What You Need to Know Before Adopting Your First Cat

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“I know, I know – this is a blog for dog people. No worries. We can all show a little love to the cat people.” – Blue Belle the DogBlog Canine Contributor

This guest post was contributed by Brandon Butler. Thanks Brandon for your contribution.

kitten

Preparedness is key when bringing any new pet home, especially if you’ve never owned a pet before. While cats are relatively easy to care for, understanding the basics makes life with a feline a lot easier. If you’re planning to adopt your first cat, here’s everything you need to know.

Cat Care 101: The Basics

Are Cats Really Low-Maintenance?

Cats have a reputation as a low-maintenance pet. And compared to high-energy dog breeds, that’s true. Cats don’t require long walks and can be left alone for most of the day. However, cats aren’t a no-maintenance pet. Just like dogs, cats bond with their owners and enjoy interaction. Cats can also be finicky when their living environment isn’t kept to their standards.

Most importantly, cats are a lifetime commitment. And that can be a long time: Cats live for 14 to 16 years on average, and many indoor cats live 20 or more years! In addition to the daily responsibilities, make sure you’re ready for a long-term commitment when you adopt a cat.

Litter Box Rules for Cats

One cat equals one litter box, right? Not so fast. Even with daily scooping, one litter box may not be enough. According to feline behavior expert Jackson Galaxy, the rule of thumb is one litter box per cat plus one extra. Instead of hiding litter boxes in the garage or basement, put them where your cat spends most of its time.

Feeding Your Cat a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for cats. Just a few extra pounds can push cats into obesity, where they’re at increased risk of arthritis, hip dysplasia, and diabetes. In addition to choosing a high-quality, vet-approved food and controlling portion sizes, cat owners should pay attention to their pet’s digestive health. Digestive problems can manifest in vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and poor coat quality. While some digestive problems are caused by underlying health conditions, in many cases a cat’s digestive health can be improved with high-quality, well-balanced wet food, though it’s important to do a little research before you dive in.

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Pets With Anxiety: How to Help Before, During, and After a Move

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Guest Writer: Sarah Hollenbeck

Moving is an exciting time and a fresh start for many. However, with an anxious pet, it can be difficult to ease their nerves in an unfamiliar environment. Your new home might be overwhelming to them, causing an increase in anxiety and bad behavior. Thankfully, there are various ways to help your furry friend feel at home when moving. Below is a guide from the team at MyMove on how to move pets safely before, during, and after your move. 

Before the Move

  • Make sure your home has sufficient space so that your pet has room to run and get in exercise.  
  • Before the move, try and set up their bed and play area beforehand to decrease stress when your pet arrives. 
  • If you can, consider bringing your dog to the new home early on to explore the area. This way, when it comes time to move, they will already be familiarized with the location.  
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9 Best Dogs For Apartment Living

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Guest Contributor: Heidi Thiel

If you’re thinking about bringing a new furry friend into your small apartment, you need to make sure to do your research first. Not all dog breeds are equally suited to city living, and you’ll want to make sure that you and your dog will be happy in your small space. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re limited to just tiny lapdogs! The truth is that many mid-size and large dog breeds can also make great apartment companions. Take a look at the guide from TurboTenant below for a breakdown of the best small, medium, and big dogs for apartment living.

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How to Socialize a Puppy

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Contribution from Richard Cross
Editor of TheDogClinic.com

Puppies that have positive experiences with a wide range of dogs, environments, people and objects grow up to be less stressed and more adaptable. This is why socialization is one of a new dog owner’s most important tasks.

It can be hard to keep track of your dog’s experiences though. To help new dog owners, The Dog Clinic has created a checklist for puppy socialization. This is great for printing and sticking on your fridge, so everyone in the household can see your dog’s progress.

Socialization isn’t just about giving your dog lots of experiences though – these experiences need to be positive and controlled. The article also contains a complete guide to safely socializing a puppy with almost any new experience.

Puppy Socialization Checklist
Click Here to Jump to Checklist

Amazing Apps for First-Time Dog Owners

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dog owner apps
Image courtesy of Unsplash

Guest Post by: Penny Martin

Our furry friends are often the highlight of our world. We come home to curl up with them and find contentment in their love. They act as additional members of our family, bring us joy, fill our hearts – and even help us to be healthier. It’s normal to want to take care of them in the best way possible when you bring them into your life.

Of course, when you’re getting your first bright-eyed pooch, you need to be prepared. Whether that includes making your home a cocoon of safety and toys or simply buying your dog the most comfortable bed you can find, you want to feel like your home is your dog’s home, too.

Aside from the everyday essentials, however, there is a lot to learn about dog health and safety. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps that can help — as long as you have a device that can keep up. Newer apps tend to require more power and memory than older phones supply, so if yours is on its last breath, consider an upgrade. Look for pet parent-friendly choices, like the Apple iPhone 11 Pro, which has ample memory and speed for even the most intricate apps, and the amazing three-camera system can take terrific pics of your pooch. Android offers plenty of great options as well, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. According to CNET, it has an especially generous display, an all-day battery, and stellar camera tools. Whatever device you use, just make sure you have a phone up to snuff so you don’t miss a trick, and so you and your pooch are set up for success with these terrific apps.

iKibble

The iKibble app provides you with an incredible search interface for foods your dog might enjoy. You can find new meals to buy them, mark things they dislike or have a reaction to, and read short descriptions on what exactly you’re feeding your pal. You can also learn what foods are toxic to dogs so you don’t accidentally share any leftovers that might make them sick.

Chewy

Made for pet lovers everywhere, Chewy gives you access to thousands of products that cater just to your barking family member. And you can shop for food during those moments when you know you’re running low but don’t have time to run to the store. Surprise your furry friend with a toy they deserve, from frisbees to chew toys, etc. You can even fill prescriptions from the vet when you’re pup is feeling a little under the weather, and much more. 

Animal Poison By ASPCA

Animals are sensitive to toxic substances, just like humans, and sometimes things you can eat can actually make your dog sick. Your dog can also develop allergies or experience a reaction if those things are consumed in small or large quantities. With the Animal Poison by ASPCA app, you can select your pet’s species on the homepage and plug in what was consumed. Learn how to deal with the reaction, and if needed, locate the closest and most recommended vet around, then bring your adorable dog back home with you safe and sound. 

Say Bark!

As App Annie explains, Say Bark! is pure entertainment! This app gives you the ability to use funny and creative filters or stickers on pictures you take of your four-legged friend. In addition, you can record a silly audio clip and share it with friends or family. It’ll have you all laughing and sharing cards and clips with everyone.

With each app that you download you’re creating a safer and more loving environment for your dog. Fall in love with the newest addition to your family, learn need-to-know information on taking care of him and spend forever making memories and sharing pictures and videos that showcase just how cool your little family is. Dogs are special and so extremely loyal, and these apps help you return the affection and make life better for you both.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Pet

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Guest Post By: Hannah Stevens

Dog on beach
Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Summer is usually a great time to enjoy ourselves and spend time out with our favorite companions. However, spending long sunny days with our pets can spell danger to them. Dogs usually do not cool off quickly in hot conditions. Therefore, it is wise to learn the necessary precautions from animal experts.

Keep Your Dog Cool

To prevent dehydration, ensure that the furry companions take plenty of fresh, clean water and stay under a shade or in cool places to help them regulate their body temperature. Also, avoid over-exercising them in scorching weather. Similarly, know how to tell the symptoms of overheating such as;

  • Difficulty in breathing and excessive panting.
  • Increase in respiratory and heart rate.
  • Mild weakness and drooling, stupor and sometimes collapsing.

These symptoms can escalate to bloody vomit and diarrhea and sudden shot in their body temperature.

Never Leave Your Pet in a Car

Not only is leaving your dog in the car dangerous, but it is also illegal in some states in the United States. Dogs love riding in the car but certainly would not enjoy being stuck in there on a hot summer afternoon. Though it may seem as if a short while is harmless, dogs can suffer severely from 10 minutes in the car, deliberately inducing heatstroke. It’s advisable to search for the owner immediately if you see a dog left in the car or call the police.

Do Not Shave Your Dog

You may need to trim off long hair on your dog, but you should never shave them. The long coat acts as a cushion against overheating and sunburns. The fur on your pet also helps it keep warm during the freeze. It is advisable to leave it an inch long every time you are doing the routine pet grooming.

Adhering to grooming schedules despite the season also enables you to monitor any infestation of pests, thus prevent them from spreading. Make sure that any insect repellant products and sunscreen that you apply on the pet are explicitly authorized by a vet. A well-groomed and insect free dog will lead a healthy life and enjoy quality sleep.

Mind the Paws

When temperatures rise, hot floor surfaces will cause a dog to heat up pretty fast since their system picks heat from the ground. Despite the pooch heating up, the paw pads can also be injured. Minimizing walking at this time or avoiding asphalt and cement which heat up quickly. Driving around with your dog on the back of a truck can also cause the paws to burn from the hot metal. However, if you have to have the company of your dog, doggy boots can come in handy to protect the paws.

Encourage Swimming

Like human beings, dogs can enjoy a swim on a hot afternoon as well. It could be dangerous since not all dogs can swim so dress them in a life vest. The vest’s color should be bright enough to be noticed in case riptides, and intense storms sweep them away. Make sure you always keep watch when in the water.