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How To Socialize Your New Pet Kitten

How To Socialize Your New Pet Kitten 0

Congratulations on bringing home a beautifully mysterious addition to your family in the form a frisky, furry feline. You'll learn a lot as you adjust to life with a cat but we have a few tips and tricks for ensuring that your cat is trained to be adaptable to new situations, people, and other animals. 

Although it's more commonly known that puppy's require socialization, the same is true for cats. They must learn appropriate behavior for playing with our cats, humans, and even dogs. They also need to learn to be comfortable with certain types of handling for when they go to the vet or groomer. 

Cats learn best by being consistently exposed to experiences you want them to become familiar with. By playing with them routinely with toys, or among other kittens is a great way for them to become socialized and comfortable in social settings. Kittens and older cats also help teach your kitten how to moderate biting and scratching. 

Playing with various humans also helps your cat become familiar with meeting new people and being around them. Inviting friends and family over to your home in routine intervals and having them interact with your cat also will encourage socialization and understanding of biting and scratching. 

The ideal time for socializing cats is between 2 and 3 months of age as this is one of their primarily development phases and they're very impressionable. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many kittens are not yet fully vaccinated and may be more susceptible to infectious parasites, feline viruses, and bacterial infections. To navigate this, we recommend that you get your veterinarian's advice on whether your kitten is ready to play with a variety of other cats and people, and choose your kitten's playmates carefully. Be sure that your kitten is only playing with other cats and kittens that have been deemed healthy by their veterinarians, are fully vaccinated for their age, and have been tested for intestinal parasites. Make sure the space in which they play is clear and free of a lot of debris as well. 

Planning play dates with your fellow cat owners is another great way of intermingling kittens and helping them to socialize and acquired learned behavior. We suggest always having toys available in case the cats play too roughly. Never intervene with your hands but instead make a loud noise to get their attention and then throw some toys in another direction to hopefully encourage them to separate. 

You can also check with your local veterinary clinics and shelters, which sometimes host play events for cats in order to help with socialization.

If you've discovered some helpful methods for socializing your kitten or older cat, feel free to shoot us a line! We love to hear our fellow pet owners experiences and training techniques! 

A Puppy Teething Timeline For New Pet Parents

A Puppy Teething Timeline For New Pet Parents 0

If you have recently added a puppy to your family, congratulations! Welcome to a world of sweetness, love, and companionship that is hard to compare! You may already be asking yourself at the sight of chewed up socks, furniture legs and arms, cords, and more thinking - what did I get myself into? Will this ever end?

We're here to give you a definitive time line for how your new puppy's teeth grow, fall-out, and develop fully. This will help you realize when chewing is appropriate and when it isn't, what materials are good to chew, and how long they will likely be doing it for. Having a time line for healthy oral growth is one thing but reinforcing positive behavior and proper training is another vital component to addressing your little furry baby's teething habits. 

Age: 2 to 4 Weeks

At this time, most puppies are still located with their mother, being taken care of by a breeder. During this time their baby teeth are beginning to come in, their eyes will have opened and they will have begun nursing. 

Age: 5 to 6 Weeks

By now, all 28 little baby teeth that most breeds have are all grown in. During this period the breeder is likely beginning to wean the puppies and integrating soft, moist puppy food into their diet. 

Age: 12 to 16 Weeks

It's likely you're breeder has allowed you to take home your new puppy now, or a month before at 8 weeks. Between the ages of 12 to 16 weeks, your puppy has probably had a ton of time chewing on various chew toys, bones, and treats and has begun shedding his original baby teeth. you may find them scattered about, and a lot of the time they're swallowed by accident. 

The process of teething and losing their teeth can sometimes be painful so we recommend investing in puppy safe chew toys and treats made out of a material that won't damage their teeth and gums. 

This is also a good time to begin training to your dog to be familiar with you and other people such as their vet, touching their mouth area. This will not only socialize them to you but will also prepare them for brushing their teeth and the minor discomfort that comes with it, in the future. 

Age: 6 Months & Older 

You've made it to the half-year mark, congratulations! Your doggy is likely in their prime and feeling very active and energetic. By this time your dog has lost all of, or most of their puppy teeth and they've been replaced by their fully grown adult teeth. Usually dogs have about 42 adult teeth (about 10 more than us humans)! If you notice any baby teeth sticking around, be sure to tell your vet. 

Do's & Don't s For Puppy Chews

So what is okay for a puppy to chew on exactly, to promote healthy oral hygiene and appropriate adult tooth development? I'm sure you know things you don't want them to chew and you shouldn't let them get away with chewing even though they're adorable. Things like your shoes, TV controllers, underwear and socks, furniture, and so on. When you see them chewing on one of these items, it's best to simply replace it with a good chew. 

So what about sticks? Pine cones? Outside stuff? It may be okay for a few seconds of quick chewing but it's more likely to get lodged within their mouth or throat which can lead to bad breath, discomfort or further harm if left unaddressed so it's best to stay away from those too. 

Safe and durable materials are highly recommended when choosing chews and toys for your pet. For example, rope toys with non-toxic cotton fibers, or bully sticks with all-natural ingredients that help clean your pet's teeth. 

Maintaining Healthy Oral Hygiene

By providing your pet with healthy, durable treats and chew toys - you will help prevent food from remaining lodged between their teeth and gums, and promote regular cleaning. It is important to note that you should brush your puppy's teeth, as periodontal disease is one of the major ailments affecting pets today. Once they're old enough we recommend using a hassle-free breath spray. 

Either apply a breath spray along your pet's gum lines or by spritzing it into their water dish, you can ensure they're receiving beneficial nutrients to maintain a healthy mouth, which in turn helps promote healthy digestion and internal flora as well. 

Learn more about periodontal disease and what you can to avoid it with both your cats and dogs, here! Or feel free to reach out to us with your story! We love hearing from our Waggles fam. 

Capnocytophaga, The Dog Bacteria You've Been Hearing About

Capnocytophaga, The Dog Bacteria You've Been Hearing About 0

A scary story that emerged out of Wisconsin in August of last year is making rounds again this 2019 - a bacteria contained in cat and dog saliva has the capability of harming and killing humans. Is this true? Experts say that it probably isn't but we're here to give you the details on this buzzing story around bacteria. 

What Is Capnocytophaga?

Varying types of the capnocytophaga bacteria exist in the mouths of cat's and dogs and actually do exist in some humans. This bacteria doesn't harm our pets and they rarely infect humans. Experts compare the odds of contracting these bacteria from your pet to getting struck by lightning. Extremely rare, but potentially deadly when it occurs.

Who does it effect? Well, healthy people can get the bacteria, but individuals who have trouble fighting off infections or possess weakened immune systems are at a much higher risk, especially if they are bitten by a dog.

The bacteria is spread through saliva, and most cases occur after a bite wound although it can be transmitted simply by a lick even though it is much less common. We suggest being very strict about your hygiene when it comes to being licked by your pet. Heart attacks, gangrene-induced amputations, and kidney failure have been reported, and 3-in-10 people who are infected die from the bacteria.

Symptoms in humans may include things like vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle and joint pain, headaches or confusion, and redness or swelling around the bite wound. 

Should We Be Worried?

Although it does have some pretty dire results, Capnocytophaga has been around for a long time and is an extremely rare condition to acquire. A best practice we suggest is to always contact a medical professional immediately if you've been bitten by a cat or dog, no matter the severity of the wound. We also recommend maintaining proper grooming and hygiene practices for both you, your family, and your pet! 

 

Cats & Dogs: Can We All Really Get Along?

Cats & Dogs: Can We All Really Get Along? 0

That common phrase, 'fighting like cats and dogs' definitely doesn't have to be a reality. If you're a cat owner looking to add a dog to the furry family, we have a few tips on what to look for in breeds, and how to go about integrating them into your cat's abode. 

Finding The Right Breed

  • There are particular breeds that have been traditionally trained and used to hunt small game and vermin such as toy breeds like Miniature Pinscher's and English Toy Spaniels. 
  • Other toy breeds like chihuahuas can be trained to use a litter box but if you do employ this method, it's important to ensure they have separate boxes, especially since cat clumping litter can be toxic for dogs, depending on the brand and ingredients. We suggest using litter made from recycled newspaper or natural agents. 
  • Talking to the breeder directly when looking for a dog addition to the family, is the best method. They know the most about their litter's temperament, behavior, and attitude - especially towards other animals so feel free to ask them.
  • Bringing a puppy into the family is one of the best ways to integrate a dog into your cat's lifestyle. This allows them time to adjust to them at a smaller size, making them more comfortable with them as they begin to grow up. 
  • Non-sporting dogs such as bulldogs and Boston terriers are normally the safest addition to a cat household. Non-sporting dogs are companions first, and are not hunters by nature like some of the other groups. 
  • Some larger breeds, particularly hounds are not good with cats as they have an instinctual desire to chase and have been bred and trained to chase game such as rabbits. They can be easily triggered by shifting sights, smells, and sounds which can be triggered by cats quick movements. 

Personality Over Breed

  • Although we have done a lot of talking about the importance of the breed of dog you decide to bring into your pet family - their personality is the strongest determinant for figuring out whether or not they'll get along with your cat or cats. Dog's don't fully belong to their breed in every way, especially if you adopt an older dog that had prior experience with a family and developed certainly character traits. If you meet a dog that is the right breed but acts territorial and or aggressive, you can image that wouldn't be the best fit for your cat.

Training

  • As cat owners we're well aware that our kittens are aloof, mysterious creatures that really don't have a 'true owner' but themselves so there isn't a lot of training involved. It's important when you add a dog into the mix that you begin training them immediately to set them up for a successful relationship with your cat. 
  • Training will help encourage their impulse control, and having a dog that responds to 'stay' and 'sit' makes it a lot easier when dealing with your cat. 
  •  Make sure your cat is prepared for this new house guest as well by providing them a safe space, if they don't already have on they prefer. Make this refuge an off-limits space to the dog so your cat knows they can go there and relax, peacefully away from the dog when they're ready and know that the others area of the house are shared with the dog. 
  • Keeping your dog well exercised will also make them less ornery and aggressive. Receiving controlled stimulation like a walk and sitting/standing drills will help them channel their energy without wanting to get it out in other ways - like chasing your cat around the house. 

Plan Their First Meeting

  • So you've chosen your dog and are preparing to bring them to your home. We suggest scheduling their first meeting during meal time, considering they have a mutual love of food. Keep the dog leashed to begin with and position them on opposite sides of a room or door or doorway. Even if they can't see one another, they will smell each other and hear them eating. They'll associate this smell and sense with food, making it a good connection. You can do this several times before giving them access to another visually eating before finally moving them together into a single room or space.
  • Make sure to keep their toys and food separate. Everyone can get a little touch about 'their stuff' from time to time, and pets are no different. 

 

If you've had experience integrating a new cat or dog into your pet household, tell us about it! We love to hear from you and your own personal tips and tricks! 

 

7 Dog Breeds For Allergy & Asthma Sufferers

7 Dog Breeds For Allergy & Asthma Sufferers 0

For those of us who suffer from or have loved ones that suffer from rampant allergies, or breathing ailments such as asthma may be wondering - will I ever be able to own a pet if I want to? Or will it be overall just too hazardous for my health? Although there are several dog breeds that shed and can trigger asthma or allergy-related attacks, there are a few that don't cause these problems to the same severity.

People often mistake dog's that possess short fur as having less shedding or being more allergy-friendly when that isn't true. It's important to remember that it isn't the fur necessarily that causes allergic reactions, but the dander the dog has in its skin, urine, and saliva. This is why coming into contact with a dog, even one that isn't a heavy shedder can trigger allergic reactions or difficulty breathing. 

Although not entirely proven, it is seemingly more and more possible to have a hypoallergenic dog. Research is still ongoing but many pet owners have reported positive results with certain breeds. Below, we list out a handful of them.

1. Miniature Schnauzer 

A cross breed between a poodle and a traditional schnauzer, these playful little princes and princesses are a very fun and energetic breed. These dogs are designed for those allergy sufferers that enjoy outdoor activities and regular exercise. Schnauzer's shed very little but do require regular grooming to keep their coat trimmed, shiny and healthy all year long. They grow to be about 12 to 14 inches tall, weighing in between 11-20 pounds, with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. 

2. Poodle Or Poodle Mix

As we mentioned in Number 1, poodles and poodle mixes are very safe breeds for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. Poodles actually grow hair — unlike most dogs, who grow fur, and they shed very little. Their hair doesn't lock in dust or pollutant particles as easily as other breed and they are easily trained. Mixed breeds like golden doodles (golden retriever and poodle) or labradoodles (labrador and poodle) are also great options for people who have allergies. Their height, weight, and life expectancy can vary depending on the type of poodle. 

3. Yorkshire Terrier 

Family-oriented dogs, Yorkshire Terrier's have very little fur and you can cut their hair short so you don't have to worry about brushing as often. Although you will see some owners prefer their hair long and straight with bows, it isn't necessary for a healthy, happy Yorkshire Terrier. These dogs are very kid friendly and patient, meaning if you have to give them a longer grooming session, they can handle it. These little guys are usually between 7 and 8 inches tall, weighing about 7 pounds with a life expectancy between 11 and 15 years. 

4. Shih Tzu 

A playful and outgoing breed, these little guys are good on your nose and airways too! Their unique faces are recognized around the world and so are their lovable, joyful personalities. They grow to between 9 and 10.5 inches tall at an adorable weight of 10 to 16 pounds. These vivacious babies live anywhere from 10 to 18 years, too. This breed is over 1,000 years old so clearly they're doing something right. Their name means 'little lion' from a Mandarin phrase and they truly embody that description. You are guaranteed a good time with these little guys, and your nose will thank you! 

5. Coton de Tulear

These bright, fun-loving dogs are a perfect playful friend for those with allergies and asthma issues. They are between 9 and 11 inches tall normally, and weight between 10 and 15 pounds, with a life expectancy of 15 to 19 years. Prepare for a sniffles-free fun time with this guy or gal, because they'll be around for quite some time. This breed is also known for being the 'Royal Dog of Madagascar.' They simply enjoy playing and prancing and being around their designated human. 

6. American Hairless Terrier

I'm sure you can image the less hair, the easier it is for owners with allergy, asthma, and other respiratory problems to take care of. Planted right in the name, this energetic and curious breed of dog is just right. There are varietals of the breed that do possess a light hairy coat as well. Perfect for allergy sufferers who still enjoy roaming, being outside, and getting exercise. This smart, inquisitive breed will keep you sneeze-free and entertained. 

7. Spanish Water Dog

A strong, upbeat, and work-oriented breed, these mop-headed dogs are a beautiful combination of playful and genuinely hard working. They are 17.5 to 20 inches tall, weighing between 40 and 50 pounds with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. A practically inexhaustible breed, the Spanish Water Dog has historically been employed as a herder or waterfowl retriever. If you are a big outdoors person or someone who may need a hand around your property while staving off allergy attacks, this breed is perfect for you. Too cute to miss, they have woolly curls and a charming personality to pair with their work ethic and watch dog mentality. 

How Your Cat Says "I Love You".

How Your Cat Says "I Love You". 0

As pet owners, we all wish that our pets could say aloud sometimes that they love us, the way that we get to say it to them 10000x a day. This is especially true for our cats, who are already so mysterious, aloof, and independent a lot of the time. Cat's have their own language too though, we simply have to pay attention. So here are some signs that your cat is trying to express that they love you! 

It's important to know first of all, that each cat brings their own form of love and affection with them. This depends on their background, whether you've raised them since they were a kitten or you rescued them at an older age from a shelter. Your cat is just like you in that they're loaded with experiences and histories too which lead to certain behaviors they possess. Even though cat's don't feel the need to please humans the way dogs do, because of their lack of a pack mentality - they still like to show affection from time to time. 

Reading Your Cat's Signals 

Just like us humans, cat's put out signals and vibes that we can pick up on when they're looking for some physical attention or loving. There are more social breeds of cats than others but for the most part, a cat won't have anything to do with you if they don't like you at least a little. In fact, cat's actively avoid people and things that make them uncomfortable. 

A lot of kittens and some cats do bond quickly with their humans. The majority of cats though like to take their time. They start out slowly, sniffing your fingers and working their way up to rubbing against your ankles. These are signals that they're open to getting to know you, and spend more time around you. 

Again, like with humans trust comes before love.  When your cat rolls over on his or her back displaying the belly (a vulnerable spot) or blinks contentedly at you from across the room, you know that you’ve won that trust. And when he or she starts licking your hand, butting the head against your face or hopping on your lap and purring up a storm, that’s feline love, pure and simple.

Here are a few more of the ways that your cat shows their love: 

  • Lightly touching their forehead to your chin or face 
    • Called 'head bunting', this is a top-level affection move on your cat's part and only shown to their most beloved companions. This often releases fell-good endorphins for both you and your kitty! 
  • Rubbing Their Cheek On You
    • When they love you, they kind of own you and this is how they show that. By rubbing their face against you, it leaves their scent by secreting oils from their facial glands. This is how they claim you and they can do it just about anywhere, from your feet, ankles, and furniture to your face, shoulders, and arms too. 
  • Twitching The Tip Of Their Tail
    • What may appear as a benign flick, or graceful swoosh from side to side, your cats tail is actual a pretty good mood indicator. You'll see your cats tail flair out or poof up when they're frightening or agitated. Their tail is relaxed, and lazily upwards with poignant little flicks when they're showing you love. 
  • Going To Purrr Town 
    • Your cat purring is usually a go-to sign of contentment and comfort. This can also be when they're asserting claim over something or nursing their young as well. But you'll be happy to know that your cat reserves a special, full-bodied rumble as a smile directed to you. It's their way of saying "I love you". 
  • Holding Eye Contact or Sharing A Soft Blink
    • You'll probably begin to realize that your cat doesn't look just anybody in the eye but only people they're familiar with and trust. This bond is only accentuated more when they slowly blink at you, it's almost like a kissing wink.
  • Kneading Their Paws On You 
    • Experts say that this action beckons your adult cat back to a safe, welcoming memory when she was nuzzling her mother for milk as a newborn kitten. She is being affectionate and a bit nostalgic. This can be a very bonding moment for you and your cat as well. 
  • Sitting On Or Beside You
    • Cats require warmth and comfort for their nap spots, but they'll pass up a comfy cat bed or pillow to sit on or around if they love you, and you should fee honored. Your cat has likely thought out their snoozing options and is conveying that they prefer being with you rather than being by themselves. 

  • Licking Your Hair or Ear Lobes
    • It may seem a little odd but it's a big one, as far as cat's giving affection go. Essentially this means your cat has deemed you as a big, respectable other cat. Only special “cats” are deemed worthy of these special grooming sessions. In a multicat household, mutual grooming is a sign of trust and friendship. Pay attention to which cats, if any, in your home team up for mutual grooming. You may be the only one meriting such a gift!
  • Bringing You Weird Gifts
    • We must never forget that our precious furbabies are still 100% carnivore, and domestication hasn't entirely eroded their inner hunters. After a successful hunt, they might deposit a dead mouse, lizzard, or squirrel in a place they'll know you will visit. Gross? Totally, but your cat is sharing their prey prize with you, a true sign of trusted friendship.