Deciding to adopt a rescue pet or shelter dog is an important decision. It can be tough to take into account everything you’ll need to be prepared for (both expected and unexpected), but the rewards of adopting a four-legged friend outweigh most concerns and fears many people have concerning adoption. Still not convinced?
See our top 10 reasons to adopt:
1. You’re Saving More Than One Life
It goes without saying that when you adopt a rescue pet, you’re saving a life—but you’re actually saving more than one. By adopting, you’re helping make space for another animal in need and helping to give them the opportunity to become beloved pets.
2. Unconditional Love! What Could Be Better?
Many people worry about connecting with a rescued dog, but shelter dogs have so much love to give—and they won’t ever stop giving it to you once you let them into your heart!
3. You’re Giving a Second Chance to a Deserving Animal
Beyond just helping an animal in need, you’re giving a rescue an opportunity to find their voice; to be themselves and get a second chance to become a dog beyond the walls of shelter or rescue. You truly give them the keys to start anew in a life where second chances can often be hard to come by.
4. You Get a Chance to Stay Active
Maybe you’re trying to live a more active lifestyle, or maybe you’re just looking for a new adventure. Either way, a new four-legged friend gives you a reason to get outdoors more and stretch your legs!
5. You Have Someone New to Shop For
It’s always fun to spoil your pets and bringing home a new furry family member gives you a reason to do just that. You can enjoy all the retail therapy you want while making sure your new rescue dog is living in the lap of luxury.
6. You’re Fighting Back Against Cruel Breeding
Puppies purchased at pet stores almost always come from cruel breeding facilities where dogs are confined to small, filthy spaces and receive little to no veterinary care. By adopting from your local shelter or rescue, you are giving back to your community instead of helping cruel breeders profit.
7. Destress and Unwind with Someone Who Will Never Judge You
Life is full of stresses, but your rescue dog is always there to listen. They won’t ever judge you or let you down. Taking some time to destress with your furry friends can help you unwind and keep you at peace.
8. Increase Your Social Interactions
Getting out there with your pet can also help you make new human friends, too! You can befriend other pet parents, or even meet someone special when you’re making the rounds at your local dog park or dog-friendly café.
9. You’ll Have a Lifelong BFF
What could be better than having a lifelong friend? In your time with your rescue dog, you’ll have a confidante, a pal and ultimately—a beloved family member. You’ll never feel lonely, and in return neither will your shelter dog.
10. Life Will Never Be Boring Again
One thing that’s for certain, is that life with a rescue dog brings big changes—in the best way! Say goodbye to predictable nights and your boring routine and say hello to a new lease on life. Your new pet will keep life exciting, fresh and full of love.
controlling Pulling on walks Author: By Monique Feyrecilde, BA, LVT, VTS (Behavior); Debra Horwitz, DVM, Diplomate ACVB & Gary Landsberg, DVM, Diplomate ACVB
WHY DO DOGS PULL ON A LEASH?
Dogs pull to get where they are going. Dogs want to engage with the environment, and humans, to a dog, can be slow. Wearing a leash and being tethered to a human is not a “natural” behavior for dogs.
Many dogs will naturally “lean in” when they feel pressure on their collars and strain forward. Loose leash walking is a complex skill and it requires patience, planning, and persistence.
How do I get started?
All dogs need plenty of social, mental, and physical stimulation every day. Regular leash walks may help with mental and social stimulation, but they rarely truly satisfy a dog’s need for physical exercise. Before teaching a dog loose leash walking, you should start by making sure the dog’s daily needs are being met.
Unstructured exploration and low-stress walks in a quiet location are an important part of wellness for most dogs. Here are a couple of items to consider before getting started:
What equipment does my dog need? Leashes
Choose a leash that is 6-10’ in length and feels good in your hands. It should be wide enough that even if the dog pulls, you will not have a friction burn on your hands, but narrow enough that it is comfortably light weight for the dog to wear. You will also want a long line – a leash that is 15 -50’ in length to use for unstructured safe exploration. Avoid the use of retractable leashes; these can result in serious friction burns to both people and animals.
If you choose a collar, use a plain, flat collar that is fitted so you can put 2-4 fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. The collar should be snug enough that it can’t be slipped over the dog’s head. If your dog pulls very hard, pulls until they cough or have noisy breathing, or can physically unbalance or overpower you when they pull, a collar is not the right choice for this dog.
What about training collars?
Training collars, such as slip, choke, prong, or electronic collars, all rely on causing pain to stop a dog from pulling. When the leash is tight, the collar causes pain around the dog’s neck. When the leash is loose, the pain is stopped. If the collar is effective, the dog learns to keep the leash loose to avoid pain.
There are a few difficulties with these collars:
A well-fitted H-Style or Y-style harness can be a wonderful tool for many dogs. Harnesses should only be worn when the dog is on a leash. What to look for in a harness:
Head collars fit around the nose and ears of a dog, like a halter. Head collars can give added control, especially when a strong, powerful dog has a smaller or infirm handler. A head collar needs to be carefully selected and introduced. Dogs are not accustomed to wearing things on their faces! It takes time to positively condition a dog to accept a head collar, and they are not right for every dog. When using a head collar, a second leash should be connected to a harness or neck collar as a safety backup. The safety leash is helpful because if a dog lunges quickly and hits the end of the leash wearing only a head collar, the leash can pull the dog’s head sharply to the side placing unnecessary strain on the dog’s neck.
How do I get started and how do dogs learn?Dogs, like any animal, do what “works.” They will repeat behaviors which have a favorable or meaningful result. When we are working to change or improve a dog’s behavior, we need to consider what the behavior accomplishes from the dog’s point of view – and how we can modify that event so the dog’s behavior will change for the better.
Using the 'A-B-C' method to consider why the dog is walking a certain way is often helpful.
A = Antecedent. What happens immediately before the pulling?
B = Behavior. Pulling is the behavior in question, but it is probably accompanied by other behaviors, too!
C = Consequence. What happens during or immediately after the pulling? This is the “result” from the dog’s point of view.
Creating a training plan means identifying A, B, and C – and considering how A and C can be changed so B will change. Each training plan will be unique to the dog and the family, but most pulling can be prevented or reversed using a positive reinforcement based training approach.
Example: Pulling toward another dog.
Remember, your dog can only see the world through his own eyes. He is being held back, but can see something he wants. Straining in the direction of travel might be productive from the dog’s point of view. Let’s look at the A-B-C’s for pulling toward another dog.
A = Your dog sees another dog appear.
B = Your dog pulls on the leash.
C = You and the dog are moved closer to the other dog.
In this example from the dog’s perspective, pulling is an effective way to get closer to something he wants. Barking is one way dogs will ask for space, or try to move another person or animal away from their space.
Prevention: Foundation Skills
Start with a well-prepared dog and in a non-distracting environment such as inside the home or your yard. Have plenty of small delicious treats with you, and if your dog likes toys, bring your dog’s favorite toy along as well.
The A-B-C’s: Loose Leash
Clip on your dog’s leash and stand quietly. Wait for even the smallest second of slack in the leash. Tell your dog “Yes!” when the leash is slack and quickly deliver one or two wonderful treats either putting them in his mouth or dropping them on the ground near your foot. Encourage him to eat them with a happy excited voice as you point them out. Take 1-2 steps forward and repeat this process.
A = The dog is on-leash, you are present with treats.
B = The dog stays close enough to you that the leash is loose.
C = Wonderful treats and happy praise.
In the beginning, it can be helpful to use luring. Luring means encouraging the dog to follow a treat so they perform a certain skill. Hold several treats in a closed hand next to your leg at your dog’s nose level. Once your dog’s nose is attached to the treats like they are a magnet, deliver one treat every 2-3 seconds. Begin walking, just a few steps at a time, consistently delivering tiny treats as long as the dog stays near you and the leash remains loose.
A = Leash is on and a handful of treats is within easy following reach.
B = Following the treat hand with a loose leash.
C = Receiving a small treat!
Putting it On Cue
Have a word or phrase that means “Walk with me!” Common choices are “Let’s Go!” or “Let’s Walk” or “With Me!” said in a cheerful happy voice. Once you’re able to repeat the sequence of starting a nice loose leash walk for a few steps at a time, say the cue in a happy voice. The cue means rewards are available for the loose leash walking.
A = “Let’s Go” cue is heard, leash is on
B = Dog walks on a loose leash for a few steps (or further, as the dog’s skills become more advanced)
C = Forward progress in the environment with frequent delicious treats for staying near the owner.
What should I do if my dog pulls?A = Something interests the dog.
B = Leash gets tight
C = You stand still or take a few steps away from the thing that is interesting – then wait for any sign of loose leash and quickly reward as above.
If your dog can’t disengage from the distraction, move further away and try again.
If it goes well, it looks like:
A = Something interests the dog.
B = You both walk toward the point of interest; the leash stays loose.
C = Progress is made toward the point of interest, and small delicious treats are intermittently delivered as well!
Group classes for leash walking and life skills are a wonderful place to refine leash walking techniques. Attending a group class in a controlled environment allows a professional training coach to help you develop excellent timing and to modulate the number and type of distractions your dog learns to walk around while keeping the leash loose. It takes most dogs several months of regular practice to learn to walk on a loose leash. There are entire books, online courses, and 8-week or more in-person courses devoted just to learning leash walking!
How do I handle lunging and barking? For dogs who lunge to the end of their leash, bark and frantically try to chase or approach other animals, people, moving cars, bicycles, etc., additional help is needed. Talk to your veterinarian for a referral for a professional behavior consultant and trainer for individualized coaching.
Some dogs lunge or bark because they are afraid. Others are too excited and have trouble controlling themselves. Still others may have the urge to hunt or chase. Depending upon the severity of the behavior and the underlying motivation, the individual training plan needs to be tailored to the specific dog.
Is the Latest Home Trend Harmful to Your Pets? What You Need to Know! Article by the ASPCA, January 2018
Is using Essential Oils safe or harmful to your pets?
If you have been on social media lately, you may have seen articles or posts concerning essential oils, oil diffusers and the potential danger they may pose to your pets. Essential oils have been, for a long time, a popular home remedy for a number of maladies including nasal congestion, anxiety, sore muscles and skin conditions, among others. With the sudden popularity of oil diffusers—an easy way to release these oils into your home—there has been an emergence of alarm about how these oils may affect animals in the home. So, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants shed some light on this trending topic.
Are essential oils potentially harmful for your pets? And if so, what precautions should pet parents be taking?The answer, as we so often see, is slightly more complicated than a simple “yes,” or “no.”
In their concentrated form (100%), essential oils can absolutely be a danger for pets. Dogs and cats who have either walked through oils, gotten some on their coat or had oils placed directly on them can develop health concerns.
Are some oils/scents more dangerous than others?Some oils may in fact be more harmful than others. However, there are several factors that affect this such as concentration level, and what the product is mixed with. For example, concentrated forms of tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) may cause issues for your pets with only seven or eight drops, whereas another oil may take more or less. Due to the variability in concentration, formulation and possible quality of essential oils, it is best to completely avoid directly applying them to your pet. You should also keep any oils up and out of paws' reach to prevent potential ingestion.
So, does that mean you should return your diffuser?According to APCC, not necessarily. Using an oil diffuser for a short time period in a secured area— one that your dog or cat cannot access—is not likely to be an issue.
However, if your pet has a history of breathing problems, it may be best to avoid using one altogether. Keep in mind, that your pets have a much better sense of smell than we do, so something that seems light to us may be overwhelming to them.
If you do decide to keep your diffuser, you’ll want to ensure that it is in a place where your pet cannot knock it over and potentially expose themselves to the oils. The best way to avoid exposing your pets to dangerous substances is always to err on the side of caution and by “pet-proofing” your space.
While these same concerns with essential oils will apply to other pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, it is best to avoid using an essential oil diffuser in your house if you have birds. Birds’ respiratory tracts are very sensitive, and they may develop more serious problems if you use a diffuser.
If you think your pet may have ingested, or been exposed to a potentially poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian or the APCC at (888) 426-4435 immediately. You can learn more about keeping your pets safe from toxins by downloading the APCC Mobile App or checking out our entire list of dangerous household products.
There are so many perks to owning pets that we couldn’t possibly list them all. But hairballs definitely aren’t one of them! These slimy clumps of matted fur are probably well known to the cat owners amongst you, and have most likely been discovered when wandering around the house in your bare feet. Hairballs are generally harmless, but in certain animals can be fatal and should be treated with caution and prevented if possible.
Hairballs are mostly found in cats, although they do also occur in rabbits. Both these animals self groom in similar ways, and their tongues cause them to pick up dead fur and swallow it. As hair isn’t digested properly, it often ends up becoming knotted in the stomach, from where it’s vomited back up. Unfortunately rabbits lack this regurgitation mechanism, and hairballs in this animal can be fatal, causing dehydration and death. If you suspect your rabbit has a hairball, then seek veterinary help immediately.
They are far less fatal in cats, although they can be uncomfortable and can lead to problems if not treated. If your cat is prone to hairballs, then prevention is key to your animal’s health. We’ve listed below some of the easiest ways to prevent hairballs.
Regular Grooming - This is particularly important during shedding season, as the cold weather warms up and your cat sheds their thick winter coat. Daily grooming of your cat, especially those with longer fur, removes excess hair and vastly reduces the quantity that they will swallow after cleaning. Even during the summer months, daily brushing will not only help you bond with your cat, but will greatly reduce the build up of hair in their stomachs.
Hydration - Ensure your cat has a ready supply of clean drinking water. The more hydrated your cat is, the easier it is for their digestion to work and remove fur that’s found it’s way into their stomachs, allowing it to pass naturally through their bodies without building up into a hairball.
High Quality Dry Feed - Maintaining good levels of fibre in your cat’s diet ensures a healthy digestive system that is moving regularly, reducing the chances of hair build up. You can even buy food that is specifically formulated to prevent hairballs in the stomach, particularly useful if your cat suffers from them regularly.
Lubricant Gel - If you have a cat who, despite regular grooming, still suffers from hairballs, then specialist gel/paste can be used to prevent hair from sticking in their stomach. These are often flavoured and make a tasty treat for your cat, and some contain a probiotic to optimise the health of your cat’s digestive system.
Reducing the occurrence of hairballs doesn’t take much work, and will greatly increase the comfort of your cat (and your bare feet in the morning!). If you’ve tried the above and your cat is still suffering from regular hairballs, then speak to your vet as there may be underlying causes.
Bloating in Dogs: A Serious Issue That Needs Immediate Attention, Article by Advantage Veterinary Center, High Ridge, MO
March 23, 2021
If you’ve ever had a big meal and needed to change into a more comfortable pair of pants, you know that bloating is an uncomfortable feeling. Bloating in dogs is a much more serious condition than a brief period of discomfort in the stomach. Without the proper attention, this condition can be fatal. The team at Advantage Veterinary Center wants to arm you with the knowledge to recognize signs of bloat so you can get the necessary medical attention for your dog:
What is bloating in dogs?
Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, occurs when an excessive amount of air fills the stomach and physically prevents blood from moving from the legs and abdomen back to the heart. Without the ability to move through the body, this blood starts to pool and sends the dog’s body into shock.
This emergent condition can force the spleen and the pancreas to move and cuts off oxygen to these vital organs. When the pancreas is in need of blood flow, it releases a hormone that travels right to the heart and can stop it immediately.
Why Bloat Happens
While veterinarians know there is a cause and effect relationship between the buildup of air in the stomach and the organs flipping, no one is truly sure which happens first and causes the other. It is very possible that the stomach flips first, which causes a buildup of air, or vice versa. What is very clear, however, is that bloating in dogs requires immediate medical attention or it could very quickly turn into a fatal condition.
How To Spot Bloat
When it comes to bloating in dogs, every second counts. This condition could go from problematic to fatal in just a few hours, which is why it is imperative to get into the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to bloat. Dogs that have long, yet narrow chests tend to deal with bloat more than other breeds. This includes Great Danes, St. Bernards, Irish Setters, Dobermans, and other large breeds. If there is a family history of bloat, there is a higher chance that a dog will experience it at some point. Talk to your veterinarian if you think your dog might have a high risk of dealing with bloat.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat, please call your veterinary team immediately.
I’ve always wondered: can I flush cat poo down the toilet? Article is from "The conversation", by: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND
Why can’t I flush cat poo down the toilet? Diane, Sydney
When I was a teenager I owned a large dog, a German Shepherd. It was my responsibility to pick up his poo and put it in the bin. I would never have thought to flush it down the toilet.
So, after a quick internet search, I was surprised to find many people do actually flush cat poo down the toilet. I soon discovered training your cat to use a toilet is a hot topic for cat owners, especially for urban cats that live in home units and lack a backyard.
But sharing a toilet with your cat can put your own health in danger. So what do the water authorities say? And is it OK to flush away kitty litter?
It could be dangerousMy first reaction when I read this question was “no”. I suggest you put it in the garbage, like most people do when they walk their dogs. Then, it would be buried in landfill, along with normal household rubbish.
Only flush the three Ps down the loo: pee, poo and paper. The only paper has to be toilet paper. ShutterstockThe main reason is that poo from our pets — and other animals — can be a risk to human health. Animals can spread diseases with other species including humans (called zoonotic diseases).
A common and dangerous zoonotic disease is toxoplasmosis. Cats can carry this disease (among others) and pass it to humans, particularly through human contact with their poo.
Toxoplasmosis can cause serious health issues for people, particularly those with weak immune systems. And it is very serious for pregnant women as they can pass an infection to an unborn baby, with other potentially tragic consequences later in the child’s life.
In fact, a study published last year estimated that toxoplasmosis, cat roundworm and cat scratch disease are linked to more than 8,500 hospitalisations and about 550 deaths in Australia each year.
So it’s best you avoid sharing a toilet with your cat — and always be very careful handling pet wastes.
Cats carry diseases that can be deadly to humans.To get an industry answer to this question, I asked five Australian water authorities that manage the largest urban sewerage systems across the country, including Sydney Water, Melbourne Water and Icon Water (Canberra).
Their reaction was generally “no”. You should not flush any pet waste down the toilet. But it was not unanimous — at least one water authority told me they thought it was OK to flush away cat poo.
There was one big issue they all agreed on, however. And that’s to only flush the three Ps: pee, poo and paper down the loo, the only paper being toilet paper.
What about kitty litter?Every single water authority stressed the message that no kitty litter should be flushed down the toilet. So why is kitty litter so dangerous?
Kitty litter, or other materials that aren’t any of the “three Ps”, can block sewer pipes. Kitty litter is made from all sorts of materials, such as recycled products like old newspapers.
But a common ingredient is a clay material called “bentonite”. It has a remarkable ability to absorb up to 15 times its original weight.
Kitty litter can swell and block sewer pipes.This is the big problem. If you flush kitty litter down your toilet, it can swell up and block sewer pipes, even in the pipes in your home — yuk! Don’t risk it!
Blocked sewer pipes are a horrible, messy and smelly problem. Sinks can block and toilets can stop flushing. They can also cause raw sewage to leak out. Sewage is dangerous for the environment and is very hazardous for people as it can spread infectious disease.
The bottom lineDon’t share toilets with your fur babies. So while it must take impressive balance and gymnastic skills for a cat to sit on, and use a toilet (there are even books on this topic!), my advice is put your cat’s poo (and poo from other pets) into the garbage bin.
And generally, make sure you don’t flush things down the toilet that really should go into the bin.
I am also yet to see evidence cats can flush the toilet themselves — I suspect this isn’t impossible, though.
Does your pooch have a case of the puddles? Is that something they haven’t done in years?
It can be quite alarming to discover your old dog peeing in the house. You’ve trained them well, and all these years they’ve faithfully waited to do the duty outside. But for some reason, seems like they’ve decided your home is the new fire hydrant.
Don’t get upset.
Afraid to say, it’s all a part of getting older. Now’s the time to head to your trusted veterinarian for a full check-up to figure out what’s going on with your old dog peeing in the house.
Read on so you’re well-informed for you and Old Yeller’s next appointment.
Age-Related CausesCanine age is quite similar to humans- it just moves at a faster pace. As we all get older, our bodies start to falter and lose efficiency.
The most common cause of an older dog peeing in the house is that, simply, they can’t hold it like they used to. Their muscle tone has been reduced, and the control they once had over their bladder to wait until they’re outside is fading.
Not only that, but their hormones are changing as well. Particularly in spayed females, dropped levels in their hormones can lead to incontinence.
Your dog could also be undergoing kidney failure. An excess of toxins in the system means more urination needs to take place.
Lastly, your older dog might be experiencing canine cognitive dysfunction. It’s like Alzheimer’s disease–your dog simply has trouble remembering that peeing is something you’ve trained them to do outside.
Drastic changes in your older dog’s usual routine can greatly upset and confuse your pet. This might be one way they’re acting out.
If you’ve just introduced a new dog into the family, you might find your old dog peeing in the house to mark their territory. If this is the case, some firm correcting might be all you need.
Stress and anxiety can also play a factor in your aging dog’s incontinence.
As dogs get older, they might begin to feel an impending sense of their mortality and vulnerability. They might have walked the walk during their younger years, but now they’re skittish over even the phone ringing. Loss of bladder control can be a side-effect to this new, stressful part of their lives.
InfectionsSometimes, however, it’s just a simple case of an infection.
Urinary tract infections affect dogs as much as humans. You’ll notice your dog wanting to go outside much more frequently, dancing around jittery.
Left untreated, a UTI can develop further and cause more problems. Like kidney stones or infection. Seek out the proper anti-bacterial medication to cure the infection before it gets worse.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Old Dog Peeing in the House
It’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately to find the cause for your old dog peeing in the house.
Often, the symptoms you notice are just the tip of the iceberg. Your veterinarian will be able to properly assess your dog’s incontinence, and find the best treatment available. It’s all part of regular care for your senior dog.
Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks Are raw food diets for dogs an ideal meal plan or a dangerous fad? Experts weigh in. By Elizabeth Lee Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on March 17, 2022
Raw dog food diets are controversial. But the popularity of the diets -- which emphasize raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables -- is rising.
Racing greyhounds and sled dogs have long eaten raw food diets. Extending those feeding practices to the family pet is an idea proposed in 1993 by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. He called his feeding suggestions the BARF diet, an acronym that stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
Billinghurst suggested that adult dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: Raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps. Grain-based commercial pet foods, he contended, were harmful to a dog’s health.
Many mainstream veterinarians disagree, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals.
Potential benefits of the raw dog food diet that supporters tout include:
Raw dog food recipes and meal suggestions are readily found online and in books.
Raw dog food diet: What it isA raw dog food diet typically consists of:
Knueven specializes in holistic medicine and also consults for Nature’s Variety, a Lincoln, Neb.-based manufacturer of frozen raw food diets as well as cooked dry and canned foods.
Barbara Benjamin-Creel of Marietta started giving raw food to her three dogs after Scooter, a German Shepherd, was diagnosed with cancer. The diet change came too late to help Scooter, she says, but the other dogs are thriving after two years on raw dog food. The 11-year-old dogs seem more energetic, and one with chronic digestive problems tolerates the raw diet better.
“The change in the coat was pretty immediate,” Benjamin-Creel says. “Also, their breath was much better.”
Benjamin-Creel makes the food herself, giving yogurt in the morning and raw ground pork, turkey, or beef mixed with some rice in the evening. To cut costs, she stocks up on ground meat when it’s on sale. “It’s not cheap,” she says, “but I think we’ve avoided a lot of old-age issues.”
The cost of a raw dog food diet varies with the ingredients used and how it is prepared.
Raw Dog Food Diet: What the research showsLisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, headed an evaluation of raw dog food diets published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association in 2001. She cautions pet owners against them, saying that many dog owners are choosing raw diets based on online myths and scare tactics about commercial pet food.
For pet owners who want to avoid commercial food, Freeman advises a cooked homemade diet designed by a nutritionist certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
A nutrition professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Freeman says that many of the benefits attributed to a raw food diet for dogs, such as a shinier coat, instead are the result of the high fat composition of the typical raw diet. High-fat commercial foods that would produce the same effect are available, she notes, without the risk of an unbalanced diet. Supplements can also be used as an alternative to increasing fat in the diet.
The evaluation looked at five raw diets, three homemade and two commercially available. All had nutritional deficiencies or excesses that could cause serious health problems when given long term, according to the report.
Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, has seen those problems appear in some dogs as poor coats, bad skin, or weak bones. Too little fat means a bad coat; but too much fat and not enough protein can cause mild anemia, says Wakshlag, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Wakshlag -- who accepts some research funding from Nestle Purina PetCare -- says homemade raw diets also may lack enough calcium and phosphorous, causing bone fractures and dental problems. Depending on the quality of the diet, the calcium or phosphorus may also be difficult to properly digest, even if present in adequate amounts.
Studies of raw pet food also have shown bacterial contamination. The FDA issued suggestions in 2004 for manufacturing raw pet food more safely, citing concern about the possibility of health risks to owners from handling the meat. Studies done by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine have found that raw pet food was more likely to contain disease-causing bacteria than other types of pet food that were tested. If you feed your pet raw pet food, the FDA recommends that you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you handle the pet food or touch anything that the raw pet food touched, and disinfect those surfaces.
Raw Dog Food Diet: Concerns Overblown?Supporters of raw dog food diets are quick to point out that commercially processed pet foods can contain harmful bacteria, as can raw meat offered for human consumption.
“The whole concern about bad bacteria is overblown,” Knueven says. “When people are feeding a raw diet they know it’s not sterile, and they’re more careful about washing their hands. Feeding a raw meat diet is no different than cooking chicken for the family ... you have to clean up the counter and your knife.”
The FDA guidance document also suggested that manufacturers address typical nutrition problems in a raw-meat diet, including making sure it contained enough calcium and phosphorous, important for bone health. Raw-meat diets high in liver also may supply too much vitamin A, which can lead to vitamin A toxicity if fed for an extended period.
Even veterinarians like Knueven who support raw dog food diets say that they’re not appropriate for all dogs. Because the diets are typically high in protein, they aren’t appropriate for dogs with late-stage kidney or severe liver failure.
He recommends that dogs with pancreatitis or other digestive issues start with a cooked, homemade diet and clear up problems before switching to raw. Dogs with cancer, on chemotherapy, or dogs with other immunosuppressive diseases also should not eat raw food. And puppies aren’t good candidates, either.
“The only place I’ve seen a problem with this diet is puppies,” Knueven says. “If you don’t get the calcium and phosphorous ratio right, you can have bone deformities and growth issues.”
Billinghurst, I. Give Your Dog a Bone, self-published, 1993.
Freeman, L. Journal of the American Veterinary Association, March 1, 2001; vol 218: pp 705-709.
Strohmeyer, R. Journal of the American Veterinary Association, Feb. 15, 2006; vol 228: pp 537-542.
FDA: "Manufacture and Labeling of Raw Meat Foods for Companion and Captive Noncompanion Carnivores and Omnivores," "Get the Facts! Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet."
Doug Knueven, DVM, holistic practitioner, Beaver Animal Clinic, Beaver, Pa.
Barbara Benjamin-Creel, pet owner, Marietta, Ga.
Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, nutrition professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,Tufts University.
Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Disclosure: Research funding from Nestle Purina PetCare.
Pet sitting is generally of two types: Pet sitters that come to the house at specified times to feed, allow bodily elimination, and exercise the pet are the most common. Other pet sitters will not only care for the pets but can live at the pet owner’s house so pets have constant companions, or at least night companions. Pets can also show signs of stress when their owners are away but it tends to be less severe when they are in the familiar surroundings of their own homes. In 30 years I have yet to treat stress induced bloody colitis in a pet that has been cared for by a sitter. Having sitters also has the advantage of protecting the pet owner’s home. Newspaper and mail collection by the pet sitters eliminate "away from home" signals to possible “bad guys.” Pet sitters create near normal household activity that also discourages potential robberies like bringing in newspapers and the mail, they can care for indoor and outdoor plants and alternating indoor lights. Pet sitters are more likely to recognize potential health problems sooner and can arrange for the pets to be seen by a veterinarian. My experience is that pets with pet sitters tend to be less subject to separation stress.
So, Which is Better - Boarding or Sitting?
To me the obvious choice is pet sitting. It is as close to a normal environment for the pets as possible and is also great insurance against crime. It is my personal choice for my pets."
Why Is My Cat Pooping on the Floor? How to Stop Cat From Pooping Outside the Litter Box, Written by: Vicki Smirnova
We have all experienced this!
Sometimes cats poop on the floor and not in the cat tray. Many owners at such moments think that cats do it because of resentment or revenge. Why is my cat pooping on the floor? However, such a cat action may have more serious reasons.
Sometimes the owner does not try to understand the reason for the pet’s behavior. Only contacting a veterinarian or reading several articles will help the owner understand a cat’s behavior and raise it correctly.
Litter box problems
The first thing to pay attention to if your pet goes to the toilet on the floor is litter boxes. You need to understand how to choose a suitable tray for a cat. Some owners buy trays for little kittens and do not change them as the pet grows.
The small size of a cat’s litter boxes can discourage the pet from going there. You should consider the size of an adult pet and replace the pet litter box with a suitable size. You should increase the size of the cat tray in proportion to the pet’s growth. If your pet has already grown to an adult of considerable size, you should not be surprised if he refuses to go to a small cat tray. Just buy a bigger toilet for your cat.
Sometimes, a litter box has high sides or a roof. You can try to replace this with a litter box without walls and without a roof.
If your cat starts going to the toilet on the floor, this may be due to the fact that the pet dislikes the kind of litter being used. You can gradually mix the old type of litter with the new one so that the cat does not feel the difference.
Some owners do not use pet litter at all. This is not the right decision. Like their wildcat ancestors, domestic cats instinctively like to dig in the ground. But a natural tray with sand can be expensive and not always convenient. To solve this issue, manufacturers have come up with special litter. Cats do not like toilets without the litter. Because they do not see the difference between the floor and the litter box. Therefore, litter must be in the tray.
When cleaning a cat litter box, owners often make a common mistake: washing it out with chemicals. You should not use such tools, as the pet might not like the smell and will stop using the cat box. The solution will only be replacing the tray with a new one.
Behavior problems and reasons
If the cat is healthy, the tray is clean, and the correct size, then you need to look for reasons in the nature and preferences of the cat. There are several behavioral reasons why a pet poops on the floor. One of them is the excessive cleanliness of the pet. Cats cannot relieve themselves in a dirty cat litter box, even if it has been used only once. The owner only needs to keep the cat tray clean, regularly scooping solid waste and monitoring the smell to solve this problem.
If your pet does not use the litter boxes initially, it may be an adaptation issue. This happens to kittens who have just arrived in a new family; they may have not yet become situated in the house and to the tray’s location. Therefore, you need to be patient and nudge it toward the tray every time.
If you have more than one pet, you can try adding one or more pet trays to solve this problem. Several cats in the house may cause conflict, resulting in not using the litter box.
The pet tray’s location may also affect the pet’s behavior. It is recommended to place the tray in a quiet corner. But you should not place the litter box in the hall or in a place where people are constantly passing. Cats also need privacy and concentration on their needs. Some cats are so anxious that they only want to go to the toilet in a secluded place. If your cat is like this, try to put the fresh litter boxes away from corridors or buy a tray-house.
In order for your pet to be happy and poop in the right place, you need to consider its needs and treat it as a full-fledged family member. Then, the pet will please its owner with its good behavior and cleanliness.
A change of location of the pet’s litter box in the house can also cause the pet’s dissatisfaction. You can try to change the litter box location to a new place, completely change the tray to a new one or use a new litter.
If cats experience stress, toilet misfires can also happen; for example, a new person/animal appeared in the family or someone died, you moved to another apartment or rearranged furniture, got pregnant or started paying less attention to the pet. All these are reasons for alarm. In this case, you need to try to identify and eliminate the cause of stress, calm the cat and pay it more attention.
When detecting the fact that your pet poops on the floor, it is first of all necessary to exclude the possibility of disease. You can do this by contacting a qualified veterinarian.
Health problems that make cats poop outside the litter boxes
Cats can also poop outside the litter box due to health problems. If you notice such behavior from your pet, you should immediately go to the veterinarian.
Due to pain in the process of healing, the pet may mistakenly associate negativity with a tray. Do not punish the pet. The best solution would be to consult the veterinarian and find out the reason for this behavior.
Urination in small amounts, the presence of blood in urine and feces, a long process of urination, anxiety before urination/defecation are the first symptoms that should alert you to an issue.
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as osteoarthritis and osteoarthritis, especially in elderly animals, can also provoke such behavior if the pet has an uncomfortable tray with high sides and it hurts the pet to jump into it.
Unfortunately, even a young animal may have problems with the kidney, liver or gastrointestinal tract. Problems with the tray are often the first symptom of such problems: it hurts the pet to go to the toilet, and the animal is looking for the most convenient place. A biochemical blood test may be required, so do not feed your pet eight hours before a visit to the veterinarian clinic.
Another problem that cannot be dealt with without a specialist is an adult unsterilized animal. Without access to reproduction, cats begin hormonal failures that seriously affect behavior.
Steps to Stop Your Cat from Pooping on the Floor
How to prevent cat’s litter box aversion?
Teaching a cat to cope with the need in the right place is the basis for raising a domestic pet. It is necessary to take this process responsibly so as not to experience inconveniences in the future. It is essential to accustom the cat to the tray from an early age. Praise and encouragement, with a treat, will help you speed up the learning process.
For your pet to use the tray for its intended purpose, the following points must be taken into account:
It is necessary to clean the tray of solid waste regularly. This way, you can extend the shelf life of the litter, keep the tray clean and get rid of unpleasant odors.
To clean the cat litter box, do not use detergents with chemicals. The pungent odors of chlorine can scare away your pet, and it will stop using the tray. A sharp smell can also spoil the pet’s attitude to the tray; e.g., an air freshener in the toilet; a new, fragrant, washing powder in the bathroom.
If you have a multi-cat household, you need to install enough litter boxes. Such actions will help pets to use the tray in a convenient place.
Why is my cat suddenly pooping on the floor?
First, it is necessary to exclude a possible disease by asking a veterinarian. If there are no problems with the pet’s health, it is necessary to pay attention to the location of the pet tray, the litter, the cleanliness of the box and its size. You should not think about saving money at such moments, since you can spend more money on cleaning furniture and floor coverings.
How can I get my cat to stop pooping on the floor?
Try changing the box to a more suitable size for your pet. If there are several cats in your house, you can try adding another pet tray by placing it in a quiet secluded place. Changing the litter can fix the situation. The cleanliness of the cat’s toilet plays a crucial role. In addition, you need to place the tray in the corners of rooms and in quiet places where people rarely pass. Privacy in the toilet is an essential factor for both people and animals.
Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?
When changing their place of residence, pets can begin to poop past the tray on the floor. In this case, you can try to purchase a new tray. Changing the litter can also help solve the problem. The presence of foreign odors or harsh scents can scare the pet away from the toilet box.
Do cats poop on the floor out of spite?
Often, owners attribute human qualities to cats and think that pets poop on the floor for revenge. Yes, cats are often temperamental animals. But this behavior can be caused due to the presence of diseases or uncomfortable sensations in the pet. It is necessary to immediately contact a veterinarian if such behavior is detected.