“I understand dozens of words”
Even though we’re around each other every day, there are many things you probably don’t know about me. For example, did you realize that I have the mental capacity of a two-and-a-half-year-old human child? According to experts, I can understand about 160 words, including the names of objects and activities. Furthermore, like a toddler, I’m unable to feel complex emotions like shame, pride, and guilt.
You may be surprised to learn that I bark for several different reasons depending on the circumstances. For example, I’ll bark to let you know I want something or if I want someone to go away. I have several ways of showing my emotions through my body language. If you learn to decode my posture, expression, and movements, our relationship will flourish.
Also, I need to be stimulated for several hours every day to thrive, and I enjoy being around other dogs. If I spend all my time alone and only go outside to relieve myself, I may misbehave or become depressed. I need to chew, bark, sniff, play, and go on long walks to stay happy and healthy.
I look forward to playing with you soon,
is how us dogs say hi.
“My cat hates visitors!”
Does your cat run and hide every time someone comes over? Here are four steps to desensitize your feline to strangers.
1. Associate guests with something positive. For example, give your cat treats before visitors arrive and during their stay. At first, do this somewhere where your pet feels safe.
2. Over time, gradually lure your cat closer to your guests during their visit using its food bowl or treats.
3. Initially, ask your guests to ignore your cat if it approaches them.
4. Encourage your visitors to give your cat treats and play with it once it feels comfortable in their presence. Your cat will slowly understand that having guests over is fun.
Consult a feline behaviorist if you don’t see any improvement in your cat despite your best efforts.
How to choose a birdcage
Do you want to adopt a pet bird? Before visiting your local pet store, ensure you know what to look for in a suitable cage. Your bird’s health and well-being depend on it. Here are a few tips for choosing the right cage.
The cage should be large enough for your bird to fly around but not so big that it feels lost. The ideal cage size depends on your bird’s size and whether you plan on housing one or several birds in the same enclosure.
The shape of the cage depends on the type of bird you adopt and its flying preferences. For example, most birds fly horizontally. Therefore, long cages are most suitable. On the other hand, tall cages are more suitable for birds that like to climb, like parrots and parakeets. It’s also good to look for a cage with several perches.
Make sure the spacing between the bars isn’t too big. Your bird shouldn’t be able to stick its head through. If your bird likes to climb, choose a model with smooth bars. Finally, make sure the door has a secure latch.
Visit your local pet store to find a cage your new feathered friend will love.
Things to know before adopting a shelter pet
Maybe your house feels a little lonely after losing a beloved old cat, or perhaps your single dog could use a friend. Bringing a new pet home is exciting, but before you jump on a pet adoption site or head to your local animal shelter, make sure you know what to expect while searching for your new best friend.
- Shelters are not the same as rescues. Shelters can be privately or publicly owned, and the adoption process is usually relatively quick and inexpensive. Rescues are usually private organizations that provide temporary foster homes for needy animals, with a more expensive and involved adoption process.
- Many shelter animals arrive without known history, so don’t be surprised if staff cannot tell you about previous behavioral or medical issues.
- Shelter animals are stressed-out and terrified, which makes it hard for them to be on their best behavior. Try to see past that — if you can’t, you might miss a great pet for you.
- Pet adoption websites often have tons of great pet profiles, but don’t get your heart set on one specific animal. Your dream pet might have a new home by the time you contact the shelter, but there are always more animals who need loving homes.
- Don’t be surprised if there’s no honeymoon period when you bring your new pet home. Moving is stressful for animals, too, and it may take a little time for them to relax enough to bond with you. Let your new pet take the lead.
- Make sure you have the right supplies and have pet-proofed your home before you adopt.
- Be ready for some accidents — it’s normal as pets adjust to their new homes.
Shedding in dogs: what you need to know
Most dogs shed twice a year when the temperature changes in the spring and fall. This process is characterized by increased fur loss from exposure to outside light. Here’s what you need to know.
Variation in intensity
Dogs typically shed the most in the spring when a short, light one replaces their thick winter coat for summer. In the fall, this cycle is reversed. Dogs shed their summer coat to make room for a heavy protective one for winter. However, this can vary from one species to another. For example, shedding is more pronounced in long-haired dogs. The amount your furry friend sheds can also depend on its lifestyle. If your dog lives indoors, it may shed consistently throughout the year since temperature variations are less likely to affect it.
You can control how much your dog sheds by taking good care of its coat. Brush your pet regularly and limit shampooing to once a month. Make sure you use a product specially designed for dogs. In addition, shedding treatments can help remove dead hair more quickly.
Keep an eye out for excessive or abnormal shedding, which is often a disease symptom or a nutrition problem. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian.
Preventive care: How to keep cats and dogs healthy
Preventive care is the key to providing your pet with a happy and healthy life. Here are six things you can do to keep cats and dogs in tip-top shape.
1. Provide regular health exams
It’s important for your pets to have annual checkups with a veterinarian. This will ensure health problems are identified and treated before they get worse.
2. Make sure to spay or neuter them
Sterilizing cats and dogs can curb unwanted behaviors, impede infections and prevent certain types of cancer. It also helps keep pets out of animal shelters.
3. Offer a healthy diet and ample exercise
Adequate nutrition and weight management will help your pet look and feel its best. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat or dog’s diet and exercise plan.
4. Keep their vaccinations up to date
Cats and dogs should be vaccinated to protect them from contagious and deadly diseases like rabies, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and canine hepatitis.
5. Take care of their teeth
Pets aren’t immune to dental problems. They should receive regular teeth cleanings and dental exams to prevent cavities and gum disease. Daily brushing is also a must.
6. Offer adequate parasite control
Fleas, ticks, mites, worms, and mosquitoes can transmit diseases to dogs and cats. Investing in parasite control treatments is imperative for preventing your pet from getting sick.
Schedule an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a personalized preventive health-care plan tailored to the unique needs of your dog or cat.
5 tips for driving with your pet this summer
Do you have plans to take your cat or dog on a road trip this summer? Here are five tips for a safe and comfortable ride.
1. Wear your pet out
Before you embark on your road trip, take your pet for a walk or engage in a long play session. This can help make your pet feel more rested and hopefully sleep for a portion of the trip.
2. Create a comfortable space
Purchase a pet hammock and harness to keep your pet safe and save your car’s upholstery from fur and claw marks. Alternatively, you can keep your furry friend in an enclosed crate if they’re likely to move around and become a distraction while you’re driving.
3. Pack the essentials
Always travel with your pet’s necessities, including food, water, treats, and bags for pet waste. You should also bring a few toys to keep your pet busy and prevent them from chewing on your car’s seat belts or headrests.
4. Take frequent breaks
Like you, your pet needs to take breaks after being cooped up in the car for hours. Consequently, it’s a good idea to stop every two hours to play with your pet and allow it to relieve itself.
5. Never leave your pet alone in the car
A parked vehicle can quickly turn into a hot oven during the summer, even with the windows open. On top of risking heatstroke, leaving your pet alone in your vehicle also makes it vulnerable to theft.
Lastly, ask your veterinarian about remedies you can give your pet to prevent nausea and motion sickness while you’re on the road.