We all know that cats can be pretty challenging to read. So you might be asking, do cats get lonely?
There's a misconception that cats don't like to make friends with other cats. So do cats need company?
In reality, this will all depend on the cat. Some cats are very social, some prefer o be alone, and some can get sad quickly.
There are certain factors to know if your cat will quickly get lonely. For instance, it will depend on their personality and age.
Do Cats Get Lonely?It's a common idea that cats are independent and antisocial. But that doesn't mean they don't get sad.
Compared to dogs, cats enjoy more of their solo activities, such as exploring and self-grooming. Their independence can be linked to their wild ancestors, who were lone animals.
But since cats have evolved to be domesticated pets, they now crave companionship with their humans and other pets.
So if you think that your cats rejoice when you leave the house, it's the opposite. Cats get lonely, and they also wait for you to arrive home.
Some cats that are left alone all day without stimulation (playing with toys or other animals or humans) cause bad behavior.
Signs That Your Cat is LonelyOvergroomingLonely cats tend to self-groom excessively. We all know that cats naturally are careful groomers.
But if you feel that their grooming procedure begins to border on OCD-like behavior, it can signify that your cat is feeling lonely.
If your cat is usually quiet but suddenly becomes talkative, this can also signify that they are sad. It's their way of asking attention.
Extreme vocalization can also mean that they are experiencing a lot of stress. It can be because of a new pet, a new baby, or maybe they're suffering from an illness that you don't know about.
Loss or Increase in Appetite
Changes in appetite can be caused by depression. Lonely cats tend to lose interest in their regular diet.
On the other hand, changes in appetite can also be caused by certain illnesses, unfamiliar surroundings, or other psychological issues.
We all know that cats love to sleep, but lonely or depressed cats will sleep more. As the cat owner, if you notice changes in your cat's sleeping pattern, it can mean that they're unhappy.
Low energy is expected for sad cats. It can also indicate that they suffer from other mental or physical problems.
In addition, lethargy is also seen in cats because of stress, obesity, medication side effects, and boredom.
Aggression is one of the most common signs that your cat is lonely. They tend to be aggressive once they know that their person is getting ready to leave.
If your cat shows aggression when you're on your way out, it means they do not want you to leave them alone. They are telling you that they want to spend more time with you.
Lonely cats show tendencies of destructiveness mostly because they are bored. When a cat is bored, they'll think of destructive or creative ways to entertain their minds.
When you get home, you'll find your place messy or destroyed. This means that your cat is lonely or bored.
Scratches on your sofa, climbing up your curtains, and shredding toilet paper are a few signs of destructive behavior.
Litter Box Issues
When you notice that your cat is spraying or squatting outside the litter box, it's advised to make sure that they don't have any medical issues first.
Because litter box issues can also signify kidney or urinary tract problems.
On the other hand, it can also mean that your cat is trying to tell you something. This can be his way of communicating his sadness at being alone.
Additional Reasons Your Cat Gets Sad
Besides leaving them at home, there are still other reasons your cat gets sad. Here are a few reasons your cat can get lonely:
A lonely cat can also show you that they have some underlying health conditions. In these times, it would be best to consult with your local vet instead of searching through the internet and guessing what's wrong.
Your cat may be suffering from diseases and infections that can affect its mood. A few examples of these are fatty liver disease, dental disease, ringworm, and even cancer.
Loss of a Loved One
Yes, cats grieve at the loss of their loved ones too. Cats can develop a particular bond with humans or other pets over time.
For instance, if your other pet, let's say a dog dies, you'll notice that the cat will be lonely and depressed. But don't you worry, as they will eventually recover.
You will limit your cat's ability to play or do things they love once they start to experience an injury.
For example, your cat loves to play outdoors and takes walks. If your cat suddenly can't do these things that he enjoys, sadness is unavoidable.
Your Cat Gets Lonely, How To Make Your Cat Happy?
Now that we've tacked the reasons and signs on why cats get lonely, let's discussed how we will turn that around. Always remember that a happy cat lives a longer and healthier life.
Provide a Healthy Diet
A healthy cat is a happy cat. The cat's diet will depend on its age.
You shouldn't feed adult cat foods to kittens. There are specifically recommended diets for kittens, adults, and senior cats.
As the pet owner, make sure that your cat receives a proper balance of nutrients that they need. If you're unsure about what to give, consulting with your vet or a veterinary nutritionist is your best bet.
Visit the Vet
As stated above, if your cat is healthy, he's also happy. He'll be able to do the things that he loves. From playing, running around, and maybe just staring at birds.
An unhealthy cat can lead to depression as it won't be able to do the things they enjoy. Consult with your vet regularly to know how to take care of your pets properly.
Take the time to play with your cat. One of their favorite games is playing hide and seek. It can be fun for both of you.
Or maybe bring them new toys! Cat toys are not that expensive.
Have you experienced buying some cat toys online, but when your box or package arrives, your cat was much happier to play with the box?
In addition, cats enjoy playing with just a ball of yarn.
Toys are physically and mentally stimulating, making them sharp and healthy.
Petting or Cuddle Time
Believe it or not, cats love to interact with their owners. Like dogs, they love to be petted (well, maybe not all the time)!
A gentle scratch on their head or behind their jaw can make them feel safe and happy.
In addition, petting a cat can also boost your mood. It can be a positive distraction to people suffering from mental illnesses like depression.
According to researchers, their theory is that catnip triggers the cat's “happy” receptors in the brain when they smell it. But when eaten, it starts an opposite effect, and your cat becomes mellow.
Cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing, and zoning out. However, some cats become “zoomies” or hyperactive. They can also suddenly show aggression when you approach them.
Can Cat Loneliness Be Helped By Getting a Second Cat?
If you have one cat at home, you might have asked yourself this question. “Should I get a second cat?”.
Cats have a reputation for being solitary animals. But cats can also benefit from having a friend or a buddy.
Changes in a cat's behavior can indicate that they're lonely. But don't automatically assume that they need another kitty in the house.
It's still best advised to consult with your vet if you feel any difference in their behavior.
However, adding a second cat may not seem to be a bad idea. Adding a cat can help with your cat's sadness. When you're gone off to school or work, your cat will have a companion or playmate.
But adding a new cat will not fix all the problems of a lonely cat. Adding a new cat is more challenging than it seems.
Cats are also high-maintenance pets.
And on rare occasions, they might not get along too well. Now you have two lonely cats to take care of.
If your cat is old and has made a few cat friends throughout its life, it's less likely that they want another cat in the house.
But if your cat is patient and has a good history of interacting with other cats. There's a great chance that it could work.
Matching Your Cat to a Second Cat
If you're still unsure about getting a second cat, you're maybe scared that they won't get along. I might have the solution for you.
Try to look into rescues with multiple cats that are open for foster or a “trial period.” Take your newly chosen cat home, introduce it to your cat slowly, and try again with another if it doesn't work.
But for more context, here's a step-by-step guide on how you can introduce a new cat to your old cat:
Step #1: First Impressions
Just like with us humans, first impressions are crucial when it comes to building chemistry.
Two cats meeting for the first time may display anger or aggression. It would be best to keep them separated at first. This way, you'll be able to control their first meeting.
Ensure that they have their food and water bowl, litter box, scratching post, and bed. They should also be able to smell and hear each other.
A good technique is to feed the cats near a door that separates them so that they learn that coming together is a positive experience. You can add a few extra treats as well.
After two-three days, switch their locations so they'll be able to analyze each other's smell.
Step #2: Meeting Each Other
After a few days or a week, if you see don't see them hissing, growling, or any signs of aggression at the door, this is an excellent time to introduce them to each other.
Replacing the door with a temporary screen is an excellent method to let the cats see each other first. Once they see each other, ask a friend or a family member to help you give them treats behind them and call their name.
Feed and play with them near the screen door for the next few days. Try to move closer to the barrier as the days go by
Step #3: Give Them Space
The last step is allowing the cats to spend time with each other without the barrier. In this step, it is still crucial that you are there to supervise these first face-to-face meetings.
It would be best to do this when they're both calm, for instance, after a meal or after playing. As they become more comfortable with each other, they can have their own space.
This week, I am writing my own article in hopes that it helps change some pet owners' way of thinking. It is a topic that is very close to my heart.
Pets, especially dogs and cats, have evolved so much from the time that our parents kept the family dog outside, they never came inside. Dog left outside in the elements, even if they have shelter and never being able to be inside with the family actually causes them sadness, stress and ages a dog a lot faster then being comfortable on an orthopedic bed in the living room with the family that they love; receiving pets and kisses, treats, toys and playtime.
And with the evolution of pets into the family comes the feeling that they aren't pets anymore, they ARE family.
I am one of those people.
In my line of work, I see a lot of misconceptions. One in particular is showing your love, to your pet, with food and treats. Overweight dogs are at such a high risk of obesity related illness and diseases, like diabetes. Do you want to put your dog through getting daily insulin injections, twice a day? The weight of the dog puts such pressure on the spine, the spinal disks holding the spine together, their elbows and knees as well. And by all means let's emphasis the pressure it puts on the heart to pump harder to just to move around. If they don't get the healthy exercise that they need AS WELL AS the diet food or just LESS food, they are prone to diabetes, arthritic changes in their back, hips and legs, which is so very painful for them.
This is no life for any pet. You've seen that overweight person walk through the mall or a movie theater; notice their gait, the effort that they have to put forth just to walk, the heavy breathing they do? How uncomfortable they likely are, in pain and how often they must have to sit down to take a break; how hard their heart must be working. It is NO different for a pet!
So if you have truly read the above, think about it. You "think" that you are showing your dog love with all those bowls of food, multiple times a day and so many variety of treats all day long. But what you are really doing is setting your pet up for long term medical problems, high vet bills, constant pain discomfort and all of the medication your pet will have to take for arthritis, diabetes, heart, anti-inflammatory meds for their spine. You don't want that for your pet, I know. It's just that some pet owners, love their pets in the present-day and time, and not thinking of what you are actually doing to their future health, mobility, comfort and happiness as an older pet.
I urge you to get with your Vet, listen to what he has to say and then truly do it. THAT is how you should show your pet love. Let him live a happy, active, pain free life. Yes, your pet, who doesn't understand any of this, will seem displeased and even pout with his new diet. So swap out the unhealthy diet and overfeeding and substitute it with fun distraction like walking, exercise, playing fetch, going to the dog park or play dates. For cats, build outdoor play areas, provide cat trees and high shelves around the house so cats can climb, jump and play. Get out that fake flying bird toy and give him that healthy exercise they crave. Cats are hunters by nature, they need the instinct to climb and jump and hunt.
No pet, no matter what breed, is made to just sit around on your lap all day or lay around and only exist within the square footage of your home or see nothing of the outer world than your back yard. Once I attended a lecture given by local Veterinarians, in another area, who explained to a group of pet-industry-professionals, that when a dog is on a walk and they are sniffing fire hydrants, free trunks, bushes, etc., that is the same thing that we do when we scroll through our Facebook or Instagram feed. Who is doing what and where. When they mark different spots that they was past, that's like they are leaving a comment or a post to the dog that was there before.
This subject really means a lot to me because I own a popular pet sitting and dog walking business and we offer so many different ways that we can help your pet become a happy, pain free and healthy pet. Isn't that what you want for your pet? If you don't have time after work because now you have to cook dinner or help with homework, then that is what we are here for. Call us to see how we can help your pet. Go to our website at www.noniespetcare.com and take a look at all of the services that we offer, package deals or one time "try us out". See the difference that we can make in your pet's life.
Like us humans, dogs are also susceptible to getting different diseases like cancer, and one of the most significant and most common is lymphoma in dogs.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, although there are less than 70,000 dogs in the country that are getting diagnosed with lymphoma every year, it still accounts for 24% of new cancers in dogs.
Lymphoma in Dogs, also known as Canine Lymphosarcoma, is a type of cancer that commonly occurs in organs responsible for the immune system.
It is considered a systematic disease. It affects the whole body because it develops in cells that are in the blood (known as lymphocytes).
In this article, let's dig a little deeper on what are the common types and symptoms of lymphoma in dogs.
We also listed down the possible treatments for lymphoma, and what can we do as dog parents in case of this unfortunate event.
Lymphoma in Dogs: Causes
Dogs are also exposed to the same environment as us. And what might be causing cancer in humans can be the same for dogs, too.
However, Lymphoma has no known cause as of yet.
Many studies and research were conducted to determine if lymphoma in dogs could be caused by viruses, bacteria, chemical exposures, or even strong magnetic fields, but none of them really came through.
As of now, what's constantly observed is having a low immune system is a risk factor in getting lymphoma (not only for dogs but humans too!).
But the connection between the low immune system and lymphoma hasn't been clearly established yet.
Lymphoma in Dogs: Types
Studies suggest that there are 30 types of canine lymphoma and that they vary in behavior depending on the affected organ.
However, they are categorized into 4 types of lymphoma in dogs:
Lymphoma in Dogs: Symptoms
Depending on the affected area, there are different signs and symptoms of lymphoma in dogs.
Multicentric LymphomaSwollen lymph nodes in dogs are the most noticeable sign of Multicentric Lymphoma.
Although it's generally not painful for them, the rapid growth of lymph nodes can be quite disturbing and worrisome.
They can grow from 3 to 10 times their normal size. They would also feel like a moving hard, rubbery lump under the skin.
At times, they may cause our dogs' loss of appetite and energy. You may also observe edema or swelling in the legs and/or face.
Alimentary Lymphoma mainly affects our dog's gastrointestinal organs. Because of this, some symptoms you'll probably observe are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
Their diarrhea can be quite watery, dark in color, and foul-smelling.
Now I know it's hard to notice if your dog has an aching tummy (if only they can speak!)
But if you see them restless, in a scrunched-up position, and don't like getting touched in the abdomen area, then that could be abdominal pain.
Because it's in the chest area, Mediastinal Lymphoma may cause difficulty in breathing in our dogs.
Also some of the most noticeable signs are constant coughing and their intolerance to physical activities.
Dogs with this type of lymphoma may also get swelling in the face and in their front legs.
You'll also notice them frequently thirsty and always urinating.
Since Extranodal Lymphoma targets different organs, you may want to keep a look out for different symptoms.
Lymphoma on the skin may appear as either lesions or rashes, while lymphoma on the eyes may start as blindness.
Sudden seizures may be caused by lymphoma in their central nervous system, and unexplained fractures may be caused by lymphoma on their bones.
Whatever unusual symptoms you may be observing in your dog, consulting your vet is always, always the best thing to do.
Feeding Your Dog During Cancer Treatment By Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM
Advances in veterinary diagnostics not only means dogs are now living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before, but it also means the likelihood of diagnosing cancer during a dog's life has increased. As with people, known carcinogens can have a detrimental effect on dogs (e.g., second hand smoke, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and obesity) and are associated with an increased risk of developing cancer. Cancer not only compromises a dog's quality of life, but it is also the leading cause of non-accidental death in dogs. Other diseases are more common (e.g., obesity, chronic kidney disease, allergies) but cancer remains the most common fatal disease.
Are you giving your pet too many treats? WEBMD for pets, By Lisa Fields, Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on June 14, 2020
Many pet owners give these little extras as rewards -- or to show their love for their dogs or cats -- without thinking about the number of calories that are in each handout. Snacks like these may be one reason why more than half of pets in the U.S. weigh too much.
If you want to be smart about giving your dog or cat treats, follow some guidelines to avoid adding too many calories to their diet.
Just like cookies don’t have enough nutrients to be the bulk of your diet, pet treats aren’t healthy enough for dogs or cats to be a large part of what they eat. That’s because these products aren’t made with the same balanced nutrition that goes into the type of pet food that you serve them at mealtime.
Pets shouldn’t get more than 10% of their daily calories from treats. This includes table scraps or food you might use to give your pet medicine, since these things aren’t designed for a healthy dog or cat’s diet.
Your vet can tell you the total number of calories your pet needs each day, and you can figure out what 10% of that amount is. To see how many calories are in treats, look on the package. (If there are no calories listed, don’t buy that treat.)
How Often to Give Treats
Some people give treats to train a pet or reward good behavior. Others use them to show their love or to strengthen their bond with the animal.
There’s no rule about how often you can dole them out, as long as you limit treats to 10% of their daily calories. Some owners choose to give one large biscuit each day. Others give a handful of kibble (perhaps 20 or 30 pieces) over the course of the day, one or two pieces at a time.
Giving no treats is fine, too. Remember that cats and dogs do well with other rewards and signs of affection, like extra playtime with you or words of praise.
You may like to treat your pets to a few bites from the dinner table. If you forget to count those calories in your pet’s diet, they can gain too much weight. Keep bites from the table as small as your pinky fingernail so the food doesn’t have too many calories per mouthful.
Sometimes, feeding your pet table scraps can lead to begging, because they know that food can be a reward. If a pet begs and you give them food, they’ll think that it’s a reward for what they did, so they’ll beg again.
If you have trouble saying no to those big eyes or whines and meows, put your pet in a different room when you eat. Or try serving them their meal at the same time that you eat yours, so they don’t feel left out.
As long as you keep the portions in check, it’s fine to offer some human food to your pet. But dogs and cats should never eat:
What Is 'Normal' for a Cat?
1, Sleeping all day, chasing shadows all night, getting high on mysterious herbs -- that may be delinquent behavior for a teenager, but it's run of the mill for a cat. Learn more about the peculiarities of feline protocol so you can sort harmless kitty quirks from cat behaviors that could spell trouble.
2. A cat rubbing their face on you is a sign of affection. Cats have glands on their cheeks and the corners of their mouths. When they rub up against your leg or other body part, they leave some of their scent on you. According to feline etiquette, that's a compliment.
3. Bringing You 'Gifts
You've politely told your little predator, "No, thanks." But your cat insists on showering you with gifts of dead mice, birds, or lizards. Bringing you dead animals is normal, but it's best to keep your cat inside. Prowling cats can have a devastating impact on ground-nesting birds and hunting can also be a source of parasites and bacterial disease. Instead, give your cat toys they can hunt for inside. It will give them an outlet for their predator behavior -- and keep wildlife safe.
4. Drinking From Toilets
You've watched your cat's painstaking grooming ritual. Why would they go to all that trouble keeping themselves clean and then drink out of the toilet? No one is sure why cats do this. Toilet water may taste fresher than stagnant water because it's changed with each flush. Don't worry about it unless you keep chemical cleaners in the tank. And if it really bothers you, keep the lid down.
5. Eating Plants
Eating small amounts of grass can be nutritious for cats. In larger quantities, it can have a laxative effect or cause vomiting. If your cat is drawn to eating greenery, take inventory of your houseplants. Many species are toxic to felines, such as aloe and philodendron, and Easter lilies, which are deadly. You can easily find whether a plant is toxic to your cat by checking online.
6. Eating Wool
In rare cases, cats are compelled to eat the inedible. For unknown reasons, wool is particularly appealing. Some suck on it. Some actually eat it. Some cats may even eat big holes out of sweaters. This behavior is considered compulsive and is most common in indoor-only cats. Talk to your vet about behavior modification. It may help to provide tasty alternatives, like catnip, grass, lettuce, or rawhide.
7. Sleeping All Day
It may seem lazy, but sleeping or lounging around the whole day is a survival trait if you're a cat. As they evolved in the wild, felines developed a pattern for conserving energy. They hunt for a short period and spend the rest of the day sleeping. In house cats, the pattern is similar. A kitten will eat and play in brief bursts, but spend most of their time at rest.
8. Motor Mouth
Just like people, some cats are more "talkative" than others. They may meow and whine throughout the day. Asian breeds, particularly Siamese cats, are prone to vocalizing. As long as your cat doesn't seem anxious or in pain, being a chatterbox is no cause for alarm. However, a quiet cat that suddenly begins vocalizing should be examined. The change in behavior could signal a medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
Your new slacks may suffer a few snags, but your cat means well. When Tiger jumps on your lap to knead your legs, it means they are feeling relaxed, comfortable and secure. Kneading is learned very early in a cat's life. It's something most kittens do while nursing.
10. Finger Licking
If your cat makes a habit of licking your fingers, there are several possible reasons. The first is that your cat simply likes the taste of your sweat or hand lotion. In some cases, licking can be a comforting behavior; it may be linked to nursing. If your cat licks you excessively and shows other signs of anxiety, check with your vet.
11. Getting High
If a pinch of catnip sends Fluffy into a state of bliss, you might wonder if your innocent fur-ball is getting high. The answer is yes. Chemicals in catnip produce a response similar to intoxication. Because there's a genetic basis for it, some cats show an extreme attraction. Others show no reaction at all. In some cats, this naughty herb may even cause hallucinations. Catnip is not toxic to cats. However, eating large amounts can lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Catnip shouldn't be given to pregnant cats.
Like people, cats are vulnerable to allergies, sinus irritation, and upper respiratory infections. Symptoms may include sneezing and a runny nose. Sneezing in cats is most often caused by a viral infection picked up from being around other infected cats. Other causes of sneezing may include inhaled allergens, blades of grass, or even tumors. If sneezing continues for more than a few days, check with your vet.
13. Playing All Night
Cats naturally tend to be active at night, when their superior vision lets them sneak up on prey. Most domesticated cats adjust their schedule to be active when people are awake, but this doesn't always happen. If your darling is a night owl, try providing an intense play session and a meal right before bedtime. The burst of activity should wear Dracula out, so you can both get a good night's sleep. But if your older cat suddenly stays awake all night, check with your vet: It might be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
14. Glow-in-the-Dark Eyes
Many cultures, such as the ancient Egyptians, have admired cats as divine beings. The fact that their eyes glow in the dark only adds to the mystique. As it turns out, there's a fairly mundane explanation for this phenomenon. Feline eyes have a layer of tissue called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back through the retina. It helps facilitate their exceptional night vision.
How You Handle Pet Food Could Be Making Your Dog—And You—Sick / By Amanda Loudin, April 12, 2022, Fetch by WebMD
– Patrick McIntyre loves his two labs, ages 5 and 6. So much so that he and his wife make their own dog food to provide them with the best nutrition possible for long and healthy lives. Part of that approach involves handling food safely, just as the couple would handle their own food.
“We clean up after making and serving them food, don’t leave food out after they’ve eaten it, and wash their dishes after every meal,” says McIntyre. “I wouldn’t want to leave my bowls sitting out on the floor, so why would I leave my dogs’ bowls there?”
While the McIntyres’ approach might seem time-consuming and over the top, it turns out they’re onto something. According to a new analysis published in the journal PLOS One, in-home pet food handling and food dish hygiene practices can have bad health effects for both humans and pets.
Despite the concern for contamination, the study found that few guidelines exist for pet dish hygiene and safe food handling.
“In my clinical experience, I don’t think many people consider safe food handling with their pets,” says Stephanie Sheen, a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) at Fuzzy Pet Health, an online pet health service.
And while some tenets of safe food handling carry over from the human side of the equation, some do not, says Sheen.
“There are many food safety issues that apply to pets and not humans,” she says. “For starters, dogs eat directly from their bowls, and their mouths have high bacteria levels.”
It’s the contamination that can happen in pet food bowls that puts them at highest risk for bad effects from poor practices. This applies to both the bowls and the food that goes into them. When it comes to food safety and your pets, there’s a lot to learn.
The reality is, pet owners are pretty lax about cleaning their pet’s bowls, and here’s why that matters: “Studies have shown that pet food bowls are on the top-10 list of most contaminated and dirty items in a household,” says Lindsay Butzer, DVM, from PetMeds, a pharmacy for pets. “One small chore that many pet owners neglect now that they’re heading back to the office or simply getting out of the house more is cleaning their pet’s food bowls.”
When bowls are left uncleaned, residue from food and your dog’s saliva is left behind, providing a breeding ground for potentially dangerous bacteria. “Common bacteria that can easily grow on day-old dog food includes salmonella and E. coli,” says Butzer, which can upset your dog’s stomach if eaten daily.
According to the PLOS One analysis, an earlier study performed cultures on household objects and found staph bacteria in 15% of pet food bowls. Antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria – or MRSA – was present in 3% of samples.
While the food bowls are most at risk for contamination, don’t neglect changing out and washing your pet’s water bowls as well, says Sheen. “Your dog’s saliva builds up over time in the bowls they use, which can create a film over bacteria, allowing it space to breed,” she says.
This is particularly true with plastic or ceramic bowls. “The concerns here are scratches or chips in the surfaces, which provide a harbor for bacteria,” says Sheen. “You can’t get into these spots for a good washing. If you do use these types of bowls, it’s best to replace them once they get damaged.”
Consider using stainless steel bowls, which are more resistant to damage and which you can easily throw in the dishwasher after a feeding. “You should also disinfect them once a week with two tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water,” Sheen says.
Better Food Handling
According to Sheen, most people feed their pets one of three types of diets: raw, fresh-cooked, or commercial. Of the three, a raw-food diet is most likely to result in contamination.
“There can be really bad strains of bacteria in a raw diet, even antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” she says. “It’s very important to clean these bowls after each meal, as the residue is more likely to stick to the bowls and attract bacteria. Make sure you wash your hands well with soap and water after handling raw food, too.”
With dry food, your risk is lower, but it still requires safe handling practices. Wash the bowls out once a day, and avoid scooping up the dry food with the bowl your pet will eat from, as this can transfer any contamination from the bowl to the bag.
With wet, canned food, anything your dog doesn’t eat should be removed after 2 hours and thrown out, before it can become a bacteria breeding ground. Leftovers should go into the refrigerator, where they can safely stay for about 2 to 3 days.
Finally, with fresh-cooked foods, “think of them as you would your own meats, keeping them for about 3 days before discarding,” says Sheen.
The PLOS One survey found that most pet owners fail in this area, storing pet food against FDA and most manufacturers’ recommendations.
The good news is that for most healthy, young dogs older than 6 months, the risks of poor food handling are generally low.
The most common signs of contaminated food bowls are diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting, says Butzer. “Death is extremely rare unless the bacteria have built up over several weeks and your dog eats a very large amount.”
The concerns for safe food handling go beyond your pet’s health. Because of your close, daily interactions with them, your pet can easily share their bacteria with you.
While it’s not pleasant to think about, some dogs love eating feces on walks; they then return to your house and lick your face, potentially spreading contamination. The same holds true if they pick up bad bacteria from poor food handling and then again share their sloppy kisses with you.
“For people over 65, children under 5, or those who are immune-compromised, this can be risky,” says Sheen. “This especially holds true with dogs who eat raw-food diets – dog therapy groups don’t allow these dogs, for that reason.”
At the end of the day, a little effort goes a long way to protect both your pet and your family.
For the McIntyre family, where Patrick’s wife has a severe gluten allergy, food safety is second nature, and it pays off for everyone involved. “We’re responsible for our dogs’ health as well as ours,” he says. “We’ve got a set of food safety rules for everyone involved.”
The 4th of July can mean fun, food, friends and fireworks for people, but for our pets, it can feel more like a scary alien invasion! In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, which fill up quickly with animals who panic and flee the bright lights and loud noises of holiday celebrations. Make July 4th a pet-riotic holiday by following these steps for a stress free day for both you and your fur-kids.
Domesticated dogs today are much better today than 10,000 years ago at behaving the way humans wish for them to behave. Even so, there are many canine behaviors that are instinctive to them and may become an issue for pet owners, whether it's an inconvenience or even dangerous. Each week we will be addressing 25 most common dog behavior problems often experience by owners and how to fix them.
1. Hyperactivity and Unruliness
More often than not, the reason your dog is too energetic, unruly and hyperactive is because they're lacking stimulation, exercise and playtime, or find themselves bored. Depending on the breed, size, age and upbringing, dogs will have different levels of activity, and some active breeds always feel the need to release all the extra energy or fight boredom regardless of location or situation.
Because every dog is different, in order to fix this fairly common dog behavior problem, pet owners must address it in several ways to find the best solution:
Catnip, catmint, catwort, field balm -- it doesn't matter what you call it. Lions, tigers, panthers, and your common domestic tabby just can't seem to get enough of this fragrant herb.
Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip -- Nepeta cataria -- has long been associated with cats. Even its Latin-derived cataria means "of a cat." And research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family. But why do they like catnip so much? Is it safe? And what does it mean if your cat doesn't like it?
It's genetics that determines whether your feline friend falls for this cousin to basil and oregano. About one cat in two inherits a sensitivity to the herb. But you won't know if your kitten is one of them until sometime between ages 3 and 6 months.
Catnip's allure is in its volatile oil, specifically one chemical in that oil -- nepetalactone. Found in catnip's leaves, stems, and seeds, it only takes one or two sniffs of that wondrous oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling head-over-tail in kitty bliss.
Though intense, that bliss is usually short-lived, lasting about 10 minutes for most cats. For some, the euphoria translates into aggressive playfulness. At the same time, it makes others mellow and calm. But no matter what reaction your cat has, once the pleasure passes it'll be about two hours before kitty responds to catnip again.
Catnip: Toys and Training
Because cats do respond to catnip again and again, the herb can be a powerful training aid.
Want to keep kitty from clawing furniture?
Rub a scratching post with catnip to make it more appealing. Bought a new cat bed? Sprinkle a little of the herb on kitty's cushion to make it more attractive to your feline friend.
You can also provide enrichment for an indoor kitty by creating catnip toys. Sprinkle a bit of the herb into an old sock, then knot the top. Or put a big pinch of catnip in a small paper bag and crush the bag into a tight ball.
The intensity of kitty's response to toys and training will be affected by the type of catnip you use. While most cats enjoy the herb dried or fresh, they're usually less interested in catnip sprays, which generally don't contain enough nepetalactone to appeal to most felines.
Fortunately for kitty, catnip -- which is non-addictive and safe to eat -- is easy to grow in a sunny window. You can even go so far as to create your own kitty garden with one pot of catnip and one of wheat, oat, rye, or barley grass. Not only will kitty enjoy both, but having its own house plants may keep kitty out of yours. If you plant catnip directly in the garden, remember that, like most mints, it's a vigorous, sometimes invasive, grower.
Catnip's potency doesn't last forever; the essential oils quickly dissipate. So if you buy dried catnip for your
feline friend, store what you don't use in the freezer.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service: "Nepetacataria L. Catnip."
Purdue University, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture: "Catnip."
Union County College: "Catnip."
Big Cat Rescue: "AdvoCat News 2010 08."
American Chemical Society: "Natural Insect Repellents: Activity against Mosquitoes and Cockroaches."
American Chemical Society: "Catnip."
The Humane Society of the United States: "Cat Toys."
Cats International: "Catnip -- Fun or Dangerous."