline friend knows what you want it to do.  Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Be sure the litter box is the right size for your kitten!  Young kittens may have a hard time climbing over the side of a full-size box.  You might consider using a cake pan or something similar until he/she gets the hang of it.
  • Make sure the litter boxes are accessible.  Long distances or stairs might be difficult for a little kitty to get there in time.  Make sure there is a box on every floor and in the areas where your kitten spends the most time.
  • Show them the way.  Make a point to periodically place your kitten in the litter box, especially after meals.  Encourage them to dig.
  • Play with the litter.  Some cats prefer a certain type of litter.  Try clumping vs. nonclumping, scented or non-scented, or alternative types such as recycled newspaper or pine.
  • Make sure the box isn’t too scary.  Many times we inadvertently put litter boxes in out-of-the-way areas where scary monsters lurk.  Noisy washing machines, refrigerators, furnaces, nosy dogs, and loud children can all be deterrents for your kitten.

By following these tips, your new kitty should be well on its way to being a litter box pro in no time at all!

 

Welcome Home!

Puppy in a BasketIntroducing a new puppy to your home can be an exciting and challenging time.  Remember, they are cute for a reason!   Puppies are babies, and they require extra care.  Use the following tips to make your new family member’s transition into your home as smooth as possible.

  • Make sure you have done your research!  Know about the breed you are bringing home and learn a little about puppy training and socialization before your little one comes home.
  • Prepare any children in the house for taking care of a puppy.  They should know on an age-appropriate level about basic care and how to handle the new dog.  There are many resources geared towards children to help you teach them about their new pet.
  • Pick a potty place!  You are going to be spending a lot of time here over the next few months.  This should be the first place your pup visits when he or she gets home.
  • Come and see us!  A new puppy should be examined within 24-48 hours of coming home so that potential health problems can be addressed and any questions regarding care and training can be answered. And don’t forget that we offer this first exam, an intestinal parasite evaluation, and your puppy’s first shot all for free!
  • Puppies need to be kept safe and relatively contained.  Purchase a crate, baby gates, or any other items needed to help you keep close tabs on your pup.
  • Puppy-proof the house.  Objects that you don’t want to be chewed like plants, electrical cords, and other doggy dangers should be secured.  Get down on your hands and knees and think like a curious pooch!
  • Buy the basics.  Your pet should have a few toys that are suitable to chew on, a leash, collar, and identification tag, and bowls.  Have a week or two of the food it has been eating so that you can transition over to any new diet over the course of 7-14 days.
  • Prepare existing pets.  Be sure that they are healthy and up to date on any medical needs.  Cats in particular may appreciate a “puppy-free” zone where they can seek shelter.

Congratulations on your new pet!  By laying the foundation for a good start, you are helping to ensure a long and healthy life! Check out the pet care handouts on our website for some more puppy tips and tricks. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us.

 

IS A FURRY GIFT MAKING YOUR LIST? PLEASE CHECK TWICE…

Everyone wants a puppy or kitten… right?  The truth is that taking on a new family member is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is up to the commitment.  While the image of a little furry friend sitting under the Christmas tree may be irresistible, giving a pet as a gift is a very serious matter.

With 6 to 8 million dogs and cats entering shelters every year, selecting a pet that is right for an individual family and situation is of utmost importance.  Because having a pet is a decision that an owner must be committed to for the pet’s entire life emotionally, financially, and physically, the selection of an animal is usually best left to the individual taking on the responsibility.  The holiday season is often not a good time to introduce a new family member, either, as new pets take extra time and attention often not available during this busy season.

Please think carefully before giving a furry gift, and certainly do not do so without discussing extensively with the recipient.  Or, if the surprise is a big part of the gift, consider giving a gift card to a local rescue or animal shelter that will cover the adoption costs. That way the recipient will still have the surprise of a new pet, but will also have the ability to pick one out that suits his or her lifestyle and personality.

 

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

Here are the top 10 reasons to consider adopting an older pet when making an addition to your family!

  1. Happy Senior DogBy taking home a senior pet you are making a statement- to your friends, your family, and to society, that these lives are valuable too!
  2. An older pet is more likely to already be housebroken. No puppy puddles!
  3. You know what size pet you are getting!
  4. They are ready to go- you can immediately start the fun activities associated with pet ownership like going for walks as they probably can already walk on a leash!
  5. Your love and attention won’t ever go unappreciated.
  6. Because senior pets are usually the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in a shelter, you can feel good knowing that you have very likely saved a life.
  7. You will be ensuring your new older pet a comfortable, happy life instead of one in a shelter.
  8. A senior pet is not likely to demand as much attention as a younger animal- by adopting a senior citizen you can finish your cup of coffee in peace!
  9. What you see is what you get.  You can more easily assess temperament, health issues, and other behavior traits in an older pet.
  10. You can go to sleep each night knowing that you have made a good choice.

And remember, bring your newly adopted pet to us for a first exam, parasite check, and rabies shot – all FREE!

 

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

The week of November 6-12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, and with around 6-8 million homeless animals in the United States, these facilities deserve some recognition!  Here are a few ways that you can get involved and make a difference too:

  • Shelter Dog getting pettedConsider adopting a pet.  Not only are you giving a needy animal a great home, you are freeing up a place and resources for another homeless animal within the shelter system. And remember, we will give your adopted pet a free first exam, parasite check, and rabies vaccine!
  • Volunteer.  Get in touch with your local shelter and find out how you can help.  Not all volunteering is cleaning cages and walking dogs.  Your local shelter may need help with fundraising, graphic design, or other areas in which you may have some expertise.
  • Donate.  While money is always nice, many times shelters are in need of other items like blankets, towels, food, and the like.  Ask your local shelter what types of items they may need.  Consider initiating a pet food drive or something similar within your church, school, workplace, or community.
  • Set an example.  Be sure your pets are spayed or neutered (further helping the pet over-population problem) and are properly identifiable with tags and/or a microchip.

There are countless ways that you can make an impact on the shelter system in your area.  And what better time to get involved?

 

Welcoming Your New Kitten

Kitten

Photo by Lachlan Rogers

Kittens are adorable, mischievous, and always entertaining.  Follow the following steps to ensure your new kitten makes a seamless transition into your home:

Baby proof your home

Kittens love to get into trouble.  Be sure to keep dangerous items such as string, ribbon, and small toys put away.  Make sure any houseplants are safe for cats.  Electric cords should also be stowed away from curious teeth.

Introduce slowly to existing pets

Keep your new addition confined to one room at first so that your other pets can grow accustomed to its smell and presence.  Be sure both animals have a way to get away from one another.  All interactions should be supervised until you know how each animal will react to the other.

Help to litter train

Your kitten may require a smaller, shallower litter box than an adult cat at first.  Place him or her in the box after feedings to encourage its use

Provide toys and a scratching post

Be sure to discourage scratching on your personal items and nibbling your finger right away.  Your kitten should have plenty of toys to play with and a place to scratch so that it is not tempted to utilize less desirable items.

Remember, your new kitten’s first exam and distemper vaccine are free! Contact us today to set up an appointment, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions about getting your new friend acclimated.

Having a new kitten is an enjoyable experience; however it is often very easy for your new pet to find trouble. Keep a close eye on your new little bundle of joy to be sure he or she is safe and sound.

Bringing Home a New Pet

You have finally done it.  After months of research and careful planning, you are driving home with a new family member.  But now that you have taken the plunge, where do you go from here?

First of all, before you bring your new “baby” home, you need to be sure that your home is pet-proofed.  Make sure any potentially toxic items are put where an animal cannot get to them.  Don’t forget, pets have teeth as well, so things like electrical cords can be very dangerous.  Baby gates can make keeping your new addition corralled easier.

Remember that this is probably as stressful a time for your new pet as it is for you.  Do not overwhelm it.  Make sure time to acclimate to new surroundings is allowed before introducing him or her to other pets or the family next door.  Give your new dog or cat some private time as well.

Try to get into a routine so your pet can be comfortable in knowing what to expect.  Meal times, play times, and potty times should fall around the same time.

Lastly, make sure to take your new pet to visit your veterinarian within a few days after bringing it home.  This will allow you to establish a relationship between your pet and vet and give you a chance to ask questions and address concerns.

Congratulations and good luck with your new little bundle of joy!