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February 2018

Why does my dog bark at nothing?

 by yunus on 27 Feb 2018 |
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Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons—to let you know they need to go out, to greet you playfully, or to alert you when a stranger is at the door. In each of these instances, your pet is trying to tell you something, but what about when Fido barks for seemingly no reason? It turns out, your dog may be noticing something you’re not, so pay close attention next time he engages in this behavior.   Canine behaviorists categorize barking in many ways, including territorial barking, alarm barking, attention-seeking, greetings, social barking, frustration-induced barking, separation anxiety barking and to let others know they are sick or injured. With so many different meanings behind your pet’s vocalizations, it can be difficult to determine what’s causing his seemingly needless barking. Dogs have hearing much better than our own, so our pets often pick up on noises we miss. If your dog is barking without cause, check if there is something making noise outside—or even in your home—that Fido may have mistaken for an intruder. The same goes for what your dog sees. A passing squirrel, jogger or other dog may be a non-event for you, but your pet may want to alert you of the change or protect his territory.   If you’ve watched for answers and still can’t find a reason behind your dog’s barking, there is a chance he’s developed a compulsive behavior. These are simply exaggerated forms of canines’ normal behaviors and can arise from conflict, stress or frustration. Compulsive behaviors often get worse with time to the point that dogs start to perform them without triggers, so it’s important to seek a professional’s help if you think your dog’s barking compulsive. Start by calling your veterinarian, who can diagnose your pet. Look for clues such as repetitive motions that accompany barking to help identify a compulsive behavior.   If Fido’s barking is causing problems for your or your neighbors, there are some steps you can take to curb the volume and frequency of his voice. If your pet barks at passersby or the neighbor’s dog, set up a privacy fence that keeps them out of sight. Dogs that bark when their owners leave the home will feel safer with a comfortable spot to rest, such as a crate outfitted with soft bedding and a cover. You can also teach your dog the “quiet” command or ask him to do a trick that prevents him from barking, such as giving him a toy and telling him to lie down. Make sure your pet is getting enough exercise and don’t leave him alone for long periods of time, which can exacerbate barking due to pent up energy or separation anxiety.

Seven cat sounds and what they mean

 by yunus on 20 Feb 2018 |
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From meowing and purring to hisses, growls and groans, cats make a wide variety of sounds. Though they sometimes sound like gibberish to human ears, feline vocalizations communicate our pets’ emotions and needs— if we know how to listen. Here are a few of the most common cat sounds: 1.     Meowing – Kittens meow to get their mothers’ attention, and so do our domestic pets meow to grab our ears. Cats think of us as their perpetual parents and meowing can signal Kitty wants something from you, whether it’s food, to have his litter box cleaned or your affection. It’s worth noting that all meows are not created equal and cats will use this vocalization to express a range of emotions. A short, quick meow often means your cat is lonely or wants food, while a prolonged, moaning meow can be a sign of worry, irritation or some other objection. By listening to your pet, you should be able to decipher what his unique range of meows means. Beware, though, that incessant meowing can be a sign of illness and you should consider taking your pet to the veterinarian if he doesn’t stop. Purring– Cats purr when they’re content, but they also produce this comforting vibration when feeling threatened or scared. Watch Kitty’s body language to be sure what this soft, throaty sound means.    Chirrup – A happy trilling noise, a chirrup is your cats’ way of greeting his beloved human. It is a sound reserved for when your pet is feeling excited and happy, or may be his way of getting your attention.                                        Chatter – This stuttering noise is generally a cat’s response to seeing something he can’t reach, such as a bird outside the window. It is thought to display excitement or frustration at the object out of reach.   Growl – This low, rumbling noise is a warning to stay away. If your cat is feeling afraid, angry or territorial, he’ll growl, and you should give him the space he needs.   Hissing – Hissing is your cat’s response to fear and shows he is ready to fight, if necessary. Often accompanied by an arched back, puffed tail and flattened ears, hissing can signal to that your pet wants to be left alone, so be sure to give him space.   Caterwaul – This shrill noise is unique to female cats in heat. It is a wailing call to let other cats know she is available to mate.   You can interpret your cat’s sounds simply by paying attention. Watch for the physical stimulus your cat is reacting to— another cat, a bird outside the window, or his own hunger, for example—and pay attention to his body language. That will help you determine how your pet is feeling and the message he’s hoping to convey. And remember, the specific sounds a cat makes 

Four tricks to teach your dog now

 by yunus on 16 Feb 2018 |
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When it comes to keeping your dog’s brain sharp, nothing works quite as well as teaching him a few new tricks. Not only can obedience training strengthen the bond you share with your pet, but it can also help tackle behavioral problems now and in the future. Here are a few top tricks to teach your pet:     Sit: Because sitting is a simple command to master, it’s a great way to start training your pet and build confidence. Begin by holding a treat near your dog’s nose—but not close enough for him to grab it from your hand. Slowly move your hand up, causing your dog’s head to tilt up to follow the treat and his rear to lower to the ground. If you have trouble, try gently pushing his chest backwards, which should encourage your dog to sit. Once Fido is in the sitting position, reward him with the treat. Repeat this sequence before meals, walks and other activities until he’s mastered the command, which can be used to keep him calm and collected in a variety of situations.   Come: The “come” command can keep your dog out of trouble by bringing him back to you when he gets loose. To teach your dog this command, put on his leash and collar. Walk to the end of the leash and, stooping to your dog’s level, say “come” while giving gentle tugs. When your dog comes, reward him with a treat. Once he’s mastered this command with a leash, remove it and continue practicing with only the verbal cue.    Stay: Once Fido is an expert at “sit,” you can teach him to stay. To begin, have your dog sit and then open your palm in front of you in the “halt” gesture. Take several steps backwards while repeating the “stay” command. If your dog stays put, reward him with a treat and praise. Over time, you can increase the distance you move before rewarding your pet. Once he masters this trick, you can use “stay” to avert behavior problems and keep your dog out of trouble.   Leave it: Teaching your dog to “leave it” can be a literal lifesaver when a curious pet get into something he shouldn’t eat. To teach Fido this command, start by placing a treat in both hands. Close your hands and show him one fist while giving the “leave it” command. Your pet will probably sniff, paw or bark at the treat, but it’s important to ignore these behaviors. Once he has stopped, offer your dog the treat from the other hand. Repeat this process until your pet immediately moves away from the first fist when you said “leave it.” Cement his training by only offering the treat when he moves from the first fist and looks up at you upon hearing the “leave it” command.

This is why you’re petting your cat wrong

 by yunus on 13 Feb 2018 |
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All cat owners have had the jarring experience of lavishing their feline friends with affection only to receive an abrupt scratch or bite in return. According to a study publish in Applied Animal Behavior Science, this might be for good reason. The researchers observed more than fifty cats and, it turns out, felines have general preferences for where they do and don’t like to be touched.   Cats are not close-contact animals by nature. Affectionate touch is a learned behavior for our pets and each individual has a different threshold for petting. Bearing that in mind, researchers identified some broad rules on where you should and should not pet your cat. For example, anyone who’s given their cat a rub on the chin has likely been met with a warm purr. It turns out, that makes sense. Cats have scent glands near their cheeks that release pheromones—chemical signals used to communicate with other members of the species. When your pet rubs his face against you or your furniture, he’s marking it with these feel-good chemicals, and he feels that same comfort when you rub him along his cheeks, chin and head.   According to the study, a pat along the torso is a close second to rub on the head— although the researchers did not test what happened when they touched a cat’s stomach. The team found one no-go zone, however, that may surprise some cat lovers: the tail. Scientists believe the base of a cat’s tail may be some sort of erogenous zone that gets over stimulated when it’s touched. This can lead to petting-induced aggression, which is your cat’s way of telling you to back off when he’s had too much affection. No matter what part of his body you’re petting, however, if your cat is twitching his tail or skin, taking a defensive stance, flattening his ears, or growling, it’s a sign to back off and leave him alone.   Different cats have different thresholds for affection and your pet’s unique preferences might surprise you. By watching his body language during cuddles and keeping in mind that most cats prefer to be stroked along the head, you can learn your cat’s preferences and strengthen the bond you share—while avoiding being maimed.

How to stop your dog from jumping on people

 by yunus on 09 Feb 2018 |
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When dogs meet, they greet each other face-to-face, but this can become a problem when your companion greets people the same away. Though it comes naturally to our pets, jumping up on people can leave them with scratches and bruises and poses a serious threat to children and frail adults. Fortunately, with some training, you can change your pet’s high-flying behavior.   While most people know they shouldn’t encourage dogs to jump, this knowledge seems to go the window when a cute puppy is involved. While it’s harmless for a young pup, jumping up on people can create problems later in life when dogs are fully grown. While it’s best to train your pet not to jump from an early age, even adult dogs can learn to keep their feet on the floor.   The first step to stopping your pet from jumping is to remove any opportunities to do so. If you know you’re having guests over for dinner, try crating your dog, putting him in a separate room, or readying him on a leash before they arrive. If your pet jumps on you at the door, go back out immediately and try again until he corrects the behavior. This way, Fido has no chance to jump on people while he’s still learning the ropes. Next, teach your dog to stop jumping during greetings by taking away the thing he wants most: attention. By ignoring your pet when he jumps on you, he will soon learn that the best way to earn your affection is keeping all four feet on the ground. Do not push your dog away or engage him at all, but instead, fold your arms across your chest or walk away. Delay your greeting until your pet is calm, with all paws the ground, and then lavish him with attention and praise.   To help with training, keep your greetings low-key. Showering your pet with too much affection will only rile him up and contribute to the problem. If your dog jumps on you or your guests when you come in the door, go back out immediately and try again. With repetition, he will understand the only way to get attention is to stay grounded. You can also try teaching your dog an alternative behavior, such as sitting, to stop him from jumping. Consistency is key when teaching a pet not to jump, so be sure everyone in your household follows the rules. With some practice, you should have a well-mannered pet to greet you every day.

How much should you really feed your cat?

 by yunus on 07 Feb 2018 |
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If you’re a first-time cat owner or have recently taken home a new pet, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is, “How much should I feed my cat?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Just like people, our pets’ dietary needs change throughout their lives and depend on factors such as size, metabolism, exercise and even your cat’s environment. Understanding what a balanced diet means for your individual pet, then, will be key to keeping him healthy throughout his life.   The first decision when feeding your pet is whether to give him dry food, canned meat or a mixture of both. Many owners feed their cats dry kibble alone, which is nutritionally sound as long as the formula is complete and balanced—namely, a low-carb, high-animal protein feed. Make sure cats eating a kibble-only diet have plenty of access to fresh water, too, as they normally receive a large portion of their daily water intake from meat. Though dry food is cheaper, many cats prefer canned food over kibble, so watch that your pet isn’t overeating if you feed him an all-meat diet. It’s also acceptable mix canned and dry food, as long as you keep portion control in mind.   After selecting the right food for your pet, establish a feeding routine that suits his age and body type. Kittens are growing, so require more frequent feedings than adult cats. A good rule of thumb is to feed kittens three meals a day until they’re around six months old, at which time most cats do well with one or two meals a day. This pattern should work throughout your cat’s senior years, too, as long as he is in good health. Arrange mealtimes around your own schedule so you can keep them consistent, since cats can be sensitive to changes in routine.   Many cat owners allow their pets free access to dry food, which works well for self-regulating felines. Some pets, however, will overeat when given the opportunity, especially in multi-cat households where competition for food is common. To control Kitty’s portions, follow the label on his pet food, adjusting to meet your cat’s individual needs. A general guideline for an active, 8-pound cat is 30 calories per pound per day, but this may be too much for a less active pet or too little for a playful kitten. For help determining whether your cat is over- or underweight, check his backbone and ribs: If they show through his skin, he is too thin, and if you can’t feel his ribs, he is likely overweight.                                                           Whether he’s a hungry kitten or a senior who requires a special diet, your cat’s food is the brick and mortar of his health. By finding a nutritionally balanced formula and establishing a feeding routine that works for your pet, you can ensure he stays healthy throughout his life.
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