How to Introduce a New Cat into Your Home

It’s typically pretty easy to take your dog to a dog park and let it socialize with other dogs – in fact, it’s usually fun to watch them get to know each other! But there’s a reason we don’t have cat parks, and any cat owner can tell you why: cats are finicky and territorial. That’s not to say cats won’t eventually bond with each other, but it is tricky. So, what do you do when you’d like to bring a new cat home? Here are some tips from the Humane Society.

Set realistic expectations

First, it’s recognizing and accepting that you can’t force your pets to like each other. We don’t have a crystal ball to predict whether or not your pets will be friends, but we do have techniques for you to use to increase your chances of success. Most importantly, choose a cat with a similar personality and activity level. For example, an older cat or dog might not appreciate the antics of a kitten.

You need to move slowly during the introduction process to increase your chances for success. You mustn’t throw your pets together in a sink-or-swim situation  and hope they’ll work it out

The nature of cats

Cats are territorial, and in general they don’t like to share. A cat who’s unhappy about a newcomer may express his displeasure by fighting with the other pet and marking territory (peeing on the floor, wall, objects).

Cats also dislike change, and a new cat in the house is a huge change. These two character traits mean you could have a tough (but not impassable) road ahead.

Being social

Some cats are more social than other cats. For example, an 8-year-old cat who has never been around other animals might never learn to share her territory (and her people) with other pets in the household. But an 8-week-old kitten separated from her mom and littermates for the first time might be glad to have a cat or dog companion.

All of this means that your current pet and your new cat need to be introduced very slowly so they can get used to each other before a face-to-face meeting. Slow introductions help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing. Below are some guidelines to help make the introductions go smoothly.

Be aware that the introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months in extreme cases. Be patient.

Confinement

To allow time for the newcomer to adjust to you and her new situation, keep her in a small room with her litter box, food, water, scratching post, toys and a bed for several days to a week.

  • Feed your resident pets and the newcomer on each side of the door to this room, so that they associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each other’s smells. Don’t put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other’s presence to eat.
  • Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.
  • Try to get your pets to interact with a toy. Tie a toy to each end of a string, then place it so there’s a toy on either side of the door. Hopefully, they’ll start batting the toys around and maybe even batting paws.
  • Be sure to spend plenty of time with your new kitty in her room, but don’t ignore your resident cat.

The old switcheroo

To animals, smells are far more important than appearances, so you want to get your pets used to each other’s scent before they meet face-to-face.

  • Swap the blankets or beds the cats use or gently rub a washcloth on one cat’s cheeks and put it underneath the food dish of another. If there are more than two animals in the house, do the same for each animal.
  • When the pets finally do meet, at least their scents will be familiar.
  • Once your new cat is using her litter box and eating regularly while confined, let her have free time in the house while confining your other pets to the new cat’s room. It’s best to introduce yur new cat to a room or two at a time and increase her access to other rooms over a few days. This switch provides another way for them to experience each other’s scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to get familiar with her new surroundings without the other animals frightening her.
  • You can do this several times a day, but only when you’re home to supervise. If you have to leave the house, put your new kitty back in her room.
  • Next, after you’ve returned the cats to their designated parts of the house, use two doorstops to prop open the dividing door just enough to allow the animals to see each other.
  • Repeat the whole process over a period of days—supervised, of course.

Slow and steady wins the race

It’s better to introduce your pets to each other gradually so that neither animal becomes afraid or aggressive. Once the cats are face to face, though, there will be some kinks for them to work out.

If you’re really lucky (and your cats are inclined), they may do some mutual sniffing and grooming, and you’re on your way to success. They may sit and stare at each other. You can provide distraction by dangling toys in front of them at the same time. This may encourage them to play together.

They might sniff each other, hiss, and walk away. That’s to be expected. This may go on for a few days or so, and then you’ll probably find them both sleeping on your bed.

Break it up

If you’re not so lucky, they may be very stressed. Fortunately, they may only posture and make a lot of noise. But, as soon as there are signs of increasing aggression (flattened ears, growling, spitting, crouching) make a loud noise by clapping your hands or throw a pillow nearby to distract them. If the standoff continues, very carefullyherd them into separate parts of the house to calm down. This could take up to 24 hours and the cats may take out their stress on you.

Be careful

If the cats fight repeatedly, you may need to start the introduction process all over again and consider getting advice from a vet or animal behaviorist.

Note: Never try to break up a cat fight by picking one up; You’re bound to get hurt.

Reducing tension

There are other things you can do to help ease tension between feline roommates.

  • Have your cats examined by your vet before introductions to make sure they’re all healthy.
  • Have one litter box per cat plus an extra one.
  • Try to keep your resident pets’ routine as close to what it was before the newcomer’s arrival.
  • Make sure all cats have a “safe” place to escape to.

7 Ways Dogs Can Help Your Health

Can owning a dog make you healthier? The experts say yes.

Dogs and Cardiovascular Health

Could owning a dog keep your heart healthy? Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.

Dogs and Anxiety

For people with all forms of anxiety, having a dog may be an important coping mechanism. This is especially true in times of crisis. A study out of the Medical College of Virginia found that for hospitalized patients with mental health issues, therapy with animals significantly reduced anxiety levels more than conventional recreational therapy sessions.

Dogs and Loneliness

Dogs function as important companions and family members, but certain groups may benefit more than others. The elderly, particularly those in residential care facilities, often become socially isolated once separated from immediate family. Researchers in Australia have found that dogs improved the well-being of residents by promoting their capacity to build relationships.

Dogs and Rehabilitation

In the setting of a severe illness or prolonged hospitalization, therapy dogs can be integral in the process of rehabilitation. A review of the literature looking at the function of service dogs proved that dogs can assist people with various disabilities in performing everyday activities, thereby significantly reducing their dependence on others.

Dogs and Activity

Before a dog is introduced into the home, the most commonly asked question is, “Who is going to walk the dog?” Turns out this responsibility may be important for the health of the family as well as the dog. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have shown that children with dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous activity than those without dogs, and adults with dogs walk on average almost twice as much as adults without dogs.

Dogs and Doctors

With all of these specific health benefits, could dogs keep you away from the doctor altogether? A national survey out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.

Dog Bone Safety with Dr. Becker

Dr. Karen Becker of Healthy Pets by Mercola shares tips on how to select the right (and safe) bone or chew for your dog

How to Select Non-Toxic Bones and Chews

Whether a bone or chew is potentially toxic has to do with the country of origin, the source of the product, and how it was processed. You’ll want to look for “Made in the USA” labels on packaging, or feel comfortable about where the product was sourced, for example, from free-range herds out of New Zealand or Canada.

How to Select Bones or Chews That Are a Good Fit for Your Dog

Does the size of the recreational bone or chew present a potential choking hazard or intestinal obstruction? If a piece of bone breaks off and your dog swallows it, could it get stuck somewhere in the GI tract?

With regard to the consistency of the product – its density or hardness – you need to consider the health of your dog’s teeth and gums.

You’ll also want to think about the ingredients in the bone or chew. What nutrients does it provide? Does it contain additives? Does it potentially contain opportunistic pathogens that could pose a threat to your pet’s health? For example, some bones are naturally high in fat, so you wouldn’t want to offer those bones to a pet with a history of pancreatitis.

Gnawing and repetitive grinding are the chewing actions that wear down plaque and tartar on teeth, which means big recreational bones or chews that are meant to be worked on by your dog over a period of time. Smaller treats that are chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds or minutes provide no dental benefit for your pet. So there’s a big difference between treats that your dog chews and swallows almost immediately, and big bones or chews that require effort and can help control plaque and tartar in your pet’s mouth.

Bones for Dogs Who Are ‘Scarfers’

Some small dogs, and many large dogs, are scarfers. If your pet tends to scarf down every morsel he’s offered, you’ll need to be cautious about any size bone or chew you feed him, because there’s a chance it could end up in his stomach whole. Or he may attempt to swallow it whole and fail, which can be just as disastrous. A scarfer’s primary objective isn’t to chew or gnaw, but to get the item into his stomach as soon as possible. So my safety tip for all sized scarfers is, go big. Whether your scarfer is a Labrador or a Yorkie, if you offer a recreational bone larger than the size of his head, it makes it nearly impossible for him to scarf. So that’s an important tip to remember.

Bones for Aggressive Chewers

Next on the list of potential problems involves the aggressive chewer. These dogs have one mission — to finish the bone! Aggressive chewers want to consume the thing in its entirety, as soon as possible. The problem many aggressive chewers develop is fractured teeth. They think nothing of creating multiple slab fractures in their mission to break the bone down as quickly as possible. These dogs get hold of a bone and chew like mad, fracturing or wearing down their teeth very quickly.

Aggressive chewers shouldn’t be given really hard bones like antlers. Offering rock hard bones to hard chewers can create really significant dental trauma. The veterinary dentist I work with likes to say he has funded an entire wing of his dental suite thanks to antler bones and the wrong size marrowbones offered to aggressive chewers. So word to the wise!

The Difference Between Raw Bones and ‘Room Temperature’ Bones

Real beef and bison bones come steamed, smoked, or raw. Steamed and smoked bones have been treated so they won’t spoil at room temperature. Through that process, the chemical structure of the bone changes and it becomes more brittle. Brittle bones fracture easily, so these bones aren’t appropriate for aggressive chewers.

Bones of all sizes can be preserved, so the way to tell the difference between treated bones and raw bones is you won’t find the former in the freezer or refrigerator section. They’ll be the ones sitting on open store shelves at room temperature.

To read the rest of the article and a video from Dr. Becker click here

BioPel: Ensuring Pest-Free Pets and People

 Innovet introduces the BioPel system, allowing you to prevent pests with three easy-to-use products

BioPel offers safe products that kill and prevents ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and ants. They also offer a supplement to add to your pet’s food.

The first option is BioPel Plus, a supplement mixing the proven pest fighters garlic and diatomaceous earth.  Mixed with beef liver, it’s a food topper your pet will love.  High in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids that are proven to aid in repelling insects and parasites from the inside out.

There is also BioPel leave-in conditioner, a lotion you rub on your pet.  It contains lemongrass and neem oils, which are strong deterrents for all sorts of insect pests.

And lastly, BioPel spray.  Safe for use on not only your pets, but also bedding, clothing, even your skin while hiking or camping.

The Barkery now has the full set in stock! Purchase all of these separately, or triple your pest-fighting power and save money by buying all three in a bundle! Stop in today to learn more about BioPel.

Bizarre Dog Behavior Explained – and Solved!

Why did your dog just roll in something smelly? Or why must he hump everyone that comes through the door? Modern Dog tells us:

Coprophagy
I know; why on earth would any animal eat its own waste or that of another animal? It’s a bizarre behaviour from our perspective and one that can sometimes be detrimental to a dog. So then, why would your beautiful little fur ball stoop to such a vulgar level?

If you have ever raised a litter of puppies, you’ll know that their mother will normally clean up after them by eating their feces. This is not only a sanitary solution, but an age-old survival mechanism. In the wild, predators hungry for a bit of puppy could locate the den simply by the scent of feces. It became necessary, then, for the mother to get rid of this evidence. Good canine mothers today do the same thing, even though those nasty predators are by and large no longer a threat.

Additionally, in dirty kennels, puppy mills, or overcrowded shelters, the waste of puppies and other dogs can lie around for hours; the curious puppy will often eat the feces, which still contains some scent of food. This behaviour self-reinforces over time and when the puppy goes to a good home, the nasty habit often goes with them.

Another cause of coprophagy is poor diet. If a puppy or adult dog is eating a nutritionally deficient diet or is not being fed enough, it will instinctively seek out another food source. This often means feces in the yard or dog park.

To prevent coprophagy, keep your dog’s environment perfectly free of any waste. Pick it up right away! Try not to leave a dog with this habit alone in a yard or dog run for any length of time, as he will eat the waste and self-reinforce the behaviour. Be sure to feed the best food possible, in amounts suitable for your dog. Then, whenever you’re walking your dog, let him sniff around only in spots where you know there is no other waste present.

Humping
It’s an awkward moment when your dog saunters over to another dog at the park and starts humping away. Even more awkward is when it happens to human guests in your home. Why is this happening?

Though unneutered males are the most likely culprits, any dog—male, female, young or old—can develop a humping habit. Often evolving out of play, puppies will often hump each other, as will older dogs. The anxious, isolated dog can evoke this behaviour as a stress release mechanism. Status confusion among a group of dogs and/or humans can result in a dog humping sequential “victims,” in an attempt to clarify his/her standing. Some pushy dogs will do it simply as a way of controlling others, while the un-socialized dog just might not know any better, because no other dogs taught him or her the finer points of getting along. Lastly, humping can become an obsessive-compulsive behaviour; like barking or tail chasing, it can self-reinforce over time and be nearly impossible to stop.

Solutions to humping are comprehensive. First, make sure your dog is getting enough stimulation. Exercise, play, socialization, training, and routine are all vital. Obedience train, as it teaches your dog to think, calms him, and gives you a way to control and refocus. For instance, instead of letting two dogs hump each other all over the yard, put them both through some obedience exercises such as down/stays, paired walking, or recalls. Neuter or spay your dog at the appropriate time to lessen sexual urges. And if a dog compulsively humps people, employ a plant spray bottle filled with water. A mist in the schnoz and a “Quit” can be effective in shutting down the behaviour, as well as keeping a short lead on your dog to guide him away from a potential “victim” before it happens. Put him in a down/stay, then reward with a treat after a few minutes.

Reverse Sneezing
Your dog suddenly sucks air into his nose, while making a snorting, choking sound. He extends his neck and head and seems to be choking on something. After a few moments, the event is over, and he seems fine. This is the “reverse sneeze,” one of a dog’s most bizarre behaviours.

Technically known as “paroxysmal respiration,” reverse sneezing sounds awful but really isn’t. Reverse sneezing can be caused by an irritant in the air, by eating or drinking too fast, by a foreign body or hair balls, or even a nasal infection. The resultant irritation of the palate or throat causes a spasm, resulting in quick inhalations of air into the dog’s nose. The trachea can narrow, causing difficulty in air movement. The condition is more common in older dogs.

To reduce the chances of reverse sneezes, minimize chemicals, cleaners, rug deodorizers or other potential irritants from the home. Groom your dog often, and vacuum up hair very day. If a nasal drip is present, see the veterinarian.

During a reverse sneeze, try rubbing your dog’s throat to ease the spasm. Very briefly cover his nose to encourage swallowing, which can dislodge a foreign body. Look into his mouth if need be, to see if anything is obstructing his throat. If so, remove it. Though a disconcerting experience for you and your pooch, it’s nothing to worry too much over, though if this happens all the time, it never hurts to see your vet.

Tail Chasing
The sight of a dog whirling around in a circle with his tail in his mouth might be one of the funniest scenes in dogdom. I suppose if we had long, fluffy tails and could chew on them, we might even give it a try. It’s a behaviour that often starts early on; a puppy, barely aware of his own individuality, sees the tail and begins to whirl around after it. It’s fun, and serves some deep-seated need to chase something. Of course when humans see this, they laugh, and often encourage the dog on. And so the behaviour slowly becomes engrained.

Other dogs go for their tails because of a flea, tick or worm problem; they try to chew on it to relieve the itch. Dermatitis or dirt can also initiate the need to bite the tail. Still other dogs begin the behaviour out of boredom, or because of underlying stress.

Tail chasers often slip into an obsessive-compulsive mode. Some will literally spin and spin until dizzy, or until their nails or pads wear down from the constant friction.

To prevent obsessive tail chasing, be sure to keep your dog as pest-free and clean as possible, thus preventing tail biting spurred from infestation or dirt. Remove tangles from his tail fur, use a flea/tick preventive prescribed by a veterinarian, and get dermatitis diagnosed and treated. If your dog tail chases, ramp up obedience training to divert him into more appropriate behaviours. Use a “Quit” command when you see him begin to spin; match this with a soda can filled with pennies tossed nearby if the behaviour has become obsessive. If you can divert and redirect him quickly the moment he begins the spinning, you can eventually extinguish the behaviour.

Rolling in Stinky Stuff
Why would a perfectly normal dog choose to roll around in garbage, dung, or rotting corpses? Like it or not, some do, and seem to get great pleasure out of it. And it’s rarely the dog’s own mess; rather, it’s nearly always something else’s putrid leavings. Go figure.

Why? One theory claims that dogs want to mark over a strong scent with their own smell, rising to the olfactory “challenge.” Others posit it’s a holdover from when dogs wished to camouflage their own scent in order to sneak up on prey. Or it may simply be that dogs to whom scent is everything, simply revel in the fragrances emitted by gross things. To dogs, what we find horrid is actually interesting. Think teenage boys wearing cheap cologne.

To prevent your dog anointing himself with eau de rotting seal keep things as clean as possible around home and property. While on walks, make sure you decide when your dogs stops to relieve themselves, or investigate. Keep an eye out for garbage, dead animals, or generally stinky stuff. Work on the Leave it! command, as well as a reliable recall command to stop an off-leash dog from rolling in stink. If needed, use a loud clap and a verbal Leave it! if you see him going for that flattened squirrel. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot on dog shampoo.

Cat Bites Should be Taken Seriously

Cats have sharp teeth that can easily puncture skin, transferring bacteria from the cat’s mouth into your body

Did you know that Cat Bite Patients sometimes require a hospital stay?
A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, evaluated 193 patients who saw a doctor or went to an emergency room for a cat bite on the hand or wrist from 2009 to 2011. (The wrist and hand are common locations for cat bites, and are also prone to infection.)

Of the 193 patients, 36 were immediately admitted to the hospital, 154 were given antibiotics and sent home, and three received no treatment. Most of those sent home with antibiotics were treated successfully (86 percent), but 21 ultimately had to be hospitalized. On average, approximately 50% of cat bites become infected.

Accorind to Dr. David Maloney, “Cats have a high population of bacterial pathogens in their mouths, including Prevotella species, Actinomyces and Streptococcal species. They also have a very effective delivery system: sharp teeth. Getting bit by a cat is like getting an injection, but of bacteria.”

Twelve of the 21 patients who were later hospitalized, and 26 of those immediately hospitalized underwent procedures to flush out the wound or surgically remove infected tissue. Eight required more surgery.

Longer-term complications from infected cat bite wounds included abscesses and loss of joint mobility. People with bites directly over the wrist or joints were more likely to be hospitalized than people with soft tissue bites.

Cat Bites, No Matter How Small, Should Not Be Ignored!

Low Glycemic Pet Diet Benefits

What is the best food for your pet? Consider the benefits of a low glycemic diet.

Glycemic Index (GI), Explained

GI measures how a particular carbohydrate source affects blood sugar levels. GI is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, which compares a given food to pure glucose (GI of 100). Refined simple carbohydrates have the highest GI scores, while unrefined complex carbohydrates have the lowest scores.

Foods with a high GI are rapidly digested, resulting in undesired spikes of blood sugar levels, while low glycemic alternatives are slowly absorbed, resulting in a beneficial gradual increase in blood glucose levels.

gi

Benefits of Low Glycemic Ingredients

Pet foods with a high GI are rapidly digested, resulting in unwanted spikes in blood glucose levels, while low glycemic alternatives are slowly absorbed, resulting in a gradual, normal increase in blood glucose levels. A few benefits of feeding your pet food with low glycemic ingredients:

  • Helps control appetite and keep pets from over eating
  • Lowers the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes
  • Keeps energy levels balanced throughout the day
  • Tailored for diabetic pets

Low Glycemic Brands Available at the Barkery

The ideal low-glycemic pet foods contain no potato or grains. At the Barkery we have several brands to choose from that fit the low GI criteria. Here are just a few to consider on your next visit, or even shop in our online store:

Please read ingredient list for each product when shopping online as some recipes may differ

House Plant Pet Safety

Did you know that more than 700 plants have been identified as dangerous for animals?

With spring popping up, it’s time for gardening again! According to the Humane Society, poisonous plants produce a variety of toxic substances and cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death. Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant. Cats, for instance, are poisoned by any part of a lily.

Here are some other common household/garden plants that are not pet friendly:

  • Azaleas
  • Elephant ears
  • Holly berries
  • Philodendrons
  • Wisteria
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Rhododendron

There are several more plants to avoid – you can read the full list by clicking here

New Products Coming Soon!

We’ve just returned for the Global Pet Expo, and we’ve got lots of great new products to share with our customers!

Over the next several months, be on the lookout for “New Product Spotlight” – highlighting a great new item for your four-legged pal.

Here are just a few of the awesome products to look for over the next month at our store:

Kanberra – Airborne Tea Tree Oil, an all natural air purifier. Perfect for homes with cats and general odor neutralization. Check out their video here.

Cycle Dog Toys – Made from a blend of High Durability rubber and post-consumer recycled rubber from bicycle inner tubes. Cycle Dog Ecolast toys are the first molded pet toys made from post-consumer recycled materials.

Alzoo – Natural flea repellent for dogs made from almond oil. An easy way to protect your dog over a long period against external parasites. No insecticides are used.

Stop in an visit us today and check out these new items – there’s something for every pet owner!

The Raw Food Diet – For Cats

If you have a cat that’s suffering from an ongoing ailment, a senior cat that isn’t as energetic as he used to be, or maybe you’ve just adopted a new kitten – now is the time to consider the benefits of a raw diet for your feline.  

Linda Zurich, author of the “Feeding Cats Raw” shares some wonderful tips and information on her site. 

Cats Are Carnivores
Many of us, although we may have had cats as pets for most if not all of our lives, have failed to realize one very important thing about them – the fact that all cats are, by their very nature, born carnivores. Essentially this means that the nutrition they require to thrive must come from the meat, organs and bones of the bodies of other animals. And because of the cat’s particular anatomical and physiological design, the most ideal and natural way for them to consume that flesh and bone is in its raw state.

Key Causes of Chronic Illness
So is it any wonder that carnivorous companion animals that consume nothing but an unnatural diet of cooked, over-processed canned and kibbled products their entire lives may well suffer some significant health complications as a result? And when such inferior, inappropriate diets are compounded by regular applications of things like toxic pesticides in the form of flea, tick and heartworm medications, combined with the over-administering of vaccines, which often do more harm than good, a picture begins to emerge illustrating some of the key reasons why there is such an explosive epidemic of chronic degenerative disease occurring in today’s domesticated pet population.

Cats Are What They Eat

Just as is the case with human beings, the role diet plays is without a doubt key to any animal’s good health. And when it comes to cats, looking to the way Mother Nature herself has been feeding felines for eons, and providing them with a diet of whole raw foods, is surely the most natural and healthy approach we can possibly take.

Raw Cat Food at the Barkery

If you do decide that the raw diet is something you’d like to try for your cat or dog, please stop in and visit with us. We have an excellent selection and can help you find the right food for your pet.