The 4th of July is an exciting event that brings friends and family together. That often means people bringing their furry friends along to cabins, lake fronts, and backyards to watch fireworks. However, this can cause unnecessary stress for your dog. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to keep your pet happy and stress free on the fourth!
It is best to keep your dog inside and not bring them to the fireworks. Dogs' hearing is far more sensitive than humans. The loud sounds can be anxiety inducing and very frightening for your pooch even if they are not normally anxious. If they are fearful of the fireworks, your pet may try to run away from them, leading them to get lost. If they have to be outside, make sure to keep your pet on a leash or contained so that they do not end up at the shelter. Make sure that your pet has the proper ID on them or that they are microchipped in case they run away. The better option is to keep your pet inside helping them ease their anxiety, but also to keep them safe.
Whether or not your pet has pre existing anxiety or not, there are a few things that you can do to help them have a better night.
Create a comfortable environment for your pet and provide them a safe sheltered place with their favorite things (maybe a blanket or toy). Close all the windows, and put on television to have some background noise to muddle the sound of the fireworks. Distract them with toys and treats that will keep their attention. Try freezing a bone with peanut butter in the middle for your dog. That will keep them occupied long enough for the fireworks show to finish. You are the most important thing to them and your calm presence can go a long way to helping them feel safe, so consider sitting with them through the fireworks display.
In extreme situations, you can ask your veterinarian about anxiety medication. If the suggestions above do not help your pup and they are still very anxious, medication may be the best choice. You can get something that is just a single use medication or something longer if your pet has anxiety outside of fireworks.
Your pets will thank you for helping them have a stress free 4th of July!
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Written by: Helen North
My cat meows incessantly! Why won’t they be quiet?
The most common reason for constant meowing is that your cat has successfully trained you to feed them when they meow! Consider having a feeding schedule that you stick strictly to, allowing your cat to learn that meowing does not equal food. This can be very trying to your patience when you first begin as it will take some time for your cat to accept the new reality! So, maybe don’t make the change during an already stressful time in your life.
If your cat is meowing excessively and it isn’t linked to food, it could be a sign of something deeper going on with them.
Your cat could be meowing because they are lonely. Cats have a reputation of being loners, but this isn’t true for most house cats. They depend on you for companionship and when you are not around they will miss you. This is especially likely if you got your cat during the pandemic when you were home a lot more and you have now gone back to work or school. Consider setting aside 5-10 minutes several times a day to give them your undivided attention. Depending on your cat, this might be a play session with a laser pointer, brushing, cuddling, or getting out some catnip.
Depending on your cat’s temperament and age, you could consider adopting another pet as a companion. But beware, not all cats will get along with a new pet. And if it does not go well you can run into issues with marking or constant fights.
A change in vocalization can also be a sign of a health problem, in which case consider bringing them into your veterinarian to get a checkup.
Written by Helen North
Have you been thinking about creating an outdoor catio space for your cat? A catio, an outdoor enclosed patio designed for cats, are great for your cat to hang out in and take in the outdoors. Before jumping into a big project like this, here are a few things you’ll want to consider.
Ensuring Your Pet’s Safety
Safety first! Even if the catio you purchase or design seems to be 100% safe, you’ll always need to keep an eye on your feline friend. To make your catio a positive and safe space, we suggest you include the following features: an entry door or window, ramps, catwalks, hiding places, beds or pillows for resting, fresh drinking water, shady spaces , predator-proof screening (on the bottom as well as the sides), and a roof or covering for mild weather protection. Even in a catio, it’s crucial to never leave your pet unattended. At the end of the day, you are 100% responsible for your pet’s safety and ensuring your catio is a secure space!
Although your cat may not embrace the outdoors like a dog would, there are many advantages to spending time outside. The first and potentially the most important benefit pertains to the mental stimulation and enrichment for cats. The sounds and smells of nature, along with the ledges and climbing areas help channel your cat’s inner-adventurer. Another perk includes decreased conflict in multi-cat homes. If you have two cats or more, conflict may arise; however, a catio can give each cat an opportunity to explore and thrive individually. With multiple cats, be sure to provide multiple entrances and exits so no one gets cornered or let them enjoy the catio independently. Other benefits include exercise, wildlife protection (those song birds will be safe on the other side of the screen), and protection for your cat from other wildlife (be sure the material you use can withstand a predator trying to get inside from the top, sides, and bottom).
You can choose to purchase a ready made catio or build one from scratch. If purchasing, make sure to read all of the information provided and do a thorough comparison. More often than not, catios are on the pricier side which is why it’s important to do a thorough evaluation before making a purchase!
For our creative folks, diy catios are a great option. A diy catio enables you to meticulously control design, materials, and cost! With a self build you can be creative and cator (did you see what we did there) toward the specific needs and personality of your pet! The resources below will help you get started mapping out your catio from scratch.
Written by Gracie Butler
Cats have a reputation as being aloof, but if you know what to look for, they are often trying to communicate with their human! Read on to find out about what your cat is trying to tell you when they verbalize!
Cats do not meow at other cats unless they are kittens and want their mother, so when your cat meows at you, you know that you are special! But what are they trying to say?
They’re saying hello. They could be greeting you when you get home or come out of a room to say hi. Usually, this meow is not super loud or high pitched, they sound excited to see you.
They want to be fed. Often, a cat that is meowing constantly thinks it is time for some food! They can be incredibly insistent at mealtimes or whenever someone is near their food. These meows are often repetitive and can be longer in duration.
They want your attention. Cats will meow at their owners to get their attention and affection. Just like humans, some cats crave touch, play, or other forms of attention. This meow is often repetitive until you give in! It can be a shorter meow versus a drawn out one.
They are an elderly cat. Just like humans as cats get older and can have some diminished cognitive function, they can become lost or confused more easily. In this case, your cat is probably looking for you or a comfy place to nap but can’t find it. This meow is often loud and frightened sounding.
They are looking for a mate. If your cat is not neutered or spayed, they are more likely to produce a loud drawn-out howl to attract a mate, usually it’s the females calling for males. The best solution for this is to get your cat spayed or neutered.
Chirping: Have you ever heard you cat make a chirping or trilling sound? Cats make these sounds when they are happy and to tell each other to follow them! If you cat is making this sound as they look out the window at a bird, they are having fun watching it. If they make the sound at you, they often are trying to get you to come to them or follow them.
Hissing: Hissing is a cat’s way of showing they are scared or angry. They often hiss at other cats or animals if they feel threatened. If your cat is hissing unprovoked it could be a sign that they are in pain and need to be taken to the vet especially if the behavior is new.
Written by: Helen North
With summer winding down, and leaves beginning to change, school is nearly back in session! The transition from the summer season to the school year can be ruff on pets, continue reading for tips to prepare your pet for the smoothest transition possible.
Easing Into a New Routine
The key to a smooth transition with routines is to start slow! By easing your pet into their new routine, they’ll be more likely to adapt faster. During the summer pets get used to lots of activity and sounds around the house, meaning its up to you to make sure your pet gets used to staying home alone. Starting three or four weeks before school starts, build in short absences during the week. The goal is to make your pet feel as comfortable as possible, normalizing the new schedule while it’s still summer prepares your pet for a gradual and smooth transition
Bathroom and Meal Times
It’s inevitable your pet’s bathroom and meal times will change with the new schedule. However, establishing specific times throughout the day can help smooth out the change of routine. Focus on consistency! Mapping out you or your family’s day is also critical in relation to letting your pet out and making sure they’re fueled. Talk to your family and establish a game plan for who’s taking your pet out, and who’s feeding your pet. Weeks before school starts, try to stick to the times you’ve picked for your pet; this will ensure your pet knows exactly what to expect! The adjustment might take some time, but with your help, your pet will adapt.
Despite the busyness of back to school, your pet’s physical activity should not be compromised! Be sure to strategize how you’re going to fit in lots of walks and outside time for your pet with the new schedule. A dog or cat with pent-up energy that’s left home alone all day can become stressed and they may cause you extra stress if the diversions they come up with for themselves damage your belongings. An active pet is a happy pet, make sure exercise does not take a back-seat despite how crazy your schedule may feel.
We all love our pets unconditionally throughout every season, though it may be more challenging to find quality time to spend with your pet during some seasons. With all of the adjustments to your schedule, it’s important to make sure your pet isn't feeling neglected. Find a few blocks of time to play catch, use the laser pointer, or snuggle up with a magazine or book and your furry friend on the couch. You can also try and find activities that meet multiple needs. For example, you could bring your dog to the hardware store the next time the toilet breaks and it can be a fix it trip as wall as a walk.
Separation anxiety is real! It’s natural to miss your pet, but making a big deal everytime you say goodbye perpetuates the idea that leaving your pet is a big deal. As you and your family get ready to spend more time away from your pet, normalize leaving. Go to the shop and simply say, “Goodbye, Fido” instead of making a big deal about leaving. If you make a big deal everytime you leave, your pet will think there is a problem and be more stressed for longer periods after you go then if you treat it as a normal occurrence that is not a big deal. (If you are the one experiencing the anxiety, fake it till you are out of the house and far enough away that your pet can’t hear you. I know, they’re your best friend! It is hard to say goodbye! But, you’ll be home in no time!)
Keep in mind there’s not one perfect schedule, the best thing to do is practice your new routines and continue showering your pet with lots of love, care, and attention. Find time to spend with them and ensure that their basic needs are met and they should adapt to the new schedule.
Written By: Grace Butler
Cats and dogs are amazing for countless reasons, but have you ever seen your pet do something strange and wonder why? Today we’re counting down some of our favorite funny pet behaviors and breaking down the meanings behind each action.
Written by: Gracie Butler
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.