Category Archives: Pets

Your Itchy Dog: Controlling and Treating Pet Allergies

dog with fleas

An itchy dog is a miserable sight. He may scratch constantly, resulting in bald spots, hot spots, and dry, irritated skin. Pet owners are frequently frustrated when their dogs keep them up all night itching, scratching, and licking. But you and your dog don’t have to suffer forever. A quick visit to your vet may help clear up the allergies, and there are several steps you can take at home to reduce your dog’s suffering.

Pet Allergy Causes and Symptoms

Allergies are caused by an inappropriate immune system reaction. The dog’s body mistakenly believes that a harmless substance is a dangerous pathogen, and reacts by overproducing white blood cells and creating a massive immune system reaction. Common symptoms of allergies include:

  • Constant itching, licking, and scratching
  • Sudden onset of symptoms after a change in your dog’s environment or diet
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Bald spots
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Greasy, smelly skin
  • Frequent sneezing, runny nose, and other respiratory problems

Dogs typically develop allergic reactions in their skin, even if the allergen isn’t something that came into direct contact with their skin. Thus it can be hard to determine what’s causing the allergy based solely on your dog’s reaction. Red skin doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, that your dog touched something that caused an allergic reaction; he may have eaten or inhaled something instead.

Food allergies are the single biggest source of allergic reactions in dogs. Fillers in dog food and sudden changes in diet can both be contributed to an allergic reaction. Dogs can also develop allergies to dust mites and other commonly inhaled substances. Flea bite dermatitis is another common problem. Even after a dog’s fleas have been eliminated by a treatment such as Frontline flea and tick treatment, the dog’s immune system may continue producing an allergic reaction to flea bites.

Veterinary Treatment for Pets with Fleas

If your dog shows signs of allergies, don’t try to treat them at home. Your vet can examine your pet and take a detailed history to uncover the cause of the allergies. They may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce allergic reactions or prescribe allergy medication. A cortisone injection can help temporarily alleviate symptoms, and is especially helpful when dogs are suffering from allergic reactions to fleas. Your veterinarian may also recommend dietary changes. Foods with fillers such as grain and corn are particularly likely to cause allergic reactions. Your vet may advise you to feed your dog a homemade diet or to switch to a premium, filler- and preservative-free dog food.

Some dogs develop yeast infections as a result of their allergies. Your veterinarian may test your dog for yeast and prescribe anti-fungal medications or anti-fungal shampoos. Follow your vet’s advice carefully, and give medication according to the dosing schedule prescribed.

Home Treatment for Pet Allergies

If you’re waiting for an appointment with your vet or waiting for allergy medication to kick in, there are several things you can do at home to give your dog temporary relief. An oatmeal bath will help soothe dry, itchy skin and can reduce hot spots and skin irritation. You can make your own oatmeal bath by combining one cup of oatmeal with one gallon of water, or you can purchase a soothing oatmeal bath at your local pet store.

An antihistamine such as Benadryl will give your dog several hours of relief. You can give your dog 1mg of Benadryl for every pound of weight. For example, a 35-pound dog would get 35mg of Benadryl. Most Benadryl capsules are 25mg.

Photo by jjgwarren/Flickr

How Saving a Pet Might Just Save Your Life [infographic]

I am a huge animal lover. My cats, a 6-year-old Tortoiseshell female named Devin, and a 2-year-old Tuxedo male named Vincent, are incredibly loved and very, very spoiled. To give you an idea of how spoiled, we have an extra bedroom in our house and it has basically been the cat’s bedroom since we moved in last February. It is where their litter box is, their food and water dishes, and a few toys–the rest of their toys are scattered around the house, naturally. I would gladly fill my house with all sorts of different pets, and I have been thinking about getting a puppy for a few months now, but I really don’t think Devin would like us anymore if we did bring a puppy into the house; it took her long enough to begin to tolerate Vincent’s presence in her home.

My cats bring me an immense amount of joy and happiness just by being here, and it’s not just because I’m a “crazy cat lady.” Animals actually increase serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone) in humans. Adding a pet to the family is prescribed by some therapists to people living with depression, and spending just 15 to 30 minutes with your pet is guaranteed to make you feel less anxious and stressed.

Even considering all the ways in which pets make humans’ lives better, an estimated 4.3 million animals enter into shelters each year, which just breaks my heart. Check out the following infographic for more information about how good people and animals are for each other, and how you can potentially help a small fraction of the animals who find themselves living in shelters.

How Saving a Pet Might Just Save Your Life [Infographic]
Courtesy of Carlton Hobbs Antiques

Click image to enlarge in new window

Easing Fido Into Seniority: How to Care for an Aging Dog

senior puppy

It’s hard to think about the dog who used to be a fluffy, awkward puppy getting older and growing frailer, but old age doesn’t have to be difficult for your dog or for you. While your dog might not have the same strength and energy he used to, he can still enjoy his old age. Seniority provides a chance for you and your dog to spend quiet, relaxing time together, and old age doesn’t mean your dog has to give up all of his favorite activities.

Here are 5 things you can do to help your aging dog:

  1. Prevent Bone and Joint Damage

    Hip dysplasia, muscle injuries, and joint problems are the most common ailments dogs face in old age. These problems can dramatically limit your dog’s quality of life, make movement extremely difficult, and when left untreated, cause broken bones and even paralysis. Give your dog a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement daily to strengthen their bones. As your dog begins to slow down, avoid strenuous activity, but continue to take them for regular walks. Moderate exercise improves bone and joint health in both dogs and people.

  2. Get Veterinary Care

    People are often afraid to go to their own doctors when they notice symptoms of illness, and they are often even worse with their canine companions. But quality veterinary care can help your dog live a long and happy life, and can help you detect many illnesses while they are still treatable. Even if you get a terminal diagnosis, good veterinary care will help you manage your dog’s pain and medications such as Frontline dog flea control can help protect your dog from some of the most common and more dangerous animal illnesses.

  3. Make Your House Accessible

    Older dogs, just like older people, require an accessible home that minimizes the risk of falls. If your dog loves to climb into bed or into the car with you, purchase a set of doggy stairs to make the climb easier. Make sure that screen doors never clam on your dog’s hips, and monitor your dog carefully when he’s going up and down steps or walking on slippery surfaces. Adding a rug to your kitchen floor will help prevent your dog from falling and becoming injured.

  4. Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet

    Diet is one of the best predictors of dog health, and a balanced diet becomes even more important as your dog ages. Dogs need large quantities of protein and should not have large volumes of fillers such as cereal or preservatives. The first ingredient listed on dog food labels is the ingredient present in the largest proportion, so make sure this ingredient is meat.

  5. Give Your Dog Attention

    A strong human-dog bond helps improve both dog and human health. Spend time relaxing with your dog every day. This eases both her stress and yours and, even for dogs who are not in good health, can improve circulation and blood pressure. Spending time together reduces stress, and stress is strongly correlated with ill health in both people and dogs. Thus the time you spend together is a step toward good health for both of you!

Perhaps most importantly, know your dog and their needs. If you stay in tune with your dog as they age, you’ll be better equipped to assist them through the process, and more likely will notice if they need additional help or care. A daily petting session can be used to check for parasites and skin problems, and your daily walks can help you monitor for any difficulties your dog has with moving around.

Photo by jjgwarren/Flickr

$100 and $40 Pet Store Gift Card Giveaway [Closed]

Two Little Cavaliers Every time I am at a store, I always find myself browsing through the pet aisles looking at cat toys, treats, and new fluffy pet beds that I think my two cats would enjoy. If I dare to venture into a pet store, forget it, I can be in there all day and walk out spending a small fortune. My cats are way beyond spoiled, but I know that I love getting new things, so I like to think that shiny new toys are just as exciting for them as my new forms of entertainment are for me when I splurge on myself every now and then.

Pets are part of the family too and if you love your pet, this giveaway is for you! Two Little Cavaliers your go-to place for International Dog News, Pet Product Reviews, Pet Centric Giveaways, dog-friendly recipes Cooking for Dogs, and the creator and co-host of the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop, a weekly event where pet bloggers and pet lovers can come together to meet, greet, and hang out, is hosing this giveaway to say thank you to their friends and fans for all of their love and support over the years.

Treat your pet to a shopping spree at their favorite pet store! There will be TWO winners! The first place winner will receive a $100 gift card to the pet store of their choice, and the second place winner will receive $40 to spend at their favorite pet store (Petco, PetSmart, Pet Supermarket, etc.) Are you going to take your pet with you so they can pick out their own special things, or will you leave them at home and come back with a bag full of toys, treats, and food for them?

Treat your pet to a shopping spree at their favorite pet store. Enter to WIN:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on July 2nd at 11:59PM EST and is open to U.S. and Canada except where prohibited by law.

Loving Pet Giveaway Hop

Mark your calendars for this upcoming event. All giveaway items will be pet centric, which makes all the giveaway prizes are specifically for your pet or about your pet! This includes leashes, toys, bowls, clothing, or items with animals on them, like shirts, mugs, notepaper, jewelry, artwork, the sky is the limit! If you are a blogger and would like to participate, please feel free to click through and sign up to join the fun!

I received no compensation for this publication. Woman Tribune is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

The Iconic Meow Mix Jingle Returns For the Launch of New Tender Centers Cat Food — Review

Meow Mix commercial

I think I have always somehow known the Meow Mix jingle. I haven’t the faintest idea of how it was first introduced to me, but rather it is a jingle that I think you just know. Maybe you heard it once while in utero and emerged from the womb and out into the world with the incredibly catchy tune already solidly lodged in your memory. I don’t know, but at least I do know that I am not alone, because it turns out that the Meow Mix jingle is the number two most memorable American jingle, second only to the Oscar Mayer song. Come to think of it, I don’t know how I first came into contact with that jingle either, but I can sing it on cue without giving it a second’s worth of thought. Jingles are mind-boggling like that–it’s incredibly easy to memorize information set to music, especially if the music is catchy, and then that little ditty is stuck in your head for life. In other ways famous jingles do just plain weird things to our memory, in a recent survey conducted by Kelton Research, 81% of respondents claimed to have heard the Meow Mix jingle in the last 18 months, when in reality, the classic version of the jingle stopped airing in 1996. That’s 16 years ago! Wow.

There’s a good chance that you now have the Meow Mix jingle playing in your head, and you’re welcome for that. You also just may be hearing it a lot more often now that it has returned to the airwaves for the launch of the new Meow Mix Tender Centers cat food, which I recently had the chance to let my two cats try out.

Meow Mix Tender Centers Meow Mix Tender Centers is the only dry cat food today where every kibble is dual-textured, with a crunchy outside and a meaty, soft center. Devin and Vincent were able to try the Salmon & White Meat Chicken flavor, and from the moment the bag of Tender Centers arrived, was taken out of the packing box, and put on the kitchen counter, the cats, Devin in particular, was going nuts for it. It took about 15 minutes in total for Devin to get up on the kitchen counter, sufficiently rub her facial scent all over the bag, and start digging at it to get it open. However, she isn’t the skilled bag-opener of the felines in this house, and after a few meows in my general direction, Vincent decided to lend a set of claws and teeth to the effort. Together, they successfully tore a hole into the bag just big enough to get a few kibbles to fall out–and they loved it. It was the most bonding time they have had without meowing, hissing, or fighting taking place since we let Vincent come live with us nearly two years ago.

After seeing how motivated they were to get the bag of Meow Mix Tender Centers open, I poured them each a small bowl, but they treated it more like a bowl of treats, as in they devoured every last kibble in what couldn’t have been more than three minutes and then stared up at me with their big, pleading eyes. After waiting a few days in hopes of erasing the connection between this food and their perception of treats from their memory, I began mixing a small amount in with their regular food, and they absolutely loved it, but again, I noticed that they were eating more than they usually do. Typically they eat about a cup to a cup and a half of food each per day and I have never found myself having to limit their intake because they let their bowls sit there throughout the day, going to it here and there as cats do. With the Tender Centers mixed in, they were consuming the entire bowl within just a few hours and were then scratching at where I keep their food in hopes of getting me to refill their bowls.

My cats are still convinced that Meow Mix Tender Centers are a bag of delicious treats that they can’t get enough of. That can either be a really great thing, because obviously cats love this stuff, or it can be a little troubling because they are then wanting to eat more than they need throughout the day. On the bright side, considering the price of some cat treats, if you purchase Meow Mix Tender Centers and your cats react to it like mine do, you can give them a few kibbles in the middle of the day and it will probably be the least expensive package of treats you’ll buy, so there’s always that.

Meow Mix sends out regular cat food coupons, promotions, and offers. Sign up on their website to get into the mix.

I received a bag of Meow Mix Tender Centers for review. No other compensation was received, and opinions are my own (and my perception of my cat’s opinions.)

5 Ways to Nurture Family Relationships Through Your Pets

puppy and girl

Having a pet in our home is something that enriches our lives in many different ways. Pets in general provide us with a sense of physical as well as emotional well-being. When a pet joins your family, it is not hard for you to realize that a change occurs in the lives of you and your family members, and in most households, pets are treated as part of the family. At least that’s the case at our house.

The Pleasure of Bonding with Your Pet

It is easy to see that pets encourage love and compassion among human beings. Sometimes we tend to be too mechanical in our relationships with other people, and forget the value of them, but our animals do not. We can spend little or no time with our family and friends when we have busy schedules, but when we have a pet that totally depends on us, things will change. Pets rely on us to care for them, and through this dependence, the bonding between your pet and your family begins.

Pets Cherish Relationships

As you care for your pet, providing for their needs can bring you closer together as a family. Sharing responsibilities can create special feelings with your spouse and children. You also make decisions together about your pet, whether it’s determining what is the best diet for the cat, where the litter box should go, or deciding if cleaning the dog’s teeth at home is right for you. Making these kinds of decisions can be educational and fun.

5 Ways Pets Can Nurture Relationships Within Your Family

  1. When you first bring the puppy or kitty cat home, everybody will be excited and want to hold or play with the newest member of the family. Be sure that each person has time with the animal so they can get to know each other. This may be a good time to even ask for volunteers in taking care of certain things that your pet will need: feeding, giving fresh water, cleaning the litter box, or changing puppy pads.
  2. Proper training of your pet is crucial for both the animal and the family. Everyone can share in learning how to puppy pad train a puppy using wee wee pads, or teach them to go outside to potty.

    They can also participate in puppy education classes, and learn the important commands and a few tricks. To graduate from our class, our dog had to correctly respond to two commands and then one trick. We all worked with him, and thankfully, Ranger passed. It was fun practicing, or at least it was for Ranger–he got lots of treats!

  3. Walking your dog or going to a dog park is another way to build relationships. We meet people who have similar interests and always enjoy sharing stories about the kids–both 2-legged and 4-legged ones. We have so many small dogs and kids that live on our cul-de-sac, we can’t decide if we are out there to catch up on the children or the critters!
  4. Get outside and exercise as a family as well. Plan fun games or activities that can include the dog, like throwing a Frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, playing chase, or practicing commands like ‘fetch’, ‘drop it’, ‘come’, or ‘roll over.’ Sometimes the kids enjoy the commands as much as the dog. (We constantly work on the ‘come’ command when I am calling them in for the night.)
  5. You can even participate in shows and events that are in the area. Most communities have shelters or pet stores that will sponsor a dog or cat show for good causes. You’ll definitely meet interesting people and their pets, and may even come away with a prize from time to time. That activity could go on the “family bucket list.”

There’s no more special bond than the one between a child and a pet that grow up together. For those of us who love animals, we have special memories of times spent with our pets, sometimes alone and sometimes as a family. I still have pictures of my first dog, Lady, in the backyard sitting next to me in one of those small inflatable kid swimming pools. I tried to get her to get in with me, but she was content to protect me from dry land!

These special relationships are not just in the movies–they are actually real life and we are better people for having loved a pet, and receiving their unconditional love in return.

Photo by jjgwarren

Teaching Our Children the Basics of Responsible Dog Ownership

little girl and puppy At some point in every child’s life the inevitable question, “Can we get a dog?” will slip through their adorable little mouths. Likely this will come from watching a fun Disney movie with a cute talking dog, or a friend just showed off pictures of their new doggy. Regardless of what brought those words to the forefront of your child’s mind, you, the parent, need to decide if owning a dog is right for your family.

Growing up, I was the child who frequently begged for that doggy in the window, only to have all dreams shot down with one ‘no’ after another. So when my daughter asked for her first puppy, those painful memories came creeping in, likely impacting my reasoning for saying yes! But influenced or not, that yes came with an expectation–she had to learn responsible dog ownership and understand the lifelong commitment that came with it.

And so began my efforts at helping my daughter learn what it meant to have a puppy.

  1. Understanding a puppy’s needs. The first step was to help my daughter understand exactly what a puppy needed to stay healthy and grow strong. As with most parents, we can list off reasons left and right and most of the time our children will even say ‘okay’, but do they really understand?

    Instead of “telling” my daughter, I decided to show her through volunteering at our local shelter on the weekends. We were allowed to come in during feeding time and assist with the morning meals, giving puppies baths, and cleaning up the messy kennels. My daughter was given permission to play with the puppies in the outdoor run as a reward for her hard work. After a few weeks of volunteering, I had no doubt that my daughter truly understood the work involved in owning a puppy; including cleaning up those nasty messes!

  2. Understanding how to train in preparation for a dog. The next step, and quite possibly one of the most important things for children to understand, is the importance of properly training your new puppy so it will grow up obedient and friendly. We researched several dog training websites and talked about the various areas our dog would need to be trained.

    Then, we sat down with what we learned and decided on rules and what we both expected from a dog in the house. We had learned that everyone needed to have the same expectations if any kind of training was going to be effective. Then we talked about the supplies we would need to have on-hand for teaching our puppy from the very first day of his or her arrival.

    My daughter’s active participation in this conversation gave me confidence that she was ready to put forth the effort required to care for a dog through thick and thin.

  3. Selecting the right dog for us. The next thing we did was really break down various characteristics of different dog breeds and what they brought to the table. She mentioned that we liked to sit around the house a lot and maybe shouldn’t get a dog that wants to run all day. I mentioned that she has lots of little toys she treasures so we might want to consider a dog that won’t chew so much after they get older.

    Back and forth we outlined traits that fit with our family and traits that did not until we finally narrowed down the breeds that best fit out lifestyle and expectations.

  4. Choosing a training method. The fourth thing we considered was how we planned to train our new puppy. Considering time availability, my daughter’s social skills, and my level of interest in bringing someone to my home, we decided on utilizing dog training forums instead of bringing a person in one-on-one.

    In our time volunteering at the local shelter, my daughter had the opportunity to work with the trainers there and we were both very confident in teaching our new puppy all the basics of good manners.

  5. Getting our puppy! We spent about 6 months preparing for this moment, and I have to say, my excitement was just as big as my daughter’s. I had helped her understand how important it was to provide proper care and how to teach her puppy good manners. Now it was time to get our puppy and for us, we knew right where to look–the local shelter!

Teaching our children responsible dog ownership in a way that sticks doesn’t have to be a mind-grilling task. With a little creativity, you can gauge your child’s interest and motivate them to learn.

What are some other ways you can think of for teaching responsible ownership? Perhaps you’ve recently brought home a new pet as well. I’m curious to hear what you think.

Photo by terrie.zeller

Stop Bad Pet Behavior — Comfort Zone with Feliway Review

Vincent cat I have written about our younger cat Vincent here before, and about the behavioral issues we experienced with him from the time he first came to us when he was just 8 weeks old, up until fairly recently. Vincent was the second cat to come into our home. We also have Devin, a female cat who is significantly older than Vincent, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into when my partner and I were asked if we would be willing to take in a kitten who was very different than the exceptionally-behaved, low maintenance cat we had for years.

Vincent had energy like I had never seen before; he climbed up curtains, scratched our furniture obsessively, was afraid of the lid on his litter box, and would urinate where he slept, whether it was on a particular spot on the floor, on towels and blankets, on the furniture, or in our bed. I just about lost my mind cleaning up after him, but it did lead me to develop my own all-natural cleaner through a process of trial and error as I experimented with ingredients and found what worked best for cat messes and odors. I also drove myself a little batty as I attempted to figure out why he was acting like he had been possessed by gremlins that were fed after midnight. Much to my relief, he calmed down a bit after being neutered and continued to wind down as he got older, but the occasional urine marking and scratching remained.

A cat’s nature and instincts are numerous and sometimes difficult to pin down or understand. In our minds, a little thing like moving furniture around in one room is insignificant, but to a cat it can be a major trigger for stress. It is this mindset that gave me a ray of hope for Vincent and his bad behavior, especially when I was being asked by several people why I didn’t attempt to find him a new home. Cats can’t help what it is in their nature to do, but there is a product out there that works with their instincts to alleviate bad behavior.

Comfort Zone with Feliway diffuser Comfort Zone is a line of spray and plug-in diffuser products for cats and dogs that mimic the pheromones secreted by these animals that mark areas as safe and familiar.

I have been using the Comfort Zone with Feliway plug-in diffuser for cats over the past few months in my home office, where the cats spend most of their time and where we have had the most occurrences of Vincent spraying. For the first month, nothing changed. Not a damn thing. It was as if I hadn’t plugged in the diffuser in the first place and I frequently wondered if it was actually “working.” On a few occasions, while on my hands and knees scrubbing yet another mess up off my carpet, I muttered that I was glad I had been fortunate enough to receive the diffuser and refills as a review product and hadn’t spent the $50+ on it. I was beyond frustrated, but as the next month rolled around, I changed the Comfort Zone with Feliway refill and yet again waited for something to change. And it did, eventually.

In total, it took nearly two full months of having Comfort Zone with Feliway present in my office for Vincent to cease any and all spray marking and he has only exhibited scratching on my desk chair and only when he is demanding my attention–he has always been a very needy little guy who is adamant on laying on you and being pet. I have not had to clean up even one Vincent-related mess in over a month, and that has been such a tremendous relief!

In February, my partner and I are moving into a new house. This move will undoubtedly trigger both of our beloved cats and under any other circumstances, I would have already begun to stress out about what I will be put through at the paws of my cats by putting them through the stress of a big move. Fortunately for me, I know I have a tried and tested ally in Comfort Zone with Feliway and you better believe I will have diffusers plugged in at the new house to help make the disruption in their routines just a little more pleasant and a lot less messy.

Comfort Zone products are clinically proven to be effective against most, if not all bad pet behaviors, including scratching, spraying and urinating, adaptation behavior, traveling, and general stressful situations including unfamiliar environments. Comfort Zone products include plug-in diffusers and sprays for both cats and dogs and can be purchased at your local pet retailers or any trusted online distributor.

I received a Comfort Zone with Feliway product for review. No other compensation was received, and opinions are my own.

Choosing a Pet: The 5 Best Pets for Children

young girl with dog

“The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic.”
-Henry Warren

When I was a child, I put “puppy, kitten and small zoo” on every birthday and Christmas list I ever made. Children love animals, and many of them spend months and even years pleading with their parent for a pet. For their part, parents are often unconvinced that their children will be able to properly care for a pet. Choosing the right pet for your child can be challenging, and the truth is that there’s no universal perfect pet. Instead, it’s important to take into account your child’s age, responsibility level, and unique personality. There are good pet choices for almost every child, and here are five of the best.

Small Furry Animals

Small animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits are popular classroom pets. because they are inexpensive, many parents assume that they are great pets for children. These animals can make wonderful pets for children who can’t care for dogs and want a furry pet. They are also ideal choices for kids who love dogs and cats but suffer from allergies. But small animals aren’t without problems. These animals are generally best for older children who can play gently. Small animals also require weekly cage cleanings and annual veterinary care.

Dogs

Dogs are the classic pets of childhood, and for good reason. Dogs provide unconditional love, can teach children responsibility, and can even protect your child in an emergency. Dogs require supplies which can include a crate, potty pads for dogs, toys, treats such as Greenies dog chews and an assortment of collars and leashes. A dog, then, is only a good pet for a child when the parent also likes dogs. No child is responsible enough to provide all of the care a dog needs, and dogs also require veterinary care and the proper food. If you’re considering getting a dog for your child, the dog should be a project for the entire family. When dogs are family pets, they can substantially enrich life, but a dog left to the care of a child will be an unhappy dog.

Cats

Cats can make excellent substitutes for dogs if you’re unable to provide daily walks and training sessions. Cats adopted as kittens will bond strongly to their owners and are generally friendly with children. Although they are generally less expensive than dogs, cats require annual veterinary care as well as spay and neuter costs. Cats are also unlikely to respond to training and are generally uninterested in long play sessions with children. These animals make good pets for children who want an animal they can occasionally cuddle but who don’t need a permanent best friend.

Reptiles

Reptiles are frequently overlooked as pets for children. Parents’ unease with slithery animals may cause them to preclude these animals as potential pets. However, reptiles can make excellent pets for older children. They require minimal care and, although they can bond with their owners, do not require daily love and attention. Reptiles are ideal pets if you’re not terribly interested in spending a lot of time with your child’s pet, and if your child is old enough to properly handle her reptile. Generally speaking, reptiles are not good choices for children under 10.

Exotic Pets

Exotic pets include a diverse array of animals including sugar gliders and chinchillas. These animals are excellent substitutes for dogs because they bond strongly with their owners and are highly intelligent. Much like dogs, however, these pets should be taken on as a family project because they require daily care. Even very young children can learn to properly handle small exotic pets as long as they receive careful adult supervision.

When contemplating getting a pet for your child, remember that you’re getting a pet for yourself too. If your child is unable to care for the animal, responsibility will fall to you, so choose an animal with whom you are comfortable. Pets can bring lots of love into a family and provide valuable opportunities to spend time together training, playing, and caring for your pet. If you treat your pet as part of the family, you’ll have years of happiness and fun times together to look forward to.

How to Effectively Clean Cat “Accidents” and Odors Out of Pretty Much Anything

Vincent and Devin About a year ago my partner and I took in an 8-week-old kitten that we named Vincent; he is one of the cutest and most affectionate cats I have ever met, but for as snuggly and super cute as he is, he has also been just as frustrating. In the first month we had Vincent, I realized how well-behaved and low maintenance our older cat Devin is. We have it good with her, which could be due to two things; either because of the different breeds they are or because Devin is female and Vincent is male. Since adding Vincent to our household, I have been told numerous times that male cats are more difficult and higher maintenance than females; isn’t that odd considering how it is mostly the opposite in our human world?

The source of most of our frustration with Vincent has been the litter box. He has historically been so off-and-on with using it that I could not figure out what, exactly, his problem was with it.

I first interpreted his litter box problem as spraying and marking his territory because it started when he was so young. A few weeks before he was six months old we had him neutered; what he lacked in age he made up for in weight, so having the procedure done before he was exactly six months was still completely safe. Phase one of narrowing down Vincent’s litter box problem complete.

We then started going down the list of factors that could cause cats to have this particular problem. He did not have a urinary tract infection, he had no reason to be overly stressed, the litter box was cleaned daily, and we changed litters hoping to find one that he liked more than the others. Through this process, Vincent began urinating where he was sleeping most often. Unfortunately for my partner and I, this meant our bed and any blankets we had laid down anywhere for the cats, whether on the couch, chairs, or on the floor. Needless to say, there has been a lot of cleanup needed around our apartment. My partner had seriously considered trying to find a new home for Vincent, but I got attached to him and believe strongly that if an animal is experiencing a problem that we cannot figure out, it should never mean that the animal loses its home. It should never work that way.

In the end, we found that Vincent is afraid of litter boxes that have a cover on them causing him to simply avoid the litter box. I actually found this revelation to be kind of cute, thinking that he is afraid of the dark and of venturing into a litter box he can’t assess first from the outside. By simply removing the cover of his litter box, we have not had any problems since. I wish I had thought of this before the months of frustration ensued.

So, you’re probably wondering how we removed all of Vincent’s little “accidents” up until the time we finally figured out what the problem he was having with his litter box was. Here is a little recipe for a natural cleaner to get rid of your pet’s messes and odors.

You Will Need

  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • All-natural, all-purpose soap
  • Baking soda

Directions

  1. Fill spray bottle with hot water, two tablespoons of vinegar and a generous squirt of all-natural, all-purpose soap. Shake well.
  2. Spray cleaner over area until it is soaked completely. Let cleaner set into area for about an hour while periodically soaking up excess water with a towel.
  3. When area is dry, cover with baking soda and let sit. After about an hour, vacuum up the baking soda.

This has worked much better than any other pet cleaner I have ever bought, which makes me just a little ticked off that I wasted a good amount of money on cleaners that never worked half as well as this natural cleaner I made at home did!