Scaredy Pups: Getting Comfortable with Strangers Monday 14 May 2018 @ 09:18

Group of People Sitting on White Mat on Grass Field We want your pets to live their best life, and that includes working through any of the fears that might be holding us back. Last month, we talked about how you might go about caring for a dog who is afraid of men. It’s commonly assumed that dogs who experience this fear feel this way because they’ve been abused or neglected by a man, but some dogs are just that way by nature.

Just like any fear, there’s no one reason that your dog might have it, but there are a good few ways you can work together to deal with it.

Some of the other common fears your dog may be struggling with may include…

This is the list we’re slowly working our way through, but it definitely doesn’t cover every fear your dog might have! If there’s another fear or phobia you’d like us to cover to spread information and awareness, please do get in touch. In the meantime, we’re going to look about how you can go about helping your dog to feel more comfortable around strangers.

adorable, blur, childWhy is my dog afraid of strangers?

Dogs tend to be afraid of strangers for two main reasons. In some cases, it occurs because the dog hasn’t been properly socialised as a puppy. If a pup doesn’t have the opportunity to meet a wide range of different people in their formative years, it’s highly likely they’ll end up being afraid of people they aren’t familiar with.

In other cases, your dog’s fear will be all about genetics. Dogs who are timid and skittish often produce offspring who are equally shy. Dogs who are scared of all strangers rather than a specific type of stranger (such as men or children) may experience this because of genetic predisposition.

Man In Blue Long-sleeved Shirt Carrying DogHow can I tell when my dog is afraid?

One of the main struggle for dogs who are afraid of strangers is that humans - both strangers and dog owners - may fail to notice that a dog is feeling anxious. The dog will be giving off all sorts of body language, and nobody will be reading it. Learn to spot what your dog is trying to tell you, and you’ll know straight away when your dog announces “I am feeling afraid! Please back off!”

Perhaps Rover’s body will be tensing up, his eyes will be darting or he’ll be looking away while making his body as small as possible. Some dogs start sneaking around, furrowing their brows, flattening or perking up their ears or moving much more slowly than usual. Maybe Bowser has started licking her lips, panting for no obvious reason or yawning more than usual. In many cases, the dog’s tail will be held lower than usual, sometimes hidden between the legs. All of these are indicators that your dog is feeling frightened.

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoMake your dog feel safe!

If your dog is showing signs of fear and anxiety, you need to help them to calm down. To do this, you need to bring your dog somewhere they can feel safe, and it can be helpful to create a specific safe zone where your dog will always know it is completely safe. Think of it as a puppy panic room! This is a space that is exclusively for your dog, whether that’s a special chair, part of a room or just their crate.

Make a rule where nobody except for your dog is allowed to enter the special safety zone. This will allow your dog to see that the area is their special place where nobody is able to hurt or annoy them.

Closeup Photo of Scottish Terrier and Adult Short-coated White and Tan DogLet people know how to greet your dog!

If a stranger goes down on one knee by your dog when making their introduction, the meeting is far more likely to be successful.

Your dog will feel less threatened as the person is at their level. Often, your dog will be more comfortable with sniffing and accepting pats from a stranger if they aren’t towering over them like a monster (offering a treat can only help the interaction further). It’s also a good idea not to let a stranger make too much eye contact with a dog, as staring can be perceived as intimidating and downright rude.

If you don’t know a dog but want to offer a treat, the best way is to drop it on the ground so as not to appear forceful, having first made sure that the owner is alright with you giving their dog a treat.

adult  animal  canineWhat if the owner is the stranger in question?

If you adopt a dog who already has a fear of strangers, it can be pretty difficult to start building a bond between you. However, if you take it easy and allow your dog to move at their own pace, you’ll get there soon enough and the results will be so worth the wait. You’ll need to be very patient and comforting at first so the dog can start to understand that you are not a threat.

If your new dog gives you the opportunity to pet them, always do so very calmly. Make sure your voice around your new dog is always soothing, friendly and relaxed, and offer treats by gently throwing them rather than bringing your hand near the dog’s face.

Trying to care for a dog who is frightened of strangers can be very difficult, and it’ll take a lot of patience and care on the owner’s part. All the same, if you are considerate and make the decision to always keep your dog safe from surprise encounters with strangers (and especially make a point of avoiding things like markets, dinner parties and parades), the pair of you can get through this.

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Scaredy Pups: Dealing with a Fear of Men Friday 11 May 2018 @ 00:00

Man In Blue Long-sleeved Shirt Carrying DogContinuing with our series on helping with doggy phobias, our last post talked about dealing with your dog’s fear of children. This can be a very dangerous fear resulting in aggression on your dog’s part and injury or psychological trauma for the child in question.

Fortunately, though, there are ways of dealing with it.

Other fears you may come across when getting to know your dog might include the following…

We only have a few of these common fears left to cover, so let us know in the comments if there are any you’d like to hear about!

Maiden

Before we can do any of that, though, we’re going to take a look at what you can do if your dog is afraid of men.

If your dog shakes, whines or snarls whenever a man is nearby, they may well have a fear of men. A common assumption is that dogs who are afraid of men feel that way because they’ve experienced trauma or abuse by a man. While there’s always a chance this is the case, it’s also sometimes the case that your dog will have a fear of men without any traumatic history.

It is just as likely (if not more likely) that your dog’s phobia has occurred as a result of physical and social factors.

Please note: This blog post will use some generalizations in discussing what “women” are like and what “men” are like. These descriptions may not all apply to you or the people you know because everyone is different, gender is a universe and our lives and personalities are our own.

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoSo why is my dog afraid of men?

The simple answer is this: We don’t know. There is no one, clear-cut reason that your dog would be afraid of men, but there are a few potential causes. The most likely cause of this fear, as with many other fears, is that your dog wasn’t socialized with men as a puppy.

As with the differences between children and adults, there are certain differences that exist between many men and the women and children they may be more comfortable around. For example, many men are louder and take up more space than women, and the vast majority have deeper voices. To animals like dogs, the larger size and louder voice can single out the man as a threat, putting the animal into defense mode.

It’s not uncommon for men and women to act differently with regard to puppies. In many cases, a woman will approach a puppy in a comforting, gentle way. Meanwhile, as being gentle and nurturing is considered a “female” response, many men will instead opt for a more assertive form of play. While this play would be acceptable coming from another dog, human men are generally much larger than dogs so their actions can read as threatening rather than playful.

Another potential cause is that dogs primarily see the world through their noses, and men can smell quite differently to women and children. The fragrances marketed to men and women are very different, and the hormones a dog will smell on each sex will vary, with most men producing testosterone and most women producing estrogen. In nature, the scent of estrogen would be familiar to puppies, as they are nursed by their mother while their father is rarely present.

Do keep in mind, however, that none of these theories have been proven, and we still don’t know the exact reason why some dogs are afraid of men. What we do know is that as their primary caregivers, it’s our responsibility to give them a good life and help them feel safe whenever possible.

Closeup Photo of Scottish Terrier and Adult Short-coated White and Tan Dog

Narrow it Down

Some fears are more complicated and specific than we might expect. Say, for example, your dog whines when your brother-in-law who is a police officer, or the local milkman, comes to visit. You’ll need to figure out if this means your dog is afraid of men, or if she’s specifically afraid of men in strict uniforms. Maybe your dog was once chased by an animal control officer in a uniform, and thinks that all men in uniform are about to do the same.

Are all of the men that scare your dog wearing hats? Are they wearing a specific cologne? Maybe your dog just isn’t used to seeing men in hats, or is confused by the smell of aftershave. There’s every chance that your dog finds these things frightening, and isn’t overly concerned about the wearer’s gender.

adorable, blur, child

Overcoming a Dog’s Fear of Men

If your dog’s fear is severe, you may wish to find an animal behaviourist, trainer or obedience class that can help you. However, a dog whose fear is only mild is generally much easier to help here. The main things you can do to help your dog are similar to those used to cope with other fears.

  • Don’t force your dog out of their comfort zone. If men frequently visit or even live in your house, don’t force your dog to spend time with them. This can often make the fear even worse, and can cause your dog to hurt you or the man in question.
  • Do use treats to encourage progress. Make sure men who spend time around your dog have treats to offer your dog when it’s appropriate. For example, if the dog comes a little closer to them than they normally would, get them to throw a treat (gently). Your dog may not even accept these treats at first, but eventually they should learn to associate men with positive things.
  • Do allow and encourage your dog to approach men of their own accord. Although it may be difficult, you need to get the men in your life to leave your dog alone and not approach the dog until they approach the men themselves. Attempting to befriend a fearful dog can often have the opposite effect.

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Scaredy Pups: Getting Along with Kids Wednesday 11 April 2018 @ 08:46

adorable, blur, childAs part of our series on dealing with dogs who suffer from phobias, our last post discussed how you might go about helping your dog with their fear of other dogs. This is a real issue for some dogs and their owners, who might have uncomfortable run-ins with other dogs on a daily basis. Other fears your dog might struggle with can include:

We plan on covering all of these fears over the course of the series, but for now we’re going to talk about what you might do if your dog is afraid of children.

We all know and love those photographs of children playing and cuddling with their favourite doggy companions. There are thousands of these photos, and hundreds of films and books imagining what these playful pairs might get up to. You may be surprised or disappointed, then, to hear that dogs who are afraid of children aren’t all that uncommon.

A dog’s fear of children makes sense when you think about how they tend to communicate with the world around them. Dogs can’t use words like humans can, so they communicate through sounds and body language. A dog who is used to living with adult humans will be accustomed to the sounds and movements they make. Children speak in a higher pitch to adults. Their steps are unsteady and faster. Their movements can be jerky and unexpected. It’s entirely possible that a child might hurt a dog by accident, or even fall and land on them. When compared to an adult, children and babies could very well appear to be part of a different species entirely.

What might be even more upsetting for a dog is that the presence of a child can also alter the behaviour of the adults around them, making even the most trusted human suddenly unreliable.

How can I tell if my dog’s afraid of children?

Photo of a Girl Playing with the Dog

Indicators that your child is afraid of children are much the same as those exhibited with any fear. The signs below are indicative of extreme stress and your dog should be removed from the stressful situation if they are exhibiting these signs around children. The behaviours a scared dog might show around children can include…

… attempting to hide or escape;
… shutting down or going stiff when children are nearby;
… showing teeth (lip-lifting) and snarling;
… biting or nipping (especially when trapped);
… lunging or yapping;
… lowering of head, increased eye contact;
… shaking, rolling over or recoiling.

In some cases, these behaviours can be fairly subtle so if you think your dog might be afraid of children, watch them carefully!

How can I help my dog recover from their fear of children?

MaidenIf your dog’s fear is of children who visit your home, you need to manage this situation. Begin by identifying an area in your house where your dog can go and where you can prevent children from entering. For example, you may have a room where you can close the door, or set up a baby gate. Make sure children are supervised at all times, as you can’t always trust kids not to open a door or try to touch something through a gate.

Begin training by having children you can trust to behave calmly walk past at a safe distance from your dog while providing your dog’s favourite treats. Your dog should be kept on a leash for safety, but should eventually come to associate the presence of children with good things.

If your dog’s fear is an issue when children are present outside the home, try avoiding parks and schools where kids might be playing.

Always keep socialization fun!

Closeup Photo of Scottish Terrier and Adult Short-coated White and Tan DogAs we’ve mentioned in many of our Phobia Series posts, flooding isn’t generally the best technique when it comes to training your dog out of fearing something. If you want your pup to enjoy something, you need to make sure their experiences of that thing are relaxed and enjoyable. Make sure your dog knows that you appreciate it when they gently check a child out, but don’t force them to do this until all parties are ready.

For example, if their fear of children causes them to act timidly, you can help your dog by getting some quiet, calm children to just sit quietly and spend time making sure your pup is happy and safe. Socializing your dog doesn’t need to involve throwing them in at the deep end with a crowd of noisy kids. Don’t exhaust your dog by forcing them to process sounds and sensations that are scary.

Start by introducing children one at a time, not all at once.

Are your kids animal-friendly?

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoIn some cases, the issue might not be with your dog at all. It could be the children who are the issue. It can be pretty difficult to find children who are actually good with animals, especially when they’re very young. Animal-handling skills aren’t generally something that comes naturally to a kid. It’s something that has to be learned, so they won’t always get it right the first time.

Relatively few children will happily sit still, watch another child pet a dog without getting jealous and piling in, stay calm and respectful, pay attention to where a dog actually likes to be pet or take care to pet gently. If your kid isn’t instantly perfect at handling a dog, try learning what works together. This can be a great bonding opportunity for you, your child and your dog.

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Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog Make Friends Monday 26 March 2018 @ 08:38

Closeup Photo of Scottish Terrier and Adult Short-coated White and Tan DogOver the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about how you might go about helping your dog deal with some of their fears. Our last post talked about one of the stranger fears you might encounter when you live with a dog: The Fear of Stairs. This issue can really get in the way of living a normal home life with your dog, but thankfully in most cases, it can be dealt with through some training. Other examples of common doggy fears include:

We hope to discuss all of these fears in time, but this week we’re going to focus on The Fear of Other Dogs.

It’s not unusual for a dog to feel nervous around other dogs every now and then. There are probably some humans out there that make you feel nervous yourself. This only becomes a real problem if it becomes an everyday occurrence for your dog, in which case you’ll need to become proactive in helping with your pup’s fear. Understanding the source of your dog’s fear will help you deal with it, and can be vital in allowing your dog to be happy and healthy.

Animal, bark, black wallpaperYour dog’s fear of other dogs will affect both of you. It can turn a simple activity like walking the dog into a stressful event. Some owners find themselves timing their walks or altering their routes to avoid other walkers, but there will always be a sense of dread just in case someone else has had the same idea. These actions can also prevent your dog from having any opportunity to socialize, which can make their fear even worse.

Fear as a Result of Trauma

If your dog is easily spooked, a series of these negative and scary experiences can easily cause the development of a phobia. For example, this could happen to a small-breed dog or young pup if they encounter larger dogs who want to play in a manner that could be harmful to a dog of smaller stature. Over time, your dog could come to associate larger dogs with danger and may bark, snarl or behave aggressively towards any they come across.

It should be noted that while small dogs are used as an example above, it’s very much possible for similar things to happen to larger dogs. Similarly, while the other dogs in the example are just playing rough, trauma can also occur as a result of genuine, aggressive attacks from other dogs.

For some dogs, this fear might be because they’ve experienced something traumatic in their past which is having an impact on their behaviour. In some cases, it might occur because of insufficient socialization, making meeting unfamiliar dogs a new and terrifying experience. In certain situations, it might be simply that your dog is submissive by nature, and this display of fear is their way of accepting the other dog’s dominance.

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoSmall Dogs: Know Your Safe Breeds

While there are loads of great ways to improve your dog’s ability to interact with other dogs safely, dogs of smaller breeds may always have a fear of some breeds. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that your dog has certain limitations, and understanding that their fear, at least to them, is fully justifiable. For example, a small or toy breed dog may begin to feel comfortable around other small and toy breeds, and even medium breeds, but large breeds may simply be too large.

Similarly, your dog may learn how to read signals and become comfortable interacting with dogs who are being openly friendly but may not develop the confidence to approach dogs who aren’t sending these signals. This is fine, and may just prevent further traumatic experiences.

How Do I Tell if My Dog is Experiencing Anxiety?

In almost every case, anxiety is rooted in fear. As with humans, anxiety in dogs can exist anywhere between mild fear and utter panic. Generally, this will result in your dog taking on either a defensive or offensive position.

Signs that your dog is panicking include:

  • Snarling;
  • Excessive barking;
  • Active effort to escape;
  • Bowing;
  • Growling.

Ongoing anxiety can also lead to nervous symptoms such as biting and licking themselves or diarrhoea. Dogs who are only experiencing mild fear may show some of the following signs:

  • Trembling;
  • Cowering or shrinking away;
  • Vague attempts at escaping;
  • Lower activity;
  • Tail-tucking.

Photo of a Girl Playing with the DogIn all cases, your chances of success will be highest if you get to start young. If you have a new puppy, ensure that they’re fully vaccinated and then start socializing with as many dogs as you can (making sure this is in a controlled, secure environment). If you’re still in the planning stages of getting a puppy, be sure to talk to the shelter, store or breeder about how the pup has been socialized with littermates and other dogs.

If your dog is older and has missed this key socialization stage, you’re going to need to begin rehabilitation in gradual, gentle steps. Whatever you do, don’t force them to face their fear before they’re ready. This can be a traumatic experience and will only make your dog’s fear even worse. One of the strongest items in your toolbox is a technique known as desensitization. This involves introducing your dog to their trigger - in this case, other dogs - in a slow, systematic way. The idea is to allow them to learn over time that other dogs aren’t actually that scary.

Maiden

Dogs are a common and much-loved pet, and as a result, they’re pretty much everywhere. This means there’s a very high chance you and your dog will bump into a strange dog without having time to prepare first. Try to ready yourself by training your dog to respond to a “let’s go” command or something similar, so you can both remove yourselves from the situation with minimal anxiety.

For many dogs, picking them up will only stress them out further, so it’s best for your dog to be able to follow you on foot. One way is to start with your dog on a leash somewhere you won’t bump into strange dogs, such as your own house. Begin walking, but suddenly change direction and encourage them to follow you using a happy voice and/or gestures.

Each time your dog follows you successfully, reward them enthusiastically with toys, food or whatever else they love the most. Once this is going smoothly at home, you can start doing it when you’re out and about.

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Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog Get Up The Stairs Monday 12 March 2018 @ 08:26

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoLast month, we helped to reunite border collie Maiden with her family. Maiden had a fear of thunder, so we decided to give you all some tips on helping your pup’s fear of thunder to celebrate the reunion. Astraphobia, the fear of thunder, is one of the most common fears experienced by dogs, along with fear of other loud noises such as fireworks. Other examples of common doggy fears include:

  • Other dogs;
  • Strangers;
  • Children;
  • Cars;
  • Abandonment;
  • Men;
  • Specific objects;
  • Vets.

We’ll discuss all of these fears in the future, but first we’re going to explore one of the strangest and most inconvenient of the common dog fears: The Fear of Stairs.

Animal, bark, black wallpaperMany of us have encountered a dog who is afraid of staircases and other steps, or at least seen videos of them online. Watching your pup cry, give up, tuck their tail between their legs or tremble hopelessly at the sight of stairs can be understandably stressful or upsetting for any caring owner.

A common way of dealing with this fear is to force the dog up and down the steps in an attempt to show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always help an animal to overcome the fear. To truly help your dog’s fear, you really need an understanding of the underlying causes.

There are any number of different reasons that this fear has developed. In some cases, the dog might have experienced something in the past that has caused them to associate stairs with things that are scary, hurtful or otherwise unpleasant. Maybe the dog was once scolded for ascending, descending or going near a set of steps, or was pushed down them.

MaidenPerhaps the dog fell down steps as a puppy and was frightened by the experience, or has simply never come across stairs before.

Maybe the dog was abused by previous owners, and was led up steps to the place where the abuse occurred. Older dogs may develop a fear of stairs if they’re used to living in single-storey homes and are suddenly moved into a house with more than one floor. If your dog never had to climb stairs in their formative years and received no training, it’s likely you’ll see a certain amount of fear at first.

In these cases, it’s very possible that even the most well-behaved and gentle dog will bite or nip their owner in a bid to communicate their fear. Rather than forcing your dog to live through their biggest fear with no effect, it’s often a better idea to help them through use of counter-conditioning and positive reinforcement (positive motivators like treats and praise).

However, before you attempt to train them out of this fear, you should consult with your vet first to make sure this step-phobia isn’t the result of an injury or other physical condition.

Overcoming the Fear

The good news is that it’s generally fairly simple to help your dog recover from their fear of the stairs. These are just a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Photo of a Girl Playing with the DogMake Way! Before trying to get your dog up the stairs, make sure the steps are clear and safe. Remove anything that your dog could knock over or stumble on. Getting spooked right at the start of training will only make matters worse!
  • Counter-Condition! As the Animal Humane Society explain, “Counter conditioning means training an animal to display a behaviour that is different than his current reaction to a stimulus.” In other words, you want to replace your dog’s reaction of fear with one of excitement or joy. You may begin by standing near the staircase and encouraging your dog to approach. Tools that may come in handy here include a high value treat or a cherished toy.
  • When your dog comes to you by the stairs, shower them with praise and reward them appropriately. Try to remove their negative association to the stairs by replacing it with the feeling that they are the best dog on the planet.
  • Start at the Beginning! Don’t try to force your dog to run before they’ve learned to walk. If the stairs in your house are very steep, make things simpler by taking Rover somewhere with low, wide steps. Get your dog to practice climbing here with all of the encouragement, treats and rewards they need. If possible, someone should stay behind them on the stairs to provide extra support. Each time they reach the top or bottom of the steps, give them an extra special reward.
  • White and Black Cat With Tongue Out at DaytimeUps and Downs! Keep in mind that going up and down the stairs can be two completely different experiences for dogs, and require different skill sets. Once your dog has mastered going up the stairs, be prepared to start the entire process again from the top!
  • Choose Your Timing Wisely. Dogs are more receptive to training when they are happy and alert. If your dog is overly tired, needs to eat or is eagerly waiting for a walk, it’s best to save your training for later. It’s also a good idea to keep Rover’s interest by splitting training sessions into numerous shorter (around 10 minutes) sessions rather than one long lesson.
  • It can be a good idea to plan your training sessions for directly before playtime or a walk outside. This will mean your dog is happier about training as they’ll know that something fun will happen afterwards.

If you believe your dog’s fear of stairs may be as a result of abuse in the past, there may be some other things you can do to help them. Start by reading some of our other posts on the subject!

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Scaredy Pups: Helping Your Dog with their Fear of Thunder Monday 26 February 2018 @ 09:39

MaidenEveryone's a little bit scared of something. Some of us are scared of spiders, others of clowns, so it makes sense that our canine companions should have similar issues! Thunder! Vacuum cleaners! Other dogs! All of these can be absolutely terrifying to some dogs.

This month, we helped to reunite Maiden the black and white border collie with her family. According to Maiden’s family, she “[h]as a limp. Friendly but very scared of thunder.” This isn’t uncommon. In fact, astraphobia (fear of thunder) is one of the most common fears for a dog to experience. Other members of the list of common dog fears include…

  • Fireworks;
  • Vets;
  • Stairs;
  • Strangers;
  • Specific objects;
  • Children;
  • Men;
  • Cars;
  • Abandonment.

We’ll cover some of these other fears in time but for now, how can you help your dog’s fear of thunder?

Animal, bark, black wallpaperShow your dog that you appreciate their calm behaviour.

Make sure your dog gets plenty of attention and approval when they’re behaving in a calm, happy way. For this to work, it can be a good idea to train your dog to settle down on command. You can do this by keeping a separate leash that’s only used when inside the house and getting your dog to lie down at your feet with the leash on as you praise and reward their behaviour. Don’t wait for the stormy season to begin this training!

If your dog only gets cuddles and attention when they’re clambering all over you and whimpering in fear, this will encourage them to continue their panicky behaviour. It can be a better idea to offer distractions in the form of toys and games. Give them all of the support they need when they’re in distress, yes, but don’t make it seem like a surefire way to get treats and pets!

Practice calm behaviour while there’s no storm to get worked up over, so your dog gets a sense of the new routine. Once the storm arrives, putting the leash on will signal to your dog that it’s time to be calm. This will also give them something else to focus on, distracting them from the thunder. Your goal is to give them something more interesting and positive to think about.

White and Black Cat With Tongue Out at DaytimePredict the Future!

Compared to the other fears and phobias your dog might be dealing with, thunder is a whole lot easier to predict:

  • Weather forecasts often over-predict thunderstorms, which makes it easier to prepare than if they were to under-predict.
  • In most cases, thunderstorms will occur in the afternoons, or to a lesser extent in the evenings and nighttime.

Once you can predict a storm, you’re able to take action before the storm takes place. All you really need to do is pay attention to the weather forecast. The main sources of fear that come with thunderstorms are the loud noises, unusual darkness, specific smell and cold/rain if your dog is made to stand outside in the storm. The best thing you can do is take your dog inside and keep them somewhere safe (even better if it’s sound-proofed).

Photo of a Girl Playing with the DogGet plenty of exercise in before the storm starts.

When a thunderstorm weather warning is released, it can be a good idea to take your dog out for a few extra walks in advance. Things will be a whole lot worse if the storm means your dog doesn’t get an opportunity to exercise properly, and the extra bit of exertion before the storm hits can tire your dog out both physically and mentally, which is good in this scenario.

As with humans, exercise could also boost your dog’s serotonin levels, which will allow them to feel calmer in the long run.

Ciarra and KeishaCreate calmer noises.

If the thunderstorm begins and you’re unable to calm your dog down, it can be helpful to mask the noise as much as possible. Less “threatening” noises such as those produced by the radio or TV can dilute the sound of thunder. Another idea is to close all the windows and crank up a white noise machine or air conditioner. Don’t turn the volume up too high, though, as a large part of your dog’s fear probably comes from a fear of loud noises. There are a few white noise apps you can find on your smartphone which can come in handy here.

Animal, cute animals, dogConsider investing in a compression vest

Products such as the ThunderShirt are designed to help anxious animals deal with the things that stress them out, such as thunder and other loud noises. The idea is that these garments will calm your pet by applying pressure in specific areas, causing calming endorphins to be produced. Think of it as being sort of like an artificial hug you can strap onto your dog.

Research appearing in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour (King, C., Buffington, L., Smith, T.J., Grandin, T., The effect of a pressure wrap (ThunderShirt®) on heart rate and behavior in canines diagnosed with anxiety disorder, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2014), doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.007.) concluded that:

Results from this study showed dogs who wore the ThunderShirt® to manufacturer’s specifications had lowered heart rate, decreased visual orientation towards the door (looking for their owner), as well as trending toward reduced yawning and tongue-flicking stress behaviors.

Woman Holding Dogs a Miscellany BookStop the Static!

This is an idea that may be a little surprising: some studies have suggested that rather than the sound of thunder, it’s actually the sensation of static electricity in your dog’s fur that will make them miserable during a storm. If you manage to block out the noise and your dog is still in panic mode, this may be the problem. Is Rover suddenly cowering in the bathtub or the basement?

Some pet owners have suggested that what your dog is really doing is searching for somewhere grounded where these electric shocks won’t bother them anymore. It seems the best place for your dog to hide in this case is the bathtub, where they can comfortably hide until the storm is over.

For more information about how pets experience storms, try checking out some of our other articles!

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Adopt, Don’t Shop! Monday 29 January 2018 @ 00:00

Photo of a Girl Playing with the Dog

At Lost Pet Finders, we believe that every pet deserves to find the home where they feel secure and happy, and this holds true whether that pet has simply lost its owners temporarily or is in need of a whole new family. This is why, when possible, we really recommend checking out your local pounds and shelters before heading to a pet store. For those based in Australia and New Zealand, here are some of the best sanctuaries to check out:

Australia

Woman in Purple Split Neck Cap Sleeve Bodycon Dress Holding Cone of Ice Cream Licked by Black Tan Dog

… and of course we can’t forget our friends at Hunter Animal Rescue!

New Zealand

Now that you know where to look, here’s a quick rundown of some of the main reasons you should consider adopting your new best friend, rather than buying them.

1. What practices do you want your money to support?

If you opt for a local breeder or pet store, your money will most likely end up going straight to something like a puppy mill, an unethical business where baby animals are stored in unhygienic, cramped and clumsy setups without sufficient access to healthcare and socialization. It doesn’t matter that you plan on giving your new pet all the love in the world: Once you’ve contributed to this practice through your purchase, you won’t be able to undo that damage.

Ciarra and Keisha2. Are you interested in being a superhero?

If you adopt an animal rather than buying one from a store, you’re saving a life. In and around 3.7 million animals are euthanized annually in animal pounds and rescues because nobody has adopted them in time. The best way to save one of these lives? Give a shelter animal a home before it can be euthanized. As far as your new rescue pet will be concerned, you’ll always be a superhero.

3. You’ll get an amazing animal.

Rescue pets aren’t “broken”. Animal sanctuaries are generally filled to the brim with healthy, playful pets just waiting for their new playmate to come and find them. Most of the pets in a pound are there because of human issues like divorce or job redundancies, not because of any failing on the animal’s part. In fact, many are even better pets than the animals you’ll find in a store as they’ll already be housetrained!

White and Black Cat With Tongue Out at Daytime4. It’s a whole lot cheaper.

Penny-pinching may not be the most “romantic” reason to choose adoption over shopping, but who’s going to turn down a little financial bonus when they’re already saving an animal’s life? Buying a new dog, for example, can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000 (USD), with prices varying depending on breed. Meanwhile, opting for a rescue pet brings that price right down to between $20 and $200 (depending on the rescue you go to).

5. #RescuePet #AdoptDontShop #Cute

This is more a tiny bonus than an actual reason to adopt, but it’s still something fun to think about: Bragging rights. The only thing better than a cute selfie is a cute selfie with a dog. And the only thing better than a cute picture with a dog is a cute picture with a rescue dog. Posting the perfect picture to your Instagram account isn’t a valid reason to adopt an animal, no, but it’s definitely something you can look forward to doing once you’ve made sure you’re in a position to give a rescue pet its perfect forever home.

Animal, bark, black wallpaper6. Experienced animals are no less worthy of love.

Often, it’s the older pets you adopt who are the most loving animals because they know you’ve saved them from a bad situation. They also tend to be a little easier to deal with and a lot chiller than they would have been when they were younger. When it comes to finding the perfect pet, age is just a number. Just because the rescue animals you meet in your local pound aren’t kittens and puppies anymore, it doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to give you all the love in the world. If you give a rescue animal the happy home they’ve been looking forward to, they can finally begin to live their life.

7. Taking home an adopted pet can be easier.

If you bring a rescue pet home instead of a brand-new puppy, your household will thank you. As many of the pets in sanctuaries and shelters have had previous owners, there’s a high chance your new rescue animal will already be housetrained, allowing you to skip the potty-training phase. It also means introductions will be simpler, as they’ll already be used to meeting new people on a regular basis.

8. You won’t just be saving one animal.

If you adopt your new pet from a pound or shelter, you’ll be allowing that organisation to rescue another animal who they man not necessarily have been able to house before. When you adopt a pet rather than buying, you’ll be saving not only your pet, but also one you’ve never even met.

As amazing as rescues and sanctuaries are, they aren’t magical and their buildings do have to follow the laws of physics. They cannot take in an unlimited number of animals. As much as the charities behind pet rescues hate to turn away an animal in need, sometimes they have no choice if there’s nowhere to keep them. This means that once a shelter reaches capacity, the pets in their care either need to be adopted or euthanized before any more animals can be taken in.

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Keeping On Top of Your Dog’s Dental Health Monday 15 January 2018 @ 10:25

Animal, bark, black wallpaperLast month, we met Ciarra and Keisha, two gorgeous kitties looking for adoption through Hunter Animal Rescue. The pair are still waiting to find their forever home, but if you think you can provide one you can check out their page on Hunter Animal Rescue’s website. When we first met them, Ciarra had just returned from a visit to the vet and had just received a polish, one tooth extraction and a descale. For this reason, we thought it would be a good idea in our last post to talk about some of the best ways to look after your cat’s dental hygiene.

But of course, your cat isn’t the only pet whose teeth you need to keep in tip-top condition. Between the regular vet checkups, fitness and quality food, we put a lot of effort into making sure our canine companions are healthy. But it can be so, so easy to overlook their dental hygiene. Conditions like periodontal disease can easily occur when the deep bone structures of your dog’s jaw are separated from the teeth by calculus, allowing abscesses and pockets to form.

JordyExperts have suggested that around 85% of dogs over the age of 4 will be living with a type of periodontal disease, which can easily lead to infection and tooth loss. If your dog has damaged gums or toothache, they’ll be living with difficulty and pain that you may not even have noticed. A dog’s teeth are often forgotten about, but they’re a major part of their overall health.

As with oral hygiene issues in cats, bacteria from your dog’s mouth, if left untreated, can reach the bloodstream and cause real issues in their kidneys, liver or heart. Fortunately, all of these issues can be avoided with the help of regular tooth-brushing and visits to your doggie dentist.

Doggie Dental Diseases

When your dog has good gums and teeth, they’ll get to enjoy every last morsel of food they can get their paws on, but with unhealthy teeth, this will quickly come to an end and your pup will no longer be enjoying their food. This can be very bad news. So what should you be looking out for as a concerned puppy parent?

  • Woman in Purple Split Neck Cap Sleeve Bodycon Dress Holding Cone of Ice Cream Licked by Black Tan DogPlaque develops when the bacteria constantly forming in your dog’s mouth get the chance to mix with food and saliva. This appears as a colourless, sticky film on the outside of the teeth, especially the upper molars and pre-molars. If plaque is allowed to build up, it can harden and turn into calculus. Plaque and calculus can be helped to a certain extent by dry dog foods, but you will also need to provide some dental care to keep everything healthy.
  • Calculus forms when plaque is allowed to stay on your dog’s teeth for around 3-5 days and combines with the minerals in their saliva. This is also known as tartar and can be very irritating to a dog’s gums, leading to reddened, swollen gums as a result of gingivitis. Gingivitis can also cause bad breath, which can be rather noticeable.
  • Periodontal disease is more likely to become an issue the longer calculus is allowed to build up under your dog’s gum line. This is where your dog can begin to struggle with bloody gums, lose teeth, struggle with food and suffer damage to their internal organs. Bacterial growth is allowed to progress unnoticed, eventually causing irreversible damage. And every last part of this process could be avoided with a good cleaning!

Ciarra and KeishaBrushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth will be a little difficult when you do it for the first time, but if you’re gentle and allow your dog time to get comfortable with what’s happening it can be a lot simpler than you may expect. Here’s a quick Step-by-Step to help you become the best doggy hygienist out there!

  • Be gentle. Give your dog time to get used to having hands and brushes in their mouth.
  • Let your dog do a taste-test. Help them get used to the taste of dog-friendly toothpaste by licking it off your finger or brush.
  • Introduce the toothbrush. Allow your dog to get used to the idea of the toothbrush and see that it’s nothing to be afraid of, but help them understand that this is not a toy.
  • Start small. Just brush a couple of your dog’s teeth at first so they can get used to the sensation.
  • Move from Outside to Inside. Brushing the outer sides of your dog’s teeth is less invasive, so it’s generally a better idea to start here and move to the inner sides.
  • Introduce a routine. If you turn brushing your dog’s teeth into a routine, it’ll be easier for them to get used to it and for you to remember to do it regularly. Daily brushing will provide the best results, but even three times a week will make all the difference.

There are also a number of high-quality treats and chews that can contribute to better dental hygiene for your dog. These chews will keep your dog entertained, involve less work for you and will still provide a good clean (though you will still need to brush their teeth occasionally).

White and Black Cat With Tongue Out at DaytimeFour Tips to Make Brush-Time Easier

  • Your dog can sense if you’re stressed or tense and will mimic these emotions, so try to keep calm!
  • Don’t go straight for the goal - your dog will need time to adjust to this new experience!
  • The earlier you start (anytime after the age of 8 weeks), the better your dog will be at having their teeth brushed.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself: You aren’t going to be able to brush your dog’s teeth for a long time straight away. This is something that will get easier over time.

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Keeping On Top of Your Kitty’s Dental Health Saturday 30 December 2017 @ 11:09

White and Black Cat With Tongue Out at DaytimeIn our last post, we met Ciarra and Keisha - two ten-year old female Birman X cats featured through Hunter Animal Rescue. These kitties need to be rehomed together with an adoption fee of $200. It’s not yet known if these friendly felines would be suited to a home with children (or birds), but they do like near-constant human interaction so they’ll be sure to give plenty of love to whoever takes them in.

Ciarra and Keisha haven’t been adopted yet, so if you’d like to meet them there’s still a chance you can - just check out their page on Hunter Animal Rescue’s website! Ciarra has recently returned from a trip to the vet and is in great condition, having only needed a descale, polish and one tooth extraction. She is well on the road to recovery by now, but in honour of our fallen comrade (Ciarra’s tooth) we thought it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about the best ways to care for a cat’s dental hygiene.

How to Spot Dental Issues in Cats

Ciarra and KeishaSevere dental diseases in cats can lead to much more serious issues if they aren’t dealt with properly, such as complications with the kidneys and heart. This is why it’s so important that you keep an eye on your cat’s teeth, and that they have access to frequent dental checks (especially for older cats). Before any of this happens, though, your cat will begin to have incredibly bad breath - a sign of advanced dental disease.

Just like our own, a cat’s teeth will slowly gather plaque over time. If this isn’t removed it will irritate the gums by turning into a harder tartar, which can cause tooth loss and gingivitis. If this happens, you may notice your cat beginning to chew on one side of their mouth, lose weight due to difficulty eating or consistently drop food out of their mouth.

The first step in preventing this is to learn how to identify potential warning signs and how to keep the teeth in the best condition possible. Symptoms other than bad breath that are worth noting include yellow-brown tartar, drooling and reddened gums.

However, some cats will refuse to show their discomfort even if they develop severe dental disease. It’s not uncommon for cats to hide their pain if they’re unwell.

If you do notice any problems with your cat’s teeth, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will know what needs to be done, whether that’s using ultra-sonic vibration to de-scale (remove tartar and plaque) or removing any damaged teeth.

Woman in Purple Split Neck Cap Sleeve Bodycon Dress Holding Cone of Ice Cream Licked by Black Tan DogGet Your Furry Friends Used to a Cleaning Routine

In many cases adult cats will have a bigger problem with this than younger kitties, so it’s a good idea to get them started at a young age. This actually isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You can make the experience a little more pleasant for your pet by dipping your finger in tuna water first, so they come to associate the action with a pleasant taste.

Keep in mind that older cats may need their teeth cleaned more often than kittens. Try to find toothpaste that’s made specifically for cats, and rub this on their teeth and gums using some gauze or a finger cot. This is the best option. However, if your cat really won’t let you brush their teeth and becomes violent, fearful or agitated with every attempt, there are other options.

It’s possible that your vet will suggest a dental formula food. Certain vets will prescribe a special formula you can add to your cat’s drinking water to aid dental care by discouraging bacteria and breaking down plaque. You’ll just have to make sure your cat doesn’t stop drinking because of the taste of this additive, because dehydration will help nobody!

JordySome treats will contain ingredients like selenium, antiseptics, taurine and Vitamin E to try and cut down on the amount of bacteria in your cat’s mouth. There are special treats out there that have a rough texture designed to control the buildup of tartar, freshen the cat’s breath and remove plaque. Some companies have also produced dental sprays which can be squirted into your cat’s mouth every day to fight the buildup of plaque.

Foods with larger pieces, or “nuggets”, can be good at reducing plaque by getting your cat to chew more. No matter what method you use to keep your cat’s mouth clean and healthy, make sure you take them for a dental checkup at least once per year.

Examine Your Cat’s Teeth

Routine cleans and keeping a general eye out for signs of bigger problems are one thing, but the best way to make sure your furry friend has healthy teeth is to actively check them. If you have a cat who shows affection by pushing you with their head, this can make things a whole lot easier as moving their head with your hands won’t be so foreign to them.

JordyBe sure to keep your cat as relaxed as possible when you’re doing this, so that they’re more likely to allow you to do your thing.

That said, you should never just stick your finger in your pet’s mouth without making sure they’re okay with it first! Having a close bond with your cat won’t save you when they accidentally/instinctively close their mouth with your hand inside.

One way of examining your cat’s mouth is to gently lift the flaps of their gums (while they’re sitting calmly and comfortably) and gently examine the teeth you can see this way. Examine one side fully before checking the other, so that you aren’t poking your cat too many times. Things to look out for include unexpected lumps, sore-looking areas, chipped or broken teeth and discoloured gums.

While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see their entire mouth, you should still be able to get a good idea of what’s going on.

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Pets of the Month: Ciarra, Keisha and Birman Cats. Thursday 14 December 2017 @ 08:18

JordyOver the past couple of months, the main topics we’ve been discussing have been how to go about caring for dogs with food allergies, shy cats and long-haired cats. These topics were selected in honour of three of our sponsored pets - Jordy, Misty and Russia.

These were three gorgeous pets which we were given the wonderful opportunity to sponsor through Hunter Animal Rescue, a great charity which aims to rescue abandoned pets from euthanasia and place them in their forever homes. We think that the best aspect of this non-profit is that while they’re waiting for their new families, HAR’s rescued pets don’t have to sit in a pound. Instead, they’re sent to foster homes where they get to practice being part of a big, happy family until they’re ready to be rehomed. This means they get all the love and care they need, and are more likely to be looked after properly.

For December, Hunter Animal Rescue’s Pets of the Month are Ciarra and Keisha.

Ciarra & KeishaAll About Ciarra and Keisha

Ciarra and Keisha are two ten-year-old female Birman X cats, currently in care at PETQuarters Broadmeadow. They need to be rehomed together, and the adoption fee for the pair is $200. It’s not yet known if these friendly felines would be suited to a home with children (or birds), but they do like near-constant human interaction so they’ll be sure to give plenty of love to whoever takes them in.

While it’s not recommended that these two are moved into a home with dogs, we do know that they’re fine with other cats so they may be a good choice if you’re looking for a new furry friend for your cat. A dream home for these sisters would be one where they’re kept indoors and made to feel safe and secure. They’ve already had a busy life, and are ready for a quiet, mature home!

Both cats are fully litter trained, have a fairly low activity level and require an intermediate amount of grooming, so they’re good cats to have around if you like to pamper your pets but don’t always have the energy to run after them! Ciarra and Keisha are a pair of real individuals. A chatty, personable lady, Ciarra loves to munch on her human’s hair, receive gentle pats, brushes and chin scratches, sleep on your pillow and bump you with her head.

While Ciarra is keeping busy, it’s likely Keisha will be fast asleep on your lap. Keisha is the quieter of the pair. She’ll love you just as much as her sister will, she’s just happy to let Ciarra do all the talking. Ciarra has recently come home from a trip to the vet and is in great condition, having only needed a descale, polish and one tooth extraction. She is well on the road to recovery by now, though!

Now that we know she’s in full health, she can safely be moved to a forever home with her sister without risk of bringing germs in to share with your other pets. As with any other rescue pets, Ciarra and Keisha are in need of a new home through no fault of their own. Their former owner is moving overseas, and simply can’t bring them along. The pair were brought along to Hunter Animal

Rescued as bonded sisters, and need to be rehomed together if they’re going to be happy.

What do I need to know about Birman Cats?

Ciarra and Keisha are Birman X cats, meaning a lot of their genetic information and the resulting traits have been passed down from Birmans. This is a breed that’s much loved for its reputation as a calm, mysterious and enchanting cat. They also attract a fair amount of attention with their little white-socked feet and gorgeous blue eyes, so it’s easy to see why they’re such a popular breed.

With their contrasting colours and long, soft coat, they look something like a cross between a Persian and a Siamese. Thanks to their striking features and thick coat, they can often seem much larger than they really are, appearing as massive felines when they’re really only a medium-sized cat breed. That said, we don’t actually know for sure how the Birman breed came to exist.

Where did the Birman Cat originate?

Family petAll we know is that they seem to have appeared relatively recently in Europe, most likely originating from France. The result is a playful, loving breed that can play happily with children and adults alike. Certain stories suggest that a pair of these cats were brought back from a Temple in Burma by some travellers, which is why they’re known as the “Sacred Cat of Burma”.

As we’ve already said, we can’t be entirely sure about the exact history of the Birman breed. It’s said that the earliest Birmans were a cross between a longhaired cat, most likely an Angora or Persian, and a Siamese with white paws. The Birman breed almost died out entirely during World War II, but was revived when breeders thought to breed their Birmans with Persian cats.

General Description of the Birman Cat Breed

Birman Cats will generally have a slightly cobby and somewhat heavy appearance and muscular, powerful legs. Cats of this breed have wide, large heads that are marginally longer than they are wide. Their nose is roman and intermediate length, and they’ll generally have a firm, striking chin. Birman cats can be most easily identified by their faces along with their legs, tails and ears, which will be darker than the rest of their body. These areas can be seal point (dark brown), blue, red, tortoiseshell, cream, lilac or chocolate.

They also tend to have sweet little white socks on each of their paws. They are a medium-sized breed. These cats can need a fair amount of grooming as they are a longhaired breed, but it’s well worth it for the silky, gorgeous coats they have as a result. They have next to no undercoat. The head of a Birman Cat is fairly round. Cats of this breed will have slightly slanted ears with rounded tips, and furry tufts on the inside.

The majority of a Birman Cat’s coat will be cream or white-coloured. Their tails won’t allow you to view this coat as plain, though, as they finish off the look with the most luxurious plume of fluff you’ll ever see!

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Making Your Own Dog Food Saturday 02 December 2017 @ 00:00

Woman in Purple Split Neck Cap Sleeve Bodycon Dress Holding Cone of Ice Cream Licked by Black Tan DogBack in August, we sponsored Jordy. Jordy is an energetic, loving, playful pupper who just loves to be affectionate with his humans. His only special requirement was that he needed a family willing to pay special attention to what he ate, as he had a food allergy. But in return for this extra care, he was ready to give all the love in the world!

Jordy’s allergy is the reason that our last blog post was all about hypoallergenic dog foods. With food allergies becoming an increasingly big deal for people and pets alike, it’s easy to feel a little lost when you find yourself staring at stacks of food, all of which claim to be grain-free or hypoallergenic or any number of other things.

An alternative to investing in some complicated hypoallergenic, organic and grain-free dog food while still keeping your pup healthy would be to make your own dog food. This may sound a little fiddly, but it’s quite possibly the best way of making sure your dog doesn’t eat anything they’re allergic to. There’s a whole community of people out there who have all taken to making their own dog food.

Try looking at some hacks and tips such as those shared on websites like Pinterest, and some recipes like the ones shared on Rover.com. To help you get started, here are a few tips that might be helpful.

The Perks of Making Your Own Dog Food

  • As we’ve already mentioned, making your dog’s food yourself can be a great way of keeping them healthy if they have allergies. This is the only way you can personally choose the ingredients that go into their food, and the best way for you to make sure you’re avoiding everything you should be.
  • Family dogIf you’re smart about your sourcing and try to buy in bulk, making your own dog food will be no more expensive than buying it in cans, and can sometimes be even cheaper while still being more nutritious.
  • You will be able to save time and effort by preparing large batches of food which you can freeze and use later.
  • Picky dogs are often more likely to love the food you’ve prepared for them yourself than processed food from cans.
  • Better food often means more compact, tidy stools.
  • Many people who make their own dog food find that their dogs tend to be leaner and more muscular as a result.
  • JordyA healthier diet often brings with it fresher breath, less doggy odour, clean teeth and good skin.
  • Preparing food for your dog will be no more difficult than cooking for your family, but will make a big difference to your pet’s health.
  • You will no longer need to worry about dog food brands being recalled, as you know that the food you’re giving your dog is safe to eat.
  • Making your dog’s food means you get to choose the standard of ingredients you want to use. You get to choose if you want foods to be free-range, organic or anything else. You get to choose if you want to buy ingredients from a farmer, market, supermarket or wholesaler.

Animal Products and Meat

These should always make up at least 50% of your dog’s meal. Be careful of meat cuts that contain excessive amounts of fat, as these are unhealthy and can cause obesity. Unless your dog gets the chance to have intense exercise on a regular basis, try to remove the skin from any poultry you use, cut off as much fat as possible and use lean meat, ideally with less than 10% fat.

Jordy

If your dog becomes obese and you have to try and reduce their food to control their weight, this can result in deficiencies in the other nutrients. Remember that unless your dog needs an extremely low-fat diet, dark-meat poultry is better than breast meat. If this is already starting to sound a little tricky, just consider all of the advantages this change can bring.

Sample Recipes

In time, you’ll be able to come up with your own recipes without any help from us. But until you feel like you’ve got the basics of doggy dining down, here are a few ingredient lists you could try. Please note, all ingredients in these lists should be cooked before use!

Doggy’s Salmon Supper

1 squash
3 potatoes (any variety)
2 carrots
1 head of broccoli (with the stem)
2 portions of salmon with skin (or 1 ounce per 10 pounds of dog)

Fancy Mincemeat

1 pound of beef mince
2 eggs
1.5 cups of rolled oats
Half a cup of cottage cheese
1.5 cups of your dog’s favourite grated vegetables, like carrots, peas or aubergine
OR:   

 

4 carrots
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pound of beef mince
1 tin of corn
2 cups of unsalted beef broth
1 tin of tomatoes

ginger cat

Tasty Turkey Stew

2 pounds of turkey mince
2 tablespoons of raw chicken or turkey liver
2 grated carrots
1 cup of broccoli florets
Half a shredded aubergine
1 cup of cauliflower florets
OR:    1 cup of brown rice
1 shredded aubergine
Half a cup of peas
3 cups of chopped baby spinach
3 pounds of turkey mince
2 grated carrots

 

You can find more dog food recipes on Damn Delicious, Life in Pearls and Sports Bras, Water Earth Wind Fire and All Recipes.

Add Any Necessary Supplements

Just because you’re cooking from scratch, it doesn’t mean your pup’s supplements are off the table. Even if you’re using the best recipes possible, it doesn’t mean your dog will automatically be getting all of the necessary nutrients. Supplements for nutrients such as calcium are the best way of keeping your dog healthy.

The supplements you need to include will depend based on the ingredients you’re using and the nutrients they already contain. For example, a recipe containing spinach and broccoli will contain iron, but might not have enough zinc. For more guidance on this topic, talk to your vet or a pet nutritionist.

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Hypoallergenic Dog Food Monday 13 November 2017 @ 00:00

JordyIn August, our sponsored pet of the month was Jordy, a playful, super-active and loving young pup who loves nothing more than a sloppy kiss and a big old cuddle every once in a while. If you want a chance to meet Jordy, you can look for him through his page on Hunter Animal Rescue’s website, because he’s still searching for his forever home!

Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating, as he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want!

Jordy is the reason that our last blog post was all about caring for dogs with food allergies. Around 10% of all dogs suffering from allergies are living with some type of food allergy. However, it’s also possible for dogs to suffer from food intolerances, which are different to food allergies. Food allergies are the cause of around 20% of all scratching and itching in dogs. We also covered hypoallergenic dog food to a certain extent in the last post, but today we’d like to talk about it in more detail so that you have all the information you need on the subject!

What is hypoallergenic dog food?

With food allergies becoming an increasingly big deal for people and pets alike, it’s easy to feel a little lost when you find yourself staring at stacks of food, all of which claim to be grain-free or hypoallergenic or any number of other things. A dog with an allergy doesn’t necessarily need you to splash out on some overpriced “organic” meal, and while some will benefit from grain-free foods others will feel no difference between the two.

Jordy

What your dog will need is an elimination diet. This is why the only actual hypoallergenic dog food is either a diet with hydrolyzed protein or an elimination diet. Ingredients from your previous dog food must be avoided in an elimination diet. This is why, as healthy as grain-free dog food with venison meat may sound, it may be of no use if it’s also full of corn, dairy, beef, chicken, eggs or soy.

Try taking the ingredient label from your old pet food into your local pet store and identifying any foods which don’t have any of the same ingredients. Keep in mind that colouring and flavour additives should also be avoided if possible. The best way to find the right food for your dog is to take them to the vet. Your veterinarian might be able to come up with a diet plan specific to your dog or find you the prescription diet right for your dog.

Most Common Allergens

As a general rule, dog foods will be marketed as hypoallergenic if they’ve been formulated to avoid the more common allergens for your pet. Pet food producers such as Drs. Foster and Smith explain that although dogs aren’t naturally allergic to the majority of these items, some of the most common food allergens for canines include…

  • JordyBeef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Wheat
  • Yeast
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Lamb
  • Dairy

These have become the most common allergens as they’re the ingredients used most often in dog foods. As a result, our dogs are exposed to them more often than they would be naturally.

Making Your Own Dog Food

As fiddly as it might sound, making your own dog food from the very basics is easily the best way to make sure your dog doesn’t end up eating things they’re allergic to. Try looking at some healthy dog food recipes such as those shared on Rover.com, and tips and hacks like the ones shared on Pinterest. There’s a great big community out there of other people who have started making their own dog food. Go out and find them, and they’ll be able to help you on your way!

Perks of Switching to Hypoallergenic Dog Food

There are loads of benefits you might find when you make the switch from regular dog food to hypoallergenic and homemade types. At the end of the day, your dog won’t be the only one who gets the benefit of a healthier diet: your wallet might also start looking much healthier. While saving your pup from the unpleasantness of an allergic reaction is the main goal here, it’s not the only benefit you’ll get to experience.

Dog and family

A carefully planned diet of homemade or hypoallergenic dog food could also reduce your dog’s likelihood of suffering from a number of other health issues, including anal gland blockages, periodontal disease, obesity and arthritis. Further problems you could avoid can include difficulties in digestion, some kidney ailments and heart disease.

Dogs are happy, fluffy, eating machines. They love food and need plenty of nutrients to be healthy. It’s not surprising, then, that the vast majority of illnesses that tend to affect our dogs come as a result of their diets. With veterinarian appointments costing as much as they do, improving your dog’s diet and therefore their health will be the best move for both of you in the long run.

Cat

In conclusion…

  • Food that doesn’t contain the same ingredients as most other dog foods is known as hypoallergenic dog food (though the best hypoallergenic food for your dog can be found through an elimination diet).
  • This is not a solution for all allergies. Only around 1 in 10 dog allergies can be treated through the use of hypoallergenic dog foods.
  • If you think your dog may have an allergy, talk to your vet. Seek professional advice before attempting an elimination diet.
  • These foods are a good way to help your dog if they’re suffering from food-related allergies. They are not, however, the only tool available to you.

All dogs deserve to get the best food possible for a content, healthy life.

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Caring for Dogs with Food Allergies Tuesday 31 October 2017 @ 07:54

JordyBack in August, we got the chance to sponsor Jordy, a loving, fun and super-active young Vizla X (Kelpie/Bully) who loves a hug and a big sloppy kiss every now and then. Jordy’s favourite pastimes include running, fetching and taking long walks on the beach, but he’s happy to take part in any sort of game (even frisbee). He isn’t even all that high-maintenance in terms of attention - as much as he loves snuggling with his humans in warm or comfy places, he’s still relaxed and happy enough in his own company.

Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating because he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want!

Somehow, Jordy still hasn’t found his forever home. This is a shame as every dog deserves to find the family that will love them, but it’s also good news for you as it means there’s still a chance for you to get to know Jordy yourself! For more information, head on over to his page on HAR’s website! And for more information on caring for pups with food allergies, continue reading below…

How common are food allergies in dogs?

Around 10% of all dogs suffering from allergies are living with some type of food allergy. However, it’s also possible for dogs to suffer from food intolerances, which are different to food allergies. Food allergies are the cause of around 20% of all scratching and itching in dogs.

Jordy

Food allergy or intolerance?

It’s important that you know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Food allergies are a type of true allergy, showing all of the external skin problems and itching found in other feline and canine allergies. Food intolerances, on the other hand, are primarily internal issues which can cause vomiting or diarrhoea, and won’t cause a typical allergic reaction.

Your pet’s food intolerance could be similar to you getting an upset stomach when you eat fried or spicy foods. It’s not going to kill them, but it will make them very uncomfortable. The good news here is that both allergies and food intolerances can be improved if you feed your pet a diet free from the offending foodstuffs.

Try to isolate the problem

If your pet appears to be exhibiting symptoms, the first thing you’ll need to do is work with your vet to check that these symptoms really are as a result of a food allergy. If this appears to be the case, your veterinarian will probably recommend an elimination diet, that is, feeding your dog foods with a different grain (carbohydrate source) and meat (protein source) to what your dog had been eating previously.

Tricolor Short Coat Dog Running

What symptoms should I be looking out for?

A lot of symptoms which may seem completely random could actually be signs your dog has a food allergy. Other symptoms of food allergies can closely mimic those that a human will experience. Your dog’s symptoms might include…

  • Chronic ear inflammation
  • Paw biting
  • Obsessive licking
  • Hives
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Itchy rear end
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash
  • Poor coat quality
  • Itchiness

What causes food allergies and intolerances?

It can take months or years of happy munching before your dog becomes allergic to a certain food. However, once the allergy is there, it’s there and he will almost definitely have a strong negative reaction to the food. Allergic reactions in dogs are most often tied to the protein source (meat) in their food.

Food types: The most common causes of food intolerance and allergies in dogs are milk products, wheat and beef.

Age: Food intolerance and allergies can occur at any age.

Breed: There are certain dog breeds which appear to be more prone to developing food intolerance and allergies. These breeds include cocker spaniels, Irish setters and West Highland White terriers.

Damage as a cause: Food allergies and intolerance may occur as a result of damage to the digestive system caused by infection, certain medications, surgery and inflammation.

Cat face palm

Does an allergy to a specific dog food suggest there’s something wrong with that product’s quality?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Allergies occur as a result of your pet’s immune system, as opposed to issues with the product it is consuming. If your dog develops an allergy to a specific ingredient, they’ll most likely experience the same unpleasant reaction to any product containing that ingredient.

Family dog

What is the best food for dogs with allergies?

Common anti-allergy foods that may be recommended will feature novel protein sources. Combinations might include venison and potato, or kangaroo and oatmeal. With any luck, this should prevent your pet’s immune response from continuing to be triggered.

It’s important that you work with your veterinarian to determine which food is best for your dog with an allergy. Along with novel protein, hydrolyzed diets which are only available by prescription are generally better than those which are bought in your average pet store, as the later will often contain a certain amount of common allergens whether or not they’re mentioned on the label.

Eliminating different ingredients from your dog’s diet at random without talking to your vet first can also be a pretty bad idea. This can easily lead to nutritional imbalances without making the underlying issue any clearer.

For a simple explanation of how you might identify whether or not your dog has a food allergy, check out this great WikiHow article: 3 Ways to Determine if Your Dog Has Food Allergies. We’ve also written a couple of blog posts on pet foods. Check out our posts, Should You Trust Your Pet’s Food Label? and Species-Specific Diets: Fundamentals of Feeding Your Feline for more information.

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5 Things You Must Do to Find Your Lost Pet Thursday 28 September 2017 @ 08:38

Adorable dog with adult and boys We hear stories all the time from devastated families who have lost their pet and have no idea how to go about searching for them. To try and help you guys out, we’ve put together a list of five of the most important things you need to do when searching for your missing animal companion.

1. Postpone Any Unnecessary Commitments

Some things - like doctor’s appointments, funerals or graduations - can’t simply be cancelled or postponed whenever necessary. However, some things can. Laundry day, day trips and coffee dates are not as important as the life of your puppy, cat or feathered friend. If you have young kids to look after or older kids to cart to and from school, see if a friend or family member can do this for you for now.

If at all possible, it’d be very helpful to take a bit of time off work to search for your missing animal. If you have a big event that you have any chance of postponing - a wedding, a family holiday - this can wait as well. You need to give yourself as much free, flexible time as possible to look for your missing pet.

Cat with kittens 2. Start Spreading the News

To give your furry friend the best possible chance of being found, you need to get the fact that they’ve gone missing out there. Try making up posters and fliers with your contact information, information about rewards (if you can afford one) and a picture of your pet. Try to give a good, clear description of your animal so that he can be easily recognized, but do make a point of keeping one identifying characteristic a secret so that you can check if anyone claiming to have your animal is telling the truth.

With your posters ready, it’s time to spread them. Try putting them up all around the area in which they went missing. Information and fliers can be posted in town halls, animal shelters, mailbox clusters, vet offices, grocery stores - anywhere your poster can be seen by lots of people who might have relevant information. If you’ve recently moved house, you may also want to post fliers around the area you used to live, as many pets have an uncanny ability to reappear in the neighbourhoods they used to inhabit.

Tricolor Short Coat Dog Running3. Get Out There

As important as it is to have all of these extra eyes on the lookout for your missing pet, it’s also absolutely vital that you get outside yourself and call your missing animal by name. After all, your pet knows and trusts you, not all of these other strangers. It’s also a good idea to get friends and relatives - especially those who are familiar with your animal - to go out and search, canvas the community and talk to people.

Don’t try to predict where your pet will and won’t be: you don’t know, and you can’t know. All you can do is search, and the best time of day to do this is nighttime and dawn. These are the times your animal is most likely to be out and exploring because there are fewer people out and about. The reduced number of people also means it’s the time when your pet is most likely to hear you, and you’re most likely to hear your pet.

If you’re searching from your car, drive slowly while calling. Keep all of your windows rolled down and the radio turned off. Stop your car and turn off the engine every now and then to make listening easier.

Jordy4. Set up a Home from Home

If you’re keeping yourself busy searching for your missing pet, there’s a pretty high chance your house will be empty while you do this. So what happens if your missing pet decides to return while you’re out of the house?

A good way to deal with this conundrum is by setting up a home from home where your pet can stay until you return. Try placing a large cardboard box (big enough for your animal to hide in) upside down in your yard. Cut a hole in the side big enough for your animal to climb through, and cover its floor with your pet’s favourite bedding and toys.

Make sure the base of this box is weighed down enough that it won’t blow away so that this can be a safe place where your pet can wait for you. Place some water, food and a litter tray (if relevant) nearby. Not only will these creature comforts make this den a nice place to hide when your pet returns, but the scent of your animal’s toys, bedding and food may well attract them and help them find their own way home.

Ginger cat5. Register Your Pet with Lost Pet Finders

Finding your missing pet is quite literally our job. When you register your lost pet with us, you’re automatically opting in for our many free services. Once you’ve completed this registration, you’re also given an obligation-free quote which will show you how much it would cost to issue a Pet Alert in your area, which you can adjust to your liking.

The final price of your pet alert will vary depending on where you live, how large an area you wish to cover and how many people are available in the area for us to contact. If you opt into our paid services, you’ll also get the free bonus boost on your Facebook Pet Alert.

For more information on what to do if you’ve lost your pet, check out our top ten pet-finding tips, as well as our information on microchips and rewards.

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5 Mistakes Not to Make When Looking for Your Lost Pet Tuesday 12 September 2017 @ 13:03

Ginger CatWhen you’re looking for a beloved pet who’s gone missing, you’re not always going to be thinking straight. This is completely understandable - someone you care about has gone missing. You’re upset. You’re stressed. You’re going to make a few mistakes, and that’s okay. Today, we’re going to talk about 5 major mistakes that people sometimes make when searching for their missing pet. Hopefully, this will help you avoid making similar mistakes, so that you can spend more of your time searching for your pets effectively.

1. Unhelpful “Lost Pet” Posters

Of course, the hope is that you’ll never have to search for your pet with “Lost Dog” (or cat or bird) posters but if it does come to that, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid.

First of all, you want as many people to be able to see your poster as possible so that there are lots of people keeping an eye out. Avoid using small print on your poster so that people in moving vehicles can still read it. If someone needs to pull over, slow down or squint to see what you’ve written, they won’t read it. The vast majority of people aren’t going to go out of their way to read a poster.

Second, make sure people who see your poster can make out what your pet looks like. Small, poor quality photographs are better than nothing, but what you really want is a large, high-quality image to show people what they’re looking for. A large, eye-catching image has a better chance of staying in someone’s mind, whether they want it to or not.

Finally, don’t try and fit too much writing on the poster. Only include the essential information, so that the text that matters can be displayed in large, eye-catching type.

If you register with Lost Pet Finders, we design a printable lost pet flyer, which is available for free as soon as you register your pet.

Portrait of a Smiling Young Woman With Dog2. Don’t Put All of Your Faith in a Microchip

Microchips are a spectacular piece of technology, and easily the best tool we currently have when looking for a lost pet. But pet owners can fall into the trap of putting a little too much faith in them. It’s important that you know that microchips are not foolproof.

Microchips are not GPS trackers, and cannot tell you where your pet is. Most importantly of all, microchips will only help you if you register them, something a shocking amount of people forget to do.

This technology works using radio frequency identification technology, with each chip holding its own unique serial number. If a missing pet is brought into a pound or veterinarian’s office, it’ll be scanned for a microchip. If the microchip is registered, the vet will be able to match your details to the unique code and return your pet to you. If the chip isn’t registered, there’s nothing it can do for you.

Cat & Kittens 3. Don’t Wait Too Long

It’s pretty common for a lot of pets - especially cats - to go exploring every now and then. This can make it difficult for pet owners to know if their pet is missing, or if it’s just out on an adventure and knows to return in its own time.

If you’re uncertain whether you should start searching yet, your best bet is probably to get looking. It’s better to start searching early and find out you didn’t need to, than to find out too late that you should have began your search a long time ago.

Tricolor Short Coat Dog Running4. Don’t Just Call Them

You might have the most well-trained pet on this planet, but that still doesn’t mean they’ll definitely come when you call. Being lost can be a pretty traumatic event and just like humans, your pet is capable of suffering from shock. It’s common for pet owners to rely on their pet’s ability to recognise their owner’s voice and their name, but this is often a waste of time.

A lot of humans have very similar voices, especially when heard from a distance. Our smells, however, are far more unique to us!

Jordy5. Don’t Fall for Lost Pet Scams

We love our pets, and that’s a wonderful thing. But sadly, some people might use this fact as a way of making an easy buck.

If you’re offering a reward for your missing pet and someone claims to have found them, try to find a way of verifying this person definitely has your pet before moving forward with them. Does your pet have any unique features which aren’t visible on your poster? Can you ask the person to provide a photograph of your pet?

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to be wary of anyone who expects to receive their reward money before returning your pet.

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Pet of the Month: Jordy! Tuesday 29 August 2017 @ 09:40

The main topics we’ve covered over the past few months have been caring for shy cats, long-haired cats and rescue pets with abusive previous owners. We chose to discuss these issues in honour of our sponsored pets, Misty, Russia and Lucy.

Lucy, Misty and Russia were three pets we had the good fortune to sponsor through Hunter Animal Rescue, an amazing non-profit whose goal is to place pets - who have been abandoned and are facing euthanasia - in their forever homes. All of the pets rescued by this not-for-profit organisation are given foster homes where they are looked after until they find their new families, so nobody ends up in the pound. This means they get all the cuddles and love they could possibly want, even before they find their new homes.

This month, we’re continuing our new sponsorship tradition and sponsoring Jordy.

JordyMeet Jordy

Animal Number: 17002
Sex: Male (desexed)
DOB: 25/2/13
Size: Medium 25.5kg

Jordy is a loving, fun and super-active young Vizsla X (Kelpie/Bully) who loves a hug and a big sloppy kiss every now and then. His favourite pastimes include running, fetching and talking long walks on the beach, but he’s happy to take part in any sort of game (even frisbee). Jordy isn’t that high-maintenance in terms of attention - he loves snuggling with his humans in warm or comfy places but is still relaxed and happy enough in his own company.

Portrait of a Smiling Young Woman With DogRight now, he lives in a foster home with a human who works during the day, so he’s getting very used to entertaining himself. Unlike many other excitable pups, Jordy isn’t interested in digging up the garden or chewing things, so he can be trusted to behave while you’re out and about. In his current foster home, he has free reign both inside and outside the house, and his favourite thing to do is snuggling up on the lounge when it’s time to go to bed.

Jordy is both crate- and toilet-trained and is just a very polite gentleman in general. He’s really good at travelling in cars and loves to go on adventures with his family. He has a meat allergy which means he needs to eat special grain-free fish bickies, but he likes these a lot and sits very patiently when he knows he’s about to have some for supper. He even knows how to sit, stay and drop, so he’s a pretty keen learner!

Tricolor Short Coat Dog RunningIdeally, Jordy would love to play a big role in a really active household. He doesn’t really mind if he lives with a big family, a couple or just one person, so long as he’s able to hang out with them indoors and go on outdoor adventures with them. With Jordy, you just need to put on your shoes and grab the keys and lead and he’s ready to go anywhere you’re going.

Jordy’s one special requirement is that he needs a family who will pay attention to what he’s eating because he needs to avoid eating anything he could be allergic to. In return for this little bit of extra care, he’ll be more than happy to give you all the love and fun you could possibly want! He’s even suitable for kids and loves to play with children with proper supervision. He does get very excited, though, so it’s possible he could accidentally knock a small child over if they’re not properly supervised.

Person Giving High Five to Grey CatJordy has lived as part of a big group of dogs and got on with them just fine, but he’d definitely prefer to live in a one-dog household. A polite boy like him can find other dogs a little annoying at times, especially if they’re impolite and pushy! He gets on alright with cats too and currently lives with three feline companions. He tends to find the cats interesting more than anything else, and generally only chases them if they’re already running around.

If your cats are happy to hang out with a dog without getting spooked and are generally laid back in nature, Jordy is ready to become firm friends with them. He gets on well with the three he lives with right now, who are constantly stealing his toys, teasing him and rolling around on his beds. He’s annoyed them once or twice and received the odd slap as a result, but they usually get along pretty well!

If you’re interested in getting to know Jordy a little better, head on over to his page on HAR’s website!

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

AliAli
“Great advice and tips during a stressful time for the family.
Distant neighbour found and returned our boy. We live in an amazing caring community.”

SoxSox
“Thank you all so much for your caring and supporting our search for our lost girl.
Sox was found a group of dog lovers on Monash Fwy today and they all got together to reunite us. One lady rang me to get my address, 2 men got her into the back of a car and the lovely owner of that car brought her home. We are so thankful to these people has she had travelled approx 14kms since Wednesday afternoon up Eastlink and the Monash and managed not to get hit by a car.”

ChifleyChifley
“Many thanks for your fantastic service.....a happy ending.
We knew a paid alert was the best way of maximising the prospects of his return. The Pet Network support was awesome. The immediate responses were very encouraging. Chifley was recognised by a Good Samaritan as a result of the LPF alert and returned to us.
Simply put, if you want your lost pet back, have LPF get an alert out to its membership that is on watch and vigilant.”

Dusty


Dusty
“Thanks for all the information provided and a dedicated member call I found dusty save and sound within 24hrs”


ArchieArchie
“Dog found in 2 days after a dedicated member responded to an alert after seeing my dog running the streets. There are good people in the world! So thankful to the member and Lost Pet Finders for enabling it all to happen.”

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Socialise Your Shy Cat Monday 03 July 2017 @ 11:26

Woman Lying on Sofa With Cat by Her Foot In our last post, we talked about some of the problems (and unexpected joys) of living with a shy cat. We explored the spectrum of shyness a cat might experience, with some only having a certain amount of anxiety while settling into new places, and others who constantly feel the need to hide, can’t build trust with their family and are generally just on edge. Today, we’re going to talk about how you might begin to socialise your shy cat and hopefully take away some of the anxiety she might be living with.

First of all, like many humans, cats tend to thrive the most when they have a daily routine they can count on, and this is no less true for shy felines. A simple way to put your furry friend at ease is to interact with her and feed her at roughly the same time every day. If you find that food is the way to your cat’s heart, this is a wonderful way of positive reinforcement. Use tasty snacks to encourage her to play with you, but make sure they’re healthy. Loading your feline friend up with unhealthy treats won’t help anyone, and will just give you and your pet a whole new problem to deal with. Always make sure you’re feeding your pet a diet appropriate to their species and full of nutrients and fresh foods.

White Brown Short Fur Cat Walking Near Boy in Brown Black Short Sleeve Shirt Riding White Red Toy It’s also a good idea to try and keep her living space at a similar level of cleanliness, and remember to clean her litter tray every day. Caring for your cat’s basic needs in a routine that lets her know she can rely on you will help her feel more comfortable and allow you to build up trust.

While it may not always be possible to avoid making a noise, it’s a good idea to try and keep things as quiet and calm around the house as you can. This applies to when you’re interacting with your cat: try to be encouraging, gentle and quiet, and never force contact when touching her. Don’t stare at her, as this can be interpreted as a threatening action to shy cats, and try to speak and move as softly and slowly as you possibly can. Similarly, never try to pet your cat by moving your hand directly towards her face. Instead, try petting her from one side around her ears, face and head.

CatWhen it comes to unavoidably noisy activities such as construction work, social gatherings and vacuuming, it can also be helpful to restrict your cat to a more quiet area of the house.

If she has a habit of running away whenever you walk close to her, try holding your back towards her as you pass her. This will create a dynamic where you are the vulnerable party, so your cat will feel less threatened. Never force your shy cat to do anything she isn’t ready and willing to do. Unless it’s entirely unavoidable (as in an emergency situation), never pull her out of a hiding place or hold her when she doesn’t want to be held. This will only encourage her to fear you and will destroy any trust you have built with her.

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileCats are independent characters who are most comfortable when they feel as though they are in control of their actions and surroundings. While failing to acknowledge this can cause any feline to get irritable, it’s especially important in shy cats who can get incredibly anxious. Rather than chasing your her, encourage your cat to come to you. Rather than dragging her out of her hiding place, figure out a way of bonding with your cat while she’s in her favourite spot.

Above all else, be patient. Just like people, cats are individuals and will grow and change at different speeds. As a general rule, kittens can be successfully socialised far more quickly than older cats, as this is the age at which they would naturally learn most of their skills. All the same, it is entirely possible for you to improve your adult cat’s sociability if you give her time to learn.

Need more information on caring for a pet with anxiety issues? Check out our posts on identifying (Post) and rehabilitating (Post 1 | Post 2) a previously abused dog.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

Mi MiMi Mi
“Someone gave me a ring and provided some information through your list. Although it was not the cat but at the time her phone call gave me hope and sense of community help and a lot of comforts. Thank you very much. Your service is very fast and reach a lot of places. It helps me ease my worry a lot. It is much appreciated.”

KevinKevin
“Fantastic news!!
Kev has been found and is now in solitary confinement, with all lock picks confiscated!
Thanks to the neighbour 4 houses down, who contacted me this afternoon after seeing one of the Pet Alert Flyers from the LPF site.
His favourite treats were his downfall (but enabled me to catch him.)
Cat door removed entirely.”

HugoHugo
“After 11 gruelling days missing, our Hugo was returned to us at 7:30pm 4/6/17. A neighbour had him for a week and we think he had no intention of handing him over to authorities. It was through perserverence of posters supplied by LPF, and flyers we made ourselves for door knocking - that we got the call. Our community was well aware of Hugo missing, and through spreading the word we got a lead to target a certain street in our area and within hours of doing so Hugo was reunited! Thank you LPF for all of your ongoing support - your checklist, and emails to keep us going and not give up.”

Max


Max
“Service is great - he was found nearby the apartment.”



RoxyRoxy
“It was reassuring to feel others a part of the search. Thanks to Bec for her sighting....which turned out not be Roxy. After 5 anxious days Rox came home overnight. She is so timid her disappearance was unusual and distressing. I will now be vigilant and regularly check with LPF to support others.”

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Living with a Shy Cat Thursday 15 June 2017 @ 09:41

MistyIf there’s one thing that gets our tails in a twist, it’s hearing the term “scaredy cat” used as an insult! There’s nothing wrong with being a little shy every now and then, and a cat’s survival instinct is one of the things that makes them the unique little creatures we have come to love. Take Misty, for example. Misty is our current sponsored pet with Hunter Animal Rescue, and she’s a deeply affectionate little girl who can be a little shy from time to time. It’s one of the (many) things we love about her!

For Misty, being shy just means she can take a little while to settle into a new home, and that’s fine. It’s when your cat seems constantly on-edge, feels the need to hide and is unable to build trust with its family that you may need to worry. Most of us will have come across a cat with this level of shyness before, either as a pet of a friend or part of our own family. These special cats are often particularly common in pet shelters, either having been abandoned in frustration or converted into a shy cat through the stressful experience of living in an animal shelter.

White Brown Short Fur Cat Walking Near Boy in Brown Black Short Sleeve Shirt Riding White Red Toy If you’re thinking about adding a new furry friend to your family, it is vital that you put a great deal of thought into the type of cat you choose. Some cats are fearless and full of beans, and will fit in perfectly to a home with dogs, action, noise and children. Some cats, however, can be a little more sensitive.

A cat can be shy for any number of different reasons. Perhaps she was abused by a previous owner, or experienced a traumatic event. Maybe she wasn’t properly socialised in the first few weeks of her life. Some cats even have a genetic predisposition towards being particularly timid.

Unsurprisingly, shy cats tend to thrive in fairly calm, quiet homes more often than they do in rowdy households full of parties, shouting, children and dominant pets. If you know you’re dealing with a timid cat, it’s best to avoid sudden movements and loud noises, and it’s definitely important that the family dog doesn’t try to chase or roughhouse even if he is only playing!

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileNever leave a new cat on her own with other pets until you’re absolutely certain the pets are comfortable with - and no threat to - each other.

Importantly, if your cat is prone to running away and hiding, you mustn’t ignore these behaviours. This most likely is not a behaviour that will go away over time, and your cat doesn’t simply need to “get used to” the things she fears. The more times it happens, the more time she’ll spend hiding, and the more difficult it will be to calm her down.

Whether or not they’re particularly shy, cats are generally sensitive to new experiences such as new sounds, smells, routines, tastes and environments. These are all things that you’ll need to take into consideration when you bring home a new cat, or if you need to send your current cat to live with someone else for a short while.

CatOften, you can make these changes a little easier for your cat to handle by setting up a special living space, even if it’s only for the first week-or-so. Try arranging her litterbox, toys, food and bedding in a spare bedroom or other unused (or at least lesser used) space, and don’t let guests bother her too much. This method will let her get used to her new conditions in her own way, at her own pace. As your cat gets used to her surroundings, you can introduce her to all of your family members one by one, making sure to keep these meetings quiet and calm.

Just like you and me, every cat is an individual and will grow and learn at its own unique speed. If it feels like it’s taking too long for your cat to overcome its shyness, don’t be discouraged! Just keep working together and your cat will be your best bud in no time at all.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

CarlosCarlos
“was contacted on the site.”

Billy


Billy
“Billy jumped onto a person's arm in the area. His sister looked for lost parrots in Lane Cove and saw the listing. We just picked Billy up and couldn't be happier.”


NalaNala
“**UPDATE - NALA IS FOUND **

Nala was hiding in a shed.
She was too scared to make a sound for 6 days!

Thank you to the couple that saw my post and checked their house and shed.
It took me a few times calling her name for her to come out of hiding.
Please remember to check your houses and sheds for missing pets. This is a success story

Thank you to the whole community for helping me in my search for my fur baby.
She is so happy to be home. She hasn't stopped meowing!”

Simba


Simba
“his dady spent six hours roaming the streets to find him, 8 cats and one bunnie rabbit later he found him :) but the comfort of knowning a service like this exisits and the tips it gave on locating a cat were really valued”


RoxyRoxy
“It was reassuring to feel others a part of the search. Thanks to Bec for her sighting....which turned out not be Roxy. After 5 anxious days Rox came home overnight. She is so timid her disappearance was unusual and distressing. I will now be vigilant and regularly check with LPF to support others.”

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Why is my pet behaving oddly after storms? Monday 15 May 2017 @ 08:57

catThe weather can affect everyone differently, even once it seems as though everything should be back to normal. This point remains true not only for humans, but for our furry friends too. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how we can keep our pets warm and safe during a storm, and some of the best ways to keep an eye on them in the event of an evacuation. Today, we want to talk about how a storm can influence your pet’s behaviour even after the weather improves.

Storms can make a whole lot of changes to your pet’s world, which can lead to a great deal of confusion. In extreme weather, the familiar landmarks and scents by which your pet navigates his world can be altered by the rain or wind. Think about our post about the magical item that is your dog’s nose:

“Sometimes it’s hard to understand how dogs can relate to the same world so differently to us, but dogs are built to interpret the world through their sense of smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell as much as we rely on our vision.”

Short Coated Dog Between Wooden BoardsA massive amount of your dog’s brainpower is devoted entirely to interpreting the smells that surround him. While humans have a seemingly generous 6 million sensory receptor sites in our nasal cavity, our dogs hold over 100 million receptor sites, with the part of their brains dedicated to analyzing scents around 40 times larger than that of a human. So you may think your dog smells bad sometimes, but he actually smells somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than you do! A dog’s sense of smell is so powerful that, should he go blind, he will be able to adjust to his new world with significantly greater ease than a human.

Stories are shared often of pets who have managed to find their own way home from from incredible distances, but did you know that this homing instinct relies on their sense of smell? Dogs have a peculiar superpower that allows them to move each of their nostrils independently, allowing them to identify easily the direction from which an odor is coming. This means they can use their noses like their very own built-in compass!

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileCat owners needn’t worry, however! As Lost Pet Finders user Bryna discovered, our feline friends also have a knack for tracking down their families:

“As it turns out, the night Chloe wandered off and didn’t come back, she managed to find her way back to their old house. The family had moved two streets over last October, and it would appear that Chloe was missing her old home. Discovering another cat had taken over her territory, Chloe had taken it on herself to reclaim what was once her land!”

dog, garden, outsideWith the landmarks changed and identifying scents removed, you will need to be extra-careful for some time after the storm to keep an eye on your cat and take note of any signs of stress or confusion. Similarly, when you take your dog for a walk, be sure to keep him on his leash until you are certain he feels familiar with his environment. Something as minor as a shrub or an old pot you had completely forgotten about might have been your pet’s only way of telling his home apart from any other. With it gone, you may as well have remodelled your entire home as it could be completely unrecognizable.

When you are confident that your pet has grown accustomed to his altered world, you should still exercise great care when you allow him outside. Your neighbourhood may have suffered more damage than you realise, and you can trust children and pets to discover any dangerous changes in the most painful ways possible. After a storm, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advises that you “beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters.”

White and Tan English Bulldog Lying on Black RugAlways keep in mind that while a storm may have been simply inconvenient for you, it might have been traumatising for your pet. In this case, your pet’s coping techniques may be very different to yours. Following a storm an animal will sometimes feel as though their territory has been invaded and grow defensive or aggressive as a result. Try your best to be as patient as your can with this behaviour, and try to be aware of it until you’re sure your pet can be trusted outdoors.

If you follow these tips and your pet still goes missing after a storm, be sure to create a Pet Listing on Lost Pet Finders and check out our other pet-finding tips. Don’t panic: often, animals that go missing during or after major storms can still reappear a few weeks later.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

simba


Simba
“his dady spent six hours roaming the streets to find him, 8 cats and one bunnie rabbit later he found him :) but the comfort of knowning a service like this exisits and the tips it gave on locating a cat were really valued”


maxMax
“The flyer was a great way to spread the word. We met many people walking around the neighborhood who had grabbed my number just in case they spotted Maxi.”

sox


Sox
“Sox has come home. Thank you for a wonderful service was reassuring to know that people in the area were made aware of my missing cat and nice to get some emails wishing me luck. Thank you”


amarniAmarni
“I had a lovely woman message me at 5:39 in the morning because she had noticed a dark cat that she doesn't usually see around run past her drive way and she called me incase the slight chance it was Amarni and it turns out it was, he had been running away back to our previous house that was only two streets away from our adress we are at now.”

millieMillie
“Along with the help of some locals who were alerted by LostPetFinders and a LOT of letterbox drops within a 1km radius, Millie was reported found to us by a lady to whom I dropped the third-last leaflet one km away :)
We are overjoyed.
She is injured and not eating yet, but we have only just come home from the vet moments ago.
My heart goes out to all those people who are missing their beloved animals. The pain for us was excruciating. Thank you Tony for your encouragement and your advice, and to the kind neighbours who phoned and texted me and urged me not to give up.”

by Tabitha Buckley on May 13

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