Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Here's Why Cat' Actually Purr

It's easy to assume that cats purr because they're happy, right? After all, when your cat is happily curled up in your lap for some well-deserved scratches and rubs, they're obviously one happy kitty.
However, cats tend to purr for more than just that one reason. If you want to find out more than one reason why you cat is probably purring, keep on reading!
Firstly, we need to know how our cats purr! Research has shown that cats’ muscles move their vocal cords and, as they breathe in and out, air hits the vibrating muscles, which creates the purring sound. Furthermore, cats that purr can’t roar, and cats that roar can’t purr. This is all because of the small bone found inside the vocal cords, which in roaring cats, is flexible unlike purring cats.

Now that we have established how they purr, let’s look at the 4 main reasons why they purr.

Cat 1

Means of Communication between Mother & Newborn

Purring in newborn kittens is vital for survival. Kittens enter the world hearing the soft vibrations of their mum’s purr; and since they are born deaf and blind purring is like a homing device for them. The purrs of their mums guide them towards their mothers for warmth, food and other necessities.

Cat 2

When they want Attention (Or Food)

Cats quickly learn that another benefit of them purring will gain them the attention – or food – they are after. More often than not, cat-parents love to lavish their fur-baby in attention or treats when they hear them purring, therefore cats will purr when they are after something.

FACT: A recent study found that the purr that cats make when they are hungry, or thinking about food, differs from their regular purr.

Cat 3

They’re Happy

Imagine your cat, on their back, eyes half closed, tail mostly still and purring. In that moment it is safe to assume they are happy. Their purr is a big smile. Most people tend to believe that their cat purrs when they are happy, but unless they are showing signs of being content, their purring could be for many other reasons.

Cat 4

When they are Stressed, in Pain or Sick

Even though purring takes energy, many cats purr when they get hurt or are in pain – but why? Research suggests that purring can actually help cats heal faster. The low frequency of purrs causes vibrations throughout their body that can:
  • Heal bones and wounds
  • Build muscle and repair tendons
  • Ease breathing
  • Lessen pain and swelling
Cat 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

5 Reasons Your Dog is Probably Staring at You – Right Now

When your dog wags their tail, you know they’re probably happy or excited and when they spin in a circle by the door, you know they definitely want to go outside. But there’s one age old question we’re all still asking – “why does my dog always stare at me?”
To cut to the point, there are more possible answers than there are dogs on the planet. Depending on the dog and the situation, the same dog might be staring at you for several different reasons! Through this article we give you 5 main reasons your pooch is probably staring at you.  

Love

Just as you might gaze adoringly into the eyes of someone you love, dogs tend to look into our eyes to indicate they like us. Our fur-friends will usually have a soft expression, maybe with slightly squinted eyes. A study into the role of oxytocin production – the “love hormone” – in staring between humans and their dogs found that when dogs and humans spent time staring into each other’s eyes, there was an increased amount of oxytocin released by both humans and pooch. This seems to indicate the interaction of staring increases the feelings of joyful affection between dog and owner.

Confusion

Do you ever talk to yourself while engaging in a task and find that your pup is watching you closely, trying to follow every word? Another reason that dogs stare at us is because they are trying to figure out what we want from them. They don’t want to miss a possible cue or get yelled at for doing something wrong. Plus, sometimes they’re just curious about what we're doing and why we're frantically walking through the house talking to ourselves. 

Desire

Desire can cover a number of reasons why your pup is staring at you, as it’s based entirely on your specific dogs “wants.” These desires can range from “feed me” to “toss the ball” or even to “I need to go for a walk.” Staring while engaging in a specific action, such as rolling onto their back is your dogs way of saying “yes I would like a belly rub now, thanks.”
Context always matters and, in some cases, can help you determine why your dogs is staring. If you’re seated down for dinner and notice your dog positioned near your feet staring, the answer is pretty clear, they want your food. Or you notice your dog, leash in mouth, eyeing you down from across the room – it’s safe to say they are well and truly ready for a walk.

Guilt / Shame

Another reason why dogs stare is one that is probably quite familiar to all dog owners. You walk into a room and catch your dog hunched over, staring at you wide eyed with a torn-up pillow scattered behind them. There are as many variations of this type of ‘activity’ as there are dogs. Whether they’re uprooting your flower bed or digging through the trash – you’ve just received a stare of unmistakable guilt or shame. When caught mid-mistake or in the aftermath, dogs tend to stare at their owns shame-filled, in hopes that they can get out of being disciplined. 

Direction

The final reason we’ve narrowed your pups staring to is that they want you to tell them what to do. In some ways, this relates to confusion, but it’s not as straightforward as them attempt to figure out what’s going on. When your pooch stares for direction, it’s often because they are in the middle of training or other kinds of activities and want to know what to do next. Dogs look to their owners for guidance so you will often find your pup staring at your for their next move. 

The next time you notice your dog staring you down from across the room, pay attention to the context and you might notice that they’re trying to communicate something specific.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

8 Helpful Training Tips from Our Vet

Do you love your fur-friend but can often find they can be a bit of a pain in the neck?  These tips can help turn your troublesome pet into the best dog ever, saving you that pain.

1. Decide on Your House Rules

Before bringing your fur-friend home, you need to decide what they can and can't do. Are they allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have they have their own chair at the dining table? If you settle these types of rules early on, you can avoid confusion for both of you – plus you won’t give in so easy to those puppy dog eyes!

2. Take Some Classes

Dog training is not just about training your pup, it can also be about training you.  A number of dog trainers see owners who think they are doing the right thing, or don't realize they are doing the wrong thing. Taking classes will ultimately help both you and your fur-friends and in the long term, be a time of bonding.

3. Reward - Don't Intimidate

At times it seems faster to have strict rules to get rid of bad behavior, but that doesn't help the dog know how to behave in the future and has lots of potentially harmful side effects. Rewarding good behavior encourages more of it, and helps your dog identify what behavior gets them treats.

4. Train with High Value Treats

High value treats are foods your dog craves and, to them, are worth more than any other distractions. Once introduced to these high value foods, you’ll find even your most finicky pooch will start to focus and listen more. It’s important to only train with these special treats as it will keep the excitement and desire of the specific treat.  

5. Start Slowly & Be Patient

We bet you didn't learn appropriate behavior in a week, and your dog won't either -- but you should still be seeing progress each training session. If your dog isn't getting it, lower the degree of difficulty by making the environment less distracting or the exercise easier. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is thinking their dog knows more than it does. Start from scratch and then build on previous lessons.

6. Know When to Get Professional Help

Sometimes, you’ve given your best and your dog still won’t listen, this is when you admit defeat and get a professional. If a dog is aggressive, professional help will identify the roots of behavior and get them on the right track. The best places to start looking are local dog trainers or puppy schools within your area.


7. Be Consistent

If you use "off" and your partner uses "down" to persuade your pup off the couch, it's going to eventually confuse everyone including your fur-friend. Figure out short, direct commands and make sure everyone in the family uses them for the same thing. Eventually your dog will catch on to the command, making life easier for everyone.

8. (Most Importantly) Have Fun!

You and your dog should be looking forward to training sessions. It’s good to have the dogs doing a lot of things simultaneously, so they don’t get bored. – Don’t be afraid to mix things up to keep you both engaged.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How Having a Dog can Benefit Your Health

Dogs have been long-loved for being mans best friend and now according to recent studies, we’ve just gained another reason to love our fur-friends! It has been suggested that dogs can boost our health in numerous ways – here are 5 ways having a dog can make you happier and healthier!

dog and owner #1

1. Reduced Stress

There’s a reason therapy dogs are so effective: spending just a few minutes with a pet can lower anxiety and blood pressure, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play big roles in calmness and well-being. People performing stressful tasks do better when there’s a dog around, too.

dog and owner #2

2. Companionship

We can feel incredibly strong emotional ties to our pets; they are our friends; our confidantes and they never judge our transgressions. People who find social interaction difficult may build valuable relationships with an animal. Having a dog may provide people with a sense of purpose and security which can be crucial to fighting mental health issues such as depression as well as providing routine.
This kind of interaction is good for all of us and is really powerful for older people experiencing loneliness and other difficulties.

dog and owner #3

3. Increased Social Interaction

Pets create opportunities for better social interaction, especially if you join an animal club or attend pet shows. Going to pet-friendly events, beaches or parks can also help increase your social network. You could make new friends just by taking your dog for a walk or waiting at the vet, due to the shared interest in your pets.
As we age, it becomes harder to get out and meet people – apparently not for dog owners. Researchers have found that about 40 percent of dog owners make friends more easily, possibly because the vast majority speak with other dog owners during walks and park visits.

dog and owner #4

4. Improved Fitness Levels

Health experts recommend that adults get about 2 hours and 30 minutes’ worth of moderate exercise per week. A past study suggests that dog owners are more inclined to spend more time outdoors walking as they enjoy spending time with their dogs. This time spent walking your dog can not only be used to bond with your fur-friend but also improve your fitness and make the most of the outdoors to help you further develop mindfulness and relaxation.
Furthermore, it has been noted that older adults who walked dogs experienced “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”

dog and owner #5

5. Improved Heart Health

Dogs don’t just fill your heart; they actually make it stronger. Studies show that having a canine companion is linked to lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels, which contribute to better overall cardiovascular health and fewer heart attacks. Furthermore, dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates following the events.

dog and owner #6

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Vet’s Guide to Bringing a New Puppy Home

Bringing a new puppy home is always exciting for both you and your new fur-friend — but it can also be stressful, especially in the early days. After all, you’re all learning to live with each other and adapt to life as a family. You’ll find yourself juggling sleep schedules and potty training, while your puppy will be letting go of their familiar securities and established relationships. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help your puppy settle into their new life and help them feel safe and happy in their new surroundings.

Most puppies are highly adaptable and will adjust in time. However, you can make the process faster and smoother by creating a soothing environment for your puppy. Through this article we explain the 5 best ways to navigate this transition.


Puppy – Proof the House

Unlike adult dogs, puppies usually don't know any better. They don't understand the harm that follows some of their actions, which is why you should ensure your house is puppy – proof before bringing your new fur-friend home. Ensure every potentially dangerous obstacle is removed or put in a safer location. Fences and security gates should be put into place and anything they can chew on should be hidden. This will allow your new pup to explore their new environment safely.


Create their Space

Puppies should always have a place they can go to and call their own. This space will let them rest when they need to and get away from the action. Usually, dog owners use a crate, bed or an entire room – however, this should be based on what suits you best. The kitchen is often a popular location as the flooring is easy to clean and it is near their food and water. Regardless of the location, this space should be maintained thought their lives to provide constancy and security. When first bringing your puppy home, show them their new space – bed and toys included – and over time you will find they will naturally gravitate to this location.


Let them Settle In

Moving to a new environment can be stressful for any animal. Studies show that it can take a dog 10 to 14 day to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Therefore, giving them time to settle in and explore their surrounding is ideal. Your new fur-friend will want time to get used to everyday life, the people, animals and new sights and smells in their new home – make sure you let them do this on their own terms so they can settle in properly. It takes time but being patient with your new family member is important and will pay off in the future. The goal is to make this new place familiar to your new pet and to let them know that they're safe and loved.


Keep them Social

A great way to help your new pup adjust to their life change is by properly socialising them. One of the most important thing you need to do is to show your new family member a lot of attention, especially within the first few days. Puppies need that socialisation to develop proper skills. This can make the difference between a dog who is cautious and fearful, and a dog who is confident and relaxed. 

Socialising your puppy does not guarantee that they won't have any behavioral problems later in life, but it creates an important foundation you can continue to build on as they grow. The prime window for puppy socialisation is up to 12 weeks of age, but this period can extend to as long as 16 weeks. To successfully socialise your puppy, you need to provide them with a variety of experiences.

Furthermore, if you already have other pets, it's important to introduce the animals to each other carefully. This can be a bit daunting, especially if the other animal is a cat or larger dog. When first bringing them home avoid putting them in the same room immediately as they need time to adapt and get used to one another's scent.


Start Training Almost Immediately

Chances are, your new pup isn’t as well trained as you’d hoped. Puppies are not housebroken and don’t understand verbal commands just yet. Therefore, it’s important to start the training process as early on as possible. Be consistent from the start and only allow behaviours that you will be okay with when they are an adult. Reward your puppy for the behaviours you want while redirecting them away from or managing the situation to prevent unwanted behaviours. 
Furthermore, puppy class offers another opportunity to socialise your dog and to practice good behavior. Enroll in a puppy class that relies on positive reinforcement training methods and allows for supervised puppy play.

If a behavioral problem is evident, get help early rather than waiting for it to get better on its own. The sooner a problem is addressed, the better.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Here's Why Your Dog Snores

Tired of trying to block out your dogs snoring? Like people, dogs sometimes snore and just like people, it can be quite annoying having to listen to it. Through this article we explain the main reasons your fur-friend is probably snoring along with some tips to help decrease their snoring efforts.

5 Common Causes of Snoring

Sleeping Position
Does your dog sleep on their back? If so they are more likely to end up snoring. Approximately 5-10% of dogs sleep with their bellies up, and it’s a position that’s associated with snoring in dogs and humans alike. When dogs lie on their back to sleep the base of their tongue can fall back into their throat, blocking air from getting into their passageways.

Their Breed
Any amount of restricted airflow can cause snoring in dogs, and some breeds are more susceptible than others. Dogs with short noses (brachycephalic breeds) such as Pugs, Bulldogs & Boston Terriers are more prone to snoring than other dogs due to their short air passage. Their upper respiratory anatomy is abnormally short, which can frequently lead to airway obstructions.

Weight
Being overweight is one of the common causes for snoring in humans, and it’s true for dogs too. Extra weight leads to extra tissue, and any extra tissue around the nose and throat can narrow their airway, leading to restricted air flow and snoring.

Allergies
Dogs that have allergies may be more prone to snoring due to airway restriction and congestion. If you have allergies you know how bad congestion can get, and how breathing through your nose itself can become difficult. Allergens can cause mucus buildup and airway restriction, both of which increase the likelihood of snoring.

Secondhand Smoke
Need another reason to stop smoking? Just like with humans, secondhand smoke can cause respiratory issues and snoring in dogs by irritating the lungs and airways. Secondhand smoke can damage your dog’s respiratory system, leading to bronchitis, asthma and snoring.

Tips for Minimizing Snoring

For dogs that aren’t pre-dispositioned to snoring (i.e. breed type) there are a few helpful, yet sometimes obvious, tips available to decrease their snoring
  • Attempt to alter your dog’s sleeping posture or their bed or bedding. An elevated head might reduce snoring, so giving your dog a pillow might help.
  • Keep your dog on a regular exercise regimen so they’ll maintain proper weight. If your fur-friend is already overweight it’s a good idea to watch how much you feed them and to ensure enough exercise, not just for snoring sake.
  • If your dog’s snoring is caused by allergens, clean their bedding daily. Time outdoor walks for when the pollen levels and auto traffic is low. Run the vacuum cleaner on a regular basis and eliminate dust in rugs and curtains. It could also be beneficial to find out what it is that your pup is allergic to.
  • A tad bit obvious but, don’t smoke around your dog. Try, where possible, to maintain a smoke-free household and ensure your fur-friend isn’t around when you need to take a smoke break.
Just remember that snoring is a symptom, not an illness. If your dog has only suddenly started snoring, or if they’re experiencing interrupted sleep have them checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. However, if your pup is just the snoring type, we hope this article has helped you out!


Monday, April 9, 2018

How to Own a Cat when You Have Allergies

Have you always wanted to have a cat of your own but your allergies are stopping you?

It’s not nice when your nose starts to run, your eyes begin to itch and you cannot help but sneeze whenever you are around a cat.

You may even have more serious allergies, and not ever be able to overcome them. 

However, if you find you have only a mild allergy to cats, there may be ways you can help to control your allergies.

Let us give you some tips on how you could minimise and/or overcome your allergies so that you can own that kitty you have always wanted!

(Please note: This article is only for educational purposes only and should not be followed as a substitute for personal care. If you have serious allergies, information from this article should not be taken into account. Be sure to check with a doctor before coming in contact with cats if you have serious allergies or asthma.)


hand patting cat




Rid Other Allergens in Your Home


If you are wanting to get a cat of your own, you should first try to get rid of as many allergens in your home as possible. This includes, mites, dust and mould.  Cleaning spots in your home regularly that are prone to quick dust build up will help you to minimise allergies. In addition to this, trading out some furniture and decor in your home maybe just be the solution to helping you with your allergies. 

Airborne allergies including cat dander will cling to soft materials, such as rugs, fabric covered furniture and curtains. If possible, try to eliminate or replace soft materials in your home.

Scented candles and air fresheners can also make your allergies play up, so consider replacing these too.




lounge room cat sitting on window


Allergy Treatment

There are treatments and natural remedies that can help control allergies. Animal hair and dander allergy relief is available to help with, sneezing, watery eyes, itching and congestion if these are some of the allergy symptoms you have when around cats.

If you are serious about getting a kitty companion, look into allergy reliefs to help you get used to having a cat around all the time.


woman sitting on couch blowing nose



Visit Friends with Cats

If you have friends with cats, then ask them if you are allowed to come around to meet and play with them. This will allow you to get up and personal with a cat, however only on a limited basis. 

Ask your friend what time their cat is fed so that you can meet them after when they are in a relaxed mindset. Greet the cat with your hand and wait until they have sniffed you so that you can pat them. 

Start with just some petting and just being in the environment. Eventually, if you think your allergies will let you, allow the kitty to sit on your lap if they want too. If needed, take allergy reliefs before and or after seeing the cat.

cat sitting on table





Visit your Local Animal Shelter

If you have followed all the above steps and think you have built up your resistance through gradual exposure, then it’s time to visit your local animal shelter. 

Take your time in finding the right cat for you. It may even take a few trips to the shelter. If needed, you may also need to take allergy relief remedies before visiting the shelter.



cat at shelter




Cleaning and Care

Once you finally have your kitty, there are some procedures you should keep in mind to help you further with your allergies. One of the biggest recommendations is to keep your cat out of your bedroom and off your bed. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from all allergens. You don’t want to be having restless nights due to allergens in your room caused by your cats. 

As said above, it is also good to keep dust collector areas clean. Regularly cleaning these areas can help to minimise your allergies. Vacuuming rugs, dusty corners, window sills and furniture is a must. 

You may also want to keep other areas of your home and cat free zone. Keep your cat to specific areas may be hard but can help you control which areas you need to clean more regularly and allows you to have more allergy free areas if it is needed.

Wash your hands immediately after, playing with or patting your cat. This will ensure you do not accidentally rub cat hair into sensitive allergy areas such as your eyes and nose.

Finally, keep you new kitty clean! Cleaning your cat, via brushing or bathing them regularly can help eliminate the amount of cat allergen that is released into the air.


cat sleeping on bed