Pet Advice

Introducing A New Pet Into Your Home

It is an exciting time when you introduce a new furry friend into your home. When going to get your new pet, it is best to leave your current pet at home. Car travel can cause stress to your current pet as well as the new pet. Forcing the two to interact so suddenly in this stressful environment can cause or worsen anxiety and can potentially cause fighting.

For introductions, take two dogs to a neutral territory. Examples include a park, while on a walk, or in a friend’s yard. Always make sure there is someone there to help hold one of the dogs. That way if one does show aggression or anxiety, you both can grab one pet each. Do not force the dogs to sniff or go around each other if they appear anxious. For both dogs and cats, allowing them to take their time, sniffing and watching each other at their own pace, will help prevent issues. If one seems to be reluctant or aggressive, telling them “No” or separating them for some time will help before trying again later. When good behavior is happening, using a praising or encouraging voice to reassure them that they are doing well.

Once both pets are home, separating food dishes, water bowls, beds, litter pans for cats, and toys can help with territorial issues. For dogs, it can be helpful to have all toys put away initially and only given to both pets if they are kept separate to prevent a fight over a toy. Only allow them to have toys in the same room if they are getting along well, and showing progress. Giving both pets equal love and attention helps to reassure them that this new companion is an acceptable addition to the family.


Help your dog settle into their new home

Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your home is an exciting time for pet and person alike. I want to encourage you to get your relationship with your new companion off to the best start. The good behaviors that you help to develop early on will lead to a loving home environment for many years to come.

When your new pet is a puppy or kitten, it is helpful to bring something from his or her first home that holds the scent of its mother. If that cannot be done, there is a product called D.A.P. (for dog appeasing hormone) that mimics the scent of a mother dog and helps ease any anxiety your puppy may be feeling in its new home. The cat product is called Feliway. The diffuser is plugged into a wall outlet or available as a spray and is not detectable by the human nose. Give it a try to see if it will help with any nervous whining or crying.

The place for your new puppy or dog to be when you are unable to be with them is in a crate. They should be crate trained not only to help with potty training, but also because it has a likeness to a cozy cave that your dog’s ancestors once stayed in. You can drape a blanket over the outside of the crate to make it feel like an even safer place to rest and sleep. Kittens will feel cozy and safe in a little fleece bed with taller sides or cat tree nook.

Finally, if you already have pets in your home, keep the new household member isolated for a few days. Allow your current pets and your new pet to sleep on a blanket or towel for a day or two and then exchange them so that the animals can become adjusted to the scent of each other. Then be patient and introduce them on leashes so that you can control their movements.


Microchipping your dog

It may not occur to the owner of a senior pet that microchipping your dog or cat is an advised procedure. Microchips are recommended as a means of being re-united with your lost companion for pets of all ages. They are especially important in older pets because they can suffer from senility issues and are at a higher risk of becoming lost should they wander off.

The microchip that is implanted into your pet’s shoulder region is about the size of a grain of rice. It is imbedded with a specific number identifying your dog or cat. This number is registered to your contact information often through an online website. This information can be easily updated if you move or change phone numbers.

Most shelters and pet hospitals have a universal scanner that can detect multiple manufacturer’s chips. One misconception is that microchips provide pet tracking such as a GPS device. Rather, they should be considered as a permanent ID tag that can never be lost or removed and that highly increase the likelihood that you and your companion will remain lifelong companions.


Outside vs. Inside Cats?

There are pros and cons to the argument on whether cats should be housed inside or outside. In this blog, I will leave my personal opinion to myself and rather discuss the risks and benefits of each living situation.

Inside cats allow a little more interaction between animal and owner simply with the fact that they are present to encourage the pet owner to scratch them or feed them. This lifestyle, however, also promotes sedentary laying around, leading to obesity problems in indoor cats. Scratching posts, window ledges, and plenty of toys can help to maintain a healthy level of activity in indoor cats. Lower calorie diets or ones formulated for indoor cats are also beneficial. Finally, indoor cats can be declawed in their front limbs since the do not require them to protect them from predators. This can help solidify the human-animal bond allowing more friendly cuddling and playtime with your companion

Most outdoor cats are plenty active keeping them at an ideal body weight. There is not a need to provide a litter pan to outside cats eliminating the need to clean one on a regular basis. Outdoor cats are stimulated by their environment keeping them entertained and less likely to play roughly with an owner who is offering loving scratches. All outside cats should be spayed or neutered to prevent overpopulation. An outside cat should never be declawed as it removes the defenses from predators. However, there are risks of fighting among outside cats which can lead to painful wounds. Regular petting and stroking of your outside cat should help identify any wounds or scratches early.