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September 2014

Why Scratching Posts Are Important

 by danielle on 30 Sep 2014 |
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Scratching posts are such a common tool in cat ownership, it's easy for owners to undervalue their importance to their cat’s wellbeing.   The cat’s wild ancestors spent much of their lives in the treetops. Constant wear and tear led to the evolution of fast growing claws that constantly renewed to ensure their continued sharpness and effectiveness. The opportunity to scratch and climb is therefore vital to a cat’s physical wellbeing, with scratching posts helping to maintain appropriate claw length. This is especially the case for the large numbers of solely indoor cats who have no access to natural surfaces to wear them down.   A scratching outlet also assists with maintaining feline psychological health. Cats are driven to claw and scratch instinctively. If suppressed, like all natural drives, the inability to scratch can cause frustration and behavioural issues to manifest.  Cats also use scratching posts to stretch and strengthen their muscles in the case of posts with platforms that allow jumping and perching – all important and necessary activities towards keeping your cat happy and healthy.   The good news is, scratching posts don't have to be boring! Contemporary posts like the Catitude Salvador Play House come in modern prints and styles that help make your kitty’s post a feature rather than an eyesore. Modern scratcher designs are also available which seamlessly blend into any carefully styled home. So much so, guests may not even realize what its real purpose is! Easily replaced and economical, cardboard scratchers are a great idea for enthusiastic scratchers who have a habit of reducing carpeted or rope scratchers to shreds in record time.  Feature Image Credit

5 Things To Consider Before You Buy A Dog Door

 by michelle on 29 Sep 2014 |
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Dog doors can be a beneficial addition to any dog owner’s home. The key to getting the most out of your dog door is to choose the one best for your pet and train them appropriately.   When choosing the right dog door, consider the following:   Your dog’s height and width Using any door in your home, open it to the minimum width required for your dog to walk through comfortably. That distance plus an extra inch or so, should determine the width of the dog door you purchase. It’s also important to take into account your dog’s height by measuring the distance between the highest point of their shoulders straight to the floor. The height of the dog door should be at least two inches greater than your dog’s height. With the right measurements, you can assure your dog can comfortably fit through the door, without rubbing on the door when they pass. The last thing you want is to install a door your dog can’t even fit through! Note: If your dog is a puppy, it’s best to wait until they’ve reached their full size before installing a door, otherwise you take a risk by estimating.   Where you're installing your dog door There are lots of types of dog doors, some meant for sliding glass doors and others not meant for doors, but for walls made of stucco or brick! They come in all different materials too, including plastic and aluminum.   Extreme weather conditions If you live in an area where it either gets really cold or really hot, you may want to consider purchasing a dog door that has multiple flaps meant to protect your home from outside temperatures. These types of doors are energy efficient, with weather tight seals.   Installation Not all of us are handy, and although there are certainly more difficult projects than installing a dog door, there is such a thing as an instant doggy door. These types of dog doors are more like panels and slip right into place on your sliding door’s track!   The cons Many people are concerned that having a dog door will allow other animals or intruders to get into their home. Some may also not want their dog going outside when they aren’t around, either because they’re afraid the dog will tear up the yard, escape, or perhaps be attacked by a wild animal. These concerns are valid depending on where you live, but thankfully there are plenty of dog doors available that have locking mechanisms, allowing you to control when your dog can access the outdoors. Even fancier, some dog doors use advanced entrance and exit technology that allows only pets wearing a special ID tag to pass through. Although these types of doors are more expensive, they may be worth the cost if it will put your mind at ease.     This is definitely the wrong sized door! Image credit   Now that you’ve chosen the right door for your dog and installed it, the next step is to train your dog to use it. As you probably guessed, the best way to go about doing this is to coax your dog through the door with a treat, and praise them every time they go through.   Be sure never to frighten your pet by yelling, scolding, or shoving them through. You don’t want your dog to associate the door with fear, as this will make training much more difficult.   For dogs that need a little extra help, you can try holding the flap open all the way or even removing it. Gradually close the flap until they realize they need to use their nose to push their way through to a treat and reward!   Some electronic flaps make noises that could frighten your dog. If this is the case you can disable the electronics to allow them to adjust to the flap in general. Think you’re ready for a dog door? Start your search for the right one here. Feature image credit

Teach Your Cat To Use YOUR Toilet

 by danielle on 26 Sep 2014 |
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The unpleasant chore of cleaning the kitty litter tray is generally one of the unfortunate necessities of modern cat ownership. But with some training, it is a task owners can avoid, switching the scoop for a simple push of the flush button.   It seems like a fantasy out of a comedy show, a cat jumping up and using the human toilet – but normal feline house pets can just as easily learn to use human facilities like their Hollywood counterparts with some targeted ‘potty training’ from their owners.   The Litter Kwitter has been enormously popular worldwide as a toilet-training aid. It comes with three colour coded plastic dishes which attach neatly to the seat of all toilets. The first step involves filling the dish with litter and placing it on the ground next to the toilet. Your cat will use it for a number of weeks like a conventional litter tray, learning in the meantime to associate the tray with going to the bathroom.   Step two is to fit the red tray into the toilet seat, teaching your cat to jump up when nature calls. Once your cat has mastered this vital stage, it is time to switch to the amber tray. It has a rim to hold a small amount of litter, as well as a small hole in the centre, allowing your cat to experience for the first time going over water. The green tray weans your cat off litter, including only a small rim which helps cats learn to balance.   Image credit     When you feel they are ready, it is time for the finale – no ‘training wheels’ at all. Your cat should be able to jump onto the toilet seat and do their business without assistance. No more litter tray cleaning to worry about ever again!    The amount of time it takes to train each stage varies on the age and disposition of the cat, though generally eight weeks is thought to be sufficient. Keep in mind kittens, whilst easy to train, may struggle with jumping up on the seat and so you should probably stay on the red stage for three months until they have grown larger.   Advantages of toilet training your cat: Saves you money because you'll no longer have to buy kitty litter. No more cleaning out litter trays (hurrah!) Less odor to contend with as conventional toilets mask odors much better.

Should Your Dog Wear A Harness?

 by danielle on 25 Sep 2014 |
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Harnesses can be a far better option for dogs than the traditional collar and leash. Dogs that pull risk trachea, neck and spinal injury if led by their collars, especially if their behaviour continues over many years. Puppies are also particularly at risk as they are still developing when they are first introduced to walking on the leash. They can easily surge forwards and choke themselves, doing lasting damage to soft tissues, cartilage and vertebrae. By distributing pressure evenly over the body, harnesses prevent such injuries from occurring.   Harnesses are also considered an excellent option for ‘Houdini’ pets who are prone to slipping out of their collars when out and about. A properly fitted harness is difficult to escape, meaning such dogs are far more likely to be kept under control and out of danger.   Some owners with larger dogs avoid harnesses because they're concerned it will give their dog a greater capacity to drag them around the neighbourhood. This can be the case with more simplistic designs, however innovative no-pull harnesses such as the Easy Walk Harness, are available which discourage pulling whilst keeping dogs’ necks safe.   Note that it is recommended that dogs wear a collar as well as a harness purely for identification purposes. A dog that is accidentally let out of its yard or otherwise lost can usually be more quickly returned to its owners when wearing a collar and tag bearing their address and phone number.  Feature Image Credit  

Don't Let Your Cat's Food Freeze During Cold Weather

 by danielle on 24 Sep 2014 |
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Cold weather can make ensuring your cat has the appropriate amount of water difficult. Even if you have diligently kept their bowls filled to the brim, frosty temperatures can cause the water to freeze over meaning your cat is unable to drink. As water underpins all of the body’s processes, from digestion to waste removal, this can have serious consequences for your cat’s health.   It can be difficult to tell how much or how little water your cat has consumed. Signs of dehydration include: Sunken eyes Lethargy An elevated heart rate. Decreased skin elasticity. Panting  Image credit   The best way to prevent issues from developing is to keep water accessible at all times. If possible, keep your cat’s water dish in warmed family areas to prevent ice from forming. Alternatively, if your cat lives some, or all of the time, outdoors, warming devices such as the Thermo-Kitty Bowls are an efficient means of keeping water from freezing and drinkable even in the frostiest of cold snaps.   Don’t forget, wet food can also turn rock solid in the wintertime, causing cats being unable to eat. This can lead to the development of serious conditions such as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) if not remedied quickly. In these instances, a warming bowl is a great way of making sure your cat has access to adequate nutrition year round.    Feature Image Credit

7 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Pet Stroller

 by michelle on 23 Sep 2014 |
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I always laughed at the idea of a pet stroller, thinking it was an item only a very pampered pooch would use. That was until my furbaby Blossom turned 13, and I found myself buying her one. Here's the rest of Blossom's story, and other reasons why pet strollers aren't as silly of a purchase as you think: 1. Like most dogs, Blossom would go crazy at the sound of a jingling collar or the “w” word. As she got older though, she became more tired and her arthritis worsened. She doesn’t care for walks anymore, though her younger brother Finn is always up for a stroll around the block. It made me sad that I could no longer walk both my pups together, and that Blossom is only getting fresh air when she goes outside to eliminate. I imagine Blossom wants to go for walks, she just doesn’t feel well enough to. So that’s when I decided to buy a pet stroller. The stroller is basically a crate on wheels, so Blossom can be comfy while taking in all the scents of the great outdoors.   This leads me to the first way pet strollers can be beneficial, and that’s for a senior pet. Just because they are old or tired, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like some fresh air! You do all the walking while your pet can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. 2. Pet strollers are great for people that like to exercise with their pets. You can go as far and fast as you like, and when your dog gets tired just put them in the stroller so you can continue going! 3. Like senior pets, disabled pets or those recovering from surgery or injuries, are perfect candidates for strollers. They get to enjoy the outdoors all while remaining safe and secure in the stroller. 4. If you have multiple dogs, a stroller could come in handy if one of your pets isn’t as athletic as the others. The stroller will allow you to go long distances with your power pooch, and place the other one in the stroller when they’re too tired. Walks no longer have to end abrubtly! 5. Strollers are a great idea for indoor cats in particular. Though being an indoor cat is much safer than the alternative, domestic cats are missing out on the exciting things happening outside. But with a pet stroller, you can keep kitty safe while broadening their horizons. 6. If you like to bring your pet everywhere with you, a stroller will definitely make the process easier and safer. Picnics, festivals, your kids’ sporting events, are all places people like to bring their pets. A stroller makes it easy to contain them, and protect them from crowds, things on the ground they shouldn’t be eating, and potentially aggressive dogs. 7. Not only is it a great excuse for you to get out and exercise, but it's also a great opportunity to bond with your furbabies!   feature image credit

8 Signs Of Boredom In Indoor Cats

 by jaime on 22 Sep 2014 |
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Does your cat spend its days indoors? Indoor cats tend to have a relaxing lifestyle- they have nice long naps in cozy beds, access to food and of course plenty of cuddles. And because they are indoors, they live longer because they are less exposed to dangers like cars, predators and diseases. In fact, indoor cats can live between 12-18 years! However, just because they live long lives, it doesn't mean it's a happy or particularly fulfilling one - that's why it's up to owners to make sure their much loved indoor kitty receives plenty of activity and stimulation. A cat that doesn't get to express their natural instincts to stalk, scratch, hunt or mark their territory can become bored, irritated, depressed and potentially unwell. The following are signs that could indicate something is wrong with your cat: Sleeping more than usual Weight loss Coughing Sneezing Refusing water or food Panting Vomiting If you notice any of these symptoms or if anything else is not quite right with your cat - take them to the vet to have them checked out. Along with becoming potentially unwell, boredom is another major issue for under-stimulated cats. If your cat is bored you may notice the following signs: Lack of activity   gif credit Anxiety   gif credit Overeating     gif credit   Agression   gif credit Obesity     gif credit Scratching   gif credit Depression   gif credit Lethargy   gif credit   If you believe your cat is bored it's important you rectify this issue as soon as possible to avoid further complications. Essentially, you need to provide your cat with plenty of stimulus and entertainment. Meaning, provide them with plenty of things to do to keep them occupied during the day - especially for periods when you're not around. Activities that tap into their hunting instincts are perfect. They not only work them physically, but get them to use brain power which is key to allievating boredom. One game, the 'Mouse in the House' is perfect for keeping your cat entertained for hours. A timer, which is activated by yourself or even your cat (if they learn how to), instigates a mouse to come out from their hiding place. You're able to set it to go off at various times, so when you're out at work, you'll know your cat will be having a whale of a time, trying to hunt and stalk the mouse! So if this is your cat,     gif credit   then this could be one great way to prevent your cat from getting bored. Why not learn more about the Mouse in the House here. Alternatively, check out our range of interactive toys, designed to keep cats stimulated here.  

10 Reasons Why You Need A Pet Video Camera

 by jaime on 21 Sep 2014 |
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Surely more than a few pet owners are curious as to what their pet gets up to while they're not at home. Admittedly, a majority of pets probably just do a few laps of the house and yard, munch on some food, have a grooming session or scratch and take a good few hard earned naps. But maybe you have some burning questions you'd love answers for, such as... Where does my cat wander off to? Is my dog stressed out when I'm not there? Is my cat getting into fights? Is my cat being fed extra meals at the neighbors house? Does my dog bark a lot during the day? If so, have you ever considered installing a pet video camera on your animal to record footage of their most secret movements? It can be addictive viewing for pet owners to discover, just EXACTLY what their pet does when they're not around. However, not only is it fascinating to watch the world from your pet's perspective, it can be a key tool in providing your pet the best care and attention that they require -which can sometimes only be revealed when you're not there. Like, you may discover your cat is very unhappy with your current choice of kitty litter, or that your dog is urinating far too frequently and may be suffering with a health condition. A pet video camera is also useful for younger pets, because you can monitor how well they are learning, developing and how obedient they are being. Likewise, a pet video camera can reveal how safe and secure your pet is when left home alone and prompt you to make some adjustments to your home and yard. Besides, you may capture some hilarious footage, which can be uploaded to YouTube and make you and your pet internet famous! We all love our pets and a video camera is a fantastic tool to make sure that they are truly happy and safe when we're not around. Still not convinced? That's OK, because here are 10 more reasons why you should install a pet video camera! 1. You might discover your pet's narcissistic tendencies.       gif credit   2. They might be secretly taking your car out for a ride.   gif credit   3. One of your pets might turn out to be a bully.   gif credit   4. Instead of doing chores, they might be taking a bath.   gif credit   5. They might be really afraid of something.   gif credit   6. You'll know the real truth about that broken window...   gif credit   7. They might get stuck in something.   gif credit 8. You might find out that they were only pretending to hate each other.   gif credit   9. You'll know when they've had a bad day.   gif credit   10. You may even discover how bored they are when you're not around...   gif credit   You can check out our recommended pet video camera here. Feature image credit

5 Things To Know About Exercise Pens For Dogs

 by michelle on 20 Sep 2014 |
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If you're considering purchasing an exercise pen, check out the following questions and answers to determine whether or not a pen is suitable for you and your dog.  1. What are exercise pens used for? Exercise pens are the perfect way for you to keep your dog safe while allowing them the room to play, no matter if it’s indoors or outdoors. It gives your dog an area of their own to burn off energy while keeping them safe, and protecting your household items.  Additionally, exercise pens can be a great way to introduce new dogs while keeping the stress levels of both dogs at a minimum. They're typically made of metal or plastic, and are easily stored, movable, and perfect for a variety of settings. Remember: these pens are not made for your dog to be left unsupervised in. 2. Which breeds of dogs are they good for? Exercise pens are great for many breeds of dogs, especially for those with an active disposition. Puppies in particular are great candidates for pens, allowing you to contain them and monitor their play. Unfortunately, larger breeds may be able to knock them over, defeating the entire purpose of the pen. 3. What are the disadvantages of exercise pens? While exercise pens are strong, they have some limitations: they should not be used with a multitude of dogs or larger dogs that can knock them over. Also, it's important to keep in mind that exercise pens are not a substitute for actual exercise that your dog needs to stay healthy and happy.  4. What should I look for when purchasing an exercise pen? The pen should be taller than your dog while it’s standing on its hind legs to insure they cannot jump out. Furthermore, the pen should be sturdy enough to hold up to lively playing and should be escape-proof. 5. What's the best way to set up the pen? The pens should be kept on an even surface so your dog cannot easily knock it over; thankfully these pens are able to be configured in a variety of shapes so they can fit in an assortment of areas around your house where your dog will be safe. Because the pens are adjustable in shape, you may be able to adjust the panels to allow your dog access to their crate if they are tired of playing.

Why Play Houses Are Important For Cats

 by danielle on 19 Sep 2014 |
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Whilst cats are a thoroughly domesticated species, they still retain the need to express the natural behaviours of their wild ancestors. Climbing, scratching, hiding and perching are all activities owners of indoor cats need to facilitate in order to assure their pet’s physical and mental wellbeing.    Cats are known for their fondness of small, dark spaces. This desire to hide likely stems from old instincts pushing cats to conceal themselves from predators as well as potential prey. Cat furniture with enclosed hiding spaces such as the Midwest Catitude Carnival Play House helps cats to feel secure and relaxed (even if there are no jackals roaming your house to fret about). Studies have shown cats with a hiding place they call their own display markedly lower stress levels than those without.       Opportunities to climb are also important to feline happiness. Climbing and perching are known to help reduce a cat's stress levels. Occupying high spaces are another method wild felines use to avoid predators and furniture that allows this behaviour helps cats to feel cool, calm and collected at home. Vertical play houses like the Kittywalk Cozy Climber are particularly useful for letting indoor cats flex their jumping muscles.       Scratching can be annoying when your cat decides to sharpens their claws on your favourite chair, but the behaviour itself is not to be discouraged. Not only does scratching help maintain healthy claws it also makes cats feel comfortable and in control, as it is primarily a method of territory marking used to claim ownership of the place they call home.       Old-fashioned scratching posts aren't the only option anymore for providing kitty with an outlet to scratch their hearts out. Scratching furniture with moving components like wheels are now popular as well as dual-function items such as those that also act as a cosy hammock. Likewise, cardboard scratchers have the benefit of being easily and cheaply replaced for determined scratchers keen to rip their scratch post to shreds in a matter of weeks.     Remember, every cat is a tiger at heart, and they need to have the chance to act like one.     Feature image credit  
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