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Are Routines Boring For Your Dog?

We are all creatures of habit, and so are your pets. We've all heard before that keeping your dog on a routine helps with behavior and training. When a dog understands the routine (or rhythm) of their household, they are calmer overall. With a routine, your best friend is confident that their primary needs (food, water, exercise, and shelter) are going to be met. Of course, confidence means a happier, more secure pet.

People often tell us, "life isn't predictable, so I can't stay on a routine!" Of course, it's impractical and unnecessary to do everything by the clock. If your dog gets fed after you make coffee every day, that's great; even if you get up later on weekends. If your pup usually gets a walk after dinner, then it makes little difference if you eat at 5 pm one day and 6:30 the next.

Routines are a crucial element to house training success. So, if you've got a puppy, expect to be on a relatively regimented routine early on. After your puppy eats, they will probably have to potty, so going outside after a meal should be set in stone until they are older with a bit more "holding power."

But once you get out of puppyhood, you can relax from routine to semi-structured.

Some of the benefits of having a structured day are:

  • Structure reduces overall anxiety and lowers stress levels.
  • Feeding routines tend to help with weight maintenance.
  • Consistency helps with training.
  • Regular exercise and walks are something your dog looks forward to, and they relieve tension.
  • Planned downtime and having a quiet place to nap helps them relax and recharge.

On the flip side, although your dog will thrive on a schedule, it's also good to mix it up a little bit so Fido can learn some flexibility. Try adding more walks in your day, a treat here and there, and a playtime with a neighbor's dog helps your pooch understand that change can be good. Routines and slight changes to them will help establish your leadership role to a new puppy or rescue dog.

Once you establish a structure that fits your lifestyle, you'll see a happier, more confident pup!

This is a great time to work on training your dog. Contact us for an initial consultation so we can talk about your dog and their training issues.

Help! My Cat Is Scratching My Furniture.

Here is the bad news.... cats like to scratch. It's an entirely normal and natural activity. Scratching helps your kitty keep her nails clean and sharp, alleviates stress, exercises her shoulders and neck. Plus, your feline's paws contain scent glands, so scratching releases her unique smell to mark your home. All of these benefits make scratching standard behavior, even if you don't want it to be.

If your cat is using your sofa or favorite chair as their personal scratching post, it's time to remind your feline that scratching the furniture is a bad idea. The good news is.... if you're consistent, you'll be able to convince your cat that scratching your furniture is a bad idea.

Here are a few tips to help:

Supply your cat with a variety of scratching posts and toys. They should be made of different materials (sisal, rope, and cardboard are popular with many cats). This will help you identify what your cat prefers in the way of a scratching post. In addition to considering different materials, you should try different styles. Some are upright, and some are meant to be scratched when your cat is on all fours; try both types. Put them in a variety of locations, so there is always a scratching toy handy. The best sites are places that your cat likes already - by their favorite snoozing spot, near their window, or near the piece of furniture that your cat is scratching.

Make the scratching posts attractive to your cat by using catnip on them or honeysuckle spray.

Get a wand toy and play with it near one of the scratching posts. Sweep it back and forth near (or on) the post. Hopefully, your cat will get excited enough to try the scratching post. Reward her with praise and a yummy treat when she scratches the right object!

Spray the furniture you don't want the cat to scratch with a citrus scent, which most cats don't like. You can put double-sided tape or aluminum foil on your sofa arm (or where ever your cat is scratching). Admonish gently when she scratches the wrong thing - maybe push them away or make a hissing noise. Then move her over to the post.

Trim your cat's claws every 2-3 weeks as this discourages scratching.

Lastly, you may have noticed that we didn't recommend declawing your cat. Declawing surgery essentially amputates 1/3 of your cat's "toes." Declawed cats often have ongoing problems with sore paws, they could stop using their litter box, and some cats may develop aggression issues. Plus it can change your cat's balance too. Many vets won't even do this surgery anymore, so we can not recommend it.

If you are consistent and patient, you'll help your cat use the scratching post in no time.

Halloween Safety Tips!

Halloween can be a blast for kids and families, but often it's a nightmare for pets.
Keeping your pets safe on this fun holiday doesn't have to be tricky! Follow these safety tips for a festive and safe holiday for everyone.

Candy is not a treat for pets; keep it out of their reach. Chocolate and xylitol, common ingredients in candy, can be lethal for our pets. Don't take any chances.

Please don't allow your pets near decorations with a candle; they could get seriously injured or knock them over and start a fire. Also, keep electric and battery-powered decorations out of their reach.

Make sure your pet doesn't chew on any glow-sticks. Although most makers say the ingredients in these products are non-toxic, they taste awful and can make your pet ill.

Keep your pet away from pumpkins and decorative corn. Although they are not toxic, they can cause tummy upsets in large amounts, and corncobs have often caused intestinal blockages.

Do not leave your pup out in the yard. Sadly some pranksters think it's funny to open fence gates and let pets out.

Dogs and cats that are likely escape artists need to be kept in a crate or a gated room. If the door is constantly opening for trick or treaters, your furry friend could easily sneak out.

Most pets don't like to wear costumes. If your pet is the exception, be sure it's safe; that it doesn't limit movement, vision, breathing, or have small pieces, they could chew off and swallow.

Finally, be sure your pet has an ID tag and is microchipped.

Follow these tips, and your pets will have a safe and not a spooky Halloween. These are great tips for any barbecue or family gathering!

Great Pet Links!

Jump into these great links we found around the internet this month.

October is:

National Pit Bull Awareness Month
National Adopt-a-Dog Month

October 4 - World Animal Day
October 9 - National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
October 16 - National Feral Cat Day
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